Serious safety related defects could have caused an accident and loss of life on September 13, 2007.
Loss of control of the steering (beware of any clicking noises you suspect coming from the dash or steering wheel on turns, driving, etc.).
Steering column disconnected backing out of the driveway when shifting into drive on the street. Steering wheel spun freely around, no steering at all.
Uni-body corrosion/rust caused 4 of 6 large bolts to be disconnected from the uni-body frame (front cradle) on the driver/passenger sides that supported the transmission and engine, and hanging an inch above the ground, which pulled the steering column down, disconnecting the steering. Two bolts were still holding in the front of the car. Appears that washers had disintegrated due to rust oxidation, since they were never found or there. A bolt kit costs approximately $120.00.
Rubber, hoses, and gearbox were all loosely dangling.
CV joint popped.
Suspension connector arms and cables disconnected.
Motor mount clamps bending almost off the end of the bolts.
Radiator stressed and bending back due to collapse/gravity.
Struts not straight under the wheel hubs.
Suppose there could be more damage underneath that's not viewable. However, one service tech said towing was necessary, so the car could be put on a rack to look at it, and opposed coming out to the yard for inspection. When the car was towed at my expense and taken to the dealership, another service tech decided the car could be inspected on the ground. Therefore the necessary inspection and complete estimate were not done by hoisting the car up on a rack. Instead "an open" estimate was written up. The engine was supported by steel bailing and 2 two by fours upon towing onto truck bed.
My mom bought it in Nov. 2005, and I inherited the car Feb. 2007, and had it only until Sept. 2007... hardly 7 months, and under 2 years of family ownership.
Passed emissions in February 2007.
Repair order in April 2007 for water pump and S-belt, and 1 gallon anti-freeze, since it all leaked out while parking on a Post Office errand under the passenger side.
Oil change and lube in May 2007, General Maintenance Schedule.
Ought general maintenance also be added and include: Replace all six bolts in the uni-body cradle frame holding up the front end of your car, so you don't lose steering and have a major collapse... In the 1995 Buick Le Sabre owner's Manual, under pages of Maintenance Schedule I for 81,000 miles, or included in 84,000 miles in addition to the change engine oil and filter, and lubricate the suspension and steering linkage, trans axle shift linkage, parking brake cable guides and under body contact point and linkage? Bolt replacement kit is estimated around $120.00 for parts. Inexpensive to get it replaced earlier on, or a little repair on an older car versus over $2,000 in open estimate repairs, poor service, and a serious incident later.
There are no after market parts, the parts are only available through Buick. I was told by the dealership mechanic, for a twelve year old car kept in a garage for 10 years, and on a regular maintenance schedule, it was still considered low mileage, even around 85,000 miles. Has this ever happened to you, or is it about to?
This car is dangerous, and ought to be recalled for such a catastrophic thing to happen from just backing out of the driveway.
There are several technical service bulletins for this car, and yet the mechanic at the dealership would not provide any one, some, or all the TSB or numbers to me upon request. Why isn't there a TSB on the 6 bolts in a kit for the cradle of the car, that would be minimal cost to replace, and could prevent accident, injury, and save lives? There has already been another owner in town that this same thing happened to in their 1995 Buick Le Sabre Custom.
I wonder how many more could be affected and/or have been in a serious accident when their steering went out with major frame cradle collapse, and how the car was so messed up, that the cause of the accident couldn't be determined, and people had lost their life and or were injured, or chalked up to the "old age" of the driver?
Fortunately for my life, this happened upon backing out of my driveway.
I put the car in reverse and backed it slowly out of the driveway Sept. 13, 2007.
I went to turn the steering wheel, and it cut too hard, so I put the car in Drive and pulled back into the driveway. I looked under the hood where everything appeared normal, and checked all the fluids, which were filled. In May, the oil and lube place had done all that for me on its regular car maintenance schedule. I let the car run for about 15 - 20 minutes. I decided to back the car out of the driveway in reverse again. That went smooth.
I decided to cut the wheel to be heading down the street. When I went to shift the car into Drive, that is when the wheel went freely spinning faster than the Wheel of Fortune, and I was no lucky contestant. With the car in Drive, I tried to get it back in the driveway. Of course it would not turn into the driveway. The best I could do to get it off the road, was to drive it at its angle into the yard. The major cradle frame collapsed, yet I didn't feel or know that until I looked under the car, and saw to my horror, it all hanging barely an inch above the grass!
When one looks through the hood at the steering column, the steering column is not connected, it is broken-off and may be re-connected or plugged-in, or may need replacement. Yet who could better tell such when writing up an estimate, unless it is hoisted up on a rack, where more could be visibly inspected and done as a complete estimate, unlike the ground and open estimate done for me.
The car's major frame uni-body cradle support underneath collapsed.. the one that supports the engine and transmission and the like, under the hood and car's front end - the cradle piece that goes across is pulled out by FOUR of its six big bolts, which all have heavy corrosion/rust. The two bolts on front are holding on to the rest of the cradle. Usually on cars with uni-body construction, two bolts on one side or the other (driver/passenger) could unbolt, yet four on both sides? Appears a whole bolt kit to replace all six bolts is necessary maintenance and minimal cost around $120.00, and could prevent further damage to car, having an accident, injury, and costing people's lives.
The arm connectors and cable suspension broke off where they once were by the tires. CV joints popped, gear box dangling, exhaust manifold down, and when looking under the wheel wells, the shock struts are not straight. The motor mount clap bent toward end of bolt, the radiator bending as gravity pulls at it without the support of the frame.
This is a GM 1995 Buick Le Sabre. How many more are on the roads in the Midwest with this about to happen? Could your Grandmother or Grandfather be driving one of these cars, which commonly appeal to an older generation or anyone in your family, or passed down to someone in the family to drive, as happened in my case?
Amazing that I didn't make it out farther than the driveway on the day the insurance policy was up. Amazing that I didn't kill myself, a passenger, or anyone on the road... or down the highway. Yet is this something one would anticipate upon just backing out of your driveway? I've driven older cars with much more mileage that were not garage kept, and yet on a regular maintenance schedule, and nothing catastrophic happened like this to me in all my 43 years of age, and driving since age 17. Interestingly, they were not GM vehicles.
What is the mathematical formula for profit/loss car recall? How much cost for a person's life? How many more people will this happen to, or has happened to? Gee, maybe there's a lot of other 95 Buick Le Sabre drivers out already involved in such accidents, with no idea they are part of a group pertaining to this defect. Or maybe they haven't lived or survived such to let us know "yeah the steering went out, the frame broke, and I crashed or crashed into somebody". Or suppose this is a serious "yet" to happen to more folks just like me soon. Or older drivers, who may get a bad rap from losing control of their car and causing damage to a store front building, injury to people, accident where it is all chalked up to the "old age" of the driver. What major manufacturer wouldn't go out of their way to cover up a fastener / structural uni-body integrity / rusted bolts / corrosion / weld defect / loss of steering control if it costs much in recalls, repairs, settlements, lawsuits??? I suppose a wise person of influence (lawyer) with money could buy the marketing list to see who may still be owning and driving these cars, and survey to see such, and send out a letter so folks are aware.
Ought this happen to a 12 year old car, where the previous owner lived less than 6 blocks away, and the car was garage kept for 10 years, and the owner was grandma age? My 70 year old mother bought the car for $3700 and had it just 1 1/2 years. I had the car 7 months with plans to drive it out West next week with a stay over in the Grand Canyon, to ship it off in Long Beach, CA and over to the Hawaii island chain where I live, and fly out from the LA airport to Hawaii on October 2, 2007. Well that puts a big glitch/hanging in limbo in my plans with no car, and it has become a disruption to my life.
It's not where am I on the adjuster's list, because GM decided to not send a claim adjuster out... so much for the review and claim number. What does PAR department at GM stand for? Performance Accountability Report? PAR: The nominal value of a security. The situation in which the face value of a security equals its actual selling price: sold "at par".
PAR doesn't really matter much anymore, since GM decided to move my claim to another department, giving me the reason that well things have changed since there was no one hospitalized, which resulted in over $1,000 injury, and the car was not in an accident. In other words, I was misled for about a week with "well get it towed over to the dealership and get a diagnosis and estimate, and we'll see how we can help you then", and after I did such, I was told by the same GM folks "We understand and are sorry we can't help you, because the car is a 1995 12 year old car". Well they already knew that when I first called and was waiting for promised claim adjuster to come out, and after they decided in another two days to do a switcheroo and transfer the claim to another department, and even upon their encouragement, to tow car at my expense to a Buick dealership to get an estimate, and see how "they could help me then".
They were no help whatsoever. They kept asking me what I would prefer and like to have. I told them this is a toll-free GM number, which gave me a claim number, the car is stamped a GM, and I've been given a GM claim number, so I want GM to fix it at their expense for me. Ought I pay double... once for the GM car, and then again for total repair with GM parts? Ought I be strongly encouraged to invest and buy another GM car from their dealership, as the department customer service representative was strongly suggesting, wanting to know how much would I spend in buying a new car for replacement (at my own expense).
I'd rather have been transferred back to the warranty dept and extended a "good will" warranty, than in the end being told they could not help me because my 1995 car was too old. It didn't outlast the bolts holding the cradle that was holding up the front end of the car, and it is why I lost steering, and was amazingly fortunate to avoid a serious accident. This has never happened on any other old car I've owned, and I've owned much more reliable and older cars that I kept well maintained.
GM decided it's not repairable at their expense, although it was MY LIFE in their hands of this car at my life's expense! Will I have an independent mechanic repair the car for much less expense (yet still with exclusive GM parts), and will this car make it to the Hawaii island chain where I live? Would you want to drive a car again that's had replacement kit bolts of the cradle repaired after such an ordeal.
Resale of the car? I have not gotten a settlement yet. Nor a replacement (GM EV1), not too funny really. I get a lawsuit when suing. A favorable judgment who enforces GM to pay out? I've read about folks who have won in court, and still after several years, GM not paying out. If I can at least inform others and save someone's life here, I can make a difference. I suppose as these 1995 Buick Sabre's age and the same thing happens to them, that there will be others like me, hopefully as fortunate to survive, who may be interested in civil suit together.
No one could pay me to hush up and keep quiet. I won't forget my mother's death and the inheritance of her car (that may have killed her if she had lived longer, or me, or others down the road had this not simply happened upon backing out of the driveway). I won't forget the disruption it has been to my life since, and how this happened just right before the travel plans back to Hawaii with the car, and that there won't be this car for me shipped over once I am in Hawaii. This problem is not disappearing on its own, and I refuse to be invisible or just another statistic. My life and experience are unique, and yet the 1995 Buick Le Sabre Custom owners and I may all share a common problem with GM.
I am still alive.