Stripped! Or, well, maybe not …

No, we didn’t bet the farm on a poker hand and lose. Trust me. If I’d had to do that kind of stripping, well, you can forget this puny flood stuff we’ve been experiencing lately. The devastation on O‘ahu would have been total.

But Quilly did lose her car. Temporarily, I hasten to add (phew!).

As she’s already related, the car’s needed tires for some time now, and it finally got them, at an outfit that has (had?) a good rep in Hawai‘i (Lex Brodie’s, on Queen Street downtown). We got the car, and drove it around for awhile, and were heading to a small gathering of friends when we heard what sounded like rocks in the wheel hubs.

Well, we were close. It was the wheels rocking on their hubs.

The lug nuts were loose on their studs.

It has been known for a long time that certain kinds of mechanical wrenches, used too exuberantly on lug nuts, will strip the threads on the studs, or the lug nuts, or both.

(At this point, I could insert a sentence that includes the words “Detroit” and “shoddy”, but those folks have enough on their plates right now.)

Well, we thought that’s what had happened here. I mean, we looked, and the nuts on the studs were loose. All of them. We ended up leaving the car on the street until the towing service could bring a flatbed around (the following morning) and drag it to the repair place.

Only one eeensy leetle problem. As the guy who drove the flatbed pointed out.

Those nuts were lug caps. Not the actual lug nuts.

OK, guys, help me out here. A wheel on your average car is held on to the hub by lug nuts on threaded studs. Right? Simple, uncomplicated system. Been around since Henry Ford’s flivver, if not Marc Antony’s chariot. You see a nut on the wheel (I said on the wheel, not behind it), it’s a lug nut. Eh?

Not. The nuts we we spinning on their spindles last night looked like lug nuts, felt like lug nuts. But they weren’t holding the wheel to the car.

They were holding the hubcap to the wheel. To deter theft, I’m told.

As if anyone would actually want the miserable cheap plastic excuses for wheel covers on this car. If I’m going to go to all the trouble of bolting on wheel covers, I’m going to go out and get a set of those hubcaps that spin on their own and make the car look like it’s going backwards instead of forwards.

Anyway. The fellow unbolted the hubcaps, properly secured the real lug nuts (they hadn’t been, which was the source of the original noise and night of insecurity), reassembled all the bits, and then refused a tip from Quilly. Who got to work a mere three hours late.

Now, if only the one who put the wheels on had tightened the lug nuts – the real lug nuts – properly in the first place …

  O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2008 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions expressed are mine, as a private citizen.


  1. Have you contacted the store where the work was done? I don’t know about your car dealerships are in Hawaii, but they drive us crazy calling to make sure the work was to our satisfaction, etc. I would sure take their shoddy work up with them and let them know you had to leave your car on the street, etc. Plus, both of you could have been killed if the wheels had come off while you were on the freeway or something.

  2. I agree with AmberStar about notifying the garage about the loose lug nuts. There may be nothing they can or will do for you now to make you a happy customer, but they still should know so they can correct their ways and make sure things are done right for future customers, and possibly save some lives.

    Glad all worked out well for you two in the end.

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