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On Friday morning whilst driving my wheel fell off. I was behind a truck taking off at lights and going through intersection at low speed and my wheel fell off. My ute slie for about twenty metres. There was damage to the vehicle and I had to get it towed to get repairs. I had two new tyres fitted on Saturday and had hardly driven my ute because my boss was away (watching the big fight with Danny Green) in Adelaide. I immediately phoned the tyre place and they seemed to be very apologetic. I emailed them photographs I took showing the scratch in intersection and damage to the ute. They replied 'Ok' via email, so I have spoken with the guy who did the job and he has confirmed that he definitely torqued up the wheels before the car went for the alignment and there was no vibrations when the vehicle left there for the test drive afterwards. I am stuck with a $1,200 bill because I am under 21. I will have to borrow money and will not be able to work. Do wheels randomly fall off? I could have been easily have been killed. Any suggestions? Very angry.

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    Were they alloy wheels? For how many kilometers did you drive? If they were alloys and you did drive more than 100 km, you should have tightened the wheel nuts again after 100 km of driving. Wheel nuts on alloys require re-tightening after being driven 100 km. – juhist Feb 6 '17 at 7:39
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    Pictures of the damage would be really helpful here. Also, was anything else replaced? – Zaid Feb 6 '17 at 8:34
  • Can you please describe what you mean by "wheel dropped"? The question is why did it drop? Did it get out because the wheel nuts were not tightened? or some other reason? I can see that some answers mention wheel nuts being re-tightened but I think this can't be the reason. Because: Once we were working on a car and put wheel on with nuts loose because we were going to remove it little later. Then we forgot to tighten the wheel nuts. We were driving on the road and it was evident that something was very wrong. Because the wheel wobbles when the nuts are loose and makes noise!. – Evren Yurtesen Feb 6 '17 at 12:41
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    In the absence of further information there isn't much we can add here. It could be that the tyre shop forgot to tighten the lug nuts, but it could just as well be foul play. No way for us to tell without further information. Voting to put this question on hold. – Zaid Feb 6 '17 at 17:26
  • The main question here is: Do wheels randomly fall off. ... that is a very answerable question. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Feb 6 '17 at 22:48
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Rather than seek advice here, you would be far better speaking to a solicitor as I think it's quite likely you have a case.

Typically it's worth checking your wheel nuts after a few miles so ensure they haven't worked loose. If they didn't tell you to do this, they're likely liable. If they told you to do this but you didn't, it's less likely you would have a successful claim (but not impossible).

First thing to do is to get an independent engineers report into the vehicle and, as I say, find a solicitor.

  • How on earth would you prove whether they did or did not tell you to return to the shop for a re-tightening? Is it an--if it wasn't printed on the repair receipt--it didn't happen, kind of thing? – elrobis Feb 6 '17 at 17:25
  • That would be for the small claims court to decide. I can't really comment further. – Steve Matthews Feb 6 '17 at 17:26
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To answer the main question:

Do wheels randomly fall off.

The answer is:

Absolutely not.

Even if you did nothing with the car afterward (not torqued the wheel after xx amount of miles), the wheel should not have fallen off. You could have had a single lug nut on there torqued to spec and the wheel would not have fallen off (well, you'd have to do some really heavy duty driving to get it to come off - and I do not suggest anyone test this, because it's still not a good situation). People don't seem to realize it's not the lug nuts which keep the wheels in place, it's the friction between the hub and the wheel (which the lug nuts provide) which keeps the wheels in place.

I agree, the main part of this question is really a legal issue, not a maintenance one, but wheels just do not fall off by themselves. It does happen, but so very rarely does it, and when it does it's most likely due to human error, not to mechanical failure.

  • Lol well said !! – Tedwin Feb 6 '17 at 23:22
  • I drowe with a car where the nuts were loose. It is impossible to not feel that something is wrong. Maybe they didn't put any nuts :) I would like to see a photo of how the tire fell off. – Evren Yurtesen Feb 7 '17 at 2:10
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As Steve says, pretty much every tyre shop will give you a warning, either verbally or (more usually) on the paperwork telling you to check and re-torque the wheel nuts after a short distance (here in the UK they usually say 50 miles), as they can work loose as the wheel 'settles' onto the hub - although this is very unusual.

  • Have you ever driven with loose wheel nuts? Because I did and I could easily tell that they were loose, both through vibrations and noise. So I don't think this is a likely to happen scenario. – Evren Yurtesen Feb 6 '17 at 12:45
  • Hi I tried to upload photographs the nuts must have been loose I did hear some noise but least than 1 km from home did not stop. I have probably only driven in that week 5 km. Tyre place is close to home to. How do I prove nuts loose? I am contacting consumer affairs. Anyone heard of this before? – Woodzy Feb 7 '17 at 8:32
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Lol...I apologize but I instantly seen Ron White's stand up.."my tire fell off! It fell off...it fell the f*ck off!" I don't mean to make light of your situation. My guess would be the lugnuts weren't tightened..at all. Laziness, incompetence, and stupidity is my final answer.

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