Carmax / poor service/ poor product
I originally purchased my 2005 Ford Explorer from CarMax at Town Center in Kennesaw, GA in June of 2008. From the moment I purchased this car, I have had problem after problem after problem. On July 30, 2008 the tail light began to blow out every time it was replaced. I brought the car in for the repair of a fuse issue which, was resolved with little problems. Little did I know this was the start of a nightmare of car ownership.
On September 22, 2008 the transmission felt like it was slipping every time we drove; the car stalled when it was idling for more than a few seconds and the “check engine” light stayed on. The Kennesaw CarMax service department had a very difficult time repairing this issue; they had to send the car to a dealer for a PCM reflash, a replacement of the harmonic balancer. When this issue came up the service department required me to drive around and give details of all the oil changes that were completed while I owned the car. They told me at that time that I had to “prove” that I was taking care of the car. This is insulting. I obviously was, but I did not appreciate being lectured and being accused of doing something wrong, which I hadn’t. Once we gave the technicians the proof that every oil change had been completed every 3, 000-3, 500 miles we were taken as “warranty customer.” Treated like them too! May I remind everyone, CarMax is the one who sold me the warranty for an extra 57.00 dollars a month with my car payment.
During the next few months there were slight problems, but I was able to fix these myself. These include repeated issues of blown fuses, a headlight that would not stay on, and rotor issue.
On July 6, 2009 (just over one year from my purchase) the vehicle shook every time I pressed on the brakes and the car felt like it was slipping every time it switched gears. I need not point out that this is a repeat issue. This was the first time in my years of buying from CarMax that I felt discouraged, frustrated and angry. While the CarMax service center technician was test driving my car for the complaints that I talked of, the car stalled and the engine went out… and the service techs had to have the car towed back to the service center. This car needed the following: a new seal kit; a new timing chain; and an entirely new engine; AND A NEW TRANSMISSION. AGAIN. It was during this time that I was forced to rent a car for more than 30 days while CarMax “fixed” my car. I received my ½ my credit back to my credit card for the rental 90 days after this transaction. I was obviously extremely irritated but thought my car was taken care of. Little did I know this was just the early stages of my frustration.
In June of 2010 the check engine light came on again, along with the same feeling of a transmission slip that I had before. CarMax fixed the engine light but the service manager (Kristy) was extremely rude to me. This was the first time I had been treated like a lower class person, and that I was interfering with her day. My car had stalled and would not go after starting it again unless it was in 3rd gear in my front yard while my wife was trying to drive the kids to school and go to work. I asked Kristy if we could get a tow truck and a loaner car because of all of the issues we had with this vehicle. She rudely declined, stating it was NOT part of their responsibility and we would have to get it to her if she was to look at it again! So I called Mike at “Mr. Transmission” where they are accustomed to dealing with problem-prone used cars from CarMax. This garage has apparently also had several issues with Kristy. This same garage is also where CarMax had my transmission replaced 1 year earlier. Mike at Mr. Transmission was very understanding; he sent me a tow truck and was very helpful. After fixing my transmission AGAIN, he gave the car back and said he thinks there may still be some issues with that car that are causing the transmission issues. He felt that there were problems with engine that was recently put in and that I should bring it back to CarMax while it was still under warranty. While driving the car I could feel that it was still stalling and not driving very clean, almost like it was stuck in 4-wheel-drive all the time. That same afternoon I took my car to get the emission test completed. It failed.
I called CarMax that afternoon and talked to Scott, who has always been very helpful and professional. He did not have the authority to give me a loaner but was very understanding and apologetic. He stated that he would talk to his supervisor Kristy, who declined the loaner car. After numerous calls and conversations and getting the shop manager Mike on the phone, who went over Kristy’s head, I was finally able to get a loaner car from Mike the operations manager. He was helpful and understanding of our situation. Kristy was not.
The service department had our car for almost 2.5 months replacing the fuel pump, the intake manifold gasket and the check engine light sensors, along with an alignment and a ball joint repair.
I had the car for 3 days and then the check engine light appeared again. And it started running rough again, skipping, and error warning lights again started to stay on all the time.
I immediately called Scott and he had a loaner car waiting for me as they took the car back into the service department in August 2010. As you can see I brought the car into the service department in June and through August had only had my car for 3 days. Well, it got worse. From August 2010- February 2011 I never had possession of my car. I was updated daily by Scott (who was still very professional and understanding) as the service department tried to find out what was wrong with my car. They tried everything: new gaskets; a new fuel pump; replacement of thermostats; gas tank service; emptying the tank of gas and filling it back up; replacing spark plugs; radiator servicing; and finally replacing the engine, again, completely. During this time I called the corporate office (with no response from anyone) and Bill Smith (the General Manager). Mr. Smith never returned one of my many phone calls, and this is not acceptable. For this reason I am EXTREMELY disappointed. In November of 2010 Mike (the operations manager) called to update me and tried to tell me they had exhausted all options and could not fix the car and that I would have to take the vehicle back. Mike did offer to give me $10, 000 for the car for a trade in even though I still owed $13, 000 for the car. I felt I was being forced to trade in a car that I would be upside down in because CarMax couldn’t fix what they were hired to fix. This was obviously completely unacceptable and after a very long conversation, Mike agreed that he would continue to work on the car. Finally they found out the original engine that was replaced was installed with the WRONG engine. The flux fuel engine was not installed on the original replacement and the mechanics made a mistake. They also admitted to dropping the original engine put in on repair and having to order a new one that may have gotten mixed up!
I then finally received my “repaired” car back February 12, 2011.
In April of 2011 (2 months later) as it was finally getting warm, I turned the air conditioner on to find that the AC blew hot air! And again, the car seems to be slipping again telling me that there may be another transmission issue. We again called the service department and were told by Kristy that our warranty had run out a few days earlier and there was nothing they could do. KRISTY HUNG UP ON ME. This is unacceptable.
We paid to have the air fixed ourselves and found out the CarMax service center screwed up the wires and did not put things back together correctly. It cost us $400.00 to have this fixed, which was the fault of CarMax.
Two months later we had to take the car in to a service facility to get thealternator fixed, as it was bad after we only had car back from CarMax 4 months.
I called Bill Smith four times in one week, and left numerous polite messages on April 25, April 27, April 29, and May 2. I wanted to see if he could rectify the situation. He never called me back and has officially lost me as a future customer for his blatant disregard for consumer that employs him.
I found myself as of July 13, 2011 with more issues to this vehicle. Firestone ran a test on the “service car engine” light, which came on once again, and stated that it came up with numerous error codes and quoted me $1500 for repair. After many months of repairing this vehicle and a lot of our own time and money AGAIN I find myself here on March 12, 2012 with another transmission issue. The car is stuck in 4-wheel-drive again, with advance track light error and check engine light on again. The quotes to have the car repaired are quite high.
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