Wednesday, September 08, 2010


OK, I have a question for any of you who might actually know something about cars.

Here's the thing. I got new tires on my car today. (See? I was being an adult!) The tire guy told me that two lug nuts on one of my wheels were stripped. He was able to get one of them off and apparently to get it back on somehow, but the other one he had to break off so he could change the tire.

Being the adult I am (or at least am pretending to be), I went out and got a new lug nut and attempted to replace it, during the course of which I managed to strip the post thingy that the nut goes on. (Apparently it's called a lug nut stud. I looked it up.) Or possibly I can blame that on the tire guy, as well.

Now, I did some googling around, and the collective wisdom of the internet seems to tell me the following things:

1) Missing one out of five lug nuts is not super-unsafe, and is certainly no big emergency -- something that jives with Tire Guy's answer when I asked him whether the wheel was going to fall off -- but it's still a good idea to get it taken care of at the soonest convenience.

2) Replacing a lug nut stud is a fun, easy, DIY project! Really! There's a list of only 137 steps or so, and you don't need any tools more sophisticated than a blowtorch and you only have to mess around with your brakes a little bit and probably won't screw them up at all! Um, yeah. I was nervous about the idea of screwing on the nut, and it turned out I had good reason for that.

3) Having a mechanic replace it is likely to cost several hundred dollars.

Now, I can definitely afford to have it fixed if I really need to, but I'm wondering exactly how awful it is to go riding around, up and down the highway and everything, with only 4 out of 5 lug nuts. Because, you know, if it's a case of it slowly causing problems that might turn into something 50,000 miles down the road... Well, I've had this car for ten years, and I've put less than 40,000 miles on it, because I only ever use it very occasionally in town and can often go months between trips to Albuquerque. So it might not even be worth it to me to deal with it.

On the other hand, if it's a real safety issue, even if a fairly minor one, that's another matter. Especially as I've been vaguely considering driving it up to Albuquerque on Saturday to run some errands, and am wondering whether I need to worry about getting it looked at first. And I do have that annoying paranoia about my wheels falling off...

So, yeah, anybody out there actually know anything about this subject and have an opinion?


  1. Your Mechanical PopSeptember 08, 2010 8:16 PM

    You know I would post on this one. Get it fixed. Get more than one estimate. DO NOT try to do it yourself. Oh, by the way. We own a new home. I send you my new address. Same phone. Get it fixed.

  2. All right, all right, I will. And don't worry. There's no way in hell I was planning on doing it myself.

    New house, huh? Cool! Do send the address.

  3. 1) For modern cars that is right.. if you don't go over 65 mph or so you should be right... and the roads are in good repairs and you don't live in Socorro.

    2) Crash Goldin. If he can't DIY.. no one can. Nuff said.

    3) Probably the safest.

  4. 1) Stupid Socorro.

    2) Never even thought about asking him, but he's a busy dude.

    3) Yeah, it's definitely sounding that way. I'll trying giving 'em a call in the morning.

    Thanks for the advice!