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John Deere Maintenance Monday: Torquing the wheel lugs

Tightening wheel lugs is part of good tractor tire maintenance.

Radio interview source: Dan Paschke, Product Manager, John Deere

Landon in New York just bought a new compact tractor. He wonders how often he needs to check and tighten the wheel lugs.

Dan Paschke is a John Deere Product Manager. He says all tractor makes and models have different recommendations on when the bolts should be tightened. Yours are stated in the owner's manual, but generally every 100-to-150-hours should do it, providing the machine has normal wear-and-tear. However, when a tractor is brand new, the lugs need to be tightened more often.

"We recommend for the first 50-hours, you check them every 10-hours. And the reason is sometimes there can be paint in the axle flange that will actually cause the bolts to loosen a little bit, so you've got to get that paint scraped out of there as you're using the tractor," says Pasckhe. "So early on when the wheels are nice and they have all their paint on them, and they look sharp, they can actually come loose a little bit prematurely."

Paschke says the best tool is a torque wrench, but a long-handled ratchet socket set will do the job, too. The long handle is important so you can get some leverage on the wheel lugs. You'll tighten the lugs in a specific pattern.

"You don't go around the wheel in a circle in either direction, you want to cross your bolts," says Pascke. "So, if you start with a bolt in the bottom right corner, you want to go upper left next. Move to the right, then cross over, move to the right, cross over, and that way you'll hit them in a cross-like pattern. It's very similar to how you would do wheel lug nuts on an automobile."

Your owner's manual will recommend the proper torque, but if you don't have the torque wrench, turn lugs with the socket set till they're good and tight. Just make sure the wheel is on the ground so when you turn the wrench you don't turn the wheel as well.

Listen here to the radio story: John Deere Maintenance Monday: Torquing the wheel lugs

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