This customer came in on 3/19/15 @ 8 am and we performed an alignment on his 2004 BMW X5 - 4.4L V8 Sport Model with 101878 miles on it. We use a Snap -On tools John Beam 4 wheel computerized digital camera alignment machine that is very accurate. We road tested the vehicle after and it drove straight. Approx. two weeks later he called and said it was pulling. I asked if it was pulling when he left after the alignment and I could perceive he did not like the question. I was only asking for the reason that a pot hole or curb could have upset the alignment and I would have assumed if the alignment was not correct he would have called immediately after driving away. He made an appointment for us to recheck the alignment on 4/7/15 @ 8 am but he never showed up. On 4/20/15 @ 10:30 am the customer returned and in a loud, demanding voice said for me to come look at his car without telling me what was wrong. I left my desk to go outside and he pointed at his rear tires and said we caused them to wear out. I stood back about 10 feet so I could visually look at both rear tires and site down the vehicle all while he was angrily addressing me so I kept my distance from him. He went on to threaten suing us and saying how he knows we rip people off and sell unneeded repairs. He repeated that he is not paying for new tires and it is our fault they are worn. He did not want to hear anything I said nor was he accommodating to us looking at the tire wear on the alignment machine. He went out the door with more threats and I guess posting complaints is how he gets back at us.
I reviewed his original repair order, 27 point inspection and alignment print out, the customer has a copy of all these. Curiously he said repeatedly that his new tires are worn out but on our inspection report we recorded tire tread measurements of 10/32 ( this is the average new tire tread depth) on the front tires and 8/32 on the left rear and 6/32 on the right rear. This car is a powerful V8 all wheel drive performance BMW, I do know tires on these vehicles will wear out in the 10000 to 12000 mile range especially if the car is driven aggressively. The tire sizes on this car, 225/55/19 fronts & 285/45/19 rears, fall into the performance category with the lowest Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) Rating for tread wear and no tire manufacture I know of provides any tread life guarantee nor can they be rotated due to the different sizes which would help to even out tire wear. The alignment print out I reviewed shows all adjustable settings within manufacture's tolerance. I do not see that anything we had control over could have been done differently. When I asked him how many miles he has driven since the alignment was done, 4 weeks had elapsed, he stated to me a higher number than stated above, I was not given the opportunity to inspect the odometer.
As to his initial statement "I went in to get a wheel alignment on 3/19/15 because my car was shaking" I explained to him at the time of repair order write up that alignment will not usually correct a shaking condition but he still wanted an alignment. We performed our on lift inspection and it was reported to me the front wheels were packed with dirt, this usually happens from driving on dirt roads in the winter time. I informed him of this and explained he could go to a car wash and get the dirt cleaned out. This I explain here to show that we identified the problem that caused the original complaint of steering wheel shake.
As to his complaint of the oil seeping, we only report what we see. It is very normal to see oil seepage on BMW valve covers with 100000 miles on them. This could very easily been resolved if he had asked for me to show him the leak which I could have done in the parking lot. We report any oil leaks we see due to the fact that they can cause a burning smell that is often reported after the car is in a shop. I have no idea who he had look at it but if they are not familiar with BMW engines they may not know exactly where to look, yes even at a BMW dealer they do not always have experienced techs. We are the only repair shop in town that routinely have BMW's, MINI's, Porsche's etc. in our parking lot awaiting repairs.
I have never heard of a shop guaranteeing tires to not wear after an alignment, there are too many variables out of the shops control that affect tire wear, a car can hit a pothole on the way home and change or bend suspensions components. His request for us to replace his tires and refund the alignment money is baseless and unheard of.
Research BMW forums on X5 tire wear to verify what I said here:
I agree with his last two statements and we provide prompt/reliable/competent service to thousands of customers every year.
Read all our positive reviews from customers that appreciate what we do for them on a daily basis.
This is not an easy business to keep all customers happy and it takes a two way relationship if there are concerns or problems.
The repairs were discussed and authorized by her husband and there seems to be a miscommunication with what he said to do versus what Anne expected done. We found the tires were worn out and in need of replacement for winter driving, so it made no sense to repair the soft tire if he was going to replace them. We did discover the NY inspection was expired, one brake light was out, the rear parking brake was noisy and the oil change was due. We completed all of these repairs with no complaints. All that needed to be done was for the customer to request us to proceed with the repair of the soft tire and we would have solved all of the cars problems.