Beware Of That Canadian Vehicle Warranty

Hey Cool Car Fans,

Earlier this year I purchased a vehicle for a client out of the Manheim dealer auction that was listed as “previously Canadian”. It was a 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali and it was still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty for the powertrain. If this had been a Dodge or some other brand that would not be the case. Which is one of the reasons why people use me instead of dropping a coin into a vending machine with some online retailer who isn’t going to know this kind of information.

A powertrain warranty though isn’t what it used to be and this is something most people are not aware of. Recently, that GMC Sierra Denali that I delivered 7 months and almost 7,000 miles ago threw a check engine light. It turned out based on the “codes” that the client’s mechanic pulled that it had misfiring fuel injectors. The vehicle only has 39,250 miles on it and the fuel injectors are going bad. This is a known problem with the GMC and it’s about a $2,100 repair at the dealership because they replace all of the fuel injectors. My cost was $1,800 for my client, but it’s really something that GM should be recalling.


As I discussed in a previous article though GM and other manufacturers get out of recalling vehicles that have known issues all the time. In this case, you would think that it would be covered under the powertrain warranty, but it’s not! They call it a fuel system problem rather than an “engine problem” even though fuel injectors are in the engine. The mechanic I spoke with thought it should have been covered under the emissions warranty, but GM said “No” to that as well. This is way more common though than most people realize. Manufacturer’s call it a “limited” powertrain warranty, so that they can get out of fixing known issues under their powertrain warranty that they use to sell their vehicles. I’ve seen it with fuel injectors, transmissions and other engine issues where they put the repair into a different category to get out of fixing the vehicle under their limited powertrain warranty. It’s pretty ridiculous!

I need to write an article about a client of mine and his Mercedes C300 4Matic and the nightmare he went through with his Mercedes Benz that only had 40,000 miles on it. I wrote an article previously about the VW nightmare that I had a client go through with their Tiguan, which is one of the reasons why more people are leasing new vehicles instead of purchasing used vehicles that can have large repair costs. I’m also finding that I’m the only used car dealership who is really writing about these issues for the consumer. I had a client recently call me and they were going to get rid of their 2008 Porsche 911 and purchase a used Mercedes Benz. I said, “Don’t do it!”, you’re way better off getting a Porsche Macan because it’s a far better car than the Mercedes Benz you’re looking at for reliability.

It’s always funny to me when some people are concerned about how much I earn when finding them a vehicle, which is far less than Carvana or other online retailers pretending not to be car dealerships earn. It’s not how much I earn, but how much I save people that matters. I had a woman show up at my office the other day and I got her a 2005 Dodge Caravan ten years ago! It now has over 179,000 miles on it and it was in great condition for being almost 14 years old. She was back to have me find her another vehicle because she had so few problems with her vehicle over the past 10 years. The reality is and I say this quite often, “No two used cars are the same”. You can have two of the exact same vehicles sitting next to one another and one I would buy and the other I would send to the auction.

It’s not about the initial price, but what’s the quality of the vehicle you are purchasing. Make sure you know what you are buying before you buy it. Is it previously Canadian and now the warranty is void in the United States? Is the limited powertrain warranty not going to cover a known problem with the vehicle? Is the DEF system on the diesel truck a nightmare and you would be better off buying an older truck instead of buying a newer one that is going to be thousands of dollars in repair.

I’ve been doing this business for over 14 years and I am constantly learning and seeing new things. Many times I end up learning from my client’s and the vehicles they “have to have” that I don’t think is a good idea. I tell them to buy a Ford truck and their response is that “I hate Ford” and then I get them what they want “a Dodge” and it turns into a nightmare. Not every Dodge is that way, but certain vehicles in most brands are total crap, but people have done their own “research” online and they are the “expert”. That’s not my problem when people refuse to listen to good advice.

I buy, sell, trade and wholesale vehicles everyday and most people do it once every three, five or even ten years. They go online and get all their “data” for a week and then they are an “expert”, which is why I only try to help about 250 people a year. I don’t want to sell 1,000 vehicles a year and have all that brain damage and people calling me about the bad decisions they make. I setup as an automotive boutique for people who understand the value of working with someone who understands and knows some things because I deal with the powertrain warranties, I’ve purchased Canadian vehicles, I’ve spent $500,000 fixing vehicles and I know the myriad of problems that can happen with vehicles before and after the sale.

How many people know that a 2015 Porsche Cayenne S has a radiator hose running behind the engine and if it goes the dealership needs $3,500 to pull the engine and get started. How many people know that the 2012 VW Tiguan has a radiator leaking problem that can corrode the ECM unit and it’s a $2,400 repair? I deal with every make, model and price point of vehicle. The 2.5 motor in the Subaru tends to blow head gaskets at around 85,000 miles to the point that it’s almost a feature. The list goes on and on, so when you purchase a vehicle “As-Is” that you found online at a big box retailer pretending to not be a dealership or “one-price”, know that it’s “buyer beware”. Your great deal might not be such a good deal down the road.


Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy
John is an auto consultant who owns, a licensed car dealership in Lone Tree, CO. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.comor Twitter @coolcarguy

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