Driving the Wheels Off a Car
Have you ever heard the saying that a person “drove the wheels off” a vehicle? Here’s one person who did! ( for the owner and poor Mazda RX-7)
Possible explanation from an Internet forum:
Summary: he bought a set of dedicated wheels for his track tires; the tire shop gave him the wrong lugs; you can see the result.
I was working across the track at another corner when it happened. It was not pretty.
I was just hitting redline when I got to that slalom, so he was
going at least 40 or 45 mph when that happened. It pretty much sucked.
They were tight when he put them on, the car passed tech inspection.
The explanation was given to me by people who are far more
mechanically inclined than me, e.g. they bring their race cars to SCCA
events in covered trailers.
Apparently the threads on the wheel studs were different than the
threads on the lugs. The felt tight because some portions of the
threads were in contact with the lugs and sufficient to hold the wheel
on when the car was stationary or moving slowly.
However, as soon as the car reached a certain speed, enough force
was generated to rip the threads out of the lugs; the threads in the
lugs themselves were stripped out of the lugs are were laying on the
track and stuck to the guy’s new Toyos.
The example given to me was of an old car whose wheels actually
rusted to the hubs; you can beat the wheels with a mallet and shake the
car back and forth and the wheels won’t come off, but you can then
drive the car slowly and they will loosen enough that they can be
I suppose that a really experienced racer (like the guys that
figured out what happened) might have recognized that the lugs were
wrong, but weekend amateurs- like me- would probably assume that the
lugs were OK as long as you could torque them to the proper setting and
they felt like they were properly affixed.
Bummer for the car, it was really, really nice- pristine condition.
Hopefully the tire company owns up to its mistake and does the right
thing so he can get the car back on the road.
Today, I found out one of my teammates on the softball team (she actually works for Deloitte & Touche) graduated from high school with Mark Prior’s sister. How cool is that?!
I got my T-shirt today!
To find out more and/or purchase one for yourself, a family member, or a friend, go to www.christsc.com. All of the proceeds will be put toward missions.
What’s been in the Edmunds.com garage lately:
2007 BMW Alpina B7
I was able to ask Senior Road Test Editor, Josh Jacquot, about the car when he passed by this morning after turning in an expense form. Let’s just say it needed new shoes/rubber was burnt.
2008 Audi TT Roadster
Here’s what Edmunds.com’s Editor-in-Chief, Karl Brauer, had to say about the vehicle.