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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<My hands are still shaking as I write this!>

3 weeks ago I bought a 02 Golf TDi 130 Estate from
a local Trade Dealer who specialises in VWs.
He offers a 28 day guarantee plus I purchased a full 1 year AutoProtect
Insurance by Redsands Insurance.

The dealer prides himself on his Customer Service. he MOT'd & PDI serviced
the Car before delivery to me and had his "mechanic" replace the front tyres as
a courtesy as they were on the MOT Advisory as approaching minimum.

This afternoon (Sunday), whilst driving at speed on the M27 I noticed a
vibration through the Steering Wheel that lessened on power-off and braking.
I stopped and checked both front wheels by up/down & side/side shaking - as
there was no obvious movement, I assumed that a wheel bearing was failing
and on reduced speed, returned home.

The vibration got much, much worse with a loud knocking sound and the
steering was now being badly effected, I stopped again. To my amazement the
passenger wheel was now tilted and I discovered that there was only 1
(loose) wheel stud left (see attached pics) - 4 studs were gone.

The wheels are standard Golf Alloys, but I have now realised, do not have
any locking wheel nuts fitted on any of the wheels, which they should have.

I am absolutely furious both with myself that I had not noticed the loose
(or possibly never refitted) wheelnuts
- and the 'mechanic''s Incompetence - it was *that* close today to the wheel
flying off and possibly me and my family being killed.

In 28 years of driving, nothing close to this has ever happened - I always
check my own work when changing wheels but this time trusted the Dealer's PDI
Service as being fit for purpose.

What would you recommend I do about this when I've calmed down and the Dealer is open? -All advice gratefully
received!

Kind Regards
Malc
 

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I'd go straight to trading standards and get some advice off them. If you have proof that they had removed said wheel to change the tyre then it's incompotence on there part and you could probably make a nice claim against them
 

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Take it to another garage that you trust to get the wheel hub's,
suspension checked/fixed and pass the bill onto the dealer you got it
from. Let us know how it goes. Or if you can't be botherd with the
hassle get a refund, as if the locking bolts are missing you don't know
what else maybe wrong with the car.
 

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have you checked the other wheels mate

poss someone has tried to rob them one night ? i would of thought you would of noticed the wheels being loose before now
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Many thanks for everyone's kind comments so far.

I was about to do the stud exchange bit - the others on the front were not done up tightly either BTW - and had taken the remaining stud out to inspect it as it was not smoothly tightening.

Unfortunately the disc locating screws have also been stripped and the disk drops loose on the hub so that the studs now won't easily fit back in :-(

I only found one disc-locating screw though (well stripped - on top in attached pic) but from the lack of shininess of the other location holes, there may have only been one...

I know that if I can hold the disc in place, I can probably sandwich it between the wheel and the hub as I reinsert the studs, but this is getting very dodgy and as its a brake part, I am not at all keen to proceed so have left her wheel off, jacked up. Would this have been safe to proceed with though?

The weird thing is that I hadn't spotted either the loose / missing studs and suspected nothing until the wheel itself had become loose and then things happened very fast - but thank Goodness I did spot it in time :)

Will let you know how things turn out.

Kind Regards

Malc
 

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have you checked the other wheels mate

poss someone has tried to rob them one night ? i would of thought you would of noticed the wheels being loose before now
Yup, I agree. How many miles have you done in the car since you had it?

It may be someone has tried ot nick the wheels ans been disturbed.

Whatever the fault, you can be it will have tweaked the wheels running eccentric like that.The hubs should be fine but the softer alloy of the wheel may have takne a beating.

Glad you are ok though. Always worth checking wheel nuts etc with the wheel apnner on board if you think the wheels may be loose. Wiht the car weight on them, they wont budge just by wiggling them.
 

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Glad to hear nobody got hurt. If the other bolts were not fitted you would almost certainly have noticed vibration right from the beginning, it must have taken some serious distraction for the mechanic to have forgotten the other bolts, I personally NEVER interrupt a job like fitting wheel bolts until I have done all of them, properly. I also take a torque wrench with me whenever picking up my car from any garage (even the two VW dealer/service centres I use, both of which know my car and I fairly well) and check the bolts myself. Humans can and do make mistakes and I'd rather be safe than sorry, as I don't want to endanger others as well as myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all again. The point that someone may have tried to steal the wheels is well made as even though not so to my knowledge, the Dealer can claim that it might have been!

Not having owned a car with expensive Alloys before, I missed the fact that the Dealer had not given me a locking key, and didn't know enough to get some locking nuts myself - in which case, I would have discovered that the originals were loose and this whole event not happened - so it all must be my fault!

Incedentaly, I went around the other wheels and all the other studs could be easily tightened further by just the lightweight car spanner.

One question - someone mentioned that Studs for alloys are different to steels - ie that Studs for steel wheels have tapered shoulders, whereas Studs for alloys have square shoulders. Err, I've attached a pic of one of mine - does that look right?

Kind Regards

Malc
 

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they look like std vw alloy nuts, although they look a bit short........? you need a minimum of 8 turns IMO to be safe with wheel nuts.

Maybe ther are steel ones, which may be shorter as the mating face of steel wheel is "thinner".
 

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Thank you all again. The point that someone may have tried to steal the wheels is well made as even though not so to my knowledge, the Dealer can claim that it might have been!

Not having owned a car with expensive Alloys before, I missed the fact that the Dealer had not given me a locking key, and didn't know enough to get some locking nuts myself - in which case, I would have discovered that the originals were loose and this whole event not happened - so it all must be my fault!

Incedentaly, I went around the other wheels and all the other studs could be easily tightened further by just the lightweight car spanner.

One question - someone mentioned that Studs for alloys are different to steels - ie that Studs for steel wheels have tapered shoulders, whereas Studs for alloys have square shoulders. Err, I've attached a pic of one of mine - does that look right?

Kind Regards

Malc
not your fault mate

all alloy wheels should be retorqued after 25-50miles.

they should of told you that

go back and give the some stick
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi all. Dealer finally got back to me at midday today - he sincerely apologised and said he will "put everything right" !

I had car recovered this afternoon to an Independent Garage nominated by dealer who provided a courtesy car and has agreed to pick up the Garage bill. By the way, I had the recovery mechanic check torque of the remaining wheels and he had to put a full 1/2 - 3/4 turn on all the remaining wheel bolts to take them to the correct amount. The Garage has agreed to give the whole front end a good looking over + fit a whole new set of locking alloy wheel bolts and not just fix the obvious damage.

Will let you know the final outcome - and thanks for all your support.

Kind Regards

Malc
 

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I would get the garage to check the wheel itself. With all that vibration and movement, the mounting bore on the inner side of the wheel may be worn/damaged.  The hub is steel and the wheel alloy, we all know which will win.  The wheel may be worn and may never sit correctly.
 

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It would appear that the dealer has responded excellently to this. The fact that you had been driving for three weeks before this happened and that all the other wheels (you said the dealer only touch the fronts) were loose as well would make me worried that some local lowlife had spotted that you didn't have 'locking' wheel nuts and was after your wheels. I would have a quick check around where you park the car over night to see if there is anything that can be done to make it less appealing to scum.

Just to clarify a point - 'locking' wheel nuts don't lock the wheels onto the car so that they don't come off. They are a security device to deter scum from nicking your property. And they don't come automatically with alloy wheels. The only reason that people don't put them on 'steel' wheels is the belief that no one would want to steel them.

Could have been a nasty accident who ever was to blame for the loose nuts. It is fortunate that no one was injured. What can be taken away from it is that when you feel a new vibration come on whilst driving check your nuts for adequate tightness!!
 

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Forgot to add that discs are only held in place with one screw.  They rely on the wheel fixing to clamp them in place.  There should be any movement in them though as the fit around the hub housing should be tight.  You find in older cars (8 yrs +) that when discs have been changed the retaining screw isn't put back. 
 

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Yep this is the advice any good garage/tyre fitter should give you. I always do this after the wheels have been off as I don't always trust that they're tight enough anyway.
 
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