Now comes word of another proposed nationwide class-action suit over what plaintiff Anthony Nardizzi claims are defective wheels on 2015-19 Z06s and 2017-19 Grand Sports.
Numerous stories about wheel cracking problems have been posted for years on Corvette Forum, and Car & Driver magazine even reported that it had to replace or repair six damaged wheels over the course of its 40,000-mile test period with a 2017 Grand Sport.
In 2017, Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter said on Corvette Forum that “a frequent sequence of events is that a wheel gets bent by a road hazard but the damage is initially almost undetectable to the driver. Maybe the driver notices a little more vibration, but many times not if the wheel is only slightly out-of-round (just a millimeter or two). A wheel that is not perfectly round puts stress in the rim that varies with each wheel rotation. Over time fatigue cracks can form after thousands or even millions of cycles. The wheel doesn’t look any different but begins to leak air at the rim. Since it is hundreds or thousands of miles after the damaging event, the driver often can’t remember hitting anything that would justify a crack in the wheel. I have actually experienced this myself.”
In his suit, Nardizzi claims the defects actually exist from the time the car is new as he immediately took his 2018 Corvette to a third-party company to have the wheels coated and the wheel finishing company told him two of the wheels were already bent.
Replacing the wheels cost Nardizzi $7,500, of which General Motors finally agreed to pay $1,200.
The suit claims that GM is breaching its 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty by blaming Corvette drivers for the cracked and bent wheels. Nardizzi says that since the defects were discovered immediately in his case, they could not have been caused by a road hazard.
The suit alleges that GM knew or should have known about the defective wheels before Nardizzi leased his Corvette, based on internal data and numerous complaints already filed by other owners. Juechter’s comments in 2017 would seem to support that argument, though Tadge did end his response on Corvette Forum by noting: “Our field data does not suggest a recent significant increase in the wheel damage rate on our cars. There may be more reports of damage than historically, but, between the Z06 and Grand Sport, we are selling lots more wide-wheel cars than we ever have before. More cars on the road means more chance of hitting something in the road.”
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