06 October 2004


Yes lugnuts, Lugnut. You know, those little things that hold your wheels to your car that you never think about, until you get a flat. It's the only time you think about them and it's usually to curse me for putting them on too tight with my impact wrench. (That sounds pornographic for some reason.) If I didn't, you'd be the first one to sue my ass if you lost a wheel on the highway, so fuck you.

First off, locking lugs. You don't need 'em, even if your rims are gold plated. If you're like most folks, you've lost the key already anyhow. Do you know how many I have to get off without the key? If I, or some nefarious character, want your wheels, we'll get 'em without much effort either way, locks or no.

Second. When you have your tires replaced, have your guy replace the lugnuts too. It's a little extra on the price, but it's worth it for safety. Everybody in the business uses impact wrenches and eventually the threads in the lugnuts get stretched. A lot of shops don't give a shit, but if I notice this happening on a customer's car, I'll replace the nut and sometimes the stud too.

Ideally, lugnuts should be torqued to a specific value. It's in every owner's manual. But (there's always a but), if I took the time to torque all your lugnuts (sounds like porn again) the labor on your new rubber would be more than the tires cost. Besides, I don't have the fucking time, neither does every other shop, so out comes the impact wrench. 50,000 miles later, you got stretched threads.

Now, odds are, you'll never lose a wheel due to a single faulty lugnut. But just say another, or two more loosen up somehow. Now you run a real risk. There are reasons why the car makers put four or more lugs in a certain pattern. It's to distribute the stresses your wheel encounters over the largest area. When a couple lugnuts loosen, the incredible stresses take a real toll. Also, have your mechanic check the holes in the wheels that accept the lugs. If they're oblong, oversized, or egg-shaped, you're compromising your safety.

And a final note. To all you nitwits who just have to have aftermarket wheels and don't want to spend the money for new ones, spend the bread to get the correct lugnuts for that wheel and for your car. I've seen too much stupid shit happen thanks to the wrong lugnuts for the application.

Listen to me, Lugnut. Make sure your nuts are covered. Have your guy check yours at the next service. Which, by the way, should happen in less than 3000 miles, right?

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