How to Pick a Lug Wrench

Searching for a lug wrench that you can readily use in the event of an unexpected flat tire or rotation?

In this article, we’ll help you come up with smart buying moves in selecting the ideal lug wrench for your vehicle, so you don’t appear to be running around like a headless chicken.

What to Look for When Buying a Lug Wrench

A lug wrench is a tool commonly used to fix small fasteners called lug nuts in place, by either tightening or loosening them, in a way that’ll help you easily attach or remove your vehicle’s wheels. With the many types of lug wrench available, how will you know you’ll get your hands on what you need? Here are some of the factors you must always take into account.

1.  Lug Wrench Shape

Lug wrenches can be found in two shapes; the L-shaped are known to be the basic shape. On one end, you’ll find a socket wrench for holding the lug nuts, while the other is used for stripping off lug nut covers. They’re very common because they’re compatible with only the standard lug nut size that’s found on almost all kinds of vehicle.

However, the X-shaped are used to accommodate lug nuts of different sizes, which makes them more comprehensive than their L-shaped counterparts.

2.  Lug Wrench Material & Design

Some lug wrenches are made from a combination of steel and chrome plating. They’re normally a highly-preferred option in terms of composition because of their rust-resistance. They’re also popular due to their attractive appearance.

Others are composed of anti-slip handles to ensure you get a proper hold of them, even in a situation when you feel that your hands are sweaty.

If you’re looking for something that comes with an unusual benefit, there are also those with specially heat-treated components. These variants let you remove hot lug nuts while being literally impervious to cracks caused by the high temperature.

3.  Lug Wrench Length

The problem you’ll often encounter in using short lug wrenches is they won’t give you the needed leverage in removing the lug nuts since force amount is limited. On the contrary, the longer the lug wrench, the greater the twisting motion applied on the lug nuts. As a result, it’ll be quicker and easier for you to remove them as opposed to using only those in standard and shorter lengths.

And because not everything is what it seems, you may surprisingly find lug wrenches with a base length of 13” can be extended up to 21” or more, depending on their maximum allowable length.

4.  Lug Wrench Socket Size(s)

Make sure the socket sizes of the lug wrench that you need correspond to the sizes of the lug nuts that are on your wheels, or else your lug wrench will be useless. There are four standard socket sizes present on almost all lug wrenches; 17 millimeters, 19 millimeters, 21 millimeters and 23 millimeters.

Other socket sizes are available on the heavy-duty ones but as long as what you’re looking for consists of socket sizes which are only within the basic range, then there’s nothing to worry about.

5.  Lug Wrench Price

How much a lug wrench costs depends on a lug wrench’s length. Since longer lug wrenches provide bigger force in lug nut removal, their obviously more expensive than their regular counterparts. Although the down side is, because of their bulky structure, you have no choice but to leave it in your garage.

Whereas if you opt for the short versions, you’ll be able to get more value for your money due to their affordability and portability; you won’t have to spend much and at the same time, you can conveniently keep them in your car.

On Changing Flat Tires

While there are a lot of ways in which you can use a lug wrench, the most popular will be for changing tires. Sadly, many motorists aren’t taking it seriously and still end up putting their lives at risk. So, before you make the go-signal in buying your desired lug wrench, here are some precautionary measures you should know, if you find yourself in the same situation and are forced to use your new lug wrench. See the full guide here.

1.  Avoid Parking Your Car on the Roadside

Some motorists are too stubborn they can’t even get this first rule right. In fact, you’ll even be surprised to see that there are others who do it on the side of the highway. It’s very dangerous because cars and other vehicles in this area normally travel at high speeds, which is one of the main reasons of fatal accidents. The World Health Organization justifies it saying, for every 1% increase in mean speed, produces a 4% increase in fatal crash risk and a 3% increase in serious crash risk.

Because of this, park your car in a secluded or vacant area that gives you and other motorists an adequate space.

2.  Use Emergency Lights and Other Warning Device

Once you’ve parked your car in a safe place, turn on your emergency lights to notify others that your vehicle’s nearby. It’ll give them ample time to stop and turn to a different direction, so you can proceed with the tire change unbothered.

Moreover, when you apply your emergency brake, don’t forget to put a piece of rock on tire that’s opposite the flat. This ensures your car stays in place.

3.  Bring Out Your Spare Tire and Lug Wrench

Spare tires for cars and lug wrenches (particularly the L-shaped) are normally placed at the bottom of the trunk. Put the spare tire near the flat one so it’ll be easy for you to swap them.

For the lug wrench, use it to slowly remove the hub caps of the wheel with a flat tire. However, for safety precautions, after removing the caps, use a scissor jack to properly raise the wheel on the ground.

4.  Loosen the Lug Nuts

Carefully loosen the lug nuts on the wheel using a lug wrench. If you’re having difficulty twisting your lug wrench, rely on your foot or knee for support. Take note, the longer the lug wrench, the easier to control it.

Then, place your scissor jack under the sturdy side of your car, according to the instructions in your user manual. Continuously turn the scissor jack’s handle in clockwise motion until it reaches your desired degree of elevation.

5.  Lift and Remove the Flat Tire

Now, it’s time you remove the loosen lug nuts on the wheels. Doing this, gives you the opportunity to slowly remove the flat tire from the wheel.

Remember, attaching the spare tire to the wheel requires you to align the holes and bolts.


These are the things you should put into consideration when picking a lug wrench. Observing them will surely point you to the kind of lug wrench that you need, without compromising your comfort and safety. Share us a piece of your mind by commenting below.