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Newbie question - Wheel Nuts painted red?


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Hi there,

I'm a military modeller and I've just started modelling some UK & US Softskins for a D-Day Mulberry Harbour exhibition. I've noticed a lot of restored British Trucks have the wheel nuts painted Red and White - would they have been like this during the war or was this a peacetime affectation?

Thanks in anticipation

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The regulation and the practice  during and well beyond WW2 was that British vehicles had the nuts that hold split rims together painted red as undoing them with any amount of pressure in the tire could be fatal. The nuts that hold the wheel onto the hub were painted white to distinguish them from the red ones. This was not an affectation but a safety measure and was in place long before  D day. It was specificly mentioned in some camouflage regulations that the painting of wheel nuts did not compromise camouflage and was to be continued.

Red towing hooks and lifting points are an affectation but very common post war.

It also became normal practice to paint fuel caps red for petrol or yellow for diesel post war but I don't know of this was required by regulation or just popular tarting up.


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A quote from a 1939 instruction book [ on each wheel there are two rings of nuts the outer set is coloured red if you only want to remove the wheel to get the wheel off slacken the inner ring of [ uncoloured nuts] the ring of red nut s should be never touched unless the tyre  is deflated

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In my 1944 workshop manual for my Ford WOT2 it mentions about the Red nuts. After a friend talked about white wheel nuts, I looked at all the photos I had of all wartime Ford WOT2 trucks and none had white wheel nuts. Seems to be a post-war thing.

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