By Gustave Laurens
On reading the story titled “Monkeys Made My GM Car,” it made me think of a similar story happening to me. My story involves a vehicle from a surprisingly reputable and well-known car manufacturer that claims to be the ultimate in luxury and technological advances. I have owned three different model years, and each one came with problems. Three cars!!
My motto has always been that you learn from your first mistake. If you repeat the same mistake for a second time, you obviously did not learn your lesson and qualify as dumb. If you make the same mistake for a third time, you are really stupid and do not deserve another chance. Well, I am ashamed to admit that I had not followed my own motto. A good excuse would be to blame it on the car’s perceived reputation, its class, its aura, prestige - all those overblown adjectives of a European car that clouds your vision, makes you blind and oblivious to what you hear “out there.”
The model I currently own had 60K miles when the transfer case started malfunctioning. This malfunction causes the gears to skip, and when turning the wheels it makes a noise similar to the one (I have been told) of the old steering wheel systems of cars from the 1960s. Even though there were lots of recalls for my model, it happened to be that my serial number was not included. The fix was to take it to the dealer for a flush and change in fluids with no guarantee that the problem would go away. After paying a ridiculously high amount, the car ran better but still skipped gears once in a while.
I usually do not keep cars for longer than three to four years, but this time I decided to keep it longer in order to see how reliable and how long the car would last - my own little QA test to prove or dispel the car manufacturer’s claims.
Additionally, I have changed the directional bulbs and headlights an average of three times a year, and I am still getting messages on the dashboard stating something like “left side directional bulb is malfunctioning.”
Further, about two months ago the closing mechanism of one of the back doors started jumping up and down at a frenzy pace with no rational explanation. I could not open the door from the outside, and when remote commanded it would not close - the button would just jump up and down until eventually it fell off the door hole. I was told that the motor that normally shuts down the door automatically when the car reaches five mph had gone kaput. The car has now had140K miles of highway driving and had been serviced periodically by the dealer at the recommended manufacturer intervals.