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GM Daewoo Suzuki Products are JUNK!

It looks like these clunkers may have helped kill off Suzuki in the U.S.

My girlfriend has had one of the 2006 Renos for 3 years and is throwing in the towel at only 86,000 miles. It wasn’t even paid for but the balance of the loan is being included in her new car payment. It has been nothing but problems from the get go. The dealer sold her the car for WAY more than it was worth and she bought it… With 4 bald tires that needed to be replaced in a month when one went flat… I wasn’t with her at this time and would have probably talked her out of this car or at least the terms the dealer offered her and insisted they replaced the tires with at least decent used ones.

Then the problems started. I don’t know where to start. Little nit picky things were always going out. I can remember changing the transmission range sensor and the EVAP system purge valve/cylinder but there were other sensors, valve cover gaskets, you name it. It was the champion of the check engine light. The struts were junk from day one. You hit the smallest of bumps and it felt like the world was going to end! Again, the dealer sold her this car with this wrong.

I replaced the timing belt not long after we started dating because she had no clue when it was last changed. I ordered a Gates kit with all the parts that touch the timing belt including the tensioner, idlers, and water pump. The old belt was hanging by a thread so I know that was a bullet dodged with these engines.

It had several recalls which involved both of us taking off work and driving 100 miles to the nearest service center. One of the recalls was botched and we had to go back to get it done correctly.

Then a rock hit the windshield. This wasn’t the car’s fault but just added to the list of problems.

We were just getting ready to order all new struts and get that taken care of. The car was due for inspection in a few months so the windshield was next on the list after the struts. This cost nearly $400 in parts/labor to get done as I don’t do glass work.

Then the car started to run a little hot (not in the red) when I was out of town. I told her to check the coolant level (it was low) and add some universal premix coolant from the parts store. It seemed to be running OK.

I decided to replace all the hoses, the thermostat, and flush the system to put her mind at ease. I open the coolant cap and exhaust gasses are bubbling out and the coolant smells like coolant mixed with exhaust gasses and DEATH! It was a HORRENDOUS smell! The coolant had been clean just a short while before but was turning to sludge from the exhaust contamination.

I did a check for exhaust gasses in the coolant just to verify what I already knew. The head gasket or something along those lines was bad. I don’t know if it was a cracked head, block, or head gasket, but I told her it was time for this car to go. The total of the repairs is well over the value of the car.

She didn’t hot rod the car and always got it serviced on time. I took over servicing it once we started dating. She got it used but only got 3 years out of it and it wasn’t even paid for when all this happened.

I would highly suggest AVOIDING these cars! This thing was a pile of junk money pit.

We might have gotten 25mpg out of this car on a good day. What was up with that on a smaller car like this? My V6 pickup truck gets this mileage.

On the other hand, I am a Suzuki Swift/Geo Metro guy and although those cars are cheap and basic, they just keep running as long as you take care of them. They are a real Suzuki and nothing like this. These Renos/Forenzas aren’t a real Suzuki but a Daewoo with a Suzuki name on them. AVOID! AVOID! AVOID!

I dunno. She bought a poorly-maintained car and then had problems with it. I don’t know that you can extrapolate that all examples of the car are bad based on one neglected one.

I agree with shadowfax.
While anything that was engineered by Daewoo was certainly not of high quality to begin with, when one buys a used Daewoo/Suzuki with an unknown maintenance record, that is not usually the formula for a long and happy relationship with the car.

“The dealer sold her the car for WAY more than it was worth and she bought it… With 4 bald tires that needed to be replaced in a month when one went flat… I wasn’t with her at this time and would have probably talked her out of this car or at least the terms the dealer offered her and insisted they replaced the tires with at least decent used ones.”

Oh! It was a USED car. First of all, lots of used cars are Junk. I’m not defending a Suzuki or Daewoo product. I would never knowingly buy one to begin with.

It wasn’t even paid for but the balance of the loan is being included in her new car payment.
Wow! No offense, but you’re helping her and you were O.K. with that?

I refuse to ever buy on credit, let alone an arrangement like that. I’d say she was in the used car buyer’s realm until more money was accumulated. I can afford to buy new cars and pay cash, but usually choose used ones.

Sorry, I feel bad about the whole mess. This was a used car with problems and a timing belt when it was purchased! I’m done with timing belts.

As I said I’m not defending these cars when they’re new, but this sounds more like buyer’s error, rather than the car’s fault.


Other than a very bad purchase decision, I would add that Daewoo designed and built some very poor cars before they went bankrupt. GM bought the ASSETS, which included some of those poor designs and even sold the Aveo under the Chevy name, which they probably regret now.

GM would not honor any of the Daewoo warrantees, however.

I agree with others that OVERPAYING for a poorly maintained use car with bald tires is something you might do in your sleep, not with your eyes wide open.

Thanks for the input. I hope you can find some peace with this thing.

It is possible that the bald tires description may have been a slight exaggeration .
I would caution those condemning the rollover balance into a new loan for a replacement vehicle that sometimes that may be the only choice. Been there done that.

I’ve never owned a Suzuki or a Daewoo, and am not interested in buying one, but it sounds more like a deal gone bad from the start.

Like the sign at the feed mill “Our price for good clean oats is market price…If you want the cheaper ones that have already gone through the horse…let us know”.
Next time…buy American!!!

Your girlfriend should have inspected the tires at the time of purchase, and insisted on new rubber if the tires were that bad. A quick look from 2 feet away can tell you if the tires will last for another 6 months.
As far as the unknown maintenance goes, many cars have no records when they go to a dealership for trade in. I also doubt that the dealer would even leave the receipts in the glove box, and would toss them when they clean out the car for resale.

Maybe the vehicle was not worth what she paid, but the dealer is in business to make a profit too. If she did not check what the car was worth before she signed the papers, then it is her fault for not doing so. She may have not counter-offered a lower price and stuck to her guns about not paying what they wanted.

The car is 10 years old…nine when she bought it, and as anyone here can attest to…parts do need to be replaced as a car ages…no matter what brand.

Maybe Cwatkin should go along next time and guide her through the correct steps on purchasing a used vehicle.

My daughter took me along for her first car purchase and she always gets such good deals now, that I would have no problem sending her to make a deal for me. I can’t get deals like she gets, but I’m not quite as pretty either.


“I would caution those condemning the rollover balance into a new loan for a replacement vehicle that sometimes that may be the only choice.”

That could be true after one paints oneself into a corner. It’s the decisions that one makes before the painting begins that make the thing so objectionable.

Payments are bad enough, but putting little to nothing down and taking out a loan is not smart. Because the individual was “behind the 8-ball” on this used car then another bad forced decision was made. The original loan should have had enough equity in it from the beginning to suffer through a “junk” purchase or it should have never been made.

I’m not sure why people, when wanting to buy a new or used car, start thinking about getting a loan. I have always saved, bought, and then used products, Not bought, used, and then pay for products. I would never enjoy whatever it is even for a moment.


" I have always saved, bought, and then used products, Not bought, used, and then pay for products. I would never enjoy whatever it is even for a moment."

Personally, I’ve phrased that a little differently, but, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve expressed that opinion to someone, I’d have, like, a really big pile of nickels :smiley:

Can’t believe I, of all people, am going to play Devil’s Advocate here, but here goes:

I suppose if someone is young, broke, and needs a reliable car to get to work, one could end up in a situation like this. But she should say to herself, “This. . . Will. . . Never. . . Happen. . . To Me. . . Again”. Cut back / eliminate all non-essential spending i.e. entertainment, dining out, clothes, shoes, pay per view, vacations, etc. Double and triple down on the car payment until it is paid off, then continue paying the equivalent of the “car payment” into a savings account earmarked for the next vehicle purchase. Resolve to keep the car for another 5 - 15 years after it is paid off.

Personally, I believe that a dollar spent on finance charges is a dollar wasted. I could invest that dollar instead and be on the receiving end of interest / dividends. :smiley:

Sounds like the OP’s girlfriend is in good hands now, at least concerning her transportation needs. Hopefully you can learn and grow from each other.

Hey, watch what you say. The car was used by Top Gear for the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment. This was the Chevy Lacetti version. It was given a Viking Burial by Richard Hammond in 2010. They wouldn’t do that for just any trash-mobile.

I can’t speak to this particular vehicle, but I had a good friend who owned a Suzuki back in the early 90’s and she was happy enough with it. It was sort of an unusual looking car as I recall, sort of half car, half truck.

Again in Suzuki’s defense, I owned two Suzuki dirt-motorcycles in the 70’s and they both were very reliable bikes.

It sounds like business as usual in Watkinsville. From all the past stories it seems like everybody near you has a burned up engine.

Last October my neighbor burned up two Nissan Sentra engines. Both cars were originally purchased for his daughters to drive. The first one quit on him while driving. He took it to a shop, they told him the engine need to be replaced, damaged because of no coolant.

The second one stalled on his daughter so he drove it for a day then asked me to look at it for a squealing noise. I told him the belts are loose/squealing, I hear the girls when they drive away all the time. After I verified the source of the noise he shut the engine off and there was 10 seconds of gurgling from the radiator reservoir. After a closer look I proved to him the head gasket was leaking. He told me the day before he added 1/2 gallon of coolant to the radiator. That explains it, drive without coolant and you’ll damage the engine.

The first car he junked, the second one I repaired for him. I probably could have repaired both but I believe in the stupid tax. Each time during the last twenty years that he asked me to look at one of his cars for a problem I pointed out to him that the coolant reservoir was empty on that vehicle, his response, “no importa”.

It was sort of an unusual looking car as I recall, sort of half car, half truck.

The X90. Neat little car…truck…thing. I had a friend with one. Sucker would go anywhere.

If I recall, they were killed off not because they were mechanically bad but because the design made them inherently tip-happy and in that tiny little thing a rollover would do some serious damage to the occupants.

Hyundai and Kia seem to be making some very good cars these days. They don’t seem to have made good cars for other auto makers.
Daewoo and Isuzu didn’t make very good cars and are no longer in our market. Don’t know if they are still in business.
You can’t tell a good car by country.

Daewoo’s bankruptcy forced the sale of Daewoo Motors to GM. GM Korea now builds Buick, Chevy, and Holden. They used to build models for Pontiac and Suzuki. GM Korea is also a major design studio for the corporation.

Not relevant but I’ve got a Suzuki engine on my Toro lawn mower. It was a pretty good engine except for the carb which seemed overly sensitive and hard to find parts. Its been up on blocks for a couple years now waiting for me to go through the carb and get it adjusted properly. Its on the list but pretty far down and not something I look forward to.

I agree that this was a bad purchase decision on her part. She was single at the time and her old car was having issues. She needed a new car so went to a local dealer and purchased the newest used car with the fewest miles, neglecting to take other factors into account. She didn’t check the book value of the car and way overpaid! I would NEVER have suggested this car had I had any say in the situation but tried to make what was around work. I agree that she should have insisted on having some of the repairs done before purchase at that price. It isn’t even legal to sell a car that can’t pass inspection (bad tires, etc.) as a dealer but they will get away with what they can.

I tried to keep the car running as long as possible. It was one sensor after another. Anytime I researched this, I found that these were normal problems for her model of car. Anyway, I wasn’t a huge fan but figured $50-60 for a new part every few months was better than another car payment so just did the work and went on from there.

Then when the exhaust started bubbling out of the coolant and pressurizing the system I knew this was no $50-60 part. It was time to send this one down the road.

I agree that Suzuki has made some interesting and quality products. They were all made by Suzuki and not another bad brand with some other name badged onto the car. It is too bad they went that route in the US as it was the nail in the coffin for the brand.

I have no idea how this car was maintained but the engine compression seemed tight and the oil didn’t get nasty real quick so I assume the oil was at least changed. The fact the car came to her with bald tires and other maintenance that needed to be done wasn’t a good sign. Again I had no say in all this until it was too late. I figure the timing belt change kept her going another year or so and was worthwhile but am glad some of the other work I had planned didn’t get done because it would have been money down the drain.

The bikes, ATVs, mower equipment, etc. are all good stuff. Again, they are made by Suzuki and not a third party.

We did test drive some Kia products at the local dealer and I found them to be a solid bet. The reviews and warranty were also quite good. The place was very high pressure and turned us both off. They wouldn’t run any numbers until we were basically ready to buy the car. You walked out of that place feeling like you were covered in slime!

I routinely checked the fluids in this car. Everything was good up until the end and the oil never got contaminated. Obviously the way the head gasket, head, or block cracked sent the exhaust into the coolant and that coolant wasn’t going into the oil or cylinders. The engine still ran relatively well without any miss and the oil was never milky or contaminated in any way.

The coolant was a different story. Once the problem began, it smelled like DEATH. It was a horrid smell and was more sludge than coolant by the end. I was checking it every day for the last week and a half she had the car and it got more contaminated by exhaust products with each day. It went from clean and clear to mud pretty quick.

Either way, the car is gone now and no longer a concern to us but was certainly a disappointment.

Here is a thread from a while back before this car had turned to a total POS. Apparently opinions here suggest that this GM Daewoo deal may have helped kill Pontiac too.

My GF didn’t understand what I was talking about at first when I told her that this car was a Daewoo. She thought it was some slang term for a piece of crap. It might as well have been.