A couple of months ago, that lovely WRX I drove back East, made its way Southwest. To show my gratitude, I volunteered my services to help swap the snow tires for the much-preferred performance tires.
Despite the skill between the owner (a buddy of mine) and I, and the possession of a proper hydraulic jack, the lug nuts just wouldn’t budge. That’s what a harsh and salted winter will do to a car.
Since my buddy had just moved to the desert, and it was late enough in the day, he didn’t have any his automotive gear handy, including the ubiquitous WD-40. I have a can in the trunk of my car, and two in my garage. However, because he drove us to his place, I had none. It also would be at least a twenty-minute drive to buy the nearest can of WD-40.
About to be resigned to our fate, I decide to go old school and ask if he had any oil in the house. Engine oil, he asked. No, cooking oil, I said. He asked if olive oil would work. I said, I hope it did. I asked him to grab a bunch of cotton swabs and a saucer as well. He’s a classy dude, and British, so he had saucers.
I poured a couple of tablespoon’s worth of olive oil in the saucer. Then after liberally rolling one end of a cotton swab in the olive oil, I slowly laced the circumference of the lug nut (at the point it met the wheel) with oil. After giving the oil about fifteen minutes to work itself into the wheel bolt thread, we attempted to remove the lug nut.
With each attempt, in some cases, fifteen minutes was good enough. With some lug nuts, I had to reapply oil, and wait another fifteen minutes, before trying again. With a few, a third round of oil and muscle was required, before the lug nut would give.
After putting on the performance tires, I advised my buddy that we should apply oil to all the wheel bolt threads, before putting the lug nuts back on.
Even though the above method took forever to complete, it was nice to see how a little ingenuity went a long way, and saved a few bucks in the process.