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The tool which is at the heart of the most common emergency roadside repair you are likely to undertake is the lug nut wrench. The dreaded but ubiquitous flat tire may strike anyone, anywhere, at any time and you need to make sure that you have a good lug nut wrench on hand to help you change it.
Every vehicle originally comes equipped with a lug nut wrench, so that is good enough, right? Not necessarily!
Car manufacturers may give you a lug nut wrench with your vehicle but it may not be enough at the time to get the lug nuts loose as they sometimes do skimp on some items like spares and lug nut wrenches.
Some over-tightened or corroded lug nuts and too short a wrench handle may conspire against you. Perhaps you are showing up to help a friend or be ..a good Samaritan, but they have no lug nut wrench and your lug nut wrench is the wrong size.
The obvious answer to these and any other problems is having a quality aftermarket universal lug nut wrench with the necessary bells and whistles to get the job done with as little effort and frustration as possible.
What to Look for in a Lug Nut Wrench
There are some things that you should look for when purchasing a new lug nut wrench for your vehicle or garage. The most important thing though is that it will not only fit your lug nuts but is also long enough that you can apply the needed pressure to remove those stuck on lug nuts.
Some other things that you should look for when it comes to buying a spare lug nut wrench are:
- Material strong enough to resist bending or stripping
- A long enough handle to loosen stubborn nuts
- A grip position or surface to help you comfortably tighten or un-tighten the lug nuts
- Multiple size sockets to help other motorists or friends
All of these things are vital to look for in your new universal lug nut wrench so you can ensure that you don’t have one that fits but is worthless beyond that.
The 4 Best Lug Wrenches
Now that you know what to look for when it comes to lug nut wrenches let’s take a look at the 4 tire lug wrenches that I recommend in this buying guide. Each of these types of lug wrenches is a good option to purchase but some will be better than others in specific use cases.
It is important to know which lug wrench is the right tool for the job in each situation. For example, the lug wrench with a telescoping handle is great when it comes to storage and has a comfortable grip but if you change tires on different types of vehicles it won’t be the best choice.
Since it has socket heads (like socket wrenches) then those sockets can easily get tightened onto the head and changing them becomes almost impossible.
So if you intend on using your tire lug wrench in a specific situation (like a cramped garage) one of these options might work better for you than the others.
1. Performance Tool W7 4-Way Lug Wrench
The Performance Tool W7 4 Way Folding Lug Wrench can be easily stowed in your trunk or toolbox since it folds down nicely. This compact lug nut wrench comes with 4 different socket sizes that will fit 4 different sizes of lug nuts.
It comes in three different sizes to fit your particular needs and can provide plenty of strength and leverage when the need arises.
It fits Metric sizes 17mm, 19mm, 21mm and 23mm and SAE sizes, 11/16, 3/4, 13/16, 7/8.
You can see the current price for this item on Amazon by clicking here.
It can also be found on Home Depot’s website.
2. Powerbuilt 940558 14″ Universal Lug Wrench
The Powerbuilt 940558 14″ Universal Lug Wrench is a traditional 4-Way lug nut wrench which means it does not stow away easily, on the other hand, all four sizes of the lug nuts it fits are all on one tool, and there are no pieces to misplace or lose.
This cross wrench for tires is more traditional in size but you can have difficulty getting extra leverage with it since each of the bars aren’t very long. So if you have extra tight lug nuts you might have issues getting them off with this tool.
When I have used this style of lug nut wrench in the past I had to get a metal post to put over the end of it to get the needed leverage to remove those lug nuts that someone tightened too tight with an impact.
Although this heavy-duty lug nut wrench will give you excellent durability if you often face issues with corrosion or rust on your bolts you would be better off getting a lug wrench that gives you more leverage.
This universal lug nut wrench has chrome plating with a lifetime warranty and fits the following lugs: 11/16 inch, 17 millimeters, 3/4 inch,19 millimeters, 13/16 inch, 21 millimeters, 7/8 inch, 22 millimeters.
You can find the current price on Amazon by clicking here.
It can also be found on Walmart’s site.
3. Dorman 711-900 AutoGrade Lug Wrench
The Dorman 711-900 AutoGrade Lug Wrench is a telescoping lug wrench designed for easy storage, has a rubber grip for comfort and effort, and fits 17mm, 3/4″ (19mm), 13/16″ and 7/8″. The two sockets that come with it are double-sided sockets to fit 4 different sizes.
One main issue that I have found with this type of lug nut wrench is that the removable heads that fit the different types and sizes of lug nuts can easily become torqued and might be hard to remove after a while. If you have ever tried to get a socket head off it can seem like it is a weld rather than just being tightened through use,
So although in theory, this model seems like it would work nicely what often happens is that you end up only being able to use it on one lug nut size.
You can see the current price for this item on Amazon by clicking here.
It can also be found on Dorman Products website.
4. GTE Tools – LugStrong 26″ Universal Compact Lug Wrench Set
The GTE Tools – LugStrong 26″ Universal Compact Lug Wrench Set is a pass-through 4-Way style that is extra strong and can be easily disassembled for storage. Being able to adjust the depth gives you plenty of leverage and torque without needing to use a breaker bar to get maximum leverage.
It will fit 17mm, ¾”, 19mm, 21mm, and has an adapter for any other socket you may need to utilize.
This is by far my favorite universal lug nut wrench since you can adjust the bar up or down to get the leverage that you need. That makes this tire torque wrench unique and should allow you to handle any rusted or overtightened lug nuts that you encounter.
Since you have that extra leverage you can change tires in a small space since you can get a firm grip on the bar with both palms. This reliable tool is a great choice to store with your spare tire as well since it can be separated into two pieces.
The current price for this set can be found on Amazon by clicking here.
You can also check out the prices on eBay (although be sure and make sure the item is new and not used).
Are Lug Nuts Wrenches Universal?
If you are headed to the store to get a new hardened steel lug nut wrench for your vehicle you might be wondering if they are universal. Do all lug nut wrenches fit all vehicles or how exactly does it work?
Lug nut wrenches are universal and will work for all passenger vehicles. However lug nuts on other vehicles like golf carts, semis, etc. will require you to get bigger or smaller lug nut wrenches.
Normal lug nut wrenches will typically have four different sizes for the different lug nut size your vehicle might be. All normal passenger vehicles will have one of four lug nut sizes and any lug nut wrench that you get will have those four sizes.
So although you might have a different size lug nut than one of the ends of the lug nut wrench that you buy, one of the four ends will fit the lug nuts on your car’s tires. So any lug nut wrench that you buy will have an end that will fit the lug nuts on your car, truck, van, or SUV.
So, yes, all lug nut wrenches that you get from the store or online are universal and will work for any passenger vehicle but all lug nut wrenches will not work for much smaller or much larger vehicles.
The day is coming when you will have a flat tire. In all likelihood, it will actually be several days over the course of your lifetime.
Why be stuck trying to get the job done with an inferior tool when for just a few dollars, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can break those lug nuts free and you will have the right size available when that moment comes?