Loose wheel bolts

Could anyone please advise me as to whether it is at all possible for all 4 wheel bolts to come so loose that the wheel was almost completely off after traveling for 10 minutes

Did you recently have a tire repaired or replaced? If so, whoever reinstalled the tire did not tighten the lug nuts sufficiently. If you did not have any tire work done recently, then I would have to suspect vandalism.

If lug nuts are properly tightened it would be highly unusual for one to loosen. For all 4 to loosen is virtually impossible unless they were not installed properly or unless someone is playing a very sick and dangerous prank on you.

Thank you so much for your quick reply, I haven’t recently had the tyre replaced and so really couldn’t understand why they had come so loose, but being a woman and not knowing enough about the mechanics and workings of a car I thought I would try and find out what the possibilities where, and I have to be quiet honest,the thought had crossed my mind that this could have been done deliberately, so now feel quiet devastated. And will be discussing this with my local neibour hood watch/community police officer

I would suspect something more going on here. It would be unusual for lug nuts to come loose for any reason other than not being properly tightened in the first place.

I would have the lug nuts on all four wheels checked. Do you park you car outside where someone might get to it?

I have now had all 4 wheels checked, and thankfully it was only the one wheel, yes my car is parked in the street where people would be able to get to it. There has been a spate of vandalism, wing mirrors broken,tyres let down, that sort of thing, but nothing as serious as this in my mind, none of it is a good and all of it unnecessary to my mind. Thanks for your reply and advice

Related to this thread, several owner manuals that I have looked at advise checking the lugs nuts on aluminum wheel after a hundred miles. Is this uncommon, common, or universal?

It is possible for lug nuts to loosen. I bet it happened on a drive wheel that steers, like on a FWD car. If you have heard creaking noises while creeping up to other cars at a traffic light or stop sign, it was coming from your car. I hope you have been hearing those noises. Most people don’t go around loosening lug nuts, but they do all those other things.

That is something I learned the (almost) hard way. Rolled up to a friend’s house one day and he says- your lugs look loose on the rear tire. Holy smokes! All of them loose, some almost falling off the stud ends. I’ve never had a steel wheel do this but my aluminum “mags” seem prone to it. Now I always check them shortly after re-installation and have gotten into the habit of looking at them periodically. Might be due to the coefficient of expansion or the lug to wheel interface differences (or a combination of the two). Steel wheels have the raised chamfer whereas my “mags” have a simple through hole.

Anything is possible, however with great respect to friends here whose knowledge I know to be extensive, I’ve never had or seen a lug nuts properly torqued on original equipment wheels come loose. I remain uunconvinced.

Replacement wheels with “deep dish” offsets, and especially wheels installed with “spacers”, I offer no opinion on, except that I personally would not want them on my car.

A few possible root causes that I’ve seen are
shops guys don’t always do a proper job of torquing the lugs. Some just zip them all on without going back a second time to double check the torque.
Some don’t even bother with a torque wrench of any kind.
Overtorquing lugs with an impact wrench can be as bad as undertorquing them. Lugs can actually be stretched at the base this way and be forever unable to be properly inatlled again.

Also, if the lugs have been driven loose, the studs need to be properly inspected for damage and checked with go/no-go thread gages. Damaged studs may never properly hold a lug nut again.