I have a Pontiac Grand Am with only miles on...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1990 Pontiac Grand Am with only 27,000 miles on it. I bought it new, and it was under coated at the factory. The car runs great, but the problem I have is with the body. It has three times as much rust on it as my '85 Plymouth with 103,000 miles! It's rusting below both doors, wheel to wheel, and also above the wheel wells. The rust is in the stage of bubbling the paint. This car gets washed once a week, and waxed twice a year. When I took it back to the dealer to complain about it, he said since there were no stone chips visible on the body, that stones were getting stuck in the tire tread, being thrown under the car, bouncing along the ridge of metal under the door causing it to rust from the inside out. Under General Motor's six year, 100,000 miles warranty, he figured in a couple of years, it would be rusted all the way through and it would be covered. I figure in a couple of years, it will be six years old and not covered. I've contacted the Pontiac Division in Pontiac, Michigan and got the same reply: "Sorry, it's not rusted THROUGH!" In your opinion, is there anything I can do, or is this one of those instances where GM sits back and laughs at another customer who got a lemon?

RAY: Did you wear your hip boots when you went to see this dealer, Larry? Because it sounds like the muck they're slinging your way is real deep.

TOM: I will never cease to be amazed at the wacko stories dealers come up with to buffalo their customers. Stones bouncing along the ridge--my foot! The paint job was obviously defective, and Pontiac should have fixed it as soon as you came in and presented the problem. Now, you're probably so disgusted with these guys, that you're wondering if you'll ever buy another Pontiac again, right?

RAY: Give them one more chance, Larry. Get in touch with the Pontiac zone manager, and ask for an appointment with him the next time he visits your dealership. Show him the car, and ask him if this is really the best Pontiac can do? If he says yes, write to us again and let us know. But my guess is he'll have a couple of high school students out there with the spray cans and rollers in no time.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One