Wednesday, August 16, 2006

locking lug nuts

It’s something I had never really thought about before. I drive an old car. It’s a cool little performance car, but rides in from the year 1984.
What I had never considered is that the wheels are a bit difficult to find. I found this out when, one recent morning, the passenger rear wheel was missing. Just gone.
My wife had opened the door of our apartment to leave for work and leaned back in and mentioned that there were funny-looking bolts by the door. I went to have a look and there they were: lug nuts.
Turns out that the apartment manager had found them lying next to the car and had brought them up to our door. Why, I thought, would somebody take the time to steal a wheel and leave the lugs behind? Probably, whoever it was became spooked by somebody and fled. The fact that the front tire was low bears this theory out.
The frame of the car, you see, was resting on a big rock. What the thieves had done was slide the rock under the frame and simply let the air out of the rear tire, just suspending it enough to remove it. Probably, they were working on the front tire when whatever happened caused them to leave.
I have to admit to admiring their ingenuity. The technique was something else I’d never thought about.
Funny thing is, a guy, just a couple of days before, had walked in to the import store, which is my day job and began asking about my car. This is nothing unusual. People ask about it all the time.
He asked me if I liked working downtown and I innocently replied that I loved it, mainly because I could walk to work, which I usually do. It was a shear coincidence that I had driven that day.
Right before he left, he said that he owned the same kind of car and that I should be careful as they are popular targets for theft. Then he asked me where I parked which raised a red flag and I just changed the subject. Then he left. Still, he left with the knowledge that I lived nearby. Maybe I’m just being paranoid.
Two days later the wheel was taken. Coincidence?
Anyway, I managed, after several phone calls to locate a matching wheel with a good tire at a junkyard that turned out to be right here in town. It came from the same year of vehicle, same color and the only wheel left on it was the rear passenger. It was also quite, comparatively speaking, inexpensive.
Thirty minutes later and I was on the road again, on the way to the nearest parts store. Ten minutes after that, I popped on a set of lug nuts that lock. Interesting concept. These things have an inverted socket and come with a key unique to that set.
While this may have been locking the barn door after the horse got away, at least I do not feel the compulsion to check on the car every 15 minutes. Nothing is infallible, but these things should be somewhat of a deterrent.
So, in closing, anybody who happens to stumble upon this site who has a car with wheels that only fit it. I would suggest you think about investing in a set of locking lug nuts. They are generally less than $20.00 and that’s a pretty small price to pay for removing an unnecessary worry.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


You can find them almost anywhere.