Ever turning lug nuts: lefty...but not loosey (and yes they really are turning)


#1

Flat tire. Front left. Loosened(thanks Monroe for over tightening them), jacked it up, took off two of five lug nuts. Three are spinning(its not stripped, at least not on the outside of the lug nuts). Why do they turn and turn but never get finger loose? Help? Please and thank you.
Sarah


#2

3? Yikes! Sounds like the stud is stripped where it goes through the hub. What make/model/year?


#3

Yeah, all late '60s Chryslers used reverse threaded lugs…
Seriously, knowing the year, make, and model of the car might help. Might not, but it might.
Sounds like Texases is right. Someone’s going to have to remove the old studs and press new ones into the hub. Getting the old ones out might be a challenge, but it’s got to be done.

If it were mine I’d do all four corners. Better now that when trying to change a flat on a dark and rainy night.


#4

Well one thing they won’t teach you in law school is to always loosen and re-tighten the lug nuts whenever a tire shop or anyone else messes with your wheels and tires. (You have a duty to mitigate losses.) Then you can go back the same day and have them fix the problem. It also reduces the chance of warped brake rotors. Double check their work.

I’m not sure how they are going to deal with this though. Somehow they have to be able to hold the stud with nothing to hang onto while the nut is loosened. Then pop the stud out and put a new one in. Its gonna take more than a half hour.

I’ve only been accused of being a smart alack a couple of times, but seriously you want to double check their work and re-tighten the lug nuts whenever someone works on them. Sometimes they even forget to tighten them.


#5

Some cheap lug nuts have a chrome cover that can come loose .


#6

You probably have lug nut covers. Just tear them off and use a smaller size socket to remove them. There is no fix for them when they come loose. I hate the things.


#7

Stripped lug stud splines are so rare that I suspect the problem is with chrome caps, etc. While I have seen dozens of broken studs the only stripped studs were the result of someone installing the wrong ones. And if the stud splines are stripped and the nuts are sunk in allow wheels getting that wheel off might be an expensive proposition.


#8

Can you supply a photo or description of the wheel/lugnut setup? The are several configurations used. Steel wheels or alloy wheels, open or closed cap lugnuts, recessed or protruding lugnuts.


#9

If the nuts do have covers on them you can remove them so you can view the end of the stub bolt inside the nut. Place a mark on the end of the bolt and turn the nut 90 degrees to see if the mark moves also. If so then the bolt is stripped inside the hub and you have a pretty hard problem to fix yourself. If the backside can’t be accessed to stop them from turning then they may have to be drilled out.

If you have to get the car to a shop you might be able to use Fix a Flat to get the leak fixed and air the tire up long enough to get you to the shop.


#10

Sloepoke, you’ve one-upped me on this one. I never thought of wheel covers.


#11

All good ideas above. It’s hard to say what the exact problem is over the internet. One thing I’d recommend however for you to help avoid this kind of problem is to purchase a 1/2 inch breaker bar and appropriate sized socket and keep those in the trunk for when you need to remove and install the wheels. The lug wrenches that come w/ the car can be difficult for an ordinary non-mechanic to use and can contribute to this problem.


#12

“You probably have lug nut covers.”

Wish I would have thought of that. That’s why I don’t charge.


#13

Future Attorney must still be out gathering facts, there is not enough information given to understand what is going on. I wonder if she got the wheel cover off yet.


#14

@GeorgeSanJose I prefer the 4 way lug wrench. Wow reverse threaded lug nuts, remember old fashioned one sided keys, gm cut side down, chrysler cut side up, manual windows, crank one way for gm, the other for chrysler, I think it may even apply to power windows, but the reverse threaded lugnuts I have never encountered, thank goodness


#15

Chrysler abandoned the idea after the first million lugs got broken off by garages… :smile:


#16

My 1948 Dodge had left hand threaded lugnuts on the left side of the car. It seems to me that I encountered this on a 1955 Pontiac. The threads inside the tank for the nut that holds,the flush handle on my toilet are left handed. I heard a story that the lights in the subway cars in New York City were,special bulbs with left hand threaded bases so that they would be difficult to steal and useless if stolen. Now the cars have florescent bulbs.


#17

"Chrysler abandoned the idea after the first million lugs got broken off by garages…"
By that time the garages had finally become familiar with the righty-loosey lug nuts and broke off the next million of them! :wink:
CSA


#18

Any that I ever encountered had a big “L” stamped on the end of the stud. Even when I was a kid I knew that meant you had to loosen the nut the other direction.


#19

My old '60 Oldsmobile had left hand threaded nuts on the left side and the old VW Beetles have left hand thread wheel bearing retainer nuts.
The old SAAB 99s had a water pump that was recessed into the engine block and a draw hammer with a special attachment tool to screw into the pump for removal was left hand thread for some nonsensical reason.

Regarding the SAABs, what happened more often than not was that the pump was seized into the block and the left hand thread tool was a puny 8 MM X 1.25 thread. Breakage of the tool was common. Try to find 8 MM left hand thread anything… :frowning:


#20

All Studebakers had left hand lug nuts on the left side at least through 56. My 56 Commander did. My 59 Lark didn’t. The theory was that right hand lug nuts on the left side thended to work loose and come off if under tightened.

There may have been some truth to that, I was going down the NY Thruway with my 59 Lark with my wife and 4 kids to meet her parents at a park on a 4th of July when the back end started to sway and make a rattling noise.

I pulled over and found all 5 lug nets rattling loose in the hub cap and all the studs mangled. I could not screw any studs back on but managed to pound 3 of them over the studs and crawel off the Thruway and finally found an open station.

The kid that was there to pump gas on the holiday had no mechanical knowledge but the staition did have an arc welder.

I talked him into letting me to use the welder (first time ever) and welded the nuts onto the studs.Onward ti the picnic.

The next day I pulled the wheel bearing and the rear hub, went to the junkyard and got the necessary parts but they were from an earlier Studebaker and had the left hand threads. I then had to only Studebaker with 3 right hand threads and one left one.

Why I didn’t take the parts from the right hand side is a mystery lost to time and age.