Q: Iíve had two
flat tires in the last three years, one on each of my cars. Both
times, I found it impossible to remove the lug nuts, even with a
large star wrench I keep in each car. Both times I had to call AAA
and the young guys that came out almost injured themselves loosening
the nuts. Finally I bought telescoping lug wrenches and, with the
extended leverage, the nuts can be budged. I mentioned this to the
tire dealer and my regular mechanic. They both said that they had to
tighten the nuts to specifications.
Whatís with this?
It didnít used to be difficult to change a flat tire.
ó E.B., Boyertown,
A: I certainly hope
the tire dealer and your regular mechanic use a torque wrench when
tightening the nuts. Typically, that is between 90 and 120 foot
pounds. Additionally, sometimes there is a reaction between the
steel lug nuts and the alloy wheels that complicates things. I have
a 12-volt impact wrench and keep it in the trunk for those special
Q: Recently you
answered a question about tires deflating when it gets colder. My
question is in the opposite direction. Is there a concern that after
a cold spell with the tires properly inflated and then warmer
weather, will the tires over-inflate as the air expands from the
heat? I have never heard this discussed before. So, maybe it is not
ó R.S., Olympia
A: In general, tires
that are slightly over-inflated present no danger. Under-inflated
tires on the other hand, may flex a lot which causes friction which
gets them hot and may lead to tire failure. By the way, donít fall
for the bogus service of replacing the winter air with summer air. I
admit to using that stale practical joke on difficult customers when
we worked in the shop.
Q: I had a red
squirrel take up residence in my 2010 F-150. It deposited black
walnuts in the windshield wiper housing via the hole around the
wiper drive. It also damaged the hood insulation. My two-prong
attack was to spray deer repellent in the wiper housing and under
the hood as well, and I used a rat zapper to catch the squirrel. The
rat zapper did in the squirrel and I havenít had a problem since.
But now every time I go around a corner, I hear the walnuts rolling
around. I havenít figured out an easy way to get them out.
A secondary problem
is my wife wonít ride in my truck because of the stink from the
ó C.J., Minneapolis
A: It is relatively
easy to remove the cowl and gain access to the wiper transmission
and the walnuts. After removing the wiper arms, the cowl can be
popped out. The only tricky part is removing the wipers.
And if Febreze
doesnít work on the smell, have a professional detailer do an odor
Q: The digital clock
in my 2013 Ford Fusion gains a minute every few weeks. No, Iím not
concerned that this might make me inadvertently early for something,
but rather that there is an underlying electrical problem that might
turn into something more serious in the future. Any ideas?
ó J.C., Yardley,
A: According to
Einsteinís general theory of relativity, the faster that you
travel, the more time slows down. Floor it! Oh, and I donít think
the clock indicates impending problems.