For those who haven’t met me in person, I drive a blue Jeep Cherokee. It’s old, it’s rusted, it’s dented, it’s been rolled once and declared totaled, and I don’t do preventative maintenance.
I have about a five mile drive into work. Last Friday, about 3.5 miles into the trip I started hearing a thump-thump noise. My first guess was that it was a flat tire. I’ve had one of those before and rolled on it long enough to completely destroy it. Not wanting to repeat that, I pulled into a nearby parking lot to check things out.
Went around, checked all the tires, gave them all a good shove, etc. I couldn’t find anything wrong, so I figured it was just the Jeep making odd noises and decided to check it out later.
Well, apparently, that was the wrong choice. I made it the additional mile and a half to work, then about 2/3 of the way down our 300ft driveway: Klunk! My front left wheel falls off right there in the driveway.
I stopped (didn’t really have an option) and walked up to the security booth. I told the security guard that I had a problem and he got about half way through asking me what it was when he looked up and my Jeep siting there missing a wheel. He pointed a security camera at it and phoned the protection services office. They sent over someone with a floor jack.
I found four of the lug nuts right near the road and the last about 1/3 of the way down the drive. As best I can figure, the four came loose and all fell out of the sockets when I made the turn into work. The remaining threads on the fifth quickly blew out and the wheel came off. We jacked up the Jeep, I put the wheel back on with the four good nuts, went and parked.
After work I bought a few new parts and borrowed a tap and die set from work. Saturday, I took the wheel back off, cleaned up the studs, re-tapped the nuts and put it back on. Results: The Jeep is as good as new, or at least as good as it was. I did twist the front end a bit, so the door rubs when I open it now, but it’s not like things were properly aligned before…
I also noticed while the wheel was off that my left connection to the anti-sway bar was completely busted. I might be inclined to fix that sometime…