Main dealership safety error

Hi, I live in Maryland. About a month ago we bought a used 2008 Honda Civic for my daughter from a major Ford dealership in Virginia. After a lot of paperwork we paid for the car and drove it home from the
dealer's lot. It was under a Virginia 30 day temporary tag.
About 3 weeks later we took the car to our local repair shop to get a Maryland State inspection prior to registering the car in our home State. We got a surprise call from the shop to say that the car would not pass the MD inspection as it was missing a lug nut from each wheel. We authorized the shop to buy 4 new lug nuts and a pass certificate was issued.
For the car to be sold to a member of the public from a Ford Main Dealership you would have to believe it would have undergone a thorough pre-sale inspection. Furthermore for the car to be issued a 30 day temporary tag in VA it would have had to pass a VA state inspection, presumably carried out inhouse by the Ford dealership.
My wife is particularly upset about this incident as she feels our daughter's life may have been put in joepardy by the dealerships neglegence.
How do you folks recommend we handle this situation, I assume we should be asking for financial compensation.
Al Moodie.
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On 5/28/14, 3:50 PM, Al Moodie wrote:

4 lug nuts x $2.00 = $8.00 should cover it.
Blame yourself, dude. You're the one who didn't bother to carefully inspect the six year old car before you accepted delivery and turned it over to Precious.
--
"We are going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
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That's correct. But do you know for certain if the lugs were missing when you took delivery of the vehicle? Missing lugs are awfully visible. Do you have any photos of the car showing the lugs all being present?
My suspicion is that the lugs were there when the car left the lot and broke off afterwards.

A missing lug, by itself, is not unsafe in the slightest; your daughter was quite safe.
Wheel lugs break because somebody /severely/ overtightened the nut at some point in the car's life. No pro would ever do that; that's the sort of thing done by owners. And I mean the sort of overtightening you get from somebody literally standing and jumping on the wrench; in other words, applying 300 or 400 ft/lbs of torque instead of 80. Wheel lugs have a HUGE safety factor built into them, and it takes a lot of work work to exceed that
It is not practically possible to identify a wheel lug that's bee overtightened to the point that it will fracture, so the dealership could not possibly know if the lugs had been overstretched unless they had actually fallen off.

I think you will be unable to prove to a court that you did /not/ overtighten the lugs yourself in the three weeks you had the car. I recommend that you just chalk this one up to experience and move on.
Also, I would watch for others that might break, and maybe even replace them all, pre-emptively. If the previous owner jumped on the wrench for one, he'll have done it for all.
--
Tegger

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Tegger brought next idea :

Agreed. Someone who needed lug nuts could have also stolen them, 1 per wheel so it would go unnoticed.

I don't think they broke as the OP says he suthorized the purchase of 4 new lug nuts, nothing about pressing new lugs onto the car.

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Good catch!! I did not spot that. New lugs would have resulted in a rather alarmingly-large invoice, and the OP would have mentioned that in the first place.
If the lugs were NOT broken off but the nuts were simply missing, then the dealership is surely quite innocent in the whole matter, which now appears to be a simple matter of theft in Al's neighborhood.
Hey Al, do you have any teenage delinquents residing nearby?
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"I bought an 08 Civic from a used car dealer and drove it home"

"I was surprised when someone pointed out I was missing a lug nut from each wheel"

"damn, that pisses me off"

"Fuck them"
Seriously, dude, how do you go to the bathroom without instructions and advice from others? "You assume you should be asking for financial compensation"??? WHAT "financial compensation"? For what damages? The fact that your precious little feelings were hurt WAY after the trip home?
Jesus Christ, you are what's wrong with this country.
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wrote:

A little stern, but quite observant....
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On 5/29/2014 6:53 AM, Stewart wrote:

Hope he re-torqued the remaining lugs; they may have been no tighter than the four that walked off.
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wrote:

Let me guess that they had some locking lug nuts and someone took them off for some reason.
The idea that exactly one lug nut per wheel would come loose and disappear doesn't fly, much less that they could do so without rattling like mad under the hub caps and necessarily taking the caps with them.
Used cars have to have new tires, right? So this was probably done at the dealer, not by the previous owner without the dealer noticing.
It's a screwup. Nobody died. You got a funny story out of it. Move on.
J.
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