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Get the Most from Your Truck Nuts

March 28, 2011

Whether factory-installed, aftermarket, or even bespoke, nothing so elegantly and unmistakably telegraphs your status as an individual of breeding and achievement as a well-chosen pair of truck nuts. Yet many drivers and truck owners who consider themselves fastidious in every other respect turn out, embarrassingly, to be completely inept and ill-informed on the topic of truck nuts. Though true truck nut mastery may present a daunting challenge to novices, it is by no means an insurmountable task. So that you may begin your truck nut odyssey on the right foot, Japecake has compiled the following brief guide to help you avoid some of the most common truck nut pitfalls—and to put truck nuts, in a very real sense, at your fingertips. Above all, don’t get discouraged if, in your inexperience, you begin to think of yourself as slightly lower than your more experienced truck nut peers. That’s just as it should be.

* * *


I am a woman. Are truck nuts for me?
Absolutely. Remember, while the truck nuts are “yours” vicariously, they are, in the end, the truck’s nuts.

I drive a car, not a truck. Is it correct to hang truck nuts from my vehicle?
While a truck was once considered de rigeur for the proper display of truck nuts, protocol has relaxed somewhat in recent years to allow truck nut use on most modes of transportation. As a matter of custom, it should be noted that “truck nuts” remains the standard appellation in all instances, even when the vehicle is not, strictly speaking, a truck. (So, “The truck nuts on my Bentley,” but never “The car nuts on my Aston Martin.”) The paramount consideration is to select the truck nuts that are most appropriate, as nothing telegraphs gaucherie so instantly as a poorly considered pair of truck nuts. As a practical matter, excessively large or low-hanging truck nuts also risk damage from curbs, speed bumps, and other obstacles, necessitating in some cases expensive truck nut repair. It should be further noted that, when used on personal aircraft or boats, truck nuts must clearly bear the registration number.

I recently saw truck nuts made from a pair of billiard balls. This struck me as an interesting alternative to the norm, and I must admit I was tempted by the notion of having such a pair for myself. May I indulge in this bit of whimsy?
One recent development in the truck nut sphere has been faddish experimentation with the classic truck nut form, from sleek, stylized Art Deco–influenced models to permutations employing actual walnuts or hardware-store nuts to a multiple lateral arrangement in a “Newton’s cradle.” Most such examples, however, rarely rise above the level of mere novelty, and are thus best avoided. The guiding principle for truck nut taste is, and shall remain for the forseeable future, that truck nuts ought to more or less resemble their human counterparts.

Must I choose the color of my truck nuts according to my race? I am quite pale in complexion and would like to select truck nuts that project a more robust glow.
Happily, the traditional egalitarian spirit of truck nuts dictates that the color of one’s truck nuts need not be dictated by racial or ethnic identity. Indeed, color is one area in which truck nut owners may enjoy, within limits, a certain freedom of self-expression. Solid colors are always most acceptable for truck nuts, and while there is some latitude in that matter (see below), there is little leeway when it comes to truck nut embellishment. Notable exceptions include a small, discreet monogram, as well as one’s family crest, ancestral tartan (for those of Scottish descent), prep school or college colors (one per truck nut, never combined on a single nut), or military rank. Metallic truck nuts, particularly those in brass or pewter, have a certain currency among those who appreciate antiques, but as the truck nuts must be well polished and tarnish-free at all times, the decision to fully commit to this extra maintenance must be weighed carefully.

May I display truck nuts from my rearview mirror?
Not only is this impractical, dangerous, and in poor taste, it is anatomically incorrect.

As my wife left for her tennis lesson this morning, I noticed that her truck nuts remained perfectly still, even as she made a sharp turn. Is this normal?
Properly deployed and maintained truck nuts are never stationary, and, indeed, a subtle swing even while stopped at intersections is the mark of a high-quality, correctly calibrated pair. “Frozen” truck nuts require oiling and, if the problem persists, the expert attention of a mechanic and/or urologist.

* * *


In formal contexts, the general rule of thumb in addressing truck nuts is to incorporate make and model, e.g.:

Mr. and Mrs. Philip Danforth Cheltenham III
Request the pleasure of your company
At the marriage of their daughter
Lenore Elizabeth
Mr. Dodge Ram Truck Nuts
Brindley Hall, Newport, Rhode Island
on Friday 24th June 2011
at 2:30 o’clock
The favor of a reply is requested

Where appropriate, honorific titles are used, e.g.

The Honorable Ford F-150 Truck Nuts
Baron Chevrolet Silverado Truck Nuts
His Serene Highness GMC Sierra Truck Nuts
Toyota Tacoma Truck Nuts, D.D.S.

* * *


Since its roots in the truck nut semaphore so cleverly employed by the Allies in the Battle of the Ardennes during World War I, the complex “language” of truck nuts has become more or less codified through generations of custom and tradition. Each color has a message all its own, and many aficionados own truck nuts in a virtual rainbow, which allows for near-instant changes according to mood or season. Even the subtlest gradation of hue must be carefully heeded, as chromatic truck nut misunderstandings can be exceedingly awkward, if not socially disastrous. The list below is but a representative sample; for a more comprehensive guide to truck nut colors and their meanings, consult the eleventh edition of Cassell’s English–Truck Nut/Truck Nut–English Dictionary.

  • Carbon Black = “We are stranded en route to Sotheby’s and require assistance!”
  • Café au Lait = “Good help is hard to find!”
  • Navy Blue = “See you at the regatta!”
  • Old Gold = “Do you have any Grey Poupon?”
  • Seafoam = “Why, yes, I am a Mayflower descendant!”
  • Moss Green = “I’m an heir. That is my job!”
  • Forest Green = “We need a fourth for golf!”
  • Kelly Green = “F*ck you, f*ckers! We won the lottery!” Also: Irish
  • Light Pink = Kennedy by marriage
  • Tyrian Purple = “We are stranded en route to the Hamptons and require a very dry Pinot Noir!”
11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2011 8:00 am

    We thought our Kelly Green truck nuts signified our ecofriendliness. Now I understand why the neighbors won’t speak to us.

    • March 28, 2011 4:41 pm

      It’s so sad that anti-Irish prejudice is still a factor in 2011.

  2. sonnypi67 permalink
    March 28, 2011 8:04 am

    Truck nuttin’. Going truck nuttin’. Yeah!

    • March 28, 2011 11:51 am

      I think you have the first two lines of a country-western hit.

  3. sonnypi67 permalink
    March 28, 2011 8:22 am

    I would have thought seafoam meant that you used to be in a band in Seattle during the whole Grunge scene.

  4. March 28, 2011 11:08 am

    You had to use the name Lenore. Had to, eh?
    I’d like to exchange my Carbon Black for Raven Black, please.

  5. March 28, 2011 9:06 pm

    Thanks for explaining the meaning behind my Seafoam truck nuts. I was wondering why girls were always refusing to get into my car because they didn’t ‘swing the Mayflower way.’

    • March 28, 2011 10:14 pm

      You know what the real immigration problem in the U.S. is? All of these newcomers from non-truck nuts countries. I say, grow a pair or get out!

      • March 28, 2011 11:26 pm

        A perfectly ripe suggestion! It’s these non-truck nuts newcomers that are ruining America with their white-washing of American history to remove any references to the Mayflower’s prominent display of truck nuts and their role in striking Plymouth Rock, an instance recorded by William Bradford: “Our hearts swelled with heavenly gratitude at the thump of our truck nuts striking Plymouth Rock as though the hand of God Himself were delivering our fair ship a celestial continental cuff to the crotch!”

    • sinikl permalink
      July 27, 2011 7:57 pm

      I think you meant SeaWEED green.

  6. April 7, 2011 11:45 pm

    “Truck Nuts- Never has tea bagging been so dangerous. Or fun!”

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