Last post on May 23, 2013 at 6:30 AM
You are in the Dodge/Plymouth Neon
What is this discussion about?
Dodge Neon, Plymouth Neon, Sedan
#698 of 1773 The anti-Neon, et al bias in Town Hall
Jun 12, 2001 (10:13 pm)
Snowman, I think what you're getting at is a psychological phenomena known as cognitive dissonance. What I find curious is that it's not just the average Joe that seems to possess it, I've also noticed it reflected by automotive journalists, several of whom write for Edmunds (people who shouldn't actively demonstrate biases toward any manufacturer).
These people actually draw opinions first (which is easier to do and more comfortable), and THEN find as much information as possible which supports these predetermined opinions. If something doesn't fit with this reality (i.e., there is a problem with their "perfect" car), they will dismiss it as a fluke or conveniently forget about it entirely. However, if "someone they know" has a problem with a vehicle for which they possess an active bias against, they can recall with vivid clarity the most minor of problems that owner experienced.
Though I believe there are many Honda and Toyota posters whose purchasing behavior is "driven" by their own cognitive dissonance, I've read a number of postings by GM, Ford and Chrysler owners who are equally dissonant.
I do blame a number of consumer publications - particularly Consumer Reports - for creating armies of automotive idiot savants. I find it very frustrating to "talk cars" with these people because they truly believe that reading the April issue of this publication makes one an expert.
Personally, I think the magazine is a useful tool. It's a good place to START one’s research.
As a subscriber to the magazine for the last 13 years, however, I can say that it's certainly not the only resource one should be using to determine the right vehicle for him or herself. And I have two good reasons for this:
First, the articles in Consumer Reports are written by engineers. While I have nothing against people in the engineering profession per se, I can tell you that they are no less susceptible to holding biases than those in any other profession. Furthermore, having lived with three engineering students my sophomore year of college (two of whom thought Toyotas were the best thing since sliced bread), I CAN say that what engineers find cool, interesting and desirable aren't necessarily the same things others find cool, interesting and desirable.
Second, the reliability ratings in Consumer Reports (you know, those 8 pages of red and black circles that when perused by certain people make them believe that they've become auto quality experts) are not statistically significant. I.e., Consumer Reports doesn't use random sampling methods. Instead they send questionnaires out to their SUBSCRIBERS (like me) who, in all candor, do not represent the auto-buying public at large.
Now...do you think the respondents to these surveys (remember, CR reliability ratings are determined ENTIRELY by CR subscribers) possess any biases? Well, I sure do. In fact, I have biased peers that read the automobile articles in Consumer Reports solely because they know what they read will help buoy their own personal biases. Can we say "cognitive dissonance?" What do you think that indicates about the validity of those ratings?
J.D. Power and Associates also does quality and dependability ratings for the automotive industry. Their ratings, however, are statistically significant. This is due to the fact that they use random sampling methods. They send out surveys to verifiable owners of vehicles rated (i.e., the vehicle was actually purchased by, and is registered to, these individuals). I find it interesting that the valid auto quality studies done by Power tend to produce such drastically different results than those unofficial surveys done by Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports will never tell you this either, but their ratings – because of their unscientific nature - are also a great way for disgruntled buyers to have a voice.
You say you're still upset at Chrysler for that unreliable 1995 Neon you got rid of back in 1997? How dare they sell you such a worthless piece of junk! Well, no worry. It's vengeance time. You can still say you own that (and maybe even a problematic 1999 model too) on the 2001 survey by indicating you had a number of mechanical problems with the vehicle over the last year (even though you sold it 4 years ago). And therein lies the worst problem with CR's "sampling" procedure. It doesn't even verify that the respondent owns the vehicle, making it an extremely easy survey to manipulate.
J.D. Power's surveys (both 5-year dependability and 90 day initial quality) indicate the difference in reliability between most domestic and Japanese manufacturers isn't very large at all. In fact, Oldsmobile and Buick have ranked very high on their 5-year dependability studies - even higher than Honda. This comes as a surprise to a lot of Consumer Reports savants. Then again, most members in the CR club have nary a clue how unscientific the CR reliability ratings are.
With that said, I think Toyota and Honda make a number of good cars - but so do GM and Chrysler. Unless you're comparing the very highest reliability autos (Toyota) with the very worst (Kia), the differences in reliability are far less than most imagine them to be.
Unfortunately, there are a number of people out there who truly believe the difference between purchasing a Honda Civic and a Dodge Neon is the difference between never having a problem ("It'll go 2 million trouble-free miles - just oil and gas") and being in the shop all the time.
It is THESE buyers for whom I feel sorry. Not just because they're so comfortable with their own ignorance, but also because those new Civics are kind of ugly (sorry, I can't back that one up with any evidence).
#699 of 1773 Update on my 2000 Neon.
Jun 13, 2001 (1:00 pm)
Hello all. I changed my name on the board here, it used to be theliz (although none of you probably remember).
Well, I bought a Neon in Feb. 2000 and said I would keep you informed, so here we go:
It currently has alittle over 35,000 miles on it (almost out of warranty--yikes!), it is an automatic ES, with all the luxuries and goodies added. I live in NC near Charlotte (hilly region before you get to the mountains).
Pros and cons:
There really is'nt a whole lot to say, but I'll point out some problems first.
1) I had to take it to Dodge to fix the driver's window seal. The seal let air in and the noise was rather bothersome (especially on the highway). Dodge fixed the seal and now there's no problem there.
2) The seats are okay for short trips but they get uncomfortable after about 4 hours of driving. Not "agonizingly uncomfortable" but you have to fidget with the seat alot.
3) I really wish it had a 4-speed tranny--but i knew what i was buying so I can't really complain. My wife and I just drove from NC to New Mexico and back and the Neon had no problems making it over the Smokey Mountains, and we cruised at about 70-80mph the whole trip. but it would have been easier on the engine with a 4-speed tranny.
4) Sometimes the truck will not open. I use the key-fob and I hear it click, the trunk-lid raises slightly but not all the way. I then push the lid down and use the key-fob again and it opens (sometimes it takes a couple of times). I have not taken it to Dodge for this problem yet but I'll get them to look at before the warranty runs out.
5) Often I get a static-electricity zap when exiting the car. Not a big deal and maybe it's the seat covers? It's worse in the winter of course.
Well, that's about all the bad news. There has no engine or tranny problems at all (knock on wood).
The good news:
Very smoothe ride (except in Arkansas--the roads there are even worse than South Carolina's).
Terrific AC. It get cool very quickly and the defroster/defogger works great. The fan is alittle loud at maximum speed.
Wipers had no problems even in a monsoon-like downpour in Memphis.
No problems passing folks on the highway (especially those slow texans) but the car seemed most comfortable at 70mph and sounded alittle strained at 80mph. But it is a 4-cylinder after all.
The cruise control was worth the price 100% (except in Texas--they drive sooo slow).
The stereo and CD player are terrific too.
Well, that's all for now. I'll let you guys know what's up at 50,000 miles.
Picturethis (aka theliz).
Jun 13, 2001 (1:46 pm)
If you have thought about buying a Chrysler product, do yourself a favor, DON'T. My '95 Neon that I purchased new has 62,000 miles on it and is going downhill fast. The car is in impecible condition for the most part, but I just can't keep up with the internal problems. The oil is changed EVERY 3,000 miles and fluids checked religiously. But when the head gasket goes at 60,000 and the dealer tells me that it is normal for a head gasket to go at 60,000 I could not belive my ears. I told him that if this is Chrysler's idea of quality it stinks.
That is the last Chrysler product that I will ever buy.
Jun 13, 2001 (10:49 pm)
The head gasket problem has been well documented by thousands of Neon owners for models before 1998 and D/C should have no problem paying for the fix. Your problem may be with your dealer and not DC after all.
Now other than the head-gasket you state you have had no problems at all for over 50,000 miles.
So, based on the one head gasket problem (which does'nt even affect the 2000 models) you will never buy a D/C vehicle again?!?
Well, I once had a 1986 Toyota Corolla that had some problems with the brakes...should I never buy a Toyota again?
This makes no sense at all.
Besides, a 1995 model with only 65,000 miles? I'm sure you can sell it with no problem.
#702 of 1773 picturethis
Jun 14, 2001 (8:05 pm)
I've heard that the static electricity problem is something that has to do more with the materials they're using to make tires nowadays than the cars.
My first car was an 84 Pontiac 6000 (indeed, I was the envy of my entire high school) and that thing used to zap me EVERY time I closed the door. In fact, it got to be so annoying that I just dreaded closing the door with my hand, so I'd use my sneaker instead.
I used to think it was some type of electrical problem (God knows the car had enough of those), but my next car, an Isuzu, was almost as bad. And I think my last co. car, a 2001 Grand Prix was even worse.
If you really find it bothersome, not touching the car (except with your shoe) after your foot hits the pavement is my technique. This seems like the best option if you've got a rental or co. vehicle, in my opinion.
They also make a little strap (so I've heard) that hangs down from the car body and touches the pavement. Apparently, this doesn't let the car build a static charge while you're driving around.
#703 of 1773 who would buy it?
Jun 16, 2001 (7:39 pm)
who would buy a 95 Neon. The dealers here eyes glaze over when you drive in to ask and they reply those earlier model are too hard to move. My gasket has gone, things are constantly seeping; the left wheel actually froze up last winter and
had to drive it like that to a service center.. There are some awful fumes drifting into the cabin of the car, and they can't figure out what it is. . Looks great on the outside; how can I wish this disaster on anyone.
Jun 16, 2001 (7:54 pm)
Perhaps Consumer Reports relies on something when they send out the surveys about cars. A little something called honesty. Perhaps they hope that people will talk about cars that they still own.
Not having seen the survey, I don't know how they address the potential for abuse.
Has anyone on this board actually participated in the survey and can tell us if there is anything that addresses this?
#705 of 1773 snowman/buoyant
Jun 17, 2001 (7:43 am)
i agree with both of your posts - especially about how biased/un-reliable consumer reports surveys are - i love how you can have 20 categories - 15 red - 4 half red - 1 clear and give it a black mark !!! - always with amercian cars,too - wonder how they can come up with that average - some kind of weight huh -
and snowman - i have a friend who only drives hondas - her first had 2 trannies and 1 engine replaced in 30k. her 2nd one - a 2000 model - tranny replaced, ac never works right - 25k - swears by them - didn't seem to bother her having her car out of service for 3 months. so i know just what you mean
#706 of 1773 How they come up with a black check
Jun 17, 2001 (8:52 am)
I have an issue of Consumer Reports that talks about how they come up with the red, black, or no check mark, but it is about as undecipherable as a user's guide translated into English from another language.
Actually, no check mark is worse than the black check mark. Red means better than average overall reliability. Black means average overall reliability. No check mark means worse than average overall reliability.
Jun 17, 2001 (7:47 pm)
What car ever has a used car salesman just drooled over when you drive up, just begging to pay top dollar and take it in on trade? You are living in some kind of fantasy land if you think those trained professionals are going to do anything but downplay your trade to give you bottom dollar no matter what you come in with. I got exactly what edmunds said my neon was worth from a dealer on trade and paid what edmunds said should be private party retail for what I was buying. They sold my neon within a week and they were asking $2500 more then what they gave me for it. Fixing your head gasket will only cost between $300 and $500. If your 95 is low miles and clean like you say there will be no problem selling it for the numbers posted by Edmunds. Don't worry about future owners, the majority of neon owners really like their cars and the chances of another headgasket failure on the new design is very small. I sold my Jeep Grand Cherokee a few weeks ago and during an inspection the buyer paid for they found it had cracked CV boots on the front, the estimate to repair was $600. This is more then replacement of a neon's headgasket but it didn't deter the buyer from wanting the Jeep. I just came down $500 on the price to compensate and the new buyer can get the CV joints fixed when they start making noise. Everybody was happy.