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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
 
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How many repairs should I tolerate? (one month of ownership)

I'm frustrated, to say the least. I've had numerous problems to the point where I have taken my car to the dealer almost every week since I bought it.
Here's the timeline:
Purchased July 30 in Alexandria, VA because I wasn't happy with the Virginia Beach dealer (I live in southern VA).
By August 10, I was at the VA Beach dealership to get the microwave sensor replaced.
On August 17, it was back at the dealership because I was having trouble shifting between 1st and 2nd gear. They admitted a problem with the paddle shifters but didn't even test the gear shift lever (when I brought it up, they said that it may be user error). They didn't have replacement paddle shifters so I had to go back...
August 25 when they replaced the paddle shifters and finally tested the gear shift lever. They were unable to duplicate the problem so they again said that I was trying to shift too soon. I stated that it's not too soon if the arrows are telling me to shift up. It's not on my invoice but I was told that they re-taught the transmission at that time. On that visit they also re-coded the instrument cluster with the new fuel level gauge parameters.
Yesterday, August 31, I returned to the dealer because my right windshield wiper would go off the windshield when they were on high and I was driving above approximately 40 miles per hour. That had to be adjusted. I was also continuing to have problems shifting between 1st and 2nd with both the newly replaced paddle shifters and the gear shift lever. On yesterday's visit, the dealer finally said that the shifter module would "hang up" when trying to shift from 1st to 2nd so that was replaced.

All of this is on top of the fact that the Alexandria dealer conveniently scratched an X into the tridion cell before I purchased it. The car was dirty so I didn't notice it until after I signed all of the paperwork.

Terry Rider in VA Beach has been excellent. The car has been seen for other things not mentioned during these visits (problems diagnosed as probable user error and not something I would have brought the car in for alone but figured I would get it looked at while I was there). After replacing the paddle shifters and not being able to duplicate the gear shift lever problem, she gave me her business card so I could call and talk to her directly should anything else happen with shifting - so we could try to diagnose the problem over the phone and have the parts available when I came in.
I live an hour away without traffic. I've been driving 100 miles out of my way each week to spend the day getting my brand new car looked at and fixed.

I'm not happy with what I've gone through though. This was my dream car. I have wanted one since I saw one in Holland when I was 15 years old (I'm 22). Every trip to Europe afterward had me looking for smarts and pointing out every one I saw. I have a picture that I took in May in Portugal of a smart roadster (the first one I had seen). Even owning one now, I still smile whenever I see another smart on the road. I even smile just walking outside and looking at my car.
But the experience has been incredibly disappointing. It seems like every time I turn around, I'm bringing the car back in for something else which was the exact reason why I bought a new car instead of a used car (I had been looking at used cars for several weeks before I bought the smart new).
When I pointed out the scratches at the dealership, one of my dealers, G, offered me a coffee mug for my inconvenience of having to wait while they took the car back and forth from the service department to the showroom trying to buff out the scratches.
On August 17, I called my other dealer, R, (I have two - one I've only spoken to over the phone and the other one put together all of my paperwork), and told him that I wasn't happy with the car. I explained that there was problems with the alarm and with shifting. He said "So what's the problem?" I said "That's not enough for you? This is on top of the fact that you sold me a scratched car!" He asked me why I was bringing the car to VA Beach and asked me to bring the car to Alexandria so they could look at it. I reminded him I live 3 hours away and there was no way I would drop everything to drive the car to Alexandria for the day. He basically stated that he didn't know what he wanted me to do. I said "I just thought you would want to know because you asked me to let you know if I'm not completely satisfied with the car and I haven't gotten the survey that I'm supposed to do about the car." He said "Let me call you back." The next day, I received a call from G who said that all new cars have problems. I argued that the alarm alone wouldn't have been an issue although I think that the dealer should have noticed an alarm issue with it sitting on their lot, one problem is fine, 3 problems are not ok. After arguing this for awhile, he offered me a free shirt for my troubles. I took a free hat and jacket to help offset the price of all the gas I'm spending driving back and forth to get my car fixed.


The bottom line is, this is absolutely not normal. I'm terrified that this is only the beginning and that in the long run, I should have just purchased a used Honda rather than my dream car. I don't even know what, if anything, can be done about this, but right now, I'm not even slightly satisfied with this car and there's no way I could possibly talk to others and endorse anyone buying the car (currently, if someone asks me, I simply smile and say "I've wanted one for years" but don't really say anything about my personal experience owning one).
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 11:21 AM
 
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I had quite a few problems when I first got mine, and had many trips to the dealer. I even think I wrote a post similar to yours. Within the first few months, they fixed a check engine light, vibrating mirrors and panels, and a problem shifting into reverse. After these first kinks were sorted out with excellent service from Felipe at SF Smart, the car has been absolutely solid since. I've been absolutely loving my smart. Come to think about it, my first new car was my previous car, a 2002 VW Golf TDI. I had that car in just as much for warrenty repairs, mostly of a pretty serious nature. Same thing with my sister's first new car, a 2001 Honda Civic (there you go). In my experience, most new cars do have kinks to straighten out. Hopefully this will be the case for you too.

If not, however, take good records of each visit and research your state's lemon laws.
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 11:22 AM
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I think you should sell the smart a buy a used honda. It's not making you happy and you sound stressed. Time to move on.
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Suze View Post
I think you should sell the smart a buy a used honda. It's not making you happy and you sound stressed. Time to move on.
I tend to agree with Suze here. If your dream car has you so upset after a few relatively minor (yes, they really are minor, even if they're annoying) issues, it probably isn't the car for you.
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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Maybe, if you painted it PINK all would be well


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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 11:50 AM
 
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Try owning a 2003 VW Beetle Cabriolet. The couple of warranty trips or so ive had with my smart dont have anything on that nightmare.

Ive had a couple of weird quirks but would not trade mine for anything!!
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 12:09 PM
 
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Powerofvoodo, selling your dream car as the others have so quickly agreed with is the stupidest idea I've heard of. New cars, especially new chassis and new generation vehicles do tend to have little gremlins that have to be sorted out. Perfection is never reached and when a vehicle is close to it... they come out with another "NEW" one.

First off, search here and in the other smart forums for possible answers to your cars issues. this gives you ammunition for fighting the dealers non shalant attitude about your cars issues. the tranny has had some issues in shifting but from your description it is hard to aces the particular problem. what is wrong with the alarm? and the trideon could be buffed out or even painted if it is too noticeable.
We all are having troubles with the service centers at the smart / MB dealers. The problem really has nothing to do with our much loved smart cars... only with the service from smart!
I will PM you some info to help get things resolved.
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 12:43 PM
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I'm sad you've had these sincerely annoying issues nag you every week since you got the car. Have you been in a worthwhile relationship with anyone or anything where there weren't annoyances nagging at you at first?

I hope that you don't realize your headlights are misaligned or that you come across a check-engine prompting code that's really just a superfluous error and consider those more notches against the smart. Right now due to the work I'm doing around my home, I have scratches, scrapes, and pokes from the masonry and weeds I've been working with. Alone, each isn't so much of an issue; all together, I'm a bit uncomfortable. I'll get over it - the results are worth the journey.

I consider it bad form for smart to STILL be shipping bad microwave sensors. Some people in Hambach or similarly distant places need to be slapped.

Keep smiling when you walk out to your car and let these bad memories fade. Your car doesn't have to be perfect to be loved. All your repairs have been taken care of free of charge so far, haven't they? Much better than a used car!

I consider my own smart to be worth any inconveniences I've been dealt so far. I hope your own experience brightens in these coming weeks and in the years to come.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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sato7 - I got your info, thank you.

suze and padawan -
It's not completely so much the annoying issues, it's the 100 miles a week I'm driving out of my way and hours I'm spending at the dealership trying to get these minor issues sorted out. This isn't something where I can drop the car off in the morning, go to work/continue with my day, and pick it up later - I've waited 2+ hours each visit with at least an hour drive each way, and at times have been told it's probably that I'm the one doing something wrong then I'm back the next week for them to acknowledge the problem and fix it.
I've never heard of anyone having this many problems with a brand new car - in fact, everyone I've told about my problems has to pick their jaws up off the floor - in the past 4 years, my mom bought a brand new Mini with absolutely no issues, my aunt bought a Nissan with absolutely no issues, and my dad and both of my sisters have bought new Hondas with no issues. It also looks as if most other people on the forum haven't had this many problems with their new smart either. I am well aware that the alarm and fuel gauge problems are extremely common, but again, I have to wonder how the car sat on the lot/in the showroom in the dealership and they never noticed it randomly going off.
You have to understand - this is my first car. The car I've dreamed of owning for 7 years. I'm not saying by any means giving up on it or saying that I want to sell it. It's still my baby. I'm just saying that I can't with good conscious tell people that they should buy a smart and it makes me wonder if my weekly visits are only the beginning of my problems with the car and not the end.
I do understand that new model cars are going to have little problems to sort out, which is why the title of my post was "How many repairs should I tolerate?" This doesn't seem normal to me, especially with my unhelpful reactions from my dealer.
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by John_H View Post
I'm sad you've had these sincerely annoying issues nag you every week since you got the car.
I hope that you don't realize your headlights are misaligned or that you come across a check-engine prompting code that's really just a superfluous error and consider those more notches against the smart.
The issues just take away from the excitement of owning a smart because it makes me wonder what will happen next each time I get into the car.
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