Loose Lug Nuts

Last Thursday, I took my wife’s 04 Subaru Forester in the local shop for a state inspection, oil change and tire rotation. Last night I took the car out for some errands and noticed a thumping sound from the front end of the car when I exceeded about 25 mph. I stopped quickly after I decided I needed to check it out. I found all 5 lug nuts on the front driver side tire so loose that I could turn them by hand.

Can this occur with a few days of light driving after a tire rotation or did the shop forget to tighten the lug nuts properly???

They forgot to tighten them correctly. You’re lucky you found it before something serious happened. If you haven’t already, I suggest you check the other three wheels, too. The lug nuts should be tightened with a torque wrench, not an air gun.

They forgot to torque them properly. As stated before…never torque lug nuts with an air gun. I don’t like the torque sticks/rods for airguns either. The best way to torque the lug nuts is by hand with the proper torque wrench.

In my experience the torque sticks get within +/- 3 ft-lbs of a torque wrench, which is so close to the margin of error on the torque wrench itself that i’d argue that it is just as effective. Even more so if you consider torque sticks don’t have to be recalibrated.