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Ford Lug Nuts From Dismissed Lawsuit Still Pose Problems

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Earlier this year a federal court dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Ford over the lug nuts it used on some vehicles. The Ford lug nuts are made of two pieces, and the lawsuit alleged that the two-piece design was defective and dangerous. Critics of the two-piece Ford lug nuts claimed that the caps of the lug nuts were prone to swelling and changing shape.

That swelling made them hard to remove for regular maintenance, such as wheel and tire replacement. Plaintiffs filed suit against Ford in 2017 claiming that the swollen and delaminated lug nuts couldn’t be safely driven, but the court overseeing the case dismissed it noting that plaintiffs had failed to provide sufficient facts or legally viable claims.

The lawyers overseeing the case felt it was shaky enough that the decision isn’t being appealed. Despite the Ford lug nut lawsuit being dismissed, some Ford service departments are still fighting with the lug nuts. One parts and service director at a Florida Ford dealer said that the Ford lug nuts were a bad design and that he was surprised they didn’t issue a recall.

Ford lug nuts of the two-piece style were used from 2000 through 2015 model years on cars and trucks. Some owners of vehicles using that style of lug nut had complained to dealers that the lug wrenches included with the cars wouldn’t fit the lug nuts to remove them. Ford blamed improper tools for the issue.

The automaker says that those working on the lug nuts are using the wrong size wrenches. Some Ford dealers have had no issues with the lug nuts at the center of the dismissed case. Some dealers note that Ford isn’t the only automaker to use that design. Some owners of older Duratec V6-powered Ford vehicles with internal water pumps have filed suit against Ford.

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Source: AutoNews

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Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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Comments

  1. MetfanLou

    This is crazy! Lug nuts, I would assume have been around for decades and decades using the same basic design that works perfectly well. Why change? I just don’t get it. Same way with an internal water pump on the Duratec engine. You see this all over in everything we use. Change a solid basic design to something new and it turns “south” and the consumer gets screwed. Same way with doing away with the spare tire. Yeah, give me a squirt can to fill a punctured tire. Yeah, that’ll work!

    Reply
  2. Fyords

    Rule one: Don’t use a 12 pt. socket on these. Rule two. If you used a 12 pt. socket on these, throw them out and get solid aftermarket lug nuts because they are destroyed. Pure Junk. I just did this for my 16 Focus ST.

    Reply
  3. JAMES DALLY

    the lug nut issue has several issues .
    1 the quality of the product is questionable
    2 the tech doing the tire rotation is part of problem with a socket that does not fit or is not pushed on the depth of nut.
    3 they the techs want to use an air gun to tighten when in fact the nut has a torque required where is torque wrench?
    4 service writer says tech want all new lug nuts at about $7.80 ea. when the tire changer is at fault due to good socket and not applying correct socket or not engaging lug nut to proper depth in socket.
    5 they say swelling, I have not had this and believe it is a tech. with an air impact that causes most problems

    Reply
  4. Joe Dillinger

    I work at a tire shop the only lug nuts we have problems with is Ford. So the statement about shops using the incorrect size socket for the lug nuts is incorrect. The Ford lug nuts are a waste of time and are very frustraiting. Some old man out on the road would have a really hard time putting his spare on. The design is stupid there is no denying.

    Reply
  5. James

    Had my 16 F150 brakes redone recently and ended up getting a flat the next day. Went to change my tire and my lug nuts were completely stripped to the point the provided wrench couldn’t bite so I was left having to call a tow truck company. We barely got the worst lug nut off, took over 20 min of trying frantically to get it loose and avoid towing. Trying to tighten the lug nuts On the spare was another issue, and im happy I safely made it to the dealership to replace them. Dealer complained they are having tons of issues with them. Part of me wants to blame the tech and the torque gun, but honestly feel ford needs to fix their bad design as it could have been a lot worse for me if I didn’t have cell service.

    Reply
  6. Vincent

    I never heard of Lugnuts going bad within four years of owning the car every time you change the rotate the tires they go bad they made me buy brand new Lugnuts at 24,000 miles because the other ones were bad how cheap can you get on the car you’re buying the stuff in China

    Reply
  7. JIM DALLY

    THE SERVICE WRITER GET A PERCENTAGE OF SERVICE . WHEN YOU PAY ALMOST $8.00 FOR A NEW LUG NUT IT ADDS UP. WHAT I FOUND WAS THE TIRE CHANGER WAS USING THE WRONG SOCKET , DID NOT ENGAGE THE DEEP WELL SOCKET ALL THE WAY AND THEY WERE ROUNGING THE ENDS.
    SERVICE MANAGER WAS UNDER STANDING AND ASK THE SERICE WRITER WHY ” HE SAID THE TIRE GUY SAID TOO” THE PROBLEM CAME DOWN TO TWO PEOPLE 1 THE SERVICE WRITER , SERVICE MANAGER , TIRE CHANGER. AND FORD FOR NOT FORCEING TIRE MEN TO USE TORQUE WRENCH TO CHECK 150 LB TORQUE ON THE LUG NUT AND GET TIRE MAN TO USE PROPER SOCKET.

    Reply
  8. Kevin Hersey

    Ford Quick Lane damaged my vehicles. We have two 2017 Escapes with approximately 26000 miles. The only time the wheels have been removed/rotated is at Quick Lane. Due to a recent tire leak I attempted to remove the wheel to inspect the tire. Surprise lug wrench wouldn’t fit, nor would my 6 point 19 mm socket. A little persuasion with a hammer to drive the socket onto the lug got sufficient “bite” to remove the nuts. Reinstalled wheel with aftermarket solid lugs. Talked to the Ford Service Department and they offered to sell me new lug nuts. Thankfully they didn’t offer to install! Guess Ford isn’t responsible for the damage to vehicles in their care. Least Ford could do is include a hammer with the tire jack and update the owners manual on how to remove the distorted lug nuts and steps necessary to remove a jammed lug nut from the socket.

    Reply
  9. Kevin

    Ford Quick Lane damaged my vehicles. We have two 2017 Escapes with approximately 26000 miles. The only time the wheels have been removed/rotated is at Quick Lane. Due to a recent tire leak I attempted to remove the wheel to inspect the tire. Surprise lug wrench wouldn’t fit, nor would my 6 point 19 mm socket. A little persuasion with a hammer to drive the socket onto the lug got sufficient “bite” to remove the nuts. Reinstalled wheel with aftermarket solid lugs. Talked to the Ford Service Department and they offered to sell me new lug nuts. Thankfully they didn’t offer to install! Guess Ford isn’t responsible for the damage to vehicles in their care. Least Ford could do is include a hammer with the tire jack and update the owners manual on how to remove the distorted lug nuts and steps necessary to remove a jammed lug nut from the socket.

    Reply
    1. John Brammer

      Hey Kevin, You may already know this:
      Drive a screw driver or something like it through the lug nut and socket to knock the tin bullnosed end out of the lug nut. Then put the socket back on the ratchet or breaker bar and thread a bolt down through the lug nut, forcing it off the socket. I’m doing this now on my 2015 Stang. I got one that has the jacket slipping and haven’t got it off yet.
      Weld and chance ruining the wheel bearing? Driving sockets onto wheel studs is a bad idea because it will ping the wheel bearings and possibly pit them, shortening their life.

      Reply
  10. Ken Houston

    I took my 2017 F-150 in today for a Works oil change and got a call about swollen lugs and it would be $160.00 to replace them or no tire rotation. This dealer is the only one to rotate my tires since new. One exception, about 3 weeks ago I got a flat and that is the only other time anyone but the dealer touched the lug nuts. At that time I noticed that they were having trouble getting a socket to fit. As far as I am concerned the dealer damaged them.

    Reply
  11. Kevin

    Same experience on two 2017 Ford Escapes with approx 25000 miles on the odometer. Ford service offered to sell me a set of lug nuts for $70. Thankfully they didn’t offer to install. Anyhow went on-line and bought chrome plated steel nuts for $36. Really concerned about relying on FL to service my vehicle when lug nuts are an issue.

    Reply
  12. Gordon King

    2017 Ford Edge same experience went to Costco for a set of new tires the said the lug nuts were swollen and they couldn’t get the wheels off. Costco said have seen this many times. Dealers said they never heard of this, apparently that’s a lie.

    Reply
  13. Kevin

    Obvious safety issue if you have a flat in the sticks! Used a hammer on my socket with enough force to get enough grip to loosen. After market chrome plated steel lug nuts are readily available…

    Reply
  14. Shelly

    I had my 2015 Ford Mustang at the dealership yesterday for an oil change and possible tire rotation. I was notified by the service writer that I needed new lug nuts ($188.00) so I asked why and was told it was due to swelling….I had to laugh because I have never heard of lug nuts swelling…WTF!?! My question is, why did Ford change to these cheap-a$$ lug nuts? Are they from China? Sounds to me as this is a FORD issue, not an issue for any of us dealing with this problem so why are WE all having to pay for new lug nuts? This is a manufacturer’s defect in my eyes! FORD, FIX THE PROBLEM!! And the lawsuit against Ford for this issue was dropped? Really? Completely ridiculous!

    Reply
  15. David

    The lug nuts are only half the problem. The other half is the design of the factory alloy wheels which have over-large holes. This means that off the shelf after market lug nuts don’t have a large enough contact area on the cones meaning they can damage the seat in the wheels and, over time, come loose meaning you could end up with your wheels falling off. Of course, Ford will claim that’s your fault for not using specified nuts!

    Reply
  16. Steven

    Ford Fusion lug nuts. My 19 year old daughter had a flat on I -30 the other night in the rain. She could not get the lug nuts off. Triple A could not either and vehicle had to be towed. I now have a four way tire iron with a permanent lug nut stuck in it from me changing out all the lug nuts. Then I find out Ford knew all about the problem – I’m done with Ford for risking my kids life over a couple of bucks.

    Reply
  17. mar khalil

    I run a tire shop, and when these ford cars show up with these type of lug nuts I stopped taking these vehicles because it takes forever
    to remove, and then very unsafe to put back on.. customers don’t want buy new lug nuts. they expect us to make sure wheel tight enough. How could we if pretty much can’t fit the socket on to the swallen lug nuts.. these lug nuts with caps are not even a size 18,19,20 socket size.. so when u remove the from first time if they are not stripped, they get stripped..#1 either not correct size for any socket size, #2 thin caps on these lug nuts also they move making it impossible to remove lug nuts without getting destroyed.. and when they come off easy.. caps end up coming off and customers assume we put on the wrong lug nuts.. its ashame that FORD doesn’t get all these lug nuts RECALLED.. triple AAA can’t remove them, they blame the last shop for taking them off, so that they don’t get blamed for it.. I JUST BKAME FORD AND DONT TOUCH THE VEHICLE..

    Reply
    1. JEFFREY RODERIQUES

      Similar experience. I questioned the service tech when I was told that the wheel lugs had swollen. Then he told me the price to replace. Shocked. This is a Ford problem.
      They need to take responsibility for this engineering flaw.

      Reply
  18. Kenneth Wilson

    I have a Ford Fusion and I had a flat tire 200 miles from home. After raising the vehicle and getting ready to remove the lug nuts, I found out that the vehicle lug wrench wouldn’t fit over the lugs. A passing good samaritan stopped to assist me with the changing, that’s when I first heard of swollen lug nuts. After pounding on sockets, we were able to changed the flat tire. After returning home and going to the dealership where I purchased the car, I had to purchase a new set of lugs and of course a new tire. Ford knows about this problem and hasn’t done anything to resolve it. Now I’m told that the courts are no help also. Thanks for the headaches Ford!!

    Reply
  19. Kevin

    “Swollen” lug nuts are attributed to rust between the lug nut and the outer casing. Had same issue. Cut off outer casing, no rust. The lug nut outer casing is distorted but impact hammers used when rotating the tires. DONT have your wheels rotated.

    Reply
  20. Samantha F Bryson

    2016 F-150 TRUCK …Same issue with the lug nuts as all have stated above. I purchased a new set while the truck was still under warranty and I am now about to purchase another set, but not from Ford. I will do my own rotations from now own.

    Reply
  21. Holly

    We just got done replacing all the lug nuts on our 2017 Expedition. First time we heard about the swollen lug nuts. Last people to take off the lugs – Ford of Clermont! It took the tire service guy at Tire Kingdom over an hour to get the lugs off, and then get the torn outer cap out of his socket! Ridiculous!!! We got after market lugs for a TON less money – Discount Tire shop said they put ONLY this type on the Fords for replacement (to avoid the cone and rim issue).
    The problem with the lawsuit – filed for the wrong issue. It is not a safety concern that the tire will come off, it is a design flaw that prevents removal by the owner. Bad Faith.

    Reply
  22. Michael Q Low

    Don’t buy American Junk. My AAA roadside service couldn’t remove the lugs to replace with spare tire. Pure junk. And there are other recall issues on this 2014 Escape. Pure Junk. I can’t even use the wrench supplied by the vehicle dealership/manufacturer to remove the lug nut. What are they selling to new auto buyers? ….stuffs that don’t work? Pure Junk.
    Never buy American cars.

    Reply
  23. A.L. Richard

    I’m currently at Bannister Ford in Maryland for a simple oil change & tire rotation. The Ford dealer stated swollen lug nuts which will need to be replace.
    Ford should replace and recall these cheap ass lug nuts

    Reply

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