Torquing Kelsey-Hayes Aluminum Slotted Rims

Have you ever literally stood on a one-lug wrench trying to loosen lug nuts?

I have.

And I'll admit that if overtightening lug nuts were a sport, up until a few years ago I probably would've qualified for the Olympic team.

In most cases, overtightening lug nuts can have negative consequences, such as distorted brake rotors, stripped threads, stretched studs, and more.

Of course, you don't want your wheels to fall off as you drive down the road, but do they really have to be tightened to the point of being almost impossible to remove?

They do not, and most owner's manuals will give you the proper torque specifications, or you can check online.

Again, you don't want the wheel to come off while you're driving but you also don't want to damage the stud threads or anything else for that matter.

The image above shows a page of the 1976 Corvette Stingray owner's manual which indicates 80 ft./lbs. However, that torque number is for steel Rallie wheels. My car has Kelsey-Hayes aluminum slotted rims, and from my research, the recommended torque is 90 or 100 ft./lbs.

I torque my rims to 90 ft./lbs.


You will need a torque wrench for this job, but you don't need to buy the most expensive one you can find. Any good torque wrench will do. Just make sure it's a foot/pounds wrench and, ideally, properly calibrated.

I purchased a 1/2" drive Pittsburgh Pro "click" torque wrench from HFT. The total cost was $12.83 including sales tax after the discount.

I'm sure it was made in China, but it appears to be well made and solid with a very nice ratcheting action.

The reason they are referred to as "click wrenches" is because they make a clicking sound when they reach the preset torque setting.

You can always go digital if money is not an issue or old school with a beam torque wrench if you prefer, but those can be hard-to-read IMO and, therefore, not ideal for torquing wheels. Same deal with dial torque wrenches.

Since I had tightened the lug nuts a couple of days earlier, I loosened them a bit before using the torque wrench. I've seen people on YouTube® use an impact wrench for tightening, then using a torque wrench to "confirm" that the lug nuts are properly tightened, which is absurd.

If an impact wrench tightens a lug nut to 150 ft./lbs. for example, and you then use a torque wrench set to 90 ft./lbs., it will click or beep the instant you apply enough pressure because the lug nuts have been overtightened rendering the whole exercise pointless.

Anyway, I shot a video of the process on how I torque mine, and I hope you will find it helpful.

By the way, it is a good idea to recheck the lugnuts' torque after about a week of normal driving as some may loosen. So you may want to consider adding that practice to your routine.

Thank you for following my '76 Vette Blog!

Product Links... (#sponsored)

1976 Corvette Stingray Owner's Manual
How to Restore Your C3 Corvette: 1968-1982
1968-1982 Corvette Restoration Guide

Donnklik 1/2" Drive Click Torque Wrench | 10 to 150 ft/lb