GM or NOT?

I was considering a Chevrolet Impala, but I am spooked by all the continuing recalls. Should one buy a GM car today?

I think that it is really a judgment call.
The Impala is very highly-rated and seems to have decent reliability.
Could it be subject to recalls? Sure, but so are Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans, Fords, VWs, etc.

If you are spooked by recalls, try to remember that every car manufacturer has issued recalls (some of them, very many recalls) over the past few years. And, the other side of the coin is the absence of recalls when they should have been issued–which was the case with all manufacturers up until the last few years.

For example, every 1953 Buick equipped with power brakes was a ticking time bomb for total loss of braking ability, due to the defective design of the power brake booster. Was a recall ever issued, despite many accidents and several deaths? Nope! However that car was manufactured in less-litigious times and no manufacturer would take a chance on skipping a recall of that nature nowadays.

Yes, I know that the GM ignition switch recall was overlooked for about a decade, but that unfortunate screw-up will actually help to ensure that vehicles will be recalled in the future for even the most trifling defects. In other words, I expect that recalls will actually increase in the future, rather than decrease.

+1 to @VDCdriver, The more recalls a manufacturer issues, the more concern they have about you, the consumer. No manufacturer (or the engineer responsible) wants a recall but acceptance or responsibility shows concern for their customers. I don’t mind recalls to fix anything, safety or other as long as it is fixed quickly and permanently with little annoyance to me.

2 of my examples; One car recalled for potential broken front springs piercing the tire. Solution; don’t replace the spring, add a shield to the strut which happened to rub on the newly purchased, slightly larger tires fitted to the car. The dealer didn’t notice the rub, but I did. Bad experience, safety related fix.

One car recalled for the ability to smack the trunklid with a hand to open a locked trunk. Fix installed in 15 minutes, never to return. Good experience, non-safety related fix.

Guess which one ticked me off?

I’ve bought 4 Chevrolets from the same salesman and dealer since 1988. Currently I have a 2010 Cobalt and 2013 Equinox. It’s more customer loyalty to the dealer than the brand though.

The Cobalt was recalled for power steering motor and the ignition switch. The only warranty repair was for a MAF sensor. The only out of warranty repair so far was replacing the left front speaker. It’s good basic transportation for my daughter.

A month or two back the Equinox had a small ATF leak from the CV axle seal. The seal was replaced under warranty. This is the only problem I’ve had so far. I’m very happy with the Equinox to date.

The only concern I would have with an Impala is that it is a new model. I like to wait a few years to give the manufacturer a chance fix the bugs.

Ed B.

I bought my first new car in '72. It was a GM. Recalls and warranty repairs were a part of car ownership, or so I thought.

In '76, because the rear axle came apart on my GM, I bought a Toyota. Suddenly recalls and warranty repairs were a thing of the past. I had to relearn all my assumptions.

I never bought another GM until '95. Alas, it was back to recalls and warranty repairs, albeit not as bad. My ex ended up with the car, and its head gasket blew at 100,000.

I now own a 2005 Scion, bought new. It has over 217,000 miles and has never given me a moment of pause. Never a recall, never a warranty repair. Only normal wear. The only thing that failed early were the gas struts that hold up the hatch.

You get to choose your experience. Me, my experience with Toyota has been 1000 times better than my experience with GM. All these recalls and warranty work that you read about, including in this thread, take notice of the makes. Toyota has had an occasional problem, it’s true, but GM always seems to have some serious safety recall going. Their current “biggie”, the ignition switch problem, they kept from the public for 14 years. People died because of it, yet they still kept it hidden. That, to me, does not reek of responsibility.

Sorry guys. I know the GM-or-die guys are going to get upset over this post. But it’s only an honest summary of my experiences. Nothing more, nothing less. If it upsets you, you should write to GM, not to me.

well, if none buys GM, than the future looks bleak for detroit.

Sadly, I think that ship has already sailed.
Besides, I cannot afford to buy a specific brand to try to save a bankrupt city. I can only afford to buy a car that will give me years of reliable and dependable service.

I have a lot of the same experiences as MB had. Only I waited til the 80’s to stop buying GM. I’m a little thick headed. I had some GREAT GM vehicles from the 60’s. And then I bought a Vega…and then a GMC pickup…That was the last time I bought a GM. Been buying Honda’s, Nissan’s and Toyota’s/Lexus’ since…and never regretted that decision.

Just 6 months ago I bought a new Toyota Highlander. So far with a little over 15k miles…it’s flawless. In a Highlander forum I visit…several people were complaining about the 11 service bulletins…they thought it was high. Then I pointed out the 194 service bulletins that the comparable GMC Terrain or it’s sister Chevrolet Traverse vehicle has. Ford and Chryo/Dodge did a lot better, but still more then double the Highlander.

Every 5 or so years we keep hearing stories about how GM or Ford or Chryco has really turned around and are building quality vehicles again. If they are…then why do they keep repeating that every 5 or so years. They keep coming out with new vehicles and say…as good as (pick your favorite Honda or Toyota)…then 5 years later after that vehicle was proven to be a pile of junk…they build another vehicle with the same claim.

I’m in a wait and see mode (have been for over 20 years). Still waiting for GM/Ford and Chryco to turn their quality around so I feel safe in buying one and keeping it for 300k+ trouble free miles.

I’ve owned several GM vehicles bought new (at discount) while I worked for them. Vehicles built from my 92-on have been very good vehicles. This includes 2 in my driveway now with nearly 100,000 miles and 100,000+.

That said I won’t buy another GM vehicle because of they way they treated Delphi and GM salaried employees during their bankruptcy, not because of quality.

I can well understand mountainbike’s attitude toward GM, as I have the same feelings toward Volvo–e.g.–never again!

I did have a Chevy Citation that was problem-plagued–as were all of the X-cars–but that car was a paragon of reliability compared to my Volvo. I am not rushing to buy a GM product, but I would be more prone to buy one than I would be to buy a Volvo!

I replaced the Citation with a Taurus–which was a very good car–but I replaced the Taurus with an Accord, which was–not surprisingly–more reliable than the Taurus. However, that Accord had a few ongoing “issues”, so I replaced it with a Subaru–and the Subaru proved to be more reliable than the Accord.

My second Subaru was essentially bullet-proof, and that led to the purchase of my third Subaru–which has given me no problems in the 4 years that I have owned it. Unless this one bites me in the butt, I will probably buy another, although I would certainly consider a Honda, or a Toyota, or a Mazda.

After my Japanese experiences, it would be very difficult for me to consider an American marque, and as far as I am concerned, I will never buy another European make of car.

I wouldn’t worry about recalls. They all have recalls. And now Chrysler is recalling for a similar ignition switch issue. I had mine in for a recall yesterday and there were at least four or five others for the same thing. Everybody got the multi-point inspection to sell tires, batteries, brakes, filters, etc. I’m starting to think the dealers make money on recalls.

To VDC, from what I’ve learned here I would avoid European cars too. Although I did enjoy my 1967 Volkswagen Beetle.

Ed B.

This article has some interesting insight. I’ve always wondered how they fared based on total number of units sold-

I would not worry about the recalls. They’re free and even Toyota has recalls; the engine computer on mine was replaced.

The real worry is that the new Impala is a totally new car; highly rated but no indication of long term quality and reliability. GM very seldom gets a new model right the first year. I would not buy a new Impala at this time; with 3 years under its belt, maybe.

Don’t forget, Consumer Reports rated the new 1986 Ford Taurus “the best US car they ever tested”. (Their all-time best car then was the Mercedes E Class.) This is my verbatim quote. Later, when bad reliability figures and reports started to come in, they made it a policy of not giving any reliability ratings to new cars. So the high rating of the Impala is its ride, fit and finish, handling and trunk space. It really is a nice car, but with unknown pedigree and credentials. Under reliability they have “new model” and no rating. Let’s hope the reliability works out well.

As mentioned in a previous post, I became so disgusted with GM after owning a new 1984 Corvette, I moved to Toyota and then Honda/Acura. A minor hiccup or two is all we’ve ever had with either brand and they were quickly addressed by the company. How many GM products have you met on the highway with only one of the daytime driving lights working and over many, many years of updated models? Is it so hard to fix a problem like that? My father-in-law had a Chevy truck who had one or the other driving light going out on a regular basis…no recalls that I know of…no fixes either as I’m still seeing models a year or two old with this issue. BTW, my father-in-law traded that Chevy for a Ridgeline and hasn’t had a single issue. I agree with other posts that have seen lots of Detroit promises of a new dawn in quality production with little substance.

I would not worry about GMs large number of recalls. I think they changed the way they viewed recalls and are far more willing to issue recalls that they were before. First, they made a big mistake by not issuing a recall for the faulty ignition switch. And they probably would still not have admitted it if Toyota had not chosen to pay $1.4 billion to get out from under a criminal trial in federal court for their allegedly hiding information related to their unintended acceleration problem. Despite paying this huge penalty, they still had to pay for repairs to a huge number of cars over many model years. IMO, GM didn’t want to pay for the recall twice or more times over with a giant fine, and chose to purge their expanded list of recalls.

Actually I think the most serious recall was on the kids 96 Acura Integra. It was something like 10 years later that they replaced the computer, gave it a tune up free, etc. Our 08 Acura had a recall for the power steering hose-fire issue. Our Olds I guess had a seat belt and fuel line recall way back. I don’t think any of my Buicks had a recall that I can remember. Never heard of a DRL headlight issue.

One source I would check with is Consumer Reports. They have advised against many highly rated cars until issue they had a problem with were rectified. If they don’t consider it a problem with this car, I would at least consider a little more research into it’s purchase without disregarding it.

There have been some concerns raised about GM’s post 2006 designs. It seems like the main issue is they may not be as robust and require more frequent and more expensive service and repairs than their designs before 2006. One option to consider might be to buy a used GM, 2006 or prior.

Edit: For some more info, here’s a link.

I would buy GM in a heartbeat if I found the vehicle I liked. I love my recently acquired 2008 Chevy HHR even though the people that designed it had very little knowledge of ergonomic functionality. The aesthetics of the vehicle are quite pleasing but some of the interior panels and controls seem like they were designed by third-graders. It runs great and has amazing performance even though it’s only a 2.2 engine (it is a 5-speed manual however). Couple that with 30mpg combined driving fuel economy and it should be a hit in anyone’s book. Time will tell.