Timely reminder - Check your wheel nut torque

Feb 23, 2018
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With everyone getting on the road for the Bank Holiday weekend, I saw an unfortunate example of what can go wrong amongst the increased Caravan & Motorhome traffic this morning.

An older (Early 90s) caravan was on the Motorway hard shoulder with the near side resting on the chassis rail with a wheel laying next to it.

I obviously could not tell the circumstances of this event, but it was a stern warning to me of the importance of checking wheel nut torque and wheel condition before every trip.
 

Mel

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Mar 17, 2007
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By coincidence, yesterday my grandson aged 11 told me a really dramatic tale of being on a bus with his childminder this week, and the bus had to stop because a wheel had come off a caravan, bounced off the bonnet of a car, and rolled away across the road. He was well impressed by the drama and of course, being 11 oblivious to the trauma for the caravan owner or the following traffic.
Check your Nuts!
Mel
 
Mar 14, 2005
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It beats me why this is a topic concerning caravans in particular. I strongly suspect that if a wheel has come adrift someone didn't do their job properly at the last service and the torque wasn't checked, as always recommended, after the first few miles on the road following a wheel change. If that is done, there is no reason why the nuts (or bolts) should loosen later to the extent that a wheel is lost. After all, nobody would even think of checking the wheel torque on their car before each trip. I have been caravanning for almost 30 years and have never found it necessary to check torques more than once after a wheel change.
 
Sep 7, 2018
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Family illness stopped us using our van until May when it needed a service,I hitched up and took it to the dealers.A couple of days later they rang me and said "did I know that two wheel nuts either side were missing",they either undid and came off or someone had pinched the 4 nuts now I check.
 
May 24, 2014
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Just to add to this and I speak from painful experience. Be careful checking your torque. The wrench will click just the same if the studs have been overtightened by the garage. I lost two wheels of an artic unit some years back because the tyre fitters had been in over the weekend and used a long bar to tighten all the studs. Of course, they were overtightened, stretched and undid themselves in the space of 30 miles. Luckily nobody hurt and very little damage but it happens.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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zodd said:
Family illness stopped us using our van until May when it needed a service,I hitched up and took it to the dealers.A couple of days later they rang me and said "did I know that two wheel nuts either side were missing",they either undid and came off or someone had pinched the 4 nuts now I check.
My caravan has wheel covers which would have to be removed first before you can get at the nuts, so it would be fairly obvious if anyone tampered with them.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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I can only speak from my personal experience, hence why I created this post, but I have found that on a number of occasions that l've had a handful of bolts that are not at the correct torque and need to be tightened; however I will agree with Thingy on being careful with the over-tightening. I had an issue where after having car tyres changed, some nuts were not tight and the wheel was loose (produced an audible squeak) on one side and the other side was overtightened which caused the studs to snap when i tried to replace the nuts that they had stripped. (Will not be going back to that tyre shop) So when checking torque after a 3rd party has been at them, I always slacken then torque-up.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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CustardAvenger said:
I can only speak from my personal experience, hence why I created this post, but I have found that on a number of occasions that l've had a handful of bolts that are not at the correct torque and need to be tightened; however I will agree with Thingy on being careful with the over-tightening. I had an issue where after having car tyres changed, some nuts were not tight and the wheel was loose (produced an audible squeak) on one side and the other side was overtightened which caused the studs to snap when i tried to replace the nuts that they had stripped. (Will not be going back to that tyre shop) So when checking torque after a 3rd party has been at them, I always slacken then torque-up.

Likewise. Slacken then retorque.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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There is no harm in checking wheel nut torques, and it could be argued it's good practice as part of preparing teh caravan for the journey.

Where I do have a concern, is eh repeated slackening and re torquing may have two consequences.

The first is the action of re torquing may not be carried out properly leading to a lose wheel nut.

And the second is the stud or bolt will be being stressed far more frequently than its supposed to be, which could arguably lead to potential premature wear and failures. Though I'd expect the hammering they would receive when being towed may impose many more cycles of stress on the fixings that checking the tightness.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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ProfJohnL said:
There is no harm in checking wheel nut torques, and it could be argued it's good practice as part of preparing teh caravan for the journey.

Where I do have a concern, is eh repeated slackening and re torquing may have two consequences.

The first is the action of re torquing may not be carried out properly leading to a lose wheel nut.

And the second is the stud or bolt will be being stressed far more frequently than its supposed to be, which could arguably lead to potential premature wear and failures. Though I'd expect the hammering they would receive when being towed may impose many more cycles of stress on the fixings that checking the tightness.

I slacken mine before retorque when the wheels have been removed by the service Center. So rather than just retorque 25 miles after collection slacken then, but thereafter prior to a trip I just check torques with slackening. So one or two slackenings per year won’t affect integrity.
 
Apr 10, 2014
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Although not a caravan involved, this is still related to this topic.
Yesterday I was travelling eastward along the M42, around the Tamworth area. In front of me were a few articulated lorries, but the furthest one in front appeared to be snaking.
The trailer was loaded with RSJ's and as we approached (Me and the other drivers) smoke appeared to start coming from the rear off side wheels.
We all started to slow and keep behind this lorry, when suddenly the trailer dropped to one side and at first I thought the tyre had come apart.
The lorry managed to pull into the hard shoulder, as the said tyre made its way to the central barriers. It carried on rolling and as I passed realised, not only was it the tyre, but the whole wheel.
I would have filmed it on my phone, but being a law abiding citizen I decided it would be better not to.
Regards,
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Just been to pick my van up from the caravan place where we have getting our new lockd put on and in front of me even though wheels have not been off he torqued them up to make sure they were ok . He said they do it every time a van is about to leave whether or not the wheels have been off :)
 
Jun 20, 2005
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otherclive said:
ProfJohnL said:
There is no harm in checking wheel nut torques, and it could be argued it's good practice as part of preparing teh caravan for the journey.

Where I do have a concern, is eh repeated slackening and re torquing may have two consequences.

The first is the action of re torquing may not be carried out properly leading to a lose wheel nut.

And the second is the stud or bolt will be being stressed far more frequently than its supposed to be, which could arguably lead to potential premature wear and failures. Though I'd expect the hammering they would receive when being towed may impose many more cycles of stress on the fixings that checking the tightness.

I slacken mine before retorque when the wheels have been removed by the service Center. So rather than just retorque 25 miles after collection slacken then, but thereafter prior to a trip I just check torques with slackening. So one or two slackenings per year won’t affect integrity.
Help please Clive :blush:
Surely slackening and then retorquing will require another retorque shortly thereafter :unsure:
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Yes but it’s only 10 miles to home. Then the nuts will not be retorque until I leave for a trip but won’t be slackened during that check. I know it’s bizarre but it’s only since I had the stupid alloys and Bailey wheels kept falling off that I have done this. Previously service Center did steel wheels up and I drove off and didn’t torque the nuts unless I had removed the wheels at some later date.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Dodger524 said:
Slackening nuts to check that they are tight enough seems rather daft to me.

Should I be doing this to my car each day?

It is only done by me when a different torque wrench is used to my own. One idea would be to give the service centre my torque wrench set at 130nm and ask them to use that for initial tightening. Then after 25 miles I could just check torque without slackening. Please don't ask how accurate my wrench is, as unlike the service centre one it will not have been calibrated since new. But I've not had a wheel come adrift yet.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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My torque wrench is 12 years old and also not been recalibrated from new. My local garage do an annual recalibration plus they use one for the first torque up and a second wrench for a final test. I take the view my own wrench is likely to be within an acceptable variance and using it for a retorque should be ok :) Fingers crossed behind back B)
 

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