Michigan court rules that a tire rotation does not include tightening lug nuts

When you get work done on your vehicle you expect your car to be returned in better condition then when you left it. Also going to the shop for something as simple as a tire rotation is pretty normal. They move wheels from the front of the vehicle to the rear and the rear wheels to the front. Sound easy enough?

Well in 2013 a car dealership was sued regarding a tire rotation. A couple took their car to a dealership in Grand Rapids Michigan. They were getting some routine maintenance done. Included in the maintenance was a tire rotation. After the service was “complete” they drove off. A ways down the road the front left tire decided to part ways with the vehicle.

A mechanic admitted that he had forgotten to tighten the lug nuts. The couple then sued for the damages to their vehicle. One of the points their attorney made was in reference to the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act. This law protects consumers from

unfair and deceptive practices

It turns out if you violate the act you are responsible for the damages and the court fees. The court originally found the dealership and the mechanic guilty and fined them. The jury made the dealership cover the court fees which totaled over $70,000 and awarded the couple $40,000.

The dealership appealed the decision and stated that they did not violate the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act. The dealership claimed that they did not

charge for repairs that are in fact not performed

The court decided to take another look at the case and determined that rotating the tires did not include tightening of the lug nuts. The court stated,

We conclude, under the plain language of MCL257.1307a, that defendants “performed” a tire rotation, albeit negligently…There is no support for the trial court’s determination that a tire rotation is not “performed” if a service person fails to sufficiently tighten the lug nuts on one tire.

Do you think that tightening of the lug nuts should be part of the tire rotation service? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

ANAYA v BETTEN CHEVROLET by GMG Editorial on Scribd

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  1. Absofreakinglutely!!!!!! The lug notes were tight when they removed the wheels so they should be properly tightened after they are rotated!

    1. So I guess that would apply to an oil change also you change the oil but there’s nothing to say you have to tighten the oil plug in the pan so you drive off in the oil comes out and you burn your motor up so they’re not liable Michigan court is full of f****** b*******

    2. I have been doing Vehicle repair work well over 30 yrs.. IF the said vehicle came in for maintenance it is the Mechanic’s job to make sure the said vehicle is road worthy.. lug nuts were tight when it came in.. they should be tight when it leaves!! Same goes for Oil changes! Maintance..

    1. What makes you think they’re tight if he ruled for the repair shop, he probably has an interest in that shop and didn’t want to lose any money

  2. It’s a wonder no one was injured or killed. If this had happened to me I would set out to save other lives by destroying the reputation of this repair shop!

    1. So I take it you’ve NEVER made a mistake at your place of work?

      They should have tightened the lug nuts. BUT! The law they said the shop was in violation of (deceptive practices) was NOT violated. Gross neglegence, absolutely. Civilly liable? I believe so. But they performed a service and charged for it. No law broken. The lawyer should have sued for neglegence.

      1. I agree with you. The lawyer sued for the wrong thing unfortunately, it was due to his negligence that they lost. The mechanic did not willfully not do it, he forgot a step.

      2. Bull crap! If a person gets drunk and drives I guess he just made a mistake when someone gets killed?
        That is a health and safety violation and by God the dealership should pay!!!

      3. If tires are being rotated of course the lug nuts should be tightened. Untightened lug nuts result in damage to vehicles…possible injuries to those inside the vehicle, possible death. It’s absurd that tightening of lug nuts is not required in tire rotation.

      4. Christopher making a mistake is one thing, but own up to it. If the dealership would have just fixed the issue, the customer likely would not have had to sue. The fines would not have been assessed and an appeal would not have been made. Now it doesn’t matter, we all know not to deal with this company because of this story. So the customer didn’t have to destroy the reputation, the dealership is doing it themselves and the judge helped.

      5. So, you are going to side on the side of the court on that technically?
        That kind of mistake IS Unforgivible, EVEN FROM A REPUTABLE MECHANICS POV!

      6. Gee, is a surgeon relieved of responsibility for leaving a scalpel inside a patient on an appendectomy? How about leaving a sponge on a bypass? It was a mistake. I doubt he meant to do it.

      7. A lawyer II am not but isn’t there a reasonableness doctrine that, although I may be oversimplifying it a bit it is what a “reasonable” person believes should be done. In my opinion a reasonable person would believe that the lug nuts should have been tightened.

      8. it is part of the service of a tire rotation. Yes a mistake was made, and the shop has insurance to pay for it.
        i have been to court a few times as a mechanic. one for a kid falling off a boat and getting his arm cut. another for a guy falling off the front of a pontoon boat and getting ran over.
        in both of them cases i was found not guilty.
        Now if i would of not done my job correctly, i would of been guilty, and in the one case faced manslaughter charges.
        in michigan even a tire changer has to be certified by the state.

      9. The lawyer did sue for negligence – and won. If you read the brief, the mechanic only appealed the criminal decision, which he won – deservedly so. The mechanic didn’t argue that he wasn’t liable for negligence, and so the damage award stood. The plaintiffs kept their $40K. So the entire story had a happy ending. Don’tcha just love how internet lawyers love to spin a story that isn’t one?

  3. If this has ever happened to you it is pretty scary. My husband forgot to do that on my pickup one time and it was a good thing I was only going about 30 mph down a dirt road when that tire came off. Personally they should have at least been charged with negligence. I would think that put it back like you found it would be in order.

    1. The problem is they weren’t sued for neglegence, they were sued for deceptive business practices. They were neglegence not deceptive. The court ruled correctly, it’s the lawyer that sucked in not filing correctly.

  4. So by that logic a surgeon can perform a heart transplant but not close the chest and stitch it closed.

    “Hey I charged for a transplant surgery. I didn’t charge them for closing the wound.”

    1. Your comment is exactly what I was looking for as I was about to make a similar comparison! I understand we are all human & all humans make mistakes. BUT as a Nurse, if I make a mistake it could easily cost someone their life…just like having a tire come off as you’re driving! Thankfully, no one was hurt in this incident but it could’ve been so much worse.

  5. When Costco rotates your tires the tech must torque all lights in a star pattern and make a second pass torquing each lug nut in a circle. Each lugnut is torqued twice, I doubt that they will ever have such a failure.

  6. WTF kind of BS is this?? It’s clear that the judge was bought if he is going to rule in favor of the dealership. Tire rotation is removing the lug nuts, rotating the tires and putting the lug nuts back on AND tightening said lug nuts.

  7. It’s only common sense if you take off a tire you are responsible for installation to be the same or better then before they removed it. Of’course they are responsible! Stupidest question ever asked

  8. They should have a service manual at the dealership that details each step of ‘tire rotation. I am sure tighten lights is included. Find that docume t and APPEAL!!

  9. Since the shop created an very unsafe condition where there’d not been one before by not tightening those lug nuts, the very least they should’ve done was tell the customer about their clearly negligent shop work in advance.

  10. Refer to the standard repair manual used by technicians. It will clearly state what a tire rotation is, what steps need to be undertaken, and the standard repair time.

  11. Outrageous…of coarse lug nut tightening is part of a tire rotation. How would the Judge feel if that tire flew off & hit his car or caused an accident that injured his loved ones??I’ll just bet he’d have ruled differently then. As for the dealership and mechanic…shame on them for not doing the job properly.

    1. As a technician obviously this person is not a mechanic of tech he is in training Tightening lug nuts is part of the job I guarantee you if the tire went through this wifes windshield comming in the opposite direction and killed three other people would his wife be charged with failure to control her vehicle well she should be charged with murder get my point

      1. I knew someone who was killed this way. A semi lost a tire and bounced onto the vehicle he was riding in, which then lost control and wrecked.

  12. The dealership failed to supervise
    A reasonable person would believe that a tire rotation would include properly tightening toe wheels. At Costco, you can watch them doingvthe tightening
    May dealerships follow up with email and text messages to be sure amy repairs were ok.

  13. Ludicrous judjment, I think this judge should be sent shipments of lug knuts so just maybe he’ll realize his mistake.

  14. They had to take them loose to rotate the tires so they are responsible for tightening torquing them back tight after. So ABSOLUTELY

  15. If you utilize a maintenance document, such as a Chilton Manual or something similar and look up the procedure for changing a tire… it tells you to set the park brake, jack the car, loosen and remove the lug nuts, remove/install tire, install and tighten/torque lug nuts, lower car and remove the jack.. etc etc… The issue is the lawyer for the plaintiff/car owner argued the WRONG points… he should’ve argued the correct procedure for tire removal/installation and the admission of the dealership tech for forgetting/not following the procedure for correct tire removal/installation!

  16. It’s an omitted process, that is a guaranteed necessity, in performing of this service.
    They might as well not replace parts on parts replacement.

  17. I mean, at some point, common sense must be employed. It’s implied that tightening the lug nuts is part of a tire rotation. I mean give me an effing break. So now, because of some idiot judge, a very dangerous precedent is set that allows mechanics to put death traps on the road. “i mean I CHANGED the break lines, but nothing says I needed to CONNECT the new bread lines to anything.” Or, “I CHANGED the oil, but nothing said I had to replace the oil nut in the oil pan that allows the oil to escape.” This is so stupid.

  18. Well hell yeah the lug nuts should be tightened. What moron would think otherwise. Why the hell would this questions even need to be asked! Bottom line the dealership is damn lucking someone did not get killed or crippled for life. This dealership and that judge needs to get their heads out of their asses!

  19. I believe the higher court ruling was correct as far as this did not fall under the Act stated. However as they stated the mechanic was negligent in not tightening the lug nuts correctly. I was an Automotive Technician an as I understand the Act it was enacted to protect the consumer from fraudulent replacement/repairs that were not needed in the first place. IE: spraying oil/lube in an area saying they had a leak that needs fixed, then they just cleaned up the area. Said they replaced an expensive part (which they didn’t) and charging them for work they never actually performed!

  20. So what would happen if such negligent actions from an auto shop would’ve ended with that couple in a head on collision and one dead? Does the ture rotation still count as complete? I do know when I get my tires rotated I see then list in their paperwork for you to check lug nuts before 50 miles after rotation(blatant throwing the responsibility off them)

  21. How To Perform the DIY Tire Rotation:
    Remove your hubcaps or any decorative center caps from your rims.
    Loosen the lug nuts of your left front tire, then raise your vehicle using your car jack.
    Remove the tire and set it aside. A good idea is to use a piece of chalk to mark each tire so you don’t forget from what location each came from.
    Put the jack stand in place underneath your vehicle and lower the car jack so that your vehicle is resting securely on the stand. Move to the next tire and repeat the process. As a rule, always begin with either your front tires or your rear tires.
    Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on which direction to rotate your tires. The traditional method is to move your front tires to the back, and your back tires to the rear – but some manufacturers recommend crossing your front tires when moving them to the rear. In some vehicles that have directional rims, it may not be possible to do a cross-rotation pattern, so be sure to check this before.
    One by one, reinstall your tires, tightening the lug nuts only as far as you can by hand.
    Use your car jack to raise your vehicle high enough to remove the car jacks, one at a time, and follow the traditional method of lowering your tire halfway so that you can tighten your lug nuts firmly before lowering the full weight of your car onto them.
    Repeat the process until all four jack stands have been removed and all four of your tires have been reinstalled safely.
    Use a torque wrench to tighten your lug nuts to your car manufacturer’s specifications. Some cars require tighter torque than others, and over tightening your lug nuts can make them impossible to remove in the future. If you don’t own a torque wrench, swing by your closest auto mechanic and ask them to check your torque for you. It only takes a few seconds, and most mechanics will be willing to do it at no charge.

    The last step is all that needs to be said.

  22. Does this law apply to heart by-pass surgery? “There is nothing in the law that states the heart must be reattached!”

  23. This is where the law gets nitpicky.
    They sued under a law against “willful deception”.
    If the garage had not done any work, and claimed it did; or sabotaged something else to make them get more repairs, that would qualify.
    In this case, the garage did not do it on purpose.
    They should have sued for negligence instead. It’s the lawyers fault for choosing poorly.

  24. Yes the dealership was and is responsible for tightening the lugs. However, the case was done under the wrong wording. Their attorney should have presented it differently. The judge could have added the negligence caused an accident and the dealership should’ve paid for damages.

  25. Well I wonder how the court would rule if there was a death involved with such silly nonsense from the left so basically what they’re saying it is okay to change the oil but not put oil in it I would be the next conclusion that’s what you get from the judicial system common sense not common in court

  26. Proper vehicle service includes returning the car to the person that requested the service in DRIVABLE CONDITION. Properly torqued nuts, after proper parts installed.

  27. Of course the should tighten the lug nuts! They could of gotten killed or killed someone else ! T doesn’t need to be stated as pert of the job, they have been rotating tires for years and always putting back tout nuts and tightening them!

  28. This Judge is a fool and should be removed from office. It truly is part of a tire rotation that you titen the lug nuts after you preform perform the procedure. You not only have to tighten the nuts you need to use a torque wrench to tighten them to the right specifications. I know that the tire shops in a Costco has their technician certified to just be able to torque the nuts down. The judge needs his nuts checked I mean the judge is nuts in the head.

  29. We conclude, under the plain language of MCL257.1307a, that defendants “performed” a tire rotation, albeit negligently…There is no support for the trial court’s determination that a tire rotation is not “performed” if a service person fails to sufficiently tighten the lug nuts on one tire.
    Except for the fact that MCL257.1307a states : (vii) A certification that authorized repairs were completed properly or a detailed explanation of an inability to complete repairs properly. The owner of the facility, or an individual designated by the owner to represent the facility, shall sign the certification statement. The statement shall include the name of the mechanic who performed the diagnosis and the repair.
    According to the statement made to justify “performed” a tire rotation, albeit negligently” Negligently is a reminder that the repairs were not completed properly.

  30. That happened to us years ago and it ruint the lugs on our car but we didn’t seu anybody. It’s a wonder we didn’t have a bad wreck! I think if you take anything that has bolts on it off of a car you had damn well tighten them back up so you don’t kill someone

  31. I spent 10 years in the tire business and I guaranty you, tightening the lug nuts is part of anything you do with the tires off. We even went as far as using a torque wrench and torquing them to specs.

  32. Obviously they were negligent in rotating the tires and should be held accountable for that negligence. The problem was they didn’t sue them for negligence. They sued them for not doing the job. The tires were rotated. Poorly, yes, but rotated…

    1. Read the legal brief. They did sue, and they won, and kept the damages — $40,000. The reporter didn’t mention that part, just to get readers riled up. Click-bait.

  33. The dealership skated on a technicality. The complaintants sued under a law against “willful deception”.
    If the garage had not done any work, and claimed it did; or sabotaged something else to make them get more repairs, that would qualify.
    In this case, the garage did not do it on purpose.
    They should have sued for negligence instead. It’s the lawyers fault for choosing poorly. Unfortunately this is the real story. The judge really had no choice. I’m certainly not defending the dealership. I worked for one where twice oil change kids either didn’t tighten the oil plug or left it out and two customers lost their engines over it. The dealership replaced the engines and gave the folks loaners cars no problem.

  34. Most of you, not all are missing the point here. This case should have never gone to court. All dealers and repairers have Garage Keepers Insurance for this very purpose among others. Case closed. Instead, the customer got a lawyer ignorant of that fact and sued under the wrong law. The Appeallet court saw that and had no choice but to rule appropriately. Tightening the lugs IS part of tire rotation, negligence is Not! The article is being stupid just to inflame the situation.

  35. Though it should include step by step process in the writing of the law including to fasten lug nuts to manufacturers specification, it is a sketchy ruling. In California, laws aren’t necessarily spelled out either, but what BAR did do is use the phrase “Per service manual” or something of that sort.

  36. That idiot that gave that ruling should be charged for impersonating a judge! I hope his mechanics leave his lugs loose and he breaks his neck in a accident because of it! This way he can feel how good his absolute asinine ruling was! What an IDIOT and he is a judge!!! GOD HELP US ALL!!!!!

  37. Okay, who paid the second judge off?!?!? That’s the only way a criminal minded judge would approve that outcome!! Nobody in their right mind would approve it on the appeal court!! No justice at all there!!

  38. You took it off, you’re responsible for it. I think you need an expert to explain some of this stuff to jurors and the courts.

  39. I would say that if you looked at the procedure in any repair manual, it would say you would have to loosen the nuts to take off the tire and rotate it. Then you place the tire back on and tighten the nuts. So if it’s part of the procedure in the manual, it should be done. And the court of law was wrong in declaring that it was not included. I bet this will not stand if appealed.

  40. As a mechanic I would have never imagined this in my wildest dreams. Ethics comes to mind. The mechanic had to loosen the lug nuts to remove the wheel. He should be held accountable to tightening them once the wheels were rotated. There is also a safety issue here. Beings the wheel that came off was a front wheel and possibly a drive wheel, they could have created an accident injuring them and others. People will no longer feel safe taking their cars or trucks to mechanics if this is how the consumer is treated. Most do not possess the tools or know how to perform mechanical work. That is why these people paid to have this service done in the first place I assume. Anybody that believes this is legal, including the judge that was mentioned, needs their heads examined. That is totally unethical in my opinion.

  41. That’s the way the justice system work , you have to wonder how much this judge got and how it would’a work if it would have happened to him . The way things are going and with this new president , you will see a whole lot less justice .

  42. I agree with everyone. I think the judge needs to go rotate his tires now your lug nut are tight before you go do don’t expect your lug nuts to be tight end back when you get your car back with a tire rotation and your nuts are loose. That’s law now. So you wreck you cld destroy your car or worse you cld get badly hurt or die. So judge! Do you still think that when your tires are rotated that they should not have to tighten your lug nuts? I think you got some nuts loose that could use some tightening in your head . That crap is messed up.

  43. If I could loosen the lug nuts, move (rotate) the tire to another axle and replace & tighten the lug nuts appropriately I wouldn’t take it to a mechanic. I pay for a complete service, if tightening lug nuts is not included it should be stated as so. Then there would be an additional charge for tightening the lug nuts on each tire.

  44. So when you buy new tire they don’t have to tighten the nuts? What are those judges in Michigan smoking? It is part of the service. You rewove the nuts, you rotate the tires you put and tighten the nuts again. If I was the couple, I would bring this all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. Is outrageous Pay for a service, the worker admitted to been negligible and the company is not responsible? This judge is getting paid to render that . Is outrageous. Continue law suit.

  45. If that judge is that stupid Society does not need him making judgments on other people or persons so somebody should be able to shoot him in the head and be found not guilty for removing someone that dumb from society Society doesn’t need a person that stupid

  46. Does that mean when replacing a tire it does not require the service provider is not responsible for putting the tire on the rim and furthermore not responsible for tightening thee lug nut?

  47. If you R&R (remove and replace) something from an auto at a State licensed ASE repair facility even if it’s the same part it needs to be installed back to factory specs including torque values!

  48. Absolutely 💯% that is part of their job and their responsibility. Shame on the court for overturning that decision……I won’t go and wouldn’t refer any service to this company

  49. The person that rotated the tires is responsible for putting everything back.in the condition it was in . Tighten the lug nuts !!!

  50. Witnessed a brand new Corvette tired coming off after it was just serviced. Also many so
    called mechanics tighten the bolts too tight so the owner can’t change the tire him or herself by
    hand. Also too many mechanics strip the bolt so you have too buy a whole new drum which isn’t
    cheap any more especially with custom rims. Worked in a fire shop myself which did questionable
    work. On top of this a fire coming off in the middle of traffic is DANGEROUS!!

  51. I hope the Judges made this decision have the same thing happen to them! Are You Kidding? What a bunch of Idiots!

  52. So, by this logic, if I have surgery the doctor isn’t required to sew me back up? Some heads need to roll in this court!

  53. The procedures guide for tire rotation will clearly state what the job entails and that will include the removal of the lug nuts and the subsequent replacing of said lug nuts. The attorney that brought the case should have used that as evidence – now it needs to go to the Supreme court – what a waste of time money and air!

  54. My husband work for discount Tire for 15 yrs and he cannot believe that any person including a judge would say such a stupid thing. you have to untighten the lug nuts to get the tires off so it would include & indicate that putting them back on is part of the job. in fact techs are trained to loosen & tight lugs nuts. its part of their job, we wouldn’t train them to do it if it wasnt part of the job & neccesary

  55. If that is the case, then the company needs to figure out how to rotate the tires without loosening the lug nuts.
    Since rotating tires requires a mechanic to loosen and remove the lug nuts, it is only logical that to complete the job, they must replace and tighten the lug nuts.

  56. What would be the need to get your tires rotated if they aren’t responsible to put the lug nuts back on when they rotate.I’ve never heard such an idiotic question like this before. Anyone ruling against this should be thrown out of the court system.

  57. I most certainly do think tighting the lug nuts is part of tire rotation! It has to be Indonesia to rotate them* its the dealership responsibility to make sure lug nuts are secured or tight enough to hold wheel on..In my opinion this ruling was bought off& is one of the most terrible ruling a court could ever make for the safety of families trusting dealerships to do their jobs!

  58. Absolutely! The lugnuts were tight when the vehicle came in, they should be tight when it leaves! Service repair manuals always state to torque the lugnuts to spec after rotating the tires! I’m an ASE Master Auto Tech with over 35 yrs experience. I know this!

  59. This article skews the facts. The court ruled that forgetting one step in a repair does not violate the act about defective practices. It was negligent and liable for damages as a result, but it didn’t violate the act against deceptive and unfair practices that tacked on additional penalties.

  60. The attorney argued that the shop had committed FRAUD not NEGLIGENCE by not tightening the lugs. To be fraud, the service would have had to have been sold as a “lug nut tightening” not a “tire rotation”. The attorney tried to argue that the shop SOLD A SERVICE IT DIDN’T PERFORM. If they had not actually rotated the tires…that would be fraud, as there would need to be an intent to defraud by taking the money and then not providing the service paid for. If that were the case…. ironically, the wheel would have never come off, as the lugnuts would have never been removed in the first place.

    The court simply told the attorney it wasn’t fraud because it wasn’t. The attorney knew that he could get much higher damages for fraud than he could for negligence and so he threw it against the wall to see if he could get it to stick. It makes for a cool headline….but the court found that it was negligence…..because it was….

  61. This is a totally stupid ruling that flies in the face of common sense and basic terms of service. Essentially, this means it is incumbent upon consumers to ensure that work on their car is complete before operating the vehicle. That drain plugs and filters are tight after an oil change, that spark plugs are properly gapped and seated, and that the timing is set correctly after a tube up (especially important with an interference engine), and it might not be a bad idea to confirm that the oil is of the correct grade.
    That this ruling came from from a court in the state that once housed the nation’s auto industry is an affront to the entire state. I’m embarrassed for every auto mechanic in Michigan. The court just said that expecting them to be competent imposes an undue burden.

  62. The Judge in this case is an absolute IDIOT! Hopefully some leaves his lug nuts loose and he crashes! I AM A MECHANIC and one thing I cannot fix is stupid! What MORON would place this idiot in the judges seat!!

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