Last Wednesday afternoon, I was driving my pickup truck south on I-83 in Maryland on my way to my daughter’s house for Thanksgiving. A car pulled up along side me and the driver pointed to the rear of my truck. I waved thank you and pulled over. I found that my left rear tire was going flat. I drove about a mile to the next exit and got off to change the flat. The tire still held enough air to keep the rim about 2 inches off of the ground.
The tire was an LT265, 16 inch, load range E. It still has about 1/2 of the tread on it. I had driven about 15 miles after I left my office before the other driver alerted me to the problem. I did not notice any problems with the tire when I got in the truck and left my office to travel to my daughter’s house. Since the tire is on the driver’s side, I would probably have noticed if it was 1/2 flat. There was no load in the truck bed. I keep the tires inflated to 60 lbs.
After pulling to a safe location, I removed the flat tire and put on the spare. When I lowered the jack, I noticed that the spare was also low on air. I searched through my truck for a can of “Fix A Flat” but no luck. I checked my GPS and found the the nearest gas station was 2-1/2 miles. I decided to drive there to put air in the spare. I kept my speed below 45. About 1/2 mile from the gas station, the spare came apart.
When I arrived at the gas station, I decided to try to put air in the original tire. If it held air, I was going to put it back on the truck. The pump started and I noticed that the air pressure in the tire was zero. As the pressure in the tire rose, I noticed that it was holding air. At around 20 lbs, bumps started to appear in the side wall on the side that would have been toward the outside of the truck. At 25 lbs, they were very pronounced. There was one bump every three (approx) inches, 1/2 way around the tire. Obviously a problem with the sidewall.
I called AAA and got towed to a service center where I purchased two new tires. I still have the original tire in the back of the truck.
I would like to know if there is a way to tell if the sidewall failed and caused the flat or if low air may have caused the sidewall to fail. As I said, I did not notice a problem with the tire when I left my office. I made several stops in the AM before I arrived at the office. Didn’t notice any problems.
I would like to visit the tire dealer where I purchased the original tire and ask some questions. However, if the failure is due to low air and I missed it, then it’s my fault. If the tire failed and there is a way to know that before visiting the dealer, then I’m certain that he will help make it right.