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My left rear tire wore excessively 3 mo. ago & I replaced the tire and rotated the tires. It was agreed I needed an alignment but the tire store was not able to do it. Last week the Right rear tire began making a noise. I took the car into my mechanic & asked him to check out the right wheel noise, do the alignment & change the oil.He changed the oil & said the alignment could not be done until I replace 3-4 tires. He thought the alignment would take care of the noise in the wheel. Because of my work schedule I said I could not do that until next week. 2 days later, driving on a major hwy we thought we had a blowout. No blow out!Pulled over to find 2 lug nuts gone & 2 lugs sheared off.Now I have a major problem and could have been seriously injured. Should my mechanic have any responsibility in this? How should I handle this? Advice needed ASAP!! Now I have a tow charge, have to replace/repair the wheel damage/ replace my tires and get an alignment. My week is not starting well.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Debbie, From your description in the beginning with worn tire and noise shortly after indications point to a possible wheel bearing failure. Beginning indications are a shack in the steering wheel at highway speeds for excessive amounts of miles, then can begin to cause a whine or drone hum when further failure "set" in. I would have documentation of everything, pictures and copies of copies of receipts! On more current cars the bearing are sealed and incorporated into a hub assembly. Signs they are going bad include: a hum or roar that can be stopped when turning the steering wheel in one direction but not the other, that is unless both sides have bad bearings. The noise sound similar to a choppy worn tire. Some wheel bearings assemblies have ABS (Anti Lock Brake) sensors built into them, an ABS light may illuminate if one goes bad. Just as a warning, brake rotors that do not have a heat isolating groove in them may transfer heat to the hub and cause wheel bearing failure. Ref: Also a word of advice toward your situation, in the fact that if you have one failing the other is not far behind. It is recommended by some mechanics to replace wheel bearings in adjacent pairs.

Audra Fordin, Owner at Great Bear Auto Shop Hi Debbie, A wheel alignment will not do anything other than straighten and align the wheels. If you have worn front end or suspension parts, the alignment will not stop your tires from wearing excessively. Make sure to have it checked before you do the alignment. That was a very scary experienced you had. As for the liability from the accident, I would bring it to the repair shops attention, state your case, bring your paperwork and documentation and take it from there. Most important is that you are ok! Audra

Laurie Sarno, Co-Owner at Super Girls Auto Hello Debbie;Whomever last installed the wheel on the car IS responsible for damage caused. I would immediately contact the individual or shop involved and state the circumstances. Should they give you any difficulty, contact your attorney. Thanks Super Girls Auto.

Pat Fleischmann, Director of First Impressions at Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair This is a tough situation for all involved, under normal conditions the last one to remove and replace a tire would be the responsible party. I would suggest you take the issue to the shop and see how they respond, you may be surprised. You can also turn it over to your insurance company and let them deal with it. This is not an open and shut deal, how many miles since the service etc. lots of questions will come up. Keep your cool, if there is responsibility on the shops part~ remember they did not get up that morning looking to ruin someone's day.

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