Are Axle Nuts Reverse Thread?

Have you ever tried to loosen or tighten an axle nut but couldn’t figure out which way it should go? We’ve researched this issue and found the answer.

No, axle nuts are not reverse threaded. You loosen them by going counter-clockwise and tighten them by going clockwise.

Knowing the direction a nut thread goes is very important otherwise, you'll end up with a stripped thread. However, it is not always easy to tell whether a nut is going clockwise or counterclockwise. We will tell you the best way to figure out which way a nut goes and how to remove an axle nut so keep reading!

close replacement old front brake disc, Are Axle Nuts Reverse Thread?

How To Tell If A Nut Is Reverse Or Standard Thread

If you don’t want to spend time trying to unscrew a nut or bolt, you need to be able to tell the direction the threads go. Thread directions can either be standard or reversed. However, an axle nut is generally a standard thread.

To determine the direction of the threads, look at the nut itself and note the markings or grooves. A reversed thread goes upward toward the left, and a standard thread goes toward the right.

How To Remove An Axle Nut

car brake disc without wheels closeup

Before we go to the steps of removing an axle nut, it is important to know some tools that can help you remove it. These tools are as follows:

  • Socket wrench (socket ratchet)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Breaker bar

A socket wrench is used to loosen and tighten the axle nut. A screwdriver and a hammer can be used to tap up the stalked part of the axle nut. 

Now that we know what tools to use to remove an axle nut, let’s go to the steps. 

1. Remove The Wheel Cover

Don't try to pry and pop the wheel cover out by shoving a flathead screwdriver in the edge. You run the risk of breaking the wheel cover if you do this.

Instead, try to reach in and grab the wheel cover with your bare hands to get the best grip, and try to work on it slowly until it comes off.

2. Tap Up The Stalked Part Of The Axle Nut

Once you have the wheel cover removed, you'll see the axle and wheel nuts exposed. You'll see a small indentation in the axle nut. Using a flathead screwdriver and a hammer, gently tap it up until the screwdriver meets little resistance.

3. Partially Loosen The Axle Nut

Axle nuts come in different sizes; you need to figure out the type of socket wrench to use for your situation. Once you have this figured out, partially loosen the axle nut with the help of a breaker bar. 

4. Loosen The Wheel Nuts

Do the same to the wheel nuts. Just partially loosen them.

5. Jack Up The Car

Place an axle stand once you have elevated the car to a certain height where you can comfortably work.

6. Remove The Wheel

Loosen and take out the wheel nuts completely so you can get to the wheel. A slight nudge is all it takes for the wheel to come off.

7. Remove The Axle Nut Completely

You'll now see the hub exposed. Lock a ratchet into the axle nut. Twist and turn the ratchet until the axle nut is removed.

The video below best illustrates the entire process.

If you find yourself in a situation where the axle nut or the wheel nuts are stuck because of corrosion, then you can do the following:

Spray the area with PB Blaster. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Check if it shows any improvement.

You can also find PB Blaster on Amazon. Check it out!

If PB Blaster doesn't work, heat the area around the axle nut with propane torch until it's red hot. Get a candle or wax and start rubbing it around the area. Let the heat absorb the melted candle. You may have to do this multiple times.

Check out this propane torch head on Amazon.

Is It Okay To Reuse Axle Nut?

If you've ever reused an axle nut and thought that you were saving money, think again. You should never reuse the axle nut because it will wear out much faster than if you bought a new one. Besides, an old axle nut won't tighten as well as a new one.

A new axle nut costs around $3. Peace of mind doesn't necessarily have to be expensive. 

Torque Wrench Or Impact Wrench: Which Tool Should I Use To Tighten an Axle Nut?

brake disc system without wheel on

An impact wrench is a power tool that is used to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts. It is designed to provide the most power possible at a set speed of operation. An impact wrench is commonly referred to as an impact gun.

While they are useful for tightening and loosening nuts and bolts, it's not recommended that you use one to tighten an axle nut. This is because there's a chance that the impact gun could accidentally overtighten the nut if the torque is too strong. This can result in stripping the thread.

On the other hand, when you use a torque wrench to tighten an axle nut, you're putting your body weight behind the wrench, which will eventually tighten the nut.

This gives you control over how much torque you're applying to the nut. You can loosen it up again using the same method, but it won't be as easy.

An impact wrench, however, is very useful when loosening a nut or bolt since it can provide you with the most powerful loosening force that no human can do, quickly and easily.

bearded man gloves tightening bolts on

What Is The Ideal Torque For An Axle Nut?

It is important to ensure the nuts are tightened properly and securely so they do not loosen over time. The right amount of torque is necessary to ensure the wheels are properly secured to the hubs and the hubs to the vehicle's frame.

Torque values can vary depending on the manufacturer of the axle nut. However, as a general rule, you want to tighten the bolts as much as possible without damaging the threads. Axle nut torque specification can range from 130-foot pounds to 300-foot pounds.

The best torque to use is the torque recommended by the manufacturer. An axle nut that is too loose will eventually cause premature failure, while an overtightened axle nut will increase the risk of overheating and breaking the axle bolt and frame. 

How Do You Know If You Have A Loose Axle?

If you hear a loud, rhythmic, and seemingly random clanking noise, you probably don't know where it's coming from. It could be from the engine or transmission. However, if you're hearing it while making sharp turns, then there's a chance that it's in one of your axles.

It's important to note that a loose axle is more dangerous than you might think. It could cause damage to the drivetrain. When this happens, it's like a pinball machine inside the car. The loose axle causes the car to shake. If you're driving fast, the shaking can be pretty dangerous.

new auto parts front wheel drive hub

How Long Can I Drive A Car With A Loose Axle?

When it comes to the length of time that you can drive a vehicle with a loose axle, the severity of the issue is the key factor. However, if you have an older vehicle, the length of time that you can drive with a loose axle will be limited.

If the axle is only slightly loose, then it should be able to hold up for a while without causing major problems. In most cases, you can drive the vehicle for a few days or weeks before it starts to show the real signs of the problem. 

If you've ever read some blogs that say it's okay to drive a car with a loose axle for months with minor issues, then those are just plain wrong. It may not yet be a safety hazard, but the daily wear and tear on the vehicle will eventually aggravate the problem until the axle becomes so loose that you cannot drive the vehicle any longer. 

How Much To Fix Or Replace A Loose Axle

maintenance car brake disc repair

It can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 to get a repair estimate alone. Replacement ranges from $600 to $1,000 and this already includes labor costs. 

It's important to know that you should never attempt to repair yourself if you don't have the grit, determination, and knowledge to finish the job.

The problem with this is that you might damage the steering and suspension system if you replace it with the wrong axle or missed some important steps.

Nonetheless, you can give it a shot. Just follow the steps on how to remove an axle nut above.

Once you get to the part about removing and replacing your CV axle, just watch the video below to complete the replacement process. CV axles may be different from one car to another but they work the same way.

Are Wheel Nuts Reverse Thread?

In most cases, the lug nuts are not reverse-threaded. If you are dealing with an old car, you might want to verify with the owner or mechanic that the lug nuts are not reversed. This is because reverse-threaded lug nuts were used before by older generations of cars. 

You can identify if the lug nuts are reversed by examining them. If the thread goes up in the left direction then it's reversed thread. If it goes right, then it's a normal thread.

In Closing

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Axle nuts are threaded so they can be easily tightened and loosened and are not reversible. If you try to turn an axle nut clockwise to tighten it, you will damage the nut or thread. To loosen a nut, rotate it in the direction it is threaded. Always remember the "lefty loosey, righty tighty" rule.

You might also like:

Axle Keeps Popping Out; Why And What To Do?

Are Axles Supposed To Have Play?

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One comment

  1. I have an old trailer and read this article and kept trying to loosen the left side counterclockwise. The I put on my glasses and saw an L stamped on the bolt. It was reverse threaded. Loosey righty. Tighty lefty. So some axles are reverse threaded.

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