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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For a variety of reasons, I'd like to change/upgrade the tires on my Element to 235/70/16's. So after some online reviews and price shopping I conclude Costco offers the best overall price/installation/warranty.

BUT... they note they will *NOT* install any size other than the ORIGINAL tire size on a vehicle- period. A phone call to the Costco store confirms: "Oh no- that can cause thousands of dollars in damage. We won't do it UNLESS you can get a letter IN WRITING from your Honda Dealer stating that the tire size won't hurt the vehicle.

SO... I phone the dealer service department who says, "That's ridiculous! OF COURSE it won't hurt anything... but we CAN NOT put such a thing in writing of course. Liability laws, lawyers- you know!"

SO... I phone Honda Customer Service. And they reply, "Let me read you your warranty: ANY CHANGES WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY."

After a bit more discussion with Honda it IS APPARENT that if you change your tire size and you encounter a failure of any "related" system or part (engine, transmission, sensor, computer, ABS, axle, wheel, etc.) they will NOT honor the warranty.

Sooooo... One is left with the choice of changing tire sizes and keeping the old tires and then changing them BACK in the event of a warranty issue - simply rolling the dice and doing it anyway- or sticking with the factory size: 215/70/16.

In 99 cases out of 100 it won't make a bit of difference- although you won't be able to have your tires mounted at Costco under any conditions. But if you HAPPEN to be the unlucky 1 in 100 who needs a $3500 drivetrain repair under warranty... who wants to leave Honda a big loophole to escape through?

ARGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!

Steve
 

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The WARRANTY ISSUE with 'oversize tires' is thorny at best. My Michelin
Synchrone 4x4 235-70-16's are super skins, and one of their 3 belted
layers is steel and this combo has already done yeoman duty in pounding on really rocky desert trails...
BUT, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DRIVE TRAIN - IN MY CASE 4-WHEEL DRIVE -
when I mount that peanut/donut spare and then drive say 10 or even 50
miles for assistance? Do the viscous clutches or other 'elements' in the drivetrain get buggered or thoroughly knackered?
Looking for all/any thoughts on this potentially hugely serious issue.
I sure don't wanna' stay at home on the one hand but don't want to have
a broken down buggy due to this problem, no matter where it might be, or
have to fork over $3,500 to get the bits sorted after a drivtrain catastrophe.

Cheers, Tim B. GalaGreenBullPup beepbeep
 

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Costco gladly installed my new Michelins 235/70/16 which were purchased from another source(the tirerack) for only 9.00 per tire mounted and balanced.
Good job, Better price. no hassle !!
 

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With a larger tire/wheel the additional width increases the stress at teh wheel bearings and flanges. If you go to a larger tire be just know that it might be an issue but probably wont. Wheel bearings are cheap and relatively easy to replace. However, if you damage the flanges your looking at some money. Chances are, going from a 215 to a 235 nothing will happen but realize that it can.
 

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Interesting info related to this topic.
SPECIALTY AUTO PARTS CONSUMERS BILL OF RIGHTS

Your Rights to Personalize Your Vehicle

ARTICLE ONE:
You have the Right to buy high-quality, reliable aftermarket performance and specialty parts, accessories and styling options.
ARTICLE TWO:
You have the Right to use high-quality aftermarket parts and know that your new car warranty claims will be honored. In fact, your vehicle dealer may not reject a warranty claim simply because an aftermarket product is present. A warranty denial under such circumstances may be proper only if an aftermarket part caused the failure being claimed.
ARTICLE THREE:
You have the Right to install and use emissions-legal aftermarket performance parts without incurring hassles and onerous procedures during state vehicle emissions inspections.
ARTICLE FOUR:
You have the Right to actively oppose any proposed (or existing) laws or regulations that will reduce your freedom to use aftermarket automotive parts and service or will curtail your ability to take part in the automotive hobbies of your choice.
ARTICLE FIVE:
You have the Right to patronize independent retail stores and shops for vehicle parts and service. The U.S. aftermarket offers the world's finest selection of performance and specialty parts, accessories and styling options. These aftermarket products satisfy the most discriminating customers seeking personalized vehicles for today's lifestyle.

The foregoing message is brought to you by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). If you would like our guidelines on what to do if your new car warranty is denied, call SEMA's Fax-on- Demand service, 909/396-0182, ext. 750 and request document #904 or check the "Improper Warranty Denial" section of our web site. Also available in this section of the web site is up-to-date information on legislative and regulatory proposals that will have an impact on vehicle enthusiasts.
WARRANTY DENIAL!

IMPROPER AND PROPER VOIDING OF NEW-VEHICLE WARRANTIES

There are probably still some people out there who believe that new-vehicle warranties are voided when aftermarket parts are installed. It is not difficult to understand how people might feel that way when the vehicle dealers do everything they can to make people believe that is true. In fact, as we know, it is not true! Further, statements to the contrary by vehicle manufacturers, their dealers and other agents are in violation of the law. Just in case you run into someone who does not know the facts, here they are.

TYPES OF WARRANTIES
The first thing to understand is that there are two types of warranties. The first is called an express warranty. The new-car warranty is an example. Another example is the emissions warranty, which is required by the Clean Air Act. These are warranties which are written, or more rarely, spoken warranties where the terms are spelled out. The second type of warranty is called an implied warranty. This warranty is not written but imposed by law on those who, by certain conduct, imply that there is some warranty with regard to their products. For example, when a manufacturer sells a product, it is reasonable to assume that the product will perform in a particular fashion, that is, it will be fit for the ordinary purpose for such a product. If the product fails to perform, there is a breach of an implied warranty. Further, if the seller knows the purposes for which the product will be used, there is an implied warranty that the product will be fit for that purpose. Sellers can avoid the responsibility of express warranties by simply not offering one. (That's pretty tough with the emissions warranties, since they are required by law.) Implied warranties can also be avoided in some states if the seller disclaims any implied warranties.

EXPRESS WARRANTIES
Both federal and state laws have been enacted to regulate the way in which warranties are enforced, to attempt to reduce consumer fraud. One such law is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, administered by the Federal Trade Commission. One of the most important provisions of that Act is that "no warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name...."That says it all. No manufacturer, including the vehicle manufacturers, can void its warranties, any warranties, merely because aftermarket parts are used on its vehicles. If that were not enough, Congress when further to include similar language in the Clean Air Act. Under the Clean Air Act, vehicle manufacturers are required to provide two types of warranties with their vehicles. The first is the production, or defect, warranty which says that the vehicle, at the time of sale, will be free from defects which would cause it to fail to meet required emission levels for its useful life. This warranty is generally triggered when a large number of vehicles fail to meet requirements, and there is a recall. The second warranty is the performance warranty which says that if the vehicle fails to maintain its emissions levels for the required period, inspection and maintenance test required by the states. (For more information, see related document in series, "Inspection/Maintenance Programs.") So what happens to these warranties when you install aftermarket equipment? Nothing! In addition to requiring that vehicle manufacturers provide warranties, the Clean Air Act requires that manufacturers not condition the warranties on the use of their components or service, unless it is provided free of charge. What could be more clear?

WHEN MAY WARRANTIES BE VOIDED?
From what is said above, it is clear that a warranty cannot be voided merely because an aftermarket part is installed on a vehicle. Example 1: The use of computer chips, or similar recalibration devices, does not automatically void new- vehicle warranties: it must be proven that the use of such aftermarket devices were directly responsible for the claim. Example 2: Strange as it many seem, dealerships have tried to deny warranty for things such as leaking rear main seals or wheel bearings when unrelated items such as an aftermarket exhaust system have been installed. Example 3: Even substantial modifications with aftermarket products such as superchargers or suspension kits can be completely irrelevant to the cause of vehicle failure. However, there are circumstances where a warranty can be voided. If a consumer installs an aftermarket part and either the improper installation of the product or the product itself is responsible for a problem which results in a warranty claim, the vehicle manufacturer is not responsible for the claim. No one, including the vehicle manufacturer, should be responsible for problems which are created by others, and the law honors this principle in the area of warranties. A thorough examination of a vehicle which is under warranty must be conducted by the dealership to determine the cause of the problem.

IMPROPER WARRANTY DENIAL
If a vehicle dealer denies an emissions warranty claim merely on the basis of the installation of aftermarket parts which have not been the cause of the warranty claim, get the refusal and the reasons for the refusal in writing. Then, follow the procedures in the owner's manual for warranty coverage. If all fails, contact the Environmental Protection Agency to report the improper warranty denial. The number is 202/233-9040 or 202/233-9100.
If the warranty denial relates to the new-vehicle warranty and is based merely upon the installation of aftermarket parts which have not been demonstrated to be the cause of the warranty claim, contact the Federal Trade Commissions to report the improper warranty denial. The FTC number is 202/326-3128.
 

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Hi,

I am new to this forum and I am also planning to get an E really soon. Back to the topic, Larger tires will not hurt the vehicle. The only thing you will want to look out for especially in the AWD Es is that you will want to make sure the front and rear wheels + tires are the same diameter.

If the front or the rear is smaller it will cause the viscous coupling to burn up and makes the car feel like the clutch is slipping. Larger wheels will also not make a difference unless the diameter of the wheel + tire combination is smaller or larger than the factory wheel. Usually when one installs a larger wheel the profile of the tire will be shorter giving the vehicle better handling due to the thinner side walls but ride quality will be compromised as the tire gets thinner.

A smaller than factory spec diameter wheel + tire combination will yield a shorter final drive and a larger wheel will make the final drive taller. Taller meaning the rpms will turn lower at higher speeds.

Usually most tire and wheel shops decline to work on altered or modified vehicles due to liability and having a disgruntal customer haunt them with small problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A couple of follow-up comments:

First- the "Bill of Rights" only seems to confirm that manufacturers really ARE using after-market modifications as an excuse to avoid paying warranty claims. The prospect of having to hire an attorney and suing my way through the process of warranty claims isn't very appealing. While the vehicle owner MAY win in the end- the very fact that he has to sue at trial to have a chance makes even a "winner" a "loser"- which of course is what the manufactuers are counting on.

Not only do I not think going to 235 tires will "hurt" the Element- in the case of my 2wd I think it will help the vehicle since the 3500 rpm engine speed at 70mph leaves me perpetually reaching for 6th gear. Just the modst 1 1/4" increase in tire diameter would reduce engine rpm 150 rpm or so- not much, but an improvement.

In the manufacturer's defense, I will say that some of the modifications I see owners performing on their vehicles probably SHOULD void the warranty! I'm not talking about oversize tires here- but I see vehicles being driven with wheels that have so much offset they stick completely outside the wheelwells, lift kits of 6" and more, suspensions lowered so far the vehicle "bounces" down the highway like a basketball being dribbled downcourt, etc.

I often see these types of modifications and find myself thinking, "The manufacturer spent 3 years a billion dollars on engineering, testing, design, computer modeling and analysis, etc. and an aftermarket manufacturer produces a $300 "kit" that in many cases was "engineered" by a guy with a tape measure and a pencil and owners wonder why the car has some handling quirks after being completely re-designed.

Ahhh well, that's the beauty of freedom I suppose- we can buy 'em and we can mess with 'em any way we want- even if we do void our warranties!

Steve
 

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Wow, just reading all this makes me 'tired'.

Interesting how marketing affects attitude. I just read some of the articles about Toyotas 2 new Scion models, marketed like the Element, to the younger crowd. Apparently they are taking a different approach to aftermarket-they are ENCOURAGING IT! At least according to the article. They are doing this purportedly because that is a big selling point to their target customers. Maybe that approach would help Honda capture the same tarket audience (instead of all us boomers).
 

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E-lated said:
Costco gladly installed my new Michelins 235/70/16 which were purchased from another source(the tirerack) for only 9.00 per tire mounted and balanced.
Good job, Better price. no hassle !!
I just put new Avon Rangers(Tire Rack) on my '04 E and Costco has discontinued putting other people's tires on. Sam's Club did mine for 9.00 per tire, balanced and fees. Everybody else wanted 20-40.00 each.
 
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