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Tire Rack Problems

fiatfanfiatfan Posts: 9
edited March 16 in Volkswagen
Just a warning to those who are looking for new alloy wheels for their car. I have had a terrible experience with Tire Rack. I bought 4 new 17" Sport Edition Wheels with new Continental tires from Tire Rack to use in the summer for my 2000 Passat wagon. All 4 wheels bent in less than 6 months. So, I called Tire Rack and they gave me a small discount on 4 new Borbet wheels that are supposed to be "much stronger". I have since bent 7 of these wheels. I even went so far as to buy new tires with reinforced sidewalls to help. We didn't go 2 weeks before 2 more wheels bent. All this on a car that my wife drives to work and back on the highway.

I have come to the very expensive and frustating conclusion that Tire Rack is selling substandard wheels. I have purchased from them for 25 years, but I will never buy from them again.

Be aware of this before you buy. Their prices are good, but unless you just leave the car in the garage, you will have lots of bent wheels and a dangerous car to drive.
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Comments

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    You may want to visit Tires, tires, tires.

    tidester, host
  • fiatfanfiatfan Posts: 9
    I figured since it was a wheel problem, it would not be appropriate for the tire section. The tires I have received from Tire Rack have been fine. The wheels have been a disaster. Especially, since a neighbor has a Passat with the VW 17" wheels and same profile tires and has never had a problem.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Oh, that's fine! I thought the Tires Forum may also be helpful.

    tidester, host
  • tisse32tisse32 Posts: 1
    Wait, you bent almost a dozen wheels in six months?! Either your town needs to fix the roads, or your wife is rallying the car.
  • fiatfanfiatfan Posts: 9
    Actually my wife is a very conservative driver. We have never had a single wheel problem on any other car. The 18" wheels on my RX8 have been fine. The 16" wheels on my Kia have also never had an issue. Tire Rack just kept saying it was our fault, but obviously, it's not.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Could it possibly be the location that is doing the install?

    What is the symptom that you notice? Wobble(ie rim bent)?

    or Vibration (ie throwing off the balance weights)?
  • tltypektltypek Posts: 8
    My 17" SSR GT1s are bent and out of round. Never had a bent wheel before in my life, even living in the harshest driving environments. The car has been babied (as all my cars are!) but my wheels are shot. Two years of fighting this battle and counting.... I complained to Tire Rack and they placed the blame on me. Then they tried to shift it to the installer (and his Hunter machines). Then they offered a small credit if I bought new wheels, then told me they don't carry the wheels anymore in my size but "they are great wheels". Now I notice all the SSR wheels seem to be on closeout. SSR won't respond to customer inquiries, and Tire Rack is the only US distributor. I'd say something fishy is going on. Meanwhile, there are no other wheels on the market that fit my Acura TL-S with Brembo Gran Turismo brakes...
  • fiatfanfiatfan Posts: 9
    I have given up on my Borbet wheels and they have been sitting in the basement with the new Kumho tires mounted. I hate to think how much money I spent on this disaster with Tire Rack. They said they same thing to me, "they are great wheels" and "no one else has had a problem". They blamed the roads, the car, our driving, never the fact the wheels are junk. The originals are back on the car and it has been trouble free.
  • kewaydinkewaydin Posts: 3
    I also had a similar experience. I installed new Borbet wheels and tires from Tire Rack last Sunday. After experiencing terrible vibrations, I called Tire Rack Thursday to complain. They suggested re-balancing, so I saw their recommended installer on Friday who told me I had three bent rims. I've never bent a rim in my 20+ years of driving, but in less than 50 miles, and less than a week, somehow three became bent? Either the wheels came that way, or they're junk. Apparently a tire tech will review the case and call on Monday, but from what I've read here I don't expect a satisfactory resolution.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    So let me get this straight, you bent your rims and want TR to cover it? How much did the rims cost? If these rims were anything less than $200 a pop you can count on them not being up to the tast of serious potholes etc.

    -mike
    Motorsports and Tuning Host
  • tltypektltypek Posts: 8
    My wheels (on the TL) were almost $500 each (SSR Integral GT1s) and were bent almost immediately. Not a darn bit of help from TR.... and of course the wheels were discontinued by the manufacturer shortly after I bought them, and no other dealer but TR was authorized to sell them...never bent a rim in my life, and I've had 9 performance cars and lived in 5 different states with them, some with some pretty bad roads. My VR4 drives the same roads as the TL, with even lower profile tires (TL has 45, VR4 has 40) and no bent rims on that car.
  • kewaydinkewaydin Posts: 3
    That's the thing. In the five days and 50 miles the wheels were on, I didn't have the opportunity to hit any potholes. The worst they saw was the transition between new and old pavement on the highway, and that was in rush-hour traffic. Any wheel at any price should be up to that task.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Something is fishy here. I mean how do you get dented rims in 50 miles? I highly doubt they would send em dented. I ordered probably 100s of tires and at least 30 sets of rims from them without issues. Mine always ship from DE.

    -Mike
    Motorsports and Tuning Host
  • kewaydinkewaydin Posts: 3
    Good question. Frankly I agree that it's unlikely that TR would send bent rims, but I find it equally hard to believe that 3 rims were bent in as many days on my regular commute. As I say, the roughest thing they saw was a bump between old and new pavement where they're resurfacing the highway, and that was at low speed due to traffic. I'd accept responsibility if they'd seen any true road hazard, but if that wee bump were enough to bend three, then these wheels weren't fit to begin with.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'd probably lay the blame on UPS. Those guys really fling stuff around.

    -mike
  • stevecebustevecebu Posts: 493
    I have used Tire Rack many times but am wondering if this is really happening if they are worth dealing with on wheels. I know that when you have an unusual problem, no one believes you. Chances are all the rims were defective and if you can find someone who is qualified to test the wheels for structural integrity you might have a lawsuit.
    Alloy rims tend to break not bend, it sounds as though these are very soft and aluminum is actually quite soft depending on what grade you buy as raw material. I worked as a Tool & Die Machinist for about 15 years a long time back so I've worked with all this stuff and theer are way to get it tested. Chances are they made a whole defective batch. It's poor customer service to pass the blame on to the customer without checking it out. Maybe buying teh rims locally is a better idea.
    I will probably look into that as an option as well. $500 rims should NOT bend or break except under extreme use.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    My brother in law is a partner in a company that is a big player in the tooling industry for custom wheels. Actually, they're one of the last independent US based shops that CNC machines molds used for casting wheels. I asked him about your posts the other day and he said that since almost all manufacturing is now done in China quality has become a big problem, much more than when most of it was in Mexico. His info is that porousity in the aluminum is the problem, and US based companies are sending quality engineers to China to try to find the root cause.
  • stevecebustevecebu Posts: 493
    My brother in law is a partner in a company that is a big player in the tooling industry for custom wheels. Actually, they're one of the last independent US based shops that CNC machines molds used for casting wheels. I asked him about your posts the other day and he said that since almost all manufacturing is now done in China quality has become a big problem, much more than when most of it was in Mexico. His info is that porousity in the aluminum is the problem, and US based companies are sending quality engineers to China to try to find the root cause.

    Ever see Chinese gold? They sell it here and it looks nothing like gold more like coppery bronze it's actually reddish.
    Too bad custom wheels are such big $$$ and yet use such low grade materials. Aluminum and Magnesium are very light but must be made right.
    I haven't been out of Hong Kong when there but can only imagine how many corners they cut during manufacturing. Same way in the Philippines. They use far too much sand when they make concrete and it shows after a few months when it's been completed.
    Well I guess I'll have to find wheels that are actually made in Japan or Germany.
  • fiatfanfiatfan Posts: 9
    Supposedly, the Borbet wheels are made in Germany and TUV approved, but I find it hard to believe. Something is seriously wrong with the wheels and Tire Rack did nothing. I was a big fan of theirs and purchased tires and wheels from them for over 20 years. Now, there is no way I would buy anything. I think they know the wheels are junk, but tell the customer they never have any problems. If I had been buying some crazy 22" wheels and they bent, I would have understood, but 17" wheels are just not very big these days and should hold up. They are still sitting in my basement. $1000 of wheels and tires wasted.
  • tltypektltypek Posts: 8
    I'm getting ready to give up on my SSRs and fork out the cash for some Subaru wheels (the only ones I can find now that fit over my Brembos and in the narrow wheel well of my Acura TL). I won't be buying wheels from Tire Rack ever again.

    I do have a good friend who is a mechanical engineer - wonder if he can refer me to a local facility to test the wheels. SSR literally will not answer emails, and phone calls only go straight back to Tire Rack. I even tried calling Japan!! Can't say I'm impressed with this defensive customer service.
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