Are your Tesla factory lug nuts swollen, and you’re looking for a replacement? Do you want to change your rims and know what lug nuts to use? You may want to enhance your wheels but don’t like the cheap plastic lug nut caps.
While basic info like lug nut torque and socket size can be found in your Tesla owner’s manual, many questions still need to be answered. I went through a lot of websites to be confident I’m buying the correct lug nuts for my wife’s Model 3.
In this guide, I’ll provide the essential information about the different sizes, types, and options available for your Tesla lug nuts.
In case you’re not looking for info but for the best lug nuts or wheel locks on the market, check out my Tesla wheel accessories round-up.
The Most Common Tesla Lug Nut Questions
In this section, I’ll answer the lug nut related questions Tesla owners ask the most on forums and groups. You might be surprised, but I even see folks asking:
Do Tesla wheels have lug nuts?
Yes, Tesla vehicles have lug nuts. Their role is to keep your wheels securely attached to the car.
How Many Lug Nuts Does a Tesla Have?
Tesla vehicles have five lug nuts per wheel, or twenty for the entire vehicle – a standard lug nut setup used on most passenger cars.
The only exception could be the new Tesla Roadster. Back in the summer of 2020, Elon Musk said on Twitter (now X) that it would only have one lug nut per wheel.
My favorite is one in tension, other DoF in compression. New Roadster wheels will only have one nut.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 18, 2020
Are All Tesla Lug Nuts the Same?
Yes, all Tesla lug nuts are the same, except for the Roadster, which has an M12x1.5 thread diameter, 5×110 bolt pattern, and 65.1 center bore.
Typically, the specs will be included in the product description when shopping for lug nuts advertised as a replacement for your Tesla Model. However, if you’re buying universal lug nuts for Tesla Model 3, Y, S, or X, make sure the thread size is M14x1.5.
What Size Are the Lug Nuts on a Tesla?
The size of lug nuts for all Tesla Models apart from the Roadster is M14x1.5mm, which is commonly used by many automakers like Dodge, GM, and Toyota, to name a few.
The M14x1.5 represents the thread diameter (14mm stud) and the thread pitch (1.5mm from one thread ridge to another). The Tesla lug nut socket size is 21mm or 13/16″, and the lug nut torque spec is 129 lb-ft.
What Is the Type and Angle of the Lug Nuts on a Tesla?
Tesla uses conical-type (also called acorn) hex-headed lug nuts, which means that the seat tapers down like a cone rather than being rounded.
The most common angle on conical lug nuts is 60 degrees, which Tesla also uses on their vehicles.
What Are the Issues with Tesla OEM Lug Nuts?
While Tesla vehicles excite us with many cool features, the OEM Tesla lug nuts could be better. There are two issues you should know about:
- Material – No matter which Tesla Model you own or want to buy, the factory lug nuts are made of soft alloy. It means they’re easily skewed, even if you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations only to use a torque wrench.
- Design – Tesla’s factory lug nuts have a two-piece design, which is why they get swollen. JohnDow’s blog states that the problem occurs when moisture infiltrates the space between the chrome decorative cap and the actual steel lug nut.
Benefits of Tesla Aftermarket Lug Nuts
As with aftermarket hub caps, lug nut manufacturers understand the drawbacks of OEM Tesla lug nuts and sell products that offer you several benefits:
Most use a one-piece construction, making lug nuts more durable.
Different sizes, providing a better fit for aftermarket wheels.
Lightweight materials, removing unsprung weight.
Various finishes to enhance your wheels’ appearance.
Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of the different lug nuts for Tesla based on the material they’re made of.
Steel Lug Nuts
Steel lug nuts are known for their durability and strength, making them the most common choice of automotive manufacturers. Steel is also preferred as it withstands high torque and is very damage-resistant.
The disadvantages of lug nuts made of steel are two: they’re heavier and will rust out over time. Especially if you drive your Tesla in the winter and a lot of road salt is used in your area.
Aluminum Lug Nuts
Being lighter when compared to steel, aluminum lug nuts contribute to less unsprung weight, which can positively impact your Tesla’s performance. Another advantage of aluminum is that it’s resistant to corrosion.
Although aluminum isn’t as durable as steel, it’s better than your OEM lug nuts. Opting for forged high-strength alu lug nuts for Tesla is a good choice if you’re not changing your wheels frequently.
Titanium Lug Nuts
When it comes to aftermarket lug nuts for any Tesla Model, your best option is titanium. The superlight titanium lug nuts offer an even more significant reduction in unsprung weight.
Being 50% lighter on average, titanium lug nuts have various benefits, such as a better steering feel and more efficient transfer of motor power to the ground.
Combined with lightweight alloy wheels, titanium lug nuts are performance-oriented Tesla owners’ choice. Of course, the extra advantages come at a higher price.
Check out the best lug nuts, wheel locks, and lug nut covers available online.
As long as your current lug nuts aren’t damaged, installing new lug nuts on your Tesla factory wheels will be a piece of cake.
Get your torque wrench ready, follow a star or crisscross pattern by hand tightening the nuts first, and adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended torque specs.
Following the proper torque specs prevents over-tightening or under-tightening.
Either one can result in loosening, deformation, or even wheel detachment.
If you’re a Tesla Model 3 owner looking to buy aftermarket wheels, you’ll find my rims fitment guide helpful. First, you need to know your new wheel specifications and choose the matching lug nuts accordingly. Usually, these would be conical with a closed-end design.
Whether you roll on custom, Aero, or Gemini wheels, you should periodically check the lug nut torque and make any necessary adjustments to maintain your Tesla’s safety and performance.
Lug Nuts Maintenance
Maintaining your Tesla’s lug nuts is vital for your vehicle’s safety and the lifespan of your wheels. Let me give you three tips to make sure you’re always on the safe side.
- It doesn’t matter if you have steel, aluminum, or titanium lug nuts. Over time, they can become loose due to vibrations. Inspect your lug nuts every time you rotate your tires or at least every six months, and you’ll be good.
- When inspecting your lug nuts, look for signs of rust, wear, or other damages. These often remain hidden from those using plastic lug nut caps. If you notice any issues, consider replacing them immediately to avoid further complications.
- If you’re using lug nut covers, remove those when washing your car. Make sure you clean the lug nuts properly by removing dirt and debris that may have accumulated around them.
Wrapping It Up
After you learn about the thread size, different types of lug nuts for Tesla, and the aftermarket options, I hope you feel capable of making an informed decision.
If you need help, the local wheel and tire shop guys will always advise you. They’ll also offer you all kinds of lug nuts for Tesla, but be aware that prices are higher.
I’ve covered most Tesla wheels related topics on my blog, including wheel spacers and adapters. In case you’re just starting your customization journey and need some inspiration, see my list of custom Teslas.