Ford Authority

Ford Lug Nuts From Dismissed Lawsuit Still Pose Problems

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

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

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  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!

  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.


    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

  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.

  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.

  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



    1. Mike

      You people are nuts. It’s got nothing to do with not putting the socket deep enough. It’s a 10 cap over a steel lug moisture gets in there and the lug rusts and then swells rounding the chrome cap. Then the socket won’t fit

  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.

  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.

    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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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…

  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!

  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!

  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.

  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..


      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.

  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!!

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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

  24. Elaina

    I’m in Alaska and I just went to change over from winter wheels and 4 of the 5 caps broke from the lug nut. I called dealer and they told me it was normal wear and tear issue. They did exactly what everyone above has stated. Some are swollen, some are now stripped and if I were in the middle of nowhere in an AK winter with a flat, I’d be in serious, life-threatening trouble. When I talked to dealer locally they told me I could bring it in and they would fix it, for a charge of course. They denied it’s Ford’s problem. I tried pointing out that this was an extremely common problem (the NAPA guy who I bought new lug nuts from said he gets this complaint every spring, only from Ford owners.) I then contacted Ford’s home office and they were sticking to the line, “never heard of this before.” They quickly agreed it was wear and tear, then said that I would have to take it into a certified Ford mechanic to have them say the same thing I was saying and then agree or disagree whether it was a manufacturer defect. Why is this something that needs explaining? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that a two part design IS the problem. Both customer service people agreed that over time water, condensation, rust weaken the parts and cause separation. Shame on Ford for not just fixing the damn problem. I’m not just out the cost of new lug nuts and labor cost, but these were brand new Blizzaks that are being worn down everyday I have to drive my kids somewhere or go to work.

  25. Dan

    Have a 2015 ford escape. Had it to the dealer in zelienople, pa for a recall and oil change with tire rotation. Got a call from service saying that my lug nuts where swollen and needed changed. Cost 150.00 bucks, so I said to replace them only to find out there is a problem with them. Tried calling back to buy online, but they already changed them out. Guess what, they put on the same OEM lug nuts, so it will more than likely happen again. 1. Why put the same ones on knowing there is a problem with them? ( So Ford service can make more money down the road? )

  26. Ron

    I am currently at my Ford dealer and was just told I need to have my lug nuts replaced on my 2016 Ford Mustang Convertible die to swelling. This is the SECOND time I am replacing them due to the same issue .. How can Ford continue to deny there is an issue .I am not reconsidering purchasing a new Fire Bronco

  27. James Mulligan

    I am 85 years old. I am no longer endowed with muscles to overpower (or beat off) defective factory lug nuts that came with my new 2016 Ford Escape. I have purchased FORD automobiles and trucks all of my adult life, and NEVER before encountered such an outrageous treatment as FORD’S response to this so-called “swollen nuts defect”. Any road emergency with tires requiring a change will require a tow truck to remove my disabled car from the roadside. Even then, FORD will respond with a cop-out disclaimer of no responsibility (acceptable wear and tear) for a terrible re-design for what should be a time honored, fool proof part. Truly sorry to say it, but “goodbye FORD.” Your shameless shirking of responsibility is blatant, and I will certainly spread the word.

  28. Charles Rizzo

    I have a 2015 Expedition Limited. Just hit 88.000 miles.
    No major problems at this point; EGR valve and the shifter handle had to be replaced ( under extended warranty). Had to have the weather cover under the tranny removed after it kept falling off ( bad welds and the cross member it was attached to rusted at the mounting point I’m told). Got a new aluminum hood and tailgate out of them after I noticed corrosion. That was under some secret warranty as I call them. We have a fantastic body shop in the area Plugs at 70,000 miles due to misfiring ( probably should thinking about walnut blasting the intake valves).
    As for the lugs; I have the factory wheels and nuts. At about 60,000 miles the service advisor told me about the swelling and they should be replaced. Quoted me a price of about $9.25 each!!!! That’s around $225.00; FOR LUGS NUTS!!!
    I said forget and start shopping. I never got to it and went back to the dealer a few months later and it cost me about $30.00, including installation.
    But 2 piece lug nuts shouldn’t swell after a few years.
    Would I get another Ford? I might be done buying new vehicles at this point because they’re too complicated.
    But if I were to buy another SUV I would seriously consider another Expediton ( Timberline) or of course a Raptor.

  29. Jacob Welch

    I wish I would have seen this article sooner. I just got my truck,2018 Ford F150, back today from Dobbs because I had to replace all 24 lug nuts. Same issue everyone else is having. They explained to me the issue and about how there was a class action lawsuit. Had them all replaced with a solid one piece lug nut.

  30. C. Barton

    If this were truly a swollen issue, how would that account for all lugs on all four wheels having th issue? Much more likely is the shoddy impact wrench / tire tech theory.
    My 2017 Lincoln MKC has this issue and it is on all lugs on all four wheels and all since the tires were last rotated.

  31. Stephen D

    My old cross lug wrench didn’t really fit my 2017 F-150 lugs, I was trying to find out what size new lug wrench to buy when I found this forum. On another forum the answers were: 18mm, 19mm, 20mm, 21 and 22mm, between 18 and 19mm, 27/32″, 13/16″, and one guy even said 132mm. Um, OK sir. (that’s 5+ inches)
    Just look at the design. Ford screwed up, they have to know it, and they don’t give enough of a damn to fix it. I’d sell it today and buy a Tundra, but Toyota had the same indifferent attitude about their infotainment systems that crap out mysteriously at 80K mi. (but at $1500/per) I think they’re all doing their best to save a few pennies, but at the cost of spawning guys like me who actively voice their disgust with them. I doubt that GM or Mopar are much better.
    See what you did Ford? You turned me into a cynic. PS: Ford, you suck.

  32. DRW

    Similar to the events described above, last time I had the tires rotated on my 2015 Expedition (100,000 miles) Discount Tire had a hard time getting the lug nuts off (I saw it with my own eyes). They replaced the lug nuts (4×6 nuts) for $60. If you are going to a Ford dealer it appears that you are paying too much.

  33. Clevie Luckadoo

    2017 Ford Edge swollen lugnuts
    Have the issue, swollen lug nuts, factory wrench in car would work, had to have roadside service during rush hour traffic.. not safe. Called Ford dealer, $240+ quote all four wheels. Hope all on this forum will file a NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration complaint form, call Ford Customer # to complain along with a letter to the Ford CEO. Also complain to the BBB and any other complaint forum. What has happened to Ford quality???
    C. Luckadoo
    Charlotte NC

    1. noneof yourbusiness

      I’m not on social media at all – but is anyone calling out Ford on all the prominent social media outlets and pointing out the bad customer service? I hear that’s usually a good way to get a company’s attention these days when either regular customer service cahnnels don’t work (or in this case a failed class action). The one thing a comapny hates to lose more than money is reputation.

      I mention a factory 2023 Ford I bought a few months below – I AM NOT going to keep the POS very long. I just don’t want to deal with the hassle of more time and paperwork on changing cars again this year. I am going to get rid of this new vehicle sooner rather than later and whatever I replace it with WILL NOT be a Ford (for more reasons than jsut the lug nut debacle though).

  34. Ron Whelchel

    Happened to me. Had a flat. Lug wrench would not work on 2018 Ford Fusion. Had to call mobile tire repair. Side of the road disaster. He told me about swelling nuts.

  35. Karen Godbey

    This is STILL a problem in 2023. I experienced this on 9/2/2023 in my 2015 Ford Edge SEL with 76k miles. DEALERSHIP now charges $14.67 per lug at $75 per tire…. $300 for all four to replaced. This has got to stop! What causes “Quality Ford Products” to swell? Why aren’t other manufacturers’ products experiening the same issue? Because this is a defective non-quality FORD product that continues to cause consumers to bear the financial burden for the manufacturer’s choice to use an inferior product to increase profit. Same goes for this not being a recall issue. Ford is taking for granted the loyalty of the consumers. This is my last Ford Product.

    1. noneof yourbusiness

      Confirmed. I also bought a new Ford in 2023 (factory ordered) and my vehicle came with capped lug nuts as well. So Ford is still doing stupid sh*t. No court ruled against them; so they are not doing anything wrong.

      @KAREN GODBEY – Sorry that you ahd to shell out $300 to swap out lug nuts … But you can order them online from most anywhere for $15-$30. Then have a local mechanic swap them out for little to no extra cost depending on who you go with.

      I had a 2015 Ford where I regularly had tires services at a local Firestone (rotation+alignment – bought tires from time to time) and found replacements online > ordered them > took them into Firestone and they changed them out for free.

      For my new 2023 Ford – different city – but same thing > Firestone service folks didn’t charge me anything extra.

      Definitely don’t goto Ford or dealership for things like these – they will nickel and dime the hell out of you.

  36. noneof yourbusiness

    I owned a 2015 during this suit (never knew about it). But I had a wheel problem on the side of a road in the middle of nowhere prone to high speed drivers; where 2 people the previous week were hit and killed in the section of road I broke down in. Found this out as I was changing the tire > attempting to remove the lug nuts. I was using the factory provided lug wrench that came with the vehicle – so it could not be the improper equipment. The factory provided lug wrench did not work to remove the lug nuts and 3 of the casing rounded out/stripped while removing the tire. But I guess since I wasn’t hit or killed by a high speed vehicle while changing the tire – the court might deem my situation not applicable as well. I love how the courts and laws are so nuanced to favor big industry.

  37. TArruda

    5 Generations of my Family has always been Ford people. This Lug Nut issue is going to make my family change car company.

  38. Michael Kickedinthenuts

    Same problem on my 2015 Ford Edge. A nationwide mechanic shop was happy to sell me new tires and install them, but they said some of the caps may come off or get damaged in the process. I said, “Fine, I’ve lost 4-5 caps already.” Installation was completed with apparently no issue. Part of the selling point for the tires was “free” lifetime rotations and wheel balancing. Now I go back to the same shop for my first tire rotation. They won’t do it because their sockets won’t fit the swollen caps. I argued with them for 20 mins (“You just installed these new tires on my 7 year old vehicle 6 months ago and there was no issue! How can this be an unsolvable problem at 7 years 6 months?) I suspect that because now it’s time for the “free” part of the deal they have an excuse not to follow through because of the idiotic lug nut design by Ford.


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