Drivers warned of simple mistake that can leave them stranded and cost hundreds

Experts have urged motorists to make sure that their wheel nuts are not overtightened. This is because drivers may be unable to loosen them in case of an emergency and become stranded.

On top of that, roadside assistance can turn out to be quite expensive, costing drivers in excess of £100.

According to experts at Norbar Torque Tools, more and more drivers are being left stranded on the roadside as they are unable to replace their wheels.

They have now urged every motorist to make sure their wheel nuts are not overtightened, even if they’re not the ones performing the replacement.

Professional mechanics now often use more than “just one click” when they perform the repair.

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If they spot that their wheel nuts are being overtightened at a garage or an MOT centre they should speak up immediately.

Norbar Torque Tools marketing manager Julian Bremner-Smith said: “Overtightening risks bolt failure, but it can also leave motorists stranded at the roadside unable to perform basic wheel replacement procedures in an emergency.

“That second or third well-meant click with a torque wrench when tyres are replaced at a garage or MOT centre can result in the nut being at a torque nearly 15 percent more than the recommended level in the vehicle manual and very difficult to remove at a later date.”

Things could even get worse for drivers if mechanics use power tools to tighten the wheel nuts.

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This method is usually faster but not recommended at all.

Mr Bremner-Smith said: “Too often power tools are being used that have no torque setting capability and the nuts are therefore overtightened to a point that drivers cannot remove them.”

He continued: “After only a few weeks of normal driving with the wheel nuts exposed to wet weather, dirty roads and even salt, the torque that will need to be applied to undo the nut – the break-off torque - will most likely be nearer 50 percent more than the torque originally applied to the nut.”

The break-off torque refers to the power needed to loosen the wheel nut.

To show the huge difference, the experts used a Ford Focus as an example.

A Focus has a wheel nut torque setting of 135 N∙m.

If it is tightened to 150 N∙m - above the recommended torque - it will likely have a break-off torque of about 225 N∙m after just a few weeks of driving.

Mr Bremner-Smith said: “This is something very few drivers will be able to apply with the typically short wheel brace supplied as standard with most modern cars.”

The expert also advised drivers to insist on good torque practice when replacing wheels.

This includes asking for no power tools to be used.

Mr Bremner-Smith added: “If the tyre replacement operative tightens the nut beyond one click ask them to do it again. One click is enough.

“And if a tyre replacement operative is using a power tool, drivers should insist that the correct torque is applied using a calibrated torque wrench.”

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