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Wheel Bearing Failure and Wheel Separation

A wheel bearing failure caused by improper maintenance and lack of lubrication of a tractor-trailer wheel axle resulted in a fatality.  The left rear wheels of a tractor-trailer separated from the truck and spun off the axle. The loose tractor wheels veered across the highway median onto opposing traffic lanes, struck and fatally injured an off-road pedestrian. The trailer wheel bearing failure was caused by long-term bearing deterioration and extreme heat resulting from insufficient lubrication.

An overall view of the undercarriage of the subject trailer showing where the dual trailer wheels separated from the subject trailer is shown in Photograph A.

Undercarriage of a tractor trailer with missing left rear wheels
Photograph A Tractor trailer with missing left rear tractor dual wheels.

The heat damaged tractor trailer axle spindle is shown in Photograph B.

Heat damaged tractor trailer axle spindle
Photograph B Axle spindle showing effect of long term heat.

The trailer wheel bearing failure was caused by long-term and extreme heat resulting from insufficient lubrication.

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J.E.I. Metallurgical, Inc.

5514 Harbor Town
Dallas, Texas 75287

Phone: (972) 934-0493
Fax: (469) 737-3938
Email: r.c.jerner@metallurgist.com

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