The Difference Between a Lug Wrench & a Tire Iron
A tire iron is often mistaken as the same thing as lug wrench and vice versa. In this article, we will discuss their different characteristics and purposes that are essential when removing tires and wheels.
Lug wrenches, also known as socket wrenches, are tools that are used to tighten and release the lug nuts on truck and automotive wheels. The sockets on the wrenches have an enclosed head that fits around and securely grips the entire head of the fastener, preventing the socket from slipping off when the lug nuts are rotated.
Tire irons for auto or truck tires are often designed to be used in conjunction with a tire changing machine to ensure proper tire inflation. Once the bead has been opened, these tools are used to pull the tire over the wheel. The length of these tools can normally range from 24 to 40 inches in length, with a thickness of approximately 3/4-inch on average.
Typically, lug wrenches are used to loosen and tighten lug nuts on automotive wheels, and the term refers to a sort of socket wrench. In the United Kingdom and Australia, it is referred to as a wheel brace or wheel support.
On the other hand, a tire iron (also known as tire lever or tire spoon) is an unbreakable short metal with one end flattened to form a blade, which is used to remove tires off of wheel rim. Because of the widespread adoption of tubeless tires in the late 1950s, tire irons have largely fallen out of favor in the automotive industry, replaced with more advanced and efficient tire changing machines.
What You Should Look for in a Lug Wrench
If you’ve ever had to change a wheel, you’ve probably used a lug wrench. The most typical application for a lug wrench is to assist with the removal and reinstallation of wheels on a vehicle. Purchasing the incorrect lug wrench can cause serious problems, especially when changing a tire in an emergency situation.
The Lug Wrench Portability
Portability is important since many individuals require a lug wrench while they are driving because the item is primarily used to remove and tighten the nuts on the tire when changing a flat tire. Lug wrenches of decent quality should be of the right size so that you may feel comfortable having them in your vehicle.
Length of the Lug Wrench Arm
Leverage and portability are two characteristics that are affected by arm length. You can create more torque to loosen and tighten bolts with a longer arm on a lug wrench since it is a lever, and the longer the arm makes it easier to loosen and tighten nuts. However, lengthier lug wrenches are not as portable as their shorter counterparts. If you have ample space to store your wrench, always opt for a lug wrench with longer arms if you have the option.
Sockets for Wrench Lug Nuts
Socket ends are included with a 4-way cross lug wrench; however, lug wrenches with interchangeable sockets may not include the socket ends. It makes no sense to acquire a lug wrench that does not include sockets, so make sure that while you are shopping that you pick one that has sockets. Also, after you have your sockets, make sure that they are convenient to carry around with you.
If the question “what size of sockets for lug nuts should I use” crosses your mind, make certain that the lug wrench you purchase comes in the following four sizes: 17mm, 19mm, 21mm, and 23mm. In most cases, these four sizes will meet or exceed 95% of your requirements. And, if you have a large number of sockets that require a great deal of organization, make use of these socket organizers.
Lug Wrench Design
If you want a solid or foldable lug wrench, this is an important element to think about in the design of your tool. As a result of its simpler design and greater durability, a solid wrench is typically less expensive. It is a downside of the solid wrench that it is not always compatible with the amount of storage space available to you. A folding lug wrench is great when it comes to portability and storage, but it is lacking in power and does not provide the same degree of leverage as a solid-bodied lug wrench.
What You Should Look for in a Tire Iron
Tire irons or spoons are frequently sold as part of a kit that also includes other accessories. Aside from iron, the items on this list are likely going to be useful in the repair procedure, which you’ll need to do anyhow. You must remember these things when choosing your own Tire Iron.
Tire spoons are rather basic instruments, but as with any other piece of equipment, quality is the single most critical element to consider. The shape of the tool must be perfect in order for it to be able to move between the wheel and tire and complete the task. Apart from being accurate, it must also be durable and robust enough to handle the amount of pressure applied.
Tire irons are available in a variety of sizes, depending on their intended use. In some cases, it can be difficult to wield a tool that is excessively large. If it’s too little, you won’t be able to exert adequate pressure. Not to mention the possibility of chewing up your wheels while attempting to make the incorrect tool work. You may always look at the description to see what tires iron will work with, but the size is always a good indication of what tire iron will work with.
Being able to fix a tube when on the trail or far away from home can mean the difference between making it back home and not making it back home. As a result, you should assess the total size of the items to ensure that they will fit in your pouch or trunk along with other repair tools.
Three Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Tire Iron or Lug Wrench
Having to use tire irons or lug wrenches while driving your vehicle is the last thing you want to have to deal with. However, when you need them, they must function properly and quickly, and you must be able to locate them. The only thing worse than trying to repair a flat tire while standing in the rain or snow is standing there with a lug wrench that doesn’t fit, doesn’t work, or that you can’t seem to find anywhere. The tools that come with your vehicle aren’t always up to the task. When you eventually figure out where they’re hidden and how to put them together, you’re all too often left feeling woefully underprepared for the job at hand. In order to avoid being that guy, you should examine the following three factors:
It can accommodate up to eight SAE bolts and provides two-handed leverage to remove even the most stubbornly seized nuts.
Your car is equipped with lug nuts of a specific size. It is possible that the nuts on your car will be either standard or metric in size, with the most common sizes being 10-14mm (or 7/16 to 5/8 inches) in diameter. Make certain that your tire iron is compatible with them. The size you require should be specified in your owner’s manual.
Strong and long-lasting
The lug wrench should be versatile enough to be utilized with a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, light trucks, SUVs, recreational vehicles, and vans.
It is possible to purchase a tire iron or lug wrench in a variety of styles, ranging from the typical L-shaped or four-way lug wrench to models that telescope or can be disassembled into a compact tube. For example, the cross-shaped universal lug wrench has four different socket sizes, one on each end, and is the most commonly encountered (or sometimes three with a wedge used to pop off wheel covers and hubcaps). They feature a socket on one end and a wedge on the other, but they are not as popular as straight irons due to their lack of adjustability in the styling department.
When not in use, it can be compressed down to 14 inches in height for convenient storage.
For example, one issue with typical 4-way lug wrenches is that they are difficult to stow, which might result in them being misplaced. Newer designs have telescoping, folding, or assembling designs, which make them easier to store away than older designs. It’s possible that you have enough room for your four-way and that you enjoy the leverage you get while removing difficult-to-loosen lug nuts, but with smaller vehicles, storing them in the trunk can be a big consideration.
Before making any purchasing selections, examine your requirements, just like you would with any other tool. Most of the time, it is not a good idea to purchase the most costly or least expensive versions that you come across; instead, take into consideration the elements listed above.