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Broken off Lug nuts tire studs

As I drove home from work today my car began to vibrate and shake violently after a short time I realized this problem wasn’t getting better, only worse. I pulled over.

Come to find out that two adjacent (out of the four) lug nut bolts on my front passenger tire were completely GONE! Broken off. After examining further one of the remaining two lug nuts came off with only a few turns by hand.

DejaVu! This actually happened to me about a year ago in the same situation, after just getting new tires put on my car. The lug nuts broke off almost causing the tire to fall of. I ended up getting the tires for free and all my expenses paid for.

Today’s incident happened to the tire which had been put on brand new only 2 months ago by the same place the first issue was caused by. The first time this happened the place we had it repair attributed the incident to over torked lug nuts and told us the place we had the tires put on had caused the problem.

However the first time this occured it only took about 100 miles for the tire to nearly fall off. This time, it took nearly two months and probably close to 25,000 miles.


What could have caused this problem? Is it once again a bad torque job and can it be attributed to the place that put on the tire? If not what is the cause of this issue?

The only thing that can cause this is if the wheels weren’t torqued properly, or if the lug studs were stressed.

There isn’t kind of lubricant on the lug studs is there?


You will see competent tire stores using a hand torque wrench to do the final tightening.

At some point, a high-powered impact wrench over-tightened and damaged your studs…

Thanks for the quick reply… No there wasn’t any sort of lubricant on the studs. What could cause the lug studs to “stress”?

The original mechanic when it happened the first time said the same thing. That they used the high powered torque wrench and over tightened the lugs nuts. the problem I am running into is this store which I shall just come out and say is WMART is claiming that there is no way they could have over torqued it because their “system” won’t allow it to torque past the listed specifications. They put it into their “system” and it won’t allow them to go past the “recommended” specifications.

And for the record, no I"m not real excited that I even bought tires at WMart but the fact of the matter is when you live in the middle of no where you go where ever you are going to get ripped off and WMart was our only option. The only reason we returned to have them put on this latest tire is that we thought the tires were still under warranty when one of them burst.

Additionally they are claiming that 2 months after the tire was put on it can’t really be their fault.

If you’re the last one to touch that system and something goes wrong, who’s fault is it?


These places are notorious for using low-wage wrench monkeys. Give them shotgun training, arm them with pnuematic impact wrenches, and cut them loose on your car. Cheap tires are just not worth it.

Alright, so we agree that trying to be cheap on tires doesn’t always help. But in the immediate moment do you believe I have an argument to not be paying for all the expenses incurred from this issue and further the tire itself which was clearly not put on correctly!

While I don’t think much of WM’s service center let me throw this out there.
It’s entirely possible that someone at WM either failed to properly tighten the lugs or overtightened them; either of which could come back to bite later.
And yes, it may take a week, month, or even months to happen.

It’s also possible that someone in the past may have damaged the threads. WM may have installed new tires and properly torqued them down but due to any possible prior thread damage the lugs could have worked loose.

I’m not defending WM here; only pointing out a possibility in which they may not be the ones behind the root cause of the problem.

About 2 years ago my daughter bought new tires (Goodyears) at WM and was visiting a few weeks later. She asked me a question about her car so I went for a ride out the highway. At highway speeds the car was shaking itself to pieces so I suggested back to my house. Since I have a wheel balancer at my house I pulled the 2 rears off and found one tire to be 1.5 ounces out of balance with the other, believe it or not, 4+ ounces out. An ounce and half is a bunch but 4+ is equivalent to a country mile.

Needless to say, in those few short weeks the tire that was 4 out was totally ruined and had a huge flat spot on it. WM balked at first but with “encouragement” from the store manager they replaced both rears again.

For what it’s worth as an FYI, WM does not even own their service centers. They’re a subcontract operation and used to be operated by Quaker State. Whether QS still runs them I do not know.
Those operations are under a bunch of stress too. Factor in relatively inexperienced employees along with the criteria they work under (the service center has to meet certain percentage goals in regards to net, gross, etc.) and you can see how problems can develop.

Off-centered wheels will always have loose lug nuts as soon as there is enough stress to cause the wheel to move in relation to the hub. They go from tight to loose in an instant. It may happen right away or two months later but it always happens.

The lug nut must be centered in the lug. Anybody doing the work will notice this if he takes two seconds to check his work. The first thing that people quit doing is checking up on themselves; it’s a natural thing. Confidence builds and checking stops.

There are other reasons for broken studs and loose lug nuts, but they have been covered here.