Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Smithfield, VA
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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).