I'm hoping that I can get some information here to help me understand what's going on with my wifes car. First, the car is a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica AWD Touring model, 6 speed automatic transmission, 4. 0 litre engine, all factory stock with 34k miles. We purchased it with 28k miles on it as a "dealer certified car" from the original selling dealership. The only reoccurring issue has been with a slow leak in the left front tire causing it to lose air pressure very slowly (a couple of lbs over 3 months) for which the car has been back to the dealership 3 times to be "repaired", the last time they removed the tire, cleaned the rim, replaced the sensor, and remounted the tire.
Over the holiday weekend we had our kids in the car and were travelling on the Thruway at ~75 mph when the right rear tire blew without warning. I immediately pulled to the side of the road but had to drive about 800 feet to get to a clear spot to change it. AFTER I stopped, the TPMS system warned me that I had one tire low pressure (duh!) and I put on the spare. We drove to the nearest service station without incident and I checked the pressure in the donut spare, which was low by 15 lbs, so I added air. The display then showed that I should service the TPMS, which makes sense because the spare has no sensor, and the flat tire was in the back of the car. We dicided to turn around and head for home, this is where the trouble starts.
About 30 miles into to 60 mile ride home (off the Thruway, normal 45-55 mph speeds because of the donut spare) the check engine light comes on, we also notice that the car seems to "slip" when shifing between gears and is sometimes shifting harder. We get home, drop off the kids, and head for the dealership to have it checked. First thing they say is that we shouldn't have driven ANYWHERE on the spare, as it's for emergency use only. They also said that we should have had the vehicle towed immediately when the tire blew because it was an AWD vehicle, and different tire sizes on it will cause problems. Reminder. . . . these are Chrysler factory tires / rims and the spare that came with the car, so they *should* work together, correct? Anyway, they check the rim and say that it's OK, and replace the tire for me, after telling me that I should be replacing all 4 of them. There is more than 1/2 treadwear left on the others still. They then inform me that I need to pay $89 to have the code scanned before they can diagnose the other problem. I authorize it and they come back and say that the transmission is "ruined" because I drove on the spare tire, causing the AWD to make the transmission shift improperly. They then tell me that there is a software progarm upgrade that they can perform to the transmission to help alleviate this problem in the future, and that they will do it for me as a courtesy. I ask them for an estimate for the repair work and they say that they can't give me an exact price until it's torn down, but figure "about $2k". I ask about the purchased warranty that I have and they say that it's not covered due to "my neglect". I have them change the tire, upgrade the software, and leave with the car to decide what I'm going to do.
Last night i do some Internet research and find that there are numerous problems with this transmission, and that some people have had torque converters replaced under a TSB. Wouldn't a "certified vehicle" purchased from a dealer *along with* an extended warranty be covered under these TSB's? Also, since the spare tire is a factory item designed for that car, why would *I* be responsible for any problems it created? I purposely avoided high speed driving on the donut spare, as well as the users manual specifically states that unless the check engine light is flashing (it wasn't) that the car is safe to drive until it can be serviced. 60 miles isn't unreasonable in my opinion for service to be performed.
I'm trying to gather as much information as possible to support my case before I approach Chrysler on this again, so any relavant TSB's or other information / opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your time,