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Old 2nd June 2008, 22:53   #1
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Default Falkens - Watch what you buy

I recently had a very bad experience with Falken tyres. I own a 2007 Estilo Lxi and wanted to upsize to 165/60R13 tubeless from the very inadequate 145/70R13. I decided to go in for the Potenza GIII as the said size was available and people were raving about the tyre in team-bhp. I had to put in alloys too as the stock rim at 4J was not wide enough. But GIIIs were out of stock all over Bangalore. What I heard was that Bridgestone is going manufacture it in India and that’s why the imports have dried up. And no one had any clue when the 165/60 GIII will hit the market again.

Then one fine Saturday last month, I decided to do a window shopping in JC road and after hopping in and out of different shops, XXXX offered me a year old set of GIII at 3200 a piece; which I didn’t pick up as the price quoted was exorbitant. Then to my surprise, I found out that Falken Zeix ZE326 have the same specification and Super Tyres offered me the same at 2500 a piece. I was looking for the 165/60 for at least a month and becoming increasingly impatient and decided to go for it. They had to pick the tyres from the Falken warehouse and told me wait for 2 hours. I decided to shop around for alloys and I picked up 4 P&W 1311 for 11750.

By evening, I realized that I have completely memorized the under body of my car as it had been in the air for about 5~6 hours now; and the Falkens were not even in the near vicinity. The Supertyre guy kept on singing the same tune that they will arrive in the next 10 minutes. I decided to call it off and then an Ape pulled up in front of the store with Falken vinyl all around it. I don’t know how this works out like this all the time. You feel like pulling the plug on something and then things happen. Anyways I was filled with joy to see the Falkens, all covered up in Aluminum foil with the blue “Made in Japan” stickers staring at me. I gave the guys the go ahead to fit them without even checking the tyres, which turned out to be a really stupid idea. So at around 6:30 my car touched ground from the high set jack with the newly shod Falkens.

I was in eternal bliss as the car quite evidently was pulling faster, stopping better, turning into corners more eagerly and was soaking in the broken pieces of tarmac like running over mattress [maybe am letting my imagination run wide or is it the kingfisher? [FONT=Wingdings][/FONT]].

But soon the cloud 9 came crashing down when I hit the net for reviews and found out that ZE326 is not featured in the official website and even had a new tyre [ZE329] is in its place. I could sense some thing really fishy and decided to check my car tyres thoroughly. To my shock horror I found out that the tyres were manufactured in mid 2005 and 3 years old. I took the car to Super Tyres and at first they tried to argue that “2405” is just the model number and not the corresponding manufacturing date [wwyy]. But I was really pumped up and they obviously realized this and agreed to sort the situation out. We rang up the Sales Manager for Falken, Mr. Balu and his reaction was audacious. He told me that all tyres have a shelf life of 6 years and that they will compensate if something were to happen. That was the most stupefied comment that I heard in sometime and I was not at all in a mood to agree with him.

I reasoned that, maybe the tyres will work fine for the next 3 years, but as a customer I paid the full money to get brand new tyres and I can’t take something which only had half its life left. And what if I have a blow out? How will he compensate me then? And there was no way that am buying something older than my car itself. Mr. Balu had no answer to all this and he agreed to buy them back. But there was a catch. As I had driven about 200kms, he would give only 90% of the money back. That would have set me back by 1000 bucks. I was so annoyed with Falken by then that I was in no mood to see those tyres in my car again and I agreed to it.

I decided to wait for GIII and Super Tyres fitted the car with a set of second hand Bridgestone slicks. [The previous owner would have run at least a lakh kms on that tyre and now I knew why they were called steel belted radials. There was more steel left than there was rubber.] I decided against driving my car and parked in the garage.

As I had not left any stone unturned in the hunt for GIII, almost all the tyre retailers had my number and I got the call that I was waiting for. Shiva’s, the Bridgestone Performance dealer in Bangalore had a new stock and offered me GIII at 2650 per piece with balancing, fitting and alignment check thrown in for free. I booked the tyres and last Saturday I put the GIII and they even gave a complimentary Bridgestone t-shirt. There is a god after all and not all things from Japan are nasty [FONT=Wingdings][/FONT]

I had a chance to talk to the Bridgestone sales manager and they have started manufacturing GIII in India, except for R13, for which the volumes are not good enough for a strong business case.

So I just wanted to tell everyone to please be careful, if you are buying Falken. They maybe are trying to push the old stock from Japan, which is a very nasty thing for any company to do. Also, last 2 weeks gave me a practical lesson on why everyone should upgrade to a tubeless tyre. And it really makes sense for small hatchbacks which have their suspension made out of spider legs. The transformation is so apparent and I am really enjoying the drive. Safe driving everyone [FONT=Wingdings]cheers:[/FONT]
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Old 2nd June 2008, 23:13   #2
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Delightful read!! I am glad it is a happy ending. You can never be too careful in our country while shopping. Good that you stood your ground and got the refund. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 2nd June 2008, 23:23   #3
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That was quite an happy ending after all the nightmares you must have had with the Falkens. I feel you probably had to face this side of Falken because of the limited customers who buy the tyre spec you wanted.

Btw! Welcome to the forum with your first post in almost 2 years.
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Old 2nd June 2008, 23:32   #4
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I can understand your pain, a lot of tire shops hand off old tires especially in odd sizes which are not readily available. Good review there, will help a lot of people on the forum to understand the need to go deeper than just pay money and get done with it.
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Old 2nd June 2008, 23:36   #5
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I am surprised to see such behaviour from Super Tyres as I believe this is the same shop that was recommended by some members. Glad you sticked to your stand and came out as a happy man.
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Old 3rd June 2008, 00:19   #6
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Never buy anything car-related from JC Road/Shivajinagar if you dont know the owner of the shop well. Since you were in JC Road, a small drive down to Millivision on Lalbagh West Gate road would have given you authentic, brand new and a professional experience with tyres.
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Old 3rd June 2008, 11:37   #7
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Hey DePak, welcome to the forum and as a rule you're supposed to post pics of your car or else your posts will be deleted . And welcome to the Potenza GIII club too (admire your persistence in following my footsteps)
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Old 3rd June 2008, 12:39   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
Never buy anything car-related from JC Road/Shivajinagar if you dont know the owner of the shop well. Since you were in JC Road, a small drive down to Millivision on Lalbagh West Gate road would have given you authentic, brand new and a professional experience with tyres.
I did contact Millivision. Even they didnt have stock of GIII or any tyre in 165/60. My impatience got the better of me and I ventured out into JC road.
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Old 7th October 2008, 01:36   #9
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I don't get it! I run my Honda on Falkens (Ziex 502 - 205/65/R13) and I haven't had any problems with them till now (been over a year, 12k kms). I too believe it was the particular spec you requested that put you in a soup. Oh well, drive safe.
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