On our way home from the Great Wolf Lodge, we had some tire trouble with the minivan. Cruising along at 65mph, I started noticing a vibration. Just barely noticeable at first, but after a few minutes it became a worrisome bumping. The steering wheel wasn’t moving, so the problem probably wasn’t with either of the front wheels.
Wifegrit noticed it, too, and asked what it was. I didn’t know for sure, but we both had a flashback to a couple of weeks ago when one of the rear tires on the van started doing the same thing.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the tires balanced and the alignment straightened. Then just two days after that, one of the tires started bumping. I thought it was just a bad balance job, and so we took it back in to the shop to have them correct their sloppy job. Turns out it was the tire falling apart. The steel belt had split, and the tread was separating; a blowout was imminent. Well, we had to fix that right away.
Just a couple weeks prior to this, I had inspected the tires on the van to make sure they didn’t need replacing — the treads looked fine to me. So we replaced just the one tire that was breaking down. I should have gone ahead and replaced both tires at that time. But I was thinking that would be a waste of money, because the other tire looked to have probably another year or two left for wear.
Well, then this trip back from GWL. The rumble we were feeling, and then hearing, sounded disturbingly like when that other tire was near a blowout. So we pulled off the highway and into a parking lot so I could inspect things.
Sure enough, the other rear tire was showing the same tread separation and steel belt fringe. Damn. We still had another 70 or 80 miles left before we got home.
So everyone got out of the van, and I set to work changing out the tire for the spare. I was still in my bathing suit from the pool that morning. To the boys, it was a great little experience to see Dad change a tire. They were excitedly surprised to learn that a whole tire was kept in a secret compartment right beneath their seats that they hadn’t even guessed was there.
Anyway, we drove home on the spare tire, with the damaged tire riding in the middle of the minivan, between our boys. And now we ended up having two new tires, like I should have just done when the first tire went fooey on us.