Since we’re talking wheels…
The picture above is of a VW locking wheel bolt, on my desk at work. You’ll notice it has a decorative black plastic cap, and that my desk is not its natural habitat- that being assisting in retaining a wheel on to a car.
A short while ago, on my first journey to work in the new car, I’d though I’d noticed a slight vibration, but dismissed it as the normal paranoia I go through with a new car- finding things I imagine will go wrong. Upon leaving that afternoon, I noticed one of those caps looked a bit loose, and went to push it on, at which point the bolt came out in my hands. This wasn’t the bolt pictured above- that was already missing, presumed to be at the side of the M5- and investigation found the centre cap to be missing, and the three remaining bolts a turn of so loose. A call to voice my displeasure to the franchised dealer (who I won’t name, but are in a potteries city) elicited differing responses from differnt people, ranging from an apology and a promise to order the missing centre cap and a new set of lock bolts, to “that’s impossible- someone must have tampered with it, trying to steal wheels, everything is checked twice in the workshop”.
I’d like to explore that claim.
First of all, the wheels were swapped on the car. The originals had been refurbed, but apparently weren’t up to scratch, so got swapped while I completed the paperwork.
Secondly, all the bolts- the three loose ones, the one that fell out, and the lock bolt pictured (which was handed to me by a colleague a week later, having been found on the car park) still had their caps.
So, presumably what happened was that someone, without my knowledge, opened my locked car, took the wheel key from inside, took off all five caps, loosened five bolts, put the caps back on, and returned the key.
Or, could it just have been they were in a rush as I was waiting for the car, and just fucking forgot to torque up the bolts?