Untorqued wheel broke off - need to replace?

One of my wheels literally broke off last week. There was some noise coming from the car a few days before, but we didn’t think much of it. There was much more noise right before it broke off. Apparently, the wheel wasn’t torqued properly when snow tires were put on in December and the sound we heard was it coming loose. Thank goodness it came off when approaching a stop sign versus the highway. I had it towed to the same place that put on the snow tires.

We were driving it for over a month, so there was a lot of rubbing before it broke off, and when we looked at the wheel, the holes looked jagged and oblong (I’m attaching a pic of one of the holes). From a couple people I spoke to, one of whom works at a service center in a different state and another from Tire Rack, they say that wheel should not be re-used. However, the master mechanic at the repair shop has cleaned up the holes and says it’s fine to use. They put the wheel back on and drove it a few miles. He said it would make a clunking noise right away if it was too bad to use.

I’m obviously worried about this. I feel the service center should pay for a new wheel to ensure safety (of course the wheels I got are discontinued so a new one won’t match which is another annoyance) in addition to fixing everything that was damaged as a result from this. They have put in a new wheel bearing and joints, studs and lugnuts, and everything checked out on an alignment, but when they told me it was ready to pickup, they had not commented on the dent in the fender. The dent happened as a result when the car fell, and my door wasn’t opening smoothly. After I asked about it, they looked at it and are fixing that now. Thank goodness.

I wonder if there are any other things I may be missing. Any advice about the wheel, or anything else, is appreciated.

Take a look at the invoice that you received from the folks who sold you the tires.
If their establishment is like most of them, there is probably some verbiage along the lines of…
Please return in x number of miles/days for the lug nut torque to be checked.

Many people likely ignore that statement, but–as you found out the hard way–it is wise to do exactly what is recommended. Rather than driving back to the tire dealer, I check them with my own torque wrench a few days later.

That being said, I would NOT reuse that wheel, and I would also be concerned about damage to the studs themselves.


Thank you @VDCdriver. The studs actually broke off so they replaced them. I had ordered the tires and wheels online a few years back and a Honda dealership put them on this season. I never knew about going back to have them re-check the torque. I will certainly do that from now on!

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Theses wheels are a 2nd set? Winter tires? That you had dealer install recently? Where is set #1?

Have you looked at your invoice to see whether the tire dealer recommended going back to re-check the torque?

That wheel is junk… it must be replaced. The joint between the wheel and hub is absolutely critical to your safety.


@VDCdriver I did find the receipt and I don’t find any such wording. Nor did they tell me to come back.

@Cavell Yes, these are my snow/winter tires. I had gone to the dealership for an oil change and for them to put these tires on in early December. My summer tires/wheels are at home.

Thanks @Mustangman. It seems like common sense that the wheel is unreliable. I don’t understand why a master mechanic is saying otherwise. :frowning: Ugh. They did replace the ball joint.

The mechanic said what he did so the shop would not have to pay for the mistake… if that was the shop that mounted it.

He may actually believe it… but it isn’t HIS life at risk.


@Mustangman It is the same dealership shop that mounted it. That’s what I don’t get either - they are paying for other things - fender dent, wheel bearing, ball joint - doesn’t make sense.

Yes it makes sense… wheels are expensive.

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Then I would try to get the shop to pay for a new rim


I had new tires installed recently. Neither the invoice nor the salesperson mentioned coming in to have them tightened. I don’t trust anybody. Before I drove off I checked the torque on the nuts and the pressure in the tires, right there in the lot.

The need to have the retorque is for new alloy wheels. The aluminum will “cold flow” out from under the lug nuts. Once they are re-torqued, they are good to go.

Steel wheels do not need to be retorqued.

If it was a steel wheel that was damaged, it may be safe to drive on. The critical part is the hub hole, it has to match the raised part of the hub. The nuts just hold the wheel to the hub. BUT, it wasn’t like that when you brought it in so they should be replace it.

It’s a bit like a small dent or scratch, it doesn’t affect safety, but it wasn’t there when you brought it in so it should not be there now.

@RandomTroll In all my years, I have never had anyone tell me to come back to get tires tightened. Now I don’t trust anyone either.

Thanks @keith . All good points. They are alloy wheels.

Well as you very well know, this is a very litigious society that we live in, I would get a lawyer to recommend a compatible solution to the cost of this repair or you will sue them in small claims court. And you/your son/daughter/nephew/whoever will be very happy to post updates of everything that happened (with photos of the your car and a photo of their business) and updates to what is going to happen to Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube, and WhatsApp), not to mention “Letters to the Editor” of the local Newspapers (innocently seeking advice…), and calls to the local TV News seeking help from various investigative reporters.

Of course, you need to discuss the ramifications of your actions (assuming there are legal (no lies, no exaggerations, nothing that is not true and provable…) with your lawyer or you can get sued.

Calling, making an appointment, and talking to a lawyer should cost you nothing and they will tell you want you can and what they can do and they should provide you a written cost estimate.

It all depends on how you feel about the way you were treated by this business and how much you are willing to spend.

Good Luck and Safe Driving



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Order a replacement wheel, bring it to the service department, ask them to replace the damaged wheel and to pay for the wheel. This will not be a costly settlement; they should be willing to close the case.

I can’t imagine an attorney making an appointment to discuss a $200 wheel. When a lawyer is brought into the picture, the dealer might question who loosened the wheel, it has been a month since the wheels were installed.

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If they can find one.