We have an older Mercedes Benz with a lot of miles on it. Recently we put new tires on it and then had to replace brake pads on it. It is old, but new enough it has aluminum wheel rims. My son and I got that done. We are both pretty sure we torgued all the wheel bolts to the 85ft.lbs specification. We drove it a few blocks and seemed to have no problems. An hour or two later my wife and I got in and we drove the 220 miles back to Winner, SD. We heard nothing strange that would indicate any kind of a problem with our work.
But, a day later I started to hear a noise suggesting that the driver side front wheel a brake might be dragging. Hitting the brake pedal would stop it. But the next day after a few more miles of driving the noise got worse. Yesterday, I had time and good weather to jack up the car. The wheel would wiggle on the hub. Not good. One bolt was tight. 3 were somewhat loose, and one was not more than finger tight. I torqued that wheel back to the specification. Then I checked the other three wheels. Several bolts on those turned part of turn before torque wrench clicked. I got those set and then checked all of them again. A few bolts then turned a fraction of a turn before torque wrench clicked. That seemed a bit odd to me, but this is the only vehicle we have with aluminum rims. We had never had a problem like this on vehicles with steel rims.
Last night I Google searched for "loose bolts and aluminum rims". Multiple sites turned up. A few of the suggestions for a situation like ours suggested vandalism as a possibility. But, most of the coments suggested that dealers over-torque bolts or nuts on wheels with aluminum rims because they may come loose. Over-torque produces problems with aluminum wheels. Apparently the rims get distorted. And, aluminum wheels don't have the built in springy metal around bolts that steel wheels do. Most of the recommendations suggested torquing the bolts or nuts to specification. Driving a few miles and re-torquing. Then driving a few more miles and checking again.
That seems to be good advice because when I checked torque again today, 2 bolts on each of two wheels were just loose enough that the torque wrench would turn a fraction of a turn before click indicating correct torque. So I guess I will check them again tomorrow.
You can do the Google search yourself and see what turns up, but based on this bit of our experience, I suggest you get a 1/2 inch drive torque wrench and correct socket for your aluminum rim wheel bolts or nuts. If you or anybody else works on them or has worked on them recently, I think it would be a good idea to check the torque. And if you hear any noise from a wheel, it is probably a good idea to check as soon as possible.
As usual, your mileage may vary with the use of information in this kind of post, but having a wheel come off while driving can be really dangerous.
*** Stay tuned ..maybe it won't take me a year or two to get another post in here.-- Doug Wiken