BBB Logo

Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®

BBB Accredited Business since

Tri Star Engines and Transmissions

Phone: (715) 684-4455 Fax: (715) 684-4451 View Additional Phone Numbers 530 Evergreen Dr, Baldwin, WI 54002

BBB Business Reviews may not be reproduced for sales or promotional purposes.


This company offers auto and truck engines, transmissions and drive train parts.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Tri Star Engines and Transmissions meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for Tri Star Engines and Transmissions include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 3 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

3 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 1 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 0
Billing/Collection Issues 0
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 1
Problems with Product/Service 2
Total Closed Complaints 3

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews on Tri Star Engines and Transmissions
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 0

Additional Information

BBB file opened: January 25, 1996 Business started: 02/01/1988 in WI Business started locally: 02/01/1988 Business incorporated: 02/10/1988 in WI
Type of Entity


Business Management
Mr. Dave Steine, President
Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Dave Steine, President
Business Category

Auto Parts & Supplies - New Transmissions - Automobile Engines - Supplies, Equipment & Parts General Automotive Repair (NAICS: 811111)

Hours of Operation
M: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
T: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
W: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Th: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
F: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Alternate Business Names
Tri Star Auto Parts, Inc. Tri Star Engine Supply

Additional Locations

  • 530 Evergreen Dr

    Baldwin, WI 54002 (715) 684-4455 (800) 322-5859


What is a BBB Business Review?

We offer free reviews on businesses that include background, licensing, consumer experience and other information such as governmental actions that is known to BBB. These reviews are provided for businesses that are BBB accredited and also for businesses that are not BBB accredited.


About BBB Business Review Content & Services:

Some Better Business Bureaus offer additional content & services in BBB Business Reviews.
The additional content & services are typically regional in nature or, in some cases, a new product or service that is being tested prior to a more general release.
Not all enhanced content & services are available at all Better Business Bureaus.

Professional AffiliationsX

Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

BBB handles the following types of complaints between businesses and their customers so long as they are not, or have not been, litigated:

  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
  • Problems with Products or Services
  • Delivery
  • Guarantee or Warranty

We do not handle workplace disputes, discrimination claims or claims about the quality of health or legal services.


BBB Complaint Process

Your complaint will be forwarded to the business within two business days. The business will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made. You will be notified of the business's response when we receive it (or notified that we received no response). Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.


What is BBB Advertising Review?

BBB promotes truth in advertising by contacting advertisers whose claims conflict with the BBB Code of Advertising. These claims come to our attention from our internal review of advertising, consumer complaints and competitor challenges. BBB asks advertisers to prove their claims, change ads to make offers more clear to consumers, and remove misleading or deceptive statements.


What government actions does BBB report on?

BBB reports on known significant government actions involving business' marketplace conduct.


Thank you for your feedback!

Help us improve by taking our survey.


BBB Reporting Policy

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.


Additional Phone Numbers

  • (800) 322-5859(Phone)
Find a LocationX

  Change Location
Show Only Accredited Locations

Complaint Detail(s)

2/9/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: Back in 2011 the transmission in my 1990 gmc ****** 1500 died. After looking around for a while I choose to order a new one from tristart engines; due to their great warranty and supposed heavy duty rebuilt transmissions. I ordered the transmission from them an had it installed by one of their certified shop (******** **********) in pulaski Wisconsin. After a year with the new replacement transmission from tristart began to fail. I prosses to call ******** and contact tristart to have my warranty honored. Soon after they send a new transmission which was to be honest more the below any logical standards. For this second rebuilt transmission lasted less than 90 miles, we called them again and with their tail between their legs they sent another out, same think tho this one lasted about 120 miles, yet again a third time we call them and explain the issue. They said they would sent another transmission out at my cost and they would decline any shop bills (which their warranty clearly startes they will cover). Then they call me back to offer a scrap metal price for my vehicle still refusing to cover the shop bill tht was caused by their faulty transmissions. Then they try blame the failure of their transmissions on me say I abused the transmissions, to which I respond to them to send a technician to come and check the truck for any damage or driver abuse, to which they no longer responded. After that they refuse to anserw any off my calls or emails and have left me with a shop bill off well over $5000, I have tried many times to talk to them and settle this but no response. After all this in preparation to take them to court I had the last transmission that they sent taken apart by my own technician, upon investigation off the unit we discovered that many components that need to be replaced by new ones in a rebuild where old and used parts, included clutch and steel plates and most off all the sunshell in the 700r4 model, where all used parts that caused the transmission to fail. So I guess my complain is that this company is selling poorly built goods that fail right after installation and then once their terrible produce brakes they refuse to honer their so called 3 year unlimited mile warranty. I did not pay this company over 2000 dollars of my own hard earned money for them to give me a pile off junk and them refuse to honor their word when their junk brakes again leaving me with over $5000 in shop bills. Thank you for your time and I hope you keep this company from doing the same to other honest hard working people

Desired Settlement: I would dire for this company to be forced to truelly stand behind the warranty they promise, and I paid a total of 7,000 in shop labor and parts thanks to tristart engines. For anymore detail please contact me and ******** *********** ******** *** * ******* *** ******** ** ***** *********** ********

Consumer Response: With out counting my missed deployment and the lost job, I paid a total of 7,000 in shop labor and parts thanks to tristart engines

Business Response:

In response to Mr. ****** ******’s complaints we would like to offer the following information. On 2/28/2012 ******** ********** ******** purchased a remanufactured transmission from Tri Star Engines & Transmissions for a 1990 GMC ****** K1500 truck. On 1/7/2013 **** from ******** Automotive called us stating that the vehicle owner called and left a message for him at 2:05 a.m. with the complaint that his transmission had no 2nd gear. On 1/15/2013 **** called back stating the vehicle was now at his shop. After 9,738 miles on the transmission it only had 1st gear, no reverse, and wouldn’t roll when in neutral. In talking to **** it was determined that the transmission had an internal mechanical failure and could not be repaired in the vehicle. For that reason, a replacement transmission was shipped to ******** Automotive that same day. On 1/23/2013 Lisa from ******** called stating they were done replacing the transmission. We agreed per our Limited warranty guidelines to cover a total of $544.46 towards the tow charges, labor and fluid and a check was issued to ******** after the failed transmission had been returned. On 1/24/13 **** from ******** called to tell us the vehicle was brought back to them after only 97 miles with no reverse. After having **** remove the pan to inspect the internal shifter linkage it was determined this 1st replacement unit had suffered an internal mechanical failure and couldn’t be repaired in the vehicle. A 2nd replacement remanufactured transmission was shipped to ******** on 1/24/13. ON 2/4/2013 **** from ******** called back. He said they installed the 2nd replacement transmission, and after only 102 miles the vehicle was back again with no reverse. After now having repeat failures with the same complaint we advised **** that before anything further would be done we needed to get all of the failed units picked up and returned to our build plant for failure analysis, as all of the failed units were still at their shop. On 2/11/2013 **** called to tell us that all of the failed transmissions were ready for us to pick up. On 2/14/2013 analysis of the failed transmissions was completed. The original transmission found the front planetary gear set failed due to the converter clutch lining failure. A chemical analysis confirmed the presence of Glycol in the ATF fluid. Glycol is a chemical found in antifreeze/coolant used in automotive cooling systems. The Glycol contamination was what caused the original unit to fail. No manufacturing defects were found. The analysis of the 1st replacement transmission found that the rear planetary gear set had been severely damaged due to a lack of proper lubrication. The transmissions internal lube circuit was clear. The dyno record showed good pump pressure and flow. The cause of failure was determined to be from an external transmission cooler system issue causing lack of proper cooling or flow. No manufacturing defects were found. The analysis of the 2nd replacement found the exact same failure as the 1st replacement unit. Tri Star’s conclusion was that the original unit was working fine until it suffered failure due to contaminated fluid, most likely due to a flailed original equipment transmission cooler which is located inside the radiator. Per **** at ******** ********** ********, the vehicle owner brought an aftermarket air-to-oil transmission cooler to them instructing them to install it. ******** then by-passed the original equipment cooler in the radiator. The two replacement transmissions failed due to inadequate cooling and/or fluid flow, most likely related to the aftermarket cooler that was installed.

We then called **** back on 2/15/2013 and advised him of the analysis findings, and suggested that the transmission cooling system be put back to original equipment standards. As a goodwill to ******** Automotive we agreed to still cover the replacement unit and the labor claim for the first replacement transmission sent. We also agreed to not charge them for the 2nd replacement transmission sent, and offered to send a 3rd and final replacement unit as long as they promised to address the transmission cooler system issues. Advised **** that no further labor would be covered, and that due to the limitations, no further warranty would apply to the 3rd replacement transmission.

On 2/18/2013 **** called us back. **** agreed to the terms, and a 3rd replacement unit was shipped to ******** Automotive. On 1/19/2013 ****** ****** called *** the tech. at our transmission build plant and argued with him about our analysis findings for the original failed transmission, and asked that all of the labor for replacing his transmissions be covered. *** advised ****** that it was a checmical test that proved the presence of Glycol in the transmission fluid from the original transmission. ****** continued to argue with *** stating how unhappy he was about our warranty. We then called **** at ******** Automotive and left a message for him to call us. On 2/20/2013 **** from ******** called us back. Advised **** that if ****** isn’t happy with the 3rd and final free replacement transmission, they should send it back and we will refund the original purchase price of the transmission, and send them a core transmission if they need it. Per his request we faxed **** a copy of the Limited Warranty to give to ******. This is the last contact we had from ******** Automotive regarding ****** ******’s vehicle.

In response to ****** about used components in his transmissions: In his model all fiber clutch plates are replaced with new parts. The 3-4 clutch packs get new steel clutch discs and Raybestos Z-Pack high performance fiber discs. (the Z-Pack fibers are a different color than standard replacement fibers) Steel clutch plates are only reclaimed for the 1-2 clutch if they are in perfect condition. Sun shells are reclaimed only if they are in perfect condition.  

In summary, none of these transmissions failed due to materials or workmanship supplied by Tri Star Engines & Transmissions. The Limited Warranty supplied with the original transmission purchased for ****** ******’s vehicle states that his transmission is warranted against defects in materials and workmanship provided by Tri Star. It also states that this Limited Warranty does not cover damage from contamination of fluids, or failures caused by components not installed by Tri Star as a part of the assembled product. The maximum of all benefits or remedies under this limited warranty shall not exceed the original purchase price on the original Tri Star invoice.

By paying the labor claim for the first failed transmission and supplying a total of 3 replacement transmissions Tri Star has far exceeded the limits of our warranty. Please see also the included copy of the Limited Warranty for ****** ******’s transmission.

*** *********

******** *************

Tri Star Engines & Transmissions

4/16/2012 Guarantee/Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: I bought an engine from Tristar engines from Baldwin wisconsin, I had a local shop install the engine for me they got engine installed into truck, motor was blowing combustion into radiator coolent the guys at the shop did numerous tests and lots of time to see what was wrong could not pin point the problem for sure but thought maybe it was the heads.They called me to see what i wanted to do,so i called Tristar to see what our optsions were i told them what the problem was and asked them if they had a guy to come out and look at the problem they said we don't have a person to do that , he said we trust the shops to do the diagnois,i said to him they are not sure but mayby its the heads.The person at Tristar engines left it up to me i opted to try some different heads,the guy at tristar said he would send some different heads out i said that would be fine,the shop got the new heads on and had the same problem so i called tristar again and had them send a complete engine again,the shop installed it and the truck is running fine now.Tristar picked up complete engine and set of heads,Tristar looked over everything and came to the conclusion that the block had been sanded on with a sanding disc and that the headgaskets were not sent back with the rest of the engine and now the only thing they are willing to do is five hundred dollar store credit on our account,that does not help my mechanic out when it should be about twenty five to three thousand dollars PLEASE HELP US

Desired Settlement: For Tristar to pay my mechanic please so i dont have to

Business Response: BBB OF WISCONSIN
******** ******** ***** ** ********** **** **** *** ********** ** *****

RE: Complaint ID# *******

Dear ******** ********:

Tri Star Engine Supply has reviewed complaint ID# ******* and we have also spoken again with ****** ******* the vehicle owner who works for ********* ********** ******. The shop who ****** chose to do his engine replacement failed to follow our required warranty procedures by not returning all of the warranty parts for inspection and credit as per our limited warranty requirements and as noted on the warranty invoices. An analysis was completed on the returned cylinder heads and cylinder block and no defects in the castings or workmanship from Tri Star was found. The head gasket sealing surface of the cylinder block returned was found to have been badly damaged by improper cleaning methods performed by the installing shop, which lead to the 2nd failure. A copy of a ******* ****** bulletin outlining the proper celaning methods for gasket surfaces that also warns about the use of surface conditioning discs is included with every engine we sell. Despite the parts not all being returned and no defects found, Tri Star gave ****** and "********* ********** ******" 100% credit back for the replacement parts on invoice# ****** and the replacement engine on invoice# ******. As a further Goodwill Gesture to ****** and ********* ********** ****** we have offered them a $500 goodwill credit as well. We feel this is a fair settlement given the analysis findings.


*** ********* ******** ************* *** **** ******* * *************

1/8/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable