View Full Version : Trailer Wheel Almost Fell Off - Close Call

09-05-2005, 09:38 PM
Tonight I was fortunate to avoid a close call with my trailer wheel. Coming back from an outing I noticed as I made a left turn that my trailer wheel was wobbling significantly.

I stopped and checked it out. One lug bolt was sheered off. Another was nearly gone. Another had a missing lug nut. Every lug nut was either gone or nearly off.

In about 2 miles I was going to be on the highway. I would have lost the tire and probably caused an accident and could have lost the boat.

I borrowed a lug nut from the other wheel and managed to make it home with 3 nuts on the one wheel.

I am not the first one to tell you: Check your trailer wheels often!

Makes me wonder though...why was one wheel almost falling off and the other side tight as a drum? I checked them at the beginning of the season, so I suppose it could have worked loose since then. But could someone have loosened them on me? Why would 5 nuts all be loose at once and only on one side???

Workin' 4 Toys
09-05-2005, 10:44 PM
Rick, to say this is a scary situation is an understatment. There have been mulitple threads on this exact subject. Perhaps you should do a search. I think there are alot of scenarios that come into play. And I hope to god sabotage is not one of them.
It seems to tight and too loose could reak the same havoc on the studs. A few good direct shots at an angle could begin the losening process in which may be caused by curbs and what not. Aluminum wheels are another culprit if not torqued properly. and then retorqued after some use. Incorrect threaded nuts. Incorrect bevel on the nuts to match the wheel. Overheated brakes from rubbing or locking up.
All things that could come into play with this situation as I have concluded.
If you come to a conclusion on what the cause, please post what you find.

09-05-2005, 11:44 PM
I wasn't so lucky this weekend. My wheel did fall off at 60 mph. All 5 lugs were sheared off. No damage to the boat, one side of the trailer is pretty messed up. I guess the trailer did it's job protecting the boat.

09-06-2005, 01:08 AM
First off, replace all the lugs on the side that you had the problem, even the ones that are still there. It's likely the lugs have been severely stressed and probably stretched during this episode. You don't wanna continue relying on them, especially when they're so cheap.

Imagine a side hit to the wheel that slightly stretches some of the lugs - the nuts on those lugs will no longer be correctly torqued. Normal stresses driving down the road will tend to work the nuts loose once they're no longer torqued correctly. Once the wheel starts moving around (because some of the nuts are no longer tight), the remaining nuts will start loosening. Pretty soon, you end up with the situation you were lucky enough to notice, and jake was unlucky enough to not notice.

Gotta check those nuts on a regular basis, especially when they're attached to softer hardware. ;)

Glad to hear nothing important got destroyed for both of you guys.