Lugging Around



I bought a 1970 Dodge Dart a few months
back, it is, as far as I know, totally stock,
with a Slant-Six and 73,400 miles. It is a
base 4-door sedan, very clean, a real little
old lady car. I’m really enjoying it.
I took it to the local tire shop for four
new tires, the ones that were on there
looked new but had a lot of scary looking
cracks in the rubber. The tires shop told
me that they could somehow tell that they
were 22 years old.
When they went to take off the wheels,
they managed to break every stud on the
left side of the car. They claimed that they
were rusted solid but they looked pretty
good to me. They then proceeded to
keep the car for 2 days and charged me
$175 for new hardware and labor. Is this

This question still shows
up at least a few times
a year, I answer similar
ones every so often (in
print) to try my best to
disseminate the information,
which is:

Through 1970, all
Chrysler products had
left-hand-thread lugs
on the left side of the
car, in other words, you
turn the nuts clockwise
to loosen them! This
was sound engineering
practice: As the wheels
rotated (both sides),
the lugs would not tend
to loosen. The problem
was that only Mopars had this feature,
and many inexperienced or uneducated
“mechanics” caused exactly the damage
you just encountered. This has been
exacerbated of late as fewer and fewer
pre-’71 Mopars still have the original
hardware, and more shops use pneumatic
impact wrenches capable of many
hundreds of foot-pounds of torque in
the CCW (normal loosen) direction This
class of mechanic usually sets the torque
adjustment on “kill” as a matter of habit,
making matters worse.
They should refund you every dime,
and compensate you for the loss of use
of your car caused by their negligence
or stupidity. Break one? OK, you investigate.
Two? Even and idiot senses that

something’s amiss, especially when the
right side is just fine. All 10? Jeez. Moron
I’m willing to bet that all 20 lugs now
on the car, both the OEM “survivor” right
side ones, and the new left side ones,
which are almost certainly now right-hand
thread, are overtorqued, scary, because
over-torqued studs can break with no
warning. The spec for your 7/16˝ studs is
only 55 ft.-lbs.

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