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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
:feedback:I had the most bizarre, frustrating, and upsetting encounter today with Tire Barn just down the street from where I live in Camby, Indiana. I think the main guy at their desk, Brent, is a moron and has no customer service skills or tactful behavior of any kind.

06 - passenger's side.JPG As you can see from the picture (click to enlarge), my front passenger rim is slightly bent from going over a massive pothole a few weeks ago. Fortunately, the tire still holds air and it doesn't pull in one direction or anything like that, but I know I need to put a replacement rim on there. I've been keeping my eye out for a good bargain on one, because the 18" LTZ rim is not cheap. Anyway, I took my car in today for an alignment, tire rotate, and balance, as well as a full deflate and reflate on the N[SUB]2[/SUB] in my tires. (A dealership soiled my tire's N[SUB]2[/SUB] about 10 days ago when they topped off my tires, which didn't need topping off, with just regular air.) I got to Tire Barn, spoke with the guy at the desk (Brent) and told him what needed to be done and all that, and had my girlfriend take me back home in her car. Brent said it would be done in about an hour, which I thought was rather quick for a tire rotation, balance, alignment, and N[SUB]2[/SUB] refill, but I know it always takes longer than they say so I knew it didn't really mean much. My own guess at how long it was gonna take was two hours, based on the business when I got there, what I needed done, and the time of day. I left Tire Barn at 12:45.

I get a call at 5:15, and it's Brent. He said my car is ready, but that they didn't do any work on it. Puzzled, I asked him what he meant. He asked me if I was aware of my "destroyed" front passenger rim; I answered that I was aware it was slightly bent with a crack in the finish, but was not destroyed by any means, still holds the N[SUB]2[/SUB] inside, etc, yes I know about that rim. He said that it was 'totally destroyed and shouldn't even be on the road', and they don't work on broken wheels.

I just thought of the irony of Tire Barn saying they don't work on broken wheels. What? lol.

At this point, I was more than a little confused. I don't know everything about cars, like how they actually do the alignment, so I'm not positive on how crucial it is to have a rim with 100% integrity to align a wheel/axle. But I know what rotating and balancing is, because they're exactly what they sound like - for a rotation, the back wheels are put on the front and switched from right to left; the front wheels are put on the back and switched from right to left. And balancing nowadays is putting the wheel in the machine that stops and points a laser at exactly where the operator is to put the balancing weights. So, what I'm confused about is why there wasn't ANY work done on the car whatsoever, when just ONE of its tires is broken, according to Brent. He kept saying that they don't work on broken wheels/tires when I asked why he couldn't at least have rotated and balanced the back tires (and aligned them if possible?) and done the N[SUB]2[/SUB] exchange, or why he couldn't have called me at, like, 2:45 and notified me of the destroyed wheel and what he wants me to have them do, or why he couldn't have at least done what a good mechanic SHOULD have done and at least move the 'destroyed' rim to the back so that if it does fail, it's not on a tire as crucial as one of the fronts. That would also achieve the effect of a rotation at least, and he could have balanced the other three wheels, or SOMETHING.

He kept telling me that I didn't know what I was talking about, or know anything about cars. He told me to get a second opinion and that he guarantees any other shop will refuse to perform the services I requested as well. When I asked why he couldn't have done the things previously mentioned that seem totally reasonable to me, he didn't have an answer that made any sense. Moreover, as the customer service guy, he should have bloody CALLED ME sooner than 4.5 hours later at the close of business to see what I wanted to do, advise me of the problem, and try to get me to pay them for some kind of service, right? I left there without paying a thing, which seems totally opposite to Tire Barn's goal to sell service, lol.

Am I being totally unrealistic here and asking for too much or just being ignorant about alignments/rotations/balances, and the issue with having a minor defect on one wheel preventing any work on the ENTIRE car? I don't like to be cynical, but I think what happened is they knew I was a $100 job, and they probably got busy with more expensive tickets, ran out of time to do my car the way they should have, and decided to blame their inaction on one wheel that's slightly bent. Give me a break.

Is it imperative that each rim be at 100% integrity before an alignment/rotation/balance can be done? Is the damage pictured severe enough to warrant not doing ANY work on the car, even if it's work that might make it safer, like moving the rim that is likely to fail to the rear so the incident is less severe? Losing a front tire is far more dangerous than a rear in any car, and front-wheel drive cars in particular.

I'm just totally pissed off and baffled by the whole incident. I have since bought the replacement rim for the bargain price of $275 (compared to $445 from Chevrolet, so I guess that's pretty good.. I know it is not a cheap rim but $445 seems a bit much for circular metal). I'm sure as **** never going to that Tire Barn again, which is a shame because I just moved here and I was looking forward to having a tire shop literally right around the corner. Anyway, that's what happened. I'm kind of curious about the comments this'll get, hehe. 06 - passenger's side.JPG
 

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You're talking to an employee of a franchise, that does not want to take on risk which cannot be warrantied off to their insurer or parent corp.

A smaller independent shop may have shrugged things off and changed the wheel.
 

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First, don't waste your money on Nitrogen. It expands and contracts at the same rate as regular air and provides no benefit to passenger cars. Second, the bent rim could have been an issue with regards to the Tire Barn's liability insurance policy. However, I do agree with you that you should have been notified of this issue during the initial walk around to figure out what needed to be done.
 

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The shop is at a disadvantage.
Any wheel service that doesn't involve replacing the damaged wheel puts them in a liability risk situation.
So, in this case, the simple act of removing/balancing, and then re-installing the damaged wheel essentially puts them in the position of giving the rim a stamp of approval for further use.
The OP is experiencing the results of silly lawsuits that cost tire service shop insurance companies a fortune.
So, in the case, the insurer has likely stipulated that no service work be performed on a vehicle with a visually damaged wheel.
If they do perform a service, and the wheel fails in any way, the shop likely would have no coverage available for their defense.
In the shop and insurers defence, there is no way anyone can determine if the rim is fractured further into the casting without x-ray because a aluminum wheel can't be magnafluxed for damage (non ferrous).
So, to cover all bases, and frankly, to protect the customer from himself, they and most other service facilities are following these guidlines.

Ideally, to save you aggravation, the individual that took the car in should have denied any service to you the moment the rim was noted.
It would have given the shop a chance to explain their reason and would not have wasted your day......water under the bridge now.

This particular chain is not in the Chicago area so, until your post, I never heard of them, but I wouldn't yet throw them under the bus.
Sounds more like a newbee may not have yet known the program when you dropped the car off.

For future reference, a alignment nowadays uses a fixture mounted to each rim to perform the alignment.....your damaged rim further precludes that service......could create inaccurate readings.

Good luck!
Stay outa those holes,

Rob
 

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Hay rob how do you stay out of the Holes when you can't see them coming up because of the cars and trucks in front of you?
There is an answer ......
 

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Watch the cars in front of you. If they hit a hole you'll see it in the way the car moves.
 

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I had a set of 4 after market alloy rims on a previous car and one of the rims developed a hole in it. I thought I was up for 4 new rims as they were no longer being made. My local tyre dealer had the wheel repaired at a cost of $170.00, which was better than $2000.00 for a matched new set. It is always good to understand where the dealer is coming from before you dump him.
 

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Agreed that you should have been notified a lot sooner, because regardless of the job, wasting a customer's time is never good.

That said, I side with Tire Barn on everything else. From the picture, that wheel is unsafe to drive on and I certainly wouldn't.

This 18" wheel is made of cast aluminum alloy. The wheel supplier from Germany made the wheel by pouring hot metal into a mold, removing it once it has cooled. It's cheap to produce, and durable enough. But as you had happen, it's possible to have it break. Think of a delicious chocolate chip cookie. Pick up that cookie, and drop it on the edge onto the table/plate. If it doesn't break apart, it probably cracks a little and you can see the crack. You may be able to pick it up and carry it around, but chances are, if you even set down flat on the plate without taking extreme care, it's probable that the cookie will break apart that second time.

Think of your wheel in the same way. The cast metal contains air pockets since it isn't compressed, so the bond per square inch isn't as solid as you may think. While the tire may hold air right now, since the tire bead does seat a little farther inside the wheel But even slight bumps could cause it to break apart in an instant,enough to cause the tire to blow. I'm not saying the whole wheel will split in half, but that section could certainly break off and the damage could be farther in than you think. The outer bead seat area is one of the strongest areas on the wheel, and you've got a crack right through it. It's likely that the damage spread farther than you can see with the tire on and with it on the car.

The difference with forged aluminum alloy is that the aluminum is poured into a large, simple mold, and then a large press compresses the metal to get rid of those air pockets. Sometimes the wheels are fully machined from there but other times, the wheels are cast and forged into a basic wheel design. Either way, a much stronger wheel results. This is why I run forged wheels in the winter. They're not invincible to damage, but they can withstand more. ****, two of mine were involved in a serious front impact crash that put a dent in each of the wheels in the back, but it didn't damage them and they're perfectly usable.

So, I suggest getting the spare out and don't drive the car much until you can get another wheel. Hopefully they don't find a problem with the tire too, but it's possible the tire won't last too much longer after taking such a hit. The internal steel belts in the tire may have been broken from it.

As Robby said, quality, reputable alignments these days laser align the car with wheels/tires on. If you were to watch a tire store do their basic alignment, they have a strobe laser attachment that clamps onto all the tires, and they adjust what they can until the laser lines line up.
 

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You should put something else in place of the damaged wheel until you have the funds to replace the wheel. That's very dangerous to the driver and anybody around it. And if you put it in the trunk deflate it first. It could rupture at any time including while your deflating it.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nitrogen expansion and contraction rates, compared to air mixture

First, don't waste your money on Nitrogen. It expands and contracts at the same rate as regular air and provides no benefit to passenger cars. Second, the bent rim could have been an issue with regards to the Tire Barn's liability insurance policy. However, I do agree with you that you should have been notified of this issue during the initial walk around to figure out what needed to be done.
I agree with what you said, except about the nitrogen being a waste of money. I remember some of the stuff like the Ideal Gas Law, aka PV=nRT, where P is pressure, V is volume, n is number of mols of gas, R is the Universal Gas Constant, and T is the absolute temperature IN KELVIN) that addresses subjects of this matter. I don't know how to apply the numbers to that equation since it's been so long, but I have a hard time believing that an inert gas like nitrogen expands and contracts at exactly the same rate as air. This is for two reasons: (1) Nitrogen is an ideal gas, whereas "air" is not; and (2) air contains moisture, as well as other non-ideal and non-inert gases, and these variables must have an impact on the expansion and contraction of the respective gases inside their containers when temperature changes.

Anyone out there know how to apply the Ideal Gas Law to this example to get some mathematical verification? I'd be interested to know what the figures are. To help, I found a site that calculated the volume of my tire, and it takes exactly 30L of cold N[SUB]2[/SUB] to get it up to 35 PSI on the P225/45R18W19 Michelin tire that comes with the Cruze's LTZ trim level. During long drives or heavy/fast driving, the tire pressure goes up 1 or 2 PSI at the most. I recall that before I used N[SUB]2[/SUB] to fill my tires, the pressure would fluctuate by 1-3 PSI as the air heated up more and more inside the tire. The opposite is also true - my tires are at about 33-34 PSI occasionally if it is below freezing outside with the N[SUB]2[/SUB], and got as low as 30 PSI with just air. I know the electronic tire pressure monitoring systems aren't 100% accurate on their readings of the PSI, but it is a number that the car updates throughout the ride as it gathers data for the multi-information display. I also look at consistency as an indication of accuracy, and my Cruze's tire pressure system has always been consistent so far. Knock on wood.

Thanks for any math experts who are able to give some insight into the Ideal Gas Law and how the calculations work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the helpful replies, fellow Cruzers.

I ordered the new rim yesterday; it should be here Wednesday, and the I'm going to have it replaced first thing on Thursday morning. I know I'm borrowing time in terms of riding on the bent rim, but I'm not putting my spare on there and going 45 mph. I'm considering buying a fifth full-sized rim and put a new tire on it to keep as a spare in my garage for situations just like this. Given Murphy's law though, if I do that, I'll never have a need for it.. heh. I think I'll maybe try going to a junkyard to see if I can find it for cheap. Probably a long shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You NEEDED to get a new rim.

I don't know how many different ways I can acknowledge that I knew I needed to replace the rim. I knew it when I started a thread a week or so ago that asked where to find a replacement OEM rim for less than the $445 Chevrolet charges, ok? sheesh.

The point of my original post was that the experience at Tire Barn frustrated the daylights out of me. It took 4[SUP]1[/SUP]/[SUB]2[/SUB] hours to get a call just to notify me they wouldn't be doing any work on the car, when the desk idiot said it would probably take about an hour. It doesn't make sense to me that one damaged rim, which has maintained the same tire pressure since the incident, deems the entire car untouchable.

Again, I'm not a car expert by any means, but I do know what customer service is. Ignoring the absurdity of the long delay before calling me, I'm curious why it wasn't an option to at least do the nitrogen exchange on the three GOOD tires, and/or rotate/balance/align the rear axle by swapping just the right rear wheel for the left and the left rear wheel for the right, or SOMETHING to make some money at least, lol. That's where my lack of understanding comes into play - I do not understand why one damaged rim on an otherwise completely functional car should forbid them from doing any kind of work on it at all.

I know there's policies and liability and all that ish nowadays, but come on, where is the love? Surely they can do better than avoiding the car like it's the plague. They're a tire shop for heaven's sake, and they're saying a [slightly damaged but still functional] tire's rim is in their way of doing their work. I guess it also pisses me off the long delay and the guy talking so down and insulting to me when I was just trying to understand why they couldn't do anything. One would think he'd want to be a little more accommodating to make sure I go back there when my new rim arrives and have them do the work that they weren't able to do, as well as charge me for mounting a new tire. Like **** would I go back there now though.

But yeah once again, I knew I needed to get a new rim. I got my answer for where to get the OEM rim for cheaper from the thread I created, and ordered the new rim last night for $275, so it's on its way. I'm looking forward to it, because the bent rim has been a constant concern.

Bloody potholes. It's 2014, surely by now we can lay pothole-resistant asphalt.
 

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I've never jumped on the nitrogen bandwagon, and I don't lose sleep over if I mix air with nitrogen in a tire. I'd rather have my tires properly inflated than drive on a nearly flat tire to get to the tire store to get it filled. Yes, my grandma did this, because she was brainwashed to believe they couldn't be mixed. Unfortunately, this meant she drove like 20 miles on it to Costco.

Anyway, the one benefit I've heard regarding nitrogen is that, as you point out, it lacks moisture. The biggest benefit to this with newer cars is the moisture won't corrode the internals of the TPMS sensors.

An interesting thing to note, when I was getting my snow tires, I did it on one of the coldest days of the year here. I visited many backed up tire shops, and all of them were having trouble with their air lines freezing up. Makes me wonder, so if they're using nitrogen, why are they having this problem? Or is it all a big marketing ploy? Around here, I only know of Costco to use the green caps, but they probably got a deal on them as a way to market this benefit.
 

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My car came with N2 inflation. About four months into ownership all four tires were down about 4 psi, but not enough to trigger the TPMS system which goes off at a 5 psi drop. I pumped the tires up to the regular pressure with the B&D Air Station in my garage and they haven't lost any air in the last 8 months. I guess that 20 % of non-N2 I put in stopped up whatever leak there was. If N2 is free, I guess I'll take it, but I would not pay for it, nor expect it to be worth what the price was.
 

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Nothing wrong with nitrogen, only gas the FAA approves for aircraft use. For automotive, key advantage is moisture free dry air. But I have a good moisture filter on my air compressor, moisture can freeze up a Scharder valve and cause it to leak.

I would leave nitrogen as the users choice, really not an issue.

With alloy rims and kids that can hit a curb, aluminum is very malleable, and as long as no cracks, even under a powerful magnifying glass, could straighten these out. Use my own judgement as to whether they are safe or not. But also plenty of shops that do this for a fee and guarantee reliability. And even make them look like new again

Just do a google search.

Ha, for potholes, made the comment just the other day to my wife. No officer, I am not drunk, just trying to miss all the pot holes on the road for the reason of my zig-zag driving. Tis the season for pot holes.

If you can't see a pot hole ahead of you because of a vehicle in front of you, you are driving to darn close.
 

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My car came with N2 inflation. About four months into ownership all four tires were down about 4 psi, but not enough to trigger the TPMS system which goes off at a 5 psi drop.
When I got my new tires last fall they came with free nitrogen. Had them filled to 38PSI, temperature dropped that week to winter temps and tire PSI dropped to 32psi. Noticed yesterday with 40F weather and a warmed tire after a few hours driving my tires are running 38PSI again. Seems nitrogen PSI fluctuates just as much as air with temperature changes.
 

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Nothing wrong with nitrogen, only gas the FAA approves for aircraft use.
Yes, the reason aircraft use Nitrogen, however, has nothing to do with any purported magical properties that allow it to avoid expanding (or contracting) due to temperature changes, it is because it will not feed a fire, or explode itself. It is inert.
 

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Seems nitrogen PSI fluctuates just as much as air with temperature changes.
As a chemist, I can tell you that ANY gas will expand and contract almost identically with temperature changes. As people have pointed out, moisture is about the only thing that would change any of this as it could condense at lower temperatures and cause larger pressure and/or volume changes to the tire, as well as cause corrosion to sensors, valves. etc.

Perhaps we should all start putting helium in our tires since it would be lighter. Gas mileage would increase by 0.00000001% probably!!! :)
 

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Yes but 0.00000001% would help, seem to be meeting more people that think this way. Especially when I tossed a piece of tissue that I used to clean my glasses with in the garbage can, was chewed out for not tossing it in the recycling bin. Heck, was just trying to help out my logger friends up north. With all this recycling, they are starving to death.
 
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