Reader needs help finding replacement tools
Dear Tom and Ray:My daughter needs a lug wrench and jack for her 2003 VW Jetta. I don’t want to give an arm or a leg to a VW dealership for these items, but I can’t find them anywhere. Can you give me some particulars on these items, such as size needed and where I might purchase them at a reasonable cost? Will a jack from Wal-Mart work, or one from an auto-parts store? Are they called something else besides “hard to find”? — TommyRAY: Well, I’m sure there’s a good story behind how your daughter managed to lose the original jack, Tommy. But clearly, you’re not inclined to entertain us with it. TOM: If you want the same jack that she used to have, the easiest place to get it is at a junkyard. Oops, I mean “auto recycling center.”RAY: Right. You’ll find one that may have been used just once. Or never. Or, even if it was used 20 times, it’s still perfectly good.TOM: But I’m going to suggest that you pick up only the jack at the junkyard, and replace the lug wrench with something better.RAY: Volkswagens and Audis use bolts to secure their wheels instead of just nuts, like most other cars. They’re notoriously difficult to remove — especially when they get overtightened, which they always do. TOM: So instead of that little 6-inch lug wrench that came with the car, you should go to your local Sears or auto-parts store and get a 17-millimeter impact socket and an 18-inch breaker bar.RAY: The impact socket fits over the wheel bolt, and then the breaker bar slips onto the socket and gives you leverage to twist the bolt.TOM: You could also get a better-quality jack to replace the VW jack, but the new one will almost certainly be bigger and heavier, and won’t store easily in the trunk. So I’d get the jack at the junkyard — sorry, auto recycling center — or, if you can’t find one there, from the dealer. And then pick up a socket and breaker bar somewhere else. RAY: That’ll give your daughter a better set of tools — which will make the next person she “lends” them to much happier. * * *Do you really need that truck if you only make one trip to the lumberyard per year? Find out what kind of car NOT to get in Tom and Ray’s pamphlet “Should I Buy, Lease, or Steal My Next Car?” Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Next Car, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. ***Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or e-mail them by visiting the Car Talk Web site at http://www.cartalk.com. (c) 2006 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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