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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

LUG NUTS

LUG NUTS
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.
Anyway.
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?”
“Yes.”
“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.”
“Whatcha got?”
“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?”
“Sure.”
“Can anyone get that tool?”
“Sure.”
“Than what good are the special lug nuts when any crook can simply use the tool and steal my wheels?”
“Beats me.”
When I bought my new Jeep in 2007, I saved $150 and did not buy special lug nuts.

20 comments:

  1. Salesman used to talk to us about many things to convince us to buy their product...

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  2. The good part is that when you're driving a car that's 16 years old, it's probably not the hottest target for thieves.

    The car I bought last year was the first car I've ever had where I had remote locks and windows that rolled down without that hand crank thing. It sort of feels like I'm driving around in some futuristic spaceship, to me.

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  3. I had those on a truck that I owned, I always wondered if a simple workaround was out there or not...now I know.

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  4. Jeeps are my favorite vehicle. - PS, it took great restraint not to count exactly how many times you used the word "nut/nuts." Interestingly enough not once did your use of "nut/nuts" refer to someone's mental state or part of the male anatomy. Hahahaha - :D

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  5. If that had been me I would have bought the vehicle in 91 and sold it in 92, nuts and all.

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  6. This is why i drive a Jalopy, no one wants to steal it or anything in/on it.

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  7. One of the mysteries of nature...the nature of salesmen that is.

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  8. Sometimes we just have to learn the hard way. (from she who not that long ago paid $140 for an emergency electrician visit to be shown how to reset a circuit breaker -- quite the smack down for miss independence. But now I am dating an electrician -- different one, but just shows how one can be pointed in the right direction sometimes).

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  9. I didn't know this either. I do know that thieves stop at nothing to steal what they want. There is always a way around everything.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  10. OMG all that frustration for absolutely nothing. I'd have been tempted to see if the salesman was still around.

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  11. This is the first I'm hearing about these special lug nuts.

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  12. I didn't know there was a UNIVERSAL special key. If you ever went back to that dealer and found your picture on the wall back in their sales training room, now you'll know why it was there. ;)

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    Replies
    1. That dealer ripped me off a year after I bought it. I had a problem with my clutch. I t needed replacement and was not covered by any warranty. They "replaced" (so they claim) the clutch for $600. A year later the clutch failed again and since it was not under warranty I took it to my trusted mechanic. He added clutch fluid and told me he could replace a small part but if I just didn't ride the clutch (which my wife and kids tended to do) it would not leak and it shouldn't be a problem...and it wasn't (except every time my ex took the car I had to add fluid.

      Clearly these pricks never changed the clutch, just added fluid and charged me for a new clutch. About one year later the dealer had a huge fire and burned to the ground.

      I suspect there was a lot of insurance involved and the fire was not an accident.

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  13. I didn't even know that lug nuts were a real thing. I thought it was just a word to call someone who is acting stupid. Oh wait, that's num nuts. Never mind.

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  14. Yeah, my first car came with some of those but it only had one on each tire, just enough to keep the tires secure. On, uh, a hot little AMC Pacer. I picked on the prior owner for YEARS after about him protecting his precious snow tires on his hot little Pacer. "Hey Eric, I'm so thankful you put protection on those tires, I'd have hated to lose 'em off that hot car!!". You know salesmen, always afraid to get ripped off.

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  15. Special lug nuts? I certainly hope you got the undercoating, too!

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  16. How annoying to find out later that you could have bought an easier tool to get those nuts off.
    Even worse to have a wife who throws things away without even finding out what they are and what they are used for.

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  17. This is priceless - a shining example of man's inhumanity to man (not forgetting to throw in a little self-interested exploitation) It reminds me that when I bought my car, it had a full set of locking wheel nuts, plus about three spare keys for them. I have never personally unscrewed a single one of them and yet I only have one left, because each time I go to get wheels balanced or tyres replaced (yes, I'm English), another one of them goes fornicating missing! And I never realise it till I'm back home.

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  18. Lug nuts...is that like blinker light fluid?

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