tishpit

Tires cupping and trashed at 22,000 miles?!

23 posts in this topic

Among some other ongoing issues, had the tires rotated during regular oil change by Chevy dealer and driving home, noticed some noise from front driver's side wheel. Sounded like something rubbing. Took the car back and they said the tires are cupped due to lack of regular tire rotation. Well, owners manual states every 7,500 miles to rotate and I've had three rotations by dealerships in 22,000 miles... that is in alignment with the manual. Had second dealership check them and they said same thing... cupping... tires needing replaced and possible alignment! Has anyone else had problems with uneven wear or cupping on their stock tires? The tread is still good, so hate to swap tires but the noise is now worse and you can feel some bouncing. Never had a new car that needed new tires at such low mileage since I had an old 1989 Ford Bronco II with suspension issues.

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Low? In all of my cars they all had their tires replaced around the 20k miles range, some even lower and that is from Japanese car with reputable brand tires. Now everyone is using chinese made tires which last the same miles as branded and they cost like $30 each. I don't know about the US, alignment here cost $7. Rotation cost a dollar. I don't see how tire wear is an issue.

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So far, almost 32,000 miles on original tires on my Spark.

Not really any problems.

Wearing pretty even.

Did have a couple of flats.... nails/etc.

My wife drives the heck out of this car, so has not been babied.

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Well... the saga (again) continues. First, new tires are about $81/tire incl. install and balancing and alignment is another approx. $80. So now I'm wondering... if the dealerships say it may be an alignment problem and the last one wrote on the repair order "alignment should be checked," WHY didn't they check? Or offer to check and realign, if needed? So now, I have an appt. with the local Goodyear tire place. Two of their mechanics took a quick look and felt the tires and said that they found no cupping, but are going to do a thorough check this afternoon. I will update y'all with their findings.

Also, these little cars depreciate like crazy and trading it in right now would be a very costly option that I do not think possible at this time. So, will try to remedy what I can. If problems continue... will start putting aside $$ to trade in fall if all else fails. I read somewhere that the rental car companies sell all their Sparks as soon as they reach 30,000 miles as they have little confidence in their long-term durability. Don't know if this is true; just something I came across in my search for knowledge and possible remedies. Also read that the Sparks in S. Korea have been recalled for transmission issues. But not in the U.S. ones.

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One of the complaints I have had with my Spark is that it is unstable at speed on the road, and pulls to the right at lower speeds.

After many trips to the dealer and (of course) being told that "the vehicle operates as designed", I finally demanded that they check the alignment.

When the service adviser called me, he told me that my car needed an alignment and it would cost $129!

Now being the the car is still under warranty and that I was complaining for months, I told him that it should be covered. After a few "um, uh, yeah, I guess so" answers, I was told they would do it.

When I went to pick the car up, I was told that the alignment wasn't done because "the rear end is out of alignment, and there are no adjustments for it".

I have a tire tread depth gauge, and even though my Spark has less than 10,000 miles on it, the tires are wearing unevenly - even though the tires have been rotated twice.

At this rate I doubt my tires will even last 20,000 miles.

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Just got back and the mechanics at Goodyear examined the tires and NO cupping. They drove the car around the area for a while and determined it is a bad (defective?) wheel hub bearing in front wheel. Said driving it straight then with turn to right, the noise got louder and to the left, the noise did not occur. So, went back to the Chevy dealership that had recently done the rotation (there was no noise prior to rotation). They said to bring it in Monday and I requested a loaner as I need to work. Though it was said that the technician that had worked on my car was one of their best and it is surprising that he would miss that. More to come......

In the meantime, the car will be parked in the driveway this weekend and we will use the other car. So... another trip to the dealer. Unfortunately, they are calling for cooler temps on Monday so won't be able to duplicate driveability issues. I guess will have to wait until summer kicks in for that, along with a/c just cool, not cold. Will update on Monday!

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Now that the problem has been diagnosed as a bad bearing, the thing is to get the GM dealership that made the wrong diagnosis and claimed 'cupping' when there was no such thing step up and replace the hub/bearing even though bearings are not covered by any warranty. They have given you so much misinformation and a hard time with you having to return over and over again that they should replace that for you at no or at least a reduced cost as a front hub assembly is expensive to replace. I would contact one of the GM reps on this if you have an issue with them and state that you will contact GM directly.

Skids likes this

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I've kept all the records, including how I returned the car immediately after the tire rotation as it never made that noise prior. And no... I am NOT paying for new hub bearings... then they will have a fight on their hands.

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Just looked up the GM 3 yr/36,000 mile warranty and it DOES cover bearings... so should not be an issue unless they deny that this is the problem.

Skids likes this

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Just looked up the GM 3 yr/36,000 mile warranty and it DOES cover bearings... so should not be an issue unless they deny that this is the problem.

I really was not sure whether to post this, but better to be prepared with accurate info so as not to get blindsided by the dealer. The wording of the actual warranty coverage can be a bit confusing. In summary it states the "Drive system coverage includes all internally lubricated parts, bla bla, and bearings, etc,etc. What they refer to are the many bearings other than wheel bearings and goes on to state: "Excluded from the powertrain coverage are all wheel bearings"..etc,etc.

Although it is possible to damage a wheel bearing during wheel rotation..it is VERY unlikely and impossible to prove. I think the way to approach this is 'very carefully'. By telling you the bearing issue was in fact a 'tire cupping' or alignment issue when any good mechanic would and should know it was a wheel bearing, they misled you. Not informing you it was a bearing issue is also a safety issue as you could have just taken them at their word, continued driving and then have the bearing seize, possibly resulting in an accident when you loose steering control. So from a safety point of view you have a valid argument. If they deny knowledge that the bearing was defective then you have a valid argument that the service personnel involved were too incompetent to be working at a GM dealership on safety related issues. (Wheels/tires are safety related and eg, a radio is not). They will counter with the mantra of "wheel bearings excluded from warranty". At this point your mantra should be "Safety Issue" as they put you into a vehicle they knew to be unsafe due to the bad bearing they should have informed you about. GM, and in fact all car manufacturers take safety issues much more seriously than customer satisfaction and this is your mantra to stick to: 'safety'..that they put you at risk. If at this point they will call out their 'heavy guns', the smooth talking service manager and/or the even smoother sales manager who will, most likely, offer you some free oil changes, etc. hoping you accept this to settle the matter and hoping you are not aware a bearing/hub change will cost you $500+. At this point you have the upper hand as they are admitting to some responsibility. As attractive as a few oil changes may sound, I would not accept this and clearly state your mantra of 'safety' & 'incompetent' that will be reported to GM HQ and you have all the documentation to send them. When they do their little huddle to decide what to do and the word 'safety' & 'incompetent' gets tossed around they will most likely try one more incentive and if you stick to your guns of telling them you will contact GM reporting the incompetent mechanics and the bearing safety issue they will most likely offer to cover the labor for new bearings/hub. Now that you have your foot firmly jamming the door barring a full free replacement, you are in a position to insist on a no cost replacement or a letter goes out to GM. Managers are well trained negotiators and hate to lose, specially under threat, so try, at this point to be pleasant... eg: "I appreciate your concern about the safety issue and the offer of the free (incentive), but I really don't want to risk my safety by driving on bad bearings". The bottom line is always $$. A bearing job will not put the dealer out much $$ as they get the hardware for very little and the labor is a zero $ write off. I have had to go that route more than once on previous vehicles to have non-warranty items replaced at no cost and sometimes it's hard not to lose your cool, but once it turns into a shouting match..they will not back down.

If they keep insisting the bearings are OK, then just tell them you trust them and will continue driving, but if the bearing fails and you have an accident, well, it will come back on them. That being your final word, will probably sway them to say they will re-inspect and replace if necessary, giving them an out on admitting then and there that they are at fault (thus saving face) and the bearing issue will indeed be discovered after the subsequent examination. An apology and free replacement will result and for them it is a win since they do not have to admit incompetence or risk an issue with you having an accident and them having to deal with the Ins. company lawyers and GM HQ getting involved.

Just some info from someone who has some experience in that area that may help you negotiate with some expert negotiators. Be polite but firm & logical and I really wish you the feeling of satisfaction at out negotiating the experts and saving a pile of money in the process. Right?

Edited by Retired old Gearhead
Tish Wofford Sherman and Skids like this

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Thank you Retired Old Gearhead for the heads up and recommendations. I have an appt. to take car in next Monday as they have no openings sooner and I had to cancel previous appointment due to being sick. It is just so disappointing and disheartening to purchase a brand new car and end up with equivalent headaches as buying used. Between trips to the dealerships, returning rental cars, being ping-ponged back and forth and having to spend more time on seeking objective diagnostics, etc., I am not at all happy with all this. To me, it seems as though the Chevy mechanics just are not properly trained or don't know how to work on the imported models. I had a similar problem with a new Chevy Metro I purchased back in the early 2000's. Loved the little car, but had brake problems. This same dealer was a nightmare and kept re-grinding rotors and then started to charge me for these "repairs" while under original warranty. Tried another Chevy dealer and same deal. Finally lemon lawed the car and GM rep. was very appologetic. Since the GM rep. was so cooperative and pleasant to deal with, I liked the Spark and although the dealerships in my area do not have a great reputation for service, I tried again and thought that by now, such problems shouldn't exist.

Very sad.

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It could be that you had a set of defective tires put on during the manufacturing process, since the tires aren't made by GM, you could file a warranty claim with the tire manufacturer if they prematurely went bad. I find most stock tires tend to be cheap quality, tires have never been a top priority of most new vehicle sales in my car buying history. I had a new Honda years ago where the tires went bad at 20k. They were balding bad after only one season worth of use.

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On 3/20/2015 at 11:27 AM, tishpit said:

  I read somewhere that the rental car companies sell all their Sparks as soon as they reach 30,000 miles as they have little confidence in their long-term durability. Don't know if this is true; just something I came across in my search for knowledge and possible remedies.  

One of the most venerable posters on this forum (retiredoldgearhead) has well over 100,000 miles on his car with few serious issues, and he has said that he does not baby the car. But keep in mind, this is one of the cheapest cars on the market, so can not expect durability of a Benz or Rollsroyce or even a Buick. And there will be a few lemons produced at this price of Spark.

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Posted (edited)

On 3/31/2015 at 3:51 PM, tishpit said:

 To me, it seems as though the Chevy mechanics just are not properly trained or don't know how to work on the imported models. 

It is just not the imported models which the dealer mechanics can mis-diagnose.

I can write a book on all the screw-ups by dealer mechanics with wrong diagnosis on all my several new bought GM cars since 1964. Being a degreed mechanical engineer, many times I was able to study and diagnose the problem myself, and then to their credit, the dealer mechanic did fixed the problem correctly, after I told them what the problem actually was. Just over a year ago, I had a simple coolant change ordered at the dealer, and next day I had check engine light come on  which never had that happen in 9 years and 55,000 miles of driving and the car ran as smooth as a purring kitten before the coolant change. After the coolant change the car was running rough idle with a check engine light with fault indicating misfire in cylinder #1.  Since it would be difficult to prove the dealer's tech messed it up, most likely by leaving an air bubble in the cooling system and making the car run 10 degrees hotter than was normal during previous 9 years. That burned up exhaust valves in my American made Pontiac G5. Since the car was 9 years old with original tires, brakes, battery, muffler, etc, I traded it in instead of spending $2700 on repair estimate, and was offered $3000 for trade in.

 

Lesson learned: Avoid routine maintenance at dealer after warranty has expired. Better to find a good independent shop for brakes, tires, batteries, coolant changes etc. Only routine maintenance I will do at dealer in future is oil changes. That procedure is difficult to screw up, and the dealer has correct oil & filter.

Edited by Bobby MSME

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Dealer maintenance shops are no better or worse than other shops, you get good or bad service anywhere depending on who is doing the work. But, the main reason I don't depend on dealership maintenance after a warranty period is purely price and convenience. Dealership service for things like oil changes or tires tends to be slower and less convenient, and they tend to be on the pricier side. That's not to say you can't get good service, but the hour or two hour wait oil change at a dealer has happened more than once in my life, and I don't have the time to wait on something that takes all of 10 minutes to do, and then pay a premium price for it.

 

In summary, yes: do your warranty maintenance at the dealer, but find a non-dealership shop for all other items you need service with. You'll save money and time in the long run. And often you can build a relationship with an independent shop you won't have with a dealer.

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On 5/5/2018 at 2:51 PM, Bobby MSME said:

One of the most venerable posters on this forum (retired-old-gearhead) has well over 100,000 miles on his car with few serious issues, and he has said that he does not baby the car. But keep in mind, this is one of the cheapest cars on the market, so can not expect durability of a Benz or Rollsroyce or even a Buick. And there will be a few lemons produced at this price of Spark.

Thanx for the kind words Bobby...Actually I have very close to 200K on the 2013 Spark..My neighbor has a Benz..2015, I believe and he has one issue after another including a bad tranny leak that the Benz dealer has repeated a fix but it always leaks again after a few weeks. Also has paint flaking off around the logos. I find Buick owners have very few complaints. I have our Pizza driver in a 2013 Spark 4sp-auto tranny with well over 200Kmi..car is driven by a few other pizza drivers so it is always on the road..only a few minor issues. My 2015 Rover has been in the shop more often than the Spark. I do have a good mechanic for non warranty work on cars and my ancient boat. Had his shop do excellent work for the last 25+++ yrs...Most important part of motor vehicle ownership is having a good mechanic on your side.

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Did anybody realize that this post was three years old when sparkto resurrected it? 

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4 hours ago, Ray Dockrey said:

Did anybody realize that this post was three years old when sparkto resurrected it? 

I sort of realized it, but the subject matter never gets old! :drool:

ChevyBeat likes this

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Posted (edited)

On 5/7/2018 at 6:52 AM, Retired old Gearhead said:

My neighbor has a Benz..2015, I believe and he has one issue after another including a bad tranny leak ......

I totally believe about the Benz. Any model of any year can produce some problems. Even multi-million dollar space ships have blown up on occasion.

 

Then there is this story about a Rolls owner whose 20 year old car's tranny broke down while on vacation, and he called the company for help. Rolls Royce flew in a mechanic with a new tranny to his vacation town and the car was back in business. Several weeks went by and the car owner had not received the repair bill. So he called Rolls Royce asking how much he owed for the repairs. He received the following reply from the company.."Dear Sir, there must be some mistake in your inquiry because our cars never break down. Please consider this matter closed."

Edited by Bobby MSME

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On 5/7/2018 at 1:23 AM, Bobby MSME said:

He received the following reply from the company.."Dear Sir, there must be some mistake in your inquiry because our cars never break down. Please consider this matter closed."

He he.. this is possibly, magical wording reply each owner of production car wants to listen. :lol:

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Posted (edited)

On 5/7/2018 at 1:04 AM, Bobby MSME said:

I sort of realized it, but the subject matter never gets old! :drool:

And neither our subject matter experts!! :salute:

I respect to you guys, especially Bobby Msme and Retired old gearhead who brought us million of miles experience through the forum.

Edited by ChevyBeat

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11 hours ago, ChevyBeat said:

And neither our subject matter experts!! :salute:

I respect to you guys, especially Bobby Msme and Retired old gearhead who brought us million of miles experience through the forum.

Us old guys have mostly observed and learned from 50yrs++ of driving and managing to build up a mental library of issues and resolutions. Most issues, whether a car or computer, etc can be best resolved using process of elimination thus eliminating the 'known good' components leaving the rest as possible causes...Right Bobby?

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, Retired old Gearhead said:

 using process of elimination thus eliminating the 'known good' components leaving the rest as possible causes... 

a triple yes! Do not fix what ain't broke.

 

Keep in back of your mind, all those recommended maintenance items are skewed towards extra margin of safety. Because not every one treats their cars well.

 

If the engine oil looks good, don't rush to change it. It is good for a reason, that you have driven carefully. If tranny fluid is not leaking, leave it alone. Any good filter will do good job of trapping harmful particles.

 

If coolant fluid looks good without any hint of brown rusty look, you can ride more with it. This was a lesson I learned the hard way. I simply got nervous when the car turn 9 years of age, and had a coolant change done. That messed up the engine. The fluid still was looking clear rosy red. Probably good for 3-4 years more! Because I had only 55k miles on a garage kept car.

Edited by Bobby MSME

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