How to Tighten Axle Nut without Torque Wrench?

If there’s no torque wrench, how do we tighten the bolt in a car? In other words, how can we tighten axle nut without torque wrench? It’s actually possible to tighten the axle nut without the torque tool, but it’s not recommended as it can be tricky and even lead to unsafe conditions.

Tightening the axle nut torque requires a bit of knowledge and skill. For instance, if you’re changing a tire, replacing brakes, or making other axle-related repairs, it’s essential to ensure that the axle nut is correctly tightened. Without the proper torque, the axle nut can become loose and damage other components.

This guide, however, explains how to tighten an axle nut without a torque wrench, including the tools you’ll need and safety tips to keep in mind.

tighten axle nut without torque wrench

Different methods to tighten axle nut without torque wrench

Looking to know how to tighten a nut without tools? You can use different ways to tight your axle nuts if there’s no torque wrench. Here are the methods;

Hammer and Chisel

This is the first method on the list. It involves using a chisel and hammer to tighten the axle nut. Place the chisel against the nut, then hit it with the hammer until the nut is sufficiently tightened.

Socket Wrench

Using a socket wrench is another method to tighten the axle nut. You can do it by placing the socket over the nut and using the wrench to turn it until it’s tight.

Adjustable Wrench

You can also use an adjustable wrench to tight the axle nut without a torque wrench. Put the adjustable wrench over the nut and use it to turn the nut until it’s tight.

Socket and Breaker Bar

Also, employ the Socket, and Breaker Bar. Place the socket on the axle nut and use a breaker bar to turn the socket in a clockwise motion manually. Be sure to tighten the nut until it’s snug.


You can use pliers to tighten the axle nut without a torque wrench. Do so by placing the pliers over the nut and using them to turn it until it’s tight.

Impact Driver

Many use an impact driver to tighten the axle nut. You can join them by placing the impact driver over the nut and using it to turn it until it’s tight.

Tighten axle nut You Tube

Understanding the risks

Now, you have learnt the process of tightening axle nut without a torque wrench but before diving into the process, it’s critical to understand the risks involved in not using a torque wrench. The axle nut holds your car’s wheel assembly together; improper tightening can lead to severe accidents, including wheel detachment. Thus, this method should only be used as a temporary solution until the proper tightening with a torque wrench can be performed.

Which is the best method?

Some technicians say the best way to tighten an axle nut with a torque wrench. If you don’t have torque wrenches, use a long-handled ratchet and socket. With this method, you can apply a significant amount of force to the nut and use your body weight to help you get the nut as tight as possible. 

Others believe using a breaker bar and a torque stick is the best alternative. A torque stick is a calibrated steel bar that fits over the axle nut, and when a certain amount of force is applied to the bar, it’ll prevent the axle nut from being over-tightened.

However, these 2 methods don’t guarantee you can tighten the nut to the correct torque, so it’s best to use a torque wrench if possible. Also, for the torque for wheel lugs, use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications.


Do I need a torque wrench for axle nut?

Yes, use a torque wrench to ensure you tighten your axle nut properly. Using the torque tool will ensure that you don’t over-tighten or under-tighten the axle nut and prevent damage to the axle.

If an axle nut is over-tightened, it could cause the axle to break. If it’s under-tightened, the axle nut could come loose, making the wheel come off. Always do it to the specific manufacturer’s recommended torque setting.

In other words, failing to use a torque wrench can result in an improperly tightened axle nut, which could damage the axle, wheel, or other parts of the vehicle.

Is it OK not to use a torque wrench?

For many, there’s always a temptation to tighten the axle nut without a torque wrench. Using the wrench to tight the axle nuts is important, mainly if it’s based on a specific torque value.

However, you can use alternative methods if you don’t have a torque wrench. In other words, it’s okay to use alternative methods if something urgent, though it’s not recommended and can be risky.

What does a loose axle feel like?

A loose axle can cause various sensations when driving. It’ll feel like it’s wobbling or moving around when you turn it. You may also feel excessive vibration when driving or hear a rattling noise from the axle.

Also, the steering wheel may feel loose or have a lot of play. There may be a clunking sound coming from the wheel area. In addition, you may notice a vibration in the steering wheel, or the car may pull to one side.

What happens if axle nut is loose?

If the axle nut is loose, it can cause the wheel bearing to shift back and forth. This can cause damage and make the wheel bearing fail. Also, a loose axle nut can misalign and damage other vehicle parts.

In addition, it can lead to wheel wobbling, vibration, and noise from the wheel area. In the worst case, it could cause the wheel to fall off while driving, leading to dangerous driving conditions.

Can you drive on a loose axle?

While you may drive for a little while when the axle is slightly bent, it’s never a good thing to drive on a loose axle. If your axle completely fails, you can lose the car’s control.

In fact, it’s dangerous to drive on a loose axle as it can cause further damage to your vehicle. Always allow a professional mechanic to check, repair, or replace your axle.


It’s possible to tighten axle nut without torque wrench. However, it’s not recommended as it’s crucial to ensure the axle nut is properly tightened to the correct torque setting. To be safer, use a torque wrench to tighten your axle nuts.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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