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Garage over-tightened wheel nuts, wheel came off, car a write-off


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If anyone can give me any advice or their experiences of anything similar I would be very grateful.

 

Two months ago my car went to the garage for 2 new front tyres, last weekend we were driving to Wales from Yorkshire. We had travelled 60-70 miles (mostly motorway) with no problems, after about 10 minutes of leaving the motor and driving on country lanes, we approached a tight corner, fortunately slowly 30-35 mph and the car didn't corner the front drivers wheel came off and shot off into a field and we swerved across the road for about 100m and came to a stop at the opposite kerb, with considerable damage to the drivers front and side, plus goodness knows what damage to the underneath of the car. Fortunately nobody or anything else was injured or damaged.

 

On contacting the insurance company at the scene, they practically said "nothing to do with us it's a mechanical breakdown". As the car needed to be moved as it was causing a potentially dangerous obstruction, I contacted RAC and they came to recover the car but stated "you will have to pay for the recovery because it's an accident not a breakdown"

 

Since returning home we have managed to persuade the insurance company to take the car to one of their garages to be assessed, after having a quick talk with the assessor today it looks like the wheel nuts were over-tightened and the extent of the damage means my car is going to be written-off and the insurance company are saying it's nothing to do with them as it's a mechanical breakdown out problem to deal with the garage concerned.

 

Any advice and help would be much appreciated

 

Regards

Edited by Conniff
Changed the word wheels to show tyres
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If anyone can give me any advice or their experiences of anything similar I would be very grateful.

 

Two months ago my car went to the garage for 2 new front wheels, last weekend we were driving to Wales from Yorkshire. We had travelled 60-70 miles (mostly motorway) with no problems, after about 10 minutes of leaving the motor and driving on country lanes, we approached a tight corner, fortunately slowly 30-35 mph and the car didn't corner the front drivers wheel came off and shot off into a field and we swerved across the road for about 100m and came to a stop at the opposite kerb, with considerable damage to the drivers front and side, plus goodness knows what damage to the underneath of the car. Fortunately nobody or anything else was injured or damaged.

 

On contacting the insurance company at the scene, they practically said "nothing to do with us it's a mechanical breakdown". As the car needed to be moved as it was causing a potentially dangerous obstruction, I contacted RAC and they came to recover the car but stated "you will have to pay for the recovery because it's an accident not a breakdown"

 

Since returning home we have managed to persuade the insurance company to take the car to one of their garages to be assessed, after having a quick talk with the assessor today it looks like the wheel nuts were over-tightened and the extent of the damage means my car is going to be written-off and the insurance company are saying it's nothing to do with them as it's a mechanical breakdown out problem to deal with the garage concerned.

 

Any advice and help would be much appreciated

 

Regards

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Get everything in writing and deal with the garage in writing. If you make phone calls then make sure they are recorded.

Inform trading standards.

Make sure that the assessor gives a full written report - even if that costs you money.

 

Get a detailed evaluation of the cost of replacement. Also make an assessment of your losses and other expenses including loss of time.

 

Tell the insurers that you insist on making an insurance claim anyway - even if they don't agree. They are not entitled to reject you out of hand.

It sounds like an accident to me because it is caused by third party negligence.

Tell the insurers that you will complain about them under ICOBS if they don't allow you to claim and if they reject the claim. Tell the insurers that there is 3rd party fault here.

 

At the same time, write to the garage with a copy of your evidence and your list of losses and tell them that you hold them liable and that you are prepared to sue if necessary.

How much is it all? If it is less than £10 then you can use the small claims process without any risk. If it is more than £10k, you will have to be more careful.

 

Best bet is to force the insurers to act.

Don't forget that if they pay you out, they are giving away their profits and they don't like that.

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thank you so so much, at least you have given me somewhere to start, I was at a complete loss as what to do next . Looks like the repairs are going to be anything from £6,000 to £10,000 which I think will mean my car will be written-off.

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I would also push your insurance company to resolve this, that is what you pay for.

Look through your policy to see what says about claims arising from mechanical failure!

I have heard of wheels coming off from the wheel nuts not being tightened and coming loose, but not over tightened, how do you do that! ( did the bolts shear and break or did the wheels themselves split? )

Suggest you may need to get an independent specialist report!

Have you got photos of the broken wheels/nuts?

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Thank you. The policy just states

 

What is covered - For loss or damage to your car other than by fire, lightning, explosion, theft or attempted theft, we will: pay to have the damage repaired; replace what is lost or damaged if this is more cost-effective than repairing it; or settle your claim by a monetary payment. Exceptions - Loss or damage caused by wear or tear or depreciation; Any part of a repair or replacement which improves your car beyond its condition before the loss or damage occurred; Any mechanical, electrical, electronic, computer or computer software breakdowns, failures, faults or breakages; Damage to tyres caused by braking, punctures, cuts or bursts.

 

All the bolts had sheared off (looked like they had been cut with a knife, just a straight cut) and remained in the bit on the car that the wheel is bolted to (sorry limited car knowledge) the heads of the bolts disappeared, probably scattered around the field. Got one photo and been kicking myself I didn't get more, still got one bolt head that we found. The wheel was intact apart from gouges out of the metal on the inside

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you say you had 2 new wheels, do you mean wheel rims or tyres???

 

was there any faults with the rim itself or is there too much damage from when it left the vehicle. was it a independent garage or chain because i do know that some fast fit centres gun the wheel nuts/bolts on and not use a torqe wrench.

 

what damage to the wheel hub area has it done???

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Don`t be too hasty in blaming the last garage that tightened them up, they may have done it completely correctly, the nuts could have been overtightened on any number of previous occasions in the past which would have weakened the studs over time.

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Car is about 6 years old and although I am more than capable of changing a wheel, they have only ever been changed by garage as it's a 4x4 and I can't actually move or lift the wheels as they are so big

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Could be an interesting one Hammy. Time to see what develops.

 

Can OP post wheel size and answer Westmeads question. Air guns are adjustable so don't jump to conclusions just yet. Wouldn't be the first time I've seen wheels with unsuitable offsets being fitted and the owner crying out fould play!

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There is almost a zero chance of all four (or five) wheel nuts shearing at the same time on one bend/corner.

 

Have you recovered all the parts that came off (wheel, nuts and remaining studs) ?

 

Have the other wheels been checked by the garage/insurance company for any similar or pending issues

 

Do you have a full report from anyone of the car's history at the last few garages ?

 

Have you had any sort of grudge from a neighbour or are you in dispute with anyone that might have access to your home/vehicle ?

 

I truly believe you need to get the police involved.

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It was 2 new front tyres, sorry not wheels. Don't know the size and car is now in garage being assessed but they are huge 4x4 wheels. After the accident, apart from being flat the tyre looked fine, the outer rim bit scratched looked fine, the inner rim had big gouges out of it. The wheel hub having been the main support for the front of the car for 100m, although did't look too bad I would assume is rather wonky now. It was an independent garage but a very large one. The car has only ever been worked on by a garage, initially the dealer and after the warranty ran out the independent garage.

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What is the make and model of the vehicle, also, can you provide a link to the single picture of the damage.

 

Whilst I appreciate it's a guess, 100m is quite far, actually from our house to the end of the road, a long way on a hub or lower arm.

 

If you can give us as much detail as possible it would help a lot.

 

H

44 years at the pointy end of the motor trade. :eek:

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Can see it now conniff, will turn out to be massive oversize wheels and tyres not approved by manufacturer which need different tightening torques/clamp loads let alone overloading of the studs, hubs and bearings..........Hey ho, never the owners fault though.

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