I took Bad Robot in for a fresh set of tires today. She'd been a squirrely driver ever since we got the car (about 35,000 miles), but I figured it was a bad suspension setup. Maybe not. One of the tires threw a balancing weight and got us started on a round of maintenance that included a wheel bearing and a new power steering rack, and THEN. Wow. I hadn't really been paying attention to the tires, except to note that they were getting pretty low on tread. When I had to pay attention, I noted that the (only) layer of polyester on the sidewall was pretty ratty looking. Falling apart/crumbling rubber and only one layer of that between me and a blowout means it's time to get a new set of tires.
So we got some new Kumhos and let me tell you it's a different car. It actually drives better than it did when we got it. I've got Kumhos on the Hot Rod and it has surprisingly close-to-the-Hot-Rod handling now. It's still a lumbering minivan but it's soooo much better.
Oh, and P.S. the mechanic at Discount Tire said the tires were from early 2005. That means they are the 7 year-old originals, with 67,000 miles on them. Now THAT'S good tire service life.
Just thanks Jesus for not letting us have a catastrophic failure in the meantime. This doesn't make a difference in your life, but it really brightened up my day. Maybe I'll hate that car less now, since it is less like a flat-bottomed sled and more like a go-kart.