My OEM lug bolts from 2012 were showing their age. They had been removed and tightened countless times, and were never that great looking to begin with – Audi put plastic covers over them from the factory to hide how ugly they were.
When I went to replace these, I spent a long time reviewing all of the options from just getting another OEM set to looking at black ones, or even going the route of titanium.
Why get titanium lug bolts?
When titanium lug bolts first came out, largely pioneered by TiKore Industries (which doesn’t appear to be around anymore) they were VERY expensive – upwards of $600 a set.
Why on earth would someone pay $600+ for lug bolts when you can get a set on eBay for $20-30 and an OEM set for $60-80?
Titanium has a few advantages, but the main ones are its strength and weight…and since most Audis use lug bolts rather than nuts, the OEM lug bolts are actually fairly significant in terms of size and weight.
For a lug bolt, going titanium saves about 50% of unsprung weight over the factory bolts – and as most car people know, unsprung weight is far more impactful than sprung weight. USP estimates that these lug bolts alone are the equivalent of a 35-40 lbs of weight savings in unsprung weight.
When trying to make your car faster you can either add power, or reduce weight…so while one wouldn’t think of lug bolts as a “power adder” in many ways they are.
The second reason is strength – the last thing you’d want is your wheels shearing off at the track or street…again, titanium is superior to steel. These specific lug bolts were tested to be 42% stronger than a steel bolt, so again not only is your car going to be faster, but safer too.
Lastly, I think they also look nicer. Perhaps its just the craftsmanship of this particular set, but they come polished and are super clean, especially compared to the OEM set.
How do I figure out my lug bolt/nut size and seat style?
First you need to figure out what size threading you need.
Most Audi/VW run what is called a M14x1.5mm thread pitch. Google your specific Make/Model to ensure, but if you read this blog chances are your car is this size.
Next determine what length you need. For most Audi/VW cars the stock length is 27mm, although aftermarket lugs usually come in various lengths.
27-30mm will be fine if you NEVER plan to run spacers, but even a 5mm spacer runs the risk of not having enough threads.
I went with 37mm which gives enough room to run 5-10mm spacers, but not so long that I couldn’t run these without spacers. If you go much longer you wont be able to thread them in all of the way, resulting in wobble, so in my opinion the 37mm length is perfect for both stock and most uses of spacers, making it the ideal choice for flexibility down the road.
Last but not least, you have to figure out if you need ball or cone seat bolts. The difference is in how the edge is beveled, and if you pick the wrong seat type your wheels will not sit fully flush and result in high speed wobbles on the freeway, which you definitely don’t want!
Most stock Audi/VW wheels are ball seat.
Most, but not all, aftermarket wheels are cone seat.
However, it does vary some as my HREs run ball seat, which was a custom order request since these are forged wheels built to order…I was pleased with that as I can run these with the stock wheels too.
So in my case, as would most Audi/VW owners running OEM wheels, the best choice to get is a M14x1.5 37mm length ball seat lug bolt like this one from USP Motorsport: https://www.uspmotorsports.com/Free-2-Day-Shipping/17797.html
I had bought them on-sale for $98.40 for a set of 20 last September, although it looks like a set will cost approximately $223.80 right now.
Installation of Titanium Lug Bolts
Installation is like any other lug bolt.
Torque to approximately 90 ft/lbs of torque and if you don’t own one already, invest in a proper torque wrench as it’s a critical safety item (and something you’ll use frequently once you have it too).
Tighten your bolts in a star pattern, and once you’ve driven about 20 miles check each bolt to make sure they’ve all stayed tight and you didn’t miss one earlier.
Despite the weight savings, you won’t really notice an impact in the driving experience.
That being said, every little bit of weight savings you do on the car can add up, so it’s a worthy investment…and technically each one should result in a little better stopping power, and a little better acceleration.
As mentioned before I also happen to think they look nicer, and I enjoy having cutting edge parts on my car to build the best possible version of the platform and improve upon what was done at the factory.
I don’t like to cut corners, and when you spend a small fortune getting forged wheels to save a few pounds of unsprung weight, then you might as well go the rest of the distance to minimize the extra weight in the lug bolts, too.
I will say that for $100 it was a no-brainer of a modification and something I’ve been super pleased with!
For $200 it becomes less of a value, although still worth considering. You may want to wait until USP runs a sale, as they’re known to do from time to time, to pick up a set…but you’ll be glad when you did.
Either way, big props to USP motorsports for offering these in Audi/VW fitment and at a fraction of the cost of when they first came out!