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post #1 of 17 Old 03-03-2016, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Tire Problem, advice Please!

I went in today to have my winter tires changed back to the 19" OEM Continentals. During the process the tire guy discovered that 3 of 4 summer tires have bubbles in the side wall on the back side of the tire. They must be replaced. This car was purchased around 9/7/15 and the summer tires were changed over to winter in early November. I probably put about 2000 miles on them, of which 1200 was in one trip to Calif. The rest of the driving was around town. I did not run off any curbs, do any off-roading or otherwise abuse the tires. During Nov through now they were in my garage.

The guy at the tire shop is going to call Continental in the AM and he checked and said they should be covered fully for replacement...so I am hoping I will not be out $$...but the question remains..how could this happen?

Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.

John
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-03-2016, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cableguy View Post
The guy at the tire shop is going to call Continental in the AM and he checked and said they should be covered fully for replacement...so I am hoping I will not be out $$...but the question remains..how could this happen?
My BMW has been using 205/50ZR17 Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires for the last 5 years. Over those 5 years I have had to replace 10 of them due to blisters (usually on the inner sidewall), cuts or blowouts all but one caused by potholes. And twice two at a time. Potholes are epic in Pennsylvania due to dramatic freeze/thaw cycles and poor maintenance budgets. All of the inner blisters were discovered at annual PA State Inspections and came as a complete surprise. I have never had any of these problems in 55 years of driving before owning a car with 50 profile tires. You are driving on 40 profile tires, yikes.

Iím going with POTHOLES!

BTW: Continental has paid for the tires (4 of them) when they were less than 1 year old.
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-03-2016, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Bob. We do have a pot hole issue in Bend OR and we're about $60M in arrears on road maintenance. In fact we're voting now on a 5 cent gas tax to fund additional road maintenance.

But I must note that I am extremely careful in my driving around to avoid the potholes... to the point that I find myself focusing on the road right in front of the car all the time and I'm creeping around the roundabouts steering around the pot holes. I don't recall any major pothole hits during those two months - and certainly not hitting 3 out of 4 tires. Now if those tires can't handle the small dips from missing pavement (i.e. an inch or so difference) that no one can avoid, then they aren't worth much as tires... certainly not close to $300 per tire.

Even if they replace all three at no cost to me this is a major concern as this could occur every winter unless I leave the car in the garage for 4 months of the year. I'm wondering if they have put substandard tires on a high end car?

John

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post #4 of 17 Old 03-03-2016, 11:28 PM
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John,
It is a real pity having to deal with potholes. Youíre cruising along on a beautiful twisty back road on a sunny afternoon while you stare at the road looking for the stinking things. You glance up to look at the scenery and bam, gottcha. They also seem to hide in the shadows.
Potholes are at their peak around here in the late winter thru early summer. I didnít mention it before, but I also have an alloy wheel with two dents on the inside rim. This condition doesnít seem to have affected drivability. Everything considered, I would rather replace the tires than the wheels or suspension components. The tires are going to wear out sooner or later anyway. At least I donít have to worry about driving on bald tires.
I kind of remember that you got your car thru a broker. Is it possible that the tire damage occurred before you took possession of the car? Your 3 tire problems could have been caused by 2 potholes. Based on my experiences the only way you will realize that you have blisters is by seeing them. They donít seem to affect drivability, at least until they blow. I donít think that you have bad quality tires. A lot of high performance tires have very thin sidewalls. Blame the popularity of huge wheels with rubber bands pretending to be tires.
Bob
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-04-2016, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Bob, Thanks again. However since these tires were only on the car for two months and it was fall, the pothole situation was not as bad and I didn't hit any big potholes. I will inform my broker who drove the car from Portland to Bend but doubt that will generate any intel. I remain deeply concerned about the quality of these tires if this occurred with no major pothole hits...I can't be spending $1200 per year on tire replacement...

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post #6 of 17 Old 03-04-2016, 10:44 AM
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Cableguy, Hopefully Conti will buy you a new set of tires....

The bubble is caused by either a defect in the tire or by an impact along the way (either way the tires innerliner is leaking). As it is appearing on 3 of the 4 I would suspect tire defect and possibly it is 4 of 4 and that last one just is not there yet. I would highly recommend that you have all 4 replaced.

Good luck and let us know how this pans out....

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post #7 of 17 Old 03-04-2016, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Ohio Joe. We either have a gaggle of defective tires on my car or we have a pretty worthless tire. Since these tires were swapped for winter studless snow tires (Blizzacks) before the potholes got really bad and given that I didn't hit any potholes with these tires on, there's simply no reason for this type of damage. Naturally any road surface has some variation and clearly given Bend's overall road status there are areas where the top layer of pavement is missing and you have about a 1" difference to the next layer in a small to large patch. I even try very hard to avoid any of these... I did read some comments from other car owners who felt pretty strongly that Conti's low profile tires are very prone to bubbles.... Makes one wonder why Audi chose this tire.....

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post #8 of 17 Old 03-04-2016, 11:59 AM
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John, Conti should take care of you on this however if they do not you can always threaten to file a complaint with NHTSA on the tires. That should put you in a better position with the negotiations....

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post #9 of 17 Old 03-04-2016, 12:06 PM
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When I was looking for replacement tires for my convertible daily driver 5 years ago I did tons of research and it seemed that a whole lot of people complained about blisters using almost any brand of 205/50ZR17 tire. As a matter of fact when I bought the car it was 8 years old with only 11,000 miles and every tire on it had at least 2 visible blisters some fairly large. Needless to say I didn’t take any high speed trips until I replaced the hardly worn Continental Contact tires that were original equipment on the car. So maybe there is something about Continental tires. Contis were a major offender in user comments regarding blistering. But I decided to take a chance on the Conti DWSs because they were quiet, important in a convertible, had the Conti warranty and cost hundreds less than comparably rated tires. In hindsight that may have been a bad choice but I’m in it now and like I said I don’t have to worry about worn tires.
All I know is that I’m generally a Michelin Man. I even look like Bib.

I don’t know if there is any data to back up my observations over the last 55 years but in my opinion the tires that come mounted on a new car don’t hold up as well as the exact same replacement tires mounted on the same car.

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Originally Posted by cableguy View Post
Makes one wonder why Audi chose this tire.....
I'm sure price played a role and maybe nationalism.

BTW: I wouldn't give up on the damaged before ownership aspect.

Last edited by BobInPa; 03-04-2016 at 12:10 PM. Reason: BTW
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-04-2016, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again!


Well all's well that ends well. Tire shop called and Continental has agree to replace all 3 tires under warranty at no cost. Since I have Blizzak studless snow tires in the same size and have driven those about the same distance, all in town and all during a time when pot holes were worse due to winter freeze and thawing...and since there are no bubbles on them...one could conclude that there's an issue with the Conti's not the tire size..... But time will tell. At least for now I got the right outcome. I will report back if anything else develops - I'm assuming some others on the forum have the same size and brand as me on their Q3.

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