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Tire bulge - road hazard or defect?

Is this a...

  • Warranty covered defect

    Votes: 3 33.3%
  • Road hazard-just pay and move on

    Votes: 6 66.7%

  • Total voters
    9

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
My wife noticed this tire bulge after getting a low pressure warning on her Model X a few days ago. We/she hasn't had any hard impacts with curbs, pot holes, etc. that we recall. You can tell there's otherwise no sidewall or rim damage/wear. But when I reached out to our service manager he said they see this a lot and that it's not covered by warranty and is considered a road hazard issue. Says it's unsafe and the tire will need to be replaced at our cost.

Can someone confirm that that is accurate? For the record, we have a good relationship (the service manager and I), and I don't have any good reason to doubt him other than my gut instinct told me this was a manufacturing defect.
26211074307_6effa7d71f_o.jpg
26211074837_b83e173305_o.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: zmarty
Mar 25, 2013
623
559
Key West, FL
If the tire has never had an impact with anything, that's a manufacturing defect. The bulge area is a weak spot, the tire is not safe to drive on. I've had it on a previous car, I got the replacement tire at no charge.
 
  • Like
Reactions: efusco

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,186
16,965
San Diego, CA
It's road hazard most likely. The lower-profile tires are much more sensitive to it, and if the car has air suspension you might have hit a significant enough pothole to cause it and never noticed.

Pay it, understand it is the cost of having low-profile tires, and move on.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: efusco

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
It's road hazard most likely. The lower-profile tires are much more sensitive to it, and if the car has air suspension you might have hit a significant enough pothole to cause it and never noticed.

Pay it, understand it is the cost of having low-profile tires, and move on.
I really wanted to click "dislike" to your post...but you're most likely right....I just don't have to like it!
 

snellenr

Member
Aug 5, 2013
425
672
Northern Michigan
Looks like there's a scuff on the top of the "N" in the first picture -- guessing that when the tire hit the far side of the pothole (or whatever), the sidewall collapsed enough to let the "N" rub along the edge of the pothole (or whatever).
 

sillydriver

Member
Oct 19, 2014
821
592
Middleburg, va
For two seasons I used Pirelli Sottozero snows mounted onto the same 21" wheels I use for summer tires on my MS. After two winters the service center people pointed out that one of the snows had two serious looking bulges, and another had one. This past season I bought 19" wheels and winter tires and there have been no problems so far. I think very low profile tires are just not good on potholed winter roads. It's also possible that winter tires have weaker sidewalls than high-performance summer tires.
 

omgwtfbyobbq

Active Member
Aug 24, 2013
1,450
1,612
Southern California
I'm pretty sure that's a defect. A pothole big enough to damage the wires in the sidewall to the point where they bulge should also cause a fair bit of damage to the outside of the tire in a much larger area than you're seeing.

If you're driving along, hit a pothole, and it deforms the sidewall enough to break the wires, there should also be some scrapes/etc ahead of and behind the bulge given how fast you would have to be going to cause that damage. It can come from hitting a curb too, but like you said you would also see damage to the wheel.

This pdf has a good example of separation causing sidewall issues under "Damage Induced Sidewall Separation".

http://www.euroratas.lt/galery/_eur...cija/radial_tire_conditins_analysis_guide.pdf

If the tire is newer, I'd also use that to push it being a defect. You can reference this tirerack article.

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=159

If they still won't budge, and you still want to push it being a defect, have the tire replaced and make sure they give the old one back to you. Do not leave until you have it. When you do have it, check the inside, if there's no obvious damage/distortion there, that's just one more piece supporting a defect.

If they still won't budge, cut the sidewall open along that side. If there's no evidence of damage to the interior layers of the tire or the wire spacing is off, that again points to a defect. If they still won't budge after all this, you'll only be able to resolve it by either contacting corporate or by contacting the manufacturer to ask them if the damage is representative of hitting something like a pothole at high speed.

If you do find damage on the inside of the tire, it probably was a pothole. If the department of transportation lets you file claims for damage caused by unrepaired problems with the road, ask the shop if they can pull the logs and get you info on where the damage likely occured.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: efusco

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