My tire fell off

I was unable over the weekend to get the flaten tired fixed, so still drove into work this morning with the regular but small tire still on. TWO major things occured on the drive in and not sure if the tire was the cause to 1.

Issue 1: While driving in the front tire fell off. Yep all 5 lug nuts came off and the tire came off kinda. Not all the way. I was driving slow any way and started to hear what sounded like the tire going flat. I pulled over to find all the lugnuts on the ground and the tire about to fall off. I called a tow truck we took it to a local shop who replaced the lug nuts and the 5 things your screw the lugs nuts onto. they said they saw no other damage. Also said the different size tire would not have caused that, but the lack of tightness is why the lug nuts came lose. They said I was lucky and didn’t get killed or do more damage. I believe them when they said no other damag was done because they could have said this and that needed to be replaced and didn’t.

Issue 2. Before the tire came off my CEL came on and the car engine isn’t sounding right, kinda struggling when at idle and I wondered if with the smaller sized tire could have caused something in the timing maybe? I have not had a chance to check the CEL for code yet.

What kind of vehicle is this?

  1. sincere thanks for immediately pulling over, checking what the problem was, and calling a tow truck. You may have saved your life or the life of someone else, and you definitely saved a modest bill from becoming an enormous bill. You deserve a pat on the back.

  2. the shop you got towed to can be trusted. They did the correct thing in checking and ultimately replacing the studs as well as the nuts. A loose whell can do an awful lot of damage to threads, and it’s critical that the studs can allow proper seating torque, and retention. They did right by you.

  3. as to the last question, it’s important for us to know the year, make, model, and engine (if more that one) of the vehicle. It’s also important to know if it’s two wheel drive, four wheel drive, or all wheel drive.

Post back.


This is the same poster who began a thread a few days ago, regarding his FWD Kia minivan, and mounting a spare tire on it that is a different size than the tires on the other wheels. His other thread can be viewed at

All I can say is that the tire salesmen and the tire technicians at that tire shop deserve to be censured BIG TIME for making two mistakes, the second one of which could have killed somebody!

Tire people tend to be total morons. I had a directional tire mounted backwards once.

The moron is me. Last friday I had a flat and had AAA put on the spare, which he told me I needed to go to a tire shop and have them torque them on. I tightented them myself as I have changed out tires before and not gone and had them torqued. The car is a 2002 Kia Mini van. In all of my life and putting on spares and hand tighting them down I have never had one come off. The engine is a 6 clinder.

Well, it takes a big man nowadays to admit fault.
Since we live in an age where it seems that the vast majority of folks refuse to take responsibility for their own actions, I applaud you for taking responsibility!

What I can’t figure out is am I wimping out and not able to do something as simple as tighten a lug nut to stay on or could the rim/tire have added to the problem of it coming off?

For about $25 you can get a beam-type torque wrench and be certain of your torque in the future. Look up your specs in the woner’s manual. It’ll probably be somewhere aroun 80-100 lb/ft.

If the wheel is put on with the right amount a torque is it still possible for it to come off if the wheel isn’t the right size? I mean the rim looked good and the tire is only a 205 over it should be a 215…

The difference in tire size had nothing to do with the wheel coming loose.
It is/was a matter of improper torqueing of the nuts–or–studs/nuts that were damaged by the AAA guy or the OP.

I’ll second what VDC said about tire size. Its irrelevant to this.

It is generally good practice, after installing a tire, to recheck the torque/retighten after 100 miles or so. (Wheels cool). Stuff like this does happen.

Those torque sticks mountainbike mentioned are great.
Harbor fright has a nice set that actually works:

And to Bertrand, if it was something you did, we all make boneheaded moves from time to time.
Glad it worked out and nobody got hurt.

I had not even driven maybe 40 miles when this happen. Drove to and from work last friday which is about 30 miles and then no where this weekend and then was almost to work this morning when it happened. All city driving, never got above 40 miles an hour…

Cigroller is right recheck the torque. Some rim types call for a re-torque after only 25 miles. The rims on my Jeep are this way.

bertrand wrote:
What I can’t figure out is am I wimping out and not able to do something as simple as tighten a lug nut to stay on or could the rim/tire have added to the problem of it coming off?

I agree that a strong hand-tightening should hold up for a short time. Did you use a star pattern and tighten them gradually? I could possibly see this happening if the first one was put on fully tight and then a star pattern wasn’t used for the remaining ones.

Torque sticks are great, but I was actually thinking more of something like in the attached link. It’s a bit more affordable for those who only occasionally need one.

Is it possible you let the car down off the jack before you “snugged up” the lug nuts? That could cause you to think the wheel was on tight but was actually still off the hub somewhat.

A 4-way lug wrench has worked great for many years. What has suddenly made such simple task difficult?

I didn’t let the car down the AAA guy did he put the tire on, did some tightening and put it down and said I shouldn’t drive it due to the tire being smaller. He left, I then took my crappy supplied sug wrench wanna be and tightened down father using the pattern of like a Star.