From the editors of RVtravel.com, “The RVers’ Voice of Reason.”
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Welcome to another edition of RV Travel’s Daily Tips newsletter. Here you’ll find helpful RV-related and small-space living tips from the pros, travel advice, a handy website of the day, our favorite RVing-related products and, of course, a good laugh. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate you.
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“The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.” —Aesop
Need an excuse to celebrate? Today is National Filet Mignon Day. And for you Southpaws, it’s also Left Handers Day.
Tip of the day
Always check your lug nut torque after wheels are worked on
With electricity expert and veteran RVer Mike Sokol
Every picture tells a story … Cue Rod Stewart. All I can say is “disaster averted.” This morning one of my grown sons came to the house to change the brake pads on my truck (what a great birthday present!). But when he tried to loosen the locking lug nut on the first wheel he found the special locking key was sheared off internally.
I remembered having my truck in the local shop where they had the front wheels off of the truck, so we took a peek inside of the appropriate lug nut and found the rest of the squiggly lock still inside of the special lug nut, which was holding the wheel on. So first things first, I looked up the special locking key and found that there are dozens of variations and I was supposed to have registered the key-code with the manufacturer. Yikes! I never did that.
So after sending pictures to customer service and proving to them I owned my vehicle, they identified the proper code and could send me a matching key for $14.95 with free 10-day shipping. But hey, that’s not going to work since I will be driving to Goshen, IN, for the FROG Rally next week, and if I have a flat tire on the 500-mile trip I won’t be able to change the tire. More Yikes. So I upgraded it to a 3-day delivery for another $7.95, since I wasn’t going to pay $29.95 extra for next-day shipping.
Here’s my quick tip: Check your lug nut torque every time anyone touches it with a wrench, and be sure to carefully inspect any locking lug nuts and the socket key for damage. Any kid in a tire shop with an impact wrench can easily shear off your key internally and never notice or tell you if he does. If you don’t check and you’re on the side of the road with a stripped-out socket for your locking lug nuts, you’ll need to get a wheels-up tow to the shop and maybe sit for a day until you can get a replacement key. So it pays to confirm your lug nut torque after anyone touches it. And make sure to register any special lug nut key codes for your vehicle. I’ll know better next time.
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Website of the day
Federal Recreation Passes: Learn which passes you might qualify for that would provide your discounted ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
And the survey says. . .
We’ve polled RVtravel.com readers more than 1,500 times in recent years. Here are a few things we’ve learned about them:
• To 83%, having an electric hookup is important all or most of the time. Three percent never care.
• In a typical month of RVing, 61 percent never spend a night in a Walmart parking lot.
• Sixty-one percent do not believe buying an extended warranty is important.
Leave here with a laugh
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Being a retired mechanic, I strongly advise that if you have aluminum wheels that you loosen and re-torque the lugs every month or so. Just the difference in air temperature during the changing of the seasons can cause the wheels to expand and contract a miniscule amount which will change how tight they are. Just a simple task to insure your wheels won’t work loose.
Re: and the survey says….. I would like to add that It;s not that I don’t think an extended warranty is not important, it is that many people, including me have had bad experiences with extended warranties. I have had companies go out of business, only to return under a different name. I have had others who have so many disclaimers that the warranty wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. So rather than spend all the time I have left trying to find a company that offers a warranty that protects the consumer as it is supposed to do, I simply have a ever growing savings account (labeled Maintenance and Repair), a single purpose account that is there for covering large or unexpected repairs. That way I didn’t spend an additional $5k to $7k for a policy that may or may not cover me. Many RV’ers have had success with extended warrantees, but I wonder how many had a major expense covered?
I do the same and have had the same experience with extended warranties.
The biggest problem I’ve had was the advance approval requirement. The process of getting an estimate, having the vehicle moved out of the shop while waiting for approval, then back in adds at LEAST a day’s delay.
Of course the breakdown happens when there’s a time crunch to get someplace.
re: locking nuts
A quick way is to get out the arc welder and grinder and a bar or heavy hammer and a replacement nut [NAPA, AutoZone, O’Rieleys, etc]. Grind off a clean patch on the top of the damaged lock nut and weld some scrap metal onto it. Then either attach a bar or use the hammer and loosen the nut.
As a former tech in a General Motors shop I have torqued plenty of wheels over a 40 year career. There remains no shortage of opinion on procedure. You should all know it is impossible to gain perfect torque using extensions or off a key on a lock. So that locking lug nut will be “off” somewhat. Unless you live in a very dangerous area or travel in those types of areas I see no need for locks, but then that’s just my opinion. Any thief worth his (or her) salt knows many ways to strip those wheels off your prize rig if they want them bad enough. They get into big bank vaults so, wheels on you transportation are no problem. Most often they get the entire rig. As for me when faced with “no key”, I was generally able to extract the nut by first heating it (no not heat if an alloy wheel) (if it was rusty) then driving a hardened socket over the nut and torqueing it off, a procedure that for me worked about 9 out of ten times.
Questions concerning torqueing lug nuts, bolts, or any other nuts requiring torqueing: I’d like to hear from a professional mechanic the proper way to torque, or check torque on something. Should you just put the pre-set torque wrench on the nut or bolt and check torque; or should the nut or bolt be loosened somewhat and the proper torque be applied with the torque wrench? With wheels in particular, if you should loosen before torqueing, can you do one at a time, or should you loosen them all and then tighten and torque one at a time in an alternating order. I have my own thoughts on this but would really like a professional to layout the correct way to torque nuts and bolts.
The tire shops that I go to for any wheel removal or repair all torque the lugnuts. That’s older tires and when I buy new tires. I rotate all of my wheels and tires at my home when I perform vehicle oil changes. When I’m done reinstalling the wheels the last thing I do is torque the wheels. I do maintenance on my trailer hubs or rotate my driving tires from my just sitting on the ground tires I torque all of my wheels. About backing off the lugnut and then retorqueing it I don’t bother. I check my wheels depending on usage by just putting the torque wrench on all the lugs and giving them a click. Have never had a problem with lugnuts coming loose.
Oh my! I need to change my vote. I thought I remembered, but then realized today is a new day and I was off a day.
Have been using wheel locks on all of my vehicles for approx. 40 plus years and have never had a problem with the actual lock or the lugnut the lock works on. When I do buy a new lock I also purchase an extra lock from the wheel lock manufacturer to keep as a spare.
Yes, I’ve used them as well for several decades at least. This tire tech must have had his impact wrench torqued up to max to break this off. And I’ve also bought a spare key-socket for that just-in-case scenario. Just something to be aware of and watch out for anytime someone else touches your wheels.
Regarding those locking lug nuts, you can take one off and go to your local auto parts store and get an appropriate sized removal nut that screws onto the outside of the locking nut. I did that at our local U-Pull-It wrecking yard to get some rims I wanted that had those locking nuts.
So much for the security benefit of locking lug nuts
After conferring with my wife she said ICE CREAM!
Perhaps the question about what you had for dinner should be in 2 parts. Part 1 – If you are under 75 years of age. Part 2 – If you are over 75. Answers likely would be wildly different.
What about those of us who ARE 75?