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lou’s garage

At my past tire changeover last fall, the dealership claimed nine of my lug nuts were seized and had to be replaced. They did the same job in reverse in the spring, so the lug nuts were on seven months from April to the end of November. The car is a 2010 Ford Taurus. Is it possible nine lug nuts would seize in seven months? – Bill

Each wheel nut on your Ford was originally manufactured as two pieces, with a steel base and a chrome cosmetic cap.

Over the years, the concealed steel base corrodes, slowly expanding, deforming its cap. This now-deformed chrome cap increases the difficulty for technicians to achieve a solid mate with their air impact tools. After multiple seasons and additional distressed attempts, the wheel nuts become rounded, rendering them unusable.

I believe the service adviser oversimplified the explanation. The actual issue was not that nine lug nuts simultaneously seized, but that multiple nuts were so deformed that the technician couldn't apply sufficient tool grip to get them off. After additional time is spent struggling to remove the rounded wheel fasteners, the technician will usually recommend replacement of any and all problematic units.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject line.

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