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Chuck Deaton
Posted on Wednesday, August 09, 2000 - 11:52 pm:   

I have quit buying expensive tires. I buy a new set of the Douglas brand from Wal Mart on a yearly basis. If I have any doubt about a tire and I mean any doubt, I replace it.

When I have down time I have them rebalanced and put on a different wheel. I also carry an electronic pressure meter and check air pressure on a regular basis.
Murphy (Murphy)
Posted on Wednesday, August 09, 2000 - 8:48 pm:   

scary stuff for those of us hauling RV's around the country. Just had Michelin 10 plys put on the truck. Are these characteristic problems with steel belted radials only?
Hsmith (Hsmith)
Posted on Monday, August 07, 2000 - 9:58 pm:   

Well no one has replied to your tire post so I will. A similar thing happened to me about two years ago. I had just inherited some things from my aunt who passed away in her 90's Included was an 82 Pontiac Bonneville with less than 60,000 orginal miles.

I had just accepted an assignment in New York state and since it was inside work, I decided to leave my van with ladder etc., at home and take this Pony. I had it tuned and the fluids checked. The tires looked very good with more than half their tread left.

It was very hot, 4th of July weekend. I left SC about 11:00AM. By the time I got to Charlotte there was a bad wobble in the front end and I had to slow down to 50 mph to continue. The Interstate was four lanes each way so it was hazardous plodding along under the minimum speed limit.

As I continued just north of Charlotte the wobble worsened and I had to slow down to 30. I used the flashers until I could pull into a rest stop.

There was no visible damage. Something was bad, wrong, however, and I needed to get the tires/front end checked. I wobbled into Statesville, NC, at betwwen 20 and 30 mph.

The local tire dealer found that the tread was coming off both front tires. He diagnosed,
"Dry Rot". I bought 4 new tires on the spot.

These defective tires were about five years old with lots of tread. The car had only been driven about 10,000 mi in that 5 years and had been garaged. So, this confirms your experience
regarding tire age and dry rot. There are old tires and there are bold tires but there are no old, bold, tires.

It makes me wonder whether these Firestone SUV tires, that are in the news, perhaps stayed far too long, in someone's warehouse.
Rj (Rj)
Posted on Sunday, August 06, 2000 - 1:28 pm:   

Have you been hearing in the news lately about the deaths attributed to catastrophic tire failure? Well not only have I been reading & hearing about this situation I have recently experienced it myself.

While the news is concentrating on the Firestone Tires my experience was with Michelin Tires. Instead of a SUV I was driving an automobile.

If what the Michelin Tire customer service representative is stating is true, then I for one will replace the tires on my vehicles at the very least every Four years regardless of tire tread condition. The 80,000 mile warranty doesn't mean anything anymore to me. I will purchase the less expensive tires from now on and just replace them more often. This appears to be the safest way to insure against catastrophic tire failure while driving.

I sent the following letter in response to a news article I read on August 3, 2000. After you read my letter please share any thoughts and/or similar experiences you may have had.

August 3, 2000

Dear Ralph Hoar;

I am writing to you about recent tire failures that occurred while driving 60 miles per hour. After reading an article in the news on I-Won .com today concerning catastrophic tire failures our experience may be of help to your ongoing investigation of this problem.

During the first week of July, 2000 My wife & I were on the Way to Mobile, Al on Interstate 65 South of Huntsville, Al when all of a sudden the vibration in the front of the car forced me to pull over. When I inspected the front end of the car I could not see anything wrong with the front tires or the front end of the car.

It was 3:00 AM and we were due to be in Mobile by 9:00 AM so we continued our journey. However, the vibration was so bad we could only drive 40 miles per hour. We arrived in Mobile an hour late & went straight to our appointment. Afterwards we took our car to Sam's Club to have the front tires checked. Once the car was raised the tires could be inspected. What we found was the tire tread on the left front tire was partially separated from the steel belt. We replaced the front tires only since the right rear tire was replaced only a month prior & the left rear tire still had over 50% of tire tread remaining.

On July 26, 2000, while traveling at 60 miles per hour without any warning the left rear tire tread separated from the steel belt causing minor damage to the wheel well and disappeared somewhere on the road. The tire remained inflated & I managed to bring the car to a complete and safe stop without any further incident.

On Friday July 28,2000, I e-mailed a complaint to Michelin Tire Company about the Catastrophic tire failures. Both tires were size XH4 P205/75/14 installed on a Cadillac Coupe Deville. In my complaint I described both incidents & requested that a claim be entered for the damage to our car. I did not claim anything for the replacement of the tires since both tires had over 79,000 miles & the tire warranties were only good for 80,000 miles or so I thought.

On Tuesday, August 1, 2000, I received a phone call from a customer service representative for the Michelin Tire Company. I again explained to him what had happened. He said that although the tires failed prior to the 80,000 mile warranty the tires none the less were out of warranty based on the age of the tires. He explained that all tire warranties by the Michelin Tire Company were subject to not only the mileage limitation but were also subject to age of the tire. He stated that the tires are subject to either a Two or Four year warranty & the warranties on their tires will expire based on which ever one comes first the 80,000 miles or Two to Fours years depending on which tire you purchased.

Now this is the part of this event that is real interesting and was an eye opener for me. Since I have never heard or read anything about the time element as it relates to tire warranties I requested an explanation as to why the time limitation. The Michelin Tire Company customer service representative stated that the reason for the time limitation is due to the natural decaying process of the rubber tires are made of. He stated that all tires have a shelf life from Two to Four years before the rubber decays beyond a safe condition. He referred to a condition sometimes called dry rot. This deterioration begins on the interior of tire & is completely invisible to eye inspection. Once the rubber has deteriorated to a point the chemical bond between the tire tread & the steel belt dissolves. At this point a catastrophic tire failure can & will suddenly occur. He further stated that this is a natural process inherit to all tires and nothing can be done in the manufacturing process to prevent this from occurring. He also wanted to know what area of the country we were in as weather conditions also have an effect on the life of the rubber. He stated that the hotter the climate is the interior rubber deterioration will accelerate accordingly.

In closing this has been a real educational experience for me. I will never purchase a Michelin tire again. My decision is not based on the 80,000 mile warranty, it is based on the Two to Four year safe life expectancy of tires no matter who manufactures the tire. Since we do not drive this car more than 7,000 miles a year there is no way I could possible benefit from a high mileage warranty since I now know that no matter which brand of tire I choose the safe use time of any tire will not exceed Four years. Since I will now replace my tires every Four years regardless of tread wear it just does not make any sense to spend the extra money for an 80,000 mile warranty when it could not possible provide any benefit.

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