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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well I'm learning the hard way again to be so much more careful when checking a vehicle out before buying...:icon_redface:

Pulled into the gas station to make sure all tires on my new to me 03X were filled evenly, since it was pulling ever so slightly to the right this morning. That was the problem and the air fixed it, but while I was down there I noticed that the front and rear tires are different brands entirely. Crap...I know that it's super important for AWD to have all 4 tires be exactly the same.

They are the same dimensions (215/60R16) and they both look very new, but I know that doesn't mean they are the same exact diameter within 1/4"

So now what do I do? I bought this thing from a dealer in AZ, and there is a provision under the Lemon law that you have 15 days 500 warranty miles on a used car...Guess I'm going to have to ask them to fix it.

If I can't get them to do it, short of buying 4 new tires, is taking them in to get measured and shaved a good option?

Kicking myself for not catching that before the sale! Probably could have gotten 4 new tires out of the dealer...
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
Measure the tires before you get too excited. Put a string on the ground and run over it. Make a mark on the string... ect. ect. Do all four tires and see how far off you are.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Good call. Unfortunately, not very good news. I jacked it up to make things easier, and checked it twice for each tire, but just on the passenger side for now. I figure they match side to side, so that shouldn't be necessary to do both sides. They appear to be about 25mm different in circumference, font and back.

So if circumference = pi x diameter or c=pi*d, then d=c/pi.

So difference in diameter can be found:
d=25mm/3.14 = 7.96mm = .31 inches.

Not good, huh? :icon_evil:

Shouldn't drive it this way...right?
Who's going to pay for 4 new tires or tire shaving to make it right?
Most unsettling, how to know how long it was driven this way, and if & how much damage has already been done?

Lame. Not how I want to be feeling after just purchasing a car.

:censored:
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
I believe the rule is .25 inch in circumference, not diameter. So your problem is worse than you thought!:icon_mad: Sounds like you get to buy new tires. I would also change your diff and tranny fluids too. Your center diff is going to be the one that took the most abuse. I walked away from a nice used car at a subaru dealer for just this reason. The scary part was that it had ONE mismatched tire on it.
 

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Registered
2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Right, .25 circumference. Dammit. :icon_sad:

I knew this was an important issue from owning a 93 Legacy AWD previously. I had a blow out, replaced the fronts only and drove another 1500 miles or so before going in for the rears. They said no, you need to do all 4, so I did that...That was 3 years ago and it still runs. It already had 200,000 on it, too.

But I probably would have walked on this one if I had noticed the different tires.

But I have signed the papers and handed over cash, so it's mine now. My only chance of recourse is the 15 day 500 mile warranty under lemon law. Dealer is getting a call from me tomorrow for sure. Here's hoping they do something about it.

If I was unscrupulous I could try and sell it immediately and take the hit for tax & license fees that I paid...and interest...ugh. I'd like a beer.
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
Contact the dealer and explain your problem. Depending on how far you talked them down, they should work with you. May want to offer to pay 50% for a set of tires if they are no help. Did you buy this a t a Subby dealer?
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Unfortunately it's a Nissan dealer...

The contract does state:
(1) Used Car Implied Warranty of Merchantability:

The seller hereby warrants that this vehicle will be fit for the ordinary purposes for which the vehicle is used for 15 days or 500 miles after delivery, whichever is earlier, except with regard to particular defects disclosed on the first page of this agreement. You (the purchaser) will have to pay up to $25.00 for each of the first two repairs if the warranty is violated.

AZ Lemon Law...

Doesn't seem very "fit" with mismatched tires on an AWD vehicle.
 

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2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
Bring with you something from Subaru that states it's bad to have mismatched tires.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The manual does say:
"All four tires must be the same in terms of manufacturer, brand (tread pattern), construction, degree of wear, speed symbol, load index and size. Mixing tires of different types, sizes or degrees of wear can result in damage to the vehicle's power train. Use of different types or sizes of tires can also dangerously reduce controllability and braking performance and can lead to an accident."

Seems pretty clear. I'll holler at them about the safety bit too...Seems like best case scenario will be them replacing all four tires and having me pay the $25. Then I have to live with whatever damage may or may not have been done and decide if I want to keep the vehicle for the long haul.
 

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2001 Forester S, auto
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444 Posts
It takes quite a while for it to actually cause damage on the car.
 

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Premium Member
2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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4,255 Posts
Re:
Bring with you something from Subaru that states it's bad to have mismatched tires.
See Item #4 at this Subaru website.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Spoke with Subie dealer service dept this morning and they said 3/32" tread depth max difference for the tires, & that mine is way too much (.3 inch circumference difference) i didn't measure tread depth, but assume all comes down to circumference.

But they did also say it will only do noticeable damage over the long term, as in tens of thousands of miles. That puts me a little more at ease, but I still don't know how long it was driven this way. Given that the tires on the front (which appear to be the newer ones/larger circumference) look very new, I don't think they've been on there very long.

I don't feel great about driving it until this gets fixed. Lesson learned...no matter how busy I am, there's no excuse for not taking extra time & care checking out a used vehicle.

Now if my dealer agent guy will answer his phone and help me out with some new tires...
 

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2007 Sports XT 4EAT
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2,485 Posts
If all else fails, I'd trade them in at a tire shop. If they're in good shape you should be able to get something out of them towards a new set.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
If all else fails, I'd trade them in at a tire shop. If they're in good shape you should be able to get something out of them towards a new set.
Yeah, whatever happens there will be a new set of tires going on very soon. I was planning to drive to Bisbee this weekend (about 100 miles) and don't feel comfortable going on the highway until I get this sorted out. I spoke with the dealer who sold me the car today and didn't get a commitment, but that he would check with his service dept...he was checking on getting me service receipts from the PO also. We shall see. Better than sorry you're sol, I guess. I think with the 15 day / 500 mile warranty of merchantability I may have a leg to stand on.

Good idea to ask about trade if I end up doing it myself, though. I hadn't thought of that. They are all pretty fresh looking.
 

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2003 Forester X Auto
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947 Posts
If the front tires are fairly new then you may get away with only replacing the rears. I would go with the tires with the least wear or the better brand(your choice) and check the tread depth. If new tires can be matched with the existing ones and be within the specs listed in the manual, then it may be a cheaper route and the selling dealer may go for that. Also, where yours is an auto trans, you can insert the FWD fuse and make your subie front wheel drive only until you get this sorted. Check the manual on how far you can drive in this mode. It's meant for when you get a flat and have to run the temp spare for a distance until the regular tire is fixed or replaced.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Well we'll see what the dealer comes back with. I spoke with my rep again yesterday and he gave me the spiel about they would probably help me, but he has to get approval because they went down so far on the price for me. I told him I understand but that the price I negotiated with them was based on the vehicle being fit to drive and not needing immediate repairs. It was very civil and I have hopes that they will help me out. They did throw in a headlight cover restore as part of the sale (the plastic covers were starting the get cloudy) that they are doing tomorrow morning, put a fresh battery in it before the sale, etc.

I did not know about that FWD fuse...very interesting. I couldn't find any mention of it my manual besides in the fuse box diagram, where it shows a FWD fuse slot. It didn't say anything about it in the changing a tire are or anywhere else I could find. It looks like you just pop a fuse in that slot to activate FWD? Does this cause its own stress on the drive system? need to research...
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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Measuring the diameter and doing the multiplication is not very accurate. Take a tape and measure the circumference in the middle of the tread..staying out the groves.. It might be worse or it might bring it into specs.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Measuring the diameter and doing the multiplication is not very accurate. Take a tape and measure the circumference in the middle of the tread..staying out the groves.. It might be worse or it might bring it into specs.
Nope, I measured circumference carefully, not diameter. 25mm circumference or about 1 inch difference between front and rear tires, which seems very significant. :icon_sad:

I am going to fix it one way or the other with a set of new tires, but the part that gets me is that there's really no way to know if/how much damage has already been done. :icon_confused:

I did some research on the FWD drive thing and decided it was a very good idea to switch to FWD until I get this fixed. Took 2 minutes...

Soobs are so cool!:icon_cool:
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Well I got in to the dealer today for the headlight cover refinish and to talk about the tires. The headlights look brand new, which is awesome.

It sounded like they put the fronts on when the car came in and they will put 2 more of the same on the rear next week. I stressed that they have to be the same circumference, and they seemed to get it, but I am going to have to make them measure them in front of me to feel good about it.

The front tires (and the ones they plan to add the the rear) are some off brand I've never heard of: Imax Ironman. Ever heard of them? I could find very little info online, and they are made in China. Not exactly confidence inspiring...but good that the dealer is willing to work with me.

In the meantime I am running in FWD, which I assume is OK for a week or so, and better than running in AWD with mismatched tires front & rear...?
 

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2010 Forester XT Automatic
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575 Posts
Take that new set to your local tire shop and see what your trade-in value is. Worst case you can swap them out for a set of conti extreme contacts, or the like. Just make sure to check tirerack for pricing before you agree to anything.

Also, if they replaced just the fronts, why?
 
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