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If I had to be taught a lesson, this was the perfect circumstances, time and location.
Since I was a youngster I was told when a wheel was pulled off a vehicle, you tightened it to the proper torque, at 100 miles you checked to see if it needed tightened and if so you tightened it back to the correct torque. It has been very rare in my 40 years of driving that I needed to retighten more than one lug nut. Religously - my father practically beat this in to my three brother's and my head. Before leaving on any trip I always check the air pressure in all eight wheels, didn't even think about the lug nuts because I checked them back at 100 miles... On the second day of travel on a recent trip (600 miles total) we pulled in to a rest area about 25 miles short of our destination, the puppies just couldn't wait any longer. Anyway as we were pulling out and accelerating to get back on the highway we felt a big thump from the back of the truck. My first thought was someone slammed in to the back of my 5er. As I looked towards the driver's side mirror I saw a wheel roll past, cross two lanes of highway and proceed about three hundred yards down the median. After I calmed down enough to get out of the truck I saw that I was missing the rear driver's side wheel from my truck. All the lug nuts were gone and two of the studs were broken off. When the repair truck arrived he put the wheel back on (only 6 lug nuts) then proceeded to check the rest of the wheels; all of which had at least two loose lug nuts. He said "this is more common than most people know, how often this happens with aluminum wheels". Neither of us felt any unusual vibrations for the entire trip prior to the wheel falling off. This lesson in life cost me a little over $1,100.00. So from now on I will be checking my lug nuts, probably every 500 miles or so.
Like I said at the beginning: perfect place, time and circumstances to be taught a lesson. Two completely clear lanes of traffic, on a fairly busy highway, for the wheel to roll through = no accidents = no one got hurt except my pride.
So please, especially if you have aluminum wheels, check the torque on your lug nuts.
I'm kind of cautious after a few ST tire failures but I keep the torque wrench in the tool box right next to the tire gauge. I always use both before we break camp and before our trips. I figure as long as I'm down there it only takes a minute to check the lugs. You must have left a nice groove in the pavement
I was on a charter bus on the way to the Pocono 500 race when the dr's side outer tire in the rear took flight.........same thing, it passed the bus like a rocket. We almost didn't make the green flag!
2010 Cedar Creek 34SATS (The Beast) & 20k Curt Q20 roller slider hitch
2006 Ford F350 SRW,SC Powerstroke diesel Lariat 2003 Harley Heritage Softail (Hogzilla) and a wifey with tons of patience....
Same thing happened to me last year in Arkansas. Lost the right rear wheel of the truck while rounding a curve at 60 mph pulling the 5th wheel. Never saw the wheel, it took off down a deep, swampy ravine and I didn't find it after searching for more than an hour. Truck had 9,000 miles on it and it set me back $1,800 for the repairs, a new aluminum wheel and tire.
We were very lucky no one was hurt and nothing I didn't own was damaged - other than that 300 foot-long groove in the pavement. My torque wrench is now my constant companion whenever we're on the road.
I lost the left front wheel of of a 1941 Chevy coupe in 1958. All the lug nuts fell off, and the wheel rolled over into a 7-11 parking lot. I jacked the car up and put it back on, and ran it for several months.
Then, along about 1980 give or take a year or so, a wheel came loose on my Dodge 4X4. I tightened it up and made it into the next town, where I found the NAPA store and got new lug bolts and nuts and installed them in the parking lot.
Both rigs had stock steel wheels.
The only other experience I have with lost wheels was in a school bus when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. It lost both left rear wheels. That was exciting!
CM1, USN (RET)
2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Toad: 2006 Jeep Rubicon LJ
Other toad: '06 PT Cruiser, Kar Kaddy dolly
Toy: 1977 Dodge W100 CC SWB, 3/4 ton axles & springs
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"