What do a pregnant woman from Maryland, a 48-year-old man from Ontario, and a driver in Seattle have in common? They are all victims of truck wheel-offs
-- a truck wheel flew off on the highway and struck their vehicles. Both the Ontario man and the Seattle driver were lucky; they survived. But the woman from Maryland was killed. The Tire Industry Association, a recognized authority on commercial tires and tire service training, reminds all commercial vehicle operators that improper installation procedures can lead to very tragic results similar to these.

Thus, TIA offers the following four tips that every commercial vehicle operator should keep in mind:

1. Proper torque in and of itself is not a guarantee that the wheel is secure on the hub or drum - the key is clamping force. Tire technicians must be trained to ensure that the wheel and hub are properly cleaned and that the wheel and fasteners are inspected before it is installed. Even with the correct torque, foreign material on the mating surfaces and worn threads will still cause a wheel to become loose.

2. Use the proper wheel fastener lubricants (30-weight oil on the stud and flange nut for hub-piloted wheels and dry for stud-pilot).

3. DO NOT use anti-seize compounds on stud-piloted wheels. This use has never been approved by wheel, hub or fastener manufacturers.

4. Wheel fastener torque should always be checked after the first 50 to 100 miles.

"There are plenty of myths and outright falsehoods floating around repair shops - such as using anti-seize compounds as wheel lubricants - which only help to perpetuate the phenomenon of wheel-offs," said Kevin Rohlwing, TIA senior vice president of training. "It's important that tire technicians receive the proper training to look at all aspects of clamping force - not just proper wheel torque - in order to ensure a wheel does not come off and create the potential for serious injury, or even death out on the roads."

TIA offers extensive training and commercial tire technician certification courses that include training on proper clamping force. For more information, visit the "Training" section of www.tireindustry.org.

From an August 2009 TIA White Paper.