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One bad sidewall

When I had about 16,000 miles on my 2000 Honda Insight, one of the rear tires blew out while I was on Interstate. I was somewhat amused because it was the same kind of sidewall failure that was killing so many SUV drivers, but in the Insight, I was doing about 65-70 when I became aware of an unusual noise. Otherwise, I had no idea that I had a flat tire.

I remember looking around to see if the noise was coming from some other vehicle. It was a loud and strange, rumbling sound, like a decellerating 18-wheeler, except that there weren't any of those anywhere near me. I wondered if it was the engine or transmission. I checked to make sure I had a wide safety buffer around the car, then pushed down the clutch to let the engine rev down. The noise didn't change frequency with the engine. It changed frequency with vehicle speed.

That's when I noticed that my rear view was aimed lower than usual. I gave a signal, slowed down and pulled off to the side. The tire looked really ugly. It was remarkable how stable the car drove with a flat tire. Likely, it would be less stable with a flat on the front.

The part that sucked was that the profit-driven dealer would not give me any money back on the remarkably premature flat, saying that there were signs of abuse on the tire.

Well, I guess driving 70 mph on a flat tire IS abuse, right? :roll:

I'm pretty sure I kept the old tire, just in case there was ever a class action lawsuit. Meanwhile, nobody is bombing my house, and I'm not starving to death, so I decided to just suck up and pay for a new tire and not experience the stress of being an angry consumer.

Oh, and while I was changing the tire, a wind picked up the fender skirt and threw it a couple dozen yards. When I found it, the special carbon-fiber screw that holds it on was lost in the grass. It cost something like $15 to replace that one screw. I got two. Figured it was worth it to have a spare.
 

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Motty82 said:
Maybe the dealer said that they would not give you money back due to signs of abuse on the tire from the way they were worn. What did you keep your tires inflated to?
~Martin
2000 5 Spd
I wasn't as careful then as I've been since then, but that wasn't the comment. They said that the sidewalls looked like I'd rubbed up against curbs too much. This is not true. The sidewalls were a mess on the one tire because I had driven a couple miles at high speed after the blowout because I didn't know I had a flat. The other tires were fine at 45,000 miles when the car was hit by a Toyota Pathfinder and subsequently destroyed by a quick-triggered rescue worker with the Jaws of Life.

Note that this was a back tire. The rear tires track quite a bit narrower than the front. I'd expect to rub the front tires more, and the dealer never commented about tire wear when they rotated the tires.
 
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