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The front right wheel came off and the car hit the ground while driving on the Thruway, luckily at a low speed, nobody hurt. The tow guy said the bolts were stripped. Three months previous the wheel bearing job was adjusted, six months earlier had 2 new front tires replaced. Trying to understand why this happened

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  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Dec 21, 2021 at 17:46

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I can't see enough detail on the threads in the picture to definitively tell if they are stripped or not ...

Just from what I see in the picture, it appears the lug nuts have come off ... as in, it looks like they were loose, they fell off, and then allowed the wheel to come off. Damage to the threads is not readily apparent. If they were stripped, you'd be able to see plenty of damage to the studs.

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  • Any thread damage would be caused by wheel movements permitted by loose lug nuts. I found loose lug nuts can even cause fatigue fracture of studs. Dec 21, 2021 at 18:56
  • When I left (6) lugs loose ,the wheel stayed on for over 1100 miles, so the problem may not be obvious for awhile. Dec 21, 2021 at 19:03
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(I have an older Firefox browser) I agree with @blacksmith37 from experience. My original Morris Mini went for many miles before the wheel jumped off and rolled down the hill. The photo in the question shows scuffing around the wheel hub from movement and scraping. The motion and noise is hard to detect until "pop goes the wheel (well) "

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