If you’re doing suspension work on your vehicle, you’ll likely need to remove and install the front struts at some point.
Getting the proper strut nut torque when reinstalling struts is critical for keeping your wheel alignment in spec and preventing suspension noise or damage.
So, read on as we cover the key specs and best practices for torquing strut nuts and bolts.
Table of Contents
Finding Your Vehicle’s Strut Nut Torque Spec
The proper torque specification is unique for each vehicle make and model. It can typically be found in the manufacturer’s service manual.
Anyway, some common specs are:
- Honda Accord: 81 ft-lbs
- Toyota Camry: 154 ft-lbs
- Ford F-150: 70-87 ft-lbs
- Chevy Silverado: 37 ft-lbs
Don’t guess – always look up the measurements for your specific vehicle.
Use a Torque Wrench, Not an Impact Gun
- It’s crucial to use an accurate torque wrench, but not an impact gun, when tightening the strut nuts.
- The impact force of a power tool makes it far too easy to over-torque.
- Take the time to torque each nut gradually with a torque wrench to the designated spec.
Follow the Tightening Sequence
- On vehicles with multiple strut nuts, follow a crisscross tightening sequence to evenly clamp the strut.
- Tighten the nuts in increments up to the full spec rather than torquing just one to the fullest at a time.
Double Check the Torque
- Once you achieve the final torque spec, go back and recheck the torque on each nut.
- The strut will settle a bit as the suspension supports the vehicle’s weight.
- Retorque as needed to maintain the proper force.
- Please don’t rely on torque paint marks, as they don’t ensure an accurate torque.
- Providing the right amount of torque on strut nuts and bolts is a must for any suspension or alignment work.
- It only takes a few extra minutes with a torque wrench to get it right.
Definition of the Strut Nut
Since you know the perfect strut nut spec for your vehicle, let’s find out the meaning of this strut nut.
- The strut nut is a large nut that secures the top of the strut assembly, where it mounts to the vehicle’s chassis.
- Some vehicles use a bolt instead of a nut. In either case, these fasteners need to be tightened with a torque wrench to the factory spec to ensure a safe, durable installation.
Importance of the Strut Nut
- Applying inaccurate torque to the strut nut is one of the most common mistakes during strut replacement.
- Under-torquing can allow the strut to move by making noise when going over bumps.
- It could even come loosen over time.
- Over-torquing crushes the strut mount bushing by leading to premature bushing failure, suspension noise, and poor wheel alignment.
Drawbacks of the Incorrect Torque
Improperly torqued strut nuts can lead to some severe problems that can affect the ride quality, handling, and safety.
Here are some issues that can result:
- Suspension Noise: Under-torqued strut nuts allow movement and create clunking or rattling over bumps. This worsens over time as the nuts loosen more.
- Rapid Tire Wear: If the strut shifts from improper torque, it throws off the wheel alignment by causing uneven tire wear. This reduces the tire life significantly.
- Shorter Strut Life: Too little torque allows damage to the strut bearings and mount.
- Failed Safety Inspection: Looseness or play in the strut assembly due to the poor torque will fail in safety and in emissions inspections in most states.
FAQs About The Strut Nut Torque Specs
Q: Should I re-torque the nuts after a test drive?
A: Yes, it’s wise to re-check the torque shortly after the installation, once the suspension is under normal loads.
Q: Can I use torque paint instead of re-torquing?
A: No, torque paint only indicates the nut turned, not that it is at the right torque. Always measure the actual torque with a wrench. Following the factory torque specs precisely with a quality torque wrench is key to a successful, long-lasting strut and suspension installation.