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I saw a car (sedan) disabled in the left (driving) lane of a fairly busy road, with the right front wheel off, and the car resting on the brake rotor. The car was new-ish, and in good condition. I only had a brief view as I drove by, but saw no sign of an accident/collision. The tire and wheel (leaning against the side of the car) looked OK.

My question is, what could have happened? They might have had a flat, and then the car fell off the jack while changing it; but, it would be pretty crazy to do that where they were. If the wheel had come off (someone forgot the lug nuts?), it seems like it would have rolled down the road. I am at a loss.

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So many possibilities:

The car lost a wheel at speed and they pulled over.

They had a flat and a truck passing or gust of wind pushed the car off the jack - possible if the ground is soft or the jack weak or poor.

Either could be correct, difficult to be sure.

  • I once lost a wheel thanks to some undesirable trying to steal my alloys and not being able to get the locking bolt off so leaving my offside front with just one bolt in. Thankfully I noticed the progressively worse wobble through the steering and managed to stop just before the wheel parted company with the hub. – Steve Matthews Apr 30 at 13:36
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    A work colleague once had the "interesting" experience of seeing one of his own rear wheels overtake him and disappear into the distance, while driving downhill at 70-80 mph. He managed to stop without serious damage to the car, but actually finding the missing wheel took a while! – alephzero Apr 30 at 14:18

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