My first question is how you know the lug nut is cross-threaded. Did you try to remove it? Cross-threading a lug nut is easy to do when you are in a hurry with air tools, but it is almost impossible to run it down tight that way. The nut will become too tight to turn, or it is going to peel the threads.
Also, for future reference, if a mechanic informs you a lug nut and stud were damaged when he removed the nut, that damage was caused by the previous person who ran it down too tight, possibly months or years earlier, so be sure to place the blame where it belongs, not on the current mechanic. This is why we are supposed to always use click-type torque wrenches when tightening lug nuts.
There is no excuse for missing the hole with a valve stem, but be aware that many wheel cover designs require the use of longer valve stems or plastic valve stem extenders. When new cars are delivered to the dealerships, they always come with the shorter valve stems, then if optional wheel covers are included that require those extenders, those are included separately, and the person doing the new-vehicle prep has to screw them on. He also has to check the lug nuts, and pop on those wheel covers. Your wheel covers might require those extenders too. We always had old ones laying around from when we replaced valve stems with new tires, so we could give them away when necessary. This might be a case where they did not actually miss with the hole in the wheel cover. You might just need the extender. If the mechanic does not have a used one to give you, there are plenty of them in the salvage yards.
To have a valve stem holding the wheel cover out suggests too much haste on the part of the mechanic. When I worked for a mass merchandiser many years ago, more people got visibly angry if their car was not done the minute it was promised, than did over the cost of new tires. Rather than get screamed at yet again, we worked faster than we should have, and mistakes like this were common. There is two things that can happen here. The biggest concern is the wheel cover is not fully seated and can pop off when you go around a corner or hit a bump. The second thing is some valve extender designs can be pressed in by a wheel cover pushing on it. If the tire has not gone flat by now, it is not going to any time soon, so safety is not an issue. Rather than getting excited over something so trivial, I would just pop the wheel cover off, then put it back on properly. I know that is not a practical option for some people. In that case, just visit that shop again and ask to have the problem corrected. I would not make a special trip for that. Anyone there should be happy to run out and fix that on the spot unless they are busy with another customer.
Sunday, October 14th, 2018 AT 10:57 PM