GM, Ford reputations take a hit

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No doubt that's a strong motivator for some customers. The 100,000 mile warranties were designed to appeal to them.
It is, after all, what I do at home. I don't spend much money at all fixing my cars. Maybe $100 a year per car, if that. My expectations are going to be hard to live up to.
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Actually, this is an inexpensive thing for the car makes to do. Some of the repairs they already cover if there is a design problem with the car or truck. And most vehicles don't need major covered repairs in the first 100,000 miles. Things like brakes are considered normal wear and tear items, so they aren't covered. So it is usually not a big cost for the car makers.
Some Hyundai dealers near where Mike lives purchase insurance contracts (aka extended warranties) on the drivetrain for their costumers for between 100,000 and 200,000 miles (after the regular 100,000 mi warranty expires). Most people don't keep their cars that long, so it is a small risk.
Jeff
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Mike Hunter wrote:

And to others, being treated right means the manufacturer fixing what are very obviously design mistakes in the vehicle even if the warranty has expired. :)
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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"Design mistakes?" Maybe.
When these problems show up and are not corrected nor supported for LONG periods of time, one might wonder if these defects are not planned obsolence, or intentional time bombs.
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Considering that the next version of the engine or transmission has this problem fixed, I doubt it is a design feature, as you suggest.
The other thing is that the automaker who made the faulty vehicle is less likely to get repeat business, whether it is to buy a car for the owner's kid or replace the fault vehicle.
One thing is clear, there are fewer new cars on the American road than last year. Auto sales are down like 2.6% from the previous year. They were down in 2005, too. And Americans are driving more each year. Cars are more durable than ever before. It used to be that car engine would last maybe 100,000 mi, if the owner was lucky. Now engines regularly go to 150,000 or 200,000 mi or more.
This was good for my dad and my college education. Dad owned a machine shop that rebuilt engines. He also made lots of money selling tail-pipes, shocks, carburetors, spark plugs and ignition parts. With fuel injection, electronic ignitions, longer-lasting shocks and stainless steel tailpipes, they rarely sell these parts, now. And there is far less engine-rebuilding work now than 20 or 30 years ago. In fact, one of the five machine shops in town closed completely, the staff at his shop is down 75% (from 6 to about 1 1/2), two of the remaining shops have much small staffs, too.
The market also changed with a lot of the tailpipe and shock business going to chain stores that don't go local independent warehouses; a lot of garages put on new rotors rather than have them resurfaced because the cost of new rotors is better. In addition, dealerships will often get new short blocks or engines for in-warranty work rather than send out to work to a machine shop.
So the loss of business is due to both the increased longevity of engines and the changing market.
Jeff
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.

Sorry, Jeff, when it takes GM 10 years or better to correct an obvious problem, then your explanation doesnt wash.
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Which problem are you talking about?
Ed
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I am specifically referring to the plastic plenum problem which continued for about 10 years.
The old rusty rot under the rear window problem continued for a number of years too. GM knew about it, chose not to fix it. It was a simple fix which they found more convenient (and perhaps profitable) to avoid, according to people on the inside.
There are others.
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I've read that GM didn't correct that nasty failing intake gasket problem because most were failing after the guarantee period. Unfortunately when they failed the engine was often toast. Great for new car sales if their customers are stuck on GM in spite of having big problems with their cars.
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Well, let's get it right. The intake problem and the plenum problem did not toast engines. Both of these were very survivable even after many, many miles were put on the car in that condition. It took a lot of driving with failed intake gaskets to cause engine problems. The leaks started on the outside of the engine and were visible. But... owners today don't even open a hood unless it's to put windshield washer fluid in, so many never even noticed they had a problem.
Their car otherwise ran so trouble free that no one who might see and pay attention to the leak, ever had occasion to notice. This problem is at once both a plague and a praise to GM.
--

-Mike-
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not
with
open
once
That isnt my experience, Mike. On our car there was no external leak. Wife drove it home from bridge one day and it was missing badly. Made it to the garage and the cylinders filled with water causing hydraulic lock.
It was sudden, no warning. Had she been on the road, it might have been worse.
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Hogwash. The head gaskets never failed catastrophically. I was leaking into the cylinder you simply did not know it.
mike

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Head gaskets? Who the hell said anything about head gaskets?

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Especially if she were to ignore that flashing service engine soon light.
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to
Wow - that is unusual in my experience. Just shows to go ya - never think you have it all figured out...
--

-Mike-
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Luckily, I was aware that this problem existed with the series two engines.
When the dealership finished the car, they replaced coolant as well, and told me there was no water in the oil. I changed the oil anyway. There were a few drops of water in the drain oil, but the innards were not exposed to it for long.
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not
with
open
once
I have seen a website in the past with examples of these failures, Mike. I havent tried to find it lately. Apparently some engines were ruined very quickly when coolant entered the oil.
This website espoused a class action suit against GM. Maybe GM defused the site...I just dont know.
I cant say from experience how serious the range of failures tended to be. We got away with ours because I recognized it immediately. The engine went from normal (no coolant consumption to speak of) to total failure of the plenum in a mile or two.
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Any ENGINE damaged as a result of a failing gasket, was the OWNERS fault, so says a Federal court settlement. The fact that any manufacture fixed any car, after the warranty expired, was a PR effort on their part since no manufacturer warrants problems caused by neglect. GM,Ford, and Honda did a much better job of extending warranties on vehicles with gasket problems than did Toyota and Chrysler however
Toyota, GM, Ford, Honda, Chrysler etc all had the gasket problems after the feds banned asbestos, without allowing enough time for the gasket manufacturers to develop a suitable replacement material. The result was a black eye for ALL manufactures not only GM.
The problem for the vehicle manufactures was, depending on which material the gasket supplier used to replace the asbestos, the problem may not occur until years after the vehicles were sold. For others, material failure occurred sooner while still under warranty. Toyota for instance had failures occurring at around 20K, Ford and GM at around 80K, in and out of warranty.
When Ford sued the gasket manufactures, over the failing new non asbestos gaskets required by the feds, the gasket manufactures agreed they were responsible for the gasket failures but not any resulting engines failures. The reasoning was any coolant leaking should have been discoverer long before any damage occurred to the engine IF the vehicle was properly maintained. Leaking should have been detected by the owner and the gasket should have been replaced prior to any engine damage.
The court settlement agreed, since the gasket failure was never catastrophic but actually occurred over time the leak and the resulting coolant loss should have been discovered by the owner. As a result the gasket manufactures were ordered to pay only 80% of the average loss, not 100%. The court settlement with Ford applied to all other manufactures that built engines in the US up to a certain date
mike
wrote:

<snip>.
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Jeff wrote:

Funny, I think its just the opposite. Car durability peaked in the late '60s. A car from that era (such as the '66 I drive every day) is EXTREMELY rugged. My wife's 93, by comparison, has all the plastic interior bits and exterior trim falling apart. The drivetrain on the '66 went well over 200,000 miles, no problems, until a transmission rebuild. The engine continued well over 270k. I also have a '73 with 450,000 miles. The engine on the '93 so far has 240,000 miles, no problem, but its been through 2 transmissions. Cars used to not last very long because a) they were much cheaper to replace than they are now, and b) things like lubricants have come a LONG way. Much further than the cars themselves. If Mobil 1 had been around in its current form in 1966, things would have been drastically different.
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The price of a car, as a percentage of income, has not changed theat much over the last 40 years.
and b)

And today's cars are much better. They are more fuel efficient, more reliable, are much safer and pollute far less.
And cars are on the road a lot longer than they used to be, which is way cars sales are going down, even though there are more cars on the road every year.
You're correct that lubricants have improved, but I don' think that explains the longevity of the cars.
Jeff
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