Left Buick and GM
This is a rather lengthy post, so I apologize in advance. I was a previous member of this forum and originally posted under the name TFL850 beginning around May 2009 after I purchased my 2009 Buick Enclave CXL. I posted for a few months and then left the forum.
At that time I was very pleased with my purchase and had high expectations for my Enclave, which I considered to be very stylish with nice features. It was the most expensive vehicle that I had ever owned and was proud to have moved up to the semi-luxury category with my first-ever Buick. I trusted the Buick name for quality, and hoped to keep the vehicle for 10-12 years (an important factor in my financial planning for retirement in a few years).
Unfortunately my vehicle succumbed to the numerous problems that plague the 2009 model. My list follows, and I'm sure fellow 2009 owners know some of these issues quite well:
-- Steering rack failure, replaced
-- Water pump failure, replaced
-- Driver seat track rail and motor failure, replaced
-- Seat heater failure, replaced
-- Brake master cylinder, failure, replaced
-- Early battery failure, replaced
-- Motor mount failure, replaced
-- Power steering pump failure, replaced
-- Coil pack failure, replaced
-- A/C actuator failure, replaced
-- Brake booster failure, not replaced, just tolerated a loud squeaky brake pedal
-- Struts failure, not replaced, just tolerated a rough ride
-- Rear hatch opens spontaneously, not fixed, just tolerated the uncertainty that my car might remain locked or might not
-- A/C that stops blowing cold air on long trips after two hours if someone is sitting in the passenger seat (never when driving solo), not fixed, just tolerated
-- Instrumentation buttons with the facing flaked off, not replaced, just tolerated
-- Short circuit in both daytime running lights, not fixed, just tolerated
My Enclave has been well maintained and is low mileage; only 73,600 miles on a vehicle that was put into service in May 2009, an average of less than 10,000 miles per year.
After years of disappointment, I recently decided that I didn't want to keep the Enclave, which I considered to be a "ticking time bomb" waiting for the eventual failure of the 3-5-R waveplate, which I considered to be almost a certainty given the 2009 model's track record for poor quality. I just didn't want to risk having the transmission fail leaving me stranded somewhere.
Well ... if you've read this far ... this is where the story actually gets a bit humorous. After realizing that my 10-12 year plan of Enclave ownership was not to be, I decided to check out a new Ford Explorer. I drove my Enclave to the Ford dealership and test drove the Explorer. While working up a sale price, the Ford tech took my Enclave for a test drive to assess its trade-in value. They commented that my Enclave is exceptionally clean, so if it were mechanically sound I would get a good trade-in value. When the tech returned with my Enclave he said he barely made it back to the dealership because the car would not shift into third gear. I went out to see for myself. When I shifted the Enclave into reverse gear to back out of the parking space, the car would not move. The Enclave had experienced the dreaded 3-5-R waveplate failure AT THE VERY MOMENT I was about to trade it. My trade-in valued dropped $4,000 in the blink of an eye.
I had the Enclave towed from the Ford dealership to the GMC-Buick-Cadillac dealership. The service tech recognized the waveplate problem and had the Enclave repaired under GM's extended 120,000-mile 10-year warranty. The vehicle was in the shop for 11 calendar days. When it was ready for pickup, the steering wheel was no longer facing center, the driver seat adjustment controls no longer worked, and the A/C actuator was not functioning (with two front vents blowing hot air). The Enclave did not have these three issues when it was first left at the dealership for repair. I left the dealership with one major problem fixed, but with three new annoyance problems.
The following day, I took the Enclave back to the Ford dealership with proof of the repair and my original trade-in value was restored. I now drive a new 2017 Ford Explorer XLT. I'm hoping for good quality and a positive ownership experience, but one never knows.
The bottom line for this long story is this: I had owned two Chevrolets earlier in my life, had moved up to the semi-luxury Buick, and thought that one day I might upgrade to the luxury Cadillac -- climbing the ladder like in the old-fashioned American Dream, so to speak. However, given all the problems I've experienced with the Enclave, I will never purchase another GM car. Never.
I'm sure other stories similar to mine are out there; some reported on forums like this, but most which simply go unreported. Just consumers silently making the decision to walk away from GM and not look back.
As I said at the outset, I thought the Enclave was a beautiful car for 2009 and I was optimistic about its quality; I was a proud new owner. But there was another reason for my Enclave purchase. If you recall, in early 2009 GM was in the midst of bankruptcy reorganization. I bought the Enclave anyway, thinking that this iconic American car maker should indeed be saved because its success was good for American workers and the economy. Now I'm not so sure; apparently the new GM is very much like the old GM that got itself into such a mess years ago. (Just look at the GM's deadly mishandling of the faulty ignition switch issue a couple of years ago.)
I just don't think GM cares. Even if GM designs a stunningly beautiful car with solid engineering (like the Enclave), if that engineering is executed using cheap, poor quality parts manufactured in China then the quality will suffer. But, if GM can save 80 cents per part by outsourcing, then that's what GM will do. And the consumer will ultimately pay the price in repairs and frustration. A company can't build brand loyalty if it takes such a dismissive attitude toward its buyers. Granted, I'm just one person, but I'll never give the GM brand another chance.
Even though I left the forum years ago, I continued to visit and read the content. That was very helpful in knowing which quality problems to anticipate, and I appreciate those who posted their information and insight. Good luck with your Enclaves. I genuinely hope the recent Consumer Reports rating of Buick as No. 3 in quality proves true, and that your ownership experience is better than mine.
Best wishes and drive safely!