Calgary driver says wheel ‘flew off’ days after winter tire swap

As Albertans prepare for winter, people across the province will be switching over to winter tires.

But a Calgary man who scheduled his tires to be swapped out well ahead of the first snowfall is speaking out after his tire flew off just days after having them changed at a local Costco.

Chris Pratt took his Nissan Murano to the Balzac Costco on Sept. 24 to have his winter tires installed.

Just five days later, and minutes from getting onto Deerfoot Trail, he said his vehicle’s front driver’s side tire came off.

“I felt a weird vibration [that] happened about two seconds before, and my wheel just flew off,” Pratt said. “It immediately pulled my car to the left.

“I was so fortunate because the light had just turned green… and there was no oncoming traffic.”

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Read more: Are winter tires worth it? How to put your best wheels forward in snow and ice

The car came to a stop on Harvest Hills Link N.E. where there’s still a scratch from where the Murano’s brake rotor dug in.

“I can’t stop thinking about how this could happen to someone else,” Pratt said. “Or how just… a change of two minutes of time and I would have been travelling 110 kilometres an hour when that wheel came off.”

Pratt said he had only driven the vehicle for about 60 kilometres after it was serviced, and said Costco had recommended he return with 200 kilometres for the tire to be retorqued.

“You would think that they get pretty good at tightening bolts — but, obviously, they either do not have protocols in place to make sure something like this doesn’t happen or they weren’t followed,” Pratt said.

Click to play video 'Alberta family escapes injury after tire flies off; believes lug nuts loosened in B.C.' 2:00 Alberta family escapes injury after tire flies off; believes lug nuts loosened in B.C.

Alberta family escapes injury after tire flies off; believes lug nuts loosened in B.C.

Pratt said he called Costco after it happened, and two team members showed up at the scene to start an investigation.

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Costco did not respond to several requests for comment, and a manager from the Balzac location also did not provide a statement to Global News.

Pratt said he has been in contact with a Costco vice president and members of the store’s insurance team, but no compensation has been determined.

He just hopes the same thing doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“If you go to any place, whether it’s Costco or any shop, make them show you that those bolts are tight,” Pratt said.

Tire safety

Brandon Klassen, Alberta Motor Association’s vice president of automotive services, said AMA does highly recommend winter tires as well as having trained professionals change them over.

Klassen added a tire coming loose after being changed out is a rare occurrence.

“It’s an unlikely scenario where a tire is not installed properly,” Klassen said. “But going back within 50 to 100 kilometres [to get the tires retourqued] is going to ensure your safety on the road and make sure that everything was done properly.”

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Klassen said he couldn’t speak to anyone situation but that rust could cause issues after installation.

“If your tires are stored in a place where you get some rust on the back of the rim… when the tire gets put on, as you’re driving it could loosen up,” said Klassen. “Again, it’s unlikely, but that’s why bringing it back to get them retorqued is the best bet.”

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