Here’s the rundown: I have a '98 Ford Windstar which I purchased from a friend a couple of years ago for $300; it had already been declared totalled by their insurance company twice over before it came to me. The van had been driven through deep water, doing something unspeakable to the transmission so that now it won’t shift out of 1st gear while in D. I have to put it into the Low gear to get it to shift out of first and the thing will struggle to reach 45 miles per hour on a good day.
I suffered two flat tires in the space of about a week recently; I used the full sized spare for one, and on the second flat, the rim got bent all to hell, so I had to use the compact spare for the driver’s side rear wheel. The compact spare was pretty rusty and lo and behold, the holes in the rim for the lug nuts bent out so that the wheel practically fell off (thankfully, not while I was on the road). I found a new wheel and tire at a salvage yard for a good price (under $40 for the whole shebang) and proceeded to put the new wheel on… and one of the bolts for the lug nuts broke off while I was trying to break the nut loose to remove the spare. I went ahead and put the new wheel on, tightened the remaining 4 lug nuts, and took it to a shop to have the lug nuts tightened with a torque wrench. I fully intend to get a replacement for the necessary parts, but I won’t be able to afford it for almost a month on my meager paycheck.
I don’t drive far; typically a mile to work, a mile back, once a week or so maybe another 4 mile round trip to a grocery store. I don’t drive on the highway and rarely exceed 35 mph in any case. What’s my danger/idiot factor if I (cautiously) drive with only 4 out of 5 lug nuts secured?