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Thread: Always double check those lug nuts

  1. #1
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    Default Always double check those lug nuts

    My daughter in law recently got new tires installed at Costco in Michigan.

    The next day my son and I were driving down the road, then a sudden shake and bang. I looked out the drivers side window to see the left front tire rolling through a farmers field. Yup they didn't tighten down the lug nut.

    I walked up the road we had come down and very quickly found 3 lug nuts in the road.

    Always check to see if they tightened down the lug nuts.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Happened to me and my brother in an old Morris Minor on a mountain road. Took us hours to find and retrieve the wheel from as steep gully.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    My favorite cheap local tire place is no longer my favorite after they inadequately tightened a friends wheels after buying four new tires. How in the heck does that happen? Do pneumatic wrenches have a not tight setting?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    How in the heck does that happen?
    one often overlooked step is to recheck and retighten lug nuts after driving twenty to thirty miles
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Possibly the air for the pneumatic lug wrench was off and the residual pressure was enough to spin the nuts up but not cinch them? My older brother, in high school auto shop had that happen to him. He was driving his Triumph Herald and in a stretch of straight two-lane highway, lost the left front wheel, watched it launch itself into the orchard on the other side of the highway.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Z View Post
    yep - always do that.

    when i bought tires for a Miata, i was surprised how harsh the ride was, and it felt squirrely too. the idiots inflated them all to 40 psi. can't they read the decal on the door frame?
    That happened to my daughter with her 2001 Tacoma. For some reason it’s big tires were 80 psi truck tires and that’s what they were at.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Always a good idea to check on such things. Even when you've just paid putative professionals to do it right.
    David G
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  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    one often overlooked step is to recheck and retighten lug nuts after driving twenty to thirty miles


    Yep. Costco even states that in the sales agreement. See # 9.



    Kevin


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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Just the opposite happened to me - some time back, I had the local Toyota dealer ( name redacted ) replace the tires on my RAV4. Months later, I took it to my local mechanic for brake work / tire rotation. The technician called me to relate that they had to replace the wheel studs and lug nuts, because the 'dealer mechanic' had evidently powered on the lug nuts with full torque and galled the threads in the lug nuts - I had to replace all 20 of them - - but none of them loosened on the road / and my mechanic had a bear of a time getting them off ! !


    Rick
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  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    Possibly the air for the pneumatic lug wrench was off and the residual pressure was enough to spin the nuts up but not cinch them? My older brother, in high school auto shop had that happen to him. He was driving his Triumph Herald and in a stretch of straight two-lane highway, lost the left front wheel, watched it launch itself into the orchard on the other side of the highway.

    Perhaps the tire shop should use an actual torque wrench and torque the lug nuts to the specified torque. Crazy talk, I know.

    Back in the late 1970s, when I was but a stripling, my dad bought a new Dodge van (B-200 Tradesman, IIRC). Picked it up from the dealership, and turned in the old beast.

    Pulled out of the dealer's lot. Next turn, a clank-clank-clank sound, and my dad noticed a front-end shimmy.

    U-turn, and back to the dealer.

    2 loose lug nuts in one hubcap, with 2 missing, just one [mostly] keeping the wheel attached to the hub.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    We recently had the underside of our bus blasted and coated, and they had all the wheels off for better access. The dude did say to check all the nuts in a few hundred km, but I pulled one of the wheels off later that week, to address some body rot that the blasting had found.
    This is a basically a Mitsubishi Canter light truck with a bus body, so just one size under having split rims etc, but way more heavy duty than a big pickup. In theory, I shouldn't be able to bust the lugnuts loose, being a bit on the light side, and I had a length of pipe handy for more leverage.
    Let's just say there is no way I would have got "a few hundred km" without the same experience as the OP. Every single nut, including the nut/studs for the duallies at the rear had only just been nipped up, not tightened. Don't trust "professionals" with your nuts, ever. I always bust them loose on the car, and retighten after the trained monkey's at the tyreshop have done their thing - just so I know that I actually can get the damn things undone.

    Pete
    Last edited by epoxyboy; 06-19-2022 at 12:50 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Just adding to the list here, I picked up my Ford from the dealers after a service which included two new tyres and heard a clanking sound from the near side rear. I drove slowly back to the dealership forecourt, parked and stepped inside and, seeing a lady customer inside, said very calmly to the chap at the desk, whom I know, “Can you spare me a moment? Bring a torque wrench!”.

    He was extremely apologetic.
    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 06-19-2022 at 03:03 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Local garage in Norfolk got an earbending from a doctor when his big Rover had a wheel come loose. Nuts on back to front and the bolt threads damaged. They fixed it, new wheel and bolts, but were a bit puzzled as the mech swore he had done it correctly and had been there years.
    Later in the day, the doctor's son turned up and owned up to having a puncture the night before and replacing the nuts about face in the dark.

    Personaly, lost a rear wire wheel off my Alpine. Damp night on little country road, doing about 50mph. Felt a bit squirrilly, thought mud, then bang, wheel went under the boot, kicking the rear up, back down with a crash and managed to keep it on the road. Found the wheel, but the centre nut was a bit elusive, until I gave up and started walking to the next village. Kicked something on the verge, stone? No, the nut.
    Crept home, wondering what had happened. Next day, found that the splines had worn enough to allow the wheel to rotate and undo the nut. Only had the car a few weeks. Swopped everything for steel wheels.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Had something similar on the school bus that I drive the day after a service. Caught it before the wheel parted company but the workshop that cares for the buses copped an earful and I believe someone there was in a bit of strife..
    On my own vehicles I always check my nuts with a tension wrench, the wheel nuts that is....
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    I did that once, and there was a lot of premonitory noise and strange shuddering on braking, so I pulled over and tightened them up.
    A piece of pipe on the lug wrench handle and then a small advance or retreat of the vehicle can apply a lot of leverage to lug nuts as the handle/pipe touches the ground.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Yet another voice added to the mix. If your tire shop is tightening your wheels with a pneumatic wrench, find another shop. Sure, you can get away with it on a truck with steel wheels or a 67 Chevy, but why? Proper torquing keeps from damaging expensive alloy wheels & warping brake rotors - while making it less likely that the lugnuts/bolts will loosen. If you don't have a torque wrench, any shop I know will retorque your wheels for free if they did the work.

    Over-tightening is the main issue with using a pneumatic (impact) wrench. Most (not all) cars nowadays should be torqued somewhere around 80 ft. lbs. - some lower, some higher. An impact wrench will - if set to max - often go to 150 ft. lbs. They are great for taking the nuts off & for spinning them back on lightly, but the final tightening needs to be done with a torque wrench in a star pattern.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    The local auto shop puts lug nuts on with an air impact wrench using a torque stick. Then they use a torque wrench for final tightening. I check them when I get home with my torque wrench.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Definitely good advice about checking the tightness of lug nuts after leaving the shop.

    One way to get lug nuts to stay on is submerge them in seawater. I found that out after taking my boat to Cedar Key and Apalachicola, then later getting the brakes serviced. I heard from the mechanic how difficult it was to get the lug nuts off. For that and other reasons I have since backed down the ramp only to the point that the first inch of tire is submerged.

    The lug nuts often have a bevel so it's a good idea to jiggle the tire to make sure they are seated properly before tightening.
    Will

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Another vote for checking lug nuts shortly after tire work. I once took my Dodge Diesel in to have the tires rotated. I had bought a complete set of tires there a year earlier. From the customers' lounge I could tell the mechanic was having difficulty loosening the nuts because my full-size truck was rocking violently to and fro as he moved from wheel-to-wheel loosening nuts prior to lifting the truck off the floor. Afterward, about a mile from the shop I heard a loud banging noise under the front end. Yep, one of the front wheels was very loose. After tightening that one wheel I drove back to thew shop to have them check all of the wheels.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    I still have my IR 1/2" air impact wrench that I purchased in the mid 1980's and without care it will still ruin almost any fastener it is used on.
    (That particular model came with an oil reservoir, and has done and undone countless fasteners, and even ruined a few, which was my fault. It is good for an honest 450 ft/lbs)
    Good ones are adjustable and predictable within limits. When I worked in an engine production shop we used them exclusively for mains and rods and routinely tested the settings with a torque wrench. As long as the air supply remained constant they were good. Saying that, I still check lug nuts with a hand held wrench, and knock-offs with a lead hammer...
    The new IR version, which is not as robust is very powerful and will I'm certain wreck more fastenings than mine... There is nothing more alarming than watching a youngster tightening lug nuts willy-nilly with an air gun, a professional, someone that has had to repair the damage, not so much.
    "Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX 1/2” Drive Air Impact Wrench – Lightweight 4.6 lb Design, Powerful Torque Output Up to 1,350 ft-lbs, Titanium Hammer Case, Max Control, Gray"


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    It’s hard to imagine not noticing as six lug nuts got loose, the fell off one at a time, until the last one fell off and with it, the wheel.
    Maybe the radio was turned up real loud.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    I was pleasantly surprised when the place that fitted my new front tyres earlier this year gave me a copy of the check sheet they used in the workshop.The last item was check torque after 50 miles and was unchecked until I went back a couple of days later.At which point a fitter walked over to the car with a torque wrench and went round all the relevant nuts.The box was ticked and I was quite happy.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by phiil View Post
    Itís hard to imagine not noticing as six lug nuts got loose, the fell off one at a time, until the last one fell off and with it, the wheel.
    Maybe the radio was turned up real loud.
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by phiil View Post
    It’s hard to imagine not noticing as six lug nuts got loose, the fell off one at a time, until the last one fell off and with it, the wheel.
    Maybe the radio was turned up real loud.
    Plus, since the studs are a sloppy fit in the holes, the wheel starts to make unusual noises as they get merely loose, not lost.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    Do pneumatic wrenches have a not tight setting?
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    See a lot of these on big rigs, good idea, applicable for small tires?

    Why do big truck wheels have those pointy-headed bolts? - Quora


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by epoxyboy View Post
    We recently had the underside of our bus blasted and coated, and they had all the wheels off for better access. The dude did say to check all the nuts in a few hundred km, but I pulled one of the wheels off later that week, to address some body rot that the blasting had found.......
    Pete
    I need to address a similar issue on our Nissan Sentra (2012), whose undersides have rusted due to sparing use (60k kms) and proximity to the ocean.

    Would be much obliged if you could share info on the products that were applied etc.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by woodpile View Post
    See a lot of these on big rigs, good idea, applicable for small tires?

    Why do big truck wheels have those pointy-headed bolts? - Quora
    They are a good idea - but fact is, that a shop taking an extra 2-3 minutes torquing the nuts/studs works just fine. Tractor trailers have huge stresses that cars & light trucks don't have.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Always double check those lug nuts

    Had my buddy call me up one day to have me come over and check out his Chevy van. Said it was making a clunk noise every now and then and was driving him crazy. Went out for a test drive and sure enough I heard the noise. Had a hard time locating the source as it banged through the whole van. After some thought and a few brews I checked the wheel lug nuts. 3 ok but on the right rear found the source. Somebody had tried to steal his Crager wheels but only managed to take off 4 of the 5 lugs before being scared off. The one remaining loose lug still managed to make a mess of the aluminum wheel. As for tire shops using air guns to do up lugs, stop them. I feel it's ok to remove nuts with a gun but do them up with a torque wrench. I do all my work with the proper sized socket and most times end up having to punch the nut out of the socket and tapping all six sides of the tin cover to make it fit the socket properly. Many times the lug is WAY over tightened with and air impact..

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