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karenvideoeditor

My transmission failed and I was told by the garage it's because the wrong tires were put on my car. Possible liability?

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I own a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe, AWD. Eight years ago, I went to a mechanic near my college in Florida (a Tuffy's) to check on my car and had a variety of maintenance done, including replacing two tires. I didn't realize until four years later (2014) that they had put the wrong size tires on my car (235/70/16 instead of 225/70/16). Another mechanic discovered this error and I promptly went back to the Tuffy's with the receipt in protest, but they claimed they were under new management and refused to replace the tires. I let the matter go and paid out of pocket to fix the mistake, replacing the wrong tires with the correct ones.

 

Last Saturday, my car started making worrying noises. I made it to the nearest garage and they took a look, said that it's the transmission, and asked if I'd ever had the wrong tires on my car. I had it towed to a transmission shop and they said it will be at least $2200 to make the repairs (assuming it can be repaired; he put that at 90%; replacement would be $3200). The mechanic said in his expert opinion, this was definitely caused by the use of the wrong tires, since on an all-wheel-drive vehicle all the tires need to be the same size to stay in sync. I take good care of my car, get oil changes regularly, etc, and always keep all receipts, so I can prove proper maintenance.

 

Is Tuffy's liable and can I sue for them to pay for the repairs? Is there any statute of limitations that might influence this case?

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1 hour ago, karenvideoeditor said:

Eight years ago, I went to a mechanic near my college in Florida . . . to check on my car and had a variety of maintenance done, including replacing two tires. I didn't realize until four years later (2014) that they had put the wrong size tires on my car (235/70/16 instead of 225/70/16). Another mechanic discovered this error and I promptly went back to the [mechanic] with the receipt in protest, but they claimed they were under new management and refused to replace the tires.

 

At that point, the tires were four years old and had (based on national averages) somewhere between 32-48,000 miles on them (all apparently without problem since you didn't mention any problems between 2010-14).  What exactly did you expect the mechanic to do?

 

 

1 hour ago, karenvideoeditor said:

Last Saturday, my car started making worrying noises.

 

Let's just take note of the fact that we're talking about a 14 year old car.

 

 

1 hour ago, karenvideoeditor said:

Is [the mechanic] liable and can I sue for them to pay for the repairs? Is there any statute of limitations that might influence this case?

 

Can you sue?  Yes.  Anyone can sue anyone for anything.  While I don't purport to be a "car guy," I'm highly skeptical that what you described would cause a transmission problem (especially one that didn't manifest until four years after the tires were replaced).  The "235" versus "225" means that the tires were 10 mm more narrow (in case your not up on your metric system, 10 mm is slightly less than 0.4 inches).  You can, of course, google and see if you can find anything that backs up what this new mechanic told you.

 

In any event, yes, you'd have a statute of limitations problem since the offending act occurred eight years ago.  You can try filing a small claims suit, but I wouldn't hold out much ope of success.

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Thanks for your reply!

 

1) I needed to replace the incorrect tires with the correct ones, and wanted the mechanic to do so.

2) I understand the car is old, but this kind of damage, I'm told, was not due to normal wear and tear. With proper care, according to my research, it could have easily gone for another 100,000 miles without replacement.

3) My research, and my mechanic, both say that tires of the wrong size cause direct damage to the transmission. (See this article, published 1999 updated 2012:  http://www.tirebusiness.com/article/19990705/ISSUE/307059999/matching-tires-on-4wds-differences-of-14-inche-in-diameter-can-damage-powertrains-on-4--all-wheel-drives )

 

I was concerned that Tuffy's could blame it on the car being old, but my mechanic said the only way they could blame the damage on something else is proving negligence on my part in car of the car, and my records show that just isn't true. I'm hoping that will be enough to compel them to pay for the repairs without needing to go to court, but I'm not sure of the chances of that.

 

 

 

Quote

At that point, the tires were four years old and had (based on national averages) somewhere between 32-48,000 miles on them (all apparently without problem since you didn't mention any problems between 2010-14).  What exactly did you expect the mechanic to do?

 

 

 

Let's just take note of the fact that we're talking about a 14 year old car.

 

 

 

Can you sue?  Yes.  Anyone can sue anyone for anything.  While I don't purport to be a "car guy," I'm highly skeptical that what you described would cause a transmission problem (especially one that didn't manifest until four years after the tires were replaced).  The "235" versus "225" means that the tires were 10 mm more narrow (in case your not up on your metric system, 10 mm is slightly less than 0.4 inches).  You can, of course, google and see if you can find anything that backs up what this new mechanic told you.

 

In any event, yes, you'd have a statute of limitations problem since the offending act occurred eight years ago.  You can try filing a small claims suit, but I wouldn't hold out much ope of success.

 

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The Hyundai Santa Fe is notorious for transmission problems unrelated to tires. Google it.

 

After 4 years driving on the properly sized tires with NO problems you are going to be hard pressed relating the transmission problem to the tires when there could be other causes.

 

Besides, the 4 year statute of limitations has run out.

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46 minutes ago, PayrollHRGuy said:

The tirebussiness.com link you quote is talking about different tires on the same car AT THE SAME TIME. Not the same as your issue.

 

There were different tires; the two that he replaced with incorrect ones were just on the back. The correct ones were still on the front.

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The article to which you linked discusses tires of different diameters.  The tires you mentioned all had the same diameters.  As I mentioned in my prior response,  the "235" versus "225" means that the tires were 10 mm more narrow -- i.e., that number refers to how wide the tires are from side to side.  It has nothing to do with diameter.

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39 minutes ago, pg1067 said:

The article to which you linked discusses tires of different diameters.  The tires you mentioned all had the same diameters.  As I mentioned in my prior response,  the "235" versus "225" means that the tires were 10 mm more narrow -- i.e., that number refers to how wide the tires are from side to side.  It has nothing to do with diameter.

 

Agreed, good catch! Thanks!

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