My relationship with a certain GM dealership (which shall remain nameless)
began in late 1990. I purchased a new 1991 Buick from them. At first, when the
car was new, they were doing all of the normal things to keep me as a happy
customer. Then they started slipping up. One rear power window quit, and I
diagnosed it (using the Helm manual) as a bad switch or connection somewhere
around the driver's controls. The GM shop diagnosed it as a faulty motor, so
they replaced it, and I paid. Then about one year later, the same symptoms
showed on the same window. Again, I showed it to be something around the
driver's controls, and I took it back to the same shop. As you might expect,
they diagnosed it as a faulty motor. I stopped there and explained the history
going back one year. They said: "Let me call you back." Then they called back
two hours later to say that the car was finished, and no charge. Well, you and
I both know what happened. That caused me to be suspicious of them. I know that
any good GM technician might have a bad day and screw up on a diagnosis, but
then don't refuse to admit the mistake.
On the same vehicle, the cam sensor broke, so they had to pull the whole front
end of the engine. That took days, and the bill went to about 50% more than
what any other GM shop in the area charges. When the car was ready, I paid the
cashier. As I walked out to where the car was, I was going over the details.
When I got to "fuel injector cleaner $15" I got nervous. I asked the Service
Manager why they used $15 worth of fuel injector cleaner on it, and they said
that they always do that on any engine with a performance problem. In my
opinion, that was the wrong answer. If there had been anything wrong in the
fuel system, then why did they have to pull the front of the engine? If they
pulled the front of the engine, then why were they fooling with fuel injector
cleaner? I posed that question to the Service Manager. He thought for a moment
and then said "Well, the next time you bring the car in, point this out to us
and we will refund $15." My reply was that I didn't think there would be a next
time for service. That car never went back to that dealership for service. I
wrote the Service Manager one letter to inquire, and then a followup letter.
Both were ignored.
I have since purchased another Buick from the same place, but they have never
seen it for any service work.
That was probably your first mistake. Are you saying
that the power window quit "completely".....and your diagnosis
led you to a bad switch/connection? And then they replaced
the power window motor and it worked for one year before
it quit again? It seems strange to me that even an intermittant
problem would go away for a complete year before re-appearing.
Hmmm....I'd have to hear the other side of the story on that one.
Depending on what kind of a customer they percieve you to be,
they may have just wanted to finish up the work and be done with
it. Where you able to ascertain what work they had actually done
the second time around? And yeah..you are right....best just to fess
up if you screw up. What has to be in place for that to happen is
a reasonable manager.
Your second example does sound suspicious. Perhaps "they" broke
something. While fuel injector cleaner won't hurt anything, they would
have been smarter to simply install whatever they wanted in the fuel
tank, and leave it off the bill. But then again, your question is valid....
was there really anything wrong with the cam sensor...
This is a real problem with big dealerships...or just dealerships in
general. There is a real lack of communication between the customer
and the tech working on the vehicle. Often the people up at the front
counter tell outrageous lies in the belief that it will smooth the rough
spots over. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Most
customers would be happy to hear the truth...as long as they don't have
to pay for it. By that I mean, if something got broken, as long as it
was repaired without expense to them, they are usually ok with it
as long as they know about it up front.
At our dealership, I actually think we give away too much. Someone
just has to squawk a bit and they give everything away to them.
Some electrical problems are intermittent on an annual basis, and they tend to
be thermal intermittent connections, especially in some place like the driver's
door where a little rain could get in there.
Only part of the facts show up on the invoices.
No. If the customer is paying, then the invoice shows what they did and what
parts were used. However, if they did it for no charge, then they don't have to
say what they did or what parts were used. All I could tell for sure (after the
second time) was that the hex Allen screw had been turned (the entry point to
the door panel on that car). I had left it a certain way, and it was different
after I got it back. So I knew that they had been into the door panel to do
something, which is where I would have expected them to go in the first place,
if you believe my original diagnosis.
Absolutely, I believe that there are a lot of good GM technicians out there,
and anybody is entitled to a human error once in a while. But then the Service
Manager needs to run interference. If he isn't going to do that, or if he isn't
going to respond to customer inquiries in any way, then the customer simply
takes his service business elsewhere.
I don't know for sure. The original symptoms pointed to something like that, so
I was not shocked by the cam sensor diagnosis. Something like that is not the
sort of thing that I would try to tangle with on my own, anyway.
The people at the front counter need to choose their words carefully sometimes,
but then if it gets to outrageous lies, some shrewd customer is going to get
pissed off and take their service business elsewhere.
However, here after the fact, I am relatively content with taking my service
business elsewhere. This may sound strange, but I am fairly well content with
purchasing my new autos at the same dealership as before. I know what kind of
mistakes they make in the financial paperwork, so I know what to watch out for.
Last time, they made a mistake of $500 in their favor, and I caught it right at
the time of delivery. I know what kind of extended warranty scams they try to
run. I take personal notes on all of that crap. I save the business cards of
the GM people that I have to deal with. Then the following month, when there is
some screwup, I march right back to the place and ask to see the correct person
who did it. It's amazing how many times that person is no longer an employee of
the dealership (and that tells me something else).
Everybody is trying to make a buck these days. But I watch out for the ones who
are trying to take all of my bucks in a hurry.
Ian, if you don't mind me asking, are you in Edmonton?
My sister lives there and needs a good mechanic.
She owns a Saturn, so it's a GM. Nothing _wrong_ with
the car, but if you're in Edmonton I'd definitely tell
her to consider getting her car serviced at the dealership
you work at.
And you'd be right! I'm not a hockey fan at all.
Did you happen to hear about our football team
fiasco? What a joke. And I don't follow football
much either. I enjoy Formula One, but Calgary
doesn't seem to field a team in that sport.
| I had written a business letter to the Service Manager at the GM
| and they did not even respond in any way, not even a phone call. My
| letter was ignored similarly. That is why they lost my service business.
| ---Bob Gross---
Your letter-writing experience sounds vaguely familiar. :-)
But this issue has been addressed in 98 by using a thinner pipe,
right? Was this change good enough?
Then again, there's still some issue with the intake manifold leaking
in later models for which there recently was a recall to replace a
couple of bolts that attach the TB to the manifold. Are both issues
I guess only time will tell. I've seen upper's being replaced
more then once because the lower intake hadn't been changed
up to the new style, but I haven't seen any with the new style
lower manifold come back yet.
Believe it or not, it's always been an issue with these engines.
There has always been a tendency for them to leak from the
throttle body to upper plenum connection. I usually ignore
more seepage. Gm's latest recall is a change in the style of
nut that is used to retain the throttle body to the upper plenum.
None of the vehicles that I've performed this recall to.. have
been leaking coolant at said joint.
Sorry, that's what I was referring to. The GENII series
of engines. There have been modifications along the way.
Again, sorry. After looking at the paragraph, I see your point.
Let me clarify..... starting back with the GENII when it
first came out.......since that time, coolant leakage at the
throttle body to upper plenum gasket has always been a
problem 'as the vehicle gets some miles on it'. I always
put it down to a warped manifold. Which was probably
true when these engines had the 'old' style lower intake
manifold. This latest recall is for 2003 and up I believe,
possibly 2002 vehicles. As such, none of these vehicles
that I've seen (late model ones) have been leaking from
the throttle body area, but I suspect that GM is attempting
to nip the problem in the bud if it can. Still see lots of
older 3800's leaking from the throttle body gasket, but
there is no recall for them. What is recommended is to
install the updated nuts whenever performing repair
work to the upper plenum.
Hope that helps...
I have seen this occur twice, interestingly enough both times in 4.3
powered Blazers, after they topped off a Dexcool system with standard
green ethylene glycol. The result was similar to what congealed,
partially dried brown cottage cheese might look like. Both instances
required repeated chemical flushing of the block/head water jackets and
replacement of the entire remainder of the cooling system. Not a good
day for them.
You're going to get tons of opinions either way. I have DEX-COOL
running in my car ('02 Grand AM, 2.2L Ecotec) and have been checking it
religiously. So far, no gumming, no gunk, and the tank is squeaky
clean. I do keep an eye on the level, and have a jug of Dex Cool lying
around in case I ever need to top it off (which i did once, becuase the
dealer and I apparently have a different idea of what "full cold" means).
No, I am not flushing it while the car is in warranty. If the GM shops adds
anything to the reservoir, it would be Dex-Cool, and then I would have a mess.
Once out of warranty, I will likely flush it and switch over to good old green
Under warranty and looking for a jug of Dexcool. Do you have a 3400 motor
by chance? Keep it topped of and have the GM shop find out where the coolant
is going if it is indeed loosing coolant. If not just watch the level
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