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Mechanics comments about GM vehicles

Had my Camry into the independent shop I’ve used for years for oil change, tire rotation, and alignment (the latter courtesy of a nasty pothole). Had nice chat with the mechanic and the front desk guys about current vehicle models. They all agreed that GM vehicles, especially the popular Chevy Equinox, seem some of the nicest vehicles brand new due to comfortable interior configuration. But they see an excessive volume of problems showing up early in time and mileage use. Everything from electrical glitches to major mechanical problems to things like grills falling off or interior components coming apart. Their opinion was that GM makes vehicles that seem appealing but very much lack consistent quality and simply cannot compete with Toyota and Honda for long term reliability. Not that both those haven’t had their share of problems at times also.

Nothing new that hasn’t been hashed out here before. But interesting to hear they are particularly seeing problems crop up early on many Equinox SUVs.

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The Equinox has been a problem baby. Even though the domestics have improved their quality, it seems it is still not on par with Japanese or Korean makes. My experience with a 2014 Ford Focus was similar even though I stayed away from the automatic with known issues.

I liked my '87 Olds but it had a ton of issues from brand new. Even though I got 20 years use from it, the time and money spent on endless major problems was draining. The '07 Impala was reasonably nice but again was plagued with endless problems from day one. So I traded it in toward the 2014 Camry and have been happily surprised to own a trouble free car. One hassle over getting the computer update for the torque converter. That has been the sole problem with the car itself I’ve had in three and a half years ownership of the Camry.

Yes, there was a hassle with the dealer over them costing me a wheel cover which I ended up getting a replacement new one from them. And I did get hit head on a year ago but got that all repaired nicely. Neither of those were an issue with the car though.

On balance, I doubt seriously I would go back to owning a GM vehicle at this point. But depending on how long I live, can safely keep driving, and how long the Camry lasts, I may never need another car.

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I’ve had several GM vehicles over the years. While none of them were terrible… In all honesty, the Hondas I have had have been nearly flawless in comparison.

I’ll stick with Hondas.

My neighboor has a 2010 GMC Terrain(same as Equinox)…It is very rusty for a 7 year vehicule…more than normal.The fender and door area are the worst.

I agree

In my professional experience, on GM vehicles, the interior literally starts falling apart after just a few years

But some of them handle very nicely and are comfortable

For example . . . we have several Yukons in our fleet. I like the ride, much nicer than my brother’s Highlander, in my opinion. But the Yukon interiors started falling apart years ago, whereas my brother’s vehicle held up quite well, as far as the interior goes

As a matter of fact, I think the GM radios and steering wheels were particularly bad for a time. The “vinyl” or whatever it is literally starts flaking off, again, after just a few short years. Doesn’t exactly scream high quality

I am the type of buyer who buys the best vehicle that fits my needs regardless of the make. That said, I really got great service from a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander which I sold to my son. It is still going strong at 200,000 miles. I recently sold him my 2011 Toyota Sienna, but he still uses the Uplander as a second vehicle. The 2011 Sienna has 92000 miles on it. The most expensive repair that had to be done to either vehicle was a water pump replacement on the Sienna–$975. Also, I got more miles out of a set of tires on the Uplander than I did with the Sienna. For me, the Uplander had lower operating costs per mile than the Sienna. However, I did replace the 2011 Sienna with a 2017 Sienna as the Sienna is the best minivan that fits my needs.
It seemed as though the break-in period for the 2017 Sienna was rather long. The engine seemed a little sluggish, the brakes seemed a little spongy and the transmission shifted roughly at times. However, after 1000 miles everything improved. The transmission isn’t as smooth shifting as the 2011 but the gas mileage is better. The 2011 has a 6 speed transmission while there are 8 speeds in the 2017.

Over the years it just seems to me that the Japanese manufacturers devote more effort to design parts so that they fit together well and stay together naturally, and that American makers’ parts are designed to go together quickly and that are inexpensive to manufacture. It’s really obvious on the interior finish pieces of plastic. On American designed cars the bits and pieces are not as well integrated with one another and the seams and joints feel more obvious and less stable.

I don’t see any connection between where the cars are made and their quality and durability. It seems like a design engineering issue, not an assembly question.

This old quote is appropriate-

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

When I was shopping for my first SUV, I chose lower initial price over aesthetics and certain fit & finish improvements. Especially since the price difference was fairly significant between a Chevy and comparably equipped Honda. I had pretty good luck with mine and am not especially hard on the interior so it worked well for me. Lots of people go for the low initial price and then soon forget that when things start breaking or squeaking for example…

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I recall Toyota’s debacles with V-6 head gaskets , pickup frames rusting and unintended acceleration which take away a great deal of luster from their reputation. And price certainly does not have a universal positive correlation with quality. But I do hold the Big 3 in low esteem over their apparent unconcern for quality in basic transportation models. Corollas and Elantras and Civics offer considerably more reliability and quality than comparable domestic models and even the rebranded imports. Of course the Big 3 make in depth studies of the automobile markets and attempt to offer what their customers want so I guess it’s a matter of who they have determined to be their low end market.

We also have Uplanders in our fleet

Interestingly enough, the Uplander interiors hold up FAR better than the Yukon interiors. Yet the Yukon was NOT a cheap vehicle, in fact they’re heavily optioned, versus the Uplanders. Kind of disappointing, if you really think about it.

@db4690 I found the interior more durable in the Uplander than the interior of the Sienna. The interior
side panels scuffed more easily in the Sienna than in the Uplander. I frequently am hauling music instruments, music stands and sometimes folding chairs.

We’re the Yukons work trucks? Work trucks have few features and might have a lower quality interior to justify the low cost.

Our 2003 Olds Silhouette interior is still in good shape after 14 years and 180,000 miles.

The Yukons were pretty well equipped, in my opinion

5.3 liter flex fuel V8, 4x4, cloth seats, power everything. Aside from 4x4, they were equipped identically to an in-law’s truck which was the same model year. The in-law’s truck also had the peeling radio and steering wheel

From my limited experiencing renting GM cars, I’d agree with that. I rented an HHR for a month in 2010. On the freeway out in the desert it tracked straight as an arrow down the road at 85 mph like it was on rails, even held up to cross wind gusts well without excessive body lean. Bumps in the road were barely felt by the passengers. It got pretty good mpg too. But some aspects of the interior design was a horror show. I’d put my wallet in the glove box, the wallet would immediately fall out the bottom of the glove compartment and land on the floor … lol … you’d think GM could at least get the glove compartment to keep hold of the stuff you put in. Still, other than a few minor glitches like that, overall I liked the HHR. Especially the ride quality, very nice.

The interior of the '87 Olds held up quite well. And it was a sweet car to drive with the 3.8L 6cyl engine I made a point of getting. But problems with leaking oil gaskets and seals, and with leaking transmission plagued it from day one. And leaking intake manifold gasket. And blown head gasket. And needing replacement transmission at barely 80k. Etc etc despite maintaining per the owner’s manual. Despite that, it was such a sweet car and engine to drive, handling quite well, I kept it 20 years and ~180k before giving it to a nephew.

The Impala was a nice car that handled well although its engine and tranny lacked the responsiveness of the Olds. I happened to get one with endless electronic and mechanical failutes from day one. It’s interior wore badly compared to the Olds or the current 2014 Camry.

I really liked test driving the 2014 6cyl Impala. Nice ride! But between my experiences with endless problems on the '07 Impala and the price tag, I choose the 4cyl Camry and have been happy with the choice (although the Impala seat was more comfy.)

Your 2007 Impala didn’t have the 3.8 V6?

If so, it would have just been a newer version of the engine in your 1987 Oldsmobile

No, the 2007 Impala was a 3.5L 6 cyl. The major difference was the Impala’s electronic throttle that had a significant delay in tesponse to the gas pedal.

I just looked up the 2007 Impala owner’s manual . . .

it seems the 3.5 V6 was the base engine, next was the 3.9 V6 (essentially just a bigger version of the 3.5), and the big boy was the 5.3 V8

The Uplanders in our fleet have the 3.9 V6 and it’s well-suited for that application, in my opinion

According to Wikipedia, that 3.5 V6 was considered to be the replacement for the old 3.8 V6 . . . sounds like it wasn’t quite worthy, in your estimation?

The engine and tranny were fine. The electronic throttle sucked.