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Too Many Major Problems Too Soon?

2007 Chevrolet Impala 1LT
3.5L Flex Fuel Engine
4 speed auto trans
6 cylinder
37,900 miles
Purchased new Nov 2006 so now out of warranty
All recommended book maintenance has been done on schedule

Generally has been good car w/ 2 notable exception:

  1. now famous rear end suspension issues that cause the rear end to keep going out of alignment and causing excessive early wear on tires;
  2. steering rack went bad and required replacement at about 32,000 miles; GM covered under Good Will warranty due to low mileage

New Problem: The water pump sprung a major leak and needs replacing. Found the fluid leakage on the garage floor this morning, drove straight to the shop, and rented a car until the water pump replacement repair is complete tomorrow. Dealer is attempting to get GM to cover all or at least part of the cost under Good Will warranty given low mileage and less than a year out of warranty.

QUESTION:

Obviously repairs on a car only 6 years old with such very low mileage is far less expensive than trading it in for a different vehicle.

My question is, though, is having 3 major components fail at such early mileage despite exemplary maintenance and gentle driving cause to think this car may be trending toward becoming a “hanger queen” in terms of ongoing early components failures???

I’m particularly asking for the opinions of those of you who are experienced mechanics.

As much as I like the car, I’m more interested in ongoing safety and reliability. Normally I drive a car for upwards of 20 years. But I’m more focused on those safety and reliability issues than keeping any one vehicle until it is a dinosaur.

Feedback please for me to consider?

Thank you.

Marnet
…still reading, still learning!

Reliability looks good at edmunds, stuff happens, and will always happen, I’d be on the keep it side of the fence.

It’s great to hear from you again! I’m not happy that it is in these circumstances, but I guess that’s why so many show up here. I hope you are in good health.

Oh, you have a problem. I’m not a mechanic, as you may remember, but I have had a few things go wrong on my cars over the years. We have a 2003 Olds and the transmission gave out at 58,000 miles. But we had an extended warranty, and GM ate the $3000 bill. Since that time, We’ve replaced a bad wheel bearing and the normal wear and tear items. At 130,000 miles, I think we are in good shape with this car. I would not worry about the steering rack. It’s almost new now. (I used that same rationale with my transmission.) And stuff breaks from time to time on any brand. As for the rear suspension, is it possible to buy aftermarket parts that will reduce or eliminate the problem? Maybe the real mechanics can help with that question.

BTW, I only had to see your name to remember how well you care for your cars.

Yes, I am not a mechanic but wholeheartedly agree with jtsanders when he says that you indeed have a problem.
Can’t wait for a mechanic to reply and see what he says about your problem.

My mom has a 2010 Impala and has not had problem one. So yes it’s odd that you are having these issues. I think 2007 may have been the first year for this gen impala. Maybe that’s the problem.

I’m not a mechanic either but have about 1.5 million miles under my belt. I have a 3.5 non flex, and 4 speed with no problems at 80K. Its a little early for a water pump and generally they don’t leak much when not being driven so might just be a defect. Did regular service include a radiator drain and fill? None of the items are related though and cars just don’t like to not be driven.

Thank you everyone for the replies and your thoughts. I do appreciate it.

Thanks for the compliment jtsanders. I remember you too from past questions and reading.

Bing, yes, the cooling system has been fully drained, flushed, and refilled twice now in the six years I’ve had the car. As 95% of my driving is short hop, stop and go driving in heavy urban traffic, I keep to the “severe use” recommended maintenance for all systems, including oil changes, cooling system, etc.

To clarify, I’m not planning on dumping this car at this point but I am concerned that it is showing a pattern of major failures at extremely low mileage. In the mass production of any product, some units are simply going to be either less or more prone to trouble than average.

My question is to ask just how concerned should I be at this point that this particular car is turning out to be less reliable than average to a worrisome degree?

Oh, and in answer to the question about an after market part for fixing the rear suspension problem, apparently there is not a fix either from GM or after market. I recently read that there is a class action suit filed by somebody over the fact GM hasn’t come up with a fix or issued a recall. Apparently thousands of Impala owners have had the same expensive issue of the rear suspension chronically going out of alignment and causing premature excessive tire wear. The factory tires lasted only 15,000 on mine, to my extreme annoyance at the time.

Shop did a nice job of getting the repair done quickly and getting GM to cover most of the cost under one time Good Will warranty.

I asked the service manager about the issue of both the power steering pump and water pump having gone out at such low mileages and if this is any type of trend they are seeing with 2007 Impalas. He said no, they are proving to have at least average or better reliability for the ones they service.

He did suggest that the fact almost all my driving is such short distance in stop and go traffic could actually be has contributed to both pumps springing leaks early and advised that I need to take it out for a good run on the highway more often than I have been. So, I’ll try to make time in my schedule and room in the budget for gas to give the buggy more highway time on a regular basis. Better yet, long drives in the countryside!

Isn’t the water pump covered under the longer powertrain warranty? My Toyota warranty booklet specifically lists water pump as having the 6yr/60K warranty. Or does that differ for Chevy?

Recalls are issued for safety issues, not just any inherent system problems. From your description, the suspension problem does not sound like it is a safety issue. If anyone can show that it is a safety issue and convince the NHTSA, then there would likely be a recall.

The Chevy powertrain warranty was for 5yr/60k. As I bought the car in Nov 2006 it is out of warranty. The power steering pump went out just weeks after the warranty so GM covered it in full anyway due to the low mileage. Now they’ve covered about 75% of the water pump also as Good Will.

You’re quite a negotiator.

Age as well as mileage causes problems. You should expect more problems than a 3 year old car with the same mileage.

Here’s a site that reports problems with vehicles:

http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/Reliability.aspx?year=2007&make=Chevrolet&model=Impala

Thank you for the link jt. I’ll make good use of it!

And thank you for the compliment but actually the credit goes to the dealership service department. The service department initiated the good will from GM when the power steering pump needed replacing. And this time, with the water pump, all I did was ask them to please see if GM would cover at least part of the cost of the water pump, again as good will.

For GM, once you are beyond the bumper to bumper, the drive train warranty covers anything that touches oil as an easy explanation. So was the steering rack replaced or the power steering pump? They are quite different. Both last hundreds of thousands of miles.

Bing, the car was just weeks past the drive train warranty expiration, which as you note runs longer than the bumper to bumper warranty that had expired 2 years previously. I still have rust warranty until this November. I’ll need an oil change and tire rotation next month and plan to have them go over the car thoroughly for any rust at that time so if any exists it gets addressed before the rust warranty ends.

As to the power steering, I’d have to dig out the car service file which is buried right now due to some shifting around of everything in the house but as I recall although the power steering pump is what failed, for whatever reason GM had the ENTIRE steering rack replaced at the same time as the power steering pump. I don’t remember the explanation of why both were done. I do know the steering even when the car was new had had a funny clunk to it that was gone after the steering rack was replaced. So perhaps it was one of those cases of something not quite up to par on the steering system parts?

And, as I’ve had questions about the very very very slowly disappearing coolant level ever since the car was new but that 2 mechanics at the dealership and 2 mechanics at the independent shop could never find a reason for, I’m assuming that this latest incident with the water pump springing a noticeable leak is really just it finally getting big enough to leave evidence and has been a brewing problem since the car came out of the factory.

As long as nothing else significant goes wrong at an exceptionally early mileage/age, I’ll keep the buggy, as I rather like the car and it is fully paid for. I came here to the forum with my question because I wanted feedback from those far more experienced and knowledgable than I as to just how worrisome is the pattern of major problems this early in the car’s life and for advice as to where to set the parameters for what problems to accept and repair and which ought to be warning flags if they occur that I should trade the car.

Thanks again for your feedback. It is helpful.

Marnet
…still reading, still learning!