Rufus jinxed me.
We had been yattering by cell about tire blowouts and how rare they are. 20 miles later, I encountered explosive decompression of the right rear tire on the (topless)(white) car. I had been driving along the Interstate near St Pauls, NC, minding my own business at about 75 mph, when I noticed a little wibble in the after end.
Hmmm, I thought; that feels like a tread separation.
Pulled off at the next exit, about a mile up the road. Observed a couple of goiter-like protuberances in the sidewall. Drove around the corner to a Mobil station.
The explosion came just past the pumps; the gas station attendant and people at the McDonald’s next door thought Armageddon.
Waited and waited and waited for AAA because I hoped they could flatbed me somewhere to get a replacement tahr (that’s the proper spelling and pronunciation). I really didn’t want to drive more than 1,000 miles on a rubber donut; I drove 1,000 miles on the (10% shorter) donut. That’s not good for the positraction rear, suspension, or the other tire but the Owner’s Manual says, “Just do it.”
I bought the tires in Wilmington on a trip to Florida six years but only 20,000 miles ago. Goodyear Eagles. New. From Sears Roebuck and Company who had a nice sale going at the time. A little Googling showed that Goodyear manufactured the Eagle T/R exclusively for Sears. Sears in Fayetteville had none in stock. Sears in Raleigh had none in stock. Sears in Wilmington had none in stock. See a pattern? Sears in Willow Grove had none in stock and the tire guy there said they hadn’t had them for years. Even Don the Fender Bender hoped he might have a used tire in my size and told me he’d “call back within the half” but he came up empty, too.
Chevrolet shipped the (topless)(white) car with Goodyear Eagle 235/55R16. That’s OK. Sears sold me Goodyear Eagle 235/55R16s knowing full well that was a discontinued size and they would be unable to replace it under warranty.
Turns out the shredded tire was still under warranty. (The full warranty is for the first 25% of tread wear with a pro-rated cost for the remaining 75% of treadwear. These tires had 8/32″ of tread left out of the original 10/32″.)
Sears didn’t want to, but the computer showed I had been a loyal customer since 2006 when I bought the tires so the manager made good on the warranty and offered me a Hankook tire. I held out for the Goodrich T/A, a tire I didn’t want less than I didn’t want the Hankook. None in stock, of course.
The shop guys jacked up both sides of the car and had started taking the left side wheel off when I blew the klaxons. It was the right side — the one with the miniature spare — they needed to change, I said. Turns out they had already mounted the (directional) Goodrich for the left side so the had to swap the existing Goodyear to the other.
So far, I don’t notice much difference in handling.
I met a lot of really nice people throughout this road trip. Jimmy Frank at the gas station and Billy Bob in his little Ford AAA van made sure I was happy and comfortable and on my way safely. Everybody looking for a replacement tire was sorry there weren’t any. And Corey at Sears absorbed my temper tantrum about orphaning my car with no tires and got me back on the road for free.
So. Who’s up for a ride to Hoboken?