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Ran over a large truck tire fragment, what damage to look for?

40974 Views 48 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  BodhiBenz1987
I hit a large chunk of truck tire on the highway today, nothing I could do, the guy in front of me swerved last minute to avoid it but I had someone in either lane beside me so I had no choice but to hit it dead on. It damaged my spoiler and bottom of the grille which really stinks, I can't even pop it back into place. Going to take it to a body shop but the biggest concern I have now is potential damage under the car since I ran over it ... my guess would be it broke up or flipped when my spoiler hit it and was kind of flat for the rest of the runover because there are barely any scuffs anywhere under the car. What else should I look for? Is there any serious protection of the oil pan or anything or is it just that kind of cardboardy cover that I assume is for aerodynamics? I'm going to have an actual shop look at it Monday but I was hoping to jack it up and look myself yesterday just because it's really bothering me, plus I want to know if I can drive it to the body shop. I drove it about 8 miles home after the incident, drove fine, no lights, no leaks, or anything. Only thing out of sorts I can see underneath is the fastener in the photo ... it looks like it holds the cover panels together but it's loose and just wobbling there.


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Torn CV Boots always a possibility. If you drove it 8 miles with no problems that is always a good sign. However it should be thoroughly inspected, take it to the Dealer and have them prepare an estimate for an insurance claim if needed
So I could get an estimate and then file a claim? I've been debating whether to file a claim since if it's only the bumper it may be under my deductible anyway. But I'd hate to find out it's more and then have it be too late to file. Either way I'm definitely getting it inspected ... hoping they can do it at the dealer that's right by me.
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FWIW, once heard this from an insurance claim as to veracity:

If you strike an object sitting in your lane, there’s no claim. If the object you struck moved into your lane from either side you’re covered.
Well that sucks. Bigtime. There was nothing I could do to avoid it. This has been a horrible week for me and this sounds just about right. Though to be honest I don't even know if it was already there or moved into the lane, the car ahead impeded my view until it suddenly swerved.
Suggest that you choose your words carefully to avoid the risk of facing an accusation that you were following too closely or exceeding the posted maximum speed limit.

FWIW I suspect that your car is just fine. These cars are designed to take snow and ice at sub-freezing temperatures. But there’s no harm in getting it checked by someone you trust.
I honestly wasn't following closely or speeding ... I was probably going under the speed limit. Technically I had the distance to stop or nearly stop, but it would have caused a much bigger accident. It was heavy traffic on the interstate, cars and trucks everywhere and you can't slam on the brakes when there are cars going 60 behind you, it would have caused a pile-up. It just really frustrates me because I'm a careful driver who's obsessed with my cars and no matter how I tell it someone's going to tell me obviously I was doing something wrong ... at least as far as the insurance company goes. I just wish I had happened to be driving in the other lane. I love my car and I'd just spent the day bragging about it at the museum where I volunteer ... it was one of few really positive things I had going and this just seems like ... really? I guess I shouldn't complain, it could have been worse, and at least I have two other cars to drive while I get it taken care of. I really hope the only damage is the bumper and maybe I can afford to just do it out of pocket.
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I did this exact thing and found quite a bit of damage. Hopefully you came out better. In my case, it hit the drivers side underbody panel and gouged it very heavy. Going to leave it for now. Plastic panel in front of the gas tank was ripped in half and the metal shield covering the gas tank had a big tear in it along with the tank itself. Replaced the plastic panel and used metal tape to repair the shield. Tank looked OK, so leaving that alone. Good luck and remember to do a good inspection of everything.
I didn't get a chance to jack it up today to really look (all my jackstands are under other cars and the Cruze is too low for ramps), but I didn't see anything that stood out. The underbody panel up front doesn't seem all that hefty though so I don't know if there was damage under it. I can't see any suspension/steering damage but there could be some I can't detect so I guess I need the alignment checked. I don't really understand where the tire went because I couldn't see any dents or much of anything farther back. Not even a single scuff in the back half of the car. A couple scuffs on the frame rails up front but the fuel and brakes lines look untouched.
You’re golden. Seriously, don’t make your crappy day worse. Your car is tougher than you think.

Now channel some of your energy into looking at Race Ramps to find ones that will work with your Cruze.
Thanks, those ramps are awesome! ... and the prices aren't that bad considering I need an extra set of ramps anyway. I'll try not to worry too much. I know I should at least wait until I have the full info on damage, insurance, etc. before I start worrying, but it's so hard ... chronic overthinker.
If you file a claim. Could make your rates up.

BTW. Those tire pieces are called gators. :)
I thought I'd heard that term before but wasn't sure. I'm surprised it's taken me this long to hit one considering how often I see them. Though they were not usually much of a concern in my Jeep!
The dealer had a look at it today and the good news is everything underneath looks good ... just a couple scuff marks and the one loose screw that holds the access panel in, which we got back in place. I will go to the body shop they recommended tomorrow for an estimate on the spoiler and lower grille. It doesn't look like the damage goes all the way back to the active grille shutters and they said I'd have a code if they were damaged. So I'm hoping it won't be as much as I fear to fix the cosmetic damage. But at least I was lucky once it got past the front of the car.
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Any update on the body repairs? Glad to at least hear everything is ok mechanically.

Here in Mich especially the roads are abysmal with potholes everywhere wearing out suspension components. Between that and all the road salt cars here have a tough life
I thought I had updated after my body repairs, but I guess I never did! It was a while before I could get it in for them to be done, but I took it to a shop recommended by the salesman from whom I bought the car. They did a really nice job and I think the price was fair ... it was less than my deductible so I paid out of pocket. They had to disassemble the bumper and lower grille to get it all lined up again, and had to "weld" one plastic tab under the bumper that had broken. They fixed a small dent in the spoiler and repainted the area ... the blending it excellent, I can't detect anything in any light. So the car seemed to survive that episode and has moved on to other episodes ... it's not the luckiest car in the world but so far it's been a resilient one.
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