Eclipse Rims Problems
The class action lawsuit alleges that Mitsubishi and the wheel manufacturer, Enkei, continued selling the 17-inch rims, in two versions - 2 or 6 spoke, mounted with low profile tires, even in face of mounting evidence that they are unsafe.
Potholes, Speed and Rims
While a vehicle being driven at very high speed after hitting a big pothole can bend its wheel rims, the plaintiffs claim that they were driving at average speeds and hit small hotholes but still the rims got bent. This bending of rims under normal driving conditions could be attributed to poor material and bad design, according to the lawsuit.
Resultant blowouts, damaged tires and rapid deflation have caused a few crashes too, according to the complaints filed with the NHTSA.
ABC affiliate WABC of New York covered this story and in an unscientific test, took three rims - one a bent eclipse rim, one an aftermarket product design to fit Eclipses and one from Toyota matrix, to a metallurgy lab for analysis. While all three rims were made of aluminum alloys, in terms of metal hardness. not only was the Mitsubishi rim significantly softer than the Toyota Matrix but also somewhat softer than the aftermarket rim!
Our Preliminary Statistical Analysis
While we cannot comment on the 1997, 1998, and 1999 Eclipse rims without knwoing the technical details or the relative sales figures, Eclipse wheel rims definitely seem to have significantly many more problems than that of earlier years. Total NHTSA complaints involving rims shot up to 88 for 2000 and 77 for 2001. Even the year 2002 is showing somewhat higher rate of rim problem.
We checked other car models of Mitsubishi and this problem seems to be heavily concentrated for model Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder. We think that there is definitely something going on.
For the year 2000 and 2001, we broke down the Eclipse wheel rim problems by states and the state of New York led for both these years. In 2000, it was followed closely by New Jersey and in 2001 NJ has fallen much behind. Road conditions at different states seems to be playing role here.
Chrysler Sebring Coupe or Dodge Avenger
These vehicles too had the same rims installed for the years 1997-2001. The lawyers who sued DaimlerChrysler for defective rims in Mitsubishi Eclipses, have sued DaimlerChryslr for Chrysler Sebring Coupe or Dodge Avenger rim problems too.
Sample NHTSA Complaints Regarding Rims
2000 ECLIPSE (00)
Component: POWER TRAIN : CLUTCH ASSEMBLY
NHTSA Complaint ID 423814 Date (Y/M):2003/05 City/State: SUWANEE,Georgia (GA)
Defect/Problem: THE RIMS ON MY 2000 MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE HAVE BECOME DENTED UNDER WHAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED LESS THAN NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR. I HAVE TAKEN EXCEPTIONAL CARE TO PROTECT THIS CAR FROM DAMAGE. AS AN EXAMPLE, AFTER THREE YEARS OF OWNERSHIP, THERE IS STILL NOT A SINGLE DOOR DENT OR CHIP, DUE TO THE FACT THAT I EXERCISE THE EXTRA EFFORT TO PARK FAR AWAY FROM OTHER VEHICLES AND WALK THE EXTRA DISTANCE TO MY DESTINATION. THEREFORE IT'S REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT I WOULD ALSO STEER CLEAR OF POTHOLES, ETC., AND I HAVE THE PAPER WORK TO PROVE THAT I HAVE MAINTAINED MY CAR ACCORDING TO STANDARDS SET BY MITSUBISHI. YET DESPITE THIS LEVEL OF CARE, THE RIMS HAVE BECOME DAMAGED. IRONICALLY, AS THIS IS MY FIRST NEW CAR, I TAKE BETTER CARE OF IT THAN ANY CAR I HAVE EVER OWNED, AND YET IT IS THE FIRST CAR I HAVE HAD THIS ISSUE WITH. WHEN I BROUGHT IT TO THE DEALERSHIP, THE FACTORY REP SAID IT WAS BECAUSE THE AIR PRESSURE MUST HAVE BEEN LOW AND I HIT A POTHOLE. BUT YET HE WON'T TELL ME HOW HE CAME TO THAT DETERMINATION. AT THE SAME TIME I BROUGHT THE CAR I FOR THE RIMS, I HAD BROUGHT THE CAR IN FOR THE CLUTCH NOISE ISSUE, AND NOWHERE ON THE REPAIR ORDER IS IT MENTIONED THAT I REQUESTED TO HAVE THE RIMS REPLACED AND THAT MY REQUEST WAS DENIED. NOR CAN I GET IT FROM MITSUBISHI IN WRITING. ALSO, IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING FROM THE DEALERSHIP THAT THE TIRES WERE NEVER REMOVED FROM MY CAR DURING THE "INSPECTION", SO I QUESTION ITS SINCERITY. I HAVE LEFT TWO MESSAGES WITH THE FACTORY REP TO EXPLAIN TO ME HOW HE ARRIVED AT HIS DETERMINATION, AND HE HAS STILL NOT RETURNED MY CALL. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY MITSUBISHI HAS SPENT THE TIME AND MONEY MAKING A ONE-PIECE RIM TO REPLACE THE TWO-PIECE RIM IF THEY DON'T RECOGNIZE THAT THE RIMS AREN'T AN ISSUE, AND WHY THEY ARE REPLACING SOME PEOPLE'S RIMS AND NOT OTHERS. HOPEFULLY THE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT CURRENTLY UNDERWAY WILL HELP ME OUT, BECAUSE MITSUBISHI IS NOT BEING VERY RESPONSIVE. *JB
2000 ECLIPSE (00)
Component: WHEELS : RIM
NHTSA Complaint ID 381741 Date (Y/M):2002/08 City/State: HILLSDALE,New Jersey (NJ)
Defect/Problem: ALL FOUR WHEEL RIMS BECAME BENT UNDER NORMAL DRIVING CONDITIONS. THIS CAUSED THE RIMS TO SEPARATE FROM THE TIRES, RESULTING IN FLAT TIRES. ON ONE OCCASION, THE AIR LOSS WAS RAPID AND I LOST CONTROL OF THE CAR AND NEARLY CRASHED. DEALER SAID THAT I WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COST TO REPLACE THE WHEELS. THESE DEFECTIVE WHEELS ARE A SAFETY HAZARD TO ME AS WELL AS TO OTHER DRIVERS. I PRESENTLY ONLY DRIVE THIS CAR OVER SHORT DISTANCES AND I NEVER DRIVE WITH PASSENGERS IN THE CAR BECAUSE OF SAFETY CONCERNS. HOPEFULLY THESE DEFECTIVE WHEELS CAN BE REPLACED BEFORE THERE ARE ANY SERIOUS INJURIES OR FATALITIES. *AK
2001 ECLIPSE SPYDER (01)
Component: WHEELS : RIM
NHTSA Complaint ID 458162 Date (Y/M):2003/12 City/State: HAYMARKET,Virginia (VA)
Defect/Problem: DAMAGED ALLOY WHEELS ON MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE SPYDER (17 INCH, 6 SPOKE). I READ THE POSTINGS FROM LAST YEAR TONIGHT ON YOUR SITE AFTER I HAD MY SECOND EXPERIENCE WITH THIS PROBLEM. LAST WINTER I HIT A POTHOLE AND IT COMPLETELY SPLIT MY RIM. THE VEHICLE MAINTAINED STABILITY AND I WAS ABLE TO LIMP BACK HOME (ABOUT A HALF MILE) BUT THE RIM WAS CRACKED ALL THE WAY TO THE SPOKES FROM THE LIP. TONIGHT (SNOWSTORM IN VA/DC AREA) MY WIFE DROPPED ME OFF AT THE OFFICE AND WENT SHOPPING. ON HER WAY TO PICK ME UP THE TIRE SUDDENLY WENT FLAT. SHE WAS ABLE TO LIMP INTO A SERVICE STATION WHERE SHE NOTICED THE TIRE WOULD NOT HOLD AIR SO SHE HAD TO CHANGE THE TIRE IN SNOW/ICE/FREEZING TEMPERATURES. UPON FURTHER INVESTIGATION, THERE WERE THREE LARGE DENTS IN THE RIM AT THE LIP. THIS IS THE SECOND RIM I AM GOING TO HAVE TO REPLACE AND THEY ARE NOT CHEAP (ABOUT $350 EACH). I KNOW THEY SAID THE INVESTIGATION WAS CLOSED, BUT IS THERE SOMETHING THAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THIS. THERE IS OBVIOUSLY A FLAW IN THE MANUFACTURING OF THIS WHEEL.*AK
All NHTSA Complaints Concerning Bent Rims
Most complaints (88) concerned 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse, followed closely by 2001 Eclipse complaints (77). Have grouped all the rest together. The class lawsuit claims 1997-2001 as the period certain defective rims were put on Mitsubishi Eclipses. There was a website set up to air similar complaint about one 1995 Eclipse.
The three links at the top of the left side will take you to these three pages.
CREDITS: The damaged tire is from a 1995 Eclipse, alegedly a victim of bent rims. )mitsubishicars.org)