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Wheel Loss in the Dessert - What you risk when you don't fit Loose Wheel Nut Indicators

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A personal experience of wheel loss on a family holiday, recently shared with us on the NutWare Facebook page:

I remember back in June 1996, We lost a wheel doing 130 km/hr on the Stuart Highway.

We took the kids on an outback journey from Adelaide to Alice Springs with a camper trailer in the school holidays. It was an amazing trip. We had never been out into the desert country before. We went to all the sights and were stunned by the beauty of Central Australia.

About 130 kms south of Alice Springs we left the highway to visit the Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve. Pretty interesting. The 26 kms of dirt wasn't bad but traveling further on the bitumen to Alice Springs, we were cruising along on a sweeping bend, when there was a clunk at the back, then, out to our side, we saw the left wheel of the camper bouncing past us into the red sand and scrub. O...M...G it was bouncing so high and going so fast! The trailer screeched a long carved rut in the road as my husband carefully braked and pulled us up on the side of the road. The wheel was gone and we had lost all 5 wheel nuts along the highway!

It was late afternoon. We had to find the wheel and walk back along the highway searching for the nuts. Amazingly, a couple of nuts were found on the road. The wheel had traveled a really long way but we located it and rolled it back to the trailer. We were able to get back on the road again with some nuts from the spare that was on the front of the trailer. (Of course we had to unpack and repack the back of the wagon to get the jack out - nothing was easy - I'm sure you have seen that family on the side of the road with all their stuff out on the dirt. That was us.)

Further up the road we pulled into a spot, I think was Jim's Place at Stuart's Well. There were lots of camels. It smelt earthy and Jim had a huge dusty old shed that seemed to be full of every piece of vehicle that had ever dropped onto the road since 1935. He had the nuts we needed so we were able to complete our trip with all our wheels secure.

We laugh now, it was great trip, but we are still thankful it was the left wheel we lost that day. We often think how tragic it could have been had the wheel came off from the other side. It could have bounced through the windscreen of an oncoming vehicle... a family... a truckie.... It could happen. These wheel nut indicators are a great idea if your traveling.


Cathy, Adelaide.

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