When our dodge neon was diagnosed at a local service station to need a head gasket and new head installed, we were not surprised as it had been leaking oil and coolant for some time. According to several knowlegeable individuals, those in the service departments of automotive dealerships and fellow neon owners, this was a common problem found in many of the early model neons. Apparently the original gasket was comprised of a single layer, and when the coolant came in contact with the gasket, over a period of time it eventually broke down the gasket. It was then that the coolant caused the pitting of the head, which not only requires a costly replacement of the gasket but also a new head for the engine. This repair has cost us approximately $2,000. Subsequently, Chrysler has changed from a single layer gasket to a multilayer gasket, therefore eliminating this major manufacturers defect in later models. But this does not help us, since no recall was ever made to correct this problem. When I contacted the service manager, Reiner Krumpelmann at Brookdale Dodge, I was told once again that this was a common problem in the early model neons and that Chrysler was handling this problem on a case by case basis. I was then given the Chrysler Customer Service number and told to contact them. I immediately called and was assigned a file number and told to contact a local dealer for the repair. I returned to Brookdale Dodge to speak with Reiner. He told me that he had contacted the Chrysler field service rep and that the rep told him, Chrysler would pay for the entire repair with the exception of a $500 deductible as long as the all the work was done at a Daimler Chrysler dealership. This sounded great except for one major problem. They already knew that my car was at an independent service station for diagnosis and that the head had already been removed for testing. I was told that in order for Chrysler to cover this repair, the service station must totally put my neon’s engine back together, along with new gaskets and seals and be running well enough to drive it over to the dealership. At this point I would then need to pay the dealership for rediagnosis of the problem. I believe Chrysler only made the offer because they knew it was not economically feasible to put back my original head and pay the deductible of $500 in order for the dealer to complete the repair. The cost to get my car back in running condition would have been $1,200 at the service station, plus the $500 deductible at Brookdale Dodge. This equates to a combined total of $1,700. Therefore, I felt as if I had no choice but to have the repair completed at the local service station. Logically, it made no sense for me to have the service station replace the gaskets and seals and put my engine back together with the bad head, and then drive it two miles away to the dealership so that they could then tear my engine apart for a second time and do pretty much the same thing the initial service station did the day before. I tried to explain to the Chrysler Customer Service rep that it didn’t make common sense for me to pay the initial service station $1,200 and another $500 to the dealership and then have Chrysler incur another $1,500 to do the replacement of the head and related gaskets and seals at the dealership. I tried countless times to compromise with Brookdale Dodge and the Chrysler Customer Service Rep. I suggested towing the car to the dealership in order to help defray the cost at the initial service station, so they wouldn’t have to charge for the new gaskets and seals and further assembly. In addition, I was willing to bring the old head in for analysis at the dealership. Also, I inquired whether Chrysler would consider supplying the parts. (we would be willing to waive all part warrantys, since the dealer would not be supplying the labor on installation). All this was to no avail. I spent countless hours getting the run around from Brookdale Dodge and the Chrysler Customer Service. In the end, I was told by the Chrysler Customer Service rep, he couldn’t believe they were even talking to me since my car was six years old. He felt that I should just be glad my car lasted as long as it did. If I had known the extent of the problem at the time I brought my neon in for diagnosis, I probably would have taken it to a dealer. However, I didn’t and because of Chrysler’ inability to provide good reasonable service it’s costing me an additional $1,500. Due to a manufacturer’s defect fully admitted by Chrysler, I had to spend $2,000 for their screw-up. Kimberly Dayton, MinnesotaU.S.A. Click here to read other Ripoff Scamss on Chrysler & Chrysler Products
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