Any number of issues could loosen a tire, causing it to fall off while you are driving. Most of these incidents occur because of some kind of fastening failure. This could be because the lug nuts worked their way off, your wheel has broken lugs, or because the wheel studs themselves broke.
At Newsome Melton, our defective tire lawsuit lawyers understand what causes a tire to fall off while driving. If your tire fell off and caused a car wreck, we may be able to help you pursue compensation. Call 888-808-5977 today for a free consultation.
What Causes a Tire to Fall Off?
In addition to loose or broken lug nuts, there are other ways a tire could fall off while you are driving.
When an axle breaks, it can fly off and take the entire wheel and tire assembly with it.
If the bearing fails, or there is a problem with the axle/spindle nut and the hub comes loose, the hub and wheel can fly off.
In some cases, a tire service company, mechanic or auto dealer may cause or contribute to wheel separation incidents. If this happened to you and we can prove it, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement, and other damages.
What Happens If a Tire Falls off at Speed?
When a tire falls off, it can cause the driver to lose control and the vehicle may even roll over. This is especially true with trucks and SUVs, which are taller and already at an increased risk of a rollover crash. While any crash at highway speeds can be devastating, a rollover can lead to particularly catastrophic injuries.
In addition to the injuries people in the vehicle that lost a wheel sustain, the occupants of other nearby cars are also in danger. Loose wheels often fly into the air and bounce into other vehicles at speed. This can cause significant damage and injuries. Even when the wheel does not hit anyone else, it will likely land on the highway and become a difficult-to-dodge hazard that could easily cause other wrecks.
How Can Loose Lugs and Other Fastening Failures Cause Tires to Fall Off?
Because they are the only part of your vehicle that touches the road, your tires and wheels are under immense forces while you drive. If the nuts are weak or not installed properly, they can break or work themselves loose. Missing or loose lug nuts usually create a vibration, but sometimes there is little to no indication of a problem before the tire falls off completely.
When a fastening failure causes a lost wheel crash, it usually occurs within weeks of a service that required removing and replacing the tire. This could include:
- Major body repairs;
- Getting new tires;
- A tire rotation; or
- A multi-point inspection of your vehicle.
Automakers have specific standards for the torque that a technician should apply to each lug nut to ensure it holds the tire in place but is not at risk of breaking. When most modern tire shop techs or mechanics remove and replace wheel nuts, they use an air wrench instead of a hand-powered torque wrench. This can involve several issues, including:
- Using a poorly calibrated air wrench;
- Using a previously used air wrench that was not reset to the proper torque; or
- Cross threading, leading to cracked or broken studs or nuts.
Your mechanic or tire technician should recommend using a hand-powered torque wrench to ensure your wheel nuts are tight after a few days’ driving following service. This ensures they will not work themselves loose and helps to avoid this type of problem. When service technicians fail to tighten lugs adequately, you may discover the issue early and avoid a crash.
Who Is Liable for a Lost Wheel Crash?
In some cases, an automaker, dealership, mechanic, or tire shop may be responsible for the damages you suffered if a tire fell off a vehicle while driving. These cases are difficult to prove, but we work closely with survey teams, crash reconstruction specialists, and other professionals to build a solid case for our clients.
There are several ways negligence can lead to this type of incident. In some cases, defective parts can cause an issue. In others, a technician who worked on your car might have acted negligently while performing repairs. We can get to the bottom of this for you, identifying the liable party and holding the company accountable for its actions.
How Can I Talk to a Tire Failure Attorney About My Wheel Separation Incident?
Newsome Melton offers free case reviews and consultations for crash victims. If you believe a dealership or other service provider caused your wreck, we can help you understand if you have a valid case. You may be eligible for compensation to pay your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, vehicle repairs, and other damages.
Call us today at 888-808-5977.