Piston Slap: Goodwill Repair, Goodwill Replace Again? (PART II)

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Caroline Writes:

Good day Sajeev:

I was blessed to find your information on line. I am experiencing the exact issues mentioned on your site regarding my 2013 Volvo S60. Do you have any advice regarding the best way to handle this matter? Here are the details:

November 2015, I purchased a used 2013 Volvo S60 with 33,000 miles from a Volvo dealer. The car worked fine, within the last year (2018) the synthetic oil started burning out within 60-90 days. Synthetic oil changes are supposed to last for 7k miles. (my oil changes didn’t last for 1,000 mi). I have taken my car for servicing at the Volvo dealer. I searched the web and found my issue is a common issue with Volvo: Piston, Oil leaking, engine problems. There has not been a recall.

Dealer states they will cover parts, but I must pay $2900 for service hours. Why should I suffer penalty of $2900 for an international issue with the make and model of Volvo?

Sajeev answers:

The short answer: you’re paying for labor on the engine rebuild because Volvo isn’t convinced (so to speak) to issue a recall. But hopefully the dealer is also discounting their labor rate, so ask before committing.

The long answer?

Looking from the outside, goodwill repairs are far from a black and white set of rules for dealers and/or manufacturers. And perhaps your resolution also differs from Ed’s more pleasant experience (Part I) because he bought a new Volvo? All we can do is read between the lines: add this to the recent pressure Volvo’s feeling (making electric cars ain’t cheap, trade wars are no fun, etc) and the reality is not everyone prioritizes goodwill repairs equally.

Here’s a fun quote from an article about dealership audits:

“As we all know, manufacturers have tightened their financial belts and one of their favorite ways to address cash losses is warranty issues.”

More to the point, the threat of an audit must terrify any dealership. Not everyone’s gonna win in this game, so pay for the repair or trade it in: trade-ins become auction fodder for the experienced types aware of a vehicle’s pitfalls, and bid accordingly. That’s how the game is played.

Used cars (at the retail level) are always a risk, so should we consider the depth/breadth of manufacturer goodwill in our purchases?

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.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Ryanwm80 Ryanwm80 on Jul 21, 2019

    A couple of thoughts. Why the Volvo specifically? Is it just "a car" or is there something about it that makes it superior? Did you ever test drive or consider a Chrysler 200 or 300, a Ford Taurus or Buick LaCrosse? I have a Ford Taurus and I'm extremely happy with it. My mom has a Chrysler Town & Country and is also extremely happy with that. Those are great vehicles that have held up well. Is it worth the time, money, and effort to fix the Volvo, or should you get something better, like a Chrysler 300 with a 3.6 / 8 speed auto, or a Taurus with a 3.5 or twin turbo 3.5, or a Lincoln MKZ hybrid?

  • Incautious Incautious on Jul 22, 2019

    Burning that much oil in that short period of time will affect one's emissions( and eventually poison the catalytic converter). I would get a tailpipe emissions test and if the car is under the 8/80,000 warranty they are obligated to fix the issue. If your vehicle is out of warranty, try switching to a conventional heavier weight oil such as Shell rotella 15w40. this may slow down oil consumption. Finally class action action lawsuit.

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  • Varezhka And why exactly was it that Tesla decided not to coat their stainless steel bodies, again? My old steel capped Volant skis still looks clean without a rust in sight thanks to that metal vapor coating. It's not exactly a new technology.
  • GIJOOOE “Sounds” about as exciting as driving a golf cart, fake gear shifts or not. I truly hope that Dodge and the other big American car makers pull their heads out of the electric clouds and continue to offer performance cars with big horsepower internal combustion engines that require some form of multi gear transmissions and high octane fuel, even if they have to make them in relatively small quantities and market them specifically to gearheads like me. I will resist the ev future for as long as I have breath in my lungs and an excellent credit score/big bank account. People like me, who have loved fast cars for as long as I can remember, need a car that has an engine that sounds properly pissed off when I hit the gas pedal and accelerate through the gears.
  • Kcflyer libs have been subsidizing college for decades. The predictable result is soaring cost of college and dramatic increases in useless degrees. Their solution? More subsidies of course. EV policy will follow the same failed logic. Because it's not like it's their money. Not saying the republicans are any better, they talk a good game but spend like drunken sailors to buy votes just like the libs. The sole function of the U.S. government is to take money from people who earn it and give it away to people who didn't.
  • CecilSaxon Sounds about as smart as VW's "SoundAktor"