Wheel studs vs. lug bolts – the age old debate in determining what is the most efficient and effective way to mount your wheels. I tend to fall into the wheel studs category, opting to have the threaded fasteners mounted directly into the wheel hub, vs. having to awkwardly hold the wheel up while trying to thread the wheel bolt in a dance of frustration. Each does have its pros and cons though, and we will get into some of the details here.
Wheel Studs vs. Wheel Bolts
Firstly, wheel bolts are commonly found on european cars, they are a purposeful engineered solution for wheel mounting and often have a spherical or conical mounting surface. This essentially means that the wheel bolt that came with your car is likely precision matched to your factory wheels. However, oftentimes if you are changing out your wheels for an aftermarket size (or adding spacers) the wheel bolt may be insufficient in providing proper threading depth or clamping force. This means that you may need to buy extended wheel bolts, or opt for wheel studs which offer a greater level of mounting flexibility.
Recently, I was faced with that challenge on my F80 BMW M3. In this case, my wheel bolts were rounded down by an overzealous grease monkey with an impact wrench. My sockets were not fitting cleanly onto the bolt, and it could create massive headaches in the event of removing the wheel to replace a flat tire or any other scenario. In this case, I opted to swap out my wheel bolts for a set of Macht Schnell wheel studs.
The exact kit I used was:
Macht Schnell Competition Stud Conversion Kit – BMW 75mm / 14×1.25
Now onto the install…
Car jacked up, having to hammer the wheel w/ a rubber mallet to loosen
Macht Schnell hardware all organized and ready to go on
Applying the supplied blue thread locker (I am not using red threadlock to ease removal in the future).
Tightening down with 15mm hex. I got these hand tight, then torqued to 18lb/ft with my torque wrench
All of the studs installed and torqued.
Have to use a 17mm deep socket now to install or remove the lug nuts. I later torque these down to 100lb/ft each.
Front drivers wheel done. Just rinse/repeat 3 more times, and you are good to go!
The install for this was remarkably simple, and since you can do one wheel at a time you can simply jack up each side without wasting too much effort getting the entire vehicle on jack stands. I subsequently have put over 20k miles on this setup with 0 issues, and take comfort in the fact that I can now more easily swap from my summer to winter tire setup without needing to do the dreaded dance of the wheel bolt.
Car: 2015 BMW M3
Product: Macht Schnell Wheel Studs
Difficulty: 2/10 (be competent with a floor jack and hand tools, have hex sockets at the ready)