Ford defends the design of the lug nuts. The automaker blames problems on improper use of tools, especially wrong-sized socket wrenches, by those working on the nuts. Other Ford dealers say they have not experienced trouble servicing vehicles with the lug nuts.
Collins, who oversees the wrenches used in his dealership's service department, concedes that he sees only a handful of lug nut problems each year. But he notes that some of his customers were faced with having to replace the lug nuts on one or all of their wheels. The number of nuts per wheel varies from four to six or more on some trucks.
A lug nut replacement kit from Ford typically costs about $220, Collins notes, compared with $69 to $79 for an aftermarket kit. He says "nine out of 10" customers opt for the cheaper kit.
Trysha Maness, service adviser at Brad Manning Ford in DeKalb, Ill., says the lug nuts generally have not been a problem at her dealership. When nuts are damaged, she says, she advises customers to replace them.
Working on damaged nuts may require larger wrenches than factory-specified tools, Maness adds. She notes that other automakers use lug nuts of a similar design.
"It's not just a Ford issue," she says.