"Oops - we've forgotten to put the wheel nut on" - What Kwik Fit mechanic told Bristol driver after he left garage
A HORRIFIED driver says his life was put at risk when a garage allowed him to take his car away with a perilously loose wheel.
Andrew Bathe went to Kwik Fit in Cheltenham Road to get two slow punctures on his BMW fixed. After waiting an hour for the first one to be finished, he changed his mind, as he had to go to work in Thornbury, and told the mechanics not to bother with the rear passenger tyre.
One of the mechanics reversed his car out of the garage and handed Mr Bathe the keys.
However, they had forgotten to put the locking nut back in the wheel and the four other nuts had not been tightened up.
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Mr Bathe had driven the silver 320d M Sport about a mile and was approaching the M32 before the mechanics realised and phoned him to tell him to come back... slowly.
Fuming Mr Bathe, 37, of Stokes Croft, said: "I was about to drive on the M32, M4, M5 and A38 to get to Thornbury.
"If that wheel had come off at 70mph it could have killed me and put the lives of other road users at risk.
"It looks like the mechanics loosened the wheel to work on it, but when I changed my mind they forgot to tighten it back up.
"I can't believe they let me drive away like that. They should have health and safety protocols in place to prevent anything like that from happening.
"When I'd gone and they found the locking nut on the floor they called me from a withheld number.
"I don't usually answer those but luckily I did this time.
"I turned around straight away and drove back at 10mph, but even at that speed I could feel the wheel knocking.
"When I got out and looked at it I couldn't believe what I saw – all of the nuts were loose. My car is rear wheel drive so it's even more dangerous."
Mr Bathe complained to head office straight away and was offered a free MOT, worth about £30.
But the insurance broker added: "To value my life at the price of an MOT is an insult.
"I will never take my car back to that Kwik Fit again.
"I'm not after compensation, I just want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else."
A Kwik Fit spokesman said: "We fully accept that our process broke down in this case. Fortunately, we spotted this immediately and were able to contact Mr Bathe to prevent any damage occurring.
"We have apologised to Mr Bathe and although this is an isolated incident, we have reviewed the processes with our staff in the centre to ensure it cannot happen again."