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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

I'm looking for help from some experienced mechanics to try to find out what I will need to fix on my front driver's side wheel to make sure the wheel won't come off while I'm driving again. I'm wondering what kind of damage I have so I've attached some pictures to this post. I'm also wondering how much all of this will cost because I have a limited budget.

This is what happened:

I was driving my 2000 Ford Taurus SE one day and I hit a pothole. I started to to feel shaking, the stirring wheel shook and the front end of the shook. It felt like I blew a tire but that obviously was not it. The next day I took my car the AutoZone and one of their employees told me that one of my sway bar links had snapped. I asked if it was safe to drive it home (15 miles away). She said yes, just don't make any sharp turns.

So I was very careful driving home about (40 MPH). And half way home I heard another "pow" sound, I saw my lugnuts fly in the air and I lost control of the car. I slid into the front yard of a house. I asked the tow truck driver what kind of damage I had and he said I would need some new studs and of course replace the sway bar. But obviously I have to fix the original sway bar link problem. So I was hoping from looking at these pictures if anybody here could give me an idea of what all I need to fix so that I have an idea how much it will cost me to get my car fixed.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

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It is a fool's errand to hazard a guess at all that you may need or how light you might be lucky enough to get out of this doing based just on the pictures. Before even engaging in the obvious rundown of what can be seen from the pics, what is your repair experience level? How much of the work might you be doing yourself? How comfortable are you with parts identification and repair terminology?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It is a fool's errand to hazard a guess at all that you may need or how light you might be lucky enough to get out of this doing based just on the pictures. Before even engaging in the obvious rundown of what can be seen from the pics, what is your repair experience level? How much of the work might you be doing yourself? How comfortable are you with parts identification and repair terminology?
To be totally honest I know almost next to nothing about fixing cars. I'm a total novice. I would be worried if I tried to fix it myself by watching YouTube videos or something like that, I'd end up making matters worse. I would rather somebody who is experienced and knows what they are doing fix it before I try to get in there and call myself fixing something.
 

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^ +1 So were you driving around with two broken wheel studs or did they break from the pothole. Seems strange two studs broke and then the three other loosened in such a short time without significant noise. Did you have a recent brake job and new half-shafts? Is the alloy wheel damaged from the impact?
 

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If you don't know anything about cars, I suggest taking it to someone who's qualified. It's one thing to take your life in your own hands, however it's something completely different when the lives of others on the road are held in your hands, making proper repairs to drive a safe vehicle.


That being said, I'd bet that the wheel was not put on loose and eventually it snapped the studs ripping the rest of the lug nuts off. Having a stabilizer bar link isn't going to blow the tire off of the car. Auto Zone employees..... I trust them about as much as a fart after drinking a full cup of water at the Rio Olympics. Especially when I was looking for a part and I had my engine called a "dough ch" (dohc).


I'd like to see a picture of the actual stabilizer bar link to see if it's indeed broken.
 

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Yeah, you're going to need to take this to a shop. Cars don't like going without wheels, and it'd be best if someone qualified looked over the whole front end to make sure any damaged parts are replaced.
 

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A wheel doesn't just fall off. Something would have to break or the lug nuts were loose. A swaybar link isn't going to affect anything, except making an annoying noise or cause excessive body roll during cornering. Looking at the pictures I'm going to say nothing broke, so your lugs were loose. (they don't just loosen themselves...piss someone off?) The studs broke by the angled pressure of the wheel.

3 studs are plenty to begin diagnosis. Look at the wheel first, check the holes, make sure they aren't damaged - out of round, oblong. Straighten out the backing plate, make sure it's not contacting the rotor anywhere. Put the wheel back on, torque to 90 ft lbs. Lightly wiggle the wheel at 9 and 3. If the steering wheel is moving at all, you're shaking to hard. If you feel something loose try to reach around to the tie rod and see if that's loose, if you feel play on the outer tie rod, then that's bad, if you feel movement but not on the outer, then the inner is bad. They might both be bad. Wiggle at 12 and 6 and diagonal too. If there's play have someone else wiggle and look behind. If you see nothing but wheel moving, then the wheel bearing is bad. Watch the ball joint too, you'd see it move if it's bad.

Don't worry about the damaged backing plate, it'd be a waste of money to replace that.
The rotor is most likely warped, if the pads are worn at all, just do the front brakes.
If the wheel bearings are original with over 100k on it, I'd replace them both. If you're not going to do them yourself, which I don't recommend if you don't know what you're doing, then that may not be cost effective. So just replace the studs.
If the sway bar link is indeed broken, obviously replace that. On a 2000, there's a good chance a mechanic is going to tell you everything I've listed needs to be replaced, if they haven't already been done. I have an 05 with 165k, I've done everything a few times. Except the wheel bearings, only done them once at 150k when I rebuilt my transmission.

Ford Lincoln Mercury Dealer Technician for 4 years
Land Rover Tech for 2 years
 

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It's not magic.

A wheel doesn't just fall off. Something would have to break or the lug nuts were loose. A swaybar link isn't going to affect anything, except making an annoying noise or cause excessive body roll during cornering. Looking at the pictures I'm going to say nothing broke, so your lugs were loose. (they don't just loosen themselves...piss someone off?) The studs broke by the angled pressure of the wheel.

3 studs are plenty to begin diagnosis. Look at the wheel first, check the holes, make sure they aren't damaged - out of round, oblong. Straighten out the backing plate, make sure it's not contacting the rotor anywhere. Put the wheel back on, torque to 90 ft lbs. Lightly wiggle the wheel at 9 and 3. If the steering wheel is moving at all, you're shaking to hard. If you feel something loose try to reach around to the tie rod and see if that's loose, if you feel play on the outer tie rod, then that's bad, if you feel movement but not on the outer, then the inner is bad. They might both be bad. Wiggle at 12 and 6 and diagonal too. If there's play have someone else wiggle and look behind. If you see nothing but wheel moving, then the wheel bearing is bad. Watch the ball joint too, you'd see it move if it's bad.

Don't worry about the damaged backing plate, it'd be a waste of money to replace that.
The rotor is most likely warped, if the pads are worn at all, just do the front brakes.
If the wheel bearings are original with over 100k on it, I'd replace them both. If you're not going to do them yourself, which I don't recommend if you don't know what you're doing, then that may not be cost effective. So just replace the studs.
If the sway bar link is indeed broken, obviously replace that. On a 2000, there's a good chance a mechanic is going to tell you everything I've listed needs to be replaced, if they haven't already been done. I have an 05 with 165k, I've done everything a few times. Except the wheel bearings, only done them once at 150k when I rebuilt my transmission.

Ford Lincoln Mercury Dealer Technician for 4 years
Land Rover Tech for 2 years
Nice crack in the disk!

I would probably replace the hub, spindle nut, the brake disk & pads, the lug nuts and studs, and the stabilizer links. Do both sides. You can shop for them on Rockauto and as you are "kinda broke" buy the economy priced stuff. Too bad you aren't closer, all this stuff isn't that difficult, but probably not appropriate for a newbie at mechanics & it does involve some special tools. Folks like me or some of the other contributors to this thread have the experience and the tools to provide a mentor if you wanted to try to fix it yourself.

Whatever, be sure that whoever does the work uses an actual torque wrench to to tighten the lug nuts.
 

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Well I gotta say it sounds like you drove it til the wheel fell off. But it's repairable and not too much money, those front end parts mentioned earlier are pretty cheap, especially either at rockauto or at Advance Auto with a discount code. Sway bar end links I've replaced multiple times, went with a Moog last time and it's lasted much longer than the generic ones. Rotors and pads are also cheap, you can probably just bend back that backing plate. You could actually replace the individual studs that broke off, but I believe it's part of the wheel bearing, labor on it might be a wash and maybe you mind as well replace the wheel bearing while you have it all apart. How's the ball joint and tie rods? All the parts mentioned are in the $25-$50 range.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
^ +1 So were you driving around with two broken wheel studs or did they break from the pothole. Seems strange two studs broke and then the three other loosened in such a short time without significant noise. Did you have a recent brake job and new half-shafts? Is the alloy wheel damaged from the impact?
Yeah I had a break job about 3 weeks earlier. I had some new break pads put on the front wheels. From reading some of the posts here it sounds like the lugnuts were not put back on tight enough after that job. I believe the wheel damage came from the impact because it did not look like that before.
 

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I didn't realize you had recent work done. After 3 weeks they'll probably tell you to screw, but this is all definitely on them if no one else has touched the car. Take it back to whoever did the work, they didn't properly tighten your lugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A wheel doesn't just fall off. Something would have to break or the lug nuts were loose. A swaybar link isn't going to affect anything, except making an annoying noise or cause excessive body roll during cornering. Looking at the pictures I'm going to say nothing broke, so your lugs were loose. (they don't just loosen themselves...piss someone off?) The studs broke by the angled pressure of the wheel.

3 studs are plenty to begin diagnosis. Look at the wheel first, check the holes, make sure they aren't damaged - out of round, oblong. Straighten out the backing plate, make sure it's not contacting the rotor anywhere. Put the wheel back on, torque to 90 ft lbs. Lightly wiggle the wheel at 9 and 3. If the steering wheel is moving at all, you're shaking to hard. If you feel something loose try to reach around to the tie rod and see if that's loose, if you feel play on the outer tie rod, then that's bad, if you feel movement but not on the outer, then the inner is bad. They might both be bad. Wiggle at 12 and 6 and diagonal too. If there's play have someone else wiggle and look behind. If you see nothing but wheel moving, then the wheel bearing is bad. Watch the ball joint too, you'd see it move if it's bad.

Don't worry about the damaged backing plate, it'd be a waste of money to replace that.
The rotor is most likely warped, if the pads are worn at all, just do the front brakes.
If the wheel bearings are original with over 100k on it, I'd replace them both. If you're not going to do them yourself, which I don't recommend if you don't know what you're doing, then that may not be cost effective. So just replace the studs.
If the sway bar link is indeed broken, obviously replace that. On a 2000, there's a good chance a mechanic is going to tell you everything I've listed needs to be replaced, if they haven't already been done. I have an 05 with 165k, I've done everything a few times. Except the wheel bearings, only done them once at 150k when I rebuilt my transmission.

Ford Lincoln Mercury Dealer Technician for 4 years
Land Rover Tech for 2 years
Thank you, all of this information is very helpful in helping me make the right decision.


Nice crack in the disk!

I would probably replace the hub, spindle nut, the brake disk & pads, the lug nuts and studs, and the stabilizer links. Do both sides. You can shop for them on Rockauto and as you are "kinda broke" buy the economy priced stuff. Too bad you aren't closer, all this stuff isn't that difficult, but probably not appropriate for a newbie at mechanics & it does involve some special tools. Folks like me or some of the other contributors to this thread have the experience and the tools to provide a mentor if you wanted to try to fix it yourself.

Whatever, be sure that whoever does the work uses an actual torque wrench to to tighten the lug nuts.
Thank you for the suggestions and pointing me in the right direction. You've alleviated some of my worrying. When I have some more funds, I'm going to take it to a real mechanic who has the right tools. I'm the type of person who would rather have quality work done than cheap patch up work done. Thank you all again.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I didn't realize you had recent work done. After 3 weeks they'll probably tell you to screw, but this is all definitely on them if no one else has touched the car. Take it back to whoever did the work, they didn't properly tighten your lugs.
Yeah, to be honest I'm so angry right now I don't want that person to even think about getting a chance to touch my car again. It's certainly not a new car by any means, but by the sounds of all this, this was totally avoidable. That person is not getting a chance to even lay eyes on my car again.
 

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'That person' is responsible, gathering from your choice of the term that it wasn't a garage. At a bare minimum, and among other things, you will need a wheel bearing/hub assembly (Motorcraft recommended, aftermarkets are questionable) and a rotor (Centric and Raybestos are both more than adequate):
2000 FORD TAURUS 3.0L V6 OHV Wheel Bearing & Hub Assembly | RockAuto
More Information for CENTRIC 12061051

But before you think of investing in part replacement the car needs to be evaluated in person by someone knowledgeable and reputable. The lower control arm and it's bushings, the sub-frame and it's mounts as well as the strut, spring and mount need to be inspected.
 

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I didn't realize you had recent work done. After 3 weeks they'll probably tell you to screw, but this is all definitely on them if no one else has touched the car. Take it back to whoever did the work, they didn't properly tighten your lugs.
I suspect their response will be that the customer is supposed to retorque the lug nuts after 100 miles or so, and it's probably in the paperwork.
 

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Yes it appears that 3 lug nuts were not tight and the two finally broke when you hit the pot hole. The lug studs are in the wheel bear assembly, so you might as well change out the bearing when your in there. The rotor should be replaced. If you hit a big enough hole, you might want to have the alignment checked, and make sure the control arm is not bent. The dust shield could be bent back close enough to get by. I am not sure about the condition of your wheel. Can you post some pics of that.
Sorry for your bad experience. I know nobody is perfect, but that is why the mechanic should double check his work, and or honor his mistakes.
 

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Nice crack in the disk!

I would probably replace the hub, spindle nut, the brake disk & pads, the lug nuts and studs, and the stabilizer links. Do both sides. You can shop for them on Rockauto and as you are "kinda broke" buy the economy priced stuff. Too bad you aren't closer, all this stuff isn't that difficult, but probably not appropriate for a newbie at mechanics & it does involve some special tools. Folks like me or some of the other contributors to this thread have the experience and the tools to provide a mentor if you wanted to try to fix it yourself.

Whatever, be sure that whoever does the work uses an actual torque wrench to to tighten the lug nuts.
the blemish at 1 o clock looks like a scuff mark, you can still see the wear grooves going thru it.
the dark blemish at 5 o clock is some debris & shadow. its not in any other pic.
 
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