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GloPro's avatar

What is reasonable here? (Details)

Asked by GloPro (8248 points ) June 13th, 2014 from iPhone

A kid rammed my parked car in late March. The auto body shop had my car for 2 weeks completing $6,500 of work on the front end of my car, including fixing a bent frame. I got my car back April 5th.

Two days ago I was giving my car a quick look over and discovered that my back left tire is dangerously worn on the inside. By that I mean there is a one-inch worn area where the metal threads are exposed several millimeters. The tire could blow any minute.

All 5 tires (spare) were purchased at the same time last fall. I drive an average of 8,000 miles a year. I need a new set of at least two tires because of the worn tire.

I went by the auto shop this morning and the mechanic told me they failed to align my tires after putting everything back together again, and this is what caused this unusual wear.

I feel it was only common sense that they should have aligned my tires given the bent frame and the tearing down of the entire engine compartment and front end of my car. I agree I should keep a better eye on my tires and I went 2 months without noticing this extreme wear to my tire.

The mechanic told me he intends to call the kid’s insurance company and put in a request that they pay not only for the alignment that was originally neglected, but also for the new set of tires because it was the accident that ultimately caused the damage.

I don’t know how I feel about that. Obviously I need the alignment and the tires, but who is responsible financially?

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15 Answers

Judi's avatar

I would talk to your insurance company and let them negotiate with the other insurance company and the body shop. That’s what you pay them for.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Do you care as long as it isn’t you?
Let the auto-body shop and the insurance company fight it out.

But on the side of being on the moral high ground, the auto-shop should say Oh shit we screwed up, we failed to align the front end causing the tire to wear and need replacing, WE will pay for 2 new tires.
BUT in the real world and where money rules, they will never admit it and if they can get the insurance company to pay for it they will.

chyna's avatar

But for the actions of the kid hitting your car, this would not be an issue right now. And then again, the body shop didn’t complete the job they were hired to do. If everyone were to admit their short comings, I feel the kid’s insurance should pay for the alignment and the body shop should pay for 2 tires.
But life is never that neat and tidy.

GloPro's avatar

@Judi My insurance went up $120 a year because my car was involved in an accident deemed not my fault, regardless of the fact that I wasn’t even in the car and I didn’t file anything to them on that accident. They were still $200 cheaper than competitors or I would have switched on principle. So I hesitate to bring my insurance into it at all.

I also feel that the body shop should pay for the tires. We’ll see if State Farm offers to pay for both before I bring that up.

chyna's avatar

Damned insurance is a scam.

janbb's avatar

I would think the body shop is at fault and should pay for the repairs and new tires.

Judi's avatar

@GloPro , I hat “No Fault” insurance. They might as well call it, “Everybody is at fault so everybody pays” insurance.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Sounds to me like the auto body shop is trying to get the kid’s insurance company to pay for what was their own fault. The damage to the tire would not have occurred if they had not failed to do the alignment. The alignment should originally have gone on the kid’s insurance company’s tab, however – so it probably makes little difference whether they were billed then or are billed now. But the replacement tire(s) should be on your auto body shop.

Kid’s insurance company might balk at paying for anything after having settled the claim. If they do, the auto body shop should pick up the entire bill.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Wheel alignment is such a basic operation after front end work that the body shop is almost certainly culpable. That the shop admitted .its mistake is a point in their favor on the integrity chart. What concerns me most is the fact that it is one of your REAR tires that has severe uneven wear. There are cars that require rear wheel adjustments, but severely uneven wear on a rear tire is EXTREMELY unusual, and one of the very few causes for such a situation is a twisted frame distorting the camber of the wheel. Now it is possible that the wheels may have been switched around during the extensive body work, but even were this the case, a blind man would have noticed the wear at the time. I don’t mean to alarm you or be pessimistic, but it might be worth it to have your car looked at by a reputable (AAA recommended) frame shop.

hearkat's avatar

Your original paperwork should indicate whether they already billed the insurance company for the alignment. As others have noted, that is a routine procedure and is probably automatically included in the estimate and itemized bill. If they didn’t already bill the insurer, then it is appropriate for them to try to get that procedure covered.

However, the tires are solely a result of the body shop’s negligence and weren’t damaged as a result of the accident, therefore, the insurance company is not responsible for that.

In this case, since the body shop was clearly negligent, I agree with those who suggest that you have the entire car checked again by a third party for your safety.

kritiper's avatar

The main fault is with the kid who caused the damage and the remaining fault is the shop’s who should have checked/done the alignment. Your insurance company might be able to help with this.

jca's avatar

The shop should have caught this and they would have gotten it from the kid’s insurance company. My guess is that since the claim is settled and closed, monies paid out and check cashed, the insurance company isn’t going to be reopening any claim, so it would be between you and the shop. I wouldn’t count on the shop doing any work for free, since that’s what they’d be doing at this point.

Please post an update as to what the conclusion is. I think everyone is curious as to how things turn out. Good luck!

jca
the Update Lady

GloPro's avatar

@jca I agree that it’s an uphill battle and I’m most likely footing the bill on all of this. It has been a tiny bit reassuring to hear from you guys that I’m getting screwed, though.

jca's avatar

@GloPro: You might try arguing with the shop by telling them that they should have known that if the frame was bent, it would need alignment. Maybe they’ll do the alignment for free, but I wouldn’t count on it. I wouldn’t plan on getting tires paid for by them.

CWMcCall's avatar

The body shop had you car for 2 weeks which tells me the damage was significant and I would assume both the shop and insurance are well aware of this and the challenge invlved to restore your car to like condition. You have insurance to cover the cost for repair or replacement of a damaged vehicle and I would not settle for anything less than good as it was before the crash condition. Write a letter to both the repair shop and the insurance over your complete dissatisfaction over the repairs done and that you expect further repairs and replacement of the tires. Send pics of the worn tire as well. If you get a cold shoulder threaten to take both to small claims court.

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