Terrible experience with my first "real" car... Horrible suspension and front end!!
45,000 - Steering Rack replaced
45,000 - Hub replaced
50,000 - Power steering pump replaced
50,000 - Water pump replaced
60,000 - Need rotors replaced
60,000 - Need struts and strut mounts.
I purchased the car in 2002 with some money I received from my college graduation. I was really excited to get what seemed to be a good car from the dealership as I was in desperate need of a reliable car. My '87 Maxima just wasn't cutting it anymore... After test driving it, I was pretty impressed. Initially I didn't like the outside appearance, but since it drove well and was within my price range, I decided to go ahead and purchase it anyway... WHAT A MISTAKE!!
The total price was 12,500 with a 3 year / 36,000 warranty. After driving the car around for a few days I had already noticed a few problems, so I brought it right back to the dealership. One issue was that the volume of the radio kept going up and down. Another was the noises that were coming from the front end. They took the car in, but could not find anything wrong. I hadn't noticed it the time I purchased the vehicle, but both of the front windows were scratched due to the power windows, but they refused to replace it for free because it was a used car. My first trip to service went fairly well and I was satisfied.
Several times over the first few months, I brought the car into be serviced due to the loud noises I heard when traveling over any bumps in the road. After a few visits, they replaced the steering rack and hub.
A few months later, I was back at the dealership as the front end noise persisted. They tweaked a few things and made sure everything was lubricated and said everything was fine. I also brought the car in because my "Low Coolant" light was on. They said that there was not a leak and that they just needed to add coolant. Surprise, surprise. A few days later, the light came on again and the coolant was basically empty. I brought it back and they found a leak in the hose. They also ended up replacing the water pump, power steering pump, and a few other things.
That was basically one of my last visits to the dealership for repairs. A few weeks ago a squealing noise started coming from the front end and the car had A LOT of vibration when traveling at speeds over 70 MPH. This time they said I needed to have the struts and strut mounts replaced. They also recommended having the tires balanced and rotated and said I needed new rotors and new tires. I wasn't about to spend $2000 on this LEMON, so I just told them to give me the car back.
I went to a few dealerships in search of a new car, and a few weeks later, I found a 2001 Jetta. In August 2002, I paid 11,000 for the Grand Am (without the warranty), but when I went to trade it in with 60,000 miles, I got a whopping $4000!!! The car managed to depreciate $7000 in the course of 1 year!! Hopefully the Jetta will treat me well and won't spend most of it's time back at the dealership.