A federal judge was not convinced.
The saga over the C7 Chevrolet Corvette and its cracked wheel rims continues. This isn't the first time we've reported on this issue and surely won't be the last. What's happening now? According to Car Complaints, a California federal judge has just dismissed a lawsuit filed by a 2018 Corvette owner claiming the sports car's wheels were defective from the get-go.
Not long after taking possession of the vehicle, the owner ended up taking it to a third-party auto shop to have the wheels coated. That's where an employee discovered the rims were cracked. The owner contacted the dealership and demanded they pay the $7,500 it cost to replace the wheels but was told the wheels were warped due to his driving and the warranty doesn't cover the repair costs.
After some back and forth, GM agreed to contribute $1,200 towards the bill. The federal judge assigned to this case, however, sided with GM because the owner failed to prove a workmanship or materials defect. GM's warranty applies to "any vehicle defect, not slight noise, vibrations, or other normal characteristics of the vehicle due to materials or workmanship during the warranty period." In other words, the judge believes the owner was responsible somehow for the damage. If it was a design defect on GM's part, the judge ruled the owner failed to address it "through repair or replacement of an isolated component."
The phrase "slight noise, vibrations, or other normal characteristics of the vehicle" was enough to convince the judge which defects were covered by the warranty. Furthermore, the judge pointed out any potential warranty issue requires owners to take their vehicles to a dealership, not a third-party repair shop.
Last month, a group of 18 C7 owners joined a separate class-action lawsuit filed in Michigan seeking millions in reimbursements for the same cracked wheel problem. There are no new updates regarding that litigation. However, the California judge in this latest case referenced previous complaints when ruling against the owner. Several complaints were filed after the guy purchased his car with some even suggesting the cracked rims were due to driver error or road conditions.
Even though this lawsuit was dismissed, expect GM to fight the existing litigation tooth and nail as it could be forced to pay tens of millions if it loses.