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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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May 15, 2006

Foreign Object Damage

The military calls it Foreign Object Damage or FOD. I call it stupid morons in pickup trucks.

I decided to take the car to work for the first time so I could show a colleague and BMW enthusiast the new wheels. I normally take a stretch of highway called Route 18 to work because everyone hauls ass on it (well, at least this rural section of it) and it shaves about 5 minutes off the commute. Unfortunately, every rock chip I've experienced on the E36 has come from trucks that share the road with us, so taking Route 18 rather than some local roads really means rolling the dice. Get to work fast or contribute to the sandblasting of the paint and windows? Hard call sometimes...even for an anal-retentive BMW owner like me.

This morning I decided I'd avoid Route 18, but for some unworldly reason at the last second I dove toward the entrance ramp. I think it was the sight of the curve and the instant gratification I get from taking turns in this car. Once committed to it I thought "heh, what can happen". Will I EVER learn?

Sure enough, a minute or so down the road a raised pickup driven by someone with limited gray matter (is that being redundant?) flew past me doing about 90 and kicked up a stone. Like everything was in slow motion, I saw the rock launch from this moron's Mickey Thompson's and deal a glancing blow to my windshield...just below my field of vision. My girl was no longer a virgin. Now, I know what you're thinking -- I must have flipped out. But if it's one thing I've learned over the last several years of my life it's how to deal with stress, so I just cursed under my breath, entertained a fantasy of pulling out my 9mm and putting a slug in each of his tires and one or two in his head for good measure, and then just dealt with my elevated blood pressure for the remainder of the morning.

I wound up bringing the car to a local glass house for an evaluation. It turns out that the chip is only in the surface of the window and cannot be repaired. I suppose I should consider myself lucky -- after all, it was bound to happen eventually, and at least it wasn't so large as to require replacement of the window. I've been through the process enough times now that I know the aftermarket installations are as good if not better than the factory installs, but this was a matter of principle. A new window after only 300 miles? I don't think so.

Total Mileage: 355