[A4] Borbet wheel broken clean in two

Tyson Varosyan tyson at up-times.com
Tue May 15 03:23:46 EDT 2007

The letter I sent to Borbet today - just thought I'd share with the group:

About 4 months ago I purchased a 1998 Audi A4 Quattro which came with Borbet
17" wheels marked with KBA 45811. While driving my car at about 30-35mph on
a road not familiar to me, I hit a pothole which to my utter astonishment
caused the passenger front wheel to break lengthwise clean in half!!!
Needless to say, instantaneous loss of air pressure in the front tire pulled
the car hard to the right, but luckily I saved it without hitting any of the
nearby objects. 

After replacing the wheel with a spare, I walked back to examine what it was
that I hit. The scrapes and drag marks on the roadway were easy to follow.
What I found at the end astonished me. The culprit was a pothole, partly
filled with gravel, which made a smooth parabola-like divot in the roadway
that measured at its apex 2 and 3/4 inches below the surface of the roadway;
by no means a giant crevice. At the time when I passed this location, I did
feel a smooth bump - nothing violent or shocking. 

Upon closer inspection of the wheel next morning I found that the wheel
broke clean in two roughly down the centerline of its inner circumference.
Looking closer at the edge of the break, I could clearly see that the wheel
is made from cast aluminum and not forged. I am by no means a professional
metallurgist, but I am a hobbyist welder and blacksmith. To my limited
experience I can say that the bubbles that I see in the metal along the
crack are the result of the metal not being the proper temperature when
poured into the cast. The metal is very porous and this undoubtedly lead to
its catastrophic break. 

The impact sustained by the wheel was under normal driving conditions at a
normal city driving speed. Potholes of this type, although rare, do
sometimes appear on freeways where I may have been driving 70-80mph. In some
ways I am glad that the flaw in the wheel showed itself here rather than at
another time when the results may have been much more severe.

I will be honest with you. I have no sales receipt for the wheels - they
came with my car. I have little in the way of evidence to prove how fast I
was actually going. I am sure that your company carries a "limited
warranty". I could easily prove my case in court that the wheel was
defective by simply taking it to a professional metals expert; but I am sure
that we both realize that this will not be worth my time. I would love to
send you a picture of the wheel and a close-up of the break so that you can
see the flaws that I wrote about. 

I do think that in all fairness Borbet should send a replacement wheel and
compensation for the tire which was ruined in the process. I leave it up to
your integrity to do the right thing here.

I may be contacted at my email tyson at up-times.com or by phone 1+

Tyson Varosyan
Seattle, WA, USA

Tyson Varosyan
Technical Manager, Uptime Technical Solutions LLC.
tyson at up-times.com
206-715-TECH (8324)

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