MythicFox (mythicfox) wrote,

A tale about my dear, departed Chevy Cobalt

Now that I've managed to get a replacement vehicle (I got a wonderful deal on a used 2012 Altima), I've remembered that I have a story to share about my recently-departed Cobalt. The first part of this some of you should remember but I'm going to recount the whole thing from the start. (also, I typed it all out to also post elsewhere and don't want it to go to waste)

I got my '05 Chevy Cobalt in 2006, after losing my previous vehicle in a car wreck. I bought it used, of course, from a dealership I'd dealt with in the past. At some point after I bought it (I can't remember how long ago it was and I don't feel like searching back through my LiveJournal with a fine-toothed comb to dig it up) something started blowing the fuse for the power windows. As it was still under warranty for basic defects like whatever was clearly causing this, I took it back to the dealer.

They got it back to me a couple of days later, having replaced the power window motor in one of the doors (which, according to them, was the problem). A little while later -- I can't recall how long, maybe a couple of weeks -- the windows stopped working again. I took it back again, they had it for a little while, and got it back to me after replacing the rest of the power window motors.

Sometime within the next week, the windows stop working again. I began to suspect that whatever was wrong was tied to something in the front passenger-side door because when the windows stopped working was generally right after someone had gotten in on that side, thus opening and closing the door. But I took it back to the dealership and they had it for something like two weeks. At one point, I think about a week in, they called me and asked me for anything I could tell them about what could potentially be the problem. (From the sound of it, it seemed like they hadn't even started working on it yet.) I told them my theory about the passenger door.

They eventually got it back to me and maybe less than a week later the windows stopped working again. At this point the car had been in the shop for repairs for long enough (and enough times) I could have had it declared a lemon. But an acquaintance of mine told me that doing so would be far more trouble than it was worth and I should take it somewhere else.

So I wound up taking it to a Chevy dealership in another town with the same regional manager. Even though my warranty wouldn't have applied there, the fact that they were working on something another Chevy dealership failed to fix meant that my repairs were pretty much covered.

So get this: I drop the car off at 9am on a Monday. I get a call from the dealership's service department at about 3pm, same day. They've got good news and bad news: The good news is that they know exactly what's wrong. The bad news was that the guy who'd be able to fix it had already gone home and I might have to wait a full day and pick it up the next day. Heavens forfend. So yeah, I was fine there.

The problem was that a wire in the car door was rubbing against a bolt and that was causing the short. They put a thing in to stop it from rubbing and left it at that. But between that and the fact that my car went through a lot of head and tail lights, I always kind of suspected that the electrical system in my Cobalt had been put together by a trained chimp. So this was one of a few reasons why I'd ruled out a new Cobalt to replace my previous one.

Fast-forward to Thursday. I'm taking a test drive (for the 2012 Nissan Altima I wound up buying) and talking to the salesman who's riding with me. And he asks about my previous vehicle and is rather curious, as his wife is currently driving a 2005 Cobalt (same color as mine was, in fact). And so I start making a couple of comments about the headlight replacement to see if he says anything suggesting it wasn't just my car. They'd only had it a couple of years, but he'd had to replace a bulb once and said it was probably the first time he'd ever actually had one burn out in a car.

And then he mentions they were having a problem with the power locks shortly after they bought it. Apparently something was causing them to lock and unlock completely at random.

I was like "Really? You don't say?"

And then I tell him my story about the power windows, and I mention what the problem was.

And now he's like "Really? You don't say?"

Turns out the problem with his wife's car was that a wire had popped loose of a clip and was rubbing against a sharp edge, stripping the insulation and causing a short triggering the locks. And where was this wire? Front passenger-side door.

Only conclusion: Trained chimps.

(Yes, I'm aware that this was one specific year of one specific vehicle. But the initial problem combined with the trouble I had getting it fixed has really soured me on Chevy sedans.)
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