The Curious Case of Ford’s Swollen Lug Nuts

swollen lug nuts ford

Most cars have lug nuts made of one piece of hardened steel. However, Ford took a different approach by designing lug nuts with an aluminum cap over a steel core. While this design may look nice, it has caused some major issues for Ford owners. These lug nuts are notorious for swelling and delaminating when exposed to heat, and they also trap moisture, leading to corrosion.

The Problem with Ford’s Lug Nuts

The end result of these design flaws is a lug nut that becomes too large for a standard wrench or fuses so tightly that it requires extreme measures to remove it. In other words, a standard lug nut wrench just won’t cut it. This has left many Ford owners frustrated and stranded when trying to change a flat tire.

The capped lug nuts can be found on various Ford models manufactured after 2010, including the Fusion, Escape, Flex, Focus, F-150, and F-350. Unfortunately, F-250 owners are not exempt from this issue either.

Swollen Lug Nut Class-Action Lawsuit

In August of 2017, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Ford, accusing the automaker of cost-cutting and not honoring its warranty. The plaintiffs, represented by Hagens Berman, claimed that Ford chose to use cheaper two-piece lug nuts instead of solid stainless steel nuts. They also questioned whether Ford should be able to label themselves as Ford Tough.

Unexpected Costs of Two-Piece Lug Nuts

The irregular swelling of these lug nuts makes it difficult for roadside assistance services, like AAA, to remove them on the spot. Many owners have had to resort to using towing services to have their lug nuts replaced. The costs can quickly add up, as each lug nut replacement can cost around $8, with five lug nuts per wheel.

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One plaintiff, Robert Desotelle, shared his experience of having to pay $58.28 to replace and repair just one wheel on his Ford Fusion.

Ford has shown little sympathy towards these complaints, stating that lug nuts are not indestructible and that warranties do have limitations. However, owners argue that lug nuts should not be impossible to remove without special equipment after only 10,000 miles.

The Case Dismissal

In January of 2019, the court ruled in favor of Ford and dismissed the class-action lawsuit, stating that the plaintiffs failed to present legally viable claims. The judge noted that none of the plaintiffs had brought their vehicles to Ford within the warranty period, making it difficult to argue a breach of warranty.

Although there are numerous complaints about the lug nuts on sites like, the judge stated that this does not prove that Ford was aware of the problem. However, it may be worth considering if Ford should be more attentive to the concerns of its customers.

Q: Which Ford models are affected by the swollen lug nut issue?
A: The swollen lug nuts can be found on various Ford models manufactured after 2010, including the Fusion, Escape, Flex, Focus, F-150, and F-350.

Q: How much does it cost to replace the swollen lug nuts?
A: The cost of replacing each lug nut can be around $8, with five lug nuts per wheel. The total costs can quickly add up.

Q: Did Ford honor the warranty for lug nut replacements?
A: Many owners have complained that Ford denied their claims to replace the lug nuts, even while their vehicles were still under warranty.

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Ford’s decision to use two-piece lug nuts with an aluminum cap over a steel core has caused numerous issues for Ford owners. The swelling and delamination of these lug nuts, along with the promotion of corrosion, has made them difficult to remove without special equipment. Despite a class-action lawsuit, Ford was able to have the case dismissed due to the plaintiffs’ failure to present legally viable claims.

Owners are left frustrated and bearing the costs of replacing and repairing these faulty lug nuts. Ford’s response has left many questioning their commitment to customer satisfaction. As a Ford owner, it’s important to be aware of these potential issues and take necessary precautions when dealing with swollen lug nuts. For more car news, visit Car news.