Tire shop installed mismatched tires - long term issues?

This one is partly on me for not checking it, but I’ve got questions on the long term issues for my differential. Two years ago I had four Michelin Defender XT tires installed at a big box warehouse tire shop. Per specs, my 2008 Odyssey was to receive 235/65r16 tires and per the invoice it did. I have had handling problems with the vehicle ever since. Alignment, pulling, creaking, and VSA (vehicle stability assist) having issues. I’ve had it into the dealer, brake shops, tire shops and no one could put a finger on it.
Last week my wife couldn’t make it up a slightly icy hill because of spinning and the car pulling hard to the right curb. I was told I had to get new tires on it or…

Long story short the tire shop put on four new tires and I kept the old to sell on Craigslist (only 30,000 on a 90,000 warranty tire). When I went to double check the specs I noted that I have 2 @ 235/65r16, but two are 225/60/r16. No one ever caught it. I’m assuming they’ve been mismatched side to side all along given the issues. For the first time in forever, I drove home on the new tires with no slight pulling.

I’ve spoken with the tire shop, and they’re going to work with me, but what I want to know is what are the potential long term mechanical issues to the differential by running mismatched tires for two years. Should I be okay with the shop refunding me the remaining tread life, or do I go after more?

jerheis Many issues here. The original tire shop made a big mistake and documented it. With your problems the dealer (original installer?), brake shops, and tire shops could not read the tire sidewalls? I would check them off my list of anyone to do business with. The original tire shop should replace all 4 tires at no charge. It sounds like you may have already replaced them. If that is the case they should pay for the new tires in full. If your Odyssey is AWD there could be permanent expensive damage. If it is FWD it might be OK. You may need to file a small claims suit.

^^ this

“The original tire shop should replace all 4 tires at no charge.”

I had to replace all 4 tires on our 08 Forester at 15K due to sidewall damage to one tire. Had them replaced with 4 Cooper CS4 Touring tires at the tire shop I always deal with. Got home and noticed that all four were the wrong size: 205/60r16 instead of 215/60r16.

Back to the shop, with about 50 miles on the new ones. Boss came out and looked the tires over. Invoice reflected the correct size. Turned out the correct size was not in stock and the technician had installed the ones they had on hand without telling anyone or changing the paperwork.

Boss ordered the correct tires, said I could drive on the new ones. Two weeks later they called me and installed the correct size tires.

I was lucky in that I wanted to take a close look at my new tires and noticed the difference quickly, and also that I was dealing with an ethical business that owned up to their mistake and corrected it while eating the additional cost.

Good luck

I just though of something that is not good news. If the original tire shop replaced the mismatched tires you now have no case. The original invoice showed correct matched tires and the mismatched ones have now disappeared.

Yoiks, almost 1.5" diameter difference! If they had put the same tires on the front and the other two same tires on the back, you may not have ever noticed the issue.

I disagree that if it’s front drive you have no problem. If the tires were different size, side to side on front, YES, I WOULD BE PO’d. That can add excessive wear on the front differential depending upon the number of miles you drove it. That is the same thing that happens when you use different sizes front to rear with am AWD car with their center differential.

Normally. Differential gears work little when driven in a straight line or very gradual turns with limited diff gear use which is the majority of the mileage any car drives, surprisingly. If the tires are different, they are rotating more rapidly and continuously. At the least, have the differential serviced…and get a financial settlement for this mistake.

If anyone one has ever bothered to notice, even front or rwd cars recommend you replace tires in pairs on the same axle to account for this side to side wear which can be a problem on the axle that has the differential.

Now, if you had an accident that involved some loss of control, I would try to sue their butts.

The good news is that if this is a 2WD vehicle only the drive axle will be affected, and that will be limited to premature wear on the differential.

Thank God you never got in an accident because of this.

If I understand the original post correctly, they acknowledge the mistake. Perhaps they could provide at their cost an extended warranty. IMHO that’s the best you can hope for, but I’d ask for it… with emphasis.

Thanks, everyone, for your words of advice. The tire store in question is out of state and I’ll be returning the mismatched tires there when I go visit my folks around Christmas, so I won’t have any resolution until then. I will be giving the store manager a call ahead of time based on some of the info I received here. He’s new to the store since the incident so I’m hoping he’ll either be quick to get it remedied properly, or will send me up the chain until it is. I’ve been running the new tires for over a week now and had ZERO of my previous issues of the past two years, which to me confirms that they were running mismatched on the front and also on the back. I’m still not sure if I’m more irritated that I never caught the issue, or that none of the professionals that handled it ever caught it.

I bought a used Ford Maverick where the left rear tire was a smaller size than the other 3. Since it needed new tires I replaced all of them.

I don’t think this is going to end well.

First is that 30K miles have been put on the tires. That is a long time not to have noticed this as a problem. Not to mention that there is considerable wear, so it isn’t like the OP didn’t get something out of the tires.

Second, even though the invoice says the 4 tires that were put on were the same size, there is no way to prove that 2 of those tires weren’t replaced at a later date.

Third, the tires have been replaced by someone else. It is my understanding (IANAL) that the offending shop needs to be given the chance to make this right. Plus, once the tires are off the car, there is no way to prove that 2 of those tires weren’t swapped out AFTERWARDS.

If I was the manager of the offending shop, I would offer a discount coupon on the next set of tires - and I think that is the outcome that should be targeted for. To start this process, the OP should present the information they have and if the tires are still available, make them part of the negotiation (so the shop can recover some of the money), then offer to settle this at - say - 75% discount - with the idea that 50% is where you want to finish up.

I know what I would do. The tire shop is out of state, right? Not likely you will ever be back there again, they probably realize that so might make it tougher to get a good deal from them.

You already have new tires and won’t need more new ones for years (hopefully).

Most businesses hate to refund money outright. They prefer to fix the existing problem or discount parts and labor on new work. This is especially true if it’s unlikely you’ll be a repeat customer.

That being said, I’d bargain with them for a full set of winter tires at a tremendous discount (their cost or less). You get something you don’t have and could use now and they get to absorb the costs in a way that eases some of the pain for them.

Remind them that there is a high potential for actual consequential damage to your vehicle from their mistake. It is not just about the lost value in tires…

That is a long time not to have noticed this as a problem.

Well, that’s true, but OP might have some wiggle room because he DID notice it was a problem and tried to get it fixed at many different places. That none of those places apparently hired even marginally intelligent mechanics who might, I dunno, look at the tires when the car has a handling problem is not OP’s fault.

I also note that OP said he had this done at a “big box warehouse” shop. If by that he meant Costco, then he’s probably gonna be OK, because I’ve seen those guys accept the most BS of BS stories when customers come in for a refund because they put customer satisfaction far above what’s fair to the store. OP’s legit story should be more than sufficient to get them to work with him.

If he got them at a Costco, he doesn’t need to go back to the original store, any Costco can resolve the issue for him. Same for most other big box warehouses.

I kind of agree with Capri. Its pretty late in the game now to be trying to get tire compensation. My worry would be more with the power train issues and forget the tires. Can damage be detected with a good inspection?

I have some initial resolution to the issue. Thanks for all the input. Everyone’s advice really helped in my discussion with the shop manager. I hauled the four tires back to the original shop (out of state, purchased in a snow storm while visiting my parents). I had spoken with the manager on the phone so he was aware of the issue when I walked in. He brought the tires into the shop, took a quick look and offered me about $200 to cover for the remaining wear. I again explained the issues to him, that I wasn’t looking for a fight, and that I only wanted what was fair.

I explained to him how the issues were completely resolved with a tire change and asked him, if it were his vehicle, what would he be looking for. He nodded as if to finally realize what I was asking for and went back to the shop. He soon thereafter made a call to the warehouse manager and came out and offered me a full refund on the initial cost of the tires and had me fill out an accident report to send to their insurance company to have damage to the vehicle looked at.

He said that back in the shop he aligned the four tires up and it became very clear very quickly which tires would have been in the front and on which side of the vehicle, verifying my story.

He apologized again and said the full refund was as much as he and his store could do and filling out the report for insurance was the only next step he could recommend. I walked out with almost $700 cash and hope of a call from the insurance company to get the vehicle looked at for long term damage.

Someone said it earlier in the post, but yes, Costco does do right by their customers. However, I’ll wait until I get the insurance resolved to be 100% happy with it. I’m guessing that any damage would make that $700 cash look like a very small settlement.

Thank you for returning and filling in the rest of the story. That hardly ever happens and those of us who are regulars want to learn if our advice was of any help.

Thank you too for the return. I commend you for your thoughtfullness. Costco may do right by their customers, but only if they come prepared and are as knowledgable as you when you approached them. They did not seem to do so well until you used your persuasive powers buttroused by your cumulative knowledge on the subject. Good job !
It’s too bad LL Bean doesn’t sell tires. (And do auto repair)

I’m glad you let us know and also that you got a full refund. Hopefully there is no long term damage. It is good that they took care of the problem.

I too appreciate the feedback but you asked about potential damage and you have not answered the critical question here, do you have AWD (all wheel drive) or not. If you do not have AWD, your vehicle has not suffered any damage.

Your vehicle stability system won’t work if you have different size tires, no matter the location as that will appear as a traction problem, but it won’t do permanent damage.

You also allude to Costco but did not say that that is where you got the tires. You mentioned that the shop owner did a check on the alignment, but Costco does not do alignments. They do have recommended local shops that they have some sort of agreement with in some areas, much like their car purchasing agreements with local dealers.

Would you mind clearing up these questions?

In reference to the previous questions, I do not have AWD. It’s a front wheel drive '08 Odyssey. I had many issues with the Vehicle Stability Assist while on the mismatched tires, but have not had them reoccur since the change. I purchased the original tires in Salt Lake City at a Costco while visiting family and took them back to the same location. In the mean time I had the vehicle checked out at my BigOTire shop in Colorado in the time since the original purchase to try to deal with the issues (creaking, alignment, etc) but they could not figure it out. I did have new brakes put on (needed to anyway) but it didn’t solve my groaning out of the front end and actually made it worse since the braking was more secure.

Hope that answers the questions that everyone has. Thanks again. I still haven’t heard from Costco’s insurance folk, but will let everyone know. I’m just hoping that they’ll pay for an entire front end check.