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Noxious Ooze Disables 150 Cars On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

Posted December 02, 2011 9:00 AM by CarDomain
Pathfinder Tags: accidents PA Turnpike roads sealant

In case you gathered from yesterday's story that California is the only state where you might encounter highway disasters, here's something even worse from the opposite end of the country: a tanker carrying thousands of gallons of driveway sealant dumped its load along a 40-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike north of Pittsburgh, and at least 150 cars were caught up in the tar-like mess. Can you even imagine how much of a nightmare it'd be to scrape this stuff off once it had dried, and how many ruined parts would have to be replaced? It'd be especially disastrous for low-value older cars, which could easily end up being totaled by your insurance company after an encounter like this. Remember how the tar pits killed off the dinosaurs? Ugh.

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#1

Re: Noxious Ooze Disables 150 Cars On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

12/03/2011 5:18 AM

...low-value older cars, which could easily end up being totaled by your insurance company...

Whose insurance company? I figure the truck owner's insurance company would wear the can for this. Liability would extend way beyond just the effected vehicles' values.

Wouldn't it?

How about the higher value older cars that may have been trapped?

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#2

Re: Noxious Ooze Disables 150 Cars On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

12/03/2011 8:18 AM

Last time I drove on it I thought it needed to be repaved anyway.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Noxious Ooze Disables 150 Cars On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

12/03/2011 8:24 PM

They always do. Even after repair they leave an anti-pothole where the damage was, so you can't win in PA. Ask me how I know.

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#3

Re: Noxious Ooze Disables 150 Cars On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

12/03/2011 8:20 PM

You wrote, "It'd be especially disastrous for low-value older cars"

No, it would simply be a low-value loss.

High-end expensive cars will be where the real cost will be incurred because they will demand more extensive cleaning and repair at higher labor rates and higher cost for replacement parts.

I suspect the cleanup for the road alone to easily exceed the cost of 150 brand new cars.

My guess is that there are some insurance companies doing a double-face palm right about now. However, 150 cars and 40 miles of road is nothing compared to what insurance companies go through when a hurricane sweeps through.

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#5

Re: Noxious Ooze Disables 150 Cars On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

12/04/2011 7:33 PM

On my vehicles I would just call it an under body coating and take whatever check they are willing to part with based on fair market value of my vehicle.

(No!No! don't take the tar off my car. Its the only thing holding the rust together!) (Please officer let me make two more passes. I almost have the holes in the floor filled in now!)

More to the point doesn't anyone know the rule of 'If you cant identify whats on the road don't try and drive over or on it' any more?

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#6

Re: Noxious Ooze Disables 150 Cars On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

12/05/2011 2:49 AM

Wheels, steering, suspension, driveshafts would be an issue but it could be considered free rustproofing of the car underbody..... every cloud - silver linings - something like that

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Noxious Ooze Disables 150 Cars On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

12/05/2011 9:55 AM

Yeah, but the extra weight will kill your fuel economy.

Oh, just incase you don't think that matters...

I bought an old Triumph TR-4a once that I started to restore. First order of business was to remove the dirt and tar under the car. I put a large sheet of plastic on the floor, parked the car over it, placed the car on jack stands, and scraped all the dirt and tar off the car.

When I was done I rolled the car off the plastic and gathered the plastic into a large ball. However, despite my best efforts I could not lift the remains into the wheelbarrow. I had to lay the wheelbarrow down sideways and with great effort roll the remains into the barrow. There had to easily be in excess of 100 pounds of crud stuck under that car from normal driving in New Jersey where I got it.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Noxious Ooze Disables 150 Cars On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

12/05/2011 3:49 PM

Heck a 100 pounds ain't nothing for us mid westerners. I have pressure washed more than that off my pickup doing a quick rinse over just to get the really noticeable stuff off that built up in less than one trip.

To be honest a good layer of dirt save your pant job from sun fading and if it thick enough you can even get keyed and not have it touch the paint. I learned that back in high school when someone keyed my car.

The guy who did it commented on having seen my car with a big key scrape down the driver side in the school parking area on a Monday morning. I said no it didn't when did you see that? He said this morning when he walked by it.

I told him there was no mark because it got keyed at the mall on the weekend but the scratch never went through the dirt so when I washed it off the mark was gone and the only way he would know it was ever keyed was if he had done it!

No comment and an angry look was all I got. That and avoided for a long time.

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