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#120 of 139 2 head gaskets in 13,000 miles...
Feb 22, 2001 (1:52 pm)
My wife has a 1997 Neon Highline(yeah right) and had purchased it new with the extended warranty. At 32,000 miles her head gasket blew with oil all over. We had it replaced for free. Then now we have a major coolant leak. We just had the head gasket replaced again, now at 42,000 miles! What a piece of *%#!
Mar 25, 2001 (3:14 pm)
Why is there no MAIN PLACE to collect the horror stories/facts/ and help to initiate class actions to force these companies to provide a decent product replacement for OBVIOUS defects.....we have the misfortune of having the Neon, now undergoing a head gasket replacement which was DENIED by DG to exist.....(service manager even pretended to scope current updates to see if there was any major complaints on record for this DEFECT)....unfortunately, other vehicle is a Ford Taurus 97 wagon that has MAJOR transmission problems that again the company thinks isolated to US only.....and reading thru the board see that we may have head gasket trauma to come on the Ford. Why is there no easier way for consumers to follow up on all this and just where are the HIDDEN WARRANTIES that are referred to..the ones that are not bandied about PUBLICly??? This is repulsive paying the amounts of dollars to initially purchase these junkers!!!!!!
Mar 25, 2001 (3:31 pm)
Look at it this way - the ease with which information can be collected and published on the Internet is one decided advantage in favor of the consumer.
And there are companies that will stand behind what they build - my Subaru was just serviced for an alternator replacement after 4 years and almost 50,000 miles. Subaru didn't have to offer the service campaign - it did so to keep the goodwill of its buyers. They replace the alternators without charge for parts or labor.
I guess customer satisfaction means more to some companies than it does to others; it may be one reason why Subaru (and Honda and Toyota) are selling cars just fine, while DaimlerChryler's Chrysler Group is struggling now.
Mar 26, 2001 (1:06 pm)
Good point...I remember way back when Mazda replaced defective rotary engines by the boatload...I can still recall seeing a brand new engine going into some old, rustbucket of a Mazda, and the factory was picking up the tab. With most American automakers, it seems like you have to relive the last scene from Frankenstein, storming the castle with pitchforks and blazing torches.
If I were GM et al, I'd boost the warranty up to some decent mileage, and say "Look, up to 75,000 miles we cover the drivetrain, after that you're on your own"....I'll pay for a head gasket or transmission at 100K, I feel that's fair, that's a lot of miles, but not at 37K miles!.
Mar 26, 2001 (5:03 pm)
I also have a 1996 Plymouth Neon. The head gasket blew just within the warranty period at close to 30,000 miles, the transmission went at 70,000 miles,(out of pocket expense) the gas gauge stopped working at 80,000 miles, and now the head gasket has blown for the second time at 105,000 miles. I totally agree that the Neon is a peice of ****!! Never again will I buy a Neon.
Mar 26, 2001 (6:25 pm)
An article in Automotive News about 9 months ago discussed new car warranty coverage, the thrust of which was that all the domestic and most import carmakers wanted to reduce their warranty period because of the billions of dollars it costs them, but nobody wants to be first for fear of losing market share. I'd suggest that increasing warranty periods stems from one of two rationales. One: a sales tool to attempt to capture more market share. Two: an excuse for the quality of the vehicle (such as Hyundai 10 year powertrain warranty).
Mar 26, 2001 (6:34 pm)
Boy, and I thought I was the only one out there who hated every day getting into my 1996 neon to go to work. I had the full set of gauges go out around 40K and had a dealership tell me it was because of my battery. What the.... then there is this oil leak that I have taken to 3 different shops and paid out around $1000 to have fixed, with no results still. Is anyone else having a problem with their blinker switch? Mine won't stay left-I have to hold it down. A bright and shining moment came into my life when I hydroplaned last week and ripped the suspension out on the curb at 50 mph. Now, if only the insurance company will total it, I will know that God is smiling on me.
Mar 27, 2001 (1:21 pm)
Yeah, Alcan, maybe you're right....certainly the warranty "craze" started so that people would switch makes, and it worked pretty well for some automakers.
It's the kind of thing you can argue both ways...with some cars, it wouldn't matter if it had a 150,000 mile warranty---if it broke every few months, the owner still wouldn't be happy, would he? On the other hand, a Honda has...what...36 months?...and you don't see Honda owners moaning and groaning too much.
Someday "certain" carmakers will understand the magic priniciple:
It cost just as much to engineer and assemble a car badly as it does to do it well.
Mar 29, 2001 (4:20 pm)
It also helps for an automaker to be proactive - automakers have access to huge databases that point to faulty parts and their failure modes. No one can convince me that Chrysler doesn't know about its failure-prone 4-speed automatics, or that Ford didn't know about faulty head gaskets in the 3.8L V6 engines. They know - just like Toyota knew about the faulty head gaskets in the 3L V6 engines in the trucks, and Subaru knows about the faulty alternators in the 96-98 SIA-built Legacy and Outbacks. The difference is that Toyota and Subaru stepped forward and took a pro-active stance - while Ford and Chrysler sat back and let the customer twist in the wind.
Somewhere I've seen it said that one customer with a bad experience will result in 22 or more lost sales from other customers. For all their Harvard and Wharton-trained MBAs, the domestic automakers sure miss the boat a lot on prudent business practices.
Mar 30, 2001 (4:32 am)
I can't argue with that. Years ago when the issue of defective rack and pinions came up, a GM engineer told me that their corporate bean counters had determined it was more cost effective for them to simply replace the assemblies under warranty than to shut down a production line and re-tool it to correct the valve housing wear problem.
It's become a major industry for aftermarket reman companies such as Moog, TRW, etc.