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COR Wheel Failure, Owners Beware

 
Old 10-24-2012, 12:52 AM
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C5Natie
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Default COR Wheel Failure, Owners Beware

I dont know if anyone here owns COR wheels but I thought this article was interesting. The center of the wheel completely broke off from the wheel causing a lot of damage. Now the company is blaming the owner and has changed their warranty info after this.



This Guy’s Wheel Self-Destructed And The Company Who Made It Is Blaming Him



If you're buying wheels for your track car from a company that says things like "they're at home on the boulevard or on the racetrack" then it's reasonable to assume that the track is one of the expected places you'll be using those wheels. That means if the center of the wheel busts out while driving, you wouldn't expect the company to deny your warranty claim because "our products are designed for street use."
But that's exactly what one Mustang owner says happened.
Today over at the North American GT-R Owners' Forum (NAGTROC), member Tay posted a sad tale about a wheel. Specifically, a very expensive wheel made by Cor that decided to bagelize (the center of the wheel broke out) itself while the owner was receiving some track driving instruction in his Mustang.
His post caught my attention because the same thing happened to me while I was driving in the 2008 24 Hours Of LeMons race. There are some key differences, however. The biggest of which is that I was racing on the cheapest racing steelies bad checks could buy and this guy's Cor wheels cost over $4,500.
Here's how the owner describes the event:
I attended a track day on May 6th 2012 at Auto Club Speedway with my good friends at HG Motorsports. This was just a track day and by no means, a competitive event. I had run a few sessions on the course and I decided have a go with an instructor in my passenger seat. When I came in to turn 16 of the "Sports Car" layout, instead of turning, the car proceeded to skid to the ground and I went straight off of the course. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw my wheel rolling out behind me. I knew that all of my wheels had been torqued properly, as the instructor did it himself. From the way that the car had ended up, I immediately had a feeling that the front passenger side wheel had broken. Sure enough, as you can see from the pictures, that was the case. Keep in my mind that I was also riding on a brand new set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Because the wheel had come off, the car rode the 14.25" inch disc of the AP Racing 6 piston front brake kit. In addition, the wheel and tire had bounced around in the front fender, inside the wheel well, causing severe body damage.
He says the wheels were purchased new in mid-2011 and that he had their centers painted gold about a week before the incident by a reputable shop that he says has experience working with race cars.
The owner says he contacted Cor to have the wheel replaced under warranty. According to him, Cor requested the wheels be returned for analysis (I'm imagining the wheel on the couch sobbing because its mom-wheel never really held it) and then they responded with this letter:
Dearr. M****s,
We have received the wheels returned for warranty consideration. I have personally inspected the wheels and they conform to their design specification. The wheels were in fact repainted as your letter states and I am concerned about possible effects of the 3rd party paint process may have had on the wheels. Some processes have been known to adversely affect the aluminum material, which could lead to a failure of this kind. As mentioned, I will be having a sample of the failed wheel tested. In the meantime, I have had a chance to familiarize myself with the details surrounding this incident and I would like to point out that our products are designed for street use. The loads and the duration of the loads presented in a track environment are far greater than those experienced in day to day driving. I am sympathetic to your client's unfortunate experience but I feel it is unreasonable to expect our company to be held solely responsible for the damages when the product was clearly not being used in the manner for which it was intended. As your letter states and the photographs provided clearly indicate, the vehicle was at a race track and the client was at an "instructional driving event", not simply a car show. On this basis, we would have to deny the claim for warranty consideration.
If you would like to further discuss this matter, I would be more than happy to make myself available for a telephone conversation next week.
Kind regards,
Robert Herrera

After receiving the letter, Cor seemed to have updated their Warranty information on their website to include a statement saying the warranty was void if the wheel was used in "competitive events." This is counter to previous statements, including Cor's own blog posts where they state Cor wheels can "gain unmatched performance on and off the racetrack" and one where a specially-prepped GT-R with Cor wheels is described as "every bit at home on the track as it is on the boulevard."
It doesn't really seem like Cor wasn't promoting their wheels for track use. Hell, the first sentence on their "about" page reads "COR International was founded by a team of veteran wheel enthusiasts with a commitment to produce the very finest street and competition wheels."
As far as the claim that the painting somehow weakened the materials of the wheel, I'm slightly skeptical of that. I haven't done a comprehensive metallurgical analysis, and I don't know if the paint was based on acidic alien blood, but from past experiences I can't think of a situation where normal automotive paint degraded cast aluminum. Perhaps the wheels were heated in the painting process?
From the information available now, it seems like Cor's image of a track-friendly company doesn't match up with how they actually support owners. If they want to just be showy street wheels, that's fine. But if they're going to repeatedly suggest their wheels' prowess on the track, they need to just suck it up and replace warrantied wheels when they break. It's just a wheel, guys. You build them.
UPDATE: as pointed out below, the company's limited warranty does mention track use, although in a way that seems to contradict their image:
Important: This limited warranty is void when COR Wheels have been subjected to misuse, abuse, Track use, competitive events, 3rd party repair/assembly or disassembly, re-straightening, non-COR applied chrome plating, re-drilling, or have not been mounted with COR International, LLC supplied or recommended hardware.
It should be noted that the owner says this was added after his claim, and has screenshots to back this up on his post.




http://jalopnik.com/5953859/this-guy...ium=socialflow

Last edited by C5Natie; 10-24-2012 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:55 AM
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Welll, alrighty then. No COR wheels for me.

Thanks
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:54 PM
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Cor's Official Response. While I might not agree with how a couple things were handled, I still believe in Cor. I've been selling wheels for quite some time and even the best companies have wheel failures including OEM. For those that know me and my reputation, you know that customer service is the #1 priority and making money comes second. I will be the first to drop Cor if I think their wheels are not up to standards.

http://www.corwheels.com/statement-from-cor-wheels/

If in doubt, shoot me a message and I can give proof that I'm not saying this just because I sell their wheels.

Michael
Owner
Acute Performance

Last edited by acuteperformance; 10-24-2012 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:13 PM
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I just wonder why they are saying their wheels are not for track use when they obviously use racing for their advertising? Youd think that for the price of the wheels and how many they sell they wouldnt have hesitated to just give the guy a new wheel. I like their wheels, looks wise, but I'd be worried now if I had them on a hpde car.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:14 PM
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I think it's more for if a car goes off track who knows what will happen. Too many weird things can happen on the track. Or, their product liability requires them to put it.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:45 PM
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I'm sorry but Cor since day one has been marketing their wheels as performance wheels "at home on the track." They handled this entire situation incredibly poorly, not only did they renig on their "peirformance" claim and say their wheels are street use only, they also changed their warrenty and then lawyered up to put out a ridiculous legal silence statement. Has anyone heard the saying "perception is everything?"

The cost of legal fees alone would've covered an entire set of new wheels. If one of the selling points a company tries to focus on is high performance and their motto (until recently) was "At home on the track as it is on the boulevard" and the second something like this happens where they back peddle to reclarify their brand....Fail. This company deserves to lose a gob of business and if they're butt hurt about it have them call CCW, BBS, Foreline, Volk Racing, HRE etc to get a better idea of how it's really done.

Also another thing. Is Cor even aware that defensive driving manoeuvres depending on the road condition and speed (a combination of aggressive breaking, turning the wheel hard and who knows, a pothole. How about European folks on the autobahn in case people say track speeds couldn't be reached off the track) that this incident has a possibility of occurring on the road? What then, would they say the incident that occurred was more than the wheel could handle and tell the owner "sorry?" They make it seem just because the car was on a track that the same conditions couldn't possibly happen off the track.

I was a fan of their wheels, but after this I will never consider or recommend them. Customer service speaks for itself and they lost big.

Last edited by nvusgt; 10-24-2012 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:01 PM
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Sorry Michael,

They've screwed the pooch on this one. You can't advertise a wheel "at home on the track" and then not honor the warranty. It's called bait and switch which is not only bad business but illegal in every state. The fact that they changed the wording on their website AFTER THE FACT speaks volumes. Had anyone been seriously hurt, they'd be on the hook and if you sold the wheel - so would you.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:05 PM
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You're right so would I. I am fully aware and still continue to defend them. Just so you know, their hands were tied legally before they were given any opportunities to resolve.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:02 PM
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Lawyers and insurance companies - there isn't much leeway left once they are involved.

As for the track use issue - can you show me any products that are warantied for track use? You'll find products sold for track use, but typically not much if any warranty is given.
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:58 PM
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Am I missing something or is COR telling a lie in its 10/24 letter?

"Prior to the involvement of legal counsel, the client was offered a full refund, regardless of any specific warranty considerations."
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:15 AM
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It's complete bull**it on their part. I have been working in the aerospace industry for 26 years and I have seen loads of failures of all sorts and looking at that photograph, I can tell you that it should not have failed like that if it was designed/ manufactured properly, track or no track. Of course I am assuming that there is no evidence of impact anywhere on the rim lip and from COR's response, that is a safe assumption.

You can run across a lot of emergency situations in everyday driving which can exceed conditions found on a track and a properly designed wheel should not snap off in the middle like that. Unless, it received a huge impact. Even then, it should be maleable enough to bend and distort but not snap off.

I'm tired of wheel companies charging big bucks for wheels and then not taking responsibility when something like this happens. In this case we are talking about one wheel. Seriously, COR could not have done the right thing here and at least have sent him a new wheel? Really?

Last edited by Cybermind; 10-25-2012 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Cybermind View Post
It's complete bull**it on their part. I have been working in the aerospace industry for 26 years and I have seen loads of failures of all sorts and looking at that photograph, I can tell you that it should not have failed like that if it was designed/ manufactured properly, track or no track. Of course I am assuming that there is no evidence of impact anywhere on the rim lip and from COR's response, that is a safe assumption.

You can run across a lot of emergency situations in everyday driving which can exceed conditions found on a track and a properly designed wheel should not snap off in the middle like that. Unless, it received a huge impact. Even then, it should be maleable enough to bend and distort but not snap off.

I'm tired of wheel companies charging big bucks for wheels and then not taking responsibility when something like this happens. In this case we are talking about one wheel. Seriously, COR could not have done the right thing here and at least have sent him a new wheel? Really?
I agree with what you've said, but I'll play the devil's advocate for a moment...OK, they accept responsibility for the wheel's breakage, and replace it (which they should, BTW). Now the car's owner says, "OK you said your wheel was defective, now fix the damage to my car, which was caused by the failure of your wheel". I think that's what COR is afraid of.....
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by leadfoot4 View Post
I agree with what you've said, but I'll play the devil's advocate for a moment...OK, they accept responsibility for the wheel's breakage, and replace it (which they should, BTW). Now the car's owner says, "OK you said your wheel was defective, now fix the damage to my car, which was caused by the failure of your wheel". I think that's what COR is afraid of.....
By them sending him a new wheel, it is not automatically considered an admission of defective wheel design. Just one failed wheel......period. Why and how it happened is another story. They could've at least sent him a replacement wheel to smooth things over and then take it from there. It's just good business. Look at what it got them; threads such as this.

PS: I still say that wheels should not fail catastrophically. I wonder how the DOT would feel about it? If COR wanted to minimize the damage to their company, they have gone about it in completely the wrong way. Today's social media can ruin a company's image and reputation in the blink of an eye.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Cybermind View Post
By them sending him a new wheel, it is not automatically considered an admission of defective wheel design. Just one failed wheel......period. Why and how it happened is another story. They could've at least sent him a replacement wheel to smooth things over and then take it from there. It's just good business. Look at what it got them; threads such as this.

PS: I still say that wheels should not fail catastrophically. I wonder how the DOT would feel about it? If COR wanted to minimize the damage to their company, they have gone about it in completely the wrong way. Today's social media can ruin a company's image and reputation in the blink of an eye.
Again, I agree, but I think they're playing a big game of covering their behinds...and as you say, in this day and age, it will come back and bite them.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by leadfoot4 View Post
I agree with what you've said, but I'll play the devil's advocate for a moment...OK, they accept responsibility for the wheel's breakage, and replace it (which they should, BTW). Now the car's owner says, "OK you said your wheel was defective, now fix the damage to my car, which was caused by the failure of your wheel". I think that's what COR is afraid of.....
I think it's more a case of, now that they know these flimsy wheels are not strong enough, they know this won't be the last case of this. If these start breaking en-masse, they need to quell the storm now, so the new policy on these is c.y.a.

Some idiot designed a wheel with little or no structure cause they thought it looked kewl. There's no meat to them. Just look at the thing. I would never put my car on something with such a flimsy looking structure. Whoever drew this thing up had the mechanical sense of a rock. Look where it broke, look at how much leverage the wheel and tire are putting on that area, and tell me you wouldn't expect this to break?
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:24 AM
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Never buy Cor wheels. Roger that
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by K-Spaz View Post
Some idiot designed a wheel with little or no structure cause they thought it looked kewl. There's no meat to them. Just look at the thing. I would never put my car on something with such a flimsy looking structure. Whoever drew this thing up had the mechanical sense of a rock. Look where it broke, look at how much leverage the wheel and tire are putting on that area, and tell me you wouldn't expect this to break?
Your polished thin spokes likely have about as much material in the spokes as those wheels. You'd better get rid of them right away.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by lionelhutz View Post
Your polished thin spokes likely have about as much material in the spokes as those wheels.....
True, BUT the shape of the OE C-5 spokes is much different, and that appears to be the difference.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by leadfoot4 View Post
True, BUT the shape of the OE C-5 spokes is much different, and that appears to be the difference.
Not to mention any potential differences in alloy and/or manufacturing processes.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:53 PM
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Furthermore OEM C5 thinspokes do not fail catastrophically. They fail gradually, normally due to fatigue. That is an acceptable failure mode because it is manageable and detectable.

I'd bet that the OEM C5 thinspokes would probably do better on a track than those COR's wheels.

Last edited by Cybermind; 10-25-2012 at 12:57 PM.
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