Reviews of Lug Nut Torque Indicators by Truck Drivers
Are your truck's lug nuts on securely? Would having lug
nut torque indicators help you know that at a glance?
On our student
driver page, we
revealed how we were instructed during truck
driver training school to look on the tractor trailer during
a pre-trip inspection at the
rig's lug nuts to
make sure that they were not "cracked, broken or missing." But we were
not informed about checking to make sure that they were tight enough.
Tragedy on the Road
An accident caused by a tractor trailer in mid
August 2011 (as of the time of this writing) is still under
investigation and the article itself is a bit confusing. While one part
indicated that the entire rear axle of the truck came off, it also said
that the trailer's wheels came off. The wheels that separated from the
truck ended up killing a woman.
Another article in December 2011
said that a woman died after a truck tire smashed her car. The truck
driver did not stop and police are looking for the truck.
statistics from the article state:
Ms. Chmielewski is the seventh person killed on
roads by a loose wheel since 1997, according to the Ministry of
There have been 47 other "wheel-off incidents" in
according to Bob Nichols, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of
Mr. Nichols said that's a decline from a high of 215
1997, when the province introduced fines of up to $50,000 for the
To us, this underscores how critical it is during a
pre-trip inspection check to
make sure that there are no loose lug nuts and that the lug nut torque
A non-fatal "wheel off" accident happened in the UK in
July 2012 (link). The driver was fined.
Another wheel separation -- complete with rim --
occurred in August 2012 in Canada (link) and resulted in a smashed
car. According to the article: "The truck driver has been charged with
failing to maintain a proper log book or complete a pre-trip
inspection, and he has been suspended from driving for 72 hours under
the Highway Traffic Act."
Ron Heusser, who has been in the
accident-reconstruction field more than 20 years, said he's never seen
so many accidents caused by truck tires.
"It's not common at all for wheels to come off," said Heusser, who owns
Engineering Accident Analysis in Kent. "Typically, it's either a
bearing failure that comes from lack of grease, oil or over-torquing or
loose lug nuts."
A page on the website of a company
that makes Lug-LockTM states:
Loose wheel nuts can occur for a variety of reasons,
including undertorquing, overtorquing, differential thermal
contraction, and improper mating surfaces. ...
Wheels are subjected to a variety of forces, including
vertical forces from the vehicle and its cargo, road vibration and
shock forces, cornering forces when the vehicle turns, and rotational
forces from the turning of the wheel, especially during acceleration
and braking. ...
An Invention to Help
Spot Loose Lug Nuts
assist with making sure that there are no loose lug
nuts on a truck which can give rise to "wheel separation accidents,"
there is an invention that we call
"lug nut torque indicators" that we have seen installed (mostly on the
steer tires) of some trucks. The Wheel-Check.com
refers to these as "loose wheel nut indicators." Vicki took a picture
of a set of these in April 2010, as shown here.
A page on their website shows how
lug nut torque can loosen during transit, making an unsafe situation.
And they also have a page
on their site with links to articles about truck tire wheel separation
What We Personally Saw
The only time when we have ever seen a wheel come off
vehicle was late at night on I-85 in northern South Carolina. We were
traveling near a four wheeler whose
driver had to quickly exit the road amid sparks as the axle dragged the
ground when the left rear wheel separated practically right in front of
The wheel with the tire still
on it rolled right up alongside the concrete barrier that separated the
from the median. No one was hurt (other than being shaken up
emotionally, we imagine).
But the situation could have been dire if a
very heavy wheel (or pair of wheels) had come off a large truck!
Statistics on Truck
Wheel-Check's home page has a video with a couple of
"The NTSB has estimated that
trucks lose about 1,000
wheels a year on America's roads, almost 3 a day." (1:50)
"In Canada, the Wheel-Check
triangles are on just
about every truck. The difference? North of the border, the fine for a
loose wheel is up to $50,000. Here in the U.S., it's about $150." (3:15)
What is Not a Wheel
A tire that comes off the rim -- as it did for the
driver of the truck pulling this
trailer -- is not considered a wheel separation. When a wheel
separates from a truck, it goes rim and all.
Barriers to Using Lug
Nut Torque Indicators
if a driver has decorative wheel covers on his/her rig's lug nuts (aka "lug
nut covers") --
like the spikes shown at right -- then it is impossible to install the
lug nut torque indicators on the lug nuts.
(To us, these decorations look a bit
remind us of the scythed
wheels on one chariot in the race in the movie Ben-Hur. But we
If you are
a professional truck driver and you have used lug nut
(or loose wheel nut indicators) in the
course of your work within the last 6 months, we invite
you to review it on this
page through the form below, answering questions such as
Which wheels on your rig did
you use the indicators on?
Have you ever found a loose lug
nut or wheel nut as a result of using the product?
How would you rate the quality
of the product?
Was the product
worth the price you
paid for it?
How did the product save you
time or money or both?
Would you buy the product
again and why?
you know that you as a professional truck driver can write a review --
like the one on or linked from this page -- to help other truckers in
the worldwide trucking community? You can even earn money in so doing.
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