In-Service Failure of SAE Grade 8.1 Wheel Studs
Failure of carbon-manganese steel wheel studs caused by improper tightening of the inner wheel nuts resulted in separation of a dual wheel assembly on a heavy truck. The benchmark pattern observed on the fracture surfaces of the studs evidenced fatigue cracks emanating from multiple origins around the circumference. There was no indication that any microstructural characteristics of the material contributed to the failure. Inclusions that were present were small and relatively few in number. Failure to check the torque of the inner wheel nuts as per the manufacturer's recommendation caused the inner wheel nuts to loosen during break-in and lose the required clamping force. The development and promotion of educational programs on proper wheel tightening procedures was recommended.