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Snow tires on steel wheels - Need advice

3943 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Engineer Paul
I just bought snow tires on steel wheels in the stock 17 inch size and notice when I go around a turn (over 30 MPH) I hear and feel a thumping sound. Took it back to the tire sho and they said something about "non hub centric" wheels being the cause of the problem.

Anybody ever hear of this, or experience it? Is alloy the only way to go?
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That's good to hear, thanks for the updated information.

Another subtle issue that is easily overlooked is the lug nut seating taper type and length. Although not directly associated with your issue, I'll rattle off some information for the benefit of the community...

Honda uses spherical/ball lug nuts and alloy seats on their rims. Many aftermarket rims use conical/taper seats on their rims which require a matching conical/taper lug nut. There is also a third possibility of a flat seating face, I haven't encountered it. If the lug nut profile does not match the seat profile, there will be problems with correctly torqueing, the possibility of loosening over time, or damage to the rim, lug, and nut. Therefore, it is important to maintain a separate set of lug nuts specific for the wheel set if they do not have identical seat types.

If the length of the lug nut is too short for the combination of lug and wheel flange thickness, when the nut is tightened the top of the lug will make contact with the bottom of the thread in the blind hole of the nut. This is a bad situation, because the lug is torqued to the threaded lug instead of being seating the wheel to the flange. This leads to similar problems as described above. This happened to me on the short lugs typically used by Honda (Approximately 25mm). A couple of the nuts were extruded upward from the top of the lug threads! Now I use "medium" length Honda lugs for my winter wheels to make sure this is never an issue again (30 mm).

Using a torque wrench, I tighten to the lug nut spec, and then re-check after 1 day, and again after 1 week. I do find they loosen enough to rotate a little to reach torque again.

If you every have a problem with loose lug nuts, it might sound like clicking, clacking, or slapping, particularly when starting or stopping. It could also sound similar on cornering, eventually sounding like crunching. As with any strange sound, the first thing to do is stop and check tire pressures and lug nuts tightness.
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