Seven rear tyres, six wheel alignments, and bills totalling £679 in three years were not what John Leslie and his wife, Isobel, expected from their Citroën C4 Picasso. They'd wanted a hassle-free car for their retirement, so when they spotted the ex-demonstrator at a good price at Pedigreed Cars in Forres, Morayshire, in September 2009, they dug into their life savings and bought it. The C4 had done 4000 miles and looked to be in good nick.
Four months later, at 9000 miles, John noticed the rear tyres were looking worn, so took the MPV to the local Inverness Tyre Company. They took the tyres off the front wheels and fitted them to the rears.
John informed Pedigreed Cars about the rear tyre wear, but was told the problem must be his driving style. He was advised to put weights in the car's boot. The rear tyres were changed again after another 10,000 miles. This new pair wore down after just 8000 miles. A subsequent set lasted 14,000 miles.
The front tyres eventually wore out after 51,600 miles. In June 2013, after another rear tyre had been replaced and the car's tracking reset for a fifth time, John took the car to another Citroën garage, Alan Milne in Elgin. Overall, John had spent almost four times what he'd expected to on tyres, so he wasn't convinced a sixth wheel alignment would help. He called Helpdesk.
We got in touch with Citroën UK and pointed out how strange it was for the rear tyres to wear so rapidly. Citroën agreed to pay for the car's suspension set-up to be comprehensively re-examined by a third party, Alexander Wallace Toyota Elgin. They found the alignment and tyres were within accepted tolerances. It also confirmed Alan Milne had readjusted the car's axle in June free of charge.
It's early days but, 2268 miles on, the sixth reset seems to have worked. Citroën will monitor the situation and has offered to refund the Leslies the cost of two sets of rear tyres or £1000 off a new Citroën as a gesture of goodwill.
What if this happens to you?
- As soon as you notice your car behaving strangely, get it back to the dealership for a full investigation.
- Keep a record of every replacement part that is fitted to your car.
- If the dealer won't acknowledge the problem, get an independent report carried out for your own peace of mind.