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Tire fell off on 2004 Lincoln Aviator-could have been horrible

elysegelyseg Posts: 12
edited April 8 in Lincoln
I recently purchased a 2004 Lin Aviator from Car Max (2 months). It just came off of a 3 year lease with only 20,000 miles. Car is in great shape and I fell in love with it. I was driving on 95 Fri afternoon, 60-70mph when my car started vibrating. I slowed down to 40 and was still vibrating. I called Carmax from the car and they asked a couple of questions (light on displaying tire problem, any noises..none). I told him something is not right and I made the next avail appt for Monday @ 8:30. Car Max Service is not open over the weekend. I made it home and my husband took it out, less than one mile from the house. He did a u-turn and the tire went flying off the car and he smashed down hard into the ground with sparkes everywhere, trying to avoid being hit. He slid across the road and got to the medium, luckily unharmed. I have front car damage big time. All the lug bolts in that tire were all broken when my husband retrieved the tire. When I heard all this all I can think of is how my life and my childrens' life were all at stake on 95 and the turnpike just hours before. I would like to know if anyone had this happen or a similar situation. I did not purchase a exteneded warranty from Carmax and hoping the lincoln will help us being the car is still under the 50,000 mile manuf. warranty. We could be dead right now and still can't beleive this happened. Look forward to any response.

Comments

  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    The message from elyseg should have stated Lincoln Aviator!
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,730
    You need to find out who put that tire on. They didn't tighten the lug nuts properly.
  • jeyhoejeyhoe Posts: 490
    And it wasn't the tire that fell off - it was the WHEEL. Like previously said, the lug nuts were not tightened, came loose and off came the wheel. At least that is the most likely scenario.
    Good luck.
  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    Akirby...we had the car brought back to Carmax and they are looking at tomorrow. I would think Carmax is responsible since I have their signed "authenticity" that the car was checked and safe for driving. I'm hoping they comply since I purchased the vehicle just over 2 months ago. They give 1-month for return or defects unless I bought an extended warranty (I didn't). In this case I would think they should honor it. 5 more minutes on 95 with my 9 year old son in the care, we probably would have been killed. It was a u-turn that had the tire fall off, minutes after leaving 95. My concern now is the damage that occured from the impact to the axel and now this vehicle (I think) is considered to be in an accident??? It's a shame that it happened. I really liked the vehicle! Thanks for the info.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,730
    But if you look at it from their standpoint - how do they know that someone else didn't take off the wheel and forgot to tighten the lugnuts? If it happened within minutes or even a few days of taking delivery then it's a no-brainer, but 2 months is a long time.

    Hopefully they'll cover it for you, but I don't think it's a slam dunk case.
  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    Akirby...well you are right. It is not a slam dunk case. I just got the call. I was asked if anyone tried to steal the tire???? My car is always parked in front of my office window and I live in a safe neighborhood so I'd be surprised by that. I told the mechanic that when I first had the car the steering wheel shimmied or vibrated slightly when I turned the wheel left. It stopped doing it so I never thought about it again and now wondering if there is something more than the wheel that is the issue. Carmax said that steering wheel vibrating wouldn't be relevant to the wheel falling off?? Anyway, I now need to get the insurance company adjuster involved and see if they agree to do a major over-hall on the car to determine it was just the wheel. The car has traveled 2700 miles since the Carmax changed the tires. Is there anyway that a wheel can hang on that long if the lug nuts are the issue of not being put in correctly?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,730
    2700 miles is a long time for a lugnut to loosen, but I guess it's possible. It's also possible the wheel wasn't centered properly or the studs were defective. All you can do is have the damaged wheel and lug nuts checked (and check the other wheels as well). Sounds like insurance will have to cover it. Good luck.
  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    Thanks again for the info..I'll let you know the outcome. Also, if someone tried to steal the tire I don't think they would have put the casing back on and that's what we're finding now too. Again, I'll keep you posted.
  • jeyhoejeyhoe Posts: 490
    Casing? What are u talking about?
  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    I was hoping you could tell me. That's what someone said who was there when I lost the wheel. I mentioned what Carmax said and he said that would be tough because the outerplate (first he said casing) was still intact in order to try to remove the lug nuts. Does this make any sense? Sorry for the ignorant questions.
  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    Akirby...I found out a little more about the "casing" on the wheel... the aviator has a cover (almost like a hubcap) that covers the lug nuts. This cover was still on the wheel when it fell off. You would have to remove the cover to remove the lug nuts. Does that make more sense? Would it make sense that that stayed on if someone was trying to steal it?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,730
    I agree - if someone was trying to steal it and stopped midway the cover would be off. I still think it's more likely they simply worked loose over time.
  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    But the tricky part...proving that to Carmax. They did say they removed the tires 2700 miles ago but they had the carefully inspected???
  • jeyhoejeyhoe Posts: 490
    The absolute most likely thing is that whoever last put the WHEEL on, forgot to tighten the lug nuts.
    The next most likely is that they left them loose on purpose.

    I dont see how you can prove either one. Nor can u prove who did it.

    I think the lesson here is to pay attention to your car. If the wheel is wobbly, have it looked at. RIght away. If you hit the brakes and hear a scraping sound, have the brakes fixed.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,730
    Gotta agree with jeyhoe on this one (wow - write that down!). First, it's the WHEEL that came off, not the tire. Big difference. Second - there is now way to prove or disprove the root cause or when it occurred or whose fault it is. If Carmax isn't willing to take responsibility your only recourse is to use insurance or sue them, and you don't have enough evidence to get a judgement in small claims court.

    In the future stop and check the lug nuts anytime you feel a wheel problem.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,313
    I think it's worth a shot. Wheels don't come off by themselves - unlike a blow-out, someone screwed up somewhere. That someone is probably the last person who worked on the car, and the judge may believe the driver more than the seller. CarMax may just do the right thing before it comes to that.

    I don't recall a wheel bearing being an issue, just the lug nuts. If there are alloys on the car, then perhaps the lug nuts need to be retorqued after a hundred miles or so. But if the lug nuts were properly tightened the first time, I don't think they should come loose like that.

    Please let us know what happens, Elyseg.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    Hi Steve, A lot has happened in a day. CarMax is stepping up to the plate. I'll keep you all posted. I need to run and pick up a car now on behalf of CarMax, until everything gets sorted out.
  • zgbinst1zgbinst1 Posts: 4
    The very same thing has happen to my sister and her Ford Expedition believe it or not it happen on I 95 and she bought it from Carmax. Just wanted to know what did you do to get Carmax to step up.
  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    zgbingst 1. I hope everything was ok with your sister? Carmax was really great but it took a phone call to the CEO in Richmond, VA to make it happen. After I left him a message and faxed over a letter stating what happened, the General Manager at the local CarMax called and told me to come in and pick out any new car (same value of course). How long did you have the car from CarMax and which location did you purchase from?
  • zgbinst1zgbinst1 Posts: 4
    Thanks for asking, she is doing great fortunately no one was hurt in her incident either. She only had the vehicle 2 weeks and this was the hwy 70 location in Raleigh, N.C., right now they are still denying liability, stating that she could have removed or had the tire removed by someone else but that's not the case. With the warranty still effective why would she. I would like to know which branch you were dealing with so maybe we can state case and point to this branch.

    Thanks again
  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    The branch was Pompano Beach, off of Sample Road. I'm curious to know if it's the same location if you can let me know.
  • zgbinst1zgbinst1 Posts: 4
    I am afraid not. She bought her vehicle in Raleigh N.C. at the highway 70 branch. Would you mind if we mentioned your situation to help our case. I wouldn't think we would need names or anything, you giving us the location and the fact that it happened last month should be enough. Thanks for your time and information.
  • elysegelyseg Posts: 12
    By all means mention about us. The headquarters are right there in NC and would think they wouldn't want any bad press. But then again that's how it started out with us. Why would we (you and I) have any reason to change/alter tires 2 weeks - 2 months after purchase. Should have no reason. The funny thing is the mechanic down here told me someone tried to steal the tire. But when I mentioned that the theif was kind enough to place the hub cap back on, nothing more was mentioned. I would suggest making a call right into headquarters, followed up with a letter to them and the GM at your location and I'm sure CarMax will take care of it. Thomas Fulliard is the CEO and his number is on the website. It worked for me :) Good luck and keep me posted!
  • Just to let you know the district manager in this area step in and my sister has another Expedition. So everything worked out just fine, thanks so much for the info. and support. :shades:
  • they put 5 or 8 lug nuts on a wheel to make sure it just does not fall off. It wobbles and you should get a clue and pull over. Sounds like this person never changed a tire even in drivers ed or when her father taught her how to drive. Yes if they were all loose it would be sabotage but you would not get 2700 miles . Someone is making another look stupid. who is stupid is the question. too many theories.
This discussion has been closed.