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My wife has a problem with her Chevy Astro van...

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Dear Tom and Ray:


My wife has a problem with her 1990 Chevy Astro van. Two months ago, at 55,000 miles, she suddenly heard an unusual noise when she started the engine. She turned the engine off and called me at work to come take a look. When I had her turn on the engine, it sounded like the water pump was about to fall off. I took it right to the Chevy dealership. After examining it, they said the #1 rod bearing was damaged, and that we needed a new engine at the cost of $3,000. I was incredulous when they told me it was due to us not changing the oil often enough. For the first year, I changed it every 3,000 miles, and then every 4,500 since then. Could this really be the cause of the problem?
Martin

TOM: Absolutely not, Martin. They're given you a snow job of the first order. If you can prove you've changed the oil every 4,500 miles, I think they owe you an engine. This vehicle calls for oil changes every 7,500 miles under normal driving conditions. So unless you've been using it as a taxi, or towing your house around with it, you've changed the oil (and, we assume, the filter) almost TWICE AS OFTEN as they call for.

RAY: Call Chevrolet's customer service number at 1-800-222-1020. I'll bet someone there at General Motors will want to do the right thing and make you a satisfied customer. And the right thing would be a new engine at absolutely no cost to you.

TOM: I have very high hopes for General Motors these days, Martin. I've predicted that they're going to be the car company of the 1990's. So I'm absolutely convinced that they are going to surprise you with their forward-looking, customer-oriented response to your problem.

RAY: But just in case they don't, write to us again and let us know, will you?
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