Wheel fell of my car!

I had studs/shocks replace on my car in October. Three weeks later the back wheel fell off my car while I was driving! I didn’t hit anything in the road, the wheel just fell off. The car was towed back to the auto shop who did the work but all they did was put on new lug bolts. They refused to repair the damages done when the car hit the road. They said it was “driver error”! Now, I have to pay the $500 deductible because I had to put it through my insurance. Can anyone out there corraborate that it wasn’t my fault the wheel fell off?

None of us are close enough to the problem to corroborate anything. But assuming you’ve told us the complete and accurate story, the garage is responsible for 100% of the cost and should have notified THEIR insurance, and their ins company should be paying you for repairs based upon the estimate you recieve as adjusted by their adjuster.

Short of going to small claims court, I don’t know hoe you can get this to happen.

That’s absurd. Of course it’s their fault. The tech failed to tighten the lug nuts, and the wheel came off. Write them a calm letter saying you’re going to tell everyone you know what they did, that you’re going to write a letter to the local newspaper, and that you’ll be seeing them in small claims court, unless they pay for all damages.

The lugs will only come loose because they were either:
A. Not properly tightened.
B. Overtightened which led to the threads being pulled.
C. Properly tightened on lugs that may have been previously damaged due to someone in the past. (during tire installation, tire rotation, brake work, etc.)

“Driver error” is a bit of a stretch and is bunk in my opinion. Exactly what did you do that is the cause of this, at least according to them.

It sounds like they didn’t torque the lug nuts properly. (or maybe didn’t tighten them down at all)

Maybe small claims court would be a good bet. If you went to a national chain, contacting an area manager or corporate office might help. Gently mentioning that you will give them as much bad PR as you can, possibly even contacting a local TV station’s “call for action” or whatever in your area might work wonders too.

“Write them a calm letter saying you’re going to tell everyone you know what they did, that you’re going to write a letter to the local newspaper, and that you’ll be seeing them in small claims court, unless they pay for all damages.”

The above is a threat and not likely to get the results you want.

Your insurance agent should be working on this. Insurance companies have lawyers and they don’t want to pay out, especially when the mechanic was at fault, not you.

However, if for some reason your insurance company isn’t helping, it is a good idea to put in writing that you want the mechanic to pay for the repair because it is obvious that they were to blame.

Give them 10 days to respond. If they don’t, then take them to small claims court.

No threats. Just action.

Note: Make sure you have all the receipts from the garage and the tow truck. Hopefully, the tow truck driver kept some kind of record of the type of damage, which would help make your case.

And me being the shop owner provides the idea to the judge that some vandal loosened up your lugs. You do not have enough proof to prevail espically since at least 3 weeks (strange you write now, you must keep these kind of questionable items out of your presentation) had passed and there are other possibilites as to how and why your wheel came off.

I would agree that it’s by no means definite this is a shop caused problem. The part about “driver error” is what stinks to me and I’d like to know how the driver allegedly erred.

OK,you are forgetting it is the OP that is saying “driver error” we really don’t know the shop said this and if the shop did in what context,like “it is the drivers fault that he did not put his car in a place that no one could get to it” How do we know (with a legal certaincy) that some person not so fond of the OP did this,or even the OP had a flat and changed the tire and did not tighten up the lugs,we don’t know enough.

I think the shop had admitted that they did not do it properly when they had the car simply because they replaced the lug bolts. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have to and shouldn’t have done anything.

The “driver error” part is because there’s no way the wheel just popped off without warning. That wheel had to be making at least some noise for quite a while before it finally got loose enough to break all the studs and come off.

As far as I’m concerned the shop was responsible to repair their mistake: the loose lugs. Since those lugs were broken / lost they replaced them. The collateral damage is because the driver ignored the obvious.

chunky, that is a very good point.It is sort of all or none,what I mean is,a shops attempt to mitigate feelings with the customer could be interpeted as a sign of guilt. They should have (in a strict legal sense) refused to do any thing for free, perhaps a judge will view this action as simply an attempt to keep a customer.

You see this policy alot with warranty work,again what I mean is, the Dealer will keep on saying “no trouble found” because as soon as they make any type of repair directed too the customers concern they are admitting there is a concern and now we have the potential for lemon law remidies (for the customer).

I concede that my way of looking at this could be dead wrong in reference to the driver error part of this.
That’s why I’d like to know why those 2 words were used.

As JayWB mentions, a wheel does not fall off without warning unless all studs snapped off at once and the odds of this are very close to zero. There must have been some rattling and banging going on before the car and wheel parted ways.

Must be some good soundproofing and suspension damping on those Mercedes…got to get me one of them!

But seriously, “ignored the obvious” may be a little strong. If the guy had heard/felt banging/rattling/whatever from the back end of his car, he’s probably smart enough to pull over and take a look…and if it became “obvious” only in the last 10 seconds before the wheel fell off, that’s hardly enough time to pull over and stop…

It does seem very unlikely that the wheel would suddenly fall of with no hint of a problem. As the lug nuts worked loose the wheel would wobble enough to alarm even the most unshakeable driver.