8/15/00 - 31K miles
On the way home today, I was driving on I-84 traveling about 65mph and I noticed a repeated thumping like when travelling on bridges with sections every so often. So, I thought maybe a flat. I kinda let up on the steering to see if the car wanted to pull one way, but it didn't. I slowed a bit and tried some slight side to side motion and the car didn't feel "planted" like it normally does. I pulled into the right lane and slowed further. By now I was sure I had a flat. I got off the next exit and stopped on the wide off ramp. I checked and saw the right front was flat (well, low on air). There was a gas station just off the exit so I went there and filled to what I thought was ~40psi. I turned the wheel hard to the right and checked for a nail, puncture, etc. I kept slowly moving forward and checking to try and view the entire tread of the tire. I was not far from home, so I just took it slow. I noticed after getting back on the road that I must not have put enough air in (gauge was flaky). So I stopped at a different gas station and filled all tires to the same 40psi. When I left this station and got going again, the problem was much worse. The whole steering wheel was shaking violently. I thought about the alignment, but I couldn't believe it would cause such bad symptons at slow speeds. So I got home, looked at it - looked fine. I jacked her up and as I started to take the lugs out, I saw "it". The inner edge of the tire had a spot that was collapsed - or was the other area raised? One wasn't right. I got the wheel off and WHOA! Some serious buldge. This is where I think back to when I was deciding whether it was needed to put the spare on - I should have. While I did get home safely, this tire could have blown at any time. It looked fine from the outside, but that was not the case throughout. This was my one freebie - next time I will change the tire as soon as a problem is detected. Hey, that's why they gave me that nice full size alloy rim & tire as a spare. I called TireRack, where I purchased the rims and tires. I have to bring it to a authorized Bridgestone service center for them to analyze whether it was caused by a road hazard or a manufacture's defect. I know I did not hit anything today, but I do acknowledge that it could have started to buldge before today and it just became obvious today. So tomorrow, we'll see what story the inside of the tire tells. If it's a defect, the authorized service center should honor the manufacturer's warranty (even though not purchased from them) and "give" me a prorated new tire. If not, I can then deal with TireRack. If it's a Road Hazard injury, I'm on my own - though TR said they would extend a courtesy to me on the replacement. Basically, I'll get a new tire at ~cost. So, wish me luck...

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