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Old 03-16-2010, 11:12 AM   #281
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I'll repeat what samclem said, but with all seriousness. Does someone have access to your car (not in a locked garage)? I really have never seen lug nuts just come loose, and if you took it to the dealer to replace one lug nut I would hope and expect them to check the torque on all the lug nuts. It may be kids thinking they are just playing around, but it could have very serious results.

If they were all loose, and the dealer only replaced one w/o checking the others, I would never go to that dealer again for anything. Seriously.

-ERD50
The car is normally parked in the driveway and a few nights ago the car alarm went off but I really couldn't find the cause for it. So perhaps someone is screwing around with my wheels. I even found a website where "pranksters" recommend loosening the lug nuts on the car of someone you don't like and watch the car fall apart when the driver attempts to drive his car. I don't find that funny at all... Especially because my driveway is so steep that it could be (literally) deadly if I lost a wheel while rappelling driving down our driveway. I don't know, it doesn't feel like kids stuff (eggs, paintballs, TP, I could see but loosening lug nuts on a car? that would be some seriously deranged kid). Of course it could be some thug trying to steal my nice wheels to make a few bucks too. I plan on making room in the garage to park my car there and installing video surveillance around the house (a few other weird things have been happening around here lately). If I catch the buggers, I will press charges.

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Who's the beneficiary on your life insurance policy? Do they have access to your car? As a thought--would you mind if I took out a policy on you?
DW is the only beneficiary on my life insurance policy. I trust her 100%. Besides she is not hurting for money and she is the one making the mega-bucks, sooooo I feel pretty safe with her...


After doing some research on the internet, I found plenty of stories about people just losing lug nuts inexplicably. Often times they have nice aluminum wheels. One possible explanation I have seen is that when you combine aluminum wheels and steel lug nuts, the 2 metals expand and contract at different rates which sometimes can lead to lug nuts loosening and sometimes falling off the car. One mechanic even said that, if you have aluminum wheels, you should have them retorqued about 100 miles after you have the wheels worked on. I didn't do that (didn't know). But if that's the case, then the premium wheels would definitely be more of an hassle than I had bargained for. Maybe it's time to go with the Blue Loctite...
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:20 AM   #282
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put it neutral, but he wouldn't because he was afraid he would flip the car? That doesn't make sense.
What I've figured is that he is a dumb guy who read something on the Internet about putting a car in park and having it flip over. He was so convinced of it (even though park is different from neutral) that he wouldn't follow instructions. There are millions that are that ignorant and unreasonable. But I agree, it's a little hard to believe.

But for it to be a hoax, we have to believe that he decided to get fame and/or suit income by driving 94 miles an hour for 20 minutes while talking on a cell phone, and that he'd never heard of balloon boy's parents' fate. If he had serious debt problems and mental instability, I'd go along with that...

Also, I didn't hear the kind of balloon boy overacting on the 911 call.

Who knows?
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:37 AM   #283
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The car is normally parked in the driveway and a few nights ago the car alarm went off but I really couldn't find the cause for it. So perhaps someone is screwing around with my wheels. . . I plan on making room in the garage to park my car there and installing video surveillance around the house (a few other weird things have been happening around here lately).
This is a very low-budget approach that might put your mind at ease. Buy one of these rigs at Harbor Freight for less than $20.

Put the battery-powered IR sensor somewhere where it can "see" your car. When there is motion it will activate the chime unit inside your house (up to 400 feet away). Easy, cheap, and you can move it later to another spot that might need watching. Some people put one at the end of the driveway just so they'll have advanced warning when company arrives. Want to know when your teen gets home? etc.
Be sure to tape over the little red LED on the sensor.
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:39 AM   #284
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I even found a website where "pranksters" recommend loosening the lug nuts on the car of someone you don't like and watch the car fall apart when the driver attempts to drive his car. I don't find that funny at all... I don't know, it doesn't feel like kids stuff (eggs, paintballs, TP, I could see but loosening lug nuts on a car? that would be some seriously deranged kid).
But sometimes 'kids' just don't make the connection between the prank and the consequences (and by that definition, 'kids' could be any age ). So I wouldn't assume that anyone is 'out to get you", but they *may* be pulling a dangerous prank just for 'fun', not to be deranged about it, but just not thinking it through. They may be 'in the moment', but in an unfortunate way.

I recall a very sad case of some kids stealing a Stop sign, and having to face the parents of the kids that got killed at that intersection. They didn't appear to be bad kids, they were just out pulling a prank.

-ERD50
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:42 PM   #285
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When I posted the lighthearted story above, I knew FD discovered his loose wheels in time, and was not in danger. It did not occur to me that someone might, just might, have tampered with his car.

Now, that would get me very upset, infuriated in fact. If I were younger, might have contemplated catching the bastards in the act (I have firearms). But being older and calmer, and able to make use of technology, I would look into the use of a wireless surveillance camera with a video recorder to get evidence to turn it to the police.

Hopefully, it was just a simple stupid overlook by the wheel installer. As others have said, it happened before and will happen again. Have I ever posted here that I like to do own car repairs because I couldn't find a trustworthy mechanic, or rather was tired of trying one after another?

My BIL once had to have all his wheel lugs replaced. The bastard mechanic on an earlier wheel balance job had used a powerful impact wrench to tighten the nuts. It was such that the next guy had a tough time getting them off, and the lug threads were damaged.

I have been buying all my tires from Costco. Their mechanics follow proper procedures when changing tires. There might be other good places, but if it works for me, why change?
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:46 PM   #286
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Another point concerning the Toyotas: One of my pet peeves is "modal" buttons on things that are for both on and off. They do different things depending on what "mode" you are in.

It's a stupid design, and I'm sure most of you have turned something on when you meant to turn if off or vice versa. Sometimes I mean to turn on my laptop, only to find that it was already on, so I have to wait for it to go into sleep mode and then bring it back.

The point is that the cars should have three buttons:
  1. On
  2. Off
  3. Emergency Off
If that's how it had been designed, I'll bet that most of these runaways wouldn't have happened. You could, of course, protect the Emergency off button to prevent it being accidentally triggered.
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:56 PM   #287
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Who's the beneficiary on your life insurance policy? Do they have access to your car? As a thought--would you mind if I took out a policy on you?

Just like those evil Wall St types who bought Credit Default Swaps on companies they thought were going broke.
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:56 PM   #288
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. Of course it could be some thug trying to steal my nice wheels to make a few bucks too. I plan on making room in the garage to park my car there and installing video surveillance around the house (a few other weird things have been happening around here lately). If I catch the buggers, I will press charges.



..

Since they are premium wheels don't they have a wheel lock ? I know my wheels have one so no one can remove the wheels without it .
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:59 PM   #289
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Since they are premium wheels don't they have a wheel lock ? I know my wheels have one so no one can remove the wheels without it .
They do have wheel locks and the locks were still very secure. It's the rest of the lug nuts that were loose.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:06 PM   #290
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When I told a friend about the loose wheel I witnessed rolling down the freeway, he told me a similar thing happened to him. Luckily, he was driving in-town, and was not on the freeway. At an intersection, he braked for the red light, and observed his wheel kept rolling merrily across the intersection!

The cause? He admitted to not tightening the nuts sufficiently.

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We were visiting DW's parents once and MIL asked me to take a drive with her as she could hear a noise she was not happy with and since FIL is deaf she couldn't convince him to investigate, or even where to look. It was an obvious rattle and rumble from the rear so I got FIL to remove the hub cap of the right rear wheel where we found 3 lug nuts rattling around and the last one only a few threads away from dropping off.

A few years back the daughter of a friend at work had a wheel come off their 4-Runner on I-10 causing it to flip over. Fortunately all escaped with minor injuries. She had had the wheels rotated as part of a standard service a few days earlier at the Dealer
I really don't understand how people drive on with the loose wheels. Doesn't it cause a shimmy or wobbling? NO, I will not loosen my wheels to see for myself!

But here is a personal story similar to Alan's MIL. This happened when I was around 12, and on a family vacation trip. Our car was an 1956 Opel, and it exhibited some wobbling on the highway. My father slowed way down while looking for a place to pull over. Before long, we heard rattling noise from one wheel. I still remember that this car hubcap was metallic, and shaped like a wok. It captured the nuts that had fallen completely off the lugs, hence the rattling noise. Once my father pried off the cap, we were relieved that we would not be stranded on the road. I do not remember if my father was the culprit or a mechanic was the last one messing with that wheel.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:07 PM   #291
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After closer inspection today, I found out that I seem to have 2 different types of lug nuts installed. I wonder if one of the types is not compatible with the wheels. The new lug nut I bought a couple of weeks ago and that I know is the right type for those wheels was still very secure. Also, all the lug nuts on the left side of the car were still very tight, only those on the right side were loose.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:08 PM   #292
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Ah, that's far better than fearing someone messing with your car. That would cause me to lose sleep!

PS. I believe our car looked like this. Note the hubcap with its amazing "loose nut retention" feature.

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Old 03-17-2010, 03:34 AM   #293
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Do use a torque wrench, for tightening lug nuts. I always do, since I swap tires in the winter and summer. As does the mechanic shop that does state safety inspections on my vehicles. They always remove all four wheels for inspecting brakes.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:47 AM   #294
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I once changed a flat tire, leaving the lug nuts loose until I took it down from the jack. But I forgot to tighten them (yes I was that flaky). Heard a rumbling, and tightened them before any damage or disaster.

In any case, no one has brought up the reports that the San Diego Prius guy was running a hoax. Listening to the 911 call, I doubt it. And the claims of "We tried to reproduce it and it couldn't happen" don't tell you anything. That's how intermittent problems work.

The more evidence that comes out the more it does seem that he was running something... and that his vehicle was not one of the run away versions...

What have we learned since the video... that his car had an automatic idle control if the brake and gas pedal are both pushed... his was working when they tested... (sure, it could be that the gremlins that caused the engine to run wild also overrode this... but... )

His front brakes were worn down... and the rotors worn also... not from being burned from a long time pushing them down... so it seems he rides his brakes..

The back brakes did not show any sign of overheating..

They put on new brake pads and they could stop the car even with the engine at full...

The guy would not put the car in neutral because he was scared it would flip Give me a break... are people that stupid?

A lot of brake and gas pushes going on there...


Now, he says he is not going to sue.. glad to hear that... but I am leaning more to the hoax side on this one... remember... it happened in California...
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:47 PM   #295
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I have just met with an independent tire specialist. He looked at the wheels and asked me a bunch of questions. He looked at the 2 kinds of lug nuts that are installed on my car, and both are appropriate for the wheels I have (he retorqued all of them to specs). He also said that if Toyota had botched the installation, the lug nuts would have come loose in the first 50 miles (which is consistent with what I read on the internet). But I have driven my car over 2,500 miles since the wheels were last serviced and only started to notice the loose lug nuts in the past few hundred miles. In his opinion there is no doubt that someone tampered with my vehicle.

So now DW is spooked and wants to go gun shopping while I am going to spend the next week getting estimates from security contractors. And from now on, my car will be parked in the garage at all times. WTF kind of world do we live in?
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:58 PM   #296
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That is just awful, FIREdreamer!

I'm glad you found out what happened, though. And yes, parking it the garage sounds like a very good idea under the circumstances.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:22 PM   #297
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The news piece I saw seemed to described the situation as if the company was trying to discredit the guy driving that Prius... or at a minimum casting doubt on him and/or his driving capability.

The link below has that other 911 call for stuck accelerator... Very sad!



Here is another



Fortunately I do not own one. For that matter, I doubt I will buy any of their vehicles in the future (near or distant)... I don't like the way they dealt with the situation.
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:58 PM   #298
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...In his opinion there is no doubt that someone tampered with my vehicle.(
That's not good. Are there teenagers in the neighborhood? I would mention this incidence and the suspicion of a dangerous prank with a close neighbor, and say that police has been contacted. Hopefully the word will spread and scare off the nasty pranksters.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:45 PM   #299
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...Fortunately I do not own one. For that matter, I doubt I will buy any of their vehicles in the future (near or distant)... I don't like the way they dealt with the situation.
Don't you mean you don't like the way the media has portrayed the response?
I am of course very sadened by the deaths and injuries. However, I am also saddened by the deaths and injuries due to drunk drivers, accidents, and lightning strikes.
If it turns out Toyota did know of this issue and covered it up, I won't be buying another one myself.
If they acted like any other huge corporation and got greedy, I will be disappointed in them.
It would help if the anyone could duplicate one of these events. The NTHSA has not been able to, neither has Toyota. They don't know WHY this is happening.

But to be more transparent as the media and people have been screaming for (rightfully so), they released their initial findings. Which were that the brakes have been depressed and released 250 times and that the pads did not show the type of overheating that would normally be present if the breaks had been stomped and and stayed depressed.
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:48 AM   #300
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Don't you mean you don't like the way the media has portrayed the response?
...
No.

One sure way to shut some people up is to challenge them as if they were doing something wrong (legally or otherwise). It would not surprise me if some people do not report minor incidents for fear of being targeted. It can have a chilling effect on people.

I have no doubt there are a few opportunist out there that might try to exploit that situation. Likewise with people making mistakes. I am not sure if we will ever know what happened with that Prius.

My favorite [sarcasm] is when people who are doing arm chair criticism about how someone responded when the problem occurred. It ususally goes something like this: "Didn't that fool know to just shift it out of gear??".

People panic when faced with a crisis. [I am not targeting you with this statement.. it is a general statement] If that situation occurred to your Husband, Wife, significant other, daughter or son, grandson, granddaughter.... would the same analysis be put forward? It is not the owners fault if a problem occurs with the equipment and they (for whatever reason) were not able to respond effectively... it is not like it is a normal event. Somehow criticizing their ability to respond and recover from an event like that seems a little off the mark.

So, how did they deal with the sudden acceleration issue? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...googlenews_wsj
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