EDITORIAL: PORT AUTHORITY
PORT AUTHORITY: OVER-TIGHTENING TO BLAME FOR BUS LOSING TIRES
ALL BUSES TO BE OUTFITTED WITH WHEEL-CHECK FOR LUG NUTS
POSTED: 5:29 pm EST February 27, 2012
UPDATED: 6:50 pm EST February 27, 2012
PITTSBURGH -- The Port Authority said it now knows why one if its buses lost its rear tires while in traffic on the Parkway West in late January, and it's doing something to prevent it from happening again.
At the time of the incident, it was speculated the lug nuts on the wheels may have been too loose, but Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said it was the exact opposite.
"It was an over-tightening, not an under-tightening," said Ritchie.
A Port authority mechanic over-tightened the lug nuts on the rear wheels, causing them to crack, loosen and eventually fail.
The Port Authority will now rely on a piece of plastic known as a Wheel-Check to keep it from happening again.
All 800 buses in the Port Authority fleet will be outfitted with the Wheel-Checks on every lug nut.
Maintenance manager Clay Blair said, when the lug nuts are properly tightened, the wheel checks are aligned in a clockwise direction, making it easy to detect when one is out of alignment.
"And when an operator walks by, they would be able to see the lug nut is loose or something is wrong," said Blair.
The Port Authority had been testing the Wheel-Checks on about half a dozen buses since last summer.
After the accident on the Parkway West, the Port Authority said it made the decision to put them on all buses much easier.
"They'll use this as a teaching opportunity to make sure people know that over tightening is just as bad as under tightening of course," said Ritchie.
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WHEEL-CHECK®: High visibility loose wheel-nut indicator
WHEEL-TORQUE: Red torque indicator used to mark a nut has backed off, and maintenance is aware of the problem
WHEEL-CHECK®, HIGH TEMPERATURE: Loose wheel-nut indicator that withstands higher temperatures
WHEEL-CHECK®, CUSTOM COLORS: Custom colors and sizes are available upon special request.
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*The use of Wheel-Check® in no way guarantees wheel-offs will NOT occur.