Inept GM Service - Another customer lost

Page 1 of 2  
My mom was experiencing problems with her otherwise reliable 2000 Buick LeSabre. Every so often, out of the blue, the car would run rough and lots of warning lights to come on. There were numerous, seemingly
unrelated computer codes that 2 Buick dealers in 6 visits over 6 months could not figure out. They basically threw up their hands at the problem. So, she got fed up and we bought her a Civic. My brother agreed to buy the car off of her and try to fix it.
He took the car to his local independent shop and asked them to analyze the codes and find a common denominator. This guy looked them all up in the schematics and noticed that they all had the same ground. He checked the ground at the engine and found it to be loose and corroded. Twenty minutes later, the problem was solved. Cost $30 labor. The guy apologized for having to charge that much!
So, for an incredibly simple $30 repair, GM lost another customer to Honda due to inept customer service.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Great story, great information, and unfortunately, sad ending - at least for your mom.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
rdant wrote:

It sounds like he found a real mechanic instead of a parts-swapper. Unfortunately these are in the minority. The auto makers encourage this parts swapping behaviour with their computer codes and flow charts.
Unfortunately this is not a GM only problem and could happen at a Honda dealer as well.
The real take away from your story is to find a really good mechanic and use them!
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I agree. This is not unique to GM, but you'd think a car company in dire straights would be going out of their way to retain customers, and you'd think they'd be working with their dealers help achieve this. In this case, it was two different dealerships and neither responded with a solution. Neither offered recommendations; Neither offered a loaner while she waited for them to diagnose the problem.
In contrast, I recently took my Honda Element in for a problem. It was just out of warranty and I asked what it would cost me. The dealer told me not to worry; he'd cover it. I know other cases where Honda paid for out of warranty service on items they felt should not have broken. At least I know they are standing behind their product. Can't say the same about GM (despite their new 100,000 warranty).
The LeSabre was a good car, really, and got good gas mileage. But once lost, a customer may be lost forever.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
All manufacture offer dealers after warranty reimbursement for resemble claims
mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
rdant wrote:

I just got my 2003 Accord back from having a similar free fix after warranty. The headlights were varrying in brightness much like when you have a marginal voltage regulator. The dealer found a service bulletin for this issue which Honda had tracked to marginal solder joints in the Electronic Load Control (whatever that is!). They proceeded to replace the complete underhood main fuse box assembly as that is where this ELD device is integrated. The car has 54,000 miles on it, well past the 36,000 warranty. Honda covered the cost 100% without a fight because it was a manufacturing problem which never should have been there in the first place.
By contrast, our Olds minivan had air conditioner problems only 1,000 miles out of warranty and GM told us tough luck.
Honda continues to win my business and support because they treat me right. GM lost my business because they never treated me right. Pretty simple math.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hogwash. All manufactures and dealerships encourage the techs to first do the basics and change parts only when they prove, by diagnosis, to be the causal part.
mike hunt

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You are a dreamer and full of your own hogwash. In this case they obviously didn't give the problem adequate thought.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Some O wrote:

Mike seems to live in his own alternate universe.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

All this talk about the mechanics missing an obvious problem (the defective groundwire) reminds me of a book. I suggest reading the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Real interesting book. The writer, Robert Pirsig, had a Honda Superhawk motorcycle (this was in the late 1960's). He kept having to take his motorcycle in to the dealership. He took it there 5 times, they rebuilt the engine 4 times for free, and it still ran like crap afterwards (would get hot and seize up). He noticed that the motorcycle techs all seemed to be distracted, like they weren't paying attention, like they weren't thinking about their jobs, even while AT their jobs. He finally bought a factory manual and, having no prior mechanical experience, took the engine apart in his garage and found the problem -- a sheared off pin whose purpose was to allow oil flow to the heads. He never had trouble afterwards.
-
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The difference is you are the guys in the dream world. I know what I'm taking about when it comes to quality work by competent techs, you guys have personal opinions. In the real universe my former business serviced and proved warranty coverage for thousands of vehicles, every month, for most every manufacture you can name Techs not first doing the basics and changing good parts, costs the manufacture and the dealer more money than if they do what they are trained to do. Anybody who thinks they make money changing parts is a fool ;)
mike
.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It may cost the dealer and manufacturer more money to start swapping out good parts. Because the manufacturer is paying for it, under warranty. But if an independent mechanic starts swapping parts, they can make a lot of money because the customer is paying for it. If they find a gullible enough customer who wouldn't demand a refund for unnecessary work.
-
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Only in your small world ;)
mike
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
When her Honda fails, and it will, will she switch to another brand? Judging all of the models and dealerships buy one, good or bad, is an effort in futility. I see lot of Honda is GM dealers lots as well. ;)
mike hunt

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mike Hunter wrote:

That depends on how Honda and their dealers respond to her problems. This is not a question of the product quality, but rather, how does the company stand behind their product. In my experience so far, Honda stands behind their product better than GM or Chrysler.
As an example, Chrysler minivans have historically had terrible reliability with their transmissions. One is lucky to get 80,000 out of a tranny on their older models. But, they have never offered to give their customers restitution for these problems. I know people that have put 2 or 3 trannies in their vans.
When the Honda Odyssy and TL's had tranny problems recently, Honda immediatly extended the warranty on all vehicles with that tranny.They provided a free repair, along with courtesy vehicles while they were being repaired.
People perceive reliability not just by how few problems a product has, but by how easy it is to repair the problem when something goes wrong.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Excellent point. We all know that some problems are eventually inevitable. If the problem is resolved courteously and competently, we usually 'get over it'.
GM's tendency to live with a long run of known weaknesses, and to avoid dealing with them as much as possible, has lost them a lot of credibility.
Is the Honda less likely to have a failure? Probably yes, overall. Honda has had lower than industry average failure rates for a while.
We just had another failure on this damn Buick. The air conditioner has decided to have a nervous breakdown again. Buick and their AC computers are known for failure, and are expensive to replace. Thank God it is nearing autumn weather, and we can tolerate it until we get ready to buy a new car.
Will the new one be another Buick? I will have to take a look at the new warranty provisions before saying conclusively 'no'. Had extended warranty not been announced, the answer would have been 'Hell, no!"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I had a '90 Buick Reatta that I bought in Indy and moved it to Fort Worth, TX. After time and out of warranty it would start poorly and run rough for a while and then smoothed out. Took it to James Young, a Buick dealer in Fort Worth. In short, they charged me $1330 for parts and labor over 4 visits and still hadn't fixed the problem. Then they replaced the coil pack and fixed everything. While they were at it they cracked the steering column plastic while checking the switch and turn signal. I complained to the Service Manager and I didn't have to pay for the coil pack and the repair and paint of the steering column, but I was still out $1330.
I bought a 98 Regal GS from them and at 36,713 miles, the left turn signal stopped working. The service advisor said it was just a bulb and proceeded to change them before signing it in. It did not fix the problem and he said it was some electrical part and would be expensive. I told him to please check if warranty would replace whatever was needed, but didn't expect it to. When I picked up the car they had replaced the turn signal switch assembly and there was no charge and he said the GM warranty picked it up.
While I'm typing, I had an 87 Ford Bronco XLT and the cruise control continually worked and didn't work. I had it to different dealers in Ohio and Indiana and they replaced different parts under warranty. Finally after the warranty expired I took it to an Indy dealer and he replaced some parts and I paid but on the way home, the cruise wouldn't work. I took it back and they replaced some more stuff and again I paid but this time, they fixed it. I talked to the service manager at the dealership and he gave me the Ford Regional office address and I wrote a long letter and told them the problem I had the since the truck was new. It took a while but they sent me a check for the work that was done after the warranty that I had paid for.
Just my experiences for what it's worth.
Karl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
All manufactures do the same thing in the examples you cited and they all screw up as well. The problem is many buyers expect the manufacture to fix their vehicle forever.
Honda is no better or worse than any other manufcture. I had to engage an attorney to get Honda to replace an engine ruined when an oil seal failed with less than 10K on the clock.
mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't blame GM for that, but two inept dealerships. That can happen any place, any brand. Aside from warranty work, I'll never take a car to a dealer for service. A good independent shop can do wonders, as you can see.
Had a problem just today. My LeSabre (118,900 miles) had a miss a couple of times. Computer indicated that cylinders #3 and #6 had misfires, but has been OK for the past three days. Diagnosis pointed to the coil ($60) or the ignition module (much more expensive, maybe $300), so, what to do? Mechanic Bob put in a coil that he had (used, but good) and said to drive the car for a few days and he will recheck the computer. If it is the other part it will still miss, if the coil, probably not. He won't replace a part until he is sure. Some would have just replaced both, took my money and been happy that they made a good profit and for the customer they did a fix, no matter what the cost.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Why do people continue to take their car to a dealer as the FIRST option? There are plenty of good, independent shops out there, and equally plenty of incompetent dealer service providers out there. Maybe I've just been lucky and have had good mechanics, as I have never taken my car to the dealer for service.
I chalk this one up to a couple of incompetent dealers. It's not GM's job to police their THOUSANDS of dealers, that's just impossible. I would certainly call and/or write GM with your concerns, if they don't know, how can they fix the problem? Wagoner ain't telepathic ;)
-GV
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.