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Two Front Tires almost fell off after getting them balanced

I went to get my 2 front tires balanced. After 1 day of driving the car started shaking violently and making a metal grinding noise. I didn’t know what was going on. I pulled over and had my car towed to a mechanic. The mechanic said the front two tires were loose. I called up the tire place and they manager stated that its common especially in cold weather aluminum wheels for this to happen. that it was my responsibility to read my manual. and they have checks and balances to ensure the tire was torqued correctly. My question is 'am I SOL on the 60 bucks I had to pay to get my car looked at to determine the cause of the shaking and metal grinding noise? I can’t prove it was the tire places fault for not correctly placing my wheels back on my car.

That problem hasn’t been seen here. Maybe I’m just lucky.

Does you manual say anything about re-torquing aluminum wheels after “X” miles? Did you exceed “X” miles with out checking them? If the answer to either of these question is no, then present the manager with the bill for the tow and diagnosis while showing him what ever the manual says or doesn’t say. And explain to him/her that maybe their “checks and balances” needs some checking and balancing.

I just had a tire flat repaired and noticed on the bill there was a bold warning to retorque the lug nuts after 50 miles of driving. I’d never seen this before on bills from the same store (Jack Williams Tire Center).

It is pretty obvious to me that the balancing of the tires is the issue, especially if the tires were taken off the car for balancing and remounted. You are very lucky that $60 is all that is involved here. I think the shop should be happy to reimburse your $60 and if they don’t that is the last business they should get from you.

It seems we all need to buy torque wrenches. Another thing the average motorists isn’t going to do and shouldn’t need to do.

If this is a “common” occurrence at this shop they need to find a new line of work! Demand reimbursement for the tow.

…manager stated that its common especially in cold weather aluminum wheels for this to happen. that it was my responsibility to read my manual. and they have checks and balances to ensure the tire was torqued correctly.

That sounds like B.S. to me. Time to talk to a lawyer.

It’s common to need to retorque aluminum wheels to the proper torque specs 50-100 miles after you get them put on. It is not, however, common for the lugs to get so loose that the wheel falls off. For that to happen the shop would probably have had to torque them too low to begin with.

They didn’t torque your lug nuts, If they were tightened to even 1/2 the proper torque there is no way they would be coming off the next day. You should have you wheels and studs checked by someone else. The grinding noise was your wheels and lug studs chewing away at each other.
I commend you for stopping and having the car towed, you may have saved the wheels and studs from having to be replaced, You surely stopped a serious accident from happening. The idiots at the shop that balanced the tires should be kissing your feet.

Well i just went through 3 Cherokee manuals 205, 2007, 2008 none of them ever mention anything about re-tightening the lug nuts. They just say tighten to 95ft-lbs and if in doubt about it have it checked at a dealer or service station. I’ll say one thing, why the manual needs to be over 400 pages is beyond me. But there is a lot of good info on cup holders and such crap.

Assuming there was no pre-existing thread damage on the lug nut studs, the people who balanced the tires screwed up.

The manager is just trying to lay this off on you and by his logic one would think that wheels would be falling off in droves every winter; excluding drivers who live in Costa Rica, the Sudan, etc.

And what is this lame “responsibility to read my manual” comment? What a crock. In my opinion they owe you some money.

I’ve only every had wheels get this loose on one car, and this was when I was 17 and watched a mechanic tighten the lug nuts going around in a circle, not in a star pattern. I asked him if this was right and got a “doesn’t matter” reply. A few days later all were loose. Needless to say I didn’t go back to those morons.

I think with yours they put them on finger tight and forgot to tighten them at all.

“But there is a lot of good info on cup holders and such crap.”

–Indeed. There’s a partial page in mine on how you can insert the key with either end up. If you can’t figure out how to insert an ignition key, you really need to have your keeper drive you around IMHO.

Everytime I’ve bought new tires, the receipt always stated that the wheel lug nut torque should be rechecked after 100 miles. And it also states you can check this yourself, or bring the vehicle back in and they’ll do it for free. So if this is from a tire store, they must know something we don’t.

Torque is torque. If the wheels where torqued properly they shouldn’t loosened up that quickly.

Most likey the yahoo that mounted the tires ran the lug nuts down with a cordless impact gun with a low battery and didn’t reach the proper torque spec for the lug nuts. Or ran them down but forgot to tighten them down with a torque wrench.


Sure I have seen and given the warning. I have always taken it as a 'CYA" situation but there is sound technical reasoning behind it. What most likely happened is the shop just ran the lugs down just enough to center the tire and forgot to move on to “step 2” which was for them to make the inital tightening of the wheel. You might have got the manager to trip him self up if you would have questioned him more agressively, but now all hope for that to happen is lost.

I know it is hard to keep your wits about you when this happens but you could have pulled out your lug nut wrench and checked them before calling the tow.

One thing I used to do to cover myself when the pace of the shop got hectic, was stamp on my copy of the repair order “wheels torqued” and inital it. Them when I went through my checklist before turning the car loose I had one less thing to wonder about. My rule was never turn a car loose with any thing leaking or loose, the rest I could deal with.