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Tuesday, October 24, 2017
I bought a Jeep Wrangler in 1991. There was nothing fancy on this car. It had an AM/FM radio, but it had power nothing. It did have expensive wheels. Titanium, or something, I don’t remember, but I do remember the salesman advising me that I get special lug nuts that require a “key” that fit into the wrench which matched grooves in the lug nuts.
“If you have regular lugs, someone will just steal the wheels as they are worth a lot and are easy to sell.”
I paid extra for the special lug nuts…maybe $150, I don’t remember.
I had these special lug nuts which actually required two keys because there was one different lug nut for the spare tire. Please don’t ask why, I don’t remember…there was a reason.
I owned this Jeep from ’91 to ’07. During that time, I had to change a flattened tire five times. Yes, that is a lot, one tire had a slow leak that I kept thinking I had fixed. Fitting the special key to a lug nut was a giant pain. I guess if you did it all the time it would be easy, but for me it was a giant pain. The key did not easily fit into the nut, you had to fiddle with it a lot. To make matters worse sometimes I grabbed the key for the spare and it took time to figure out the correct key.
Sometimes the key slipped when a nut was on extra tight and I was always afraid of stripping a nut. Did I mention changing a tire was a giant pain because of these “special” lug nuts?
I kept the special lug nut keys in the glove compartment. One day while looking for my registration, I noticed the keys were missing.
“Crap, now if I have a flat, I won’t be able to change the tire.” I got a bit panicky over this, because that is what I do. I asked my wife (the slightly unstable one) if she had seen the keys that were in the glovebox.
“Were they little metal thingies?”
“I threw them away.”
“What? Why would you throw them away?”
“Don’t yell at me, it’s your fault, you never told me what they were, they just seemed like junk to me.”
“But you hardly even drive the car, why would you not think to…”
I was cut off by a barrage of language which indicated I was the vacating opening of an animal, a fornicating animal to be precise. I had learned that when I was described as the vacating opening of a fornicating animal, it was time to step back and end the discussion. It could only get uglier. Did I mention she had moments of instability?
Now I was a vacating opening of a fornicating animal who did not have the ability to change a flat tire. Not a situation I was comfortable with.
I drove the next day to my mechanic at Tom’s Auto Repair.
“I’ve got a problem.”
“I lost the key to my lug nuts. Is there any way to replace them without costing an arm and a leg?”
“I could just replace them with regular nuts.”
“But how would you get the current ones off without a key?”
“Oh, there is a tool for that, take me about five minutes to change them all out.”
“What? There is a tool for that?”
“Can anyone get that tool?”
“Than what good are the special lug nuts when any crook can simply use the tool and steal my wheels?”
When I bought my new Jeep in 2007, I saved $150 and did not buy special lug nuts.