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Tire irons and lug wrenches are both essential tools for changing a flat tire. Do you know the difference between lug wrench vs tire iron?

Lug wrenches are socket wrenches that are used to tighten and loosen lug nuts present on automobile wheels. Tire irons, meanwhile, are specialized metal tools that are used for prying the tire edges away from the wheel rims that they have been mounted on.

Lug wrenches and tire irons can prove fairly advantageous – not just for mechanics but for every vehicle owner. While choosing a lug wrench, be wary of the size of your vehicle’s lug nuts. Depending on the vehicle, the lug nuts can either be metric or standard. Usually, lug nuts may range from 10-14 mm in size. It is crucial that your chosen lug wrench fits your vehicle’s lug nuts. If you are unsure about the size of the lug nuts, you can refer to your vehicle’s owner manual.

If you are a mechanic or just a regular car owner looking to upgrade their vehicle repair equipment, this blog might just be the right one for you. We have considered a number of expert opinions in order to distinguish between lug wrenches and tire irons.

Table of Contents

Tire Irons

A tire iron is an excellent tool for a vehicle mechanic. Tire irons, also known as ‘flat irons’, are used with lug wrenches (more on the lug wrench, later), which allows mechanics to use them for many different kinds of vehicles. In other words, the tire iron is one of the most versatile tools that a mechanic can have.

Tire irons come either as trios or pairs. Once one tire iron has successfully separated the wheel from the tire, it is kept in position. Meanwhile, the second iron is used to further pry the wheel from the tire. By doing this, you can free up the first iron, and then use it on the farther end of the second tire iron. This alternation lets a person work around the entire tire. Such an approach lets the person fully separate the wheel from the tire. The person can then reach for the tube placed inside the tire.

Do People Buy Their Own Tire Irons?

A lot of people tend to purchase their own tire irons. This is because it frees them from having to purchase new toolsets every time they change their vehicle. Another reason is that people like how the tire irons look and want to show their new tool off. If you are considering purchasing a tire iron, make sure that you get one that fulfils your requirements.

Since many newer vehicles have tubeless tires, tire irons have become somewhat redundant. However, they are still used for bicycle tires that contain a separate inner tube.

What You Need to Know Before Buying A Tire Iron

Before buying a tire iron, you need to be clear about your tire size. Naturally, larger-size tires will require larger tire irons with larger handles. Other factors to consider are the size and weight of the vehicle itself.

Owning a tire iron offers plenty of benefits. Firstly, you will be able to repair your vehicles’ flat tires by yourself. Besides, you will be free to repair your tire if it has been damaged in any way or requires repairs.

However, make sure that you do not hurt yourself while using a tire iron for your vehicle. To minimize the chances of injury, always use a jack to raise the car tires.

Lug Wrench

The chassis is one of the most essential parts of any vehicle’s engine. At the same time, it is also highly vulnerable to deterioration or damage. Hence, you should keep a lug wrench with you at all times. This wrench can help you if you need to service a car. It can also come in handy if you are required to pull off a car that has met with an accident. Yes, mechanics do not normally use a lug wrench. However, it is an essential tool that can help you troubleshoot multiple vehicle problems.

A good reason to always keep a lug wrench is that it helps you in emergencies. In fact, often, people experience vehicle problems because they are unsure about how to start the vehicle. Also, running into car trouble after starting the vehicle is another common occurrence. In other words, those people had no idea that their car was damaged, until it was opened and they saw the damage themselves. In such cases, a spare lug wrench can prove to be invaluable.

What Type of Lug Wrench Do You Need?

Owners of SUVs, trucks or other large cars will likely require a lug wrench sooner or later. In fact, many truck owners have over a hundred lug wrenches, in multiple sizes and types. Sometimes, especially with large Lorries or trucks, the lack of force can cause the nuts to come undone while in use. In such cases, a lug wrench can prove highly useful. You can use the wrench to tighten the lug nuts of the wheel in question. Make sure to assess the lug nuts frequently to see if they are sufficiently tight. This examination should be performed at most after every 70-100 kilometers of travel. The frequency of assessments should be increased when the wheels have been subjected to thermal cycling or vibration.

Lug wrenches come in many different types. These range from the conventional four-way or L-shaped lug, to the newer telescope versions. Perhaps the most common lug wrench type is the universal one. This lug wrench has four distinct socket sizes, with one for every end. Sometimes, it even comes with three socket sizes, along with a wedge that can pop off hubcaps or wheel covers. An L-shaped lug wrench contains a wedge on one hand and a socket on the other. This type of lug wrench is not very versatile and, therefore, not very popular.

The four-way wrenches can be hard to stow. For this reason, they often end up being misplaced. On the other hand, the newer lug wrenches have assembly, folding, or telescopic designs. Such designs make them easier to store and stow. Four-way lug wrenches are suitable for larger vehicles that have plenty of stowing space. These conventional wrenches do offer excellent leverage, which is particularly important with tougher lug nuts. However, with smaller cars, stow-ability is a major issue.

Lug Wrench Vs Tire Iron

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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