Excessive repairs

Tiny
YOTO2211
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 CHEVROLET IMPALA
  • 3.5L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 133,000 MILES
In anyone’s expert opinion-in a 2008 Impala LT, is it common for the oil pan gasket, transmission cooler pipe fitting and both control arm bushings have the need to be replaced before the car gets to 140,000 miles? Seems excessive to me. Thanks for any input at all.
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Thursday, December 13th, 2018 AT 4:49 PM

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Tiny
DL AUTOSHOP
  • MEMBER
Hello, I'm Danny,

That is not uncommon. I have seen brand new cars fail/have problems at 8,000 miles and others go as far as 300,000 without a problem. It really all comes down to people performing regular routine maintenance. When I left a job at an airport shuttle company the highest mileage Ford van had 888,500 miles on the original engine and transmission. It goes to say, take care of your car and it will take care of you. Hope this helps and thanks for using 2CarPros.
Danny-
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Thursday, December 13th, 2018 AT 5:08 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Only a few years ago, my students who owned GM vehicles thought it was normal to have major $600.00 to $800.00 repair bills every six months. The repairs you listed are not major repairs and those things happen on all brands of vehicles. Most people would be thrilled to have as little problems as you've had.

Control arm bushings used to easily last the life of the vehicle. Since around the mid 1990's, however, we have been whining and sniveling about ride quality, wind noise, and comfort, and not at all about the over-use of technology where it is not needed. To address the perceived harsh ride that would have been considered luxurious in the 1960's, the engineers have gone to a softer rubber compound for bushings that soften the bumps in the road. As a trade-off, that rubber tears apart and deteriorates faster, so now it is common for them to wear out very quickly. Replacing these bushings is generally not a do-it-yourselfer project, and it requires an alignment afterward, but it is hardly a major repair.

Every gasket and threaded fitting is a leak just waiting to happen, and every car uses them. Some designs can't help but leak, such as Ford's air conditioning hose connectors, and some engineers aren't smart enough to put these connections out of the way were salt can't get to them Some manufacturers put a premium on how quickly their cars can be put together on the assembly line, and they design them for that rather than for future ease of service or reliability. Some manufacturers stress reliability and ease of service, but it costs more to put one together like that, and we reward their good intentions by buying few of them because they cost more. Manufacturers have little incentive to build a car that lasts a long time. They don't make money on replacement parts. They make their money by selling us another new car.

When you have to replace the transmission, at around $3,000.00 or you need major engine repairs, you'll long for the days when all you needed was a few bushings or gaskets. Every car today has way more electronics than is necessary to do things we never needed computers for before. A computer controls your heater. A computer controls your door locks and interior lights. Your instrument cluster and radio are two of the most complicated computers on your car. Breakdowns are real common, repairs are very expensive, and GM is the leader, but not the only manufacturer, that has designed in all kinds of tricks to cost you even more money to do these repairs. Getting a simple radio repaired can easily cost well over $1,000.00, and we put up with this, and we demand more of this technology in every new model. In the end, we only have ourselves to blame for these expensive repairs.

At the mileage you listed, I wouldn't use the word "excessive" until you're spending as much on repairs as you spend on monthly car payments.
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Thursday, December 13th, 2018 AT 5:28 PM
Tiny
YOTO2211
  • MEMBER
Thank you both for the information. FYI, these are certainly not the only repairs I ve had on the vehicle in five years of owning it, but besides the power steering pump replacement and normal like wheel bearings, brakes, etc, these are the only other issues that have arose as of recently, and I happen to have them concurring all at once.
So yes, they might have seemed excessive to someone like myself, since overall the car has been reliable for the most part.
I happen to be a woman and actually take very good care of my vehicles, and I never stated that they are major repairs, because I know they are not, believe it or not.
I was merely asking a question because I didn t know the answer to it, not because I was under the impression that I faced car repairs that were exceedingly more than anyone else s with the same car/year/miles or that they are major. That s why I asked; I had no idea if they were or were not common in general (other vehicles I ve owned did not have those problems occur and they had higher mileage in a similar type of vehicle) and if it might be common for them to occur simultaneously like they did recently to this particular vehicle.
Thanks again,
Sarah
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Friday, December 14th, 2018 AT 5:56 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The refrigerator broke down because it felt sorry for the busted stove, then the dishwasher gave up in protest, and on and on. That's the official reason why multiple things break down at the same time.

There are many things we see over and over on certain car models, such as power steering pumps on GM front-wheel-drive cars, and front wheel bearings on any front-wheel-drive car. It's hard to get a good answer on what is excessive repairs from a mechanic because all we see all day long are broken cars. There's a lot more GM vehicles on the road, so it stands to reason we will see more of them in our shops. We see the real expensive cars too. They break down just as often, but they are repaired with more-expensive parts.

The problem for you is to figure out when the cost of repairs is likely to keep on adding up to the point those costs exceed the car's value to you. As a former TV repairman, I used to tell people the best time to trade in an old TV was when it needed an expensive repair. You might get 50 bucks trade-in toward a new TV if that old one was broken, but you would only get 75 dollars trade-in if you had the $100.00 repair performed first. You won't get your money back for the repair cost. Same with a car that needs a $2,000.00 repair. If you spend the $2,000.00 on the repairs, then trade the car, you might only get $2,000.00 trade-in value. If you trade it in broken, you might still get $1,500.00 trade-in value. Dealers expect cars to have problems when they're traded in, so they make their offers accordingly. Most of us rarely trade in a car when there is nothing wrong with it.

To introduce another clinker, determining a car's value isn't always a good way to figure out if it pays to have an expensive repair performed. I have an old 1988 Grand Caravan that was so reliable, never got stuck in snow, and could tow and haul more than a lot of pickup trucks. The only expense for many years was for oil changes and used tires. I had to stop driving it because it was so rusty, the carpet was the only thing holding the front and rear together. I would have been willing to stick an engine or transmission into it if I had to, even though it was only worth what I could get for scrap metal. I've had other cars that were only a few years old, but I hated filling the gas tank, because to me, that doubled the car's value! The dollar value of the car is only relevant when you're buying or selling it. At other times, you have consider how much you trust it, how much you like it, and the fact you know how to run the controls. A lot of us spend more on a repair than what the car is worth, but then we have to worry if another big expense if going to pop up. I realize I'm getting off topic. My intent was to put your mind at ease over these repairs.

At any rate, nothing you listed is out of the ordinary, and we'll keep our fingers crossed it stays that way. Please come back and see us again.
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Friday, December 14th, 2018 AT 4:25 PM

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