Car question: is this normal wear and tear?

A friend of mine bought a new Mazda B3000 4x4 pickup truck last year.

At around 9,000 miles he noticed the tires wearing irregularly, and took it to the dealer soon after. They told him it was normal wear and tear, and therefore not covered in the so-called bumper to bumper warranty, and are saying he has to pay for four new tires and an alignment.

I’m no car expert, but it sounds to me that they are trying to confuse him by equating normal wear and tear with a defect that causes premature wear and tear.

Could some car experts weigh in on whether he would have a leg to stand on if he took this to the manufacturer?

(I believe this is a question with a factual answer – if not, then Mods, feel free to move it accordingly).

If an aligment issue led to the wear, then it’s not a warranty issue…it is wear and tear.

If during the aligment which should be now mae, a mfgr defect is noticed that prevents the wheels from being alligned or holding it, then it is not wear and tear but a defect that could be covered under warranty.

Where is the abnormal wear on the tire (the outer edge of the front’s treads? I wouldn’t be surprised)

9000 miles and noticable wear? Hell no, that’s not normal. Unless your friend has been trying to leap tall buildings in a single bound and knocked something out of whack, the dealer should fix the alignment problem AND replace the tires.

But shouldn’t the alignment be set properly from the factory?

Get an independent shop to do the alignment and confirm whether there is a mech defect leading to allignment issues. If not, then it is wear and tear. Cedric is concerned because many cars stay in allignment far longer, but not all.

This is a truck and it depends on how it was used, so anything can lead to a misalignment even at 9k.

The dealer’s claim IS cause for alarm…cause for checking… but it is not a blatant lie because it can legitimately be misalligned due to no defects.

I’m not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that you would have to prove that the vehicle was out of alignment when purchased as opposed to being thrown out of alignment by hitting a pothole or something. It’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to prove your case.

Cedrick, it’s a truck…it could have been out of alligment since 4-5k…depends on how it was used.

It depends on how any vehicle is used.

Sure, the alignment could be good from the factory, but some cars needs it checked every 5k, every 7.5k…sooner…later…depends.

It’s not automatically a warranty issue, and it isn’t automatically the driver’s failure to perform maintenance…it could be either.

My GMC 4x4 has been used in all sorts of terrain and keeps it’s alignment for 40k. Of course that’s about the ONLY thing that truck does well! :wink:

Alignment checked every 5k?!?

I want to know what kind of car you drive, so that I can avoid it. Or else I’d like to learn how your mechanic sells un-needed services so well.

I think your friend is screwed, F. U. Shakespeare. It’s not out-of-the-ordinary enough to be considered a manufacturing screw up. Wearing out tires in 9000 miles (on a car with proper alignment) is fast, but completely possible.
Besides, new tires and an aligment aren’t horribly expensive.

A couple of things here.
First off it is almost a sure bet the truck left the factory with proper alignment. However it could have been put out of alignment anytime after that. Hit a curb, pothole, or even a parking stop with enough force and the truck will be out of alignment. This is no fault of Mazda.
Secondly most if not all carmakers have an adjustment period where they will take care of adjustments that are not normally warranty issues, such as wheel alignment. This adjustment period is limited, and once it is past, it is gone forever. So if the alignment had been bad from day one, the car could have been returned to the dealer and repaired for free. Assuming this was done within the adjustment period. I don’t know what Mazda’s adjustment policy is, but 9K strikes me as it is almost for sure out of any adjustment period.
Thirdly, all car warranties exclude physical damage. So if you hit something and bent a part, it is not warranty.
Lastly, and this one is the kicker, the carmaker does not warranty the tires. The tire maker warranties the tires. Go read the warranty.

What kind of wear are we talking about, there are some types of wear on tires that are not alighment related.

Pull a trailer, go off roading, use the truck commercially, hit lots of curbs, have a bad winter, live near crappy roads, have a dirt driveway…

I mean the list goes on and on.

Some vehicles are prone to more wear, especially some light trucks because they are used like bigger trucks, yet come shod with skinny all season radials which tend to wear out on the front edges because the truck is front heavy bias and the tires are bare minimum.

Some sports cars prior to very low profile tire trends experienced very rapid wear on tire edges up front even in moderate use very rapidly. Macpherson struts, plus truck, plus potholes, plus skinny all season radials on light duty trucks could mean a frequent need to check allignment, and even then tire wear might be normal on the edges. Yes, even at 9k.

This is just an example …

“At around 9,000 miles he noticed the tires wearing irregularly”

I get that at 5,000 miles sometimes & I don’t need an alignment. However, the store asked me to come in every 5000 miles to have them rotated, see, in that case, they last longer. Did you have yours rotated?

I have owned new cars that needed wheel alignment within a few thousand miles.
I always notice this due to the vehicle pulling to one side. Also I could see it in tire wear.

It is not normal for new tires to show wear in 9000 miles unless there is an alignment problem.

Our last new car came with a four year bumper to bumper warranty includes oil changes and tire rotation every 5000 miles.

“I always notice this due to the vehicle pulling to one side”

Generally it’s supposed to do that if the road is sloped properly. Try it in a parking lot.

Maybe yours does… then it needs alignment checked.

If your vehicle is pulling on a good highway, there is a wheel alignment problem… you have to have enough common sense to be sure it is not the road. You can always pull over to the right lane long enough to check it.

A parking lot! LOL

The real test is at highway speed of 50 to 70 MPH.

I have to ask (since I didn’t see anyone ask yet) how your friend went 9K miles without noticing his alignment was off? If both tires on the outside (say) were wearing out, his camber is way off…the truck should feel funny while making turns or hitting uneven pavement and braking would make the vehicle twitchy.

Almost every modern rack and pinion IS designed to pull to one side (to the right in the US) at what appears to be the straight-ahead to make sure it runs away from oncoming traffic; this is on the off chance that you become incapacitated at the wheel.

Just as a point of interest, I didn’t just have abnormal wear but had worn both front tires nearly bald by 15,000 miles in my current car (2002 Hyundai Elantra GLS, Michelin Energy 185/60 V-rated front and rear)

Of course, I drive the thing pretty hard and I flatspotted all four when I locked up at 70 trying to avoid a moron in a van who pulled out 35 feet in front of me…

Thank you all for your replies – I passed them along to my friend, who consequently located a good independent mechanic (through word of mouth), who will do the alignment and check very carefully for signs of either manufacturing defect, or spotty maintenance. In the event of the former, my friend may decide to contact the manufacturer.

Dutchboy208, I will ask him your question next time I see him. I will also ask him what the wear pattern was.

Thanks again to all – this board never fails to call up truly impressive expertise!

Um… I didn’t ask a question… I mentioned the size and aspect of my tires but it isn’t really relevant (unless your friend’s tires are all terrain, in which case they will wear faster because of the higher TPP (tread pattern percentage, or the amount of tire that doesn’t actually touch the road)).

I believe you, but I’m guessing if I repeat what you just said someone is going to question me.
Can I have a cite on “designed to pull to on side” ?