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Old 09-03-2009, 08:40 PM   #1
jbreed
 
Drives: 2010 Camaro RS Cyber Gray
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Customer Service A Major Waste of Time - Tires

Recap: Last week I had a flat, and questioned the wisdom of using sealant in speed rated tires. Pirelli North America (PNTA) emailed me the following:
"PTNA does not recommend: 1) The use of tire sealants in Pirelli brand tires to repair, even temporarily, a puncture; 2) Repairing of V,W,Y, or Z speed rated tires; 3) Repairing Run Flat tires."

They also sent me their tire guide and went out of his way to ensure I knew their position on the matter and that use of sealants voids the warranty on the tire.

GM’s owner’s manual on the other hand states ......Immediately drive the vehicle 8 km (5 miles) to distribute the sealant in the tire....Replace it with a new canister available from your dealer/retailer... After temporarily sealing a tire using the tire sealant and compressor kit, take the vehicle to an authorized dealer/retailer within a 161 km (100 miles) of driving to have the tire repaired...”

I have asked (repeatedly) for clarification on why the manufacturer of the tire says one thing and GM says something else. Not knowing who or what to believe at this point, is there someone there who can address the use of sealants on speed rated tires?

I am also interested in knowing what (if any) impact sealants my have on the tire pressure monitoring units mounted in each wheel.

Lastly, will the rear tires/rims fit in the Camaro’s trunk if I have a flat and use a spare? I have not tried this – but assume they will.

I had call back from Customer Service this afternoon that basically said, the manual says it's safe - so it must be. I asked for them to send me something in writing to confirm that and they declined.

If anyone out there has stoke with GM, I can make this really simple, choose one:
1. Pirelli says not to use sealants in speed rated tires. Are they:
a) misguided and don't have access to testing GM as done
b) just trying to sell more tires
c) correct based on testing that shows unacceptable risk
d) GM and Pirelli have agreed sealants are safe and I have been given bad information.

Any assistance appreciated. The supervisor of customer service told me today, yes, he has a supervisor, but I can't speak to him. He would note my complaint, but couldn't say if anyone in at GM would even read the file. He said that as far as he was conserned "the Owners Manual says use sealants, so it must be safe...otherwise we wouldn't have printed it. End of story.."
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:00 PM   #2
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I think Pirelli telling you to not even temporarily use sealant is more of a liability issue. They don't want to say yes and open themselves up for a lawsuit. Too many unknown variables on their end to put their a**es on the line, I can't blame em.

GM thought it all out when they put the sealant and compressor in there, I'd just go ahead and do it. If you're worried about Pirelli having a manufacturer's warranty on the tire, just get it towed, but understand that would only cover a defect in the tire.

I don't know what the pressure sensors look like, but that sealant can get pretty nasty, so I'd imagine there would be a chance of it taking out a pressure sensor, I could be wrong. You could always call your dealer's service department and see what they have to say about that and your warranty.

As far as safety, you'll probably be alright, no less safe than the donuts that came with 4th gens. Really if its sounds like too many 'ifs', and your insurance has free towing, I'd just tow it to dealer.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:09 PM   #3
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The dealer claims they had no idea of Pirelli's objections. Going forward they plan to only order Camaros with spares for dealer stock. I understand why Pirelli doesn't want to agree sealants are safe. What I am asking is shouldn't they at least jointly test this stuff and agree on a position. Tires aren't a minor thing, like floor mats or USB ports, there's a lot riding on this if GM is wrong.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:14 PM   #4
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:19 AM   #5
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My bad, I meant of the base and RS camaro's they order. Most of the SS's they have were ordered or inherited from orders placed by now closed dealers. Classic Chevy in Sugar Land, Texas
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbreed View Post
The dealer claims they had no idea of Pirelli's objections. Going forward they plan to only order Camaros with spares for dealer stock. I understand why Pirelli doesn't want to agree sealants are safe. What I am asking is shouldn't they at least jointly test this stuff and agree on a position. Tires aren't a minor thing, like floor mats or USB ports, there's a lot riding on this if GM is wrong.
The fact that GM includes it in the instruction manual, and ships a kit with the car means there has been some sort of testing/engineering done to make sure its safe enough to use. And whether Pirelli admits it or not, they had to have talked it over with GM before they were sourced to provide tires for the Camaro. Just the fact that the tires are on the car, and the kit comes with the car means there has been engineering done to make sure its okay.

GM would be liable if it turned out not to be a safe way to handle a flat, so I doubt they would leave themselves open for a lawsuit if it wasn't a safe enough way to go about things.

Pirelli's stance is that if they admit its okay to use sealent in any of their tires, they are pretty much opening themselves up to customers assuming they can use it in every tire they make. In today's lawsuit happy world, they aren't going to confirm a single thing, whether they've worked it out with GM or not.

As far as the actual safety, if its just a small leak, your fine, treat it like a spare, drive slow, and get it replaced asap. If its something big like a screwdriver sticking out of the tire, or a chunk of the tire broke off, I'd get it towed.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:48 AM   #7
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My view is if it's an absolute emergency, use the sealant and drive to a safe place. Get the tire fixed properly then. Don't "speed" with a sealant fixed tire. Regardless of what Pirelli says, since it's the factory provided solution GM is backing it.

If it's not an absolute emergency, you can try contacting OnStar if you have that; or if you belong to AAA call them for a flat fix if you have that service.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:01 PM   #8
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Good advice...But I still say manuals can be wrong...My spare is on order and I need to move on...but before I do it's wrong to assume one hand at GM always knows what the other is doing...check out the below from earlier this year:

Federal Register: February 9, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 25 [Page 6453-6454] From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:fr09fe09-79] DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffi...c Safety Administration
[Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0003; Notice 1]

.. The vehicle owner's manuals and tire and information placards included all required information associated with the spare tire equipped vehicles. When a production change substituted a Tire Sealant and Compressor Kit (inflator kit) for the spare tire, the vehicle tire and information placards should have been revised to comply with paragraphs S4.3(c) and S4.3(d) FMVSS No. 110, but were not. (2) The vehicle price label (a.k.a., the Monroney label) has the correct information, whether the vehicle is equipped with an inflator kit Therefore, original purchase owners should already know if their vehicle is equippedwith an inflator kit in place of a spare tire...Read More
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbreed View Post
...but before I do it's wrong to assume one hand at GM always knows what the other is doing...
It's absolutely wrong to assume that for the government; all the more so for Government Motors.
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:45 AM   #10
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I have read somewhere that using sealant will destroy the TPMS sensor. My Opinion: I believe tire sealant would damage the TPMS sensor and need to be replaced.

I have no plan to *ever* use sealant in a tire on my camaro. I will be getting a "save a spare" tire and putting that in the trunk, to get me safely off of the highway, if I were ever in that situation, and then have the car towed.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:57 AM   #11
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Update: Had a call from Candie Fonseca in GM's Exective office yesterday. If anyone reading this from GM sent her my way, thanks for the help. She is going to look into my issue (problems with sealant not being approvd for speed rated Pirellis) again - but said to allow another week or so. She sounded better informed than the two people I talked to in Customer service locally. That said, she has never driven (or sat in, for that matter) a Camaro - which I think should be a requirement of every customer service person at GM. Everyone starts their career as a novice. My son never drank coffee before starting at Starbucks - but he was required to taste and sample all the products (over a period of time) in order to better address customers' questions. I think that should be true with everyone in customer service at GM. Even if you haven't driven a Camaro, Vette or pickup, you ought to have at least sat in one and understand the basic features and limitations. There is far more to car ownership than reading a PDF on a screen and following a script of standard answers.
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Old 09-11-2009, 11:31 AM   #12
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Got a call back today essentially telling me what I already knew. GM seems sold on the idea that making the spare tire an option on the Camaro in favor of inflator kits is the way to go. Pirelli differs in that opinion. Before you drive off the lot in that sweet new ride - consider asking for a spare. Maybe here is an opinion they will value:

Do You Care About Your Spare?

“...Flat tires are so rare I'd rather not compromise the performance of any car I own just to avoid carrying a spare. But I don't ever want to be stranded, either, so for now, the space-saver spares strikes me as the best solution. But if you think otherwise, don't wait until a bitterly cold night to learn what's in your car's spare-tire well.”

Csaba Csere
Former Editor and Columnist
The Steering Wheel Column
Car and Driver
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