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Things that go BANG

  1. Jun 26, 2014 #1
    I have been driving a long time and I have never had a tire failure like this. I was driving on the freeway at 65 MPH when I heard a loud pop. The right rear tire started losing air quickly. I got into the right hand lane immediately and luckily just as I was coming up to an exit ramp.

    By the time I was on the ramp I presumed the tire was totally flat. I was running considerably slower by then and kept going to a gore area several hundred feet down the ramp where it merged with a two lane frontage road.. It was a close fit. I only had about three feet on each side with traffic whizzing by. The first thing I learned is that drivers do not know what emergency flashers mean anymore.

    Since it all started with a pop rather than an obvious blowout I got out a can of flat fixer to inflate the tire a bit so I could find the damage. It wasn't really that bad there was a hole in the middle of the tread that the flat fixer mixture was spurting out through.

    As I continued adding the entire can of "stuff" I noticed that the leak was slowing. I got the pressure up to twenty PSI and decided to drive on down several hundred more feet to a gas station.

    At the gas station I drove around to the air pumps. I looked the tire over really carefully, or so I thought. No blisters or bubbles, no obvious damage to the tire or rim. What I did not see was the minor scuff marks and discoloration on the inside of the tire at the very top.

    I started adding air to the tire and at 25 psi took another look at the tire. All was well or so I thought. At 29 psi I decided to give it just just a bit more air. That was when the blasted thing blasted. Lucky for me the massive tire failure was on the inside behind the tire and wheel.

    It blew directly on the opposite side of the tire from where the valve stem is located. That was lucky for me if it had blown on my side of the tire my family would have had to go out there and pick up my fingers if they could have found them.

    This was a three week old Michelin tire and I gave the guys at the tire shop holy he!!. They told me it happens all the time. I still can't decide whether there was that much damage done to the tire.



    In the picture I am pulling out on the section of the tire to show the size of the damage.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Wow, thats quite a blowout and at three weeks old. You should definitely send a letter of complaint to Michelin or make a viral youtube video out of it.

    The total tire failure could be due to your driving on it to the nearest gas station damaging the internal tire belts.

    I found this interesting article about how tire companies carefully track and conceal this information.


    Tires also have a limited life span of 5 years even if they have sufficient tread to pass inspection and should be changed out at that time.

    We had a similar blowout while traveling by rent a car in the NZ South Island where we went thru some road construction and apparently picked up a rock that broke the tire seal around the rim. After a few harrowing moments of weaving back and forth on the highway in a fully loaded station wagon we were able to stop and inspect the damage. Fortunately for us, a tire repair center was available a hundred meters or so down the road.
  4. Jun 27, 2014 #3


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    If you drove on a flat tire, any resultant damage is definitely not the manufacturer's fault. If you didn't already know what a bad idea that is, you do now, but stop blaming the manufacturer.

    If you genuinely believe that it was the manufacture's fault, let the air out of all your tires and drive around the block. You'll get the picture.
  5. Jun 27, 2014 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    One thing about the picture is that the tire looks much older than 3 weeks. It almost looks to be a couple of years at least but I guess that could be due to drving on it.
  6. Jun 27, 2014 #5
    No it was exactly three weeks old and it was replaced under warranty.
  7. Jun 27, 2014 #6
    Hey dude I didn't just fall off of the turnip truck. I was driving on dirt tracks at age 16 and at eighteen started driving sprint cars at Eldora.

    I drove about two hundred feet starting at about 45 mph and slowing down. I wasn't about to stop on the exit ramp. The point is there was no obvious external damage that appeared to warrant what happened when I tried to put air in the tire. The tire should not have failed suddenly in the catastrophic manner that it did. That tire exploded with a force that could have killed someone.

    yes I did drive a short distance with the tire flat. That doesn't explain why it failed in the way that it did or in the location on the tire that it did.

    I have also seen tires that survived a lot more abuse than this tire went through.

    Although I also had no intention of keeping that tire on the vehicle permanently after that. I didn't put on the spare immediately because there was about 400 pounds of ceramic tile on top of it. The Michelin Man didn't do me any favors. I ended up unloading and then reloading the tile. and no it wasn't the weight of the tile

    On the other hand you do make a good point. If anyone drives on a totally flat tire they should replace it. Even run flat tires need to be replace if they are driven flat. It is also a good idea to go ahead and totally ruin the tire and even the wheel rather than stopping in a hazardous location.

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
  8. Jun 28, 2014 #7

    Ranger Mike

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    i would say you pretty well nailed it. racer! glad to know you ran on the Big E...#14 is the the new age AJ..but wish he gets back to collecting checkers again
  9. Jun 28, 2014 #8


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    Yep, no argument w/ any of that. Been there, done that & agree completely w/ all of those sentiments. You CAN get lucky but I got the impression from your first post that you were not as aware of it all as you clearly are. Try to keep in mind that folks on the internet are not mind readers.
  10. Jun 28, 2014 #9
    Sorry about that phinds. I wanted it to be a lesson learned for everyone, but it didn't completely turn out that way.:redface: About the best I can say at this point is; do not assume anything about a tire or many other auto product. With factories spread globally, and even though companies have set standards at those factories, IMHO there are a lot of quality control issues.

    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  11. Jun 28, 2014 #10
    I am struggling to understand how you can determine that this is in anyway is a manufacturing issue! Plus, there are several inconsistencies in your story.

    You had an undefined puncture at 65mph, with a moderate load with unstated pressure in the tyre. For 'safety purposes' after you heard the 'loud pop' you drove on for a short time to the exit, then several hundred feet (potentially with the critical failure already inevitable) to somewhere which you said you had very limited room with traffic whizzing by (which I would think is also an unsafe place to stop!) re-inflated the tyre with sealer to 20psi?, then drove to the nearest service station which was only another several hundred feet away?
    From there you re-inflate the tyre after you 'inspected it for damage' to 29psi + 'give it just just a bit more air', it fails catastrophically and somehow its Michelins fault?

    If your intent was your safety and replacement of the tyre, you should have driven directly to the service station, swapped that tyre for the spare (regardless of how much stuff you have covering it), taken the punctured tyre back the tyre shop and had them deal with it. Or, do as you did (which is what the majority of semi car interested people would do) try and fix it to prevent damage to the car at the time, but realise that YOUR actions after the initial puncture is what cause the failure at the service station, not a manufacturing flaw. You are lucky that the guys at the tyre shop didn't give you 'holy hell' for trying to re-inflate a tyre that you drove on which was flat!

  12. Jun 28, 2014 #11


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    I had this happen to me about 30 years ago. It was a day old set of Pirelli's I'd bought at Costco. They called it "sidewall failure" as I recall. Of course, they replaced it for free. Weird though, to have that happen to a brand new tire.

    Do they still make tires utilizing "humans"?


    Maybe there's a tire version of that old saying; "Never buy a car made on Monday or Friday".

  13. Jun 28, 2014 #12


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    A tyre is designed and manufactured for use in a real world. If it fails in the real world, then there must be clues as to how the design or manufacture can be improved. I would like to give the tyre manufacturers and distribution networks the problems and costs of recycling used tyres.

    I see little point in the attribution of blame. A tyre manufacturer benefits greatly by swapping a young damaged tyre for new. That is because the best source of design and quality control information comes from the return of failed units, no matter why they failed.
  14. Jun 29, 2014 #13
    The tire failed catastrophically when there were no signs of damage. I mentioned Michelin only because that is the brand name of the tire. Look at the rest of the tire, it all looked the same until 29PSI

    I had not yet seen the service station until after I had stopped in the gore area. I see people changing tires in these small areas. You apparently haven't driven on a freeway in the USA.

    The tires were inflated properly which by the way would have nothing to do with the tire being punctured. 400 lbs in a Honda Odyssey mini van is only the weight of two adults. It isn't even a moderate load it is an average load or below.

    Had I continued past the point where I stopped, while driving slowly and with a flat tire I would have had to merge into the two lanes of traffic on the frontage road that were travelling at 65MPH plus.

    I only mentioned Michelin as being the manufacturer. That would have been the first question someone would have asked. Regardless, with no obvious damage the tire should not have failed at 29 PSI. Normal inflation is 35 PSI.

    Yet the tire shop guys said: "This happens all the time".

    It has been my experience over many years that a tire that shows no obvious damage in any way should hold 29 psi. I only drove the vehicle from 45 MPH down to 0 with the tire flat. Had there been any obvious signs of damage, sidewall scuffing, wheel damage or bulging at 25 PSI I never would have continued inflating the tire.

    Look at the portion of the tire that did not explode. It all looked exactly the same until 29 psi.

  15. Jun 30, 2014 #14


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    You would think a visible heat signature would be on the sidewall if you were traveling on the highway at 65mph for a distance, but I don't see one, so underinflation is not the is not an issue here.

    I can imagine the tire while being flat had the sidewall crimped severly against the rim as the wheel drove up or down a sharp difference in level of pavement or perhaps a drain on the road. The weakened crimp, about 90 degrees in the picture, could not handle the pressure, burst, and riped the sidewall up towards the thread in the process.

    The crimp seems to extend about another 45 degrees on the bottom part in the picture. Perhaps it was just driving on the flat, but the change in appearance of the rubber doesn't appear to extend all the way around the rim.

    I have never seen a tire rip like that by adding pressure. The cords would have had to have been cut, weakened in some way along the rim, such as given in the explanation above, which by the way is possible but not really probable. Manufacturing defect weakness, agrivated by riding on the rim from the blowout.
  16. Jun 30, 2014 #15
    You still seem to be assuming quite a lot from the very little detail you actually had.

    You said there was no damage 'visable' on the side of the tyre you could see. Which meant that you couldn't see damage on the reverse side of the trye or (critically) on the internal surface of the tyre. For all you know, the first 'bang' may have been the wheel striking something on the road surface which punctured and lacerated the inside wall of the tyre.

    No, I haven't driven on US freeways as I live in Australia. The last thing I would consider doing would be to can-puncture-repair a tyre to drive on a 65mph road when I had a proper spare in the boot.

    Are you assuming that the tyres were inflated correctly, or did you set the pressures yourself? Under or over inflation can cause strange failures also.
    400 pounds in the boot of a car past the rear axle line is not typical loading, that is why cars equipped with towbars are not recommended to be loaded with greater than approx 120pounds on the knuckle, let alone over 300. Its the distribution which is the issue.

    That is very true, which indicates there was indeed damage whether you saw it or not.

  17. Jun 30, 2014 #16


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    Given that the Honda Odyssey I just looked at has a seating capacity of 8, and little room in the cargo area past the rear axle, I'd say that Edward simply got a lemon of a tire. We usually reserve the word "lemon" for vehicles, kind of like my Chrysler Ebola, but I think it's appropriate in this case.

    As I mentioned, the exact same thing happened to me with a brand new, day old tire, from a different manufacturer.
  18. Jun 30, 2014 #17
    Of course I couldn't inspect the inside of the tire. I did check as much as possible. I think I already stated this.

    Look back and read my posts. I had all of the information. There was a "pop", not a bang and I stated this previously. I am not a beginner, I have heard that pop before. I could hear the air escaping from the puncture. It makes a very definitive sound when the puncture is in the tread and the tire is rolling.

    I got into the right hand lane and down to 45 mph before the wobble began and the sound changed, at that point I knew the tire was flat. That is just where the exit ramp began.

    I pulled onto the gore area 200 feet down the ramp because, I was not, while driving with a flat tire and at slow speed about try to merge into two oncoming lanes of vehicles which were travelling at 65 Plus MPH.Wait a minute I stated this before also. I had just gotten myself out of driving in four lanes of traffic driving at 65 MP plus.

    Exactly where did I state that I intended to get back on the road and drive 65 MPH??? I put in the puncture repair because at that point I could see a service station just on down the road and I definitely had a puncture in the tire. I was also in one hell of a dangerous place to change a tire. Come on over mate and give it a go, but be careful not to soil your pants..

    Now you are just taking stabs in the dark. I do check my own tire pressure because the new TPM systems really aren't all that accurate. At any rate a red light on the dash would light up if a tire was below thirty PSI. Then again perhaps you are not aware of TPM systems.

    Nice try at making presumptions but no cigar. The load was on and in front of the middle seat in a three seat minivan. Unfortunately the load was right on top of the donut spare. No load or distribution problem at all for that vehicle. You must drive very tiny little vehicles down under.

    BTW the tongue (knuckle weight) on this vehicle is 350 LBS and towing capacity of 3500 LBS

    Quite true, and it was damage that should not have been there given the circumstances.

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
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