New Brunswick

Wheels need to be re-torqued after tires changed, experts remind drivers

When changing your tires from winter to summer, many people neglect to come back and get the wheels re-torqued, say mechanics and garage owners.

'All of a sudden you'll watch one of your tires pass you by,' warn mechanics

After getting your tires changed, mechanics advise you return to your garage after driving 100 kilometres, and getting them re-torqued. (CBC)

Winter may still be threatening New Brunswick, but despite that fear, Sunday, May 1, is the deadline to remove studded tires in the province.

Most drivers have already swapped their winter tires for summer ones as well, or will soon.

But garage owners and mechanics say there's another step to the process that lots of people forget: taking the vehicle back later to get the wheels re-torqued.

While the mechanics highly recommend that, most people decide to take their chances.

"Worst case scenario is you'll be driving down the road and then all of a sudden you'll watch one of your tires pass you by while you're trying or struggling for control of your car," says Peter Muise, a service manager for Canadian Tire.

Although it's rare to have a wheel fall off, when it does happen it can cause major damage, and be very dangerous. (CBC)
Muise said they recommend re-torquing wheels after driving 100 kilometres after a change.

He said only about 30 to 40 per cent of drivers do come back.

It's even more important with aluminum rims, he added, which are softer than steel, as the lug nuts can loosen more easily, meaning a higher chance of a problem.

Some people do take re-torquing very seriously, according to Isaas Sarsour, owner of Moncton's T & L Auto Service.

Those people do it religiously, while many others just don't bother. 

Although accidents due to loose wheels are rare, it still happens, said Sarsour.

"We have some customers that actually show up in tow trucks with their cars for a simple reason that the wheel came off while they were driving and that could damage a lot of parts," he said.

Sarsour and the other mechanics say it's a lot better to come back to the garage by your own choice, for a quick tightening on those wheels.