Tires Wear Quickly In Oklahoma Heat, Broken Arrow Expert Says

Tuesday, July 28th 2015, 11:20 pm
By: News On 6

We're learning more about what it was like for the kids inside the Fresh Fire Outreach Center's van that crashed on Interstate 44 Monday afternoon.

Five-year-old Rayleigh Robertson was one of the eight children in the van when a tire blew and sent it out-of-control near the Big Cabin exit.

Despite being scared and having her own bumps and bruises Rayleigh tried to reassure her friend.

"One of my friends were bleeding right here, and right here, and right here,” she said. “I said, ‘It’s okay, Dominique, don’t be scared, all of us got hurt.”

7/28/2015 Related Story: 5-Year-Old Victim Talks About Shawnee Church Van Crash

Rayleigh's mother, Eliza Robertson, was one of the youth leaders driving in front of the van. She watched, helpless from her rear-view mirror, as the van ran off the interstate and flipped.

"Give all the glory to God because there is no way those kids made it through that accident just because, so we know they had their guardian angels,” she said.

7/27/2015 Related Story: 5 Released From Hospital After Church Van Wrecks On Will Rogers Turnpike

It was the second tire to blowout that same day.

We’re told the pastor checked all of the tires before the youth group pulled out of the parking lot, but experts say tires wear out quickly in the summer sun and walking around the vehicle may not be enough.

They, say before you know, it tiny cracks form in the tread. You can see damage on the outer side but not the other, and it’s that damage that could be the cause of a blowout.

Video from Osage SkyNews 6 HD shows the Fresh Fire Outreach Center's van crumbled, sitting near the Will Rogers Turnpike after a tire blew out and caused the van to flip, injuring several children.

We’re told the van wasn't driven very often. That's one reason Tate Boy’s Tire Manager Mike Bruner said he wasn’t surprised two tires blew out the same day.

"That's one of the hardest things on a tire, is not being used," he said. “You see that quite frequently on travel trailers or campers that only are used two or three times a year, mainly during the summer and sit all winter."

Lately, the shop in Broken Arrow has been very busy. Some vehicles are there because of heat-damaged tires, others are getting tires rotated and checked to avoid any potential problems, especially before a long road trip.

Bruner showed us what a tire looks like during a blowout.

“The belts will separate and then the rubber will basically tear,"   he explained.

Then the air will let out and it, literally, explodes.

Bruner said the older the tire, the worse it'll handle the heat, especially if it's parked outside day after day.

"That is going to be a much faster process than a car parked in the garage - the direct sunlight, sitting on hot pavement, that will speed that process up," he said.

You may be able to see some damage on the outside, which only means it's much worse on the inside.

Bruner said, “You will have small cracks, and that’s where the tire is, literally, rotting."

Since you can't see all the tire damage just walking around the vehicle, he encourages people to take their cars into a shop to, at least, have them fully inspected before hitting the road.

Many places, like Tate Boy's, offer tire rotations and other services free of charge.