The new Opel utility seems to have a rear tyre wear problem. Every one of them in our fleet suffers from it, and today one of my staff followed through to get to the bottom of it and what GM is doing about it.
The problem is the inside half of the tyre tread wears faster than the outside half, apparently because of a slight negative camber. Now I'm quite used to tyres not wearing exactly evenly and never gave the matter much thought. My solution up to now has been to keep the rear tyres on the back, which then yields about 50 000km without much drama.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you are) my staffer, who happens to be a rather good mechanic, doesn't share my rather simplistic view on this and had to dig into the issue further. Although in fairness what got him started was not because he's "fussy," but because the GM dealer had seemingly stuffed up the wheel alignment with the 15 000km service on his vehicle.
What happened is that with the 15 000km service the dealer rotated the tyres and did the wheel alignment. Two things happened - the steering wheel was no longer centered properly, and the fuel consumption went up about 10%. So today, having a bit of time, he took the vehicle back to the dealer and started investigating.
Apparently the issue of the uneven rear tyre wear is known. So my staffer, being aware that such things exist, asks what the manufacturer's recommendation is to solve this. According to the dealer, instruction from factory is to rotate the tyres and set the extra toe-in on the front to scrub off the outside half of the tyre tread to promote even tyre wear.
Yep! that will solve it
Not to mention avoid footing any bills for what appears to be a design fault. After all, recalls are expensive, times are tough and technically this isn't a dangerous safety problem.
However, this solution has some clear consequences that are not exactly kind to the customer - a higher fuel bill and faster wearing tyres. I've yet to check whether we were charged for the wheel alignment
Frankly, I prefer my way of just leaving the tyres where they are and having optimal front wheel alignment. Tyres will last longer, it's kinder on my wallet and a lot more environmentally friendly. But if we're going to go to the trouble of rotating tyres and doing wheel alignment, why not just flip the back tyres around on their rim every 15 000km (make the inside of the tyre on the outside). Sure, you'll have to rebalance the tyre, but this will be far less work than the whole tyre rotation and wheel alignment deal.
Not to mention that the tyres will actually last longer and we'll use less fuel.
No wonder GM can't catch a break from Top Gear