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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am just hoping for inputs, thoughts, and see if anyone else out there experienced this before...

this is a 04 SE (got the 6 spoke wheel). I was driving on the freeway at about 65MPH and suddenly heard a thump then car lowered in the front and sparks were flying along my driver window.

it was 4am and no other vehicle in sight, no debris on the road, and in the 2nd lane from left (so no walls either).

pulled to the left (closest) and saw my left front as the picture below. yes, all 5 lug nuts were still on the car as the picture. There was no feel of tire blowing then riding rim until it broke, everything happened instantenously.

Now dealer is requiring nissan to send 'engineers' to inspect the vehicle to check for 'product liability'. basically, they are not sure whether if this is covered by warranty.

Car is 04, but got the car new only 3 months ago. first the alternator pulley came out on freeway in Nov, now this...

Any thoughts or inputs?
 

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yyyyyy-

That is absolutely amazing!! I have never heard of that happening before.

You are very lucky that you were able to maintain directional control over your MO.

I cracked a rim once, but that was by sliding sideways into a curb. And even then the wheel remained in one piece.

What was the condition of the rim? Was it in one piece and still attached to the tire? Did it fragment?

The dealer had better cover all repairs under warranty. Otherwise you may have a good case for a lawsuit. Nissan is not going to want the bad press associated with "exploding wheels" on a 3-month old car.

Keep us informed.

-njjoe
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
actually, I was pretty surprised about how well I was able to move over to the left and the vehicle didn't spin or flip....

I do hope that they would want to resolve this. I know they have disclaimer against road hazards, but in my (or anybody else I shown pictures to) experiences this is not caused by road hazards.

I just want my MO repaired to new again, I am not the sueing type, wastes too much time.

The wheel was in piece, CHP moved them off the lanes. but when I did get my rental literally 6 hours later, the pieces were picked up by caltrans already.

side note on the incident:
Nissan roadside assistance could NOT get through to any tow providers. They told me to call 911 for CHP tow service. Towed to nearest dealer, along the curb because their service drive was closed and I slept in the car until they opened at 7:30, just to be told that I have to call roadside assistance again just to tow it from curb into service yard, which didn't arrive until 9am.
 

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That is simply stunning, wow. :eek:

I notice on the pic, that one of the lug nuts appears to be substantially unscrewed. Any thoughts there? Have you had any service on the car recently that involved removal of the wheels for any reason?
 

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As long as Nissan takes real good care of you. But you should know that the wheel is suppose to be able to take a lot of beating before it gives. The impact required to shatter it like that will probably take the suspension with it. So if the suspension is okay, then more than likely something was wrong with the wheel.

You do not have to sue if you don't want to. But if they know you are reseving the option they will do their best to get you off their back as soon as possible. So tell them!
 

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IMHO, If that picture is not lying, it would indicate that there were at least 2 loose lug nuts. This might cause stresses on the wheel contributing to the failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for all the inputs....

lug nuts:
car has 8000 miles. I have yet to do any service that would involve removing the wheels. I had a 7500 mile maintenance with tire rotation scheduled for 2 days after the incident. I can't imagine the nuts to come loose on their own, but then again I just assumed that the nuts came loose after the incident, since now the nuts would turn with no efforts at all.

thanks for the suggestion regarding dealing with nissan. although I would not sue as long as they take responsibility and cover the damage, but if they do try to shrug it off then I will get legal support.

update:
nissan is sending someone there tomorrow for sure to inspect the vehicle. I will know more by then.
 

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When I first saw the picture, I came to the same conclusion as others here - the two lug nuts on the bottom of the pic appear to be loose, and its not a far stretch to imagine that loose lug nuts could lead to severe wheel vibration and eventual damage.

I am glad you were not hurt and were able to keep control of the vehicle.

If loose lug nuts were the cause of the accident, then Nissan cannot really be held liable for it, since its part of the vehicle maintenance. It would be like expecting them to replace the engine if you ran it out of oil.

Lug nuts, however, should not ever loosen on their own, provided the proper tightening procedure was performed. This almost always involves retightening the lug nuts to 80lbs (or whatever spec is, I am pretty sure its around 80lb/ft) after driving a few hundred miles after a wheel is put on. I am not surprised though, that most owners do not do this (I don't think its in the owners manual), and many do not realize this also applies for new cars (where the wheels are put on at the factory).. Nonetheless, *every* time I've had my wheels removed for whatever reason I always receive a warning to retorque the lug nuts after a few hundred miles.

In the end, if Nissan refuses to help you out, you can always file an insurance claim for it. Since no other vehicles were involved, this would likely fall under the "comprehensive" portion of your policy and may not lead to a premium increase since it was unavoidable (at that time).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ekaxel said:
IMHO, If that picture is not lying, it would indicate that there were at least 2 loose lug nuts. This might cause stresses on the wheel contributing to the failure.
hmmm... I guess then it would be workmanship issues but still nissan's fault? since I have yet to do any kind of tire/wheel work? so far its just the average oil change at 1500 miles, then at 5000 miles, then now due for the 7500 mile serivce (in my case 8000)...

get this....
over the thanksgiving weekend. the alternator pulley came off on the freeway. according the to repair dealer, the originating dealer that did the alternator recall before sales did not tighten the nut properly, therefore it came off.

ekaxel's opinion sounds likely, so know I am just even more pissed at the original dealer. they probably didn't prep the car properly. just as an headsup for other owners, I bought it from Wonderies Nissan in Alhambra, CA.
 

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yyyyyy said:


hmmm... I guess then it would be workmanship issues but still nissan's fault? since I have yet to do any kind of tire/wheel work? so far its just the average oil change at 1500 miles, then at 5000 miles, then now due for the 7500 mile serivce (in my case 8000)...

get this....
over the thanksgiving weekend. the alternator pulley came off on the freeway. according the to repair dealer, the originating dealer that did the alternator recall before sales did not tighten the nut properly, therefore it came off.

ekaxel's opinion sounds likely, so know I am just even more pissed at the original dealer. they probably didn't prep the car properly. just as an headsup for other owners, I bought it from Wonderies Nissan in Alhambra, CA.
If a loose lug nut was the culprit, then this thread serves a positive purpose - to remind all Murano owners to check their wheels are fastened on tight! 80lb/ft exactly isn't required. You can use the standard lug wrench in the trunk and give it a good tug to tighten it.

As for the original dealer prep, you are right - the lug nuts should definitely have been checked before delivery. However, the SE wheels have a little cap over the lug nuts, and knowing the dealer, they would be too lazy to remove it and check the lug nuts are all tight.
 

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Good Lord... I'm amazed at that photo. Lucky that you could still steer the car.

I'd agree... lug nuts look loose. Probably allowed enough wobble over 7,500 miles to send stress cracks through the wheel and allow the cast wheel to just crack and break apart. But that's incredible!

I would hope that Nissan would step up with "Good Will" and take care of this. But really, it's up to the dealership to maintain the car and make sure that everything was taken care of upon delivery. You might want to check your paperwork to see if you have the pre-delivery checklist for your vehicle that states the dealership checked the car. Or if you have any paperwork from any service that was done to the car (like tire rotation), that should be enough to show taht you had it inspected and someone (dealership most likely) is liable.

But I agree with others... good idea to check your lug nuts (with a torque wrench) regularly.

Bob
 

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Purely curiosity:
Were the rotor/bearings damaged? Does the hub rotate freely now?
Like, could you mount another wheel and still drive it?
 

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YYYYYYY,

Do you have any enemies or know of anyone that would want to ruin your day - or in your case morning? It could of been a bad prank in which the lug nuts were loosened.
 

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Three tight lug nuts would hold a wheel on tight enough to prevent any wobble or vibration....must have been a defective wheel...strange that it would fail going in a straight line (freeway) rather than fail in a sharp turn or hitting a bump...
 

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What's your build date?

If this 04 car was new and purchased just 3 months ago, (Sept 05?) the possibility is, that it was a 'lot Queen".

People never seem to ask any questions when their Alternator goes out........or the ECU.........or the Throttle position.................or a wheel cracks...........and the dealer says that they don't have that part in stock.....
BUT, they can take the part off a new car and send you on your way.
They just created another lot queen. A Donor car. One they can't sell until somebody orders a part and installs it.......and just who pays for the Mechanic's time who does that???
It's a problem.
And believe me, these mechanics, who are for all intent, self employed, don't/won't work for nothing.
Some of these donor cars lay around for months.

So, the dealer may well have pulled a wheel off your car....
and then........well who cares about what happened after that.......the point is, that this car has possibly been a donor car and has been worked on by all kinds of lot monkeys. THey could very well have not torqued the wheel properly.
Now why wasn't it caught when the car was prepped?
Most dealers figure that "prep" is taking the plastic sheet off and wiping the cosmoline off.
My Murano was delivered with 45 pounds of air in each tire.
My Miata was delivered with 55 pounds of air in each tire!
Prep? What prep?


Homer
 

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There is a significant safety factor designed into the wheel and hub assemblies. You just do not see catastrophic failures on these components.

Rims will bend and/or crack if you hit a curb/pothole with enough force, but I have never heard of one failing when driving in a straight line at highway speeds.

"YYYYYY" made no mention of unusual vibrations prior to the wheel failing, which makes you think the wheel was solidly attached to the hub.

I am very curious to see what the investigation engineers come up with.

-njjoe
 

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The break was across the area where the loose nuts were. The part of the wheel where the other 3 nuts are holding it is intact. You might not feel any vibration if the wheel was only flexing a little.

The bottom line though, is that it would be very difficult to prove when/if the nuts came loose. Metallurgical analysis on the wheel would be the best clue as to what happened. But that requires someone smart.......and you really need those wheel pieces.
 

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Wow...

You need to go home and kiss your wife and kids. That coulda been ugly.

Glad to hear you're safe and nobody was hurt.
 

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ekaxel-

You're right, the fault-line appears to be in the area with the "loose" lug nuts.

It is possible the nuts have been loose for some time, allowing stress cracks to develop as the car is driven. Since the MO wheels appear to be cast (and not forged) aluminum, once a crack develops it will continue to spread. As the crack expands it places greater stress on the areas outboard of the crack.

The dealer/factory might not have properly tightened the lug-nuts. Very few people ever check their lug-nuts. For many people the inspection process is limited to a casual look - "Hey, I am missing a lug-nut". The fact that the nuts are hidden on the SE wheels makes the process even less inspection-friendly. Since the nuts are covered, it wasn't possible to readily see the loose nuts.

It is entirely possible the crack may have been hidden by the SE wheel's cover plate. Had this been an S or SL wheel maybe the crack could have been detected prior to the failure.

Let's all hope this is the last such occurrence.

-njjoe
 
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