We are calling this month of our adventure – the Yukon debacle of 2021!
We bought the Yukon XL from Western GMC in Edmonton Alberta and that’s where this train wreck began…
As I have mentioned in a past post, Nick has been drooling over this Daddy Wagon for quite some time and while we were in Houston on our last trip, he tried to buy one. SOLD OUT, that’s all we heard, everywhere but as it happens – Edmonton, of all places, had one in Stock (because Nick’s a nerd and wanted the Super Efficient Diesel).
Nick went to the dealership! I stayed home – I detest going to car dealerships, always have. Nick and I have had a deal set in place since day 1: I will NEVER be offended if he doesn’t notice changes to my hair as long as he doesn’t make me car shop;). His Sales Person was decent, they hammered out all the details and when it was time to pay and finish the paperwork they asked him to sign early, which he supported, so that they could meet their sales goals even though it would be 5 weeks before Nick would pick up the beloved, Rudolph (yep, that’s its name…Kids think it’s because of the Big Red badge on the front but really Nick steered them in that direction because the inventor of the Diesel Engine was named, Rudolph Diesel – Yes, he knows things like this;)
The sale included floor mats, 3M on the front, a trailer brake controller, and what he thought would be 4 mud flaps – they had 5 weeks to get it together and make this Dad, one happy guy……he picked it up with 2 mud flaps and floor mats that were installed that day and the car was not detailed. Strike 1 To be Fair, we were in the States and Nick had built in some time for our quarantine but as an essential worker – he did not ha, ve to! We shrunk the timeline on them but still gave them 10 days notice for the new pick up date. We started making payments on it so we figured we may as well be driving it. (Disclaimer – Nick feels silly that he didn’t specify 4 mud flaps – apparently you only get 2 even though you have 4 tires and it’s 4wd. Lesson Learned – Be Aware)
About a month later they were finally able to make an appointment for the 3M and the trailer brake controller to be installed and that’s when we had the first indication that something might be amiss. We went to the Cabin and before we left, Nick had topped off the DEF fluid and after driving for 3 hours the vehicle went into limp mode because apparently we were out of DEF Fluid – Say What??? 1 complete fill should last around 10,000km’s
Nick had taken some photos and when we brought it in, the dealership couldn’t get it to fault again. We were told to monitor it. Nick pleaded with them to test everything because we were a week away from heading to Houston and adding 10,000km’s to the odometer. They told Nick to follow up with them if it happened again…..okay…thanks…anyways! From the beginning of this purchase, we’ve felt a bit unsettled, like something wasn’t right. Listen to your intuition people!!!!
We packed up our kids, dogs, luggage, the kitchen sink, and of course our positive attitudes;). This was it – We are going to have the best road trip in this sweet ride!! We LOVE our dogs, I mean who doesn’t? It was so so so important to us that they have Lots of room especially now that they are getting older. This vehicle is the perfect fit and solution for our family and our needs.
When you spend as much time on the road as we do, Safety is of the upmost importance and that’s why we decided to buy new. We had an Acura MDX and it literally saved our lives when we got T boned by a full sized pick up that ran a stop sign. The vehicle sensed the impending collision and applied the brakes and snugged the seatbelts before impact. It was written off but we didn’t have a scratch. That’s when we learned first hand that the new technology in vehicles can save you from serious injury or death in the right situation.
We hit the road, got through the border and that’s when it started, as you know from our previous post!! Here’s a breakdown of the last month:
We limp Rudolph to Conrad, Montana to Van Motors where we met the MOST helpful representative of GMC – Jessup, the Service Manager. When I say that this amazing person went above and beyond, know that I don’t say that lightly!! He stayed in contact with us the entire time and let us annoy the crap out of him.
For those who don’t know, we ended up buying a used Honda Pilot that we barely fit in and strapped our luggage to the roof. Getting a rental car in the US right now is impossible. Buying the car was our only choice. Conrad has 2 hotels and they were both full, we were stranded!
Van Motors changed out the Valve Solenoid Assembly. It took 2 weeks to get the Part from GMC, install and tested. Nick booked a plane ticket from Houston to Great Falls and asked the dealership to put some miles on it to make sure it wouldn’t fail on him. The day that Nick was supposed to leave the dealership called to let him know that it faulted again. He then had to cancel his plane and hotel and try and get his money back!
The next solution was to replace the TCM – Transmission Control Module and this time they put over 200 miles on it and it didn’t fault, YES!!! Nick hopped on a flight, picked it up and only made it 3.5 hours away for the transmission to start disengaging again:(. He was stranded!!
The kids and I were alone with the dogs in a place where we felt completely vulnerable! We were safe but I felt especially vulnerable not having the support of people around me, incase something went wrong. No one to call that could help if something happened to one of the kids or the dogs. Things you don’t think of, like taking the dogs to the bathroom before bed while the kids slept. What do I do? Wake up my kids to come with me? Leave them alone? What if they wake up? What if something happened to me, what would they do? Hurry Back Nick!!
Meanwhile Nick happened to come across the WORST dealership in North America. Rimrock GM – This is just our opinion, let me tell you why:
When Nick pulled in, it took a couple hours for them to look at it – Totally Understandable – Nick explained the story in its entirety and asked them to look up the previous ‘tech’ file number to look over the history. Jessup, you know, the awesome guy from Conrad had a chat with the Service Advisor and at some point mentioned that the transmission should be replaced. They chose to disregard all the advice given and come up with their own solution which was a $110 wire harness that was internal to the transmission.
Did they have this in stock, oh no! The Parts Department proceeded to find one in Detroit and was not helpful in finding one closer to get Nick on the road quicker. However, they did say they could ‘Overnight’ the part and it would get there in 3 days……so, ya…how do you argue with that logic, right. Being Late Tuesday, that probably means next week!! Jessup came to help once again and found 1, 4 hours away but the dealership refused to order it and told Nick he would have to pay for it himself. Nick hopped in a car and drove 8 hours and bought it.
He got back to Billings and 2 hours later they told him that – By the way – we can’t reuse the gasket, so we need that too. They would have known this while Nick was driving to Casper and neglected to say anything. To order the gasket, it would take 1 week to come in. Jessup, again, to the rescue, lets Nick know there’s 1 available 2 hours away in Bozeman. Same deal, if you want to buy it yourself and get it, the dealership told him. Nick hopped in the car again and after an hour of driving they called to tell him to come back because, surprise, they actually can’t reuse the bolts that are less than a week old, on the transmission belly pan.
Rage, this is what he’s feeling at this point!! Everyone kept telling him over and over that ‘They Understand’ and that just infuriated him MORE, how could they understand – they never could and also they weren’t LISTENING. They seemed to be doing everything in their power not to help him.
Nick was told repeatedly to not worry, everything that was necessary had been ordered yet, they didn’t stop him from driving all over Montana and Wyoming collecting parts. They suddenly figured out after the fact that they needed more and more, a sure sign that nothing was ordered.
‘Please, just get me out of here, so I can get to another dealer! Please’ – In turn, this is what Nick kept repeating back to them. They assured him that the parts had been ordered and would be there tomorrow. ‘So is there a way to track the parts in transit?’ – No, sorry, we can’t. They ship parts internally and they have no tracking system.
Nick then asked if they could reassemble the Yukon, as is, and he would get it to the next dealership but they refused… unless, of course, Nick signed off that the transmission warranty was now Void – More Rage.
While Nick was pulling his hair out, I was keeping the peace at home and hitting Google hard looking for a Plan B – A was looking super grim!! I found the only minivan available in the US at Rent-A-Wreck and Nick decided to drive back to us (30 hours), pick us all up and hopefully by the time we get back we could pick up the Yukon and go!! The parts were only to take a day, after all…
Nick hustled home, burning off the rage and anger. The thing is, it’s not Rimrocks fault we bought a lemon but how they handled the entire situation was maddening and unprofessional! The rage came from the lies and the coverups – when a company is excuse driven, that’s the most upsetting. We get it, things happen. Just be upfront and don’t waste our time. The result was the same, he still had to come back to us without the vehicle but it they were straight with him, he would have still been upset – just not at them and would have been home a day earlier!!
2 days, after Nick arrives back in Houston, he calls the dealership to let them know that we are loading up on Sunday and heading their way. Oh, okay – um, ya, the parts haven’t come in yet. They should be here Tuesday!! Nick lets him know that Tuesday is our planned arrival – we have to get back to Canada by September 1st. ‘No problem, it should be fixed’.
We pack up on Sunday and take off at 4am, thinking we can get in a few uninterrupted hours of driving because the kiddos would sleep – In theory, great plan….if your kids sleep, haha. Jake was wide awake the ENTIRE ride and he’s a guy that really needs his sleep. By the time we got to our hotel, he was like the 3am drunk guy at a wedding, who just wont go home!! All in all , we will do this again!!
In the morning, Nick called The Service Advisor at Rimrock and asked exactly what parts were coming in on Tuesday because we could pick up anything they would need along the way. He told us not to worry, it was only the bolts and they would be here Tuesday. Nick then asked if he could have the quantities and part numbers, he said he’d call us back and that was the last we had heard from him.
We make it to Colorado and Nick has this look in his eyes, I know it well…’What’s going on Babes?’…’I’m going to pick up all the bolts we need because I don’t trust that parts department and we need a backup plan, okay?’ The nice guy at the Colorado Springs dealership gave Nick an exploded view diagram of the Transmission Valve Assembly and he was able to see what specific bolts we needed – he went 1 step further and gave Nick a list of dealerships that had the bolts in Stock. By the end, we have 30 bolts, spent close to $300 and used up 3 hours of our time with 2 – 5 year olds and 2 dogs in tow, jealous right;)
Thank Goodness we did that!! I’m sure you’re going to be shocked but when we showed up Tuesday afternoon, there was NO sign of our bolts!!!! Excuses, after excuses. The manager comes over and he has no idea about our car or our story so Nick enlightens him and hands him the bag of bolts we collected and the mechanics get started right away. The Manager assures us they will take care of things and offers to buy us lunch, we say thanks but decline. We leave for lunch, we have a picnic at a playground and the kids, dogs, and even us have a great time!! When we got back from lunch, the Service Advisor comes up to Nick (envision a happy puppy) to tell him the exciting news – The bolts made it in and the mechanics are working on your car. Nick’s like – ‘ya, I know, we brought them here and dropped them off earlier’ Womp, Womp, Womp
5 hours later…..All that effort is for not because the car still fails and we are back exactly where we started. Womp, Womp, Womp!!
They insisted that they would find the problem and were about to rip things apart again but Nick said, Absolutely Not, just please give us back our car. We will deal with it as it is. We just NEED to get out of here and by here, I mean your dealership!!
It’s hard to decide what to do next – If it was just Nick and I travelling, easy, let’s go hit the road and see how far we get! BUT with the kids and the dogs we don’t make this decision lightly. We fuel up, checked the map, stocked up on food and supplies and still hit the road and guess what , as I’m typing this, we are 2 hours away from home. It hasn’t been the smoothest ride but Nick knows this cars habits inside and out – what angers it and what makes it smooth and how to keep it in 5th gear with warning lights and the occasional transmission disengagement.
As far as GM Customer Service goes – that’s an oxymoron. They can’t help you but they will monitor the progress of your vehicle and not phone you back again….ever. GM Canada will also let you know that you should call GM US for a solution. Nick had already done this and the wait time was too long. When the GM Canada Representative offered to phone US on his behalf, she quickly gave up because, as she noted, it’s a 45 minute wait!!
Fun Fact: In the US, they have what’s called a ‘Lemon Law’ – If your vehicle is a Lemon, you can go back to your dealership and negotiate a new vehicle or a buy out. Not so much in Canada, so fingers crossed!!
Our last text to the Sales Manager at Western GMC was, ‘At what point can I give this vehicle back to GM?’ that was a week ago and he has yet to reply.
At the end of all of this, we realize that stuff happens and it’s no ones fault that we happened to buy a Lemon! What’s disappointing is that its really hard to find someone that actually cares and will listen. We didn’t invest money into a vehicle, we invested in safety and peace of mind and ended up driving a Rent-A-Wreck for a huge chunk of our trip – Not what a mom wants!!
But don’t worry, They Understand (insert huge eye roll here)