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Platinum 2001 Cadillac Catera Sport
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Discussion Starter #1
The roads around New York State are riddled with potholes caused by the past winter freeze. Some are just an inch or so deep and while annoying do little damage, but some are bottomless pits that want to devour your car. One of the latter took out my right rear wheel & tire.

The Highway Dept's fix is to patch them with loose asphalt tossed by shovel from the rear of a truck when they get around to it in the summer. Naturally water (mixed with generous amounts of road salt) penetrates the patches and the freeze and thaw cycle allows it to loosen and lift so the snowplows can scrape them away. Very efficient system.

Of course these craters lay in the lane's tire tracks waiting for you. Normally I maneuver around or between them like an autocross racer but a combination of narrow road, soft shoulder, and oncoming traffic left me no where to go but into this abyss. Now I do plead guilty to what the police would deem "excessive speed" but even at half that it would have caused some damage.

Anyway.......I hit it and it sounded like I hit a landmine. The car shook so violently that the glove compartment door flew open. I pulled over when I could and inspected the front right wheel. Nothing, no dented wheel, no cut tire, not even a popped hubcap. I got back in and drove off. No shake or bounce but the alignment was definitely off with the steering needing a little more left bias to keep straight. I didn't worry too much about it since I was planning to switch my snow tires for the summer rubber in the coming week or two and would get a realignment then.

The car sat idle for a couple of days until I had to go to Middletown, about a 30 mile trip from home. Beautiful day, puffy white clouds against a bright blue sky. I had the windows rolled halfway down and the sunroof opened, Bose stereo playing some vintage Santana, when I got a whiff of something burning. I was following a Ram pick-up and assumed it was coming from the truck. Another mile or so and the odor got worse. I back off the throttle to put some didtance between be and the Ram, still convinced it was coming from the truck. That's when the car started to shake. The rear got loose and the car wanted to go right. Luckily there was a "pull-out" on the right to safely park.

That's when the cabin filled with smoke. I thought I was on fire. You've never seen a man as fat as me leave a car so quickly. I know I haven't. My right rear tire was flat and its sidewall cracked, with smoke pouring out from the wheel-well. When I got the tire off I could see that the inner sidewall was shredded almost completely around. Then I saw the reason for this all. My Catera Sport wheel's inside rim was bent up off the tire bead. It took 20 miles for it to loose air pressure but when it did it lost it in a hurry. This was my first flat tire in 9 years of ownership. In all that time I had never even pulled the spare tire cover off, nevermind checking the tire pressure. I guess God figured he'd taught me enough of a lesson already because the spare tire was filled with enough air to get me to a gas station and bring it up to proper pressure.

I now have my summer wheels & tires on, a realignment, a filled spare tire, and a bent wheel in my trunk. I'll google for a shop to repair it, or go on ebay for a replacement. If this had happened before I had filed my NYS Income Tax return I would have deducted the cost of the tire & wheel. It's their fault and they should pay (the snow tires were due for replacement in the fall but don't tell them that). The alignment is on me.

R.I.P.


Wearing her summer wheels & tires. Dirty and in need of a good detailing but still alive and kicking.
 

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2000 Cadillac Catera Sport
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242 Posts
Wow glad your ok and nothing serious happened, that would have been a scary moment for sure. Thats some damage done to the wheel and tire though, hate the winter for that reason too. I have hit a couple this year thinking there should have been damage from the sound and how hard I hit like you it was not avoidable. Car looks awesome with summer wheels on.
 

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Platinum 2001 Cadillac Catera Sport
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Discussion Starter #3
I used to live in Buffalo, NY and spent some time in Ontario, in Toronto for the IndyCar races and the big car show, and Bowmanville (Mosport) for the CSBK and vintage motorcycle races. I'm sure you got a fair share of the POLAR VORTEX and, though they're generally in better shape than ours, your roads took a good beating too.

I'm looking for wheel repair shops and am considering having all 4 refinished, curb rash and scratches removed, and fresh paint. Played with the thought of having them polished but I don't think it would look right considering the Catera's lack of chrome. Maybe a brushed satin finish topped with clearcoat. Probably won't do anything other than the repair but it's always nice to daydream.
 
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