January 31

How reliable are GM brand cars?

GMC Cars


Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience and we’re going to talk about GM brand cars; their reliability. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So GM has a lot of brands of cars and trucks and some of them are similar, they’ve cut some of that extra stuff out there but is there any one that’s better than the other?

Bernie: Well I would say not, I mean GM vehicles, so we’re going to talk just about cars in this, in this particular hangout. But I mean yeah there’s a lot of similarities among GM brands of vehicles, they share engines between say Chevrolet and while it used to be Pontiac and Buick and Chevrolet would often share the same engine and Oldsmobile as well and Oldsmobile and Cadillac would share some, some different engines. Cadillac is a little bit, Cadillac is unique, they have a lot of engines that you don’t see in Chevys but sometimes over the years they’ve blended things together. Is one brand better than the other? Not, not really, they’re all built the same way, same factory, they kind of all compete against each other and in the marketplace but yes as you mentioned GM’s really cut things down, there used to be you know, there’s now Chevrolet still there but and Buick is still there but Pontiac’s gone which they’re kind of more sporty line of cars and Oldsmobile which is a sort of lower end luxury car, those, those have been gone for a while and then Saturn is I don’t know what, that was a kind of an interesting experiment for GM. Saturn was actually, their cars were unique to start off with but as time went by they started sharing things among, with different cars on the platform but, you know Saturn had a, speaking of Saturn it had a very bad reputation for a long time but my personal experience of them is that they actually weren’t bad cars but they had a few quirks and issues but you know there’s still some Saturn’s that are you know, 15 years, 20 years old that are running around that are still good cars.

Mark: So for GM how reliable, would you rate them overall?

Bernie: I’d say, I consider them fair, I mean they are, they’re better than they used to be these days like over the last ten or more years they’re a lot better and I think about some of their, some of their lower end cars like the Chevy Cavalier, it used to be a piece of junk, I mean they don’t make the Cavalier any more but you know, as that line evolved they started getting better and some of the reliability problems like blown head gaskets just didn’t happen anymore. What you’re finished with is a cheap car that has, use the word finish, has a crappy finish but the reliability of the car was pretty good. I think overall that they’re pretty good, there again I always compare it with the Japanese, the Toyota and Honda, they’re not as reliable but they’re often much lower price point so you have to spend a few dollar on repair, you’re probably still further ahead buying a Japanese car; but yeah, I’d say nothing specifically jumps out at me about a list of everything about GM engines is bad, they’re generally overall pretty good product.

Mark: So any specific common problems?

Bernie: You know nothing that really leaps out at me, there’s such a variety of different, they have such a large line of cars, such a variety that there’s really, there’s a lot of little things here and there but nothing really that’s, that’s you know, you’ve got to avoid this car because, you know these engines all blow up or this happens, there are specific, there are specific problems but they’re just so, there’s such a broad range it’s hard to speak on anything in particular.

Mark: So you know there’s, we talked a little bit about Cadillac being different, they make a few different unique vehicles; the Corvette and the Chevy Volt for instance, how are those vehicles?

Bernie: Good, they’re pretty good, I mean I’ve never worked on a Volt, I mean it’s not a, there’s very few Volts around, they’re rare to see, it’s kind of neat concept of a car because you’ve got that plug-in electric car which is great for most people’s use, you almost never run the engine but, you know if you decide to go to Calgary, you know tomorrow you can just hop in the car and you don’t have to worry about where we’re going to find a charging station so I really think it really gives you the best of both worlds. Just did a little reading, I mean the reliability reports on them are not fantastic but I think overall they’re pretty good. I know people who own them speak really highly of them. So there’s the Volt, a really unique car and really most people are going to get it fixed at the dealer for the time being and who knows again how long those cars are going to be around, when they’re 10 or 15 years old people may not want them anymore because you know, there’s going to be better electric technology and people will just opt to buy that, why would you even want to be saddled with an old electric complex technology.

Corvettes, I mean great car, unique sports car, typically always reliable, good cars, fun. A Cadillac you know Cadillac’s is a unique line again, there good cars, the only I’d say about Cadillac’s is over time once they start getting older they’ve historically had some unique engines that are extremely difficult and expensive to fix so you know with the Cadillac you probably don’t want to, want to own an old one but the newer ones are a lot of fun. I say old like 15 – 20 years old kind of thing you know, 10 years is probably okay.

Mark: Right, well there you go, there’s the quick synopsis of the GM brands, their reliability based on, how many years you’ve been working on cars now Bernie?

Bernie: Rolling my head, just look up into my head to think about that, about 35 years, yeah over 35 years actually.

Mark: So that’s from the view from the west coast of Vancouver, 35 years of experience of fixing cars here in Vancouver and the reliability of GM. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: You’re welcome.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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