Loose Lug Nuts

I had the brakes on my 1990 Jeep Wrangler serviced 2 months ago (a little over 900 miles ago). Today I couldn’t keep my Jeep straight while driving on the freeway. I pulled over, called a tow truck and as we were towing the Jeep, the back wheel came completely off. While transferring my Jeep to a flat bed tow truck, the tow truck driver checked the lugs on my other rear tire to discover that they were loose.

My mechanic who did the service two months ago is telling me it couldn’t possibly be their fault because loose lug nuts would have caused a problem within 25 miles.

I really think that there was a problem with the tightening of the lugs when they serviced my car. There has been no opportunity for anyone to “mess” with my lug nuts and besides I have a locking lug nut on each wheel (so nobody would try to steal the tires).

Is it possible that a wheel could take 900 miles to come loose if the lug nuts were either over tightened or not tightened enough?

If the locking lug nuts were loose also, it seems that your mechanic or his people did not do a proper job of tightening all of the lug nuts on a wheel. Who else would have the key for the locking nuts?

This is a rare situation. I have, however, been in a car that developed a loose set of lug nuts on one wheel after 90 miles. 25 miles would not, in my view, be a standard to go by.

I just had a loose lug nut situation on one wheel that took about 400 miles to become evident. (I’ve always double-checked the fluids immediately after having service, but I never thought to check the lug nuts also, so I’ll be doing that from now on.)

I had to change a front tire on my wife’s 98 Windstar. About a month and 600 - 700 miles later I noticed a slight vibration in the wheel at highway speeds. I pulled off at the next exit and found that the lug nuts were loose on the wheel I had changed. I had tightened them at the time, but obviously not enough.

I would guess the in your case the nuts were tightened either too little or too much (stretching the lugs). It will be difficult to prove though.

Another time I had lug nuts loosen up in 20 miles, but that was because when I changed the tire I forgot to tighten the nuts after the car came off the jack.

Ed B.

Depending on the wheel material, some wheels require the lugs to be re-tightened after 150 miles or so.

It’s his fault.

By the way, sincere congratulations for having the presence of mind and good sense to call a tow truck when you had handling problems on the highway. You may have saved a life by doing so.

It is not, you prove itis,he does not need to prove it isn’t, can’t prove a negative remember?

Thank you all for your replies. I’m trying to be fair to the mechanic.

And thank you “The Same Mountainbike”, I surely would have caused a very serious accident if the wheel would have come off while I was driving (it was a very busy freeway in rush hour traffic). I was only two exits away from my destination and actually contemplated continuing at a slower pace. I feel very lucky to be alive!

Thanks again all. I appreciate your input!

Consider it my opinion then. I’d consider it highly likely that the shop that removed and replaced the wheels a few months ago is responsible for the loose lug nuts. Can I prove it? Nope. But I cannot see any more likely candidate for responsibility.

Any number of events could have occured in the time period in question, WE just don’t know.

Other than the tow are there additional damages?

I’m not sure. The mechanic hasn’t called back yet to give me an evaluation. We were luckily on an off ramp when it happened so the tow truck driver pulled over right away. It only dragged about 10 feet on the drum. (Fingers crossed!)

I just got back from the mechanic. What a GREAT guy! He didn’t really think it was anything done at his shop but he didn’t charge me for the repair or the tow. Thankfully there was no damage to the drum!

I’m going back next week for him to check the lug nuts to make sure all is well…

Thanks again for all of your input!

I’m glad to hear the good ending. Thanks for posting.

I feels like a true blessing to realize that what’s now just a recheck of the lug nuts after a minor inconvenience could have instead been a disaster. It truely does my heart good to know that you had the good sense to do the safe thing. I wish more people would.

Sincere best.