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Problems From Day 1


Full Member
Nov 16, 2002
New Britain, CT
HEy, whats up guys, here is a letter i just wrote to a lemon law web site to gain some info on what to do about my truck. Here are the problems I've had since day one. Any info reltaed to this would be helpful.

Hi, I was looking for your opinion in the matter of my 2002 2500 Chevy avalanche. I purchased it in November of 2002 from Schaller's Chevrolet in New Britain, CT. Since day 1 I've had problems with it. And have brought it into the dealership more than once a month since I've owned it. Its always a different problem, or no problem found. I've had less problems with my old car than with my new one. Here are the list of my problems from day one. First upon test driving it, I noticed it needed an alignment, I told them to have it fixed for delivery. It wasn't fixed, next day(2nd day of ownership), I brought it back, I was told I need to drop it off for the day next week, 7 days later, by the service manager Stanley Koatik(sp?)! Before my first oil change I checked my oil, the dipstick was dry!, I found out that the 8.1l motors drink oil like its water, when I told the dealership about it, they said the level was normal and save my gas receipts to check if its burning more than normal. No truck should be burning oil, this is unacceptable. Then I had the issue of my fog lights fogging up along with my headlights. They said its normal for my headlights to fog up slightly, but they would replace the fog lights. On a $40,000 truck, I shouldn't have any fog! Well, the next day after the fog lights were replaced, I notice one of them was filled with water, the dealership didn't seat the fog light bulb in the housing correctly. And since I used the fog light, it burnt the housing because the bulb was touching the housing. I brought it back to the dealer who looked at it, said to bring it on Friday and he would replace it, and also look at the "pulsating" dash light issue. Well, on Friday he said, your here to replace your fog light, right? I said yep, and check the pulsating lights he didn't see that it was melted, so he though he would drain out the water and reseal it(basically screwing me). But when he saw it was melted, he realized he couldn't replace it cause he never ordered the part. When they called me, they said the part wasn't it yet, I though he told me he was replacing it, caught in his own lie! Then he said the pulsating dash lights is due to my aftermarket components, a radar detector and street pilot 3 gps, I don't think so. So I talked to his manager, he said he would look into it and call me back. When he called, all of a sudden this day was supposed to be a diagnostic day(to see what the problem was) I already was there for that earlier in the week. The service manager constantly lies to cover his bottom. After that whole incident, about 3-4 weeks went by, then my horn stopped working, kept blowing fuses, and almost got into 3 accidents. I brought it down, they gave me a rental car, and fixed it without a hitch, until my credit card bill came. Enterprise rental car has charged me $69.99 for something. I called up the service manager and asked him what the deal was, he said he would call the rental company,6 hours later, no call. So I called the rental company. It seems they agreed to me buying extra insurance, which I never agreed to, and it as $70 because I had the car for 7 days! I only had it for 1 day, the dealership never returned the car to them. Enterprise eventually took care of the charges to make me happy, which I appreciated. The dealership NEVER called me back, even though I left 3 phone numbers, each one with caller ID and voicemail/answering machine. When I recently popped my hood to check my oil level, which is at least a quart low,(just a tad of oil on the dipstick), I smelled antifreeze. After looking around for a while, I found it leaking on the side of the motor block, the antifreeze in a nice little puddle in a cavity on the side of the motor. Great, I have a 2002 truck that burns oil and leaks antifreeze. I went down to another dealership and told them about this, the electrical problem, and the burning oil problem. They said they will take it in this week to fix it. Just the other day my steering wheel likes to clunk when I am going around a corner, you can feel the steering column "knocking". I just hope I don't lose my steering! This other dealership will also be told of this problem. GM corporate has been notified about 3-4 times on all these matters. I'm really wondering what to do, Do I have lemon? What can GM do, so far nothing. They just keep telling me to bring it to the dealership. I'm hoping maybe for a buyback. I'm sick of bringing it in for service at least once a month since I owned it. Any ideas or advise would be greatly appreciated.
Frank Trzcinski

Sorry to hear you are having such problems. best of luck for a reasonable resolution.
It sounds like some fairly simple (relatively speaking) problems if you had a dealership that did what they were suppose to do. Fix the problem! How difficult is that?
I do agree though, trucks at these prices shouldn't have many, if ANY problems.
good luck
ultravorx said:
Do I have lemon?
It is clear that you are having more than youre share of problems and unfortunate dealer experiences. But do you have a lemon? The lemon laws for most states are quite clear in defining a lemon as a vehicle with a problem that the dealer has been unable to fix after four or more attempts.

While you do have a long list of problems, and several have taken more than one trip to fix, it doesn't sound like you have anything that meets the "four tries for the same problem" criteria.

While this may mean you can't pursue this under your state's lemon law, that doesn't mean you don't have any recourse in the matter.

Having complete documentation of these issues is the first step. Contacting consumer advocate groups and Chevy regional is the next step. In the end, if you can show a clear pattern of problems, you might be able to negotiate a buy-back with Chevy, but I don't think you are going to get very far with the lemon laws. They were designed for a different situation.

It sounds like you are doing all of the right things, and are heading in the right direction. Keep up your efforts, good luck, and don't be discouraged if your local lemon law doesn't help.

-- SS
thanks for the responses, I almost forgot to ad, the severe whine in 4wd/awd mode, my escalade never did that, nor did my friends silverado, or his jeep. I'll probably try to work on a buyback, because your right, them lemon law really doesnt apply to me right now.

One question though, is the buyback from the dealership or chevy direct.
I don't know if you have a lemon but I am sorry your having such problems with your truck.
The fog lights fogging up is a known issue, one that we pretty much all have to deal with. Unless there is a puddle of water inside the housing there is really nothing you can do. Maybe buying a hotter bulb will keep the inside dryer. Some of us are using 55 Watt fog lights.
I have heard about the 8.1 burning more oil than the 5.3. This is not really for me to comment on. Let one of the big boys help you out here.
The steering column should not be knocking. I can tell you that when you have your truck in 4 wheel drive it will feel like the front is catching when making sharp turns. When on very loose terrain you usually do not feel this.
I don't know what to tell you. Maybe try another dealership. Sounds like the one you are going to really sucks. Good luck and keep us informed.

It's time like this that the 5500+ of us should team up and send a letter to the dealership. Just imagine how they would respond to 5000 people telling them to get their act together. Just a thought!!!
It seems most of your issues are minor overall and easy to correct, but the poor service you are receiving from the dealership is inexcusable. ?In most states you are not covered under the Lemon Laws. ?I do not feel you need to worry about having a lemon, you just need to find a dealer that will actually perform the work correctly and give you the proper service you deserve.

The buyback programs are through the manufacturer if I am not mistaken.

Try working with the new dealer you went to. ?Hopefully they care about taking care of customers and will resolve all your issues for you.

Coming from personal, and I must add successful, experience having a vehicle replaced under the "Lemon Law" (and no it was not a Chev) I agree with ShapeShifter, even though you have had more then your fill of problems from the examples you sited they do not fall into the realm of the Lemon Law. I know one thing I would be leaning hard on the dealer that sold you that vehicle, going to another dealer lets him off the hook.

Wish you luck!
Apparently the issue with the fog lights is common, I have not had any problems with my AV sorry you are having such trouble with yours! my last car a Cavalier I thought was a lemon as well, turns out it ended up being a great car when all the warranty work was completed. Good Luck!!
It sounds more like a Better Business Bureau issue than Lemon Law. From what I've heard it tends to get a better response from GM too. What's really important there is documentation.
I have already contacted the BBB, here is the list of problems I have had with the truck to date.
Current vehicle problems are preceeded by an "*".

*Oil consumption.
*Pulsating dash lights
*condensation in headlights
*condensation in foglights
*4wd/awd whines
*awd clunks on take off
horns failed(kept blowing fuses), almost causing 3 accidents,
*Anti freeze leak on side of motor
*Occasional popping noise from steering wheel while turning
*Windshield rattles on highway
Alignment off on delivery , dealer notified on test drive
*Body rattles when door is closed

I know some are very minor, its just to prove a point that many minor problems = a big problem for me, Thanks for the advise.
txyank1 said:
It sounds more like a Better Business Bureau issue than Lemon Law. From what I've heard it tends to get a better response from GM too. What's really important there is documentation.

Better Business Bureau is a privately owned company.
You are better off going to the Department of Consumer Affairs!!!
It is best to check the laws in your state regarding lemon law buy back and then go shopping for an attorney. ?

I can write a book about my experience. ?19 months from 1st problem to final buyback. ?

In order to qualify, it must be out of service for xx days (ususally 30) or 2-4 repeated attempts to correct the same problem. ?2 for safety issues such as brakes and drivetrain. ?4 for all other. ?Minor problems usuall don't count (squeaks, rattles, lights)

Document everything and get a good lawyer. ?It is almost impossible to go against GM alone. ?They kept telling me that I did not know how to use my truck. ?It finally settled about a month before we were planning to go to court.

A buyback is the last thing GM wants to do. During a mediation session they offered a few bucks plus an extended warranty. They will do anything to avoid getting that thing back.

Going through a lemon law litigation process is not something that I would recommend for everybody. ?If you can get a decent trade in, I would try that route first. ?By the time you pay the lawyer, mileage offset, and other out ouf pocket expenses it might not be worth going after a lemon law buyback.

Living in CT, and knowing of Schaller, I will definitely NOT do biz there. There are plenty of Chevy dealers around.

Anyways, have you contacted the president of Schaller? If not, find out who that is and call him (or her), to file your complaints. I would also tell them that you will tell everyone you know and meet what a horrible experience you have had with Schaller service. Since you live in New Britain, that should mean something.

Keep up the pressure, and I agree with other posts, don't let them off the hook. I think you need to get in the same room with the head of Schaller and the service manager, along with your list of problems, and set a date to drop the truck, get a loaner (FREE), and not take the truck back until all issues are resolved. BTW, who are you taking your Av to now?

Good luck
Im actually bringing my truck to parsons chevy in farmington. They seem to know alot about the Av and the problems, but they weren't able to duplicate anyone of the noises, so when i picked up the truck, the service manager explained how he understands that customers here noise and such, and next week(when they replace my foglights and headlights due to condensation :D) he want to take a test drive with me so i can show him, or make him here the issue im having. Excellent service so far, but im still going thru the process with GM on the buyback. They were supposed to call me today between 5-7pm, still no call, I'll just probably call him back around 10pm and "voice my concern". If I had this dealership from the start, maybe things wouldnt have escaladed(mmmm, cadillac escalade ext >:D) to the point Im at now.
I would definitely keep the pressure on that Dealer, but I don't know if I would want them to TOUCH the truck again! Contact everyone... GM, dealer pres., BBB, newspaper...
I know this is minor, but when I first got my truck, I took some plumbers putty and made a seal around the fog light and DRL housings, taking the housing off and apply the putty around housing, & install. Have'nt had a problem.
Hope you get everything fixed soon so you can concentrate on MODDING!

I saw a Schaller ad on the TV tonight, thought of you. This is the ad with Art Schaller Jr., talking about their new pricing scheme, no haggle "best price" on the windshield of every vehicle. Call him, what the heck.

I know Parsons, used to live in Farmington / Unionville.
Sorry to hear about these problems and how the dealer isn't handling them.

I'm concerned about the combination of two things; Anti freeze leak on side of motor, and, excessive oil consumption. Check the color of your oil. It should not look like french dressing, meaning emulsified AF and oil. If so, there could be either a gasket failure or a cracked passage. Where exactly is the AF coming out of the block from; a freeze plug, gasket, or somewhere else?

Have you contacted the regional zone officer yet? Sometimes they help. More often they don't. But you should at least have documented that you attempted some resolution through them.

Also, did GM try to get you to agree to their artbitration process yet? Don't sign or agree to anything! Speak with an attorney, before agreeing to anything with them.

Also, check with your state attorney general office. They usually have a process for filing a complaint if you want to document the unresponsiveness of the dealer.

Unfortunately the lemon laws in most states are for reoccurring problems that cant be fixed for example in NY its 4 times for the same problem that a vehicle is eligible and in NJ it is 3 times in for the same problem. ?

Your problem sounds more like a really bad dealer.

There are lawyers that specialize in the lemon law that you can contact to see if your case qualifies for the lemon law.

Info on Lemon Laws In CT

Law Firm In CT that you can contact for assistance
Frank --

In the paperwork included when you bought the vehicle should be a form to request arbitration. ?You may have to use his form to bring the problems to the attention of Chevrolet.

Note that you may have to bring the vehicle in for the same problem several times without final resolution, and/or some states may require that the vehicle must be unusable for at least a certain amount of time.

Check out the lemon laws for your state here.

There's a lot of info there, including the forms that I believe that you will need if you don't have the one from Chevrolet.

There are a lot of resources out there, use http://www.altavista.com and search for:

+"lemon law" +connecticut

You are absolutely right that you should not have to compromise on a $40K vehicle, and not tolerate the treatment you're getting from the dealership. ?I was wary to buy my Av due to problems with GM that I had with my last three GM vehicles years ago, but had been encouraged to buy this time by reading through this club.

Please keep us apprised of your progress.


Found this at that site, which applies to you:

? ?Connecticut

Vehicles Covered:
? ?Passenger and commercial motor vehicles.
? ?4 repair attempts or 30 calendar days out of service.

Repair Interval and Coverage Period:
? ?2 years or 18,000 miles.

Well, i just talked to someone at GM headquarter about the matter, The dept was called business and resource center. I obtained the name of a higher up and called him. He was very insightful. I told him how i was supposed to get a call back and such and never did. He briefly looked over my case( he normally does BBB claims, Which I have already started), and told me that my vehicle so far, doesnt look like it falls under a lemon law. But I think otherwise, I will be going in for the 3 set of foglights replaced, 3rd time work awd whine and clunk, 2nd time for antifreeze leak. He said so far, GM might be able to give me an extenda warranty. Maybe 10/100000, I could only hope. If thats the case, that would put a smile on my face, but a buyback would be better, even with a warranty, i cant constanly bring in my truck for service. So he was going to write to the other gentleman that didnt call me and tell him to get in contact with me. So I'll see what happens. I should have more info tonight.
Question: Should i persure the president of the dealership I bought the truck from to buy it back or trade it up for a new one with no penalty(full reimbursement) let me know what you people think.
ultravorx said:
Question: ?Should i persure the president of the dealership I bought the truck from to buy it back or trade it up for a new one with no penalty(full reimbursement) ?let me know what you people think.

As I explained in my earlier post I still do not feel your issues meet the "Lemon Law" criteria. I base this on the fact that three replacement fog lights have nothing to do with safety and two antifreeze leaks do not qualify either. When I won my Lemon Law arbitration it was for a combination of problems that had been worked on at least 6 times without being corrected, but the one most important problem was with the brakes and this was the safety issue that ultimately prevailed. The rest of the items were only supporting issues that the truck was a lemon. Without a major safety defect the lemon law issue will be hard to apply.

Now to answer your question, yes you should pressure the dealership to the point that you are satisfied. Make it known up front what it is that will satisfy you but your first desire should be to get your current vehicle fixed to your satisfaction. I think you will find that if you cooperate with the dealer you will have a better chance of success. A 10/1000 mile warranty is in my opinion an honorable attempt to mitigate you issues on GMs part. I agree that you do not want to keep taking your vehicle in for repairs but that is something that only time will tell, if fixed right your trips to the dealer should stop.

I am not implying that your problems are not significant, but there are a lot of owners out there who have had to deal with much more significant issues. I am talking engine, transmission and transfer changes just to name a few and have been given much less attention by GM.

Good luck!
They are quite liberal with the extended warranty. Just make sure it is bumper to bumper with no deductible. The warranty often includes a rental car if it is kept overnight as well. If you do take the ext warranty, DO NOT waive your rights to pursue the lemon law remedy.

I was almost tempted with that one. Imagine not having to worry about a repair bill for the next 10 years or so. Not bad.... It just sucks to have to take the vehicle in but if you can find a nice service department, it helps. My local dealer washes my car after it has been in service and offers courtesy transport.

I won a lemon law case with an air conditioner problem which is extremely difficult. As I mentioned earlier, it took over a year to resolve this one. I can almost bet that no lawyer will take a lemon law case based upon a defective fog lamp. The other qualifier is the 30 day out of service rule. Keep a record of the number of days the vehicle has been in the dealer. Once you reached 30, you have a strong lemon law buyback case.

Either way with the ext warranty or buyback you cannot lose. Just be patient with the service department and if the days add up to 30, you are on your way to a new vehicle. If it does not reach 30, just enjoy your ride knowing that it won't cost you anything for repairs.

Frank -

The warranty offer is a noble one, in my view. They are acknowledging that there are problems and appear to be trying to keep you as a customer (I wonder if being a member here has anything to do with it?).

I don't know how much pull (or interest for that matter) that the dealership has, to be honest with you. Rodney Dangerfield came on stage one time with a cast on his right foot and said that he broke his foot when he tried to kick a car dealer in the heart.

Does the acceptance of the warranty preclude a lemon law claim, or does it erase all of the current problem history? I would not think that it does, but you should verify that.

If you accept the warranty in the interim, it will ensure that repairs would not cost you a fortune (with $0 deductable, that is). I am sure that is a major issue on your mind -- what next? In the meantime you can accumulate the problems and the loss of use until you have adequate problem history to bring the arbitration forward.

I do not speak from experience, just thinking that this could be on my mind should I be in your shoes.