Wheel dislodged after hearing grinding sound

I recently had my tires balanced and rotated, and after about a week I discovered that my car would make a grinding sound coming from the rear driver’s side when braking. I assumed that I needed a rotor/brake pad replacement and scheduled an appointment for about a week later. I figured I would be able to drive in the mean time but the grinding sound became progressively worse and ended up being there even when I wasn’t using the brakes. Then, while driving i heard a pop, and the grinding stopped. A few moments later my tire was squeaking and I felt resistance while trying to accelerate. I looked, and saw that the entire wheel was out of place and at an angle, causing it to press against the chassis.

I’m not sure what the issue is and I don’t know if I should get the brakes repaired first or focus on the dislocated wheel. I also don’t know if the issue might be related to a faulty tire rotation/balancing service. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

What year, make, and model car do you have?

And why didn’t you immediately take the car back to the mechanic when the noise started? Based on your description, I fear you may have made a minor problem a whole lot worse (and more expensive)…

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It’s a 2017 VW jetta with around 50k miles. I had the balance/rotation done at a discount tire co, so I didn’t think it was something they would be knowledgeable about. I also thought it was just the rotors/brake pads since it was about time to have them replaced anyways. It probably wasn’t the best decision on my part, but here I am.

The only thing I can think of is something may have been lodged/stuck in between the wheel and the brake dust shield. That happened to me once, and it was a terrible screeching-type sound. We had to remove the wheel and remove the rock.

But your situation is a little different. The “pop” and wheel not sitting right on the hub would greatly concern me.

I’d have the car towed to another mechanic for a diagnosis. It doesn’t have to be a VW dealer. While Discount Tire may have caused this issue…your continuing to drive the car may have made the problem worse.

At this point, I’d say the repairs are on you.

Sounds like the lug bolts were loose and the wheel came off. Do you have a camera?

You can’t drive the car with three wheels, it will need to be towed to a repair shop. They will let you know if your car also needs brake work.


Yep, loose lug bolts is my guess, too. Now you know: any time a problem starts right after work is done, take it back immediately to that shop.


My son had his wheel fall out after Discount tire didn’t fasten lugnuts properly. Discount tire sent a tow truck and had it towed to a shop on their tab. All damage was repaired on their tab. When finished the shop they towed it to would not release the vehicle because of a brake line leak unrelated to incident. So Discount tire towed it home where we fixed the brakes. I don’t know what your Discount tire is like, but it may be worth a try to give them a call and see if they will take accountability if it was actually their fault.

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Every time I have had tires worked on the invoice clearly states “check lug nut torque after 50 miles”. They could have been loose or could have worked loose. Now you may need a new wheel and/or studs etc. Re-torque the wheels after anyone has taken a wheel off.

I’d imagine 99.9% of folks never do that. I don’t.


At your peril. I do it also to prevent warpage of the brake discs.

You beat me to it.

I guess that I am Obsessive Compulsive on things like that, but I always check my lug nut torque after my tires are rotated, along with the inflation pressure.

I’m guessing the same thing, whoever did the tire rotation forgot to tighten the lug nuts on one of the tires. The lug nuts are what secures the wheel to the place it fits on the car. The fix may just require the lug nuts be tightened. No worries in other words. But don’t attempt to drive the vehicle with the wheel wobbling like it is, b/c that may cause expensive to repair damage. Phone the shop, tell them the wheel is falling off, the car is not drivable, and to send someone over to put the wheel back on again. After you can drive it again, might be a good idea to have another shop perform an independent evaluation of the situation to see if there’s been any damage to the vehicle that needs to be repaired.

My vote is for the lug nuts being left loose.

Some may think I’m nuts over this but I never torque lugs on any car I’ve ever owned and when I do tighten lugs it’s never more than snug at best with a lug wrench.
Never had one come loose ever and my reason for this is because of having to wrestle lugs loose at night while changing a flat tire after some tire jockey hammered them down to 8000 foot pounds.

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[quote=“ok4450, post:13, topic:180704”]
changing a flat tire after some tire jockey hammered them down to 8000 foot pounds.

I have had that happen to me a few times afther the first time I made a habit of carrying a 3ft cheater bar with me.

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Yeah I should clarify, I never use an actual torque wrench, just tighten according to feel. And yeah, when I get back from the tire shop, I need an extension pipe to loosen the things so way too tight.

Lug nuts that are torqued to the right specl loosen very easily when you get a flat. I discovered that the correct torque is actually less than when I used to just “snug” them with a lug wrench. Of course in my early days of trucking we used ti carry a spare tire up on the catwalk on the back of the tractor and had a lug wrench and 12 ton jack under the seat and we had to change flats by ourselves on the road and they were torqued to 300 lb.`

Had some lug nuts loosen after 30 mi drive and the jack wing nut was beyond tight. I could not loosen it and I had no tools. Like a set of pliers. The jack hold down bar held the wrench and jack so I couldn’t get either loose. Yes a shop had the wheel off and that was only time I ever had a loose wheel. I was alone so I couldn’t even ask a stranger to use their wrench.

I have one of these. its great when you need extra leverage because you can slide it to one side. the only thing I do not like is when you try to spin the lug off it does not want to stay centered. but it has gotten lugs loose that would not come loose with a regular cross lug wrench.

I’ve tested some lugs on my cars by loosening them with a torque wrench to see how much it takes to break them loose. Generally around 40-50 foot pounds and none have ever worked loose. That kind of goes against factory recommendations, and logic, since it’s less than half the specs but it works.

Are your wheels steel? I’ve noticed tightening steel wheels is different than alloys. With steel there’s a certain amount of ‘give’ (frequently making that ‘tight wheel noise’), while the alloys tighten up all at once, over a short range of movement.

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