They can happen on Interstates 35, 69W, and other major roadway in Laredo. When wheels become detached, drivers lose control of their vehicles, especially at high speeds.
Wheel runoff accidents can be catastrophic. They can result in lane-departure accidents, head-on collisions, T-bone accidents, and rear-end accidents. Vehicles can roll over, veer off the road, and/or crash into stationary objects.
Aside from a devastating crash, a detached wheel can strike other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Windows can be broken, resulting in serious injuries to vehicle occupants. Either way, the outcome is usually bad.
According to Crash Forensics, wheel runoffs are usually preventable and come down to proper wheel installation and maintenance.
Improper wheel mounting
Mounting a wheel on a passenger vehicle must be done precisely with care. Wheel runoffs are often attributed to over-torquing or under-torquing of lug nuts.
Wheel bolts are designed to stretch and retract to their original shape in order to maintain “Clamp Load.” However, when lug nuts are tightened too much, the bolts can be overstretched, causing them to eventually break. Not tightening lug nuts enough can eventually cause them to loosen and fall off.
When mounting a wheel, the torque should be around 100 foot-pounds. However, the impact wrenches used by many mechanics are capable of producing 300 to 500 foot-pounds of torque, which can result in over-tightening when used incorrectly.
Problems with wheel and hub bearings
Wheel and hub bearings are comprised of small steel balls encompassed by a metal ring. They allow wheels to turn without frictions. Wheel runoffs involving wheel and hub bearings are commonly caused by:
- Insufficient lubrication
- Too much weight loaded on a vehicle
- An axle nut being tightened too much
- An axle nut not being tightened enough
When something goes wrong with the wheel and hub bearings, drivers may experience warning signs that should not be ignored:
- Leaking of hub seals
- Uneven tire tread wear
- Smoke or smells coming from the wheel
- Clicking, clunking, and popping sounds
- Grinding in the wheel
- Vibrating steering wheel
- Shaky vehicle
Determining liability in a crash
No two accidents involving wheel runoffs are alike. Determining who was at fault may not be an easy task. The driver of the vehicle who lost a wheel could be found liable if he or she failed to maintain the vehicle.
The vehicle parts manufacturer may be the culprit if any of the wheel components were defective. If a driver responsibly maintained his or her vehicle, a wheel runoff may have been caused by a negligent mechanic.
An experienced Laredo auto accident attorney can examine these factors and find out who was negligent. No claim is too complex for attorney John R. Solis. He proudly serves injured motorists in Laredo and across the State of Texas. Contact us today to set up a free, no obligation case evaluation.