For those of you that know me, you know I like doing it right and with high quality parts. Today I feel like I want to talk about doing it right. Have you ever been to a speedy tire shop where the staff runs around like the place is on fire and acts as if your car is a race car? Could you imagine surgeons operating on a patient in that manner? If a patient dies in surgery, it only one dies, if you crash your car, it could kill many.
I have a big problem with rush jobs. Would you like new carpet in your house in an hour? How about 20 minute roofing for your home? A one minute haircut? A 5 minute car detail? Do any of those sound like a great idea? The big difference with these BAD business ideas and doing a rush job with your brakes or tires could potentially hurt you and other motorists.
I have personally witnessed chain tire stores over tightening a wheel on one of my vehicles when I was out of town and needed service. I had to have the tech loosen the lug nut on my wheel, and then taught him how to use a torque wrench. This was a scary shock to me as any decent mechanic will know how to use a torque wrench. (You can visit their website and see their qualifications for each mechanic, which is even scarier, in my opinion.)
To use a torque wrench properly you must turn the fastener with the wrench until the wrench indicates proper torque has been achieved(the wrench will move). The wrench usually does this by making a “click” noise which you can feel and hear, some electronic wrenches will emit a “beep” and or vibrate.
So the tire tech in this shop tightened up my wheel, then put his torque wrench on the fasteners and applied torque and his wrench clicked, but the fasteners did not move at all via the torque wrench. So my lug nuts were at least 100 foot pounds. My lug nut specification is 100 foot pounds. So how tight were my lug nuts? There is no way to know for sure, we just knew they were too tight. The average 1/2″ drive air powered impact gun can hit 600 ft. lbs. easy.
So what can it hurt?
1. It will wear out your studs and your wheels causing you expensive repairs in the future. If it causes an aluminum wheel to crack apart, it can fall off the wheel studs and you may discover what a car drives like on three tires.
2. Uneven and excessive torsional pull on the wheel will most likely cause you a brake job you didn’t need. Have you ever had the wheels removed from your car for any service and a month later your brakes shook when applied? Yep, the guy in too big of a hurry to torque your wheels properly just cost you more money. Funny thing is, you probably had the same guy replace the brakes that he damaged!
3. Ever had to change a tire on the side of the road with the tools supplied by your car’s manufacturer? I will tell you, lug nuts tightened to normal specification still come off hard. Normal spec for most cars is between 60 ft. lbs. and 120 ft. lbs. When tightened to 600, umm you ain’t gettin’ em off! You will need roadside assistance which costs you money.
4. Your lug nuts may not be tight at all. The wheel can fall off
I am not saying AutoMetrics has never had a loose lug nut problem. We have had it happen twice in 20 years. See the negative review by Louis s. on www.yelp.com This was due to lack of training on my part to new members of my staff who brought bad habits with them from previous employment. I have since instituted better standard operating procedures for your safety.
The bottom line is, look at the staff and see if they are careful and take pride in their work, if it doesn’t look right, get out of there.