I’ve often wondered why Chevrolet thought “Like a Rock” was a good slogan for their vehicles.  I mean, who wants their car to drive “like a rock?”

This is the truck that Lisa bought in March of 2003 — hers is a nice forest green color.  She really liked the idea of the crew cab, so she could carry passengers if necessary.  You lose size on the truck bed (hers is 55″x55″) but if you don’t haul a lot of big stuff, it’s moot.  Lisa has always been a fan of the S-10s and (counting this one) her last three vehicles have been S-10s.

nov04_3.jpgI’ve always been a GM person, too — specifically, a Chevy person.  This was the last one I owned — a 1997 Cavalier Rally Sport.  And, sitting in the background is my daughter’s 1995 Cavalier.  When I was married, we owned only Chevrolet products with the exception of Toyotas when we lived in Okinawa (When in Rome and all that). 

And, of course, we tend to pass that sort of “loyalty” on.  When Joe “outgrew” his Cavalier (the one in the background of the picture of mine), he traded it for a 2000 Blazer.  His is maroon, with all the bells and whistles (including Onstar).   My old Cavalier went to my daughter, who was thrilled to death to have a “nice” car.

Like a rock…

Only, I think rocks would be more reliable and durable.  Chevrolet (GM) quality continues to decline while the cost of OWNING (not buying, OWNING) the vehicle continues to climb disproportionately. 

In all three of these vehicles, the “Service Engine Soon” (or “Check Engine”) light has consistently been a pain in the ass.  It would come on and stay on but, when you take it to the dealer and they hook it up to the computer, they’d find nothing wrong.   But there’s still a hefty charge for that “diagnostic,” if the vehicle is out of warranty (36,000 miles).  $80 to learn that there’s nothing wrong with the vehicle.

I won’t even get into the specifics of the problems my son has had with his Blazer.  Let it suffice to say that he bought it used with only 37,000 miles on it and, only ONE year later, with only 9,000 additional miles on it, it took just under $1800 to get it through inspection.  I contacted GM and complained bitterly about it, and they reimbursed us almost $800 of that fee, but that left a really sour taste in our mouths.  I commented to the owner of the dealership “So much for Mr. Goodwrench’s 101 point inspection on used cars.”  The next year, it was almost another $1,000 to get it through inspection with two items that failed being items that had supposedly been replaced the following year.  According to the service manager (and later confirmed by GM), those parts for that vehicle were problematic and it was happening a lot to other Blazer owners.  My response to that?  “And this is acceptable to you?”  And now, two years later, his 4WD has gone out.

I just got back from retrieving Lisa’s truck from the dealer.  She took it in for inspection yesterday and had to return it today.  Now, since she first got the truck, her “Service Engine Soon” light has had issues.  And each time it has cost us $80 to find out that there was dust on a sensor or some bullshit like that.  So, two months ago when the light came on again, she blew it off.  It turns out that, this time, it’s the O2 sensor and, no big surprise, they didn’t have the part available, that’s why it had to be returned today.  So, I took the afternoon off and got it there by 1:30, per their instructions.  At 3:30 they told me that I could take the vehicle home, but that they’d had to fail it for emissions because that O2 sensor doesn’t give out a reading until the computer resets itself (which it apparently did) and the vehicle is driven TWO HUNDRED MILES!  Since Monday is the end of the month, we have to have it back in there on Monday so they can hook it back up to the computer to get a reading on the O2 sensor.  And, of course, we’ll have to pay a second $21 inspection fee.  (I think not).  Not to mention the fact that we have to drive it 200 miles this weekend, thereby pissing away almost a full tank of $3 per gallon gasoline.

Does anyone see a central theme here? 

I told the serice manager and the dealership owner that GM’s quality has gotten crappier and crappier and, along with that, the individual dealerships’ inability to service the vehicles that they sell is more and more prevalent.  Instead of “working with” the problems, why not SOLVE the fucking problems?

Nobody in this household will buy GM ever again.

Four years ago, I bought my Toyota RAV4 and I’ll tell you something — you can holler and fuss all you want about buying American but I refuse to pay tens of thousands of dollars any more for American made JUNK.

In four years, I’ve only put money into this vehicle for PREVENTIVE maintenance (oil changes, tires and brakes).  Each GM product in our household has cost more in ONE year than this Toyota has in FOUR years.

Like a rock?  Maybe the vehicle designers are.  Perhaps quality control is, but if they hope the expression “Like a rock” means the vehicle is strong and built to last, they couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Like cheap plastic, maybe…