Reports are warning drivers about a new, dangerously dumb TikTok challenge spreading across social media where people are being encouraged to loosen lug nuts on cars to see what happens. It sounds scary, but there’s one problem: There’s little evidence that it’s actually happening.
TikTok is a bastion of frankly stupid challenges. Users challenge each other to throw cheese at cars or choke themselves until they pass out. Spend enough time on the platform and you’ll give yourself a concussion from the amount of facepalming that you’ll do. Local news stations are warning drivers to check their lug nuts because drivers have been finding their wheels tampered with.
Indeed, these stories have been popping up in my own news feed and I decided to take a look.
A TikTok challenge is being blamed for the loose nuts. The ‘Lug Nut Challenge’ is said to encourage TikTok users to film themselves loosening lug nuts and seeing what happens when the owner shows up. The above report from ABC 10 News in California tells the story of seven vehicles that had multiple lug nuts loosened with lug nut covers missing. A WWLP viewer in Massachusetts found their own lug nuts loosened and local police report dealing with similar. Both of these reports come after the fact, and it’s not truly known how or why the lug nuts were loosened.
Just like with the silly cheese challenge, I had to find these videos so I could break my brain at this stupidity. But weirdly, there doesn’t seem to be a single video out there of this happening.
That’s a bit odd for a supposedly trendy challenge. Fire off “Lug Nut Challenge” on TikTok and none of the videos depict someone loosening lug nuts for funsies. One user notes that her wheel fell off, but her car was recently worked on and she isn’t sure if that is to blame.
Drilling deeper and searching #lugnutchallenge doesn’t help. It’s possible that TikTok has removed these videos given the dangerous implications of the challenge.
But if it was trending on TikTok, chances are you’ll also find it on YouTube. However, even there, there are no videos of the challenge actually happening. As a last ditch effort, I checked Twitter, and the results were no different.
So, what’s going on here?
While I don’t doubt that there are some jerks out there loosening lug nuts for the giggles, it doesn’t appear to be the trend it’s made out to be. Lug nuts could be loose for other reasons, from a tire shop not applying proper torque to the nuts to improper mating surfaces.
Still, even if the Lug Nut Challenge isn’t so viral, it’s a good idea to check your lug nuts from time to time and make sure that they’re nice and tight.