The most exciting day in the life of a wheel nut key

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The most exciting day in the life of a wheel nut key

Post by xantia_v6 »

The wheel nut key for my Mk1 Xantia V6 spends its days rattling around in the drivers door pocket, fighting for space with ice scrapers, window wiping rags, old car park tickets and similarly useful items.

Today, on the way up from Beaune, after a couple of hours on the Autoroute, the noises in the car seemed to change a bit, and I was trying to decide whether it was another wheel bearing failure, or perhaps a plastic bag caught under the car, but decided after a few seconds that it might be a flat tyre. I just passed a parking in 2000m sign, so decided to continue to the parking rather than stop on a rather narrow hard shoulder (the car was still handling normally, just a bit noisy).

Pulled in and immediately saw that the RH rear tyre (I suppose that is the Near Side in France?) was completely flat (with a nail in it), and would soon have come to a very nasty end if I had not stopped.

So dig around in the door pocket, and sure enough the wheel key was there, so in a matter of 10 minutes the wheel was changed.

Now the Mk1 V6 locking bolts have an odd charactoristic, that you can't use them in the spare tyre, as they have a swelling in the shaft which jams in the captive washers on the wheel, and if you tighten it up, you end up breaking the captive washer off the spare wheel when you undo it. So the simple answer is to swap the locking bolt from the flat tyre with a normal bolt from another wheel.

So feeling pleased I set off again on the Autoroute, but when I got back up to cruising speed, I thought, I don't remember putting the key back in the door pocket. A bit of a rummage by braille confirmed that it was not there.

We had planned to stop for lunch at the next services in 25 kilometers, and there was nowhere to stop before then, so I just hoped the key was in the back with the wheelbrace...

At the next services, look for the key.... not in the back... maybe in the jack container? drop the spare wheel carrier again... no not there.... look under the drivers seat... in the other door pockets... NO SIGN!

So I suggest to Louise that it would be worth going back to look for it, as a lost wheel key can be a little inconvenient. Louise was hungry and wanted to have lunch first and then go back, but I said someone might pick it up, so we went back.

Having to go up to the next peage to turn around, and then go to the Peage past the parking area to turn around meant a trip fo 80km to get back to where I had changed the wheel, and it was now about an hour later. No sighn of the wheel key (I looked under the vehicles parked nearby (a few curious glances from the occupants).

Then we saw a SANEF maintainance worker picking litter further along the car park, heading back to his truck. So I went up to him and in my bext pidgeon French asked "Vous etes voir un clef de roule ici?" While pointing at the wheel nuts on a nearby car and miming an unding action...
He thought for a few moments, and and then said "Oui!" and pointed at his litter sack.

I followed him a few more paces to his truck where he tipped the contents of the litter sack onto the tray of the truck, and after a bit of rummaging, there was my key! He even took it over to the tap to wash it for me.

Now just think of the consequences if we had stopped for lunch before returning to look for the key! It (and we) had a very lucky escape.

The key is now safely rattling around in the drivers door pocket, fighting with it old familiar rubbish.

Lunch, for us, back at the next services, was very enjoyable.

Postscript: When swapping the locking bolt for a normal bolt from the front wheel, I had put the key on the ground beside the front wheel, but when leaving after changing the back wheel, we both only looked for tools around the back wheel and back of the car.
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Post by Deanxm »

Very very lucky there! ive done a very similar thing myself, after finnishing working on the car i put the wheels back on but with mine i have a splined male key for the bolts and a female socket for the locking bolts, anyway done them all up hand tight then lowered the car of the stands and torqued them down and thought to myself "i will take it out for a drive before i pack up" and i did, wasnt untill i had come back, cleared the tools away, had a bath and was in the middle of dinner with light fading fast that i had a horrible feeling i had forgoten something, i had, i had been out for a test drive with the splined adapter and locking bolt keys on the fastners in question. 2hrs i walked the streets around my house looking for these things and its amazing firstly how long they held on for during the drive and secondly how far they rolled when they eventually came off :lol:

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Post by Citroenmad »

Your very lucky there :lol: Could have been a right pain trying to get another or having to cut off the locking bolts :?

Good job youthought about where it was, or you would have been stuck.

I lost one on my C5 ones (C5s seem to come with two locking nut keys) I dont remember taking it off the nut after tightening and didnt see it again. Luckily i had a spare one.

I totally forgot to check when buying my VTR if it had its lockign nut key. When i got home i couldnt find it anywhere in the car. I eventually found it (only one with this car) behind the centre cap on the front wheel, still on the locking bolt :?

They should really be on a long chain these things, then we couldnt lose them :lol:
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Post by addo »

Even that doesn't help sometimes. I've wandered around a job looking fruitlessly for the one-off fastener I misplaced, only to realise some minutes later it's between my teeth!
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Post by Trainman »

I know this feeling, as I was reminded when I had the tyres done a couple of weeks ago. I'd had the near side wheel off for some reason (can't remember why) ](*,) anyway, thinking to myself I'll get the tyres changed on the way home from work. Check the boot, no Key, where the hell has that gone :?: :?:

No problem, I'll go home first and get the spare out of the toolbox, so off I trot, I arrive home, head into the kitchen, open the drawer to get the garage key, at which point I then remember I had locked the keys in the garage the day before.

Now comes the really annoying point, I then have to wait for SWMBO to come home from work, so she can open the garage, for me to get both of the keys :oops: :oops:

Okay job done, off I got to the tyre place, duly handing over the wheel key, 2 minutes later, fitter comes back smiling, and asks "which one do you want me to use?" I must of left he other key on the wheel behind the centre cap :roll: :roll:

I must be getting old :help2:
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Post by lexi »

First thing I do when buying another Cit is get four wheel nuts from scrappie and do away with locking system altogether.