By on August 11, 2017

broken down car breakdown, Image: Marta_Photo/Bigstock

Long-time readers of TTAC know I am always willing to criticize Porsche in general, and PCNA in particular, for their oft-spectacular indifference towards their own customer base. For much of the previous decade, the company vacillated between denying fundamental problems with their M96/M97 engines and blaming those problems on the customers. When a reckoning finally came, it involved the United States legal system. I stopped buying Porsches more than a decade ago and have rarely felt tempted by the brand since.

With that said, it’s obvious the firm learned from its previous misadventures in consumer relations. The latest generation of flat-six engine, though not perfect, appears far less failure-prone than its predecessor. I’m hearing good things about the quality of recent-build Macans and Cayennes. Finally, there is this: Porsche has just announced a warranty extension to 120,000-miles on their 991.1 GT3 models. This program will go a long way towards holding up the resale value of these occasionally fragile automobiles.

Naturally, Porsche’s absolute mastery of PR has ensured that this warranty extension received nothing but positive press. Compare that to the infamous Honda “glass transmission” goodwill campaign that often saw cars with 90,000-miles on the odometer receive free transmissions nearly a decade after leaving the assembly line. It was often treated by autowriters as an example of Honda’s post-millennium fallibility, rather than as an example of monstrously expensive devotion to customer satisfaction.

We should commend both companies for their sensible and ethical approach to known defects in their automobiles. Which leads to the question: What other candidates are there out there for a program like this?


I suspect many automakers will have to come up with a way to address carbon fouling issues on the first generation of direct-injected engines, for example. But that’s a generic example, not a specific one.

What problems exist out there that should be covered by their originators, nearly regardless of mileage or time? Does anything really qualify for that kind of eternal oversight? How does the existence of a long-term goodwill program affect your view of an automaker?

[Image: Marta_Photo/Bigstock]

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93 Comments on “QOTD: Who Needs a Little Goodwill?...”


  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Oooh! Me!

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      As I mentioned to Danio the other day, we went and test drove a 2017 TRD Sport Tacoma, as a potential to replace my automotive problem child. Ive beem studying the specs and like the Tacoma’s blend of size, options, strong resale and likely reliability.

      I pulled the ripchord on that almost immediately. If the truck does make anything near its 278 hp and 260 some torques, it is completely masked by throttle pedal mapping and transmission behavior that made me want to pull over and make sure this wasnt some oddball 4 cyl TRD Sport. This was not helped by the noise eminating from the front that sounded more like a dying A/C unit than a truck motor. (Maybe somwthing to do with the modified Atkinson cycle?) I don’t expect a truck to win drag races but the way the thing was programmed, I immediately knew I’d hate owning it. I’d dread going for even a short errand.

      Any 2016+ Tacoma owners out there? Curious as to your experiences. Maybe I’m being to picky but I know without a doubt I’d not be happy long term. I’m also wondering if the old 4.0L and 5AT was less strangled by its tuning.

      And now I have no idea what I want next.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Are you in a position to actually get rid of the Verano financing-wise?

        (Hoping the answer is yes.)

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I haven’t driven a new 3.5L Taco, but the old 4.0L was definitely a good driving truck. More low end torque, 400lb less weight. Not a hot rod, but didn’t feel inadequate or slow (then again my point of reference is a 183hp 3.4L 4Runner with a 4spd auto). As of late, Toyota has been tuning their off-road oriented vehicles with a really soft throttle mapping, I refer to it as ‘permanent eco mode.’ Makes the 4Runner’s 270hp 4.0L feel more lethargic than its very competitive 7.5 sec 0-60 really is when the throttle is actually buried.

        If you want a more perky feeling midsize truck, I highly recommend driving a Frontier (a 6spd in particular). Nissan apparently went in the opposite of Toyota trucks, with a very aggressive throttle tip-in. Some like it, some find it annoying. The VQ40 is also much stronger down low than Toyota’s DI 3.5L. I honestly think the Pro-4X frontier with a 6spd is the best overall midsizer in terms of performance/value.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          gtem, “permanent eco mode” pretty much sums it up. When my brother bought his 14 Sierra w/ 5.3L, I had a similar complaint, but a) a programmer took care of that and now it drives fantastic and b) you at least new it had a 350 hp V8 waiting to roar, rather than a 3.5L V6 mewling away in terror.

          Regarding the Frontier, it was the first midsizer I closely scrutinized, but its just not comfortable for the amount of seat time we get. The seats are oddly shaped and with very little adjustment, and I’m a firm believer that seat comfort is something you ignore at your peril, especially with as many roadtrips as we do together.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Oh I hear you on the Nissan seats, I think they stink,and ultimately yes would probably make it a deal breaker for me as well. Xterra, BOF R51 Pathfinder, Frontier. All have the same issue. The Tacoma may have you sitting with legs sticking straight out, but it’s not uncomfortable.

            I highly recommend test driving a pre-’16 truck. The interior is just kind of boringly competent. Not the best materials perhaps relative to the gen 1 Tacos, but not bad either. Better than a ’07-’13 or even newer Tundras if you have tried any of those.

            The problem is that the resale on Tacomas is just infuriating (on the buyer’s end). The fact that a lot of people have been feeling iffy about the new ’16+ trucks has just made matters worse for guys trying to buy clean ’14s and ’15s.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Dave, you need a truck bed or do you just want a towing rig with some offroad capability and tidy dimensions? Grand Cherokee, used GX460, 4Runner come to mind as better drivers if you don’t need the open bed. Perhaps even Ridgeline, but its pretty wide.

          • 0 avatar
            Tinn-Can

            Pro4X has adjustable seats… My 4×2 SV has the fixed ones and they bugged me until I put some spacers under the pan to change the seat angle. I think it’s pretty comfy now…

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            I got rid of my Frontier because of the front seats. They are awful. And honestly, inexcusable as it clearly demonstrates a commitment to using the lowest cost provider.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            The 2016-17 Pro-4X we looked at, (regardless of cloth or leather) had no vertical or tilt adjustment. Just forward back and recline. The seat cushion shape and angle were brutal.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Sounds like the Tacoma has the dual problems of permanent eco mode and a peaky engine. Even with the throttle floored, it is slower to 30 than the old Tacoma and the heavier 4Runner using the old 5 speed automatic. 30-60 is about equivalent, so once you have the engine wound up it looks like it pulls fairly well. But no one wants that out of their truck motor. I’d be interested to hear from the engineers why incremental improvements to the 4.0 and coupling it to the 6-spd auto weren’t sufficient or possible. It’s a better engine for these vehicles than the 3.5 regardless of the internet and glossy magazine nattering about its age.

          I don’t want jumpy throttle tip-in off road, even if it makes it perkier around town. The 4Runner’s is programmed brilliantly for that use.

          Regarding the QOTD, the Toyota frame rust issue seems a good topic of conversation. I was under the impression they were taking care of their customers on that one, as they should. That issue was serious enough I’d never look at a used model from the affected years, and I’d have a harder time trusting those from later years.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah if a bed isn’t required, I’d steer you right to a pre-maw ’09-’13 GX460. Plenty of really clean ones around given the typical 1st owner demographic.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            @30-mile,

            Regarding the frames, believe me that was in my mind the whole time. I know the affected models are older, but it makes you wonder if they truly figured it out. No way to know on newer models… except to wait. Toyota does have a great reputation for reliability, but that was a pretty crazy recall.

            Regarding my needs/wants, I’ve never really been a 2-box guy. The 4Runner just doesnt appeal, and for whatever reason, the current 4Runner has a weaksauce 5000 lbs tow rating. I recently had a 2016 JGC Limited rental, and I loved it, but that was a 60K CAD SUV. And the only model available with cloth is the Base Laredo, and even thats gonna sticker into the 50s. So I don’t really view the JGC as an option. Cloth seats and a V8? Fuggedaboutit.

            That being said… I loved driving the GC. It has 12 more hp and 300 more lbs to haul around than a Tacoma, but damn if they didnt get the throttle calibration and transmission behavior nailed. I’d say the Pentastar is suitable for 98% of all use cases.

            The Ridgeline is out. The first gen is hideous and holding value, the second gen has no volume knob, and both max out at 5k towing with “Instant stance! Just add trailer!”.

            So as you can see, I’m well and truly confused. Guess thats my fault for being so…… lets say particular.

            I’d buy a Sierra but it wouldnt even fit in our parking spot!

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            @gtem

            If I could find either, a 2004 Tundra Crew 4.7, or a 2010 Canyonado 5.3L would actually be high on my list of used trucks to try and acquire.

            I’m just not in anyway interested in most SUVs. Character flaw of some sort.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            You’re making it hard on yourself Dave :)

            Regarding the GC pricing–how about lightly used? They seem to depreciate more rapidly than the Toyotas around here. I’m seeing 2015 Limiteds with 20-30K miles for about 30 grand US (current MSRP new is $40K to start). That’s the same basic price as an equivalent mileage used SR5 4R with less equipment.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            My local Toyota dealer has a stack of new frames behind their shop. I occasionally drive by and see a couple of old frames next to the “new” pile. Toyota is good at honouring their products so I wouldn’t be too worried about rust in older trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I own a 2013 SR5 Double Cab Long Bed, and it’s plenty fast enough for me. It would definitely smoke my last truck, a ’95 F-150 SuperCab short bed with the 5.0. I’ve driven a friend’s 2016 Tacoma SR5 Double Cab Short Bed, and yeah, it doesn’t have the acceleration of the 2013. And underhood it sounds like a mix of a sewing machine and a hay baler. I wasn’t impressed.

        Add to that the complaints of some 3rd-gen Taco owners about a weird vibration coming through the steering wheel and the floor (just go read the 3rd-gen forums on ToyotaNation and Tacoma World), which Toyota hasn’t managed to solve.

        Here’s a good thread – a guy thinking about trading in his ’09. The second comment, from one of the moderators, says, “Keep what you have.”

        http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/617-tacoma-3rd-generation-2016/1466914-new-v6-engine.html

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          @duke,

          I don’t even know if the truck was fast or not, it was so frustrating in traffic with the trans constantly trying to upshift and just no power on tap. Maybe floored, it moves, but thats not realistic.

          It was like trying to do autocad with oven mitts on. The lack of precision and large input lag was infuriating.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        I don’t know about the Tacoma but my 4Runner with the 4.0 5sp auto is the same way. The first 50% of the throttle only gives you 30% of the power. If you stomp on it it is all there, but the noises it makes keeps one from wanting to do it too often. Is nice off road and in a snowy parking lots with kids around but sucks pulling away from a light.

        I’ve has a couple of months and 7k miles and ave fully adapted to it. I hope you do to and start enjoying it. For sure it was a different driving expedience than I was use to. I also think it loosens up and learns you preferences over time so it feels better but I suspect it mostly my but getting used to it.

        I think it is part of the reason that Toyota trucks last so long. They make it work to stress out the engine. Also the low fuel light comes on when you still have 4-5 gallons left. Saves fuel pump I imagine

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          @cgjeep

          I just can’t wrap my head around considering dropping 45k on something that immediately turned me off, on the hopes that I’ll get used to it. No one would sympathize with that complaint.

          The only positive is that a Tacoma will at least hold its value against buyers remorse.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          The “permanent eco mode” on the current 4R and Taco is surely beneficial to drive train wear and tear but none of the other Toyota trucks that I’ve driven haven’t been tuned that way.

          The first couple of years of 5.7 Tundras were more like permanent sport mode.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I was just driving around in our beater 02 Accent. And I was like “hell yes, this is much better to operate” (not necessarily ride in, just operate) than that Tacoma.

            You push the throttle, the car downshifts, holds a gear and moves out with everything it has. The throttle resistance is linear and therefore you can request as much or as little power as you want. It wont upshift till you are done merging or trying to stay in traffic.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            See if you can find a dealer willing to let you take a GX460 for an overnight test drive. If a nice smooth V8 in a rock solid utility vehicle with fantastic comfort and compact foot print is what you’re after, you’d be hard-pressed to do better. I’m sort of the opposite of you, in that I finally appreciate having a pickup, but have always defaulted to SUVs in the past. I’m having mental blocks considering having a big newer truck as my only do-it all vehicle (mostly to do with interior utility and comfort with hauling dogs and people and things all at the same time).

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Like I said, character flaw, I just cannot be moved into that direction. The maw would be a complete no starter. Looking at the older one makes me feel dead inside. And I don’t want a luxury vehicle. I really don’t want leather (its almost, pretty much, in all but the most otherwise exceptional vehicle, a deal breaker). I’d be happy with no screen, but thats not happening on anything less than 5 years old.

            The only SUV that even sort of appeals (and its also a non-starter due to the way the option packages are structured) is the Grand Cherokee. At least the JGC sort of give me the “fizz”, to quote Mr. Slowly.

            You can lead a horse to water…

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Davefromcalgary – have you looked at the Colorado?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Be cool and get a 6.2L F-150.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    How about the Toyota hubcap replacement program?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    When I bought my 2012 Impala, GM still had the 100,000 mile warranty in place for major components. Now it’s 80K like most everyone else.

    About a year or so after I bought it, I noticed an occasional oil drip coming from somewhere under the engine. I reported this to my dealership and they put dye in the oil. After checking, they could find nothing.

    I pretty much forgot about it until I took the car in for an oil change and maintenance at around 87,500 miles almost two years ago.

    While having coffee, they called me and told me they were keeping the car and would furnish a free loaner because they discovered the source of the drip – the engine cover. I also learned it was a known issue, so GM took care of it. They did ask me if I planned on keeping the car long term, and I said yes. So, they advised me to opt for a timing chain replacement as well – on me – so I said yes to that. A water pump was also furnished gratis.

    I don’t know if you can call that goodwill or not, but it sure made me happy, and the car had had no issues in five years, 118,000 miles. If that issue had occurred slightly out of warranty, would they offer a goodwill fix? I don’t know. I would hope so, as the problem was on record earlier.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “They did ask me if I planned on keeping the car long term, and I said yes. So, they advised me to opt for a timing chain replacement as well – on me – so I said yes to that”

      Interesting that they’re still spooked about stretching t-chains on LFX series 3.6L motors, I’ve been told that these issues had been resolved and that was only an earlier LLT V6 issue.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Going back to gear drive timing would solve that. ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          There’s a local guy who advertises t-chain replacement on newer GM 2.4s and 3.6 DOHC motors (in addition to Northstar Caddy re-studding). It’s a definite pattern failure. My brother opened up an ’11 Equinox that was getting its valvetrain redone for the second time at 110k :/

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Things like that drive me nuts.

            Timing chains on small block V8s would usually last 300,000 miles, right?

            40 years later we can’t figure out how to make one last the same on our fancy multi cam motors?

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            Are these newer engines overhead cam engines aka the cam is in the valve cover?

            If so that’s a much longer chain compared to the old small block Chevy where the crank and cam sprockets are an inch apart.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I had an Iron Duke with gear timing. The OEM gears were some sort of hippy compressed fibre material. I replaced them with proper gears, and I’ll bet that motor is still (slowly) running to this day.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            The Iron Duke (although it was a rough running little lump that brought joy to no one) was Slant 6 like in its overall durability.

        • 0 avatar
          Zackman

          Hey, Dan, do a Google image search and look at the parts view of a 3.6L timing chain kit. I think I did the right thing.

          That’ll make your head swim, for it appears it’s got more pieces than my 1914 Elgin RR watch!

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Timing chain issues are about 10x more common on the LLT and LY7 compared to the LFX.

        I have seen some timing chain issues on LFXs with around 200k though.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Our local PD runs 3.6L Impalas and I know someone who deals with their fleet. They’ve not noticed any unusual issues with the engine in police service.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s because these engines get oil changes on the regular. I researched this (LLT) and found that it is an oil sensitive engine. Small journals, and I”m not impressed by the tiny oil filter. If your example burns a quart every 1500, you end up low between changes, and if you push the intervals, it can be bad. My BMW oil filter is something like 5 times bigger….so there is no tolerance for lazy oil maint. in the 3.6. I use syn oils every 5-7k and add a quart or two between changes.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        How long does your local PD deep them? 50K and out was the CHP credo.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      @zackman

      I’ve had a few 3.6L rentals. Man that engine sounds good under full throttle.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      related to your comment and in answer to Jack’s question: the Subaru 2.5 seems to consume oil at an alarming rate. A dealer told me that it leaks into the valve covers and drips out after it warms up, which is why I have never seen a puddle in my garage. That seems dubious, but whatever the cause it goes through a quart every 1000 miles.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        Subaru has shown goodwill on the FB25’s with high oil consumption/usage. More than 12 ounces of oil consumed in 1200 miles get you a new short block with the replacement at no cost other than the day it takes to perform the task. Also provided is an extended 8 year/100k mile guarantee on the engine. They have also recently offered goodwill on their CVT’s with extended guarantees as well (I haven’t seen many problems with Subaru CVT’s on the Subaru enthusiast websites so this one puzzles me somewhat). When the local dealership acts ignorant of a fairly well known issue (good grief, there’s been a great deal of vitriol on TTAC about this), an email/letter/phone call to Subaru at the national headquarters gets things moving very quickly, usually within a week. It is surprising how friendly and helpful Subaru service departments become after such correspondence. There are other marques mentioned on TTAC with much greater oil consumption issues (I remember the BMW owner commenting about a rack to hold oil bottles being installed in his trunk) that are ignored by their manufacturers as “typical” or “expected usage”. A form of goodwill I suppose if they don’t laugh you out the door.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Mazda in the RX-8. No, not the silliness of the Renesis engine… I want them to replace the flimsy-ass clutch pedals. Caught mine starting to fail this week and added a few reinforcing welds.

  • avatar
    Steve L

    I’ve owned two air cooled 911s and think that Porsche’s customer issues go back further than Mr. Baruth’s article asserts. Porsche lovers often say that the cars are durable. My ’87 had it’s first upper engine rebuild at just over 70K. I found broken head bolts on the car at just over 100K. Porsche knew about head bolt problems for a long time, but years passed without correction. You never hear of head bolt problems on Miatas, but if the Mazda had such fragile engines, everyone would be ( rightly )castigating them about it.

    I also owned a ’96 911, which was almost impossible for the home mechanic to service or repair. The air cooled cars are beautiful and great fun to drive ( although I never got used to the weight in the rear ), but I don’t think they are worth the big increase in value that we have seen over the past 8 years.

    I now have a BMW E30. Performance and Quality at a fraction of the price.

  • avatar
    arach

    Porsche won me over as a hardcore customer recently.

    After getting screwed over plenty by BMW… Cadillac, and even Chevy, my Porsche Ownership has been absolutely amazing.

    Not only does our cayenne seem genuinely well built (as the author acknowledge), but there seems to be so much love and goodwill from the company unlike any other marque I ever owned.

    Repair costs on Porches are DIRT CHEAP compared to other cars in their price ranges. I’m lucky to escape $3k repair bills on my ferraris (talk about an OEM nickel and diming you) and after warranty I felt like BMW abused me from awful engineering (you and indi shops can’t replace the battery to downright fraud- (We just wanted to tell you your car has no coolant at all. We can’t let you drive it with no coolant, so it’ll be $500 to fix. True story) Mercedes wants $6000 to repair a roof actuator system that an indi shop will do for $300. (Mercedes however WAS the best of the bunch before I experienced the world of Porsche).

    BMW made me so hateful towards the brand that I actively go out of my way to tear the brand down every chance I have. I’ve never seen such a disrespectful trash of a company in my life, and I will never be caught dead driving one of those hunks of junk.

    Porsche on the other hand goes out of their way to service and take care of you at their own expense. “We noticed a rust bubble forming on the door- since your still under the anti-perforation warranty, we’d like to repair it for you”.

    I wonder sometimes if it has very little to do with the OEMs and so much more to do with the actual dealership network. for example in my neck of the woods, we have a wonderful Porsche dealership and an awful BMW dealership. I could imagine someone elsewhere having a great dealership and that building goodwill.

    I hate how expensive Porsches are, but we’re so impressed with the caring we received from the company, I’d like to replace my car with a Porsche when its time. I used to think Porsches were just overpriced sports cars, but now I feel like they are the only company that cares enough to care for you for the premium you pay.

    I thought this was quite interesting because I feel like its a complete conflict with the author’s view, which is why I wonder how much of it is connected to the dealerships moreso than the OEM. Our dealership has free dinners, proactive warranty and repair programs, and they sponsor PCA and similar events.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I will concur with all that. Also a former BMW owner (multiple cars) and pretty much done with them at this point. For the record, I had very positive experiences with my earlier BMWs, it’s the most recent versions and dealer experiences that have caused me to change my opinion. Maybe it’s Porsche corporate versus Porsche dealer, I don’t know, but my experiences have always been very positive in my Porsche ownership experience. My 911 model year is past the bearing issues, so I missed all that, but the car is an absolute blast, the dealer and service has been fantastic, and other that routine maintenance, I’ve spent nothing on my 911 so far in regards to any repairs or issues and I practically daily drive it.

      Also a PCA member, and that’s been a great interaction as well.

      My experience has been so positive and the car so rewarding that I can easily see a future Porsche(s) in my garage without pause.

      • 0 avatar
        mrwiizrd

        “I had very positive experiences with my earlier BMWs, it’s the most recent versions and dealer experiences that have caused me to change my opinion.”

        I wonder if this might be a consequence of BMW including free maintenance on sales of new vehicles. I’d bet BMW service departments took a big hit in revenues as a result and starting trying to make up for it elsewhere.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          The level of electronic complexity and associated breakdowns in BMWs starting around 2010 has left me with looking for other options going fwd as well. The dealers are very happy to take your money, but the cost of breakdowns has me throwing the towel in as well.

          It’s just not worth the trouble anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          windnsea00

          BMW has had the free maintenance program for 15+ years, though in 2017 they took out brakes, wipers, and drive belts.

          The service departments are paid by BMW for the work performed, a lot of people aren’t great at maintaining their car so if anything I would think having the program in place generated more consistent flow of customers.

      • 0 avatar

        My 2003 e46 was mostly fixable in my driveway. There were a very few functions you needed the dealer computer for, but the rest of the car was actually designed to be taken apart (no one use clips) and fixed. Mine never saw a dealer past warranty, and if it needed a lift or special tools, my indy had no problems.

        Other than the M2, though, the love is gone.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    Has FCA properly fixed those exploding gas tanks yet? I feel like the first fix they put forward was to add trailer hitches…

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The ultimate “fix” was to redesign the vehicles without the fuel tank in the rear. They all met rear impact standards at the time they were manufactured. Don’t see what else can be done other than surrounding it with a titanium plate.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My co-worker has a 2004 Tundra. It was ~2 years ago when Toyota paid for the local dealership to replace the entire frame. This on a truck with over 250K miles. It took a long time to do and must have cost a fortune in labor.

    On the negative side – Mini ignored the timing chain tensioner issue as much as they could until they were brought to court. I’ve also heard of issues with the direct injection engine requiring cleaning – which requires disassembly. I haven’t run into that problem with my ’09 Clubman but I beat the hell out of that engine. Not sure if it helps or not ;)

  • avatar
    alff

    The weak welds on the clutch pedal pivot and shaft of Alfa Romeo spiders is a documented failure point that has stymied many, myself included. Now that Alfa is back in the U.S., I think it’s only right that Alfa address the issue with their loyal base. This would delight literally dozens of customers.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Speaking of Porsche’s parent company, my wife and I were just recipients of an $1100 goodwill repair from VW since her alternator died at about 34000 miles.

    We were still within the bumper to bumper mileage window, but out of the time window by about 7 months.

    The VW regional guy authorized it so we got a VW reman alternator, new serp belt and new tensioner. Not sure how that added up to $1100, but I’m not going to complain.

    As a result, I might buy another VW but I’m still leaning toward other brands when TDI buyback time comes next year.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      My friend was quoted $750 for an alternator+tensioner+serp belt job last week on an FJ Cruiser (using a bottom barrel alternator I’m sure). We got a USA-made Bando belt ($23), verified the tensioner was in fine condition (shop claimed it was “seized”) and a Denso-reman alternator for $180 on Amazon with free shipping. We spent 3 hours messing with it, including disassembling the old alternator to inspect the brushes to see if that was the issue, and at least an hour of wasted time due to using a mish-mash of strewn about tools and hunting down right socket sizes. Doing it again, that’s a 1 hour job tops, probably closer to 30 minutes for a competent mechanic. Granted that’s a longitudinally mounted engine, not sure if you have to pull an engine mount or something on a current FWD VW.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        It’s kind of buried under the EA888 TSI, it’s not a job I’d want to deal with. The service manager said it was 4 hours of labour to R/R. I didn’t care once they authorized the free work though.

        When I got the invoice with the part numbers, I found that parts were about $500 at the most for genuine VW parts, so $600 in labour/shop supplies seemed a bit much.

    • 0 avatar
      TDIandThen....

      Similar story, VW Canada covered half of a repair, about 700 km out of warranty. I remember it was oxygen sensors but they had to drop the subframe because ‘German Engineering’, so, we’ll over $500. I was happy with VW Corporate but the VW dealer wouldn’t cover the other half because I only did my service there, hadn’t bought the car there. At the very least I won’t be returning to that dealer for my next car.

      I’m leaning toward the mx-5 RF next year when I turn in my tdi too.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      I’m not sure if $1100 for a reman alt and belt job is justified. It seems like a $150 labor and $200 part job instead.

      And an alt that only last 34k? None of mine (260k, 240k, 90k) are dead yet.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    For all the flak they take around here, FCA has done right by me. Some 2013-14 Vipers were recalled for potential debris in the block casting. If shavings were found during an oil analysis, they would replace the engine. What impressed me was that 3 months after my car passed the analysis, I received a letter telling me my powertrain warranty had been extended to 10 yrs/100k. They could have told me my car was fine, and moved on. Now I have peace of mind that I didn’t expect. It’s their problem in the first place, but kudos to FCA for seemingly doing the right thing and stepping up.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’m always on the lookout for the right ’13-’14 Viper because of this. A supercar with a 10 year warranty? Yes please.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      FCA has always treated me well honestly… I’ve owned a number of RAMs, Dodge Rams, and Jeeps.

      But the cars were awful. Like “Sure FCA was really nice on their warranty with my sunroof leak but the car was in there FIVE TIMES” and “Sure they were really helpful with my wrangler, “BUT IT HAD TO BE TOWED FOUR TIMES IN 6 MONTHS”

      My old joke was that I wanted to buy a chevy and have it serviced by FCA.

  • avatar
    ElAntonius

    As much as I disagree with the lawsuit and the complainers (ya know what ya bought), I think Ford would do well to put in some program for the cooling issues on 2016 Tech GT350s. Maybe not a total freebie, but some way of maintaining the warranty and getting it addressed at a reasonable price.

    For that matter extended powertrain on the GT350 in general. It’s a very expensive engine, and rather high strung. The population of buyers of this car is not immense by Ford standards, but represent people that are potentially huge evangelists for the brand.

    In general, I think the halo cars of any of the “pedestrian” brands can benefit from something like this; you’ve got a pretty fixed population that receives marketing oversized to the market. Cars like the GT350, Hellcat, and ZL1 get coverage that’s WELL above their actual sales numbers.

  • avatar
    scdjng

    How about FCA buy back all of the defunct Darts it unloaded?

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Hyundai DCT Transmissions. Hyundai knows there’s an issue and they’re currently in court over the issues that owners put up with. They did buyback cars from people at one time, but nothing as of late.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Neither Ford nor Hyundai made DCT work in econoboxes it seems.

      I’d run away from that as fast as I could. Torque converters are just alright with me, torque converters are just alright, oh yeah.

      With apologies to the Doobie Brothers.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I think that the industry-standard powertrain warranty should extend to 10/100k, because if the engine/transmission doesn’t make it at least that far, by modern standards it’s defective.

    (Although I could totally support the requirement that you’ll need reasonably complete maintenance records to file a claim.)

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I think a huge question with this would be, what constitutes “doesn’t make it”, and who adjudicates this?

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        I’m not sure what you are asking… I’m just calling for the standard powertrain warranty to be longer.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Some automakers offer longer warranties as a marketing exercise to get customers into the brand. If that’s your hook, you can shop them. The 10 year deals only apply to first owners, so make sure to buy new!

          If you’re looking for some kind of mandate to be enacted, then simply keep an eye out for the cost to be added to the vehicle invoice.

          The fact is that the average new car buyer trades at 5-6 years. They they don’t want to pay for more warranty than they plan to use.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          @sirwired

          My bad, I thought you were suggesting some sort of mandated recompense for powertrains that “don’t make it” to a standard such as 100k. Which is why I asked, what would constitute not making it?

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    Maybe you experienced VW’s ‘goodwill’ gesture on the 2004’s VW Phaeton’s air suspension. The 2005 and 2006’s in NA had different air struts.

    1) A single air strut for MY 2004 Phaetons can no longer be purchased. The supplier no longer manufactures this part.
    2) As a result of this, VW will pay for replacement of the “other” 3 struts and the suspension controller if a Phaeton owner suffers a failure of one strut. The owner pays the parts and labour for replacement of the failed strut (probably around $2,000 more or less).
    3) The offer outlined in point 2 above is only valid if the work is carried out at a VW dealer

    If you had an ’04 and one of the air struts failed, your choice was to upgrade all 4. However, I did hear several people (all original owners) that when their struts failed, VW changed all four for the price of one. (Parts cost only) so at least that was the nicest thing VW ever did for original Phaeton owners or those who bought from a VW dealer.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    A couple of situations from my Ford days come to mind. The recall of 13 year old Windstars for beam axle corrosion and torque converters. Of course the beam axle is rusted on that 13 year old salt belt vehicle and the torque converter is shot at 200,000 miles. None of that matters, own it forever. Windstars were being pulled from their graves in boneyards at the prospect of Ford not being able to supply parts and owners receiving a 150% book value payout. Usually about $3,500.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Direct Injection motors that need walnut blasting – should cover them up to a certain mileage level.

    I was behind a colleague with a MKT (ecoboost) and she decided she needed to put the hammer down. Black smoke belched like a diesel

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I have a few – like how GM should have replaced the rear springs on all GTOs at no cost for example and how Subaru should currently be replacing faulty air bag warning lights on 4th gen Legacies that go bad because of cheap solder which will cause the passenger air bag warning light to stay on and cause the air bag to fail to deploy in the event of an accident.

    The one I really feel like Subaru should be getting involved in would be owners of 2005 and 2006 Legacy GT models because of how they routed the oil feed lines to the turbo. They did it in such a way that it is common for those lines to clog and starve the turbo of oil. And once the turbo goes, shrapnel is sent into the engine via the return line which will immediately or eventually take out the engine. The oil line feed was redesigned for 2007 (lucky for me) to help alleviate the issue, but that was somewhat hidden behind a turbo replacement.
    That’s not to say anything of the ringland failures they are prone to, but that’s across the entire production run for the 4th gen and into the 5th.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      My Subaru dealer wanted $300 to replace that overhead console causing the airbag light to stay on in my 4th gen Legacy. Common fix they said. Went to legacygt.com, found the thread and write-up. An hour and a quarter later after getting it out (harder to figure out how to undo the commectors than anything -they’re under sticky foam tape), some silver solder on the obviously cheap soldering job on the surface-mount resistors, and it was back in. Never burped since.

      I think Subaru should replace the defective wheel bearings – every Legacy owner runs into that horror at quite low mileages, I guess they did for some ’05/’06 owners. My ’08 has eaten three in 70,000 miles, the last replaced yesterday, which also saw a trip to a welding shop to fabricate new rad mounts that rusted off dropping it and letting it flop like a newly caught fish. Funny thing, no rust elsewhere, except exhaust heat shields six inches away. Weird.

      I have found the Subaru dealer service dept completely incompetent. Three years chasing a sometime gas smell, replaced charcoal canister and two purge solenoids. Finally I read up on gascaps. The spring on the movable vent was rusted and stuck. Took it apart (easy), some WD40 and then outdoor heat pump oil on that, and the only CEL I ever had went away and that was just 3 weeks ago. For some reason never a CEL before despite obvious gas smells. Incompetence. They swore two years ago it couldn’t be the gas cap because a CEL hadn’t been thrown. Well, they were wrong. No gas smell now!

      No more Subies for me. Drove the new 2017 Impreza for five days and it was laughably bad. Wouldn’t track straight on the highway, skittered on bends with bad broken pavement, hooking into a sort of fake oversteer. The seat was like a board. And an engine as exciting as a wet 12 year old dog. God knows what they’re thinking. And yesterday, C/D mentioned the bad tracking on their long term car. The old Legacy beats that thing hollow.

  • avatar
    MatadorX

    Anything Ford.

    Seriously the scummiest company when it comes to blatant design defects and not owning up to them.

    How about the fact that they are the *only* automaker that is actively trying to get out of a Takata recall. (Happens to affect my GF’s car, so I’m a bit peeved).

    If I was rich, I’d play TV ads constantly talking about how ford doesn’t care if people die from a known defective part, and that if you buy a new Ford, you are ok with this behavior.

    Seriously guys even SAAB is giving people new airbags under Takata (through GM)

    Lets not even get into the fact that they have a 12 year old managing their parts distribution in the USA. Such that by the SIX YEAR mark more parts are discontinued for your car than available. Hey, earth to Ford, people keep their cars 10-15 years now, and in rust free SoCal until the smog nazis: Moonbeam and his goon squad, kick them off the road.

    If you only want to offer parts for 4 years, that tells me that’s all you expect them to last. I will just shop someone that actually expects to keep their cars on the road for the long term. AKA Toyota, who still had EVERY SINGLE MECHANICAL component in stock ready to ship for my 1998 van…in 2016. Yep they got my money for a brand new J-VIN that same year because of it…because I know in 2030 I will still be covered on parts.

  • avatar

    Shouldn’t Ford recall that PowerShift thing in the Fiesta?

  • avatar
    BamaSkip

    Chrysler should offer to fix the early-2013 and prior brakes on the Town & Country / Grand Caravans. With the 16″ wheel/tire package, and those brakes, the stopping power is inadequate, the rotors seem to be constantly vibrating on use, and the amount of brake dust generated is ridiculous.

    I’ve written them a few times, even offering to be willing to settle for paying for an upgrade to the 17″ wheel/tire/brake packages found on late 2013’s and greater at cost, and have received no response from them. Lack of response to things like this turns customers from “Mopar for Life” in to “Well, I don’t really like the Sienna as well, and I don’t want to pay the premium for it…..But, I’m going to.”

  • avatar
    loopy55

    VW/Audi – warranties on the DSG mechatronics unit extended up to 100K miles on 2008/2009 models. The mechatronic unit in our 2009 Audi TT showed the PRDNS flash of death at 98K miles. Audi replaced it at zero cost no questions asked.

  • avatar
    volvo

    When I look at cars to purchase my starting point is reliability. Since I usually keep cars 15 to 20 years from date of production (some are purchased used). I actually expect at least 150K miles / 10 years out of the drive train and 100K / 7 years out of other major components.

    I have gone through quite a few cars the last 50 years. This includes all the German brands, Volvo, Toyota, Honda, Subaru and Ford.

    All met my expectations, probably because my most recent German car was a 1985 Porsche, and also because all the cars since 2000 have been Japanese. When major problems have occurred outside of warrantee I have found the dealers/corporate to be more helpful than I might expect. Ford was especially good at covering problems they recognized. They provided a new paint job and air conditioner outside of warrantee on a Mustang and a new engine at 80K on a Windstar.

    I believe that autos have improved year on year in every area except materials used and build quality. I understand this is driven by regulatory and cost constraints however it is still somewhat disheartening.

    Today when car shopping I pretty much limit myself to Toyota and Honda.

  • avatar

    Chrysler replaced a lot of 604 transmissions in their cars in the 1990s. We had the trans replaced three times in our minivan, Chrysler paid for everything the first two times and for the labor the third time.

    At a small family owned Chrysler shop in the Upper Peninsula, where I was having a serpentine tensioner replaced (something else that car ate frequently) and mentioned the 604 tranny and the service manager said, “Don’t get me started on that transmission.”

  • avatar
    Prado

    Early this year I was very pleased that Toyota replaced the dash in my 14 year old 4runner for free because it had started to crack … in Arizona, where the typical paint job doesn’t even hold up that long! Quite the gem of a goodwill program on certain Toyota vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Meanwhile the driver’s door armrest for 2009-2013 Highlanders is known to crack its little mounting tabs and become loose or detached and their is no recourse from Toyota other than paying have it fixed yourself.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I’d love to say the PowerShift transmission from Ford, but that needs an entirely different unit more than it needs a replacement. Thank god my dad’s Fiesta has been solid so far after 120,000 miles.


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