Watchdog: Missing wheel inserts give cause for concern

Owner inspection raises fears, but Nissan says there is nothing to be worried about

Wheels and tyres are among the most important parts of a car as they’re the only items in contact with the road, which is why many drivers take any signs of trouble seriously. This is exactly what reader Les Dufty, from Little Stoke in Bristol, did after he found out the wheel nut inserts on his Pathfinder had come off.

Les took his 2006 Nissan to a local garage to change the front and rear brake pads. While the car was on the ramp, the mechanic pointed out that one of the metal inserts in the rear wheel – which the nut is tightened against – had come loose, popped out and was now missing.

“I would never have noticed this unless the car was on a ramp,” Les told us. Having had more than 30 years of engineering and mechanical expertise as an Alfa Romeo specialist, he began to investigate how this could have happened and whether it was dangerous. He said: “Myself and the mechanic looked at the other wheels, including the spare, and noticed that on the latter some of the inserts were so loose they could be pushed out.”

Les told us: “I have changed thousands of tyres over the years, but have never heard of an insert coming out.” We got in touch with Nissan, which began to investigate. Les was contacted by its technical team, who told him the issue would have likely come from the wheel nuts being overtightened when changing rims, but that they could be popped back into place by force.

To find out, Les substituted one of the inserts from the spare to his rear wheel and managed to solve the problem. However, he remained sceptical of Nissan’s answer: “I’ve never seen this before in my whole career working with cars – and it’s something that worries me from a safety point of view.”

Nissan told us the issue was unlikely to be safety related, but it’d need to inspect Les’s car to confirm. A spokesman also pointed out that the Pathfinder is now well out of warranty and has been repaired outside the network. He advised: “If Mr Dufty has any remaining concerns we recommend that he takes his vehicle to his nearest Nissan dealer.”

Recommended

Top 8 best pickup trucks 2021
Ford Ranger Wildtrak crossing a river
Pick-up trucks
28 Jun 2021

Top 8 best pickup trucks 2021

Special edition cars: the best, worst and weirdest
Jeep Cherokee SUV
15 Dec 2020

Special edition cars: the best, worst and weirdest

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2021
Hyundai Tucson SUV front 3/4 tracking
Deals
10 Sep 2021

Best new car deals 2021

New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed
Toyota RAV4 Adventure
Toyota RAV4
14 Sep 2021

New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed

Vauxhall Mokka-e SUV review
Vauxhall Mokka-e driving - front
Vauxhall Mokka-e SUV
15 Sep 2021

Vauxhall Mokka-e SUV review

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
15 Jun 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
12 Aug 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks