GM customer service should foot the bill on this one.
I am the owner of a 1989 Chevy Astro Van with a V6 4.3 liter engine. I have a problem. I have to add a gallon of antifreeze every four weeks or 500 miles. The dealer has pressure tested the system twice and cannot find any leaks. After replacing the radiator cap and thermostat, he now suggests that I replace the head gaskets, at a cost of $1,000, but he's not really sure that will solve the problem. The van has less than 30,000 miles on it. Should I spend $1,000 for head gaskets?
TOM: Well, Gary, it sounds like the dealer believes coolant is leaking into the cylinders. And the reason he's not sure if head gaskets will fix it is that it could be something WORSE. It could be cracked heads, or even a cracked block.
RAY: And none of these things should be happening to an engine with 30,000 miles on it. So unless you overheated the car and kept driving it, which would be gross negligence on your part, we don't think you should have to pay anything for this repair.
TOM: And I'm sure General Motors is going to agree with us and take responsibility for this, because (as I have boldly predicted for the last three years) GM is going to be the car company of the 90's.
RAY: They'd better hurry. It's already 1993!
TOM: To show you why I believe GM is going to step up to the plate, we're reprinting a response from General Motors customer service to a letter we received from Gary. Read on.
Dear Tom and Ray:
I read with interest your recent article on a customer with a three year old Beretta with peeling paint. We at Chevrolet and General Motors are committed to providing world class service and products.
I would appreciate the opportunity to ensure that all factors surrounding her situation have been reviewed. If there is anything further that we can do for her, I will take appropriate action on her behalf. My contact comes to you as evidence that we are undergoing a cultural change at General Motors, and we are concerned about our customers. For future reference, we do have a toll free Customer Assistance Center (1-800-222-1020) as well as a 24 hour, 7 day a week Roadside Assistance Center (1-800-243-8872) for owners of Chevrolet vehicles. Feel free to publish these numbers.
Chevrolet Motor Division
TOM: There you have it, Gary. Let us know how you make out.
RAY: And Scott, thanks for your letter. We hope you guys mean it! And by the way, we figured you wouldn't mind if we publish your home phone number in next week's column, just in case any GM customers want a more personal touch!