Ever had to change a flat, and had trouble getting the tire off? Over-tightened lug nuts are no problem for the Cheater Pipe! At least that's the claim. Will this tool give you enough leverage to loosen those lug nuts? Or just cheat you out of eight bucks?
We know how hard and cumbersome it can be to change a flat tire. But the Cheater Pipe claims a little leverage makes the job easy. It's supposed to slip over your lug wrench and provide up to 18 inches of extra leverage. "I think it might work fine for older models," says Mike Job at Plaza Tire. "But newer models have a different kind of lug wrench, with racheting action, and this pipe won't fit over the handle."
So tip number one -- check your lug wrench before you even think about buying a Cheater Pipe.We find an older model car at the Cape Girardeau tire and auto shop, and make sure the lug nuts are very tight. Then, we see if the Cheater Pipe lives up to its claim.
Amy was able to loosen a lug not using the Pipe, but I didn't notice much difference between using it, or using the regular lug wrench. And she discovers another problem with the Cheater Pipe. First, there's no way to stop the pipe from sliding down the entire length of the wrench handle. You have to hold it steady, and at the same time, try cranking it down with one hand -- because your other hand is pushing the wrench solidly against the lug nut, as all tire-changing safety instructions warn to do.
"If you crank down on the wrench with both hands, the entire thing could easily slip off your lug nut," Mike says as he demonstrates for us. "Or worse yet, you could break your nut off, and then you're in a worse position than when you started. You really need to use one hand to steady the wrench against the wheel."
I try a few more times, and it's always the same. It's not very stable, having to hold it steady with one hand. And the thought of slipping makes me leery about applying pressure.