So! There we were, on our way to Jeff’s parents house in Clovis for the 4th of July, 3 hrs into the trip- just outside of McFarland- when the road started making a very strange sound…which was followed by a small bang and loud thumping. It sounded as though someone were hitting my car with a baseball bat, and I looked out of my window to see black chunks of something flying past the window. The old woman in the car next to us practically veered into a tree trying to move away. Something was WAY wrong. We pulled off the road into the gravel and got out to see what it was. Holy crap- my right rear tire had disintegrated…all the tread had completely separated, and all that was left was the interior with steel belts exposed and starting to snap. Not only was the tire obliterated, but it destroyed my car when it happened. My bumper was ripped through and hanging by a thread, one running light was completely gone – just a hole and wires, the entire fender was missing, the running board was missing clips and hanging half off, and the whole rear quarter panel was covered in dents and black marks.
The bad news: no spare. Nope, my spare is actually on my car (and might have been the disintegrating tire for all I know) and the tire riding in the spare position is one I had to replace a couple months ago. Great. The good news: every year for Christmas I have my Dad get us a AAA membership- for just this very reason!
We limped off Hwy 99, navigated around some corn fields, found a small truck stop, and discovered we were in Delano. The nice AAA girl told us it would be about 30 minutes. I called my mom and had her get on the internet to see if there was a Costco, Wal-Mart or some other cheap tire emporium nearby. Nope, we were s.o.l. Fortunately, when the large, sweaty, stained t-shirt and missing teeth tow truck driver showed up, he loaded the car right up on the flat bed and said not to worry- he knew a very reasonably priced shop right down the road.
We get there, and as the driver is unloading the CRV from his truck, Jeff starts looking at my other 3 tires. Tire #1 has the little “time to replace me” nubs sticking up from the declining tread. Tire #2 is completely bald on the inside (hmmm…maybe I should add “rotate tires” to my calendar). Tire #3 is just dandy- obviously the one I recently replaced. So it turns out that we didn’t really need 1 new tire…we needed 4. Well, let me tell ‘ya: if you need to buy tires, Delano is the place to do it. The guys at Pacific Tire hooked us up with 4 Yokohama’s w/ an 80,000mi guarantee for $320- installed. Then, like a pit crew 4 Mexican guys with jacks ran out, jacked up the car and had the tires changed with the 1 good one on the back as the spare and had us back on the road in 20 minutes. Brilliant.
The damage was considerable. Jeff’s dad and next door neighbor used the shiniest duct tape I have ever seen to tape my bumper and running board up so we could drive it without fear that we were leaving a trail of debris. We filed a claim on-line and on the 14th it went to the body shop for evaluation and estimate. The total? $1500. It went back to the body shop on the 21st to begin the repairs, and on the 24th we found out that the estimate had gone up another $2100. Yikes….thank God we only have to pay the deductable!
The body shop posts pictures online through our insurance web site, so we can watch the progress. I know the windshield (which was cracked by debris) has been replaced, but I have no idea where they’re at with the rest- hopefully I’ll have it back before August!