Reader Wayne Caldwell wrote in with this story. It’s a good reminder for us all.
Back in early April, I removed each wheel from our travel trailer, then the bearings so I could clean and repack them. I used my impact wrench (air gun) to shoot the lug nuts back on and went back over each one a second time to ensure each was tight, and then checked the air pressure in each tire.
We took a trip 430 miles each way from Belen, NM, to Midland, TX, the last week of April.
Mid-May we got ready to go to Moab, UT, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks. I rechecked the air pressures, loaded up the groceries and we were off for a five-day, 900-mile round trip. On our return, we stopped a few times for potty break and I walked around looking everything over, making sure everything was in place and all was well.
We cruised along at about 65 mph and got back to Belen at about 2 p.m. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac and I make my u-turn to get our 35′ travel trailer lined up to back it into our parking spot.
As I began straightening the trailer, I noticed we were missing the left-front tire on our trailer. It was gone! And we didn’t know it!
After disconnecting the trailer, we retraced our route back to I-40 looking for our tire.
The next day, I drove back to Grants (our last stop), 100 miles each way and couldn’t find the tire. My wife had checked the state police sites for any accident info about a lone tire and, thankfully, there hadn’t been.
The following day I was driving back home from breakfast with “the guys” and sitting in a neighbor’s front yard. There, one block from our house, was our tire and wheel. It had left the trailer the last left turn onto our street and had slowly rolled into his driveway. Four lug nuts had vibrated loose and the two remaining studs broke off. Other than several more grey hairs and about 300 additional miles, all this cost me was 6 new lug studs and a new rim (the tire was undamaged).
Now, honestly, how many of us check the lug nuts before we leave home or the campsite? I’m guessing that maybe 1 in 100 (if even that many) check. Until last week, I was one of the 99. Are you the 1 or one of the 99?