Why do some tyre fitters use air guns on locking wheel nuts, damaging them in the process?

I recently went to a local branch of a national tyre chain to have two front tyres replaced and the front alignment checked. After a time the fitter came to me and said they could not do the work as “your key to the key nuts is damaged". I rang the head office to explain the key was okay when I went in (I used it last and kept it safe in the boot). They said I could not prove it was “necessarily” the fitter’s fault and offered no redress. Fortunately the local Ford dealer got me a new key in a few days.

On talking to them about the damaged one I was informed the keynut had been destroyed by using an air gun, a procedure Fords advise against. I watched the tyre fitter at work and in my innocence saw him use the air wrench to try to remove the key nut as well as 'bashing' it many times to try to get the key to stay on. I advise people to be wary when getting tyres changed as the fitters may not be as aware as they ought to be.

Asked on 23 August 2011 by HD, via email

Answered by Honest John
You are absolutely right. All readers need to ensure that their locking nuts are manually unfastened. It's brain dead of tyre fitters to use airguns on locking nuts. The best locking nut replacement service is www.mcgard.com
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