Six galvanized high-tensile steel bolts were used to hold the wheels of a four-wheel drive vehicle. The right hand rear wheel of this vehicle detached causing the vehicle to roll and resulting in considerable damage to the body. The wheel was detached by shearing of four of the bolts and stripping the nuts from the other two bolts, which remained unbroken. SEM fractography of the fracture surfaces of the four broken bolts indicated that the failure was due to reversed bending fatigue. Optical microscopy indicated that the bolts were heat treated to a tempered martensite structure and that the nuts were manufactured from low carbon steel. The paper discusses the influence of the microstructure on the failure process the events surrounding the nature of incident and the analysis of in-service failure of the failed components utilizing conventional metallurgical techniques.