Colonial GMC - Incompetent GM Service Department!

Posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 at 1:45am CDT by 34f1e49c

Product: Service Department

Company: Colonial GMC

Location: 100 Myers Drive
Charlottesville, VA, 22901, US

Category: Other

I brought my GMC vehicle to Colonial in October 2011 for diagnosis of several symptoms. I was not at all impressed with the utter lack of competence and knowledge in their service department.

The first (and most obvious) symptom was a hard or no-start condition if the vehicle sat for a few hours. When it did start, it sputtered and misfired as though it were trying to clear a cylinder that was flooded with fuel, and fuel economy was down as much as 50%. These all indicate fuel injection system leakage, a common problem with GM's Central-Port-Injected Vortec engine family, and one that any GM tech worth their salt should be all too familiar with.

The second symptom my vehicle was displaying was an aversion to wet weather. A splash from a puddle or sitting in a heavy rain was the kiss of death -- if it started at all, the engine would do little more than idle.

The third symptom was the oil pressure and fuel level gauges twitching and intermittently indicating no reading, another seemingly common problem on some GM vehicles (I have found many InterNet posts citing this).

These are MAJOR problems, as I use this vehicle to provide taxi services. I might add that I grew up around cars, and the only reasons that I do not work on my vehicles myself is that I have very little patience in doing so, and cleanliness is a virtue in my line of work, therefore working on my own vehicles is not conducive to business, from many standpoints.

I was very specific about the symptoms, and asked that the fuel system be tested for pressure leakdown, a sure sign of a problem. I was charged approximately $200 to be told my vehicle had a code for the catalytic convertor, of which I was already aware. However, the further the throttle was opened, the better the vehicle ran, which is inconsistent with a clogged catalytic convertor. A clogged catalytic convertor can bring a vehicle to a standstill within minutes, sometimes seconds. I was driving this vehicle every day.

Noteworthy here is that a similar vehicle I had brought in a year earlier with similar symptoms had been given an incorrect diagnosis of an $300 EGR valve that did not fix the problem, therefore I am seeing a pattern that at least some of Colonial's technicians don't have the slightest clue what they are doing. Upon voicing my concern to a service writer who was filling in that day, I was walked outside and left to my own devices, then ignored when I walked back inside to continue the discussion. When I brought these concerns and treatment to the service manager's attention, his response was to insult me, not once, but twice, first saying that they used "common sense", implying that I did not know what I was talking about. The second insult came when he implied that I could not afford to pay them enough to be thorough, at which point I informed him that I would check the system myself.

Two leakdown tests confirmed what I suspected -- I had a cracked and severely leaking fuel injector feed line, with colder temperatures exacerbating the problem. Further proof was obtained when the vehicle expelled a cloud of black smoke from the exhaust pipe upon starting after the tests. This could have been fixed much sooner if Colonial's service department had just listened to me and done what I asked them to do.

A customer service follow-up call from Colonial a few days later resulted in my being transferred to a service writer who was not even there the day I picked up the vehicle. His reply to my concerns that what I had asked for had not been done, was simply that I could bring it back, but I would have to pay for the time spent to check it over. Now, I ask... What sense does it make to pay someone twice to figure out what I already checked, because it wasn't done the first time? The service writer also made a comment that the vehicle was over 10 years old and could have multiple problems, to which I asked, "Then why wasn't it CHECKED for multiple problems?"

Once the fuel injection system was replaced, the everyday hard/no-start condition ceased, and fuel economy rose. The hard/no-start/undriveability condition in wet weather remained, as did the twitching oil pressure and fuel gauges.

I feel that I am entitled to at least a partial refund of the labor, since even though I was correct about the vehicle's main problem, what I asked to have done was blatantly ignored, especially with the way my concerns were blown off and discounted. I have since tried to contact someone above the service department at Colonial about this matter. I was very clear, however, that I had no wish to speak further with anyone in the service department, as they obviously had no desire to make it right. My phone call was returned by the same service manager who had basically insulted my intelligence and my checkbook. These people obviously do NOT understand English.

Even though the fuel injection system has been replaced, along with a faulty throttle position sensor, this vehicle has since failed to start several times, most recently stranding me 120 miles from home, and it has cost me $1000 in income in the past two weeks. I am FURIOUS. This time, the vehicle failed to start when I was about to pick up a $180 fare. The problem tonight is obvious. The fuel pump is not running. No fuel, no start, it's that simple. The pump, however, is brand-new, less than a week old. I have also noticed the oil pressure gauge now registers no reading whatsoever while cranking, which is impossible. When the engine starts, it runs as quietly as a brand-new one, and will drive anywhere. Noteworthy here is that a control system schematic for this vehicle indicates that the oil pressure sensor has DIRECT control over the fuel pump circuit, meaning if oil pressure is not detected, the fuel pump circuit is disabled. Coincidence? I think not. It is VERY LIKELY the remaining problems are related. However, thanks to the apparent incompetence of Colonial's service department, their failure to diagnose this vehicle's problems have now contributed to tarnishing my image with a very important contract client that I simply cannot afford to lose.

In summary, Colonial's service department failed to find three problems that could have been exposed with a few simple tests, and their service department manager dared to insinuate that I did not know what I was talking about. Apparently, I DID know what I was talking about on at least one count, and I still have the unit that came off of the vehicle, as well as a faulty throttle position sensor. Which reminds me, I STILL have not had to replace the catalytic convertor. Their failure to find these problems when they could have been repaired without incident or loss of income has also contributed to my bread-and-butter vehicle leaving me stranded over 100 miles from home.

It's bad enough that the problems were not found or checked for, but I was insulted to boot, and despite my attempts to get this resolved, I have been seemingly blown off. I do not plan to take any of my vehicles to Colonial again, and I would not recommend them to anyone. How can any business call itself a DEALERSHIP if it's service department is incapable of finding even the simplest and most common of problems, even when armed with the proper tools and equipment to do so?


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