MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD)– Christine Randolph took her car to Precision Tune Auto Care in Mount Pleasant for routine maintenance but she was left searching for a new car.

 “I made an appointment and brought the car in. I knew it was going to take a while so I actually waited for the work to be completed,” Randolph said.

Randolph paid for the work and drove out of the lot onto Highway 17 North. Within minutes, she lost control of her vehicle.

“I didn’t know initially what was happening. I just knew I was not in control anymore. I didn’t know if I had been hit or run over something. My car spun and hit the median and then the car stopped facing oncoming traffic,” she said.

Randolph was uninjured but her beloved Toyota Sequoia was totaled.

“At that point, I realized that my back tires had flown off the vehicle,” she said. “The lug nuts were scattered all over the street and my tires were about three doors forward.”

According to an accident report from the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the technician who worked on the vehicle said he had mistakenly forgotten to tighten the lug nuts on the rear wheels.

“I made an appointment with the manager of the location and he was very dismissive. He did not ask if I was okay. He didn’t apologize. He just basically said it happens and your insurance gave you money for it and we are not involved in any other way,” she said.

Randolph said she lost time and money searching for a replacement vehicle during the holidays amid a car pricing surge.

The Count on 2 Investigators contacted Precision Tune Auto Care and area manager Chad Bechtel said they have changed protocol since the accident. Now, a second person is required to review work after completion and a third person is required to test drive the car before returning it to the owner.

John Firm, mechanic operations director with the Automotive Service Association, said there are steps drivers can take to ensure work is done correctly.

  • Be familiar with your owners manual. Each car and climate requires different maintenance
  • Look for auto shops that are certified by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence
  • Ensure the environment technicians are working in is clean and presentable
  • Ask technicians for specifications after work is recommended so that you understand the issue and industry standards
  • Take time to walk around the car with the technician to ensure there are no fluids leaking and the lug nuts are all the way up

“It really saddens me to see somebody have a problem with our industry,” he said.