This Video Of A Jeep Gladiator Driving Down A Highway Without Left Tires Is Baffling

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Something bizarre happened in Houston, Texas last week, but I’m having a hard time understanding exactly what. All I know is that someone drove a severely-damaged Jeep Gladiator pickup on a highway at speeds that I wouldn’t dare approach in many of my fully functional cars — certainly not if they had under-inflated tires, especially if that inflation pressure were zero, and the “tires” were made of just air. Just watch as sparks fly and confusion abounds.

As a general rule, when I write an article I try to make sure it’s informative — that it teaches the average reader something new about cars, even if it’s just something small. But there are times when I just have something weird I want to show you, so that together we can just gawk, possibly drool a little, and then move on with our days.

That’s what we have here. I have basically no context to provide; all I know is that a Texan named Jeremy Price posted this vide to Facebook with just the simple caption: “The shit you see in Houston. Lmao. This was on my way back from my daughters Banquet tonight.”

Click on Jeremy’s profile to watch that video, or you can just check out the embedded clip below from boring.cars, who re-posted the video:

 

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A post shared by Boring Cars (@boring.cars)

I really have absolutely no clue what the heck is going on. The Jeep Gladiator is hauling down a highway, with both driver’s-side tires missing, and the wheels sparking against the ground. The front left wheel appears to have disintegrated, the fender flare is missing, the corner of the front bumper has clearly been torn off, and the mirror looks broken.

The tags appear to be temporary ones, so I’m going to assume that this is a fairly new Gladiator. Why the person behind the wheel thinks it makes sense to just pilot the car for several hundred feet (at least) on the highway before pulling into an HEB grocery store is beyond me.

I bet the Gladiator could be fixed fairly easily. Replace those wheels, snag a new front bumper, get a new fender flare (those pop off easily for off-road use), probably get a hold of a new wheel liner, and then just have a look at any other steering/suspension bits that look compromised (I bet they’re fine). Still, I have very little understanding how anyone could think driving a car in this condition is somehow the right move over, say, towing it. That’s the missing answer that I’d like for this article: Why?

Seriously, there’s got to have been some thought-process that went into this person choosing to — instead of get the vehicle towed — hold desperately to that steering wheel while listening to the Jeep as it grinds against the high-speed highway. I see that there’s a Chevy truck in front with its hazard lights on; is that a friend helping the Gladiator driver limp their vehicle off the road? But if the Gladiator driver had time to call a friend, surely they had time to think that, just maybe, driving a vehicle in this state on a public highway is completely idiotic.

Again, sorry about the lack of informative content. This one has me thrown for a loop.

All screenshots: Jeremy Price
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60 Responses

  1. I really wish I had a dashcam to record the time I saw a Taurus catch air over the curb on an I-75 exit in Detroit. It was probably only up for a split second but it truly was majestic to watch it fly, time slowed down as I watched the stupidity and boldness ulfold in front of me.

  2. I think this is still an educational post.. it shows something I’ve known for a while, the driving in Houston is horrifying and should be avoided whenever possible.

    I love living in Texas but the major cities, like most, suck!

    1. I’ve driven in many of the major cities in the USA. By far Houston was the one I found scariest to drive in. The regularity in which super duty pickups were seen weaving in and out of traffic, 10-15 mph above the normal flow of traffic which was itself 10 over the limit, was disconcerting.

      1. Pfffft…..10-15 over? That’s nothing round here. Go hit 610 after midnight or the Hardy toll road when a group of sportbikes is running full out at 11pm. I’ll be above the limit and get passed by vehicles easily going 30mph faster or more.

        Funny thing about this video for me is that I take 99 to avoid going on I-45 (avoid that thing like the plague) and usually it is free of all the craziness. Not this time!

  3. I am frankly stunned by the amount of control, both in direction and speed, that this vehicle appeared to exhibit despite missing so many of the surfaces normally tasked with that control. I am even more impressed by the confidence this driver had that said vehicle would remain under control. I just…

  4. “I bet the Gladiator could be fixed fairly easily” – But wouldn’t driving that way for that long screw up the drive train? I’d think the axles and transfer case would be fried because of the huge difference in wheel speeds??

  5. Deeply tinted windows make it impossible to see if a human was indeed driving. I don’t think Jeeps have Full-Self Driving mode yet, do they? If so, that would at least explain the high rate of speed and going looking for safe departure off the highway (*just kidding*).

    Seriously, at least it didn’t smash any other vehicles on the highway. Just a ballpark guess but I think that’s going to be many many $1000’s for the repair. Suspension/body work really adds up fast on new Jeeps.

  6. Drive it like you stole it…

    I wouldn’t pull up to that thing to get a closer look like the guy who shot the video did. Might be that last thing you ever see.

    Saw something similar in Detroit. Car driving on the freeway with the front wheel missing. Driving on the rotor, doing about 85, they finally stopped when the rotor exploded. Big chunks of orange rotor flying through the air. The gouge in the pavement was there for years.

      1. The guy making the video is driving an F-250, listening to a C&W station (and despite what you might think about Texas, Houston has a *lot* of non-C&W radio options), and repeatedly says “Ho-lee Shee-it.” The videographer probably has more guns in his truck than most crack dealers.

  7. So I’m very familiar with that area, so let me hobble together an uninformed guess. They’re on the 99 tollway. Far from a bad road in Houston but still traffic is pretty fast. And with it being a tollway there aren’t a ton of exits. Perhaps hit road debris, blowing out the left side tires and taking out the mirror in the process, but didn’t want to pull over on the tollway and chose to continue to the next exit (don’t ask me how they kept control following catastrophic steer tire failure….I’m just throwing ideas at the wall). At the same time, they didn’t want to limp it home so thought they could keep freeway speed until they were to safety.

    That or it’s stolen.

    Or they really wanted some HEB Mi Tienda queso.

    Or all 3.

    1. Other sidenote….there is a reason illegitimate paper plates are super common around here and I’ll just venture another guess that perhaps the person driving didn’t want to stop on the tollway and potentially talk to a constable.

  8. Okay… I am going to venture a guess (I don’t even know why I’m trying to figure this out) that the rear had a fully functioning tire at some point earlier in the drive because it looks like there was some remnants of tire on that rim when it mercifully stopped. Honestly this is just absolutely ridiculous and my brain has given up trying to figure it out. But at the same time it’s going to drive me nuts that I don’t know what happened. Damn you, DT, damn you!

  9. Owner: Yeah, it feels like it’s leaning to the left when I drive on the highway.
    Jeep Dealership Mechanic: Look, I took it out on the road and even stopped at the grocery store and I wasn’t able to reproduce whatever you’re complaining about. Your windshield wipers do need changing, though.

  10. Jeep and Citroen are under the same umbrella now, so maybe they’re testing the fancy hydro suspension on it. With the Citroen suspension, you actually can drive with one of the wheels missing, and it will adjust.

    Are the OE tires Firestone? 😛

    That’s all I got lol

  11. Having lived in the Houston area through the 90’s, I can attest this is not that uncommon an event. Usually though, it’s not a newer, nice looking vehicle (see, I can complement a Jeep if I have to), but some true beater. There, you just look ahead and keep on driving, none of your business. So what they rutted the road and caught the roadside on fire, they were late for something and I probably am too.

  12. My experience suggests that this is an example of the driver considering damage to the vehicle to be less important than getting it off the road and on to private property. Even extensive repairs can be cheaper/easier to deal with than answering certain questions. Alternately, the vehicle may be unimportant next to whatever it carries.

  13. Emergency flashers were on, what’s the problem? That’s the universal exemption from any and all traffic and parking laws and safety rules. Like how putting anything inside pita bread automatically makes it health food, putting your hazards on automatically makes anything you do in your car completely fine

  14. Being that its Houston, the Jeep driver doesn’t dare stop on the highway, lest he be run over. As long as he is able to maintain at least 10 over the speed limit, he might avoid being rear ended by a brodozer.

    In all seriousness, he’s probably drunk and is fleeing an accident. It’s the Houston thing to do.

  15. Are we gonna talk about the fact that this guy was on the way back from a Banquet of daughters? The random capitalization and lack of apostrophe really make that statement confusing and disturbing. 😛

  16. When I was younger and dumber I kept putting off fixing a bad front wheel bearing in a Dodge Neon until the vibration loosened the lubnuts and the wheel studs snapped off at least 60mph on a badly potholed two lane road. In the middle of a curve too. The driver’s side tire flew off into the woods, thankfully no one was alongside of me and it wasn’t a residential area.

    After the initial lurch towards the ground and the car trying to rotate left I somehow got control and managed to drive on the rotor long enough to slow down and get off the road. It wore to the hub, had to replace the whole assembly. Being a Neon I was surprised it didn’t crack the subframe or something. It did die of transmission failure within a few months so maybe something did get knocked loose.

    The guy coming up behind me pulled over to see if I was OK and weirdly took the opportunity to tell me how impressed he was with my driving since he was sure I was a goner. I guess I had decent reflexes but that was not a day to feel pride in my accomplishments.

    If you’ve ever tried to get a low car that’s missing a wheel up on a two-wheel car trailer and only had a scissor jack to help you’ll understand. The process involves getting the ramps situated, jacking up the damaged wheel until the other one can roll, putting rocks or whatever’s handy under the car to catch it and not break the ramp, chocking the back wheels and then trying to push it up the ramp while the guy in the truck carefully backs towards you.

    Replacing the hub, brakes and control arm were easy, getting the car on the trailer was the real punishment for my neglected maintenance. Still all better than being dead.

  17. “Hey Babe, I think I got a flat tire. What should I do?”
    “Just keep driving on it until you get to a safe spot.”
    “It seems to be making quite a bit of noise.”
    “I’m sure it’ll be fine. I don’t want you stopping along the highway.”
    “OK, that’s what I’ll do.”

  18. Driving it like s/he stole it (cuz s/he did)?

    Disgruntled employee?

    Angry spouse?

    DUI?

    Insurance fraud gone bad?

    Owning the libs?

    Because it’s fun to do bad things?

    Whatever, it’s gotta be a Jeep thing. We won’t understand.

  19. I’m going to jump out on a limb and say what i really dont want to: I wonder if the driver was actually aware this was a bad thing to do??
    Cause we seem to be seeing more and crazier behavior over the years

    1. A dude down my street recently got a flat. I was walking my dog and I see his POS slowly crawling down the street on the flat, away from his house. I tell him I’ve got a plug kit he can use, he says no, he’s fine, “this isn’t a big deal, I’ll drive it to” and lists a place about two miles away, to have them figure it out.

      Whatever dude.

      Some people are just idiots. At least my neighbor recognized it was a problem, and was driving slowly/carefully, but he couldn’t take the final step to realize that maybe even that wasn’t a good idea for a two mile drive.

      His truck was back this morning, with the same tire on it–now the sidewall looked beat to hell–so I assume they plugged it.

      1. It may still be on YouTube, but I saw a video some years back where a guy found a Nissan pickup being towed by an RV with the rear wheels locked up.

        He finally got the guy to pull over and he refused to do anything about it “I only live a few more miles ahead”.

  20. DT, I have to disagree with your belief that the mechanical components of the Gladiator would be okay, so I’m going to go over it them quickly.

    I’ve taken a quick peak at the front suspension design of the Jeep Gladiator and it doesn’t look good for this situation.

    In the video, it is evident that the front wheel is not turning, and has been ground down almost to the wheel nuts, so straight away, there’s damage to the wheel, brake rotor and backing plate, I would also condemn that wheel bearing and depending on how the 4WD system works, damage to axle internals as well.

    My next major concern is that the lower ball joint rod and nut is the lowest component of the axle and steering assembly and I would safely bet that that has been significantly ground down as well, though given that the wheel hasn’t kicked back, I don’t believe it’s been ejected from its hole. That hole though, is part of the entire axle casing and I’d be very surprised if that wasn’t also ground down, or deformed from the abuse.

    On-top of that, I’d say that the rear wheel bearing is probably not suitable for continued road use after that trip as well, even if it seemed fine currently.

    This is all speculation based off of the one video and a single photo of the suspension of a Gladiator, but in the end, it probably needs a whole front axle and left corner, along with a rear wheel bearing and two wheels.

  21. Maybe some sort of political statement “the hell if I’m going to provide tires for the leftist wheels!” It is Texas after all.

    You only need one wheel to steer. I lost the tie rod on a truck in nyc expressway traffic and it was a non event. Until I tried to back up.

  22. For Sale: Jeep Gladiator. Selling due to divorce. My pain is your gain. Low miles. No low ballers. I know what I have.
    Seriously, could this just be the world’s most inept repo? Or was the Jeep serviced by a trainee who was absent on lug nut day? Thank you, Ron White.

  23. Pick either of these two one word explanations for what is happening and it’s a 50/50 chance your correct.
    1:Drugs
    2:Drunk
    Someone clearly got upset at the family bbq, drove across the lawn, hitting a mailbox or two then proceeded to try and save face by continuing on (because, shame, ego stupidity). Aunt Donna quickly dispatched uncle Dean to stop cousin Jeremy but all Dean could really do is get ahead of him, turn his flashers on and try to guide him off the road. Cousin Jeremy wasn’t having it (shame, ego, stupidity). That’s why he doesn’t follow the truck that is clearly trying to help him. Instead he pulls into a parking lot and tries to hide. That’s why nobody gets out of the Jeep at the end. The drunk uncle theory.

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