Q: We used to have a great Willys Jeep in the 1950s and my favorite memory is sitting in the front seat with those little front triangular windows in front of the regular window that turned sideways and kept the air from hitting your hair. Does anyone make cars with those triangular windows? I loved them and would love to keep my windows open more often, but the wind tunnel coming in from the side usually means I will use my air conditioning instead.
A: There are probably several reasons why the vent window was eliminated. Cost may have been one. Reduced aerodynamics may have been another. And they outgrew their usefulness when air conditioning became nearly universal. We miss them, too. If angled properly, the stale air in the car would be drawn out, even when it was raining. The vent window was a good friend of the smoker. If you want a bit of air circulation, but it isn't hot enough to run the A/C, those clip-on side window deflectors from WeatherTech work well. We are not aware of any carmaker offering those great little windows today.
Q: I just want to share my experience with two-part lug nuts on my 2008 Dodge Magnum R/T. I have found that the impact wrench used to loosen and tighten the two-piece lug nut does damage to the outer piece of the nut. I use a breaker bar or torque wrench to loosen and do the final tightening of the nut. Also, I apply a small amount of Never-Seez to the seat of the nut. This prevents corrosion between the nut and the alloy wheel. I make sure not to get any on the threads. I have had no problems since I bought the car in 2009. Thanks for your column; it has helped me many times.
J.A., Riverwoods, Ill.
A: Not a bad idea to use a little anti-seize compound to the chamfer of the nut. And we are pleased to see that you avoid getting any on the threads. Why? Any lubricant on the threads may allow them to be overtightened, which could damage the brake rotor. Overtightening is often caused by the tech using an impact wrench without also using a torque stick. Although we have no issues with removing the lug nuts with an impact wrench, we are religious about tightening them evenly with a torque wrench. Thanks for helping us out with your idea.
Q: I appreciate your informative column. I do not believe enough attention is given for proper torque of wheel nuts. A few years ago I had to almost beg a well-known national tire dealer to use the torque stick or wrench. They seemed to think they were good enough with the impact wrench to go with that. Not so. Many warped brake disc/drums could be avoided if proper torque is used. Hopefully things are better today.
R.A., Leesburg, Fla.
A: Torque sticks are good, but not the best. Attaching a socket to the end of one of these calibrated sticks and then the stick to the impact wrench will at least allow all of the lug nuts to be tightened to the same degree. But the amount of torque (measured in pound-feet) may not be as exact at that achieved with a torque wrench. Even torque wrenches should be sent in for recalibration from time to time.
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and Master Auto Technician.