Inferred Warranty

Cracked block on 2000 Cadillac sts with 90K miles. Out of warranty but probably manufacturing defect. What is my recourse with the dealer/GM?

Why do you think it was a manufacturing defect? I need more info.

This car is 8 years old with 90,000 miles. You can beg, but there is no warranty, and no guaranties. The manufacturer washed their hands of this 4 years and 40,000 miles ago. Good luck.

The car is 9 years old so you’re out of luck barring a miracle of some sort.

Some details would help of course.
How do you know the block si cracked? (Seldom the case on any car)
Who gave you this diagnosis?
What are the symptoms?

Manufacturing defect? Not likely at all; but overheating or extreme cold combined with weak or dead coolant could cause it.

I seem to remember some problems with Northstars back then (porous castings?), but these problems showed up quickly and were covered by warranty.

Car has never overheated or been in cold weather (southern California). It has had all service performed by dealer. It was at the dealers to investigate a coolant leak, and THEY told me it was a cracked blocked, and that they had never seen this before.

About all I can recommend without seeing the car is get a couple more opinions on it (without saying anything about what the first shop told you) and see if it is verified.

I’m always a bit skeptical about any cracked block or cylinder head diagnosis because in over 3 decades as a tech I can count on one hand the number of cracked blocks/heads I’ve seen; and every one of those had a root cause behind the cracking. Major league overheating, pure water in the water jacket repeatedly freezing, etc.

Sometimes a car maker may actually cover something like this (if the block is really cracked) under a good-will warranty but with the age/mileage it’s REAL iffy. You could contact the regional office and politely ask. They may politely refuse but it’s always worth a shot.

It has had all service performed by dealer.

   Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

   I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

If this was genuinely a manufacturing defect, it would have manifested itself long before 8 years/90,000 miles. If the block’s casting was truly defective, it would have cracked many years ago, and many tens of thousands of miles ago.

Also, I think that the OP may have been trying to refer to an Implied Warranty, as an “inferred” warranty exists only in someone’s mind. The terms “infer” and “imply” are confused very frequently. Here is a little explanation of the differences in meaning that I copied from another site:

“Infer is sometimes confused with imply, but the distinction is a useful one. When we say that a speaker or sentence implies something, we mean that it is conveyed or suggested without being stated outright: When the mayor said that she would not rule out a business tax increase, she implied (not inferred) that some taxes might be raised. Inference, on the other hand, is the activity performed by a reader or interpreter in drawing conclusions that are not explicit in what is said: When the mayor said that she would not rule out a tax increase, we inferred that she had been consulting with some new financial advisers, since her old advisers were in favor of tax reductions.”

There is no such thing as an inferred warranty. That’s why we have written agreements. You are hoping that you can get free repairs forever but successful businesses don’t work that way. Sorry, about all you can do is beg the representative for mercy, but don’t expect any.

Every now & then the manufactuirer will repace an item beyond the warranty if that item usually does not fail. We had a Maytag washer (when they were still the best) that broke its drive shaft, a highly unlikely event, 6 months after the warranty expired.

I actually got to talk to the president of Maytag and explained the problem, and pointed out that at the time Maytag was running full page ads of large, smiling families who had gotten very long life out of their machines. He agreed that drive shafts should not break and gave us a new gearbox and drive shaft, but we had to pay for the installation by the dealer.

It always pays to complain tactfully and have all the fact at your fingertips.

You can’t know whether it was a manufacturing defect unless the block is cut apart and the failure evaluated metallographically to see if there is porosity or nonmetallic inclusions that do not normally show up in the casting. Of course, that means you have to replace the engine or take the car out of service until you an establish why the block failed. If you sectioned the flaw and found that it was a manufacturing defect, GM would be more apt to pay for the replacement. Unless you have access to the equipment and materials required, it would probably cost more than a replacement engine.

And, if you complain, try to avoid the all-too-common practice of stating that you will never buy that brand of car (or washing machine, or lawn mower, or…) again. If you tell them that they have already lost you as a customer, there is little motivation for anyone to come to your aid outside of the warranty period.

Agree with VDC that casting flaws show up much quicker than that. Only fatigue failures develop over a long time, and this would not appear to be a fatigue failure. Normal cause of cracked engine blocks is overheating or “thermal shock” such as caused by pouring very cold water over a very hot engine block.

As a followup, this morning GM has agreed to pay for a new engine if I pay for the labor. I guess I’ll go that way. Thank you all for your comments.

glad to hear things worked out for you. i’m pretty sure that since you had the dealership perform all your maintenance for you, it probably held a little more weight than if you went to a normal mechanic

Go GM!

I think that is very fair settlement. I wonder if it’s just because it’s a Cadillac, or pethnick’s history with the GM/dealer, etc. Would they do this for a Chevy owner?

Whatever is behind this, it sounds way better than the way Chrysler burned loyal customers, im my opinion, by not taking ownership of the 2.7L engines that died early deaths.

I have run Dodges for decades and am in the process of switching to Chevrolet. This is one more reason for me to… Go GM!

I was always told that it is easier to keep customers than it is to find new ones. A day could come when a company wishes they had the formerly loyal ones back.

Follow up…

If you don’t mind my asking, What do you think was the thing or things that won this settlement in your favor?

As was pointed out, they could have just stuck with the warranty and said, “tough luck.”

The readers could maybe benefit from your answer.

Take that deal and run. There is such a thing as an implied warranty but doesn’t fit this case. Back in the 80’s GM agreed to replace diesels with Goodwrench rebuilts up to 100K for all the problems they were having, but this only happened after a lot of complaints and a class action. I think the reason you are coming out ok is that you had all of the work done at a dealer, you were reasonable, had a good dealer, and its a high end car.

I had mentioned a good-will warranty but also mentioned I’d be very surprised if GM covered it due to age/mileage. I was wrong and a possible miracle has occurred.

Just curious though. They’re having you pay labor only. Exactly how much is this labor charge? I’m trying to determine if this is a numbers game being played on you.