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I just ran over my first major pothole last night on my IS w/17's. The suspension bottomed out severely, and I was s**tting bricks about potential damage. For the many of you who can unfortunately relate to this experience, I wanted to ask -

I checked out the rim, seems no visible damage so far. I have read on this forum that even when the rim is not damaged, the tire can become bubbled. Is going to a dealer and having them inspect it the only way of determining tire damage? How serious of a risk is driving around with a bubbled tire?

Thanks in advance.
 

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The same thing happened to my tire. I went over a huge pothole, no damage on rim but there was a bubble in the tire. A bubble in the tire is visable (atleast mine was) and you need to get it replaced. Do not drive with a bubble in your tire. Hope this helps.
 

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Originally posted by ISsard22CU:
The same thing happened to my tire. I went over a huge pothole, no damage on rim but there was a bubble in the tire. A bubble in the tire is visable (atleast mine was) and you need to get it replaced. Do not drive with a bubble in your tire. Hope this helps.
is the tire with a bubble replaceable under warranty? i've only had my IS for less than a month and i have a bubble already. i looked in the manual and it says that the tire is under the tire manufacturer (i.e. bridgestone) warranty and they do not cover buldges...aka bubbles.

has anyone out there with a bubble ever gotten their tire replaced for free?
 

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I pinched a curb once in my old car creating a bubble in the tire. I happened to stop by the place where I got my tires and they said that it did not need to be replaced. The bubble in my tire was very small, however. They did say that if the damage was worse it would be recommended to replace the tire because a bad "bubble" might eventually lead to a blowout.

If I were in your situation: My family and I are loyal customers of Import Tire in San Diego (in part because of the "cash discount, ahem, ahem, they give for purchases) and we have dealt with them for years. Because we have purchased tires from them in the past, I am sure that in a "new car" situation they would gladly sell us new ones at cost for damages caused by road obstacles. They have done this for our other cars and it would be a safe bet that most places do this. Try it out if you have a problem with your tire, I wouldnt recommend driving on it much.
 

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I did the same thing. Went to the dealership a couple days later & they replaced the tire, no ?'s asked.
 

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Ok here's the deal with these nasty Bridgestone RE 040's: At the slightest hint of hitting a pothole or other road hazard, these puppies swell up like your face was just hit by a baseball bat.
If you contact Bridgestone, they will advise you that their manufacturer warranty does not cover road hazard, but rather manufacturing defects only.
If you speak to your dealer, they will advise either 1.) Contact Bridgestone, since Lexus warranty does not cover tires, or 2.) They with provide a one time goodwill gesture and replace it for free.

I had a similar experience with a nasty pothole in L.A. and the tire started to bulge, however the alloy "seemed" undamaged from the exterior nor vibrate at speed. Upon remove of the wheel from the IS, it was pretty obvious that the wheel had bent pretty seriously on the inner lip where you normally do not see it on the vehicle.

These tires/alloys are so fragile, that I am seriously considering either getting 225/45/ 17's next time I replace the tires or to got down to a 16" wheel and move up to a 50 or even a 55 series sidewall!!


The funny thing is, is that these nasty Bridgestones, I think have an inherent design flaw which makes it more prone to damage from hitting potholes. Bridgestone, after all is the same company and Firestone, and we all know of their debacle with Wilderness AT's.

If you do a search of these tires on the Audiworld forum, someone actually posted a letter that Audi sent out to all S4 and TT owners (OEM tires on some S4's and TT's as well) stating that regardless of the cause of the bulging of these tires (and the letter specifically mentions hitting potholes) that Audi will offer a voluntary recall and replacement of these tires. Also if Audi owners have already replaced these tires out of pocket, Audi will reimburse then for it. In fact owners over at Audiworld have had so many problems with these RE 040's that they nicknamed them: "BLOW-tenzas"!!


Thus, my question is, why are we not getting this type of service from Lexus? When you speak to your dealer, they either play dumb or take the fifth or deny everything. Is it just me or is this seriously a safety issue now and how come Audi owners receive more "Lexus" like attention than actual Lexus owners?


[ May 26, 2001: Message edited by: N1 ]
 

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To those who have experienced the bubble/pothole scenario, could you post what pressures you were running as well as if you do or do not own a pressure gauge, and use it regularly?

The recommended pressure from Lexus is 33 PSI cold all round (+10 PSI for extended speeds over 100 MPH in the fine print of the owners manual). 33 is way on the low side IMHO of what should be run in dry conditions. Wet is a different story.

Bridgestone has a great reputation as a tire manufacturer. I'm not sure of the details of the merger/acquisition with (by?) Firestone. The RE-040's run really well on my SBM beasty with 42 PSI F/38 PSI R.

Having said that they are a hard compound OEM tire for this type of vehicle. The sidewall says 140 treadwear, but of that, I am sceptical. I have a suspicion that for the OEM order to Bridgestone by our car's manufacturer that they asked for a batch with a harder compound. And that the sidewall number was not changed... Maybe I'm crazy
, but I've had 205/60-14's on 7"" rims that gripped way better (Yoki A509's) than these RE-040's, but they were half worn out in the mileage I've done so far and the 040's show little sign of wear.

End of waffle. Run higher pressures, except if you are primarily driving in the wet. You will be surprised if not amazed at the improved handling, and are less likely to suffer damage from potholes - both through a better ability to dodge as well as being less likely to pinch the sidewall.
 

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the tire pressure was set by the factory because it was only around 800 miles when my girlfriend hit the pothole. i checked the pressure a couple of days later to see if i lost any pressure and the pressure was around 33 psi. so you might have something with your pressure theory. however, when i checked the pressure i didn't notice any visible buldges on the sidewall...maybe i wasn't looking hard enough. i then proceeded to increase the tire pressure to 40-42 psi. did my increasing the pressure aggrivate the damage and create the bulge??

i did a search on this topic and someone said that their bulge was right above the P. that's exactly where mine is. What's the odds of hitting a pothole on the exact same spot on the wheel? this sounds like a major defect to me.

how many other people have their bulges above the P??
 

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the odds are about 1/360 degrees. j/k
 

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could this be what's causing my steering wobble at certain speeds and turning angles? the car has 1,500 miles and it's had it since i drove the car off the lot. what should i look for on the tire?

[ May 27, 2001: Message edited by: merlin3008 ]
 

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Originally posted by merlin3008:
could this be what's causing my steering wobble at certain speeds and turning angles? the car has 1,500 miles and it's had it since i drove the car off the lot. what should i look for on the tire?

[ May 27, 2001: Message edited by: merlin3008 ]
i'm not sure if that would be the cause of the wobble but you should definitely take your car into the dealer and make them find the problem. that's something that would be covered under warranty because that is definitely not normal.

as for the bulge, if you're familiar with rubber basketballs, it's like a bulge that you get sometimes on an old rubber basketball when the inner support of the basketball deteriorates and the only support left is the rubber. that's the best analogy i can think of. it's real noticeable. some people have taken pictures of their tire bubbles so you could do a search and find the pics.
 

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well i already had them balance the wheels and it got a little better but it's not perfect. the service department has been very attentive. just haven't been able to figure it out yet.
 

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OK...... I have a question.. My lexus came with Goodyear GSD's.... WHy does every other lexus have the Bridgestones.. ugh.. DId I get screwed or something???? I guess I am the Blacksheep..hahaha

Dan
 
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