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Motormouth: Tight lug nut solution has one flaw

Bob Weber, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Automotive News

Q: I've found a simple solution for tight lug nuts that I've been using for over 30 years.

Whenever I get a car, I remove the lug nuts and wheel, brush the threads with a wire brush and lightly coat the threads with anti-seize compound. I also put some compound on the wheel rim where it makes contact with the hub or drum. It just takes a little bit of anti-seize compound. It keeps parts from rusting together. It allows an accurate torque to be applied when tightening the lug nuts. It's impossible to apply proper torque with rusted threads.

I have never had a lug nut come loose and have never had a problem getting them off when needed.

-- S.N., Minneapolis

A: You make some great suggestions, with which I agree -- mostly. You mention that proper torque is important. I agree and that means using a torque wrench. But experts tell us not to use any lubricant, including anti-seize compound, on wheel studs or nuts.

The tech folks at Tire Rack state: "Torque specifications are for dry threads only. The fastener threads should be free of oil, dirt, grit, corrosion, etc. It is important NOT to lubricate hardware threads or seats. The friction at which torque is measured against should come from the hardware seats. Lubricating hardware threads and seats alters the friction generated which will result in inaccurate torque readings and/or over-torqueing of the hardware."


Q: We drive a 2017 Subaru Forester. Two times in the past four months the battery has died. We took it to the Subaru dealer after a jump start and the battery tested fine. My only theory is that our low mileage (15,000) and short distance driving does not properly charge the battery. Can you shed any light on our problem? It's a bit disturbing knowing the car might not start.

-- B.C., Evanston, Ill.

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