A brand new vehicle and new tires. That combination should make a major mechanical malfunction on North America’s busiest highway next to impossible, right?
Not in Warren Kinsella’s case.
“I’ve heard from people smarter than me saying you’re lucky to be alive, you should be dead!” he told Global News outside his Toronto home.
The lawyer and sometimes controversial political consultant was returning from Woodstock, Ont., on the weekend, travelling in the left-hand lane of Highway 401 behind the wheel of his 2018 Jeep Wrangler, which he purchased in July.
“I was following a group of Hells Angels. They know something about the quality of the road,” he said, pointing out the pavement was smooth, absent of potholes.
Then, when he heard “a sudden, funny sound” and looked at the onboard tire gauge, he noted the left rear tire had lost pressure. His immediate need was to pull over to the right shoulder, away from traffic.
After making a safe move over, he realized the outcome could have been much worse.
Kinsella contended he is careful to make sure his tires are properly inflated, especially in hot weather like southern Ontario experienced on the weekend.
The Jeep is equipped with onboard tire pressure monitors, which all registered 41 PSI, until the blowout. After hearing the noise, he said he glanced at the monitor gauge; the left rear indicator showed the tire had lost pressure.
“This is crazy. It is unacceptable,” he said, demanding an explanation from Jeep and Goodyear. This is his third Jeep Wrangler.
Kinsella said he checked the Transport Canada website to look for a recall on the tires, but there wasn’t one.
Contacted by Global News, FCA Canada, which manufactures the Jeep, said the following in an email:
“FCA Canada is pleased no one was injured in this incident. Tires are warranted by the tire manufacturers, which is outlined for customers in the Warranty Information Booklet. We encourage the customer to reach out to a local dealership or contact customer service for further information and assistance.”
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which manufactured the tire on Kinsella’s Jeep, initially told Global News: “Without an opportunity to inspect the tire, we cannot comment.”
Asked at that point if the company was interested in examining Kinsella’s tire, the company agreed.
“I checked with our product evaluation team, and they would like to inspect the tire,” said Jim Davis, communications manager at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, via email on Tuesday.
Kinsella said he brought the issue forward out of concern for his own safety, and the safety of others driving a Jeep Wrangler.
“If one (tire) goes bad, others could too.”