1979-2021 Mustang Wheel Torque Specs
Your Mustang is your pride and joy. And whether you’ve just added a new set of cool Velgen Wheels or completed a routine tire rotation, understanding the importance of torque and Mustang wheel torque specs are vital. Wheel torque affects the safe operation of your Mustang and the proper functioning of its equipment. In this article, we’ll review this topic, one that’s essential for all Mustang owners whether you rely on a professional mechanic or you’re an amateur grease monkey.
What Is Wheel Torque?
First, let’s understand what torque is. When it involves your car’s wheels, torque is the measure of the force applied to a lug nut during the tightening process—it’s measured as pound feet (lb-ft). Each vehicle needs a specific amount of torque—determined by the manufacturer—to keep the wheels secure. A torque wrench or ratchet, which enables a mechanic or experienced do-it-yourselfer to correctly tighten your car’s lug nuts, can be adjusted to apply a precise amount of torque. This reduces the risk of improperly torquing the lug nuts. We’ll get into more specifics later on, but too much torque can result in damage to your Mustang and too little torque can cause the wheels to loosen and even become detached from the car.
It’s also important to know that Mustang wheel torque specs can change from model year and generation. For example, 2010 Mustang wheel torque specs require 100 lb-ft while 2015 Mustang wheel torque specs call for 150 lb-ft. Here’s a chart with modern Mustang torque specs.
Mustang Wheel Lug Torque Specs
|Body Style||Model Years||Wheel Lug Torque Spec|
|Fox Body||1979-1993||80-105 lb-ft|
|SN95/New Edge||1994||80-105 lb-ft|
|SN95/New Edge||1995-2004||85-105 lb-ft|
2011-2014 S197 Coyote Mustang Horsepower
While lug nuts may not be as exciting as a supercharged Predator V8 or a quad exhaust setup, these simple components are arguably the most critical part of your Mustang for one simple reason—lug nuts keep your wheels connected to the car. While some European brands use lug bolts, we’ll focus our conversation on lug nuts. We’re here to talk about Mustangs after all.
If you’ve ever had to change a flat tire or perform a wheel swap, you know that removing lug nuts is a relatively easy process. For single tire removal, you set the parking brake and probably used the Ford-supplied jack that came with your Mustang. A few counterclockwise turns of a lug or socket wrench and off come the lug nuts. More involved wheel activity might involve an impact wrench and jack stands. Of course, most professional mechanics will use a hydraulic lift for wheel work.
Securing lug nuts requires more attention and care. It begins with ensuring that stud threads are clean. Oily and dirty threads can not only affect how easily the lug nuts go on but can also cause the lug nuts to loosen over time. Your Mustang owner’s manual will recommend an alternating pattern for installing the lugs—this ensures that pressure is evenly distributed across the front of the wheel mount area. Using a torque wrench, you or a mechanic will tighten the lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications. For example, the current S550-generation Mustang requires 150 lb-ft of torque for each lug nut. Remember that a roadside flat tire replacement should be followed up by a visit to a mechanic who can retighten the lug nuts to proper torque specifications.
Improper wheel torque can cause several complications for your Mustang including some safety problems:
- Damaged wheel studs: Overtightened lug nuts cause excessive strain on the wheel studs. This can cause metal fatigue resulting in stud breakage during a future wheel service or during driving.
- Unbalanced wheels: Under-torquing can be just as serious a safety issue as applying too much torque. Under-torqued lug nuts can loosen overtime causing wheels to wobble and straining the wheel studs. Eventually, the loose rims can separate from the wheel assembly and fall off the car.
- Damaged brake rotors: Brake rotors generate a lot of heat during braking which may not dissipate as quickly due to over-torqued wheels. This can cause the rotors to warp and expensive repairs as a result. Unevenly torqued lug nuts across the wheel can have a similar effect.
- Damaged lug nuts: Overtightened wheels can result in the lug nut being “rounded” or stripped during install. Too tight a wheel can also cause the lug nut to be stripped during a future removal. While less of a safety issue, a stripped lug nut can be a major hassle for both professional and amateur mechanics.
Mustang Wheel Torque: The Right Tools And Techniques Are Essential
You’ve probably heard the high-pitched whir of an air impact wrench if you’ve ever spent any time in an auto service shop. It makes the mechanic’s job quicker and easier. And, in many cases, the faster a mechanic works, the more money he makes. So, the temptation to use an air impact wrench can be great.
If you remember one thing from this article, it’s this—an air impact wrench should never be used to torque down wheel lug nuts. This technique is OK for the initial lug nut installation, but the final torquing step should be performed using a torque wrench or ratchet that’s designed specifically for this task.
Keep this example in mind. A typical air impact wrench generates 900 lb-ft of torque. In the case of a 2005 Mustang, Ford recommends using 100 lb-ft of torque to properly secure the car’s lug nuts. You can do the math and imagine how easy it would be to over-torque this pony car’s wheels using this tool. How easy would it be for the next person to remove these wheels? What if you had to change a flat tire during a roadside emergency?
If you have a trusted mechanic or are able to properly torque Mustang wheels on your own, then accept your good fortune. If you are still searching for a reliable service technician, then consider these two tips next time you need tire or wheel service.
Watch how the mechanics in a shop work with wheels. If lug nut installation by air impact wrench is not followed by a final installation with a torque wrench or ratchet, then move on to the next shop.
Ask to confirm the torque specifications for your Mustang. Your owner’s manual details what the correct torque specs are for your Mustang wheels. Having this information in hand, ask the shop to verify what torque info they have for your car. This will double-check that the shop has the right figures and will show you consider correct torque specs to be important.
Source: Ford, Mustang Specs, ASE, MotorWeek