General Motors / faulty transmission
In November 2004 I leased, with the intention of purchasing through a Smartbuy program, a 2005 Chevy Malibu from Jim Smith’s Chevrolet in New York. In January 2006, I returned to this dealer because the traction control light came on, the car would inexplicable jump from 5 miles an hour to 40 miles an hour and the engine would rev when I pushed down the accelerator but the car would not speed up. The diagnosis from Jim Smith’s mechanic was that there was almost no transmission fluid in the car and the gears burnt out. He also told me that there was no way this could be from a problem with the car and I had to pay for the new transmission; which I later learned was entirely untrue. The mechanic stated that the transmission would slowly burn out (over months) with little or no fluid in it. I paid $3, 575.93 out of pocket for a completely new transmission. Jim Smith’s rep. told me that my purchase was covered by a LIFETIME warranty covering all parts and labour for the transmission, as well as towing if necessary, all I needed to do was provide the original receipt.
I complained many times to the dealer that the steering column clicked when the steering wheel was turned and the brakes did not feel right. The many times I brought my car in for service and made these complaints I was told that everything was fine.
In April 2008 while driving on the highway, the engine started revving when I stepped on the accelerator, but the car had no power and started loosing speed. At my expense, the car was towed to the nearest dealer, Frank’s Chevrolet in New York. The mechanic supervisor told me that the transmission was so badly damaged that they could not repair it. He could not explain why and had already ordered another transmission.
During one of my phone conversations with the supervisor, he stated that GM questioned why I paid for the first transmission to be replaced. He also told me there were no records of this from the original dealer. That lead to a conversation about the reason I was charged for the first repair. This supervisor told me the exact opposite of what the mechanic from Jim Smith’s had said. He and other mechanics I have talked to, told me that without fluid the transmission would not shift, and with low fluid it would not be months before the transmission burnt out, it would be days or hours. Obviously, the initial problem with the transmission had nothing to do with low fluid levels because of the length of time I had been driving the car.
The transmission was replaced again by Frank’s. The dealer told me that the warranty covering the transmission work WAS NOT lifetime coverage, it was only 5 years or 100, 000 miles. Frank’s also informed me that the transmission they just installed was covered under the warranty started in 2006, not a new warranty, even though it was a new transmission.
I picked up the car, it drove 12 miles, and it bucked forward, the odometer and power steering failed and the transmission would NOT shift out of first gear. GM roadside assistance would not tow the car back to Frank’s. Frank’s told me that the speed sensor on the new transmission was bad and had to be replaced.
I picked up the car; once again I drove 5 miles and heard a banging and dragging noise from the front right side of the car. I pulled over and found that the cover under the car had not been bolted back to the bumper and a corner had caught the road and cracked. I again brought the car back to Frank’s. They DID NOT replace the cracked cover or the bolts that were missing, instead they zip tied the cracked cover to the bumper.
Dana from GM customer service responded to my complaint letter. She stated that GM is not responsible for individual dealer’s workmanship or guarantees. She told me that when I turn the car in I will be responsible to pay for any damages caused by the faulty repairs and mechanical failures. She will investigate my payment of the first repair but warned me that she may not be able to obtain any records.
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