Sears installed wrong sixze tires on front - AWD Bravada

Sue Sears…this should be a last resort.

Did they get your approval for the different sized tires prior to installation? …This is a moot point since the problem is they made a mistake, but, they need to be men own up to it.

Ok, after reading what Sears is saying, suing might be needed…as a last resort.

I just talked to someone from Sears Insurance. They said the adjustor/inspector told them that the Front Pinion Seal was leaking and that’s why the axle broke. I asked the mechanic who has the car now and he said “There’s no way to know that because the differentials exploded and any lube leaked out in the 5 days it took them to look at it.” The mechanic showed me under the car while it was on the lift and the differential has a missing chunk about 6 inches across, about the size of a giant grapefruit. Mechanic still says that stress that caused axle to break was the different size tires.

Looks like I may have to sue Sears.

The auto shop manage has a boss. Go to the store manager and explain the situation. Take a note from the mechanic who showed you the damage and explained the exploding differential. Do not remove the car from the shop and do not have it repaired. See if the store manager can be reasoned with. If that does not work, try the regional office. You might also try a local television station if the regional office is uncooperative. They eat this stuff up and you won’t have to pay for a lawyer.

Rent a car. Sears will eventually have to pay for it, in my opinion.

Just an FYI. It’s quite common for a differential or transmission to develop an oily blotch around certain seals; pinion seal, tailshaft seal, etc. Dirt accumulates on the oil mist there and makes it look worse than it is.
You see the same thing with other areas on a vehicle; various engine seal, shock and strut seals, etc. and it’s entirely normal.

If the differential was low enough on oil due to this alleged leaking pinion seal then you will have plenty of advance notice because the unit will be whining and howling long before it blows up. If it was quiet up to the point of the catastrophe then the oil level was fine.

The adjuster is doing just what is expected of them by the person who signs their paycheck; grasp for a reason to deny you. I’ve dealt with several adjusters while working for dealerships and every single one of them was mechanically clueless. They only wanted one thing; off the hook and if not that, off the hook with the cheapest, most hacked together job that could be done.

Go after 'em.

At least we know that Sears will refuse to pay for anything. All the people who are paid to lie are doing their jobs to the best of their experience, which is stating things which are totally for themselves. Insurance fraud seems to be done mostly by the insurance company.

Insurance fraud seems to be done mostly by the insurance company.

One consumer group did a study about 10 years ago…I was consulting to the insurance industry at the time…

Their conclusion…98% of ALL Insurance fraud was perpetrated by the insurance industry…(refusing legitimate claims, over charging consumers, selling bogus insurance policies, selling unnecessary insurance policies). Their estimates were we as consumers were being ripped off by about $10 BILLION annually by insurance companies…

The auto shop manage has a boss. Go to the store manager and explain the situation.

At the very least the manager should know that the Service manager installed the wrong tires “Just to make a sale”. They didn’t think of the safety of the consumer or what harm it would/could do. This service manager and/or salesman should be FIRED.

I am so fed up with Sears. They sent me this link with the pictures of the damage.

The mechanic who has the car now still says that the catalyst for the damage was the mismatched tires.

Any ideas?

Thanks again.

Sorry to say this…but at this point you’re going to need a lawyer. The sooner you can retain one the better. Sears might cave if you obtain legal counsel.

You’re being set up for a fight. The pictures of the tow hitch, mileage, oil change sticker, for sale sign… I would want a signed affidavit from the mechanic that believes the damage was caused by the mismatched tires ASAP. Memories fade, allegiances can change over time…

Maybe you need to head to a spefic type Forum. I know that if was was expected to pay your claim I would reasearch the history of problems with the front diffs on these type of vehicles.

I don’t know what state you live in so I don’t know its limits (in California it is $7500.00), but you may be able to pursue this in small claims court and save yourself the price of a lawyer.

And if you end up taking Sears to small claims court, it might be in your interest to print out the responses in this thread. Unless the judge is a mechanic and has and expert opinion of his/her own, he/she may very well consider the opinions of many of the experts here to support your case.

And this website can be easily accessed to see whether the opinions are worthy of a judges consideration.

Just a thought.

Printing some opinions out might be a good idea if you go to court on this.
Preferably as many as possible along with others from various forums and maybe even a note or two from some GM publications.
Since Oldsmobile is history, a Chevy or GMC dealer should work since it’s all the same setup.

Just for some levity and to show the mindset of these “inspectors/adjusters”, I’ve had a couple on the bench that looked just like the damage in the pics you linked to and was asked to “patch them as best as possible”. :wink:

One adjuster got so upset with me when I told him he was nuts that he went over my head to the service manager and tried to apply pressure that way. When the serv. manager actually sold the wreckage he laughed the guy out of the shop.

Last comment from me. Don’t bother with legal action. The legal staff at the insurance company will never give up. The company will pay twenty times what the repairs would cost, just to make sure they don’t give you anything.

It seems clear from the photos that the adjuster is focusing on the fact that the transfer case came from a junkyard and some issues about maintenance. However, there are no words to confirm what the adjuster’s conclusions are. This is important because having written documentation locks them into a particular line of thinking from which they can not deviate.

Do you know for sure that the transfer case is from a junkyard? If so, this is important information and should have been disclosed. In fact, it should have been mentioned in your posting to us. A junkyard transfer case implies that it is less than perfect and IT could be the problem.

File a claim in Small Claims Court. The laws vary from state to state - some states require an attorney, some do not. Find out what the laws in your state are. The best situation is if YOU are not required to be represented by an attorney, but Sears (because they are a corporation) ARE required to be represented by an attorney.

Bring as much information as you can: Your owner’s manual where it shows what tires are supposed to be on the car, the report (especially if you can get more than just the photos), any written documentation showing where tires on an AWD have to be the same size, etc.

BTW, printing out opinions from the internet - such as this thread - will have no effect on the judge. He needs a clearly stated position from someone knowledgeable - and while many folks on this and other forums are indeed knowledgeable, a judge can not determine that for himself.

You may be required to have an expert testify. Again, this varies from state to state. Find out what the requirements are. If you need an expert, get an expert who can testify about transfer cases. An expert in tires won’t work. Hopefully, you won’t need an expert and the photos will be enough. Your position is that the pinion broke because the front and the rear tires were traveling a different rpm’s - something had to give. But know ahead of time what is required - expert, affadavit, whatever.

Personally, I think you have a winner here. By filing a claim in small claims court, you put yourself in the driver’s seat. THEY have to respond or you automatically win. No amount of wiggling is going to get them off the hook. The best they can do is ask for a postponement - and they can only do that a couple of times before the judge will refuse.

Plus, all you have to do is explain what you happened and why you think the different tire sizes caused the failure, and then let them explain why what that is not true - which is going to be difficult.

I looked over the inspector’s pictures. If you want to take this to court you are David fighting Goliath. At some point you have to look at the costs, value of the car, your financial resources, and the amount of fight in you.

The car is older and if it was in good condition what is the KBB value of the car? That is the most you stand to gain if you win. Offer Sears, through a lawyer, a settlement that gets you something. Say 1/2 the KBB value of the car. If Sears agrees junk the car and sign the papers that Sear’s will require that you not sue them further.

Get something, and move on. I’m convinced the tire mismatch caused the final demise of the tranfer case. But Sears will say the case failed because it was from a salvaged car and that your Bravada was leaking and not well maintained. Both sides will have an argument. Goliath’s often like to avoid suits and bad publicity. Offer to settle and see what you get. I’m afraid a court battle wouldn’t get you much anyway.

It sure would have been nice if we all knew earlier in the process that this vehicle had a used, junkyard transfer case, and that everything was already leaking fluid prior to the mishap.

While it is certainly likely that the mismatched tires were the proximate cause of the breakdown, the evidence that Sears has gathered is not going to help the OP’s case, since leaks from virtually everything up front in the vehicle implies poor maintenance and the presence of a junkyard transfer case introduces the possibility that the tires were not the problem.

The OP has to prove with a preponderance of the evidence that the tires were the source of the problem, whereas Sears only has to introduce “doubt” that the tires were the proximate cause.

I don’t believe the tires cause this damage,why, the damage is to severe,it came on to quick, the effect from mismatched tires should be concentrated in the transfer case and purely subjectively I never saw anything like this happen and this model was a frequent visitor to my shop. You are going to have to do better than a theoretical battle to the death between the front and rear diffs.

Holding back the transfer case info was not a good move. My reasearch shows these diffs (front) are known leakers. I have not yet come up with a reported weakness factor.

I am comming to a suspicion that all these mismatched tire warnings are getting pumped up a bit. I can see the theory involved in having mismatched tires but I am concentrating on the accepted belief that the system has a extreme lack of tolerence for a mismatch, the result seems to extreme to be totaly atributed to the tires.

I’m also going to back up a few steps on this after reading about the salvage yard markings. I did not pore over every picture in the lot but only selected a few rather than wait for all of them to pull up.

Those salvage yard markings are likely to be the kiss of death as to holding Sears responsible for this.

It would be interesting to know how this excellent condition vehicle with only 113k miles has apparently gone through a differential prior to this one.
Buy the vehicle new or not and are you the one who had the yard differential installed?