Pattern Failures

In the automotive business, we run across patterned failures almost daily. Just as a family will have the same health issues, cars from a particular maker can have common part-failure problems emerge over time.

Back in 2002, I bought a brand new luxury car. I just loved it and still have it. At about 28000 miles, the transmission failed and deserted me in Portland. It was repaired under warranty but the whole episode kind of ruined our trip.. At about 45000 miles, I got a notice that the manufacturer who wanted to check and repair something for no change in the transmission even though I had no problem. This service was preformed. Then, as a person who faithfully maintains my vehicles, I changed the fluid with factory fluid at about 60,000 and 90,000 miles. At 97,000, the transmission fails again. The manufacturer knew that this transmission had a problem, extending the coverage to 100,000 or 6 years, whichever comes first. But I was out of time and luck. I got no help from the manufacturer even after letters and conversations with the public relations department. It’s an understatement to say I was frustrated and disappointed. Readjusting my expectations was all I could do. I don’t think I will buy that brand again even after buying five cars of that make in the past.

Vehicle manufacturer work hard to prevent patterned failures but they still happen.

As a car buyer, there are steps you can take to ensure your next vehicle is going to be dependable.

For one, read automotive buying guides. My favorite is the April issue Consumer Report magazine. There is more non-biased information in this publication than any other source I know.

Ask your favorite independent repair shop about their experiences. They work with vehicles day in and day out and should have lots of knowledge to help guide you in the correct direction.

Finally, go out and test-drive different vehicles makes and models to help your decision – making.

An automobile is one of the biggest expenses in most of our lives, so choose carefully. Spend time on research before buying.


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