The Truth About Cars » warranty http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 14 Nov 2014 23:53:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » warranty http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Mazda Offers Unlimited Mileage Warranty In Canada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-offers-unlimited-mileage-warranty-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mazda-offers-unlimited-mileage-warranty-canada/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:50:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944825 Starting in the model year 2015, Mazda Canada is extending its new vehicle warranty program to include unlimited mileage, while retaining the time limits on its coverage. While the changes to the 3 year bumper to bumper and 5 year powertrain warranty will be welcome news, the important one for Canadians is the 7 year […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

Starting in the model year 2015, Mazda Canada is extending its new vehicle warranty program to include unlimited mileage, while retaining the time limits on its coverage.

While the changes to the 3 year bumper to bumper and 5 year powertrain warranty will be welcome news, the important one for Canadians is the 7 year anti-perforation coverage, which no longer has a mileage limit. Scarred by the legacy of the first-generation Mazda3 and its notorious corrosion problems, the new coverage should bolster the brand in the eyes of Canadians, who are in a constant battle against rust, thanks to winter weather and liberal use of road salt.

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Piston Slap: Run Flat Tires and Parties A, B, C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-run-flat-tires-parties-b-c/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-run-flat-tires-parties-b-c/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:25:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920929   TTAC commentator WheelMcCoy writes: Hi Sajeev, With MINIs, fun is directly proportional to repair bills. A couple with a 2009 MINI Cooper S bought an extended warranty which expires in February 2015. They hope to sell their MINI around then, but the run flat tires are worn down to their wear bars. To tide […]

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(photo courtesy: new.minimania.com)

TTAC commentator WheelMcCoy writes:

Hi Sajeev,

With MINIs, fun is directly proportional to repair bills. A couple with a 2009 MINI Cooper S bought an extended warranty which expires in February 2015. They hope to sell their MINI around then, but the run flat tires are worn down to their wear bars. To tide them over for 6 or 7 months, I suggested they buy some good handling low tread wear all season tires (they are in the Northeast) and an air compressor with goo. With normal tires, I’d argue they’d enjoy their MINI even more and might even want keep it after the extended warranty. But they are inclined on getting expensive run-flats to not hurt the resale value. Most likely, they will trade-in rather than sell on their own.

Appreciate your input and any alternatives we haven’t considered.

Sajeev answers:

Be it friendly advice on cars, careers, love, or whatever, a conversation between Party A and Party B about Party C is often a waste of everyone’s time.

I am not telling you to mind your own business. Far from it!  Just make sure they aren’t getting reamed on the replacement tires’ price. That is, they need help saving money on the tires they want.

Considering the repair bills and America’s love of new vehicles, I reckon your (valid) truth isn’t applicable to your friends. If they want to trade in, instead help them get the most cash for the least effort.  That said, depending on where (and when) they trade in, the receiving party might not notice the tire type. But if they trade MINI for MINI, go ahead and get factory tires.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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Piston Slap: The Straw that broke the Hybrid’s Back? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/piston-slap-the-straw-that-broke-the-hybrids-back/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/piston-slap-the-straw-that-broke-the-hybrids-back/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:48:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=805330 Marc writes: Hi, I haven’t seen this addressed anywhere. I have 2006 Lexus RX400H with 106,000 miles. The vehicle is bulletproof never having a repair, it even has it’s original brakes. I traded in a 2000 RX 300 for it. The 300 also never had a repair. My question pertains to the hybrid batteries. Multiple […]

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Marc writes:

Hi, I haven’t seen this addressed anywhere.

I have 2006 Lexus RX400H with 106,000 miles. The vehicle is bulletproof never having a repair, it even has it’s original brakes. I traded in a 2000 RX 300 for it. The 300 also never had a repair.

My question pertains to the hybrid batteries. Multiple Toyota and Lexus dealers have stated to me, that they have seen few hybrids if any needing replacement batteries yet some Prius’ have been on the road for over 10 years but there doesn’t seem to be much said about the expected life of the battery packs. My battery warranty just expired. Is it time to trade it in to avoid the eventual high battery replacement cost or am I worrying about a problem that could be many years down the road.

Sajeev asks:

Hi there. Where do you live and how many electronic items on the cat do you regularly run? (A/C, stereo, heated seat, etc.)

Marc replies:

I live in Southern California. The AC is almost always on, music always on, NAV always on.

Sajeev concludes:

The series has indeed covered hybrid battery fail, Toyotas in particular.  Your location’s warm climate shall be easy on hybrid batteries, not taxing them with a ton of power robbing heater load. Or, to a lesser extent, the A/C load of hotter parts of the country.  But your battery will fail, and there are companies willing to help.

If you want the help.

Considering the lack of needed repairs (original brakes? Impressive!) on this RX, selling it while the going is good is quite logical. If you want a new vehicle! If not, find a hybrid battery vendor, get a brake job, fluid changes, etc. that will eventually be needed.

All this work could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, yet none of it scares me like a TDI+DSG Volkswagen product that’s out of warranty.  This stuff just needs to happen.  I’d wager it’s worth it, if you like the RX and wouldn’t want to pay for a new vehicle. Which is always gonna be your call, son.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: A Faltering Ford’s ESP? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-faltering-fords-esp/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-faltering-fords-esp/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=773537 Mark writes: Sajeev– I’m sure you’ve fielded similar questions in the past, but in the spirit of basic cable, here’s a potential re-run: I have a 2012 Mustang V6 with the performance package & a 6-speed manual. It’s coming up on 26k miles, so I’ve got 10k miles and/or about 9 months before the 3/36 bumper […]

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Mark writes:

Sajeev–

I’m sure you’ve fielded similar questions in the past, but in the spirit of basic cable, here’s a potential re-run: I have a 2012 Mustang V6 with the performance package & a 6-speed manual. It’s coming up on 26k miles, so I’ve got 10k miles and/or about 9 months before the 3/36 bumper to bumper warranty expires. The car has had a couple issues covered under warranty so far, with the biggest one being a new steering box at about 15k miles. A nearby Ford dealer will sell me a Ford factory warranty (not an aftermarket roll of the dice) to basically double the 3/36 coverage for about $1200.

That comes with a $100 deductible, and if I sell the car before the warranty expires, I can have the unused portion refunded to me. Normally I wouldn’t consider buying an extended warranty, but I’ve had just enough trouble with the car up to this point, and read enough horror stories about the MT82 gearbox, to make me think about it. I’m really not sure how long I’ll keep the car, but I do like the idea of having that warranty security blanket as long as I do. What’s your take?

Sajeev answers:

Nothing wrong with revisiting a classic!  We’ve previously said that “scary” Euro-metal needs an extended warranty, provided you shop around for the best price. And that less scary metal might not benefit from any warranty, even the factory one with fancy Lexus loaner cars and plush Lexus lounges. So why not discuss in terms of Ford’s ESP plan?

This commonplace, low value Ford product (unlike the Lexus and BMW) is not an easy vehicle to armchair assess and judge.  Aside from the well known MT82, will an “unmodified” Mustang have significant failure in the next 72,000-ish miles and 3-ish years? I am guessing not.  And will the MT82 survive under the V6’s less aggressive torque curve and your shifting behavior?  That’s entirely possible.

Back to the unmodified part: assuming you aren’t skirting warranty issues with an non-stock engine tune (that pushes the boundaries of “safe” aftermarket air-fuel ratios) or aftermarket suspension bits, etc. you aren’t likely to break anything large enough to justify the cost of the warranty.

My gut says no, don’t get an extended warranty.  Instead get a local mechanic that you trust, and use places like Rockauto and eBay for getting spares. But if the peace of mind suits you, stick with the factory (i.e. Ford ESP) warranty and shop around: perhaps you can get it for less by emailing dealerships across the country.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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Guest Post: Society Of Automotive Analysts Reliability Study http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/guest-post-society-of-automotive-analysts-reliability-study/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/guest-post-society-of-automotive-analysts-reliability-study/#comments Fri, 14 Mar 2014 21:42:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=771586 From time to time someone comes to me with a great idea: instead of surveying car owners to get TrueDelta’s reliability stats, why not use warranty claims data? The reason why not: manufacturers consider such data to be highly proprietary. So when I heard that the auto industry’s “first OEM warranty and recall study” was […]

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Warranty claims paid

From time to time someone comes to me with a great idea: instead of surveying car owners to get TrueDelta’s reliability stats, why not use warranty claims data? The reason why not: manufacturers consider such data to be highly proprietary. So when I heard that the auto industry’s “first OEM warranty and recall study” was going to be presented at a Society of Automotive Analysts meeting, I was intrigued. Had someone gotten their hands on this data? What were they able to learn from it?

Warranty claims comparison

It turns out that Stout Risius Ross, the financial consulting firm that conducted the study, didn’t have access to any proprietary data. Instead, they used recall filings and the manufacturer-level data available in financial statements. Recall filings include the number of cars affected. Annual costs of warranty claims must be disclosed in financial reports. These data tend to be messy, as different companies include different things in these costs; there’s no precise universal standard. Also, multiple model years are often lumped together, and changes in both warranty claims and recalls lag changes in the number of cars sold. Keep these limitations in mind when viewing the “warranty claims as a percentage of revenue” comparison.

Recall trends

The presenters downplayed the relationship between recalls and quality, as the latter includes things gone right as well as things gone wrong. So what’s the point of studying all of this warranty and recall data? The usual point for a business audience: money. Warranty claims and recalls cost manufacturers billions of dollars each year. Finance needs to be able to predict these costs so they can set aside appropriately sized contingency funds.

Engine vs. non recalls

Of even greater interest to the people in the room: who pays. OEMs want suppliers to pick up half or more of the cost of warranty claims and recalls. So far suppliers have been picking up only a small fraction of these costs, but OEMs have been getting more aggressive. Suppliers are smaller, sometimes much smaller companies. A big recall could bankrupt them—if they had to pay for it, and they were not insured.

Claims percent revenue

To help them not pay for it, they can hire good lawyers. One was on the panel. To the many suppliers in the room he suggested “if you’re not at the table, you’re part of the meal.” To avoid getting stuck with the costs of recalls and warranty claims, suppliers must first push to be included in any discussions the OEMs have regarding who pays. Otherwise they’ll just receive an invoice.

Despite the availability of excellent legal assistance, a supplier might end up having to pay out millions for a recall or warranty claims anyway. To protect themselves, they can buy insurance. The price of this insurance will depend on calculations of risk. Currently, no one outside the OEMs has good data on the costs of recalls and warranty claims. To fill this need, we have this study.

Two trends of greater interest to car owners did come up in the presentation. The first is fairly well known: warranty costs have been declining as cars’ reliability (a narrower term than quality) improves. The second trend is much less well-known: since the mid-1990s the number of cars recalled each year has been surging. The presenters weren’t able to get too far into the reasons for this. The addition of airbags has been one driver. When cars didn’t have them, they couldn’t be recalled. In recent years airbags have been one of the most frequently recalled systems. Engine-related recalls have grown much less quickly than non-engine-related ones. Also, the NHTSA has gotten more aggressive. The lawyer on the panel offered protection from big government—it’s important to push back.

A third driver of the increasing number of cars recalled wasn’t part of the presentation. To increase economies of scale, OEMs have been striving to communize as many parts as possible across multiple products. As a result, when a critical part does fail, a much larger number of cars can be affected. The number of cars recalled has grown faster than the number of recalls.

This is just the initial phase of a planned annual study. Perhaps they’ll be able to get more detailed data in the future? Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem likely. The people in the room (OEMs, suppliers, business consultants) generally agreed that the companies should not have to disclose any more detail; model-level information should be proprietary, and the requirements suck up an excessive number of person-hours already.

Warranty claims paid Warranty claims comparison Recall trends Engine vs. non recalls Claims percent revenue

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Piston Slap: The Extended “Luxury” Period http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-the-extended-luxury-period/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-the-extended-luxury-period/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 13:44:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=641089 Mehran writes: First of all I wanted to thank you for your great blog, I read it daily. Now I recently have bought a 2010 Lexus RX 350 with 30K miles on the clock. the original warranty will expire this coming January, since I have bought the car I have put about 5K on it […]

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Mehran writes:

First of all I wanted to thank you for your great blog, I read it daily. Now I recently have bought a 2010 Lexus RX 350 with 30K miles on the clock. the original warranty will expire this coming January, since I have bought the car I have put about 5K on it without any problems, now should I buy the extend warranty or not?

The car was a returned 3 year lease which I got a pretty good deal since the dealer was a family friend; at that time they quoted me $2000 for the 5 year 75K extended warranty.

Sajeev answers:

Thank YOU for contributing!  Everyone who clicks/reads/writes to this series helps fuel Citizen Sierra and fund the rotisserie restoration on my other brown project from 1983, a Fox Body Lincoln Continental.  But enough about me and my fantastically bizarre life with cars…

In general, consider these points:

1. Factory or no?  Factory warranties can make life easier: problems with warranty claims goes smoother with a call to Lexus’ official 1-800 number compared to a no-name aftermarket warranty company. Will you ever have a claim problem with a factory warranty, fixed at the dealer?  What about servicing at the dealership where there’s a shiny new Lexus loaner car, gourmet coffee and snacks, high-tech lounges, spa treatments and all the other luxurious crap this brand is (sometimes) famous for? Depending on the amenities of your local Lexus dealer, consider the luxuries before signing anything.

2. Do you need a warrantyany warranty?

  • Parts Cost: they shall be cheap, even the unique Lexus bits from the dealer.  The RX is basically a Toyota Camry with a lift kit and a far nicer body/interior. Any wear items (unplanned, not brake jobs and the stuff in the owner’s manual) in the next 70,000 miles won’t necessarily “outspend” the warranty cost…including labor.
  • Parts Availability: I don’t expect significant downtime waiting for Lexus RX spares. The odds of having parts on backorder from a Japanese/American brand is less likely than the low-volume models from Europe with unique engines/interiors/etc.
  • Knowledge Base:  who can actually fix your car properly?  Is your local mechanic gonna cringe at the sight of an electrical problem on your Mercedes E350 Lexus RX?  Again, refer back to the Camry heritage.
  • Labor rates:  Some cars are harder to diagnose and remove/install parts.  The Camry based RX isn’t making me sweat, compared to other vehicles with super-tight access and tons of mechanical bits like turbocharging plumbing.  More to the point, there’s no need to swing open the RX’s face like a barn door to access the front of the engine like some Audi products.

Considering all these factors, I wouldn’t recommend an extended warranty on a vehicle that’s so cheap to fix, so reliable and so commonplace.  Then again, if you want the piece of mind and the free loaner cars at the Lexus dealership…

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: Escaping The Land of Lotus-Eaters http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/piston-slap-escaping-the-land-of-lotus-eaters/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/piston-slap-escaping-the-land-of-lotus-eaters/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:52:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=630066 Susan writes: So I found a 2011 Saab 9-5 that I just love. I have never owned a Saab. Do they break a lot? I don’t want to spend thousands on car repairs. Been there done that. Please let me know what your honest opinion is on whether I should buy this car or not. […]

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Susan writes:

So I found a 2011 Saab 9-5 that I just love. I have never owned a Saab. Do they break a lot? I don’t want to spend thousands on car repairs. Been there done that. Please let me know what your honest opinion is on whether I should buy this car or not. Thanks for your time.

Sajeev answers:

Run like hell. That’s the short answer. More to come. :)
Sent from my iPhone

Susan answers:

Hahaha ok
Sent from my iPhone

Sajeev concludes:

Here’s the thing: I truly adore it when readers make no pretense to their mechanical prowess (I can do this, I think I’d be willing to do that) and instead get to the point with a Yes or No question…with past experiences in mind. That makes my answer far more accurate. Why?

Consider these:

  1. Turbo Saabs are chronically below average in terms of reliability, durability and repair costs.  While a 2011 model may be far superior than older models with unobtainium non-GM parts and (possible) questionable upkeep from previous owners, while parts are available via the “Saab Secure Program“, only certain parts of the country are truly Saab friendly when it comes to service and support. Not so compared to other luxury marques.
  2. Saabs aren’t for everyone and like any niche, plenty of folks appreciate such quirkiness…and are willing to deal with non-Lexian levels of quality.
  3. The final Saab 9-5 is a rather beautiful and unique automobile, even with the Chevy steering wheel and underlying GM architecture.
  4. Saabs (and Volvos) probably have the best seats in the business, for decades. But what are those seats bolted to?

We know enough to make a sound judgement against a pretty vehicle with serious concerns: if one readily admits to being repair-averse, don’t even consider a Saab.  Hell, maybe you shouldn’t consider anything from Europe (without a very extended warranty) these days.  Make your life easier, there are plenty of alternatives out there. Just go test drive them, Susan!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: In God We Rust, Part III http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/piston-slap-in-god-we-rust-part-iii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/piston-slap-in-god-we-rust-part-iii/#comments Mon, 08 Jul 2013 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494455 TTAC commentator Kovalove writes: Hi Sajeev, Long-time lurker on a daily basis for over 5 years now. Not sure if this is a worthy question for Piston Slap but here we go: In about two weeks’ time I’ll make my final payment (0% loan ftw) on my 2008 Mazda3 GT 4-door (‘S Grand Touring’ in […]

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TTAC commentator Kovalove writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Long-time lurker on a daily basis for over 5 years now. Not sure if this is a worthy question for Piston Slap but here we go: In about two weeks’ time I’ll make my final payment (0% loan ftw) on my 2008 Mazda3 GT 4-door (‘S Grand Touring’ in US spec) with just over 97,000 km. It has served me well with no at-cost repairs other than routine maintenance (some minor stuff was covered by warranty). I have been looking forward to payment-free living and would happily keep the car for many more years, but one thing has been rattling around in the back of my mind…

I live up in the Great White North in the Toronto area where road salt is used from November through to the end of March. After winter 2012 I noticed some early signs of rusting on the inner lip of the rear wheel openings. I was annoyed but not really surprised as this is a well documented phenomenon with Mazdas. I regularly see ‘3s a couple of years older than mine that are rusting badly in numerous areas on the sides and rear end.

Supposedly the 3’s resistance to rusting was improved with the refresh in 2007, but only time will tell for sure. My question is whether there is any financial sense in getting rid of the car now before the rust gets serious, especially given the inflated used car market? For what it’s worth, I will be debt-free with the repayment of this loan. Presumably a badly rusted car would plummet in value despite being otherwise mechanically sound? According to many reports, repairing the rust on these cars is a mostly futile exercise and it comes back quickly. Thanks in advance!

Sajeev answers:

Ah yes, we are revisiting the rusty Mazda problem for the third time in this series. Too bad the 3’s mild redesign didn’t/couldn’t address this problem, and it appears Mazda Canada’s warranty doesn’t cover rust damage.  Did I misread that part with the exclusions?

“Damage or surface corrosion from the environment such as: Acid rain, airborne fallout (chemicals, tree sap, etc.), salt, road hazards, hail, wind storm, lightning, floods and other natural disasters.”

Don’t take my word for it, read your owner’s manual (RFTM) and verify.

Now someone can quickly repair the rust if it’s small/localized (DIY is not impossible, either) and buy more time before the Rust Lord takes over. But will it buy enough to justify ownership to you? And it is worth it to your pocketbook if you can sell it for a price that makes you happy and gets you into a newer car that’ll make you happier? 

Now that’s the real question, me thinks. So what is your threshold for pain? Without supporting photos or a comprehensive underbody inspection, who knows how much pain you got coming?

Take it from the idiot restoring his “rust free” 1983 Lincoln Continental Valentino: once you tear into a rust repair project, you’ll find more of it. Peep the photo below: I thought my Valentino’s decades old, well-known rust hole under the battery was just that!   But oh noooo, the rust seeped down farther, down to the base of the radiator support.

Now is mentioning my Valentino in the same blog post as your Mazda 3 a fair comparo? Absolutely not! 

We all assume that the “young” Mazda won’t be this sinister: at least we assume this. But you know about them people who assume too much!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

 

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Piston Slap: Me Thinks It’s Undiluted BS! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/piston-slap-me-thinks-its-undiluted-bs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/piston-slap-me-thinks-its-undiluted-bs/#comments Tue, 28 May 2013 11:34:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=489725 Fernando writes: I own a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid. At exactly 7 years and 7 months, and 68k miles, the battery quit. Being well within Honda’s 8 year, 80k miles warranty, the dealership replaced it fully free of charge. The vehicle is working like a charm again. Other than this mishap, it has been completely trouble-free, and […]

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Fernando writes:

I own a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid. At exactly 7 years and 7 months, and 68k miles, the battery quit. Being well within Honda’s 8 year, 80k miles warranty, the dealership replaced it fully free of charge. The vehicle is working like a charm again. Other than this mishap, it has been completely trouble-free, and does its job as a good commuter car perfectly.

So……where is the rub, you ask?

Well, when I queried the service manager about the warranty for the new battery pack, he told me until the vehicle reaches 8 years, which is only 5 months away. Is this BS? Or is it reasonable?

Me thinks it’s undiluted BS.

Sajeev answers:

Usually, usually, replacement OEM parts have a modest warranty that’s significantly shorter than the original coverage for a new vehicle.  It is usually 1 year.  This aftermarket vendor provides the usual 1 year warranty of replacement battery packs, too.

But if the service manager said there is no warranty after 8 year/80k miles, he probably knows better than all of us. I Googled to find the warranty duration of the OEM, Genuine Honda replacement battery packs and found…nothing. Not on the Hybrid forums, not on Honda forums.  Then again, I won’t be depressed if someone hyperlinks their way to beating me at my game.

So what’s the final analysis? The warranty period is moot, OEM replacement parts are rarely warranted for longer than a year. And that battery pack will last longer than a year: making the warranty pointless. Probably.

So who cares?

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Now forget about fancy-pants Hybrid parts we rarely encounter.  Many aftermarket (not OEM) auto parts are available with a lifetime warranty. This is good and bad.  The quality of lifetime replacement parts has improved in the past decade, if you shop wisely. My first and secondhand experiences with “Platinum” branded alternators from O’Reillys rings true.   You can still buy the “junk” alternator with the lifetime warranty, but for a mere $20-ish more…why would you?

If you like to work on your car and know that some replacement parts are better with the lifetime warranty because you will need a replacement 10+ years from now, avoid the OEM manufacturer part and go lifetime. I’ve cashed in several times (alternators, suspension wear items, ignition parts) thanks to my lifetime warranty paperwork, arriving at the store with 10-12 year old receipts.  The staff gladly accepts them, sometimes even complimenting me for being such a tightwad!

Well, at least it felt like a compliment…hmm!

 

 Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

 

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Piston Slap: The Truth about “Throwaway” Motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/piston-slap-the-truth-about-throwaway-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/piston-slap-the-truth-about-throwaway-motors/#comments Wed, 13 Feb 2013 12:23:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=477123 Dan writes: Dear Sajeev, A recent post on the CX-9 users forum (at www.mazdas247.com) caught my eye. An stalwart owner tore down his 3.5 (Ford) engine to clean up a sludging problem and broke a rod bolt in the process. He then discovered much to his dismay that replacement rod bolts are not considered “serviceable […]

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Dan writes:

Dear Sajeev,

A recent post on the CX-9 users forum (at www.mazdas247.com) caught my eye. An stalwart owner tore down his 3.5 (Ford) engine to clean up a sludging problem and broke a rod bolt in the process. He then discovered much to his dismay that replacement rod bolts are not considered “serviceable parts” by Mazda. In fact, it turns out that most of the internal engine components you would want to replace in a rebuild are not available from Mazda. (This is true for both the 3.5 and the more recent 3.7 litre versions.) Unavailable items include pistons, rings, bearings, etc. Searching on-line one can find the typical factory exploded parts diagrams with all these internal components listed, but in lieu of part numbers there is the notation, “This part is not serviced.” (Here’s an example)

These parts also don’t seem to be available from Ford for the Ford versions of the same 3.5 or 3.7 litre (Duratec) engines. Equally strange, there don’t seem to be any after-market sources either. How is that possible? Have we finally entered the era of the sealed-for-life, black box engine, with no serviceable parts inside? Is engine rebuilding going to go the way of lamp-lighting, blacksmithing, doctor house calls and the like? Fortunately long and short blocks are available from Mazda, but at the kind of prices ($2800 and $6400 respectively) that always made rebuilding an attractive alternative. I know many independent mechanics often prefer to use salvage engines, but some problems still require actually tearing into an engine. How can you rebuild an engine if you can’t get the parts?

Sajeev answers:

Two things: torque-to-yield bolts and other replacement parts nightmares are a sad new reality, but engine building is here to stay. It just won’t be for everyone.

Actually, who in their right mind wants to do it now? Thanks to advances in Inventory Management and the Internet, you can easily throw away your old motor and get a replacement with a warranty from a host of on-line junkyards.  For the price of replacing those torque-to-yield bolts, you’ll cover the shipping on a junkyard motor. Actually probably more than just the shipping. And while the motor is used, today’s engines are far more trustworthy than they were 20-30+ years ago.  If the junkyard motor is bad, the warranty will cover it.  So who cares about actually rebuilding a motor?

For the nut jobs that want to build one, you can get the parts. Not from a manufacturer, but from places that cater to engine builders.  Then engine builders like Nautilus Performance can go above and beyond**…if that’s what you really want. And that’s just for the Ford Duratec V6: there is a late-model performance engine builder for damn near any make out there. I suspect the Duratec gets such love because of the Noble M12 supercar.

**This is not an endorsement for that engine builder, or any aftermarket builder.  I just Googled this to prove the point: you can rebuild an engine with readily available parts, but you don’t really want to. Unless you are nuts enough to be a modern-day hot rodder.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Super Piston Slap: The Saab Secure Program. Yes, Really. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/super-piston-slap-the-saab-secure-program-yes-really/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/super-piston-slap-the-saab-secure-program-yes-really/#comments Thu, 31 Jan 2013 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475558 NOTE: I received the following email from Saab Automobile Parts North America. As I was not aware of the recent details behind Saab’s parts/service operation (my bad) I felt obligated to share this, unedited, with everyone. – SM Sajeev, We read, with great interest, your latest Piston Slap post and the many comments in response […]

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NOTE: I received the following email from Saab Automobile Parts North America. As I was not aware of the recent details behind Saab’s parts/service operation (my bad) I felt obligated to share this, unedited, with everyone. – SM

Sajeev,

We read, with great interest, your latest Piston Slap post and the many comments in response to “The Last Saab = good Deal?” We wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about Saab Automobile Parts North America, the exclusive authorized provider of Saab Genuine Parts in North America. Venues like yours help us to get the message out that Saab Genuine Parts and Service are available.

For your review, I’ve attached a copy of our recent press release, which announces our newest initiative, the Saab Secure Program; but also provides more detail on our company, ownership and highlights of our very busy start-up period. In a short period of time, we’ve made notable progress on many fronts, to provide a structure of strong support to current and future Saab owners:

  • Established a network of 179 Official Service Centers in the US and Canada.
  • Returned availability of Saab parts back to the high levels that existed prior to the Saab Automobile AB bankruptcy.
  • Entered into an agreement with General Motors to administer warranty services on 2009 and prior model years, providing a seamless warranty experience for those Saab owners.
  • Launched the Saab Secure program to support owners of 2010 and 2011 Saab models.
  • Launched a North America Technical Assistance Center to provide technical help for Saab Service Centers in providing high quality repairs for Saab owners.
  • Launched a North America Customer Assistance Center on January 7, 2013 to support all Saab customers in North America needing assistance with inquiries about parts, accessories, service and technical support.
  • Launched a new SPNA website, Saab.com and Facebook page to share up to date information about the company, service facilities and current promotions.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss Saab Automobile Parts North America with you in more detail. Please feel free to contact me at any time to set up an interview.

Thank you!

The Saab Secure Press Release_FINAL

 

Sajeev answers:

There you have it, dear readers. The press release, dated 1/10/13, is here to clear up any Saab-related quandaries. And since the Saab mother ship is listening, this is a great time to give them some more unfiltered feedback.

Click here to view the embedded video.

If you think I’m a typical media shill for posting a press release, I can dig it.  But some releases are too, um, valuable to ignore. Plus, with the above music video in mind, you’ll see I’m merely keeping an Angry God from sending a Turbo Saab with Juan Manuel Fangio behind the wheel to my doorstep.  I really, honestly, love the engineering in Saab’s seats…don’t put me in the same hole Ford left the Panther Chassis!!! 

And to the detractors, it begs the question: would you consider buying a Saab now?  I re-checked my link, and 6 more new Saabs showed up online!

Any other questions? Apparently Saab is listening, so speak up.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

 

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Question Of The Day: Should Automobiles Be Marketed… For A Lifetime? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/question-of-the-day-should-automobiles-be-engineered-for-a-lifetime/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/question-of-the-day-should-automobiles-be-engineered-for-a-lifetime/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2012 21:33:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=455560 The average Toyota Camry likely sells for somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000. What if you could buy a more durable version of that Camry for, say, $33k….  and get a bumper to bumper lifetime guarantee? Sounds crazy doesn’t it? After all, precious few of us would ever want to have a 25+ year old […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

The average Toyota Camry likely sells for somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000.

What if you could buy a more durable version of that Camry for, say, $33k….  and get a bumper to bumper lifetime guarantee?

Sounds crazy doesn’t it? After all, precious few of us would ever want to have a 25+ year old daily driver given all of the advances that have come since the days of Roger Smith and Lee Iacocca.

But what about the non-enthusiast?

Those wise souls who spend their lives in the pursuit of other interests. To most of them, a car is little more than a modern day Lay-Z-Boy and errand runner on wheels. Reliability is king. Convenience is queen. As for sport, it rarely amounts to jack in the real world of low speed limits and forever boring commutes.

A lot of folks are looking for that long-term security these days. To own a house forever. Keep a car forever. Many of our neighbors with automotive apathy desire little more than safe, solid, reliable transportation. With perhaps the option of a factory upgrade or two somewhere down the line.

It may be that a premium car with a premium guarantee would be the perfect fit for their needs.

For most manufacturers, it’s also never been easier to build a car that can endure for the long run. Even the lower rung of automakers have the technology and means to make reliability a given. Give or take a few recalls here and there.

As for profit, feel free to tell me. Who is more capable of gathering the long-term returns? A manufacturer who plans for the demise of a machine somewhere between years 12 and 15? Or one that can make that year 12 car drive like it is nearly brand new, and gets that customer back in the door for regular maintenance with spouse, children and friends in tow.

That extra profit up front and long-term commitment can make all the difference. A $7000 net profit push in North America can be immediately invested in the products for the emerging markets of the here and now. The manufacturer eliminates competition for that customer as well, receives a far higher profit than before, and the apathetic owner gets to solve another financial uncertainty.

I’m not too sure if a Suzuki or a Land Rover could make this work. But how about a successful manufacturer? Could, let’s say, a Toyota get ahead in the long run if they got an extra $10,000 worth of profit up front and spent only $3000 or so extra on parts and service?

This is a question for the ages that likely traces all the way back to the first marketers of tractors way back in the 1910’s. The mule of the time versus the eternal machine of tomorrow. How do you get these folks to invest in a high cost product for the long haul, and keep them?

A century later, this idea of permanence may resonate with a larger segment of the buying public than we realize. So,  should certain manufacturers develop cars that are engineered and guaranteed for those seeking that long-term guarantee? If so, what price premium do you think those non-enthusiasts would be willing to pay for such a bedrock of automotive freedom?

 

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GM Gives You Your Money Back http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/gm-gives-youre-your-money-back/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/gm-gives-youre-your-money-back/#comments Tue, 10 Jul 2012 13:57:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451987 When Joel Ewanick left Hyundai and signed on as GM’s marketing top gun, some people asked when he would do something like Hyundai’s warranties. Others said GM won’t dare. Announcing two new programs, GM dares, carefully. Buy a Chevy and you can return the car within 60 days of purchase, “if the cars meet certain […]

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When Joel Ewanick left Hyundai and signed on as GM’s marketing top gun, some people asked when he would do something like Hyundai’s warranties. Others said GM won’t dare. Announcing two new programs, GM dares, carefully.

Buy a Chevy and you can return the car within 60 days of purchase, “if the cars meet certain conditions,” Reuters says.   This should get people in the showroom that are not quite so sure. GM is cautious also: The buyback option only is good for July and August.

Chevrolet also brings back “no haggle” pricing of Saturn lore.

They buyback option is called the “Love it or Return it.” The no-haggle pricing is named “Total Confidence Pricing.” It covers 2012 model-year vehicles at prices similar to what GM offers its auto parts suppliers. Says Jesse Toprak, VP of Market Intelligence at TrueCar:

 “The buyback program is an indication of how confident Chevrolet is in its’ new product line up.  It is a way to get people into showrooms and experience firsthand the significant investments the dealer body has made in the recent years. It is a smart and cost effective program that will work towards diminishing the perception gap of the Chevrolet brand particularly in coastal metropolitan areas where consumers have a stronger preference towards the import brands. No Haggle Pricing aims to eliminate the most stressful part of the car buying process, stressful negotiations. Although not nearly as attractive as the Employee Pricing, Preferred pricing based current program ensures every customer pays the same price with no haggle –same price GM offers to its’ suppliers. Similar programs have been quite successful in the past and we expect Chevrolet to get a decent boost from this promotion for the next couple of months.”

 

 

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Piston Slap: Modesty, Korean Purgatory and The E60 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/piston-slap-modesty-korean-purgatory-and-the-e60/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/piston-slap-modesty-korean-purgatory-and-the-e60/#comments Mon, 02 Jan 2012 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423965 Rodrigo writes: Hello Sajeev, I’m being offered a 2005 BMW 545i with 78,000 miles on the clock. Well-equipped with the sport package and manual transmission, it’s being offered at $18,000 (negotiable) by a co-worker’s family member who “wants to get rid of it quick so he can replace it with a new truck.” I’m told […]

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Rodrigo writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I’m being offered a 2005 BMW 545i with 78,000 miles on the clock. Well-equipped with the sport package and manual transmission, it’s being offered at $18,000 (negotiable) by a co-worker’s family member who “wants to get rid of it quick so he can replace it with a new truck.” I’m told it’s been babied, but I’ll definitely be asking for service records and a chance to have it inspected by a German car indy mechanic that’s 3 blocks from my apartment.

The prospect of replacing my homely ’09 Rio with a Fünfer is appealing; I can stomach my skyrocketing insurance premiums and plummeting mileage records for at least a season or two. The manual transmission, the sublime acceleration of the Bimmer V8 – worth it.

But the question remains: this being a German car well on the brink of its 80s, should I be running, not walking, away from this deal? The repair histories on TrueDelta for this model at this mileage are unsettling, to say the least: $2,500 brake booster failure at 66k; $1,700 wiring harness replacement at 68k; transmission replacement under warranty at 69k (note – these are not all the same car). I don’t care enough about projecting my higher education and job market success at the young age of 23 to go deep into credit card debt courtesy of maintenance bills for my 6-year-old “new” ostentation machine. Is this car worth the plunge? Or should I remain in fully-paid-off Korean budget-car purgatory for another year or two and keep on saving?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!

Sajeev answers:

You sound like you value your money for stuff other than a nice car. And honestly, any awesome E60 just makes me lust for an E39. But that’s not important…let’s focus on what you actually value.

Do the right thing and run the hell away from this vehicle. A six-year-old BMW? Not a chance in hell! If you really want one, get a CPO 5-series with a factory warranty. Or see if this car can be CPO’d at your local dealer. You don’t want this car, I am 99% sure of this.

Rodrigo answers:

Hello Sajeev,

There will come a day when I want to own a beautiful German (a picture of an E92 M3 adorns my cubicle), but at this stage in my life any excuse to stay out of debt is a good one. Especially for a car that is neither affordable to own nor the stuff my dreams are made of.

In any case, thanks for taking the time to read my letter, thank you for the advice and take care!

Sajeev concludes:

All the best, and you are making the right move! E60 BMWs weren’t exactly a value conscious Rio when new, and TrueDelta (shameless plug) shows just how much you’re gonna shell out now that the warranty is history. More importantly, why even consider a car with such financial risk when ya don’t really want it in the first place?

Judging by your wit, your sentence structure and your personal level of interaction with me via email, your resume at the ripe young age of 23 must be as good as you say. So stop being modest! Actually no, remain modest, and get something you’d really love when you can afford it.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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New or Used: “Affirmative Action” on a Lease Payout? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-affirmative-action-on-a-lease-payout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-affirmative-action-on-a-lease-payout/#comments Thu, 29 Dec 2011 22:41:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423845   Luiz writes: Dear Steve/Sajeev: I am a 35 year old elementary school principal, married with 2 kids (5 and 9), and a certified car nut who thinks and reads about them way too much, and who is a walking contradiction when it comes to cars. Here are some examples: I appreciate older cars from […]

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Luiz writes:

Dear Steve/Sajeev:

I am a 35 year old elementary school principal, married with 2 kids (5 and 9), and a certified car nut who thinks and reads about them way too much, and who is a walking contradiction when it comes to cars.

Here are some examples: I appreciate older cars from my youth that are well-cared for, but I am not mechanically inclined at all, and don’t want to tinker with cars.  I don’t like appliances like CamCords, but appreciate reliable machines.  I dislike car payments, and fully understand the value inherent in keeping a car a long time, but can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a car note, as I’ve sold and bought too many cars to list here, all before their time.  I don’t aspire to own a premium luxury ride like a BMW or M-B, but I sold my last car, a loaded-with-everything-and-a-stick, pristine, 2002 Protege5, with only 52K miles, when I became a principal in March of 2009 and wanted a new car with a bit more prestige.  I know practically all the specs on any car in my price range (can’t go more than 30K max, as the wife has an ’11 Outback we’re happy with and plan to keep till the wheels come off-at least that’s the plan), but I buy cars too quickly.  I could go on and on.

So, in March of 2009, I wanted something sporty, with a tad bit more prestige, that could hold a family of four, and wasn’t too common.  I narrowed down my choices to the TSX, or the GLI/GTI.  Test drove the TSX, liked it.  Test drove the GTI twice, but leased a GLI with DSG as the deal was much better than the essentially-same GTI.  My lease is up in 8 months, and the car has been fantastic, with ZERO issues, and a letter from VW stating that my car’s DSG is covered for 100K miles or 10 years due to similar models having issues.  I also enjoy the car and its performance, which is enough for me, as I live in crowded northern NJ, and take trips into NYC and the outer boroughs from time to time; there’s not much space here to go flat out.  This was my first lease, and the buyout will be 15,000 including tax, for a 3-year-old GLI that will only have about 24,000 miles come March of 2012.  So, should I?

1.  Buy the GLI, which flies in the face of what everyone says (don’t keep a German car, let alone a VW, outside of the warranty period)?

2.  Walk away and buy something cheaper, so I can concentrate on paying down the Outback (I have a SAAB specialist about 3 miles from my house who offers clean SAABs with 2-year warranties, for roughly 3-8K dollars, that I drive by and wonder about)?

3.  Walk away and lease something cheaper (my current payment is $350 a month), knowing that I may have to give up some accessories, power, etc, in order to go down in price?

Please help,
Luiz
Principal / Affirmative Action Officer

(oh, BTW, I’m 6’3,” and it’s quite a bitch to find a car that fits, that isn’t a Chevy Express)

Steve answers:

As someone who was fortunate enough to escape from northern New Jersey, I would encourage you to spoil yourself a bit. The weather sucks. The cost of living sucks. I won’t even mention the horror that is daily commuting to NYC.

I would keep the car. First off you want to get out of the debt trap. At least you pretend to have this goal in mind. So why not do it?

Second, that price is pretty good for a retail transaction. You like the car and know it’s history. Plus VW has seen fit to make up for their recent quality transgressions. To me this all sounds like a winning combination.

Keep it. Pay it. Worry instead about why the title of your work also includes ‘Affirmative Action Officer’. I would fear that more than I would fear any VW.

Sajeev answers:

The buyout on your lease is surprisingly good.  Which makes me wonder if the down payment or monthly bill during the lease were brutal?  But I digress…

Odds are you can get just what you need in a $15,000 Mazda 6 or Camry SE (only the SE) but perhaps that’s more trouble than it’s worth.  Sure these vehicles are sporty and known for far better long-term value, but the time value of your money hunting for one is a difficult number to quantify.

If this is a “keeper” and long-term costs are a concern, you’d be wise to dump the GLI.  I don’t even want to know the cost if the DSG fails at 100,001 miles.  Then again, will you really keep it for that long? And the Camry SE is still a Camry.

Don’t listen to me. Listen to Steve.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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Piston Slap: Porsche Customer Service doesn’t Stink? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/piston-slap-porsche-customer-service-doesnt-stink/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/piston-slap-porsche-customer-service-doesnt-stink/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2011 17:47:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423591   Sam writes: Hello, can you tell me what ever happened with the Porsche IMS concern? At 18K miles, an IMS bearing failure has caused a catastrophic engine failure in my Porsche 911. My Porsche dealer (who has done all of the Porsche recommended service on the car since new) just told me that there […]

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Sam writes:

Hello, can you tell me what ever happened with the Porsche IMS concern? At 18K miles, an IMS bearing failure has caused a catastrophic engine failure in my Porsche 911. My Porsche dealer (who has done all of the Porsche recommended service on the car since new) just told me that there is nothing that they or Porsche can or will do, and that it is an isolated incident. I have since been doing research online, and I find out that an IMS bearing failure is not at all a rare occurrence.

I am not a litigious person and I am not out to tarnish the Porsche name. But with a repair cost of $19k, I cannot afford to get my car fixed. I am looking to get Porsche to step up and address what would appear to be a bearing design defect.

The problem exists in Carerras, Boxsters and Caymans, and Porsche has redesigned this bearing 4 times and have even designed the IMS completely out of the newest 997 direct injection engines. I need some help please and would be sincerely grateful for any help you can give me.

My Porsche dealer here at first told me that only the stud on the Intermediate Shaft had broken, and that they had caught it in time to prevent catastrophic engine damage. They quoted me on a $2000. repair in which they would install an aftermarket-3rd party bearing manufactured by LN Engineering. They told me that they have installed as many as 6 of the LN Engineering bearings in cars brought in for Porsche authorized service. Then 3 days later when the aftermarket bearing arrived and they went to remove the IMS from my car they discovered that the damage had been much more severe than they had initially thought and thus would only be able to proceed using a Porsche factory rebuilt engine at a cost of $19K. Even if the failure rate is <1%, the cost to the car’s owner is huge (I will not be able to get mine repaired as I do not have that kind of money). It is very telling that an authorized Porsche dealer would be installing non-Porsche manufactured bearings in Porsche engines unless of course…….it is because they know that there is a problem with the OEM bearing design.

While I do not want to see the dealer get into trouble with Porsche Corporate (call me selfish since I only want my car fixed and not some class-action lawsuit) I think that this is significant.

Respectfully yours,
Sam

Sajeev answers:

Your assessment of the situation is complete and seems even more accurate. Yes, the IMS bearing is junk and they fail on many Boxsters, 996s non-turbos and even 997s…except for the latest DI motors which silently resolved the problem. My question to you, at what year of ownership did this happen? Because at 18k, any late model 911 is under warranty and they are legally obligated to fix it under that warranty.

Reading between the lines, many Porkers run out of warranty because of time, not mileage. Such is the life of a play toy. And in that case, I fully understand your situation and I wish you and your 996 (probably) the best of luck.

Months later, Sam updates:

Mr. Mehta: Porsche came through for me in a big way. My 2003 now has a new engine and my feeling is that they went above and beyond for me. I will be buying Porsche again as they stand behind their Products.

Sajeev Concludes:

Maybe Porsche isn’t the only one, but they are in our scope for now: this Piston Slap shows that a loyal customer gets the treatment they deserve, warranty or not.  And those who deviate from the dealership’s paper trail tend to not get what’s coming to them. And heaven forbid you put your Porker on the track, accidentally hit the rev limiter (Big Brother is Watching) a couple times, put a K&N/cat-back exhaust and get your service work done elsewhere.  My argument hinges on your statement:

“My Porsche dealer…who has done all of the Porsche recommended service on the car since new.”

Congrats Sam, I will consider you one of the lucky ones. Best and Brightest, your thoughts???

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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New or Used: Audi Syndrome? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-audi-syndrome-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-audi-syndrome-2/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2011 20:34:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=421790   Kevin writes: Sajeev and Steve: I am currently cruising through all four Canadian seasons in my 2008 6MT Audi S5.  Could be worse, I know.  The car is owned by Audi Finance, and apparently they want it back at the end of November – something about the lease term coming to an end.  As of late, […]

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Kevin writes:

Sajeev and Steve:

I am currently cruising through all four Canadian seasons in my 2008 6MT Audi S5.  Could be worse, I know.  The car is owned by Audi Finance, and apparently they want it back at the end of November – something about the lease term coming to an end.  As of late, conversations about the S5 have gone something like this:

Q1. Do you like it?
A1. Unequivocally!  It’s amazing.

Q2. Are you going to buy it out or extend the lease?
A2. Absof@!%inglutely not.

Q3. Why not – you just said you loved it?!
A3. True, but it’s a constant reminder of the adages (i) never buy a first year vehicle (ii) never lease a car out of warranty and (iii) someone, somewhere, is tired of her sh!t.  Well, maybe just the first two.

The car itself is amazing to drive in any conditions on any road – almost too good.  It’s very, very fast, comfortable, handles beautifully (with the usual Quattro understeer), beautiful to look at, has rear view camera, parking sensors, iPod integration, heated seats, bluetooth, navigation, B&O sound system, etc.  I’ve had it at the track a number of times, drive it to work in traffic every day and have dedicated rims and brilliant snow tires for winter (making snow and ice something to smile about).  The trunk is massive; I have taken two other people and all our ski and snowboard gear to Blue Mountain, and often take a passenger and two full hockey bags two the rink once a week.  Hell, I have even managed to escape the concentric circle of hell that is IKEA with a twin mattress in the back and still been able to see out the back window.  For some inexplicable reason, I still hand wash it and park it far away from anything or anybody; it looks and drives like it’s brand new.

That said, it also has had at least $5000 worth of work done to it under warranty, including new front control arms, an entire new clutch assembly and master slave cylinder, new blower motor and fan and new window regulator.  On top of the repairs, the 4.2L V8 is a very thirsty beast and it costs a second king’s ransom to lease and insure every month.

So – the question isn’t whether or not to buy it out or extend the lease.  I won’t own this car one second out of warranty and I don’t see any point extending the lease on a 2008 when you can spend the same money leasing a newer model.

The question is – where do I go from here?  November isn’t exactly the best time to be putting a new car on the road in this part of the world.  Hell, I’m not even close to being convinced that I want a brand new car.  This was my first new, never driven by anyone else, vehicle.  Definitely the nicest car I’ve ever owned as well. I previously had a nice 2004 Infiniti G35 I picked up off of Leasebusters after some chump put $7000 down, didn’t drive it and then walked away.  Prior to that I had a well used Integra that simply wouldn’t die no matter how much it was abused. Previous rides are of varying levels of embarrassment and, for that matter alone, deemed irrelevant.

What else has the style, handling and versatility of the S5?  I’ve toyed with the idea of a GT-R, but those things are now almost $130K here (taxes in).  I am going to have a hard time justifying spending $100K on anything given the (i) state of the roads (i) lack of parking lot manners (iii) inadequacy of driver training and (iv) lack of traffic violation enforcement for anything other than speeding in a straight line on an empty road.

Do I insist on AWD?  I think it’s brilliant. especially after driving the G35 (not to mention having to dig it out of the driveway numerous times).  Do I suck it up, put on my big boy pants and get a 9114S?  Do I buy a winter AWD vehicle like a used FJ Cruiser and then look for a three season, perfectly balanced, gently used and good for the occasional track day, as yet to be determined, second car?  I find myself looking at 993 Turbos online fairly often.

This isn’t about money.  It is, however, about smart money.  I’m barely over 40, gainfully employed, have my own hair and am financially secure.  That said, I don’t need a bright orange lambo in the driveway in order to impress the neighbours, the ladies or both.

Steve Answers:

I see you are suffering from Audi syndrome. Symptoms include but not limited to…
  1. Bitching about the lack of reliability.
  2. Bitching about the cost of repair.
  3. Delusions of grandeur involving even more expensive vehicles… all of which have abysmal ownership costs.
  4. Inability to perform simple addition
  5. Bitching, bitching, moaning, whining, and even more bitching!
So let’s get to the point…do you like the car?
If so then keep it. The maintenance costs will likely cost less than the monthly payment. Plus if we’re talking about ‘smart money’ then leasing should be as far away from your vocabulary as Mercury is from Pluto.

I would look at lowering the overall costs by opting for a good independent shop that specializes in Audis. Subscribe to a few forums that are Audi-centric. Figure out what parts companies offer high quality replacements for the lackluster and under-engineered components… and have at it.

Sajeev Answers:

Wow, that’s a nice list of things to fix under warranty! You and Jack Baruth can trade war stories on your S5 mechanical woes, except he dumped the green monster pictured above.  He wisely moved onwards and upwards to Panther Love…via Lincoln Town Car Signature Limited, son! (HINT- HINT)

We all know that modern German cars are absolute crap relative to their Japanese and American counterparts.  Fine.  But I am still dumbfounded as to why modern German cars eat through control arms in the infancy of their lives. Two Benzes in the Mehta family, a friend’s BMW, another friend’s VW, and your Audi. And here I was bitching because the complex suspension in my Lincoln Mark VIII needed a full rebuild after 10 years and 130,000 miles on the road!

Short answer? Just lease another Audi. You need them, and I don’t know if a BMW will charm you enough to justify jumping ship. I suspect your gut is telling you the same thing, especially if you love AWD as much as I envision.

As to your reference of smart money?  Join me in the ranks of stupid cheap Ford Ranger/Toyota Tacoma ownership, but go ahead and spring for a 4×4. Keepin’ it too real?  Stick with the four ring brand, and buy according to your pocketbook and what has the sweetest lease deals at the time of your visit to the dealership.

 

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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New or Used: Audi Syndrome? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/new-or-used-audi-syndrome/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/new-or-used-audi-syndrome/#comments Sun, 27 Nov 2011 22:53:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=419400   Kevin writes: Sajeev & Steve: I am currently cruising through all four Canadian seasons in my 2008 6MT Audi S5. Could be worse, I know. The car is owned by Audi Finance, and apparently they want it back at the end of November – something about the lease term coming to an end. As […]

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Kevin writes:

Sajeev & Steve:

I am currently cruising through all four Canadian seasons in my 2008 6MT Audi S5. Could be worse, I know. The car is owned by Audi Finance, and apparently they want it back at the end of November – something about the lease term coming to an end. As of late, conversations about the S5 have gone something like this:

Q1. Do you like it?
A1. Unequivocally It’s amazing.

Q2. Are you going to buy it out or extend the lease?
A2. Absof@!%inglutely not.

Q3. Why not – you just said you loved it?!
A3. True, but it’s a constant reminder of the adages (i) never buy a first year vehicle (ii) never lease a car out of warranty and (iii) someone, somewhere, is tired of her sh!t. Well, maybe just the first two.

The car itself is amazing to drive in any conditions on any road – almost too good. It’s very, very fast, comfortable, handles beautifully (with the usual Quattro understeer), beautiful to look at, has rear view camera, parking sensors, iPod integration, heated seats, bluetooth, navigation, B&O sound system, etc. I’ve had it at the track a number of times, drive it to work in traffic every day and have dedicated rims and brilliant snow tires for winter (making snow and ice something to smile about). The trunk is massive; I have taken two other people and all our ski and snowboard gear to Blue Mountain, and often take a passenger and two full hockey bags two the rink once a week. Hell, I have even managed to escape the concentric circle of hell that is IKEA with a twin mattress in the back and still been able to see out the back window. For some inexplicable reason, I still hand wash it and park it far away from anything or anybody; it looks and drives like it’s brand new.

That said, it also has had at least $5000 worth of work done to it under warranty, including new front control arms, an entire new clutch assembly and master slave cylinder, new blower motor and fan and new window regulator. On top of the repairs, the 4.2L V8 is a very thirsty beast and it costs a second king’s ransom to lease and insure every month.

So – the question isn’t whether or not to buy it out or extend the lease. I won’t own this car one second out of warranty and I don’t see any point extending the lease on a 2008 when you can spend the same money leasing a newer model.

The question is – where do I go from here? November isn’t exactly the best time to be putting a new car on the road in this part of the world. Hell, I’m not even close to being convinced that I want a brand new car. This was my first new, never driven by anyone else, vehicle. Definitely the nicest car I’ve ever owned as well. I previously had a nice 2004 Infiniti G35 I picked up off of Leasebusters after some chump put $7000 down, didn’t drive it and then walked away. Prior to that I had a well used Integra that simply wouldn’t die no matter how much it was abused. Previous rides are of varying levels of embarrassment and, for that matter alone, deemed irrelevant.

What else has the style, handling and versatility of the S5? I’ve toyed with the idea of a GT-R, but those things are now almost $130K here (taxes in). I am going to have a hard time justifying spending $100K on anything given the (i) state of the roads (i) lack of parking lot manners (iii) inadequacy of driver training and (iv) lack of traffic violation enforcement for anything other than speeding in a straight line on an empty road.

Do I insist on AWD? I think it’s brilliant. especially after driving the G35 (not to mention having to dig it out of the driveway numerous times). Do I suck it up, put on my big boy pants and get a 9114S? Do I buy a winter AWD vehicle like a used FJ Cruiser and then look for a three season, perfectly balanced, gently used and good for the occasional track day, as yet to be determined, second car? I find myself looking at 993 Turbos online fairly often.

This isn’t about money. It is, however, about smart money. I’m barely over 40, gainfully employed, have my own hair and am financially secure. That said, I don’t need a bright orange lambo in the driveway in order to impress the neighbours, the ladies or both.

Next steps?

Steve answers:

I see you are suffering from Audi syndrome. Symptoms include but not limited to…

1) Bitching about the lack of reliability.
2) Bitching about the cost of repair.
3) Delusions of grandeur involving even more expensive vehicles… all of which have abysmal ownership costs.
4) Inability to perform simple addition
5) Bitching, bitching, moaning, whining, and even more bitching!

So let’s get to the point…

Do you like the car?

If so then keep it. The maintenance costs will likely cost less than the monthly payment. Plus if we’re talking about ‘smart money’ then leasing should be as far away from your vocabulary as Mercury is from Pluto.

I would look at lowering the overall costs by opting for a good independent shop that specializes in Audis. Subscribe to a few forums that are Audi-centric. Figure out what parts companies offer high quality replacements for the lackluster and under-engineered components… and have at it.

Sajeev answers:

Wow, that’s a nice list of things to fix under warranty! I am sure Jack Baruth had a similar level of torrid romance with his S5, pictured above.

We all know that modern German cars are crap relative to their Japanese and American counterparts. Fine. But I am still dumbfounded as to why modern German cars eat through control arms in the infancy of their lives. Two Benzes in the Mehta family, a friend’s BMW, another friend’s VW, and your Audi. And here I was bitching because the complex suspension in my Lincoln Mark VIII needed a full rebuild after 10 years and 130,000 miles on the road!

Short answer? Just least another Audi. You need them, and I don’t know if a BMW will charm you enough to justify jumping ship. I suspect your gut is telling you the same thing, especially if you love AWD.

As to your reference of smart money? Join me in the ranks of Ford Ranger ownership, but go ahead and spring for a quattro-like 4×4. Keepin’ it too real? Stick with the four ring brand, buy according to your pocketbook and what has the sweetest lease deals at the time.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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Piston Slap: The Time Value of Automotive Love http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-the-time-value-of-automotive-love/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-the-time-value-of-automotive-love/#comments Mon, 07 Nov 2011 15:01:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416344 TTAC Commentator A Caving Ape writes: I have a 2001 VW Jetta 1.8 with 130,000 miles on it. It has its shortcomings that I can’t fix (front drive, rear legroom), but for the most part it’s a fantastic vehicle for me. But I worry that it’s a time bomb. I do most of the small/easy […]

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TTAC Commentator A Caving Ape writes:

I have a 2001 VW Jetta 1.8 with 130,000 miles on it. It has its shortcomings that I can’t fix (front drive, rear legroom), but for the most part it’s a fantastic vehicle for me. But I worry that it’s a time bomb.

I do most of the small/easy maintenance myself, and and happy to pay an independent for stuff I’m not comfortable with (timing belt, front end stuff, clutch when the time comes). This will likely be true with any car I own. I’m very satisfied with the running costs of my car, but from what I can tell I am the only person in the world with a well-functioning early 2000s VW with more than 100,000 miles. This makes me worry that it will crap out on my one day. It’s my only car so this would be very bad.

My question: should I sell it now while there’s nothing wrong with it and I can still get a few grand for it, especially since prices have picked up lately? However that would leave me with (max) 4 grand for a car, plus maybe 3 more I can comfortably part with. But what on earth can I get for $7000 that that I would love as much as my VW, that would also be more reliable? Should I just buy a civic and a motorcycle? Or are all those claims of VWs being crap just a vocal minority, and I’ll be able to keep it going a while longer?

Sajeev Answers

I love those Jettas from a styling and interior perspective, but they are truly crap. Nearly impossible to diagnose MAF sensor issues, bad window regulators, engine sludging (1.8T) even with approved maintenance, and probably a handful of other expensive items found with a second of Google searching. Dig deeper in the forums and I guarantee there’ll be more expenses running up a bar tab that a fully-depreciated Jetta simply cannot pay.

It sucks, because these are truly fun, exciting and beautiful designs. That said, if you devote a large portion of your life to be a 10-year old VW specialist you can make it work. Just be ready for it to consume your life in ways you might never imagine…not that I’d know a damn thing about that. Not one bit.

So I recommend that you sell it, get a Civic and get over the loss of German precision. Or spend much, much more buying a new one with a warranty and enjoy riding the cycle of debt.

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Always consider the time value of money in anything you do. For car people, that is aimed squarely at the key(s) in your pocket. Maybe you should do more to spend less in the end, but I suspect that there’s a good reason why so many of us simply must have a new or late model vehicle in their stable. And its not just because we got a great lease deal on a 3-series to impress people.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Hammer Time: Abandoned Hope http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/hammer-time-abandoned-hope/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/hammer-time-abandoned-hope/#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2011 17:49:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413670 It was Tamara’s first new car. A 2003 Saturn VUE AWD with a 4-cylinder and all the options. Out the door at $25,000.  Overjoyed to have finally afforded her very own new car, Tamara splurged and spoiled it. Saturn seat covers soon adorned the interior and a chrome grille guard was added to give her […]

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It was Tamara’s first new car. A 2003 Saturn VUE AWD with a 4-cylinder and all the options. Out the door at $25,000.  Overjoyed to have finally afforded her very own new car, Tamara splurged and spoiled it. Saturn seat covers soon adorned the interior and a chrome grille guard was added to give her cute zonker yellow ride a bit more gravitas. The Vue would be her absolute pride and joy for the next seven years.

Until it died. Seven years, two transmissions and only 69k miles, Tamara got fed up with being one of many victims of an under-engineered CVT. Besides she couldn’t afford the $5000+ bill.

Yet she wasnt alone. Far from it. Tamara is just one of thousands of folks who have been given the stiff arm by a manufacturer. All the major manufacturers do this to a degree and no, it’s not because they are evil and uncaring. You have to draw a line somewhere.

GM offered purchasers of their new VUE’s with the defective CVT’s a $5000 rebate towards a new vehicle… or 50% of the cost of a new tranny. It was good for 5 years or 75,000 miles, and there were many occasions where GM would go beyond that warranty.

Was that enough? Most owners would say no. Even in the dog days of the 1970’s a vehicle was expected to last longer than that. GM’s profit margins on these vehicles would likely tell a different story. On a purely personal note, it seems ridiculous that any well kept transmission shouldn’t last at least 10 years and 150k miles these days.

But there are a lot of exceptions to this rule.

Honda extended their CVT warranty to 8 years and 80,000 miles on the 1st generation Honda Civic hybrid which weighs about 2700 pounds. However the 1st generation Insight (2000 – 2004 models) with the exact same C VTtransmission and 900 fewer pounds gets a 10 year / 157,000 mile warranty.

Guess which one has the stronger enthusiast community?

Nissan extended their CVT warranty to 10 years and 120,000 miles on seven different models built between 2003 and 2010. Yet Chrysler who uses the same sourced transmission has not offered any warranty extension.

Volvo provided a 10 year / 200,000 mile warranty on thousands of defective Electronic Throttle Modules that were built between1999 through 2002. However Volvo also saw fit to not offer an extended warranty on their Aisin-Warner and GM 5-speed automatic transmissions that had high failure rates on their Volvo V70’sXC70’s, and XC90’s. Those only get 5 years and 60,000 miles.

Toyota experienced engine sludge issues on ten models built between 1997 and 2002. After a long legal fight they settled on offering full compensation for new owners who had the issues occur within years and unlimited miles.

Ford developed a V platform for their Ford Windstar, Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey that used a highly unreliable 4F50N transmission. No warranty extension on them from the 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty. But Ford has recalled the Windstar for safety related rust issues as has Toyota.

In short every manufacturer has issues and deals with them in ways that reflect their core beliefs. When it comes to safety nearly everyone covers the well-being of the customer. Powertrain and electronics issues? It depends.

Whenever I see someone shift from reverse to drive on an automatic without breaking, I wince. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way. As a dealer few things tick me off more than experiencing some loudmouth schmuck who ragged out a creme puff and then demands money for their abuse and neglect.

There are a lot more folks out there who fit that description than today’s media will ever admit to.

In the coming years you’re going to see an amazing array of new electronics systems and advanced powertrains. Cars should be more reliable than ever… but they also will likely become more  expensive to repair as well.  The line of expectations between what ‘should’ last and what ‘does’ last will continue to blur for customers and manufacturers.

So who should hold the mantle of responsibility? Is it sane for a manufacturer to offer only 36,000 miles of warranty coverage in an industry where cars are routinely expected to last 5 to 7 times longer? Should the free market rule? Or should the government intercede in cases when defect levels go beyond the pale?

It’s very hard to draw that line. Just ask Tamara.

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Ask The Best And Brightest: Covering Your Rear (Engine Sportscar) With An Extended Warranty? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/ask-the-best-and-brightest-covering-your-rear-engine-sportscar-with-an-extended-warranty/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/ask-the-best-and-brightest-covering-your-rear-engine-sportscar-with-an-extended-warranty/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2011 17:01:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=408419 TTAC commentator stephada writes: Hello I drive a 2010 C4S, bought new, now with 42k miles and I am considering an Extended Warranty through a company called Protected Life, sold through the Porsche dealership. My service manager said they used to not offer this because they had trouble finding one that could cover things well […]

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TTAC commentator stephada writes:

Hello I drive a 2010 C4S, bought new, now with 42k miles and I am considering an Extended Warranty through a company called Protected Life, sold through the Porsche dealership. My service manager said they used to not offer this because they had trouble finding one that could cover things well enough, until they found Protected.

I’d like the Best and Brightest to weigh in on the specific example I’m facing. I’ve read the original B&B thread but it dealt with the issue philosophically and generally. I trust the B&B can help out again in my choices, as they did on the question of ”S or 4S?” [Ed: follow-up here].

The details in the agreement are numerous, but the highlights are, that in addition to (of course) not covering wear and tear like brakes, anything without a functional need is not covered, such as: upholstery, trim, paint, glass, belt, air bags, and exhaust emissions. Anything to do with a manual clutch is also not covered (but the PDK in my car would be covered).

They pay full rate for the high-dollar Porsche parts and labor. I would bring in the car and the experience would be the same as I now have under factory warranty, except with a $200 deductible.

The costs are +3 years/100k miles total for $5100, +4 years/100k miles for $6700, +5 years/100k miles for $7600.

This would include a tow service up to 25 miles (then mileage), tire repair, $75/day trip interruption expenses, and $50/day rental car.

What do you think? These aren’t cheap but neither is a new engine. If you just sneeze in the dealership service department, it’s a thousand bucks.

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Weekend Head Scratcher: When Is An Extended Warranty Worth It? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/weekend-head-scratcher-when-is-an-extended-warranty-worth-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/weekend-head-scratcher-when-is-an-extended-warranty-worth-it/#comments Sat, 05 Feb 2011 16:32:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=383022 Kurt Wiley writes in: Having been a long time reader of TTAC, I now pose a question to the Best and Brightest: Should one who likes the driving experience offered by German brands, but abhors their reliability and maintenance expense, seek safety with an extended warranty? Or will purchasing one of those warranties be an […]

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Kurt Wiley writes in:

Having been a long time reader of TTAC, I now pose a question to the Best and Brightest:

Should one who likes the driving experience offered by German brands, but abhors their reliability and maintenance expense, seek safety with an extended warranty? Or will purchasing one of those warranties be an utter waste of money?

Considering I’m about to embark on a weekend roadtrip in a 12-year-old M Coupe, I’m hoping the answer to this question is “no.” At the same time, I’m willing to admit that I bought the car I wanted and that a little bit of risk was part of the deal. But then, I’m just a callow youth with no kids to worry about… I’ll let TTAC’s Best and Brightest bring their wealth of experience to this question while I pray that Mr M doesn’t blow a gasket this weekend.

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Chevy Announces Eight-Year, 100k Mile Warranty For Volt Battery http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/chevy-announces-eight-year-100k-mile-warranty-for-volt-battery/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/chevy-announces-eight-year-100k-mile-warranty-for-volt-battery/#comments Wed, 14 Jul 2010 18:47:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=360868 In hopes of convincing consumers that buying a battery-electric car will not be a financial disaster for them, GM is announcing an eight-year, 100k mile transferable warranty for its Volt battery. According to GM’s release, Volt batteries have undergone more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs […]

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In hopes of convincing consumers that buying a battery-electric car will not be a financial disaster for them, GM is announcing an eight-year, 100k mile transferable warranty for its Volt battery. According to GM’s release, Volt batteries have undergone

more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs since 2007, as well as each pack’s nine modules and 288 cells. The development, validation and test teams have met thousands of specifications and validated each of the Volt battery’s components.

Tests include short circuit, corrosion, dust, impact, water submersion, crush and penetration, and extreme temperature swings combined with aggressive drive cycles, also known as  “Shake, Bake and Roll.”

GM does not, however, specify a minimum-performance range for the battery, saying only that it can run on battery power for “up to the first 40 miles.” That makes it tough to understand what kind of defect or level of performance would deserve a warranty repair or replacement, which is really the key consideration. GM’s claim that this

is the automotive industry’s longest, most comprehensive battery warranty for an electric vehicle

is technically true, but it is also the same warranty period enjoyed by Toyota’s Prius hybrid. Full release after the jump.

BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich., July 14 /PRNewswire/ —

  • Volt’s long-life battery warranty most comprehensive of any electric vehicle
  • All 161 battery components validated to withstand extreme temperatures, terrain and driving patterns
  • GM’s Brownstown Township, Mich., battery plant will begin regular production in August

The Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range will provide customers with an unprecedented, standard, eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on its advanced, lithium-ion battery. It is the automotive industry’s longest, most comprehensive battery warranty for an electric vehicle, and is transferable at no cost to other vehicle owners.

“The Chevrolet Volt’s batteries have exceeded our performance targets and are ready to hit the road,” said Micky Bly, GM executive director, global electrical systems. “Our customers are making a commitment to technology that will help reduce our dependence on petroleum. In turn, we are making a commitment to our customers to deliver the highest standards for value, safety, quality, performance and reliability for an unprecedented eight years/100,000 miles.”

The Volt’s comprehensive battery warranty covers all 161 battery components, 95 percent of which are designed and engineered by GM, in addition to the thermal management system, charging system and electric drive components.

The Volt is the only electric vehicle that can operate under a full range of climates and driving conditions without limitations or concern about being stranded by a depleted battery. It has a range of about 340 miles and is powered with electricity at all times. For up to the first 40 miles, the Volt is powered solely by electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, using no fuel and producing no emissions. When the Volt’s lithium-ion battery runs low, an engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 300 miles on a full tank of fuel.  Volt Freedom Drive

The Volt’s advanced, lithium-ion battery is designed to deliver the value, safety, quality, performance, durability and reliability Chevrolet customers expect. Key battery features include:

  • Thermal management for durability and reliability: The Volt is the only mass-market electric vehicle with a battery that can be warmed or cooled. The battery is designed to provide reliable operation, when plugged in, at temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 C) and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit (+50 C). In cold weather, the battery will be preheated during charging to provide full power capability. In hot weather – the most challenging environment for a battery – the Volt’s battery can be chilled during charging. The Volt’s liquid thermal management system can also be powered during driving by the battery or engine/generator.
  • Diagnostics for safety and performance: The Volt’s battery management system continuously monitors the battery real-time for optimum operations.  More than 500 diagnostics run at 10 times per second, keeping track of the Volt’s battery pack; 85 percent of the diagnostics ensure the battery pack is operating safely, while the remaining 15 percent keep track of battery performance and life.
  • Cell design and chemistry for performance and efficiency: GM’s selection of a prismatic cell design and LG Chem’s manganese spinel lithium-ion chemistry is designed to provide long life and high power output, with a properly maintained temperature. This enables better vehicle acceleration and increased regenerative braking capability for improved vehicle efficiency.
  • Energy management for durability: Fully charging or fully depleting a battery shortens its life. The Volt’s energy management system never fully charges or depletes the battery. The Volt’s battery has top and bottom “buffer zones” to help ensure long life.

Testing for durability, reliability, safety and performance

GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs since 2007, as well as each pack’s nine modules and 288 cells. The development, validation and test teams have met thousands of specifications and validated each of the Volt battery’s components.

Tests include short circuit, corrosion, dust, impact, water submersion, crush and penetration, and extreme temperature swings combined with aggressive drive cycles, also known as  “Shake, Bake and Roll.”

Ready for production

GM’s Brownstown Township plant, which began building prototype batteries in January, soon will begin regular battery production. GM First Battery Build

“We’re moving fast to deliver for the customer and ensure the Volt launch stays on track,” said Nancy Laubenthal, plant manager of the Brownstown Battery Plant. “Last August we announced the investment in the Brownstown facility and in January built our first completed battery pack. Now we are finishing pre-production batteries and soon we will begin building production batteries for Chevrolet Volts that will be delivered to dealers before the end of the year.”

Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy selected 45 companies, universities and organizations in 28 states – including GM’s Brownstown plant – to share more than $2 billion in awards for electric drive and battery manufacturing, and transportation electrification. Nearly half of the awards are designated for cell, battery and materials manufacturing facilities in Michigan.

About Chevrolet: Chevrolet is a global automotive brand, with annual sales of about 3.5 million vehicles in more than 130 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. In the U.S., the Chevrolet portfolio includes: iconic performance cars, such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long lasting pickups and SUVs, such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, such as Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly to gas-free” solutions including the Cruze Eco and Volt, both arriving in late 2010. Cruze Eco will offer up to 40 mpg highway while the Chevrolet Volt will offer up to 40 miles of electric, gas-free driving and an additional 300 miles of extended range (based on GM testing; official EPA estimates not yet available).  Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security, and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com or join the conversation at www.chevroletvoltage.com.

About General Motors: General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908.  With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 205,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 157 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.

SOURCE General Motors

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Toyota UK’s Warranty Accelerates Past (Most) Of The Competition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/toyota-uks-warranty-accelerates-past-most-of-the-competition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/toyota-uks-warranty-accelerates-past-most-of-the-competition/#comments Wed, 02 Jun 2010 16:34:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=357871 Many people (especially on this site) worry that Toyota might become the new old GM. I beg to differ. Toyota is a well run company, it turns a profit and builds good cars (not great, but good ones). When GM was swirling around the porcelain throne, people were desperately seeking ideas to recall lost customers […]

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Many people (especially on this site) worry that Toyota might become the new old GM. I beg to differ. Toyota is a well run company, it turns a profit and builds good cars (not great, but good ones). When GM was swirling around the porcelain throne, people were desperately seeking ideas to recall lost customers back to GM. One thought was the “5 year, bumper-to-bumper warranty.”

The logic was watertight. Stop saying that your cars are as good as the competition (I’m looking at you, Mr Lutz) and put your money where your mouth is. Why should a customer commit tens of thousands to a car, if you can’t commit to a measly 5 years? But GM never did it. We had a powertrain warranty, but not a bumper-to-bumper one. Now compare this to Hyundai, who where, and let’s not mince words here, a joke in the car world. A commitment to quality and a 5 year bumper-to-bumper warranty (in the UK) later and Hyundai is up there with the best of them. So, if it’s good enough for Hyundai….

…it’s good enough for Toyota. The witch hunt sudden unintended acceleration issue has caused a big dent in Toyota’s reputation. Toyota needs to restore one of the key reasons to buy a Toyota. Reliability. Autocar reports that Toyota is to roll out a 5 year warranty as standard, on all of its vehicles, from June the 1st. In the UK.

Miguel Fonseca, Toyota UK’s managing director gushed that “Our new five-year warranty is tangible evidence of our commitment to quality and to our customers – both those who are loyal to the brand and those who are considering switching to Toyota for their next car,”. Well done, Toyota! Great idea, just badly executed. You see, there’s two problems with Toyota’s new warranty. The first problem is that Toyota’s warranty comes with a 100,000 miles limit. Hyundai and Kia don’t state a mileage limit. Problem number two, Kia’s warranty is seven years, not five. Nice try, Toyota, but Hyundai and Kia still have the edge over you. Double or quits?

N.B: If you’re interested, Kia has provided a nice little table which shows all the competition’s warranties here.

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Piston Slap: Save Me From My X5! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/piston-slap-save-me-from-my-x5/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/piston-slap-save-me-from-my-x5/#comments Mon, 11 Jan 2010 16:15:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=341399 TTAC Commentator PG writes: Sajeev, In their December 2009 issue, Car and Driver has a great article about how extended warranties — such as those offered by U.S. Fidelis and others — are largely scams that deceive customers, don’t really cover the cost of repairs at all, and don’t give refunds at cancellation. My parents […]

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The ticking timebomb? (couretsy:gio-trading.com)

TTAC Commentator PG writes:

Sajeev, In their December 2009 issue, Car and Driver has a great article about how extended warranties — such as those offered by U.S. Fidelis and others — are largely scams that deceive customers, don’t really cover the cost of repairs at all, and don’t give refunds at cancellation.

My parents own a 2002 BMW X5 4.4. They bought it from Carmax and have the extended warranty from that dealership. It’s a fantastic car, but it’s had some very costly repairs — thankfully, those have been covered in full or at least in part by Carmax’s warranty. The thing is, that warranty expires this month and can’t be renewed.

The ‘rents are thinking of getting an extended warranty for the Bimmer, but after reading that C&D story I’m pretty convinced they would be throwing their money away. My question: are there ANY extended warranties out there that they can use? What can they do to help avoid the full cost of repairs?

Buying a new/different car isn’t really an option right now, because they want to keep the X5 as long as they can. The car has about 80,000 miles on it and still runs well, except for the occasional hiccup, but those can be pretty pricey on a BMW.

If you or the best and brightest have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Sajeev replies:

There’s a reason why the Carmax warranty cannot be renewed: genuine warranties (not the ones you see on TV) are interested in making money, not bleeding dry by the costs of older, premium German vehicles. More to the point, the current crop of “scam warranties” aren’t even remotely similar to a genuine plan underwritten by OEMs/large corporations, sold through dealerships, and subject to paperwork before coverage commences.  It’s a far more evil form of the classic “cash grab.”

The question is: will a used car dealer sell you a warranty? A real warranty sold by a real people from a real company? The dealer will try their best, as a hefty commission is on the line.

Probably not, given the BMW’s future potential to vacuum money out of your wallet faster than sand in a Dyson on the beach. I’d dump it sooner than later, as your folks won’t be enamored with “The Ultimate Driving Machine” after the first un-covered mechanical/electrical failure: my parents cried a little (probably) when Dad’s BMW 7-er left him over $2000 poorer and the dealer (yes, the dealer) still couldn’t get the HVAC to blow cold in a Houston summer.  Never again for them!

More to the point: it’s time to buy something with cheap parts and (though I hate to say it) non-European engineering. Such is the curse of living in The US of A.

[Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com]

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