by Pat Goss
There are thousands of parts on every vehicle. And you would think some of the more basic ones like lug nuts that hold the wheels on, that they would be infallible. But they aren’t.
There is a relatively new type of lug nut that we are seeing in a lot of vehicles. It’s made with a steel cover over a non-plated mild steel lug nut. You can see the ridge right here where they come together. Well these things look great, but they have a nasty habit. You see, over time, rust forms underneath the cap. And as it forms, it swells up and it pushes the cap outward. Now what you end up with is a lug nut that is no longer the same size as it was when it was new. So the socket that fits it, well, it no longer fits it. You can’t get that in there.
Now sometimes in the shop what we do, is we are able to take a hammer and an old socket, and just beat the socket onto there to get the lug nut off. But many times that doesn’t work, it’s so badly swollen up. So then we have to revert to things like an air chisel or a hand chisel and chisel them off, winding up with a bunch of pieces that look like this. And if we aren’t absolutely absolutely careful, we damage an alloy wheel, and then we’ve got a real problem.
Then you got people who think, well, okay, I’ll just go ahead and take that off right now, so they take the cap off, and they find out that what’s underneath it, there isn’t any socket that fits underneath it, it’s in between sizes. So, the solution to this is if you buy a vehicle and it has these capped type lug nuts on it, and you have to go out and check it when it's relatively new and you can still get a socket that fits it. If it has it, then go out and buy solid lug nuts. There’s no caps on them, they’re chrome plated, it’ll cost you a few bucks, but you won’t have this problem. And believe me it is a problem when you have a flat beside the interstate, tow truck driver, you, nobody, can get those lug nuts off. So the only thing you have is a tow.
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