A reader writes:
I have a 2007 Pontiac G6 coupe which, up until last fall, had been a pretty decent car.Then, in October, I had to replace a clutch and a flywheel ($1,700). While the clutch was being fixed the driver’s side window stopped working and is now propped shut with wooden blocks. Within a week the check engine light came on. Friend who works at a GM dealership checked it (no charge) and determined it needed a air temp sensor. The OnStar report also indicates that the ABS and Stabilitrack is not working and requires attention. Then, about a week ago the key fobs and trunk release stopped working. At first I thought it was ironic that so many things could go wrong at once, but now I wonder if all these problems are interrelated and somehow result from some kind of electrical bug.Do you have any input on whether this could be the case and how expensive a fix could be?In addition to these problems, the car also requires a ball joint, a tie rod end, and 4 new tires by spring (I have winters on it now). This takes me to my second question, which is whether it is worth fixing this car or cutting my losses and buying something new.I am really not keen on having another car payment, but if I do buy another car I would be looking for something used in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. Because I live in Canada and have been experiencing the winter from hell, I would be looking for all-wheel-drive and would prefer a manual transmission. This seems to leave the only options as BMW, Audi, and Subaru. The only problem with those are the fear of ghastly expensive repair bills, particularly with the Germans, and especially considering these cars, at that price range, will have in the range of 125,000-200,000km on them.So, the questions are, should I dump the G6 now and move on to something else? Am I crazy for even considering the above-mentioned cars? Are there other options available?
Your car is suffering from an acute case of Roger Smith syndrome.
This is a chronic disorder that is attributable to a bacteria known as planned obsolescence. All cars have it to varying degrees. However, certain defunct GM models that only existed to placate a bloated bureaucracy of bean counters are now the poster children of this disorder.
How do you cure your car? By taking the current issues to an independent mechanic who is well regarded, and pay for those repairs. Window regulators, ball joints, tie-rod ends, ABS Sensors, all of these have shorter lives in a harsh environment. None of this is fatal for your Pontiac unless you are compelled to pay the new car dealer premium for fixing them all.
I would spend the $2000 (my rough estimate) since the car will likely sell for that much less with a propped up window, the ABS issue and the needed suspension work. If you just hate the car and want to go back to that merry-go-round of new car payments, that’s fine as well. But I am a card carrying member of the “fix-it” union, and your car is still worth far more alive than dead.
So fix it. Consider a nice seat or stereo upgrade at a local auto recycling center or Ebay. Give it a good detail, and pretend like it just came off the showroom floor. Because you know what? More than 99% of the good within this once new vehicle is still there.
You just have to bail it out… and remove those few parts that are old GM.