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Wheel Nuts for Steel Wheels?


dom550
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I've got a 2013 Fiesta Titanium with the standard 16 inch alloys, like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi2fhZYGzLI

I'm thinking about getting some steel wheels, and I'm aware that different wheel nuts are sometimes required for steelies. Is there any way to know in advance whether that'll be the case, or does it depend on the wheel that turns up?

Cheers 🙂

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on my previous fiesta mk6.5 the alloy wheel nut were designed to also work on a steel wheel (as the spare was a steel wheel). the alloys were held on by the shoulder on the nut, where the captive washer is. the steels were held on by the bottom of the narrower part of the nut.  I actually changed all of the 15 inch alloys for 175/65/14 steels after damage to three alloys from potholes etc. But annoyingly I could hear the captive washers on the nuts rattling as the washers don't press on anything when the nuts are used on steel wheels. So I stuck the washers in place with silicon bathroom sealant.   so check a nut to see if the bottom is conical shaped to fit into the steel wheel

 

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On 12/6/2018 at 3:27 PM, isetta said:

on my previous fiesta mk6.5 the alloy wheel nut were designed to also work on a steel wheel (as the spare was a steel wheel). the alloys were held on by the shoulder on the nut, where the captive washer is. the steels were held on by the bottom of the narrower part of the nut.  I actually changed all of the 15 inch alloys for 175/65/14 steels after damage to three alloys from potholes etc. But annoyingly I could hear the captive washers on the nuts rattling as the washers don't press on anything when the nuts are used on steel wheels. So I stuck the washers in place with silicon bathroom sealant.   so check a nut to see if the bottom is conical shaped to fit into the steel wheel

 

Thanks for that, I'll take a nut off and have a look. Not 100% sure I'll know what I'm looking for, might post a photo for advice! But I'm assuming it'll be easy to buy 16 nuts which are suitable for the steelies, if my current ones aren't..

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I fitted the spare steel wheel on my car back when I was taking the alloy to get fixed as the rim was leaking air. Looked to fit as normal 👍. I'd agree with isetta and check that the nut will look to fit on the wheel

DSC_0102.JPG

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/6/2018 at 3:27 PM, isetta said:

on my previous fiesta mk6.5 the alloy wheel nut were designed to also work on a steel wheel (as the spare was a steel wheel). the alloys were held on by the shoulder on the nut, where the captive washer is. the steels were held on by the bottom of the narrower part of the nut.  I actually changed all of the 15 inch alloys for 175/65/14 steels after damage to three alloys from potholes etc. But annoyingly I could hear the captive washers on the nuts rattling as the washers don't press on anything when the nuts are used on steel wheels. So I stuck the washers in place with silicon bathroom sealant.   so check a nut to see if the bottom is conical shaped to fit into the steel wheel

 

I've just checked, and the nuts which currently hold my alloys on look like this:

20190105_115756_copy.thumb.jpg.a949694fb3ce33bbcb834c08508a3c2c.jpg20190105_122445_copy.thumb.jpg.5ac4b46d6812e52a6aca3cc468516ed1.jpg

 

The steel wheels I'm wanting to fit are these:

20190105_115908_copy.thumb.jpg.4a174693c97b0c08b27b7fee1b4c95d5.jpg20190105_124630_copy.thumb.jpg.ef8f3c01cb3b961d5e964f2defc62e79.jpg

 

You mentioned checking whether the nuts are conical to see whether they fit into the steel wheels. I think that's a conical nut(?) but the wheels seems to come outward where they make contact with the nuts, rather than having something which the nuts go into, as you mentioned. There is a very thin inward-sloping bit in the middle of each hole, but I think this might be a different design to what you're talking about - the nuts don't go into those, they make contact with the furthest-out part which sticks out of the wheel. Do you (or anybody else reading this) know whether these can be used together happily? Cheers!

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looks like same as the ones I had and looks like they can be used. If you also took a pic of the nut up against the wheel hole we could be surer. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/6/2019 at 8:14 PM, isetta said:

looks like same as the ones I had and looks like they can be used. If you also took a pic of the nut up against the wheel hole we could be surer. 

I put one of the steel wheels on the car to see whether or not the nuts sit properly - here's a picture with some of the nuts on. As far as I could tell, it seemed to be ok, and I was able to torque them up to the spec (100 lb/ft I think, but I forget - whatever it says in the handbook!). I'm not sure how it looks, but I don't think the narrow cone-shaped ends of the nuts are actually going inside the wheel, just up against it. Unless anybody's got any concerns about how this looks, I'll probably just go for it.. 😶

unspecified.jpg

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My recollection from recent Ford Owner's Manuals is that that they say that use should be limited to two weeks, (ie space saver use only) so it would be interesting to know what is stated in your vehicle's handbook.

For my Puma that had a full size steel spare, I sure that I bought four wheel nuts based upon what the handbook said about wheel nut use.

Below is an extract from a Ford TSB from 2001:

........................................................................... it should be emphasized that it is NOT permitted to use wheel
nuts from standard series light alloy wheels for the permanent attachment of steel rims. Although wheel nuts
from standard series light alloy wheels with a loose tapered ring do have an integral tapered ring similar to the
wheel nuts of a steel rim, for the following reasons they are NOT suitable for the permanent attachment of steel
rims:
– The tapered ring on the aluminium wheel nut can turn freely when used on a steel rim. In the long term this
leads to wear and abrasion between the tapered ring and the nut. If an aluminium wheel nut has been used in
this way and is subsequently used to re–attach an aluminium wheel, then the extra wear will cause a bad contact
between nut and wheel.
– When aluminium wheel nuts are used on a steel rim there is a gap between the wheel nut and the tapered ring.
Everyday deposits (dirt, rust, salt) can build up in this gap. If these nuts are later re–used on light alloy wheels
then the accumulated deposits would be compacted under the applied torque, later turning into dust as the
vehicle is driven. As a result, the wheel nuts could be tightened to less than the specified torque.
– Aluminium wheel nuts are longer than wheel nuts for steel rims. If aluminium wheel nuts are used on steel
rims in conjunction with wheel covers, the extra length of the nuts can cause them to come into contact with the
wheel covers. This results in pressure on the wheel covers which could detach in normal driving situations.
CAUTION: Wheel nuts from aluminium wheels must ONLY be used on steel rims in the case of short
term use of the spare wheel. Wheel nuts from steel rims must NEVER be used on light alloy wheels.

 

Which may still apply.

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what I understand from that : the problems that they say will occur only apply if you reuse those wheel nuts on alloys wheels at a later date.  My post above dated 06 Dec says what I did.  I don't reckon you will have a problem. Unclear if you intend to go back to alloy wheels later on.

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Thanks guys. I am planning on going back to alloys again after. I don't think the wheel nuts from my alloys are the same as the ones mentioned in the TSB - don't think mine have a "loose tapered ring". So that removes the possibility of building up dirt in the gap (which is apparently only there if they have the loose ring). The only thing which looks problematic is "Wheel nuts from aluminium wheels must ONLY be used on steel rims in the case of short
term use of the spare wheel" - not sure whether that's a universal rule or just talking about the type of alu nuts mentioned in this TSB.

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So I looked for clarification in the 2012 Fiesta Owner's Manual - it is the bit about if in doubt contact your authorised dealer, as if you would get a sensible answer there!  I think all recent alloy wheel nuts do not have the loose ring.

Despite having winter tyres for my Puma, and now a set for a '57 plate Fiesta, I used sets of alloy wheels,  so never had to worry about correct wheel nuts.

Keep the shiny side up!

Do not install alloy wheels using
wheel nuts designed for use with
steel wheels.


Wheel nuts are subject to change.
You must make sure that you use
only the specific wheel nuts and
wheels supplied for your vehicle. If in doubt
please contact your authorised dealer.


Note: The wheel nuts of alloy wheels and
spoked steel wheels can also be used for
the steel spare wheel for a short time
(maximum two weeks).


Note:Make sure the wheel and hub contact
surfaces are free from foreign matter.


Note: Make sure that the cones on the
wheel nuts are against the wheel.

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Excellent, thanks for that. So they're saying to only use nuts from alloys together with the spare steel wheel for two weeks max. I wonder whether that applies to all steel wheels, or if they're just referencing the fact that the spare wheel itself should only be used for two weeks max. Don't suppose you have any idea whether there could be an issue which applies to using the nuts with regular steel wheels for more than two weeks? I can't think of anything, personally.. 🤨

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The steel spare is only designed for emergency use if a space saver, a day or two really and at speeds of no more than 50mph.  I'm surprised the handbook would allow 2 weeks use on it!

The problem here is that alloy wheel nuts are often a slightly softer compound with a wider taper so as not to damage the alloy seats.  The steel wheels can cut into them over time.  However, most people run winter steels using the original alloy nuts and get away with it.

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Cheers, that makes sense (steel wheels cutting into a softer nut). My steel wheels actually don't have a taper that the nuts go into though - the nuts just sit flat against the wheel, there's a picture a few posts up - so I'd think it should be fine.

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