Wrong Size and Class Tires Can Be Dangerous

Mr. A told me more than once that his company van was driving funny. He said when he was carrying a heavy load of tools and materials, the van would be hard to control and would feel a little squirrely on the highway.  You know, squirrely, that scientific term that means moving back and forth?  He had no idea anything was wrong with the tires, but something wasn’t right. The tires were purchased in May 2010, and cost us $654.

As it happens, luckily for us, one of Mr. A’s customers used to own a tire shop.  Mr. A happened to mention to him that the tires didn’t seem to act right with a heavy load. Now this van is a 15 passenger van, so it is built to carry a good deal of weight, not to mention it weighs 3.5 tons when it’s empty!  Mr. White said he could get Mr. A in touch with a friend of his that could get him a good deal on a set of tires, but then he kneeled down to get a closer look at the tires currently on the van.

He turned to Mr. A and said, “You’ve got the wrong tires on this van. These are Class C, see right here?  This tire is rated for a passenger vehicle, not a passenger van.  What you should have on this van are Class E.”  He then went on to explain how Class C has 6 ply while Class E has 10 ply.   Mr. A was really glad to find out that he wasn’t imagining things and that the van had been difficult to drive.  But then Mr. White went on to tell Mr. A that whoever put the tires on had basically endangered our lives because it was very possible that the tires could have blown due to carrying so much weight!

NASCAR tires
NASCAR tires (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We never thought to check to see if the company put on the correct tires. I mean, who has to ask that question?  Who needs to know that? Don’t we typically have faith in a tire company that they are going to know the proper sized tire and actually follow through with putting the right ones on?

When Mr. A heard that, he realized he’d better put in a call to the company who installed the tires.

He pulled the receipt out from the glove box and in looking over it realized that not only had the wrong tires been installed, but the company had actually put the right size tires on the receipt!  We hoped that the company wasn’t trying to get one over on us by putting on the wrong tire.  Either someone made a big mistake, or someone was trying to get one over on us.

With that information under his belt, Mr. A put in a call to the tire company.  The store that installed the tires said there was nothing they could do, and besides they didn’t have the tires.  Undaunted, Mr. A called another store, and again explained the gravity of the situation. This store realized that this was a major problem and they were very interested in helping Mr. A get the right sized tires. The manager was really nice.  They replaced the tires free of charge.  But then as Mr. A was leaving, the manager shows up with a blank disclaimer contract, and wants Mr. A to sign it. “Just in case.”  “Just in case, what?” Mr. A wanted to know. Then he started reading over the fine print and he realized that maybe he shouldn’t sign the disclaimer. Just in case.

We do a lot of driving since we live in a rural area and have to travel often to the big city. It is important that our tires are in good condition. We check our tires regularly to make sure they are holding the proper amount of air.  For one thing, tires with too much air or too little air will be ruined.  You’ll wear your tread out on the outer walls or the inner tread. I know from experience, I did it once. Just once. Another time I didn’t realize I needed an alignment and ruined my front tires within just a few weeks time.  These are costly mistakes as my tires cost as much as $100 per tire.  I want to get all the mileage I can from them, and this saves me money in the long run.

Do you know the size tire that belongs on your car?  I know I’ll be checking to make sure the right tire is put on from now on. Will you?

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17 thoughts on “Wrong Size and Class Tires Can Be Dangerous

  1. I’m pretty shocked that the original store would have nothing to do with replacing them, especially since it was their error. I would definitely take this up the chain to the corporate offices to make sure they understand the situation, and also to make sure they know that there was another manager that stepped up to the plate and made things right.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Money Beagle, I just called my husband to make sure I had some of the details right, and he said that one of the tires had separated on the way to the job he was on that day so he called, then went to the store nearest to where he was and when they called the original store, they wanted him to drive to that store, they didn’t want to approve the tire situation being addressed at a different store. But it was going to be over 90 miles on a separated tire. They did finally agree to allow the other store to replace the tires. Anyway, that sounds like good advice as someone at the corporate offices should know that something like this happened so others aren’t endangered with the same kind of error.

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  2. The initial store installed the wrong classification tire not the wrong size!!!
    My hubby is a tire tech so I know. This is just a guess but the store probably quoted you the right size and class…. being frugal you may have asked for a cheaper tire… nearly everyone who buys tires does this… unfortunately that means downgrading you from the commercial tires you need to a passenger tire.
    I know your shocked and scared, the tech should have informed you the difference in price was due to a less durable tire class but if you negotiated the price down the drop in class is inadvertently your fault.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Shannon, actually, we did not try to negotiate for a cheaper tire. We are wimps that don’t try to get things cheaper to start out with. Even at yard sales, where people often expect to haggle. And as a matter of fact, of the two tires they told us were available, we went with the more expensive tire which wasn’t that much more expensive. As I said, we put a lot of miles on our vehicles and we have learned it is better to go with a better quality tire which will give us more mileage. Heck, when I lived in the city and did hardly any driving I rarely bought new tires, instead I had used tires put on my vehicle. Driving at high speeds and making 100 mile round trips daily to get to work changes your perspective when it comes to tires. It’s no fun having blowouts driving at 65mph. I’ve experienced it twice, and thankfully was in the “slow” lane and could get over safely. That was within the first couple of years of living in a rural area and I am now very careful with watching my tires. Also, I just called my husband to double check on what I’d remembered of the story and he told me they did put the wrong size tire on the van. It should have been a 265 but they put on 245s.

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  3. When you consider that one’s car is one of the most important purchases you make, next to one’s home-one should be very vigilant of all and any repairs. My car repairs have single handedly caused the most financial strain in my life. I always try to have everything up to date and functioning well in my car. That includes making sure my AAA never lapses and it gives me enough coverage on towing…

    Enjoyed your post as usual!

    🙂

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Getting Out of Debt, I actually went without a car for three years so I can certainly understand car repairs being a financial strain. Thank you for visiting and commenting!

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  4. Spread the word on the store that made it right, they deserve the word of mouth advertising. A real test of a company is when a mistake occurs. How do they react and is it to our satisfaction?

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @krantcents, definitely a good suggestion. I try to make a point to “reward” good customer service since it seems so far and few between!

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  5. That does sound pretty dangerous; good that everything was fixed and nobody was hurt. I one had a leak develop on one of my tires on my last car and I noticed when my car started pulling suddenly when on the highway. I got off, stopped at a gas station and saw my front left tire was basically flat — it had a bit of air in it but I was practically on the rims.
    I put some air in it, went home slowly and got the tires changed. Good thing I didn’t end up on the rims while on the highway cause that wouldn’t have been fun at all.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Invest It Wisely, that can be scary! I’m glad you caught that before it got any worse.

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  6. I honestly don’t know what tires go on my car. I get worried about when people drive like crazy up to the mountain with their chains and studded tires. Just because you have the right gear doesn’t mean you aren’t prone to accidents.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Jenna, I’m pretty sure the manufacturer of the car sticks the information for the acceptable tires on the frame of the driver’s side door. Check that sometime and see if you find the information there. That would scare me to see someone driving up a mountain with snow!

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  7. It’s good to hear that the second store realized they had made a huge mistake and took care of the situation. They could have been liable for any damages or accidents, and it seems as if that manager understood that. And squirrely is a word. 😉

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