The Internet has been abuzz with complaints about uneven and rapidly wearing tires on the 2006-09 Civic. These uneven tire problems can quickly turn into braking issues and also lead to reports of difficult to control vibrations, giving some drivers fits when traveling at highway speeds.
Honda finally agreed to a class-action settlement while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge the problem exists at all. That’s an impressive amount of deniability.
Civic owners are rallying together to raise awareness about the defectively short Rear-Upper Control Arms that are causing their tires to wear rapidly and unevenly.
Honda claims the combination of the stock tires, rear suspension geometry and alignment angles are what’s causing the tire wear and recommends the installation of new control rear arms stamped with the letter “C” to fix the problem. On February 8th, 2008 they issued a TSB (TSB 08-001) describing repair procedures for certified mechanics — more details on that below. The new control arms take out .75º of camber from the rear.
Unfortunately most of the time Honda dealers are only willing to cover the cost of the control arms, but not the cost of new tires. What’s worse is some owners are claiming that even after going through the repairs outlined in the TSB their cars are still “eating up” rear tires. According to one: “…the rear wheel geometry will not allow for carrying any kind of load for extended distances” Not a good sign for anyone looking to use their can for anything more than trips to the grocery store.
Uneven or Rapid Tire Wear Technical Service Bulletin
On February 8th, 2008 Honda issues a Technical Service Bulletin for 2006-07 Civic 2-door and 4-door vehicles regarding “Uneven or Rapid Tire Wear”. Honda Civic Si’s are not covered. In the TSB, Honda lists the probable cause as a “combination of the tires and the rear suspension geometry may cause rapid or uneven tire wear”. They go on to point out that worn tires will cause vibration and/or bad bearing noise, especially at highway speeds.
For recommended service, Honda tells its mechanics to install a rear upper control arm kit, replace the flange bolts and the worn tires and do a 4-wheel alignment.
Honda offered to only pay a prorated amount for replacement of tires due to this problem, based on mileage. In addition, to qualify for tire replacement:
- The tires must have been properly maintained (inflation and balancing)
- The tires must not show signs of abuse, although this seems subjective
- Tires must not show signs of diagonal or inner edge wear and fall within the “abnormal wear range” as defined by the TSB.
Tire Misalignment Lawsuit
Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, LLC collected information for a class action lawsuit to protect Civic owners. The lawsuit alleged the OEM rear upper control arms are too short and cause tire misalignment. It also alleged that Honda knew this when it published a TSB and a redesigned control arm part.
Following a three-year battle, Honda finally agreed to a settlement on December 4, 2013. The settlement only affects the 2006-07 Civic and 2006-08 Civic Hybrids.
Honda continues to deny there is a problem (shocking, I know) but as part of the settlement they’ve agreed to replace worn out tires and the defective suspension. If you have replaced your tires because of the problem Honda will reimburse you on a pro rata basis. Time to start digging out those service records. In addition, if you paid to replace a control arm on your Civic because of tire problems, Honda will reimburse you for parts and labor.
Unfortunately the deadline to file a claim has passed.
So now what? We recommend making your voice heard.