GM should absolutely cover the cost of a new engine...but you'll need a lawyer.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

I bought a 1990 Chevrolet 4X4 pickup truck in December of 1989. In June of this year the engine lost its oil pressure and the engine was badly damaged. The motor had only 56,000 miles on it at the time, but because of the mileage and age of the truck, GM \chose not to cover the damages. When a mechanic started to repair the motor, he found that the main bearings did not match, not only as a set, but as opposite halves. This had to be a manufacturing error done at the time the truck was built. When I told GM about this, they still would not take responsibility for it, even though it was a manufacturing error. I cannot believe GM would not stand behind something that was put together wrong on the assembly line. I work for a parts supplier that is certified by GM. I know the strict rules we have to follow, so why doesn't GM practice what it preaches? This motor now burns a quart of oil every 200 miles and fouls the spark plug to one of the cylinders. This is a direct result of the wrong main bearings being installed at the time the truck was manufactured. I feel GM should cover the cost of damages. I would like to know your thoughts on the situation.

RAY: We agree with you 100%, Len. Someone on the assembly line screwed up. And if you've got proof, you absolutely ought to pursue it.

TOM: General Motors probably pooh-poohs everyone who asks for a new engine. Think about it. If they took the time to fully investigate every claim of faulty engine manufacturing, that's all they'd be doing. They wouldn't have time to make cars any more.

RAY: So unfortunately, that leaves the onus on you to prove that they mismanufactured this engine. You need a lawyer, a deposition from your mechanic as to what he found in there, and pictures of the mismatched bearings (or the bearings themselves, if you've still got them).

TOM: And when you present all that stuff to them, they'll know, as Rooster Cogburn said in True Grit, "your intentions is serious." Then they'll know you're not like the thousands of other cry babies who don't even know why their engines conked out. Good luck, Len.

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