What a long, frustrated day Saturday turned out to be! I will spare the details now, since I'm currently connected via a dial-up account and things aren't exactly top-notch when it comes to reliability of the carrier I'm connecting through. Suffice to say, however, that around 1:30 yesterday afternoon I was seriously considering declaring it a draw, turning around and going home. I wasn't even a full 45 minutes into my drive (I had only travelled 50 miles of my 94 mile trek to Wisconsin, my first destination for the day's driving) when one of the rear tires on my pickup suffered a severe failure. No, I didn't have a blowout or a flat -- that would have made far too much sense. Instead, my passenger side rear tire decided that all the tread (referred to as the "cap" of the tire) should separate from the rest of the tire while I was travelling approximately 75 miles an hour in the left lane. The resulting vibration and explosion-style sound effects definately caught my attention... of course, it's hard not to notice that the rear end of your truck is now occuping the middle lane of the highway while the front of your truck is still moving forward in the left lane. Once I'd wrested control of the pickup back into my favor I pulled over onto the left shoulder of the highway and got out to examine the damage. My first thought was that I'd had a tire blow out... it had been my plan to replace the rear tires since the tread wear was getting a little suboptimal for winter, in my opinion -- but this was a complete surprise. I thought maybe I'd hit a piece of road debris. The surprise I felt must have given me a very comical expression, however, because when I saw what had really happened I think my jaw quite literally hit the ground. Instead of seeing my pickup resting on one rim like I expected there was a tire still there... but no tread at all, only the steel belting! I looked back the way I had come and could see traffic dodging around my shed swatches of tread like a bunch of Indy car racers swinging around a wreck on the track. Okay, I think, So I lost my tread. This sucks, but it's managable.
That's when I saw my pickup.
Evidentally when the tread separated from the tire proper, some of it stayed attached to tire, which caused it to be swung around at I haven't any idea how many RPMs to ultimately equate to 75mph.
The fender, wheelwell and bumper of my pickup are destroyed.
The back of the fender is completely rolled in, my bumper is bent inwards and the trim package that was on it has almost completely separated. The plastic inside lining was knocked clear and left on I-94 somewhere around marker 52. My mudflap is gone. THe front of the fender is bowed outwards. The bed was also dented inwards, which caused a bulge and an actual crack to be formed in my bedliner. The damage is truly amazing to look at, it goes to show you how heavy that rubber is and how much damage it can do at the proper velocity. I'll be taking pictures of the damage since I am going to turn this into the insurance company to deal with. My estimate is over $1,500 worth of work and parts there, give or take a few hundred. When my father heard about this he got the make and model of the tire, went on the Internet and discovered that I'm the proud owner of a tire that has an even greater "drastic failure rate" of tread separation than the tires that were recalled on the Ford SUV. In fact, it's from the same manufacturer (Firestone) and the same plant as the recalled tires (Decatur, IL). The NTSB has issued a safety bulletin saying these are more dangerous tires than the ones that Ford had to recall, but Firestone hasn't done a single thing about it!
I smell class-action lawsuit, and I want in on it. Oh yes. With two of those things on my pickup (and they used to be on the FRONT), you can bet I'm plenty pissed about my life being in the hands of people who won't admit they fucked up.
To make a long story short, I got the spare tire out and put on in place of the failed tire, made my way to Milwaukee, dropped off the cat and headed out for Minnesota. I suffered about an hour and a half delay because of the tire problem, which put me square in the path of a sleet/snow storm that made the last 80 miles of my drive pretty darn obnoxious. But I made it, it snowed more after I got in, and I woke up this morning to a nice blanket of maybe an inch and a half or so of snow. This is lovely country when there's snow. I'm very glad to be home to see this. Seeing my grandfather and parents after two years of absence doesn't hurt, either.
Well, I must depart and help my father clear the snow out of the driveway. Snowblowers rock. :) I'll jot more as time allows, otherwise I'll put up a full summary when I get home, probably sometime Thursday.