2010 LaCrosse CXS Electrical Problems - My car is dead.

jdinazjdinaz Member Posts: 5
edited August 2014 in Buick
I have been searching to see if anyone else has had a similar issue...

I bought a 2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS AWD just over a month ago, and have been LOVING it. Beautiful car, great ride, best car I have owned... or so I thought.

With 1400 miles on it things changed. I was driving down an interstate road, for anyone who knows the area I was on the I-17 south of Flagstaff headed towards Phoenix. The speed limit is 75 even though it gets to be a pretty steep grade at certain parts and at times there is a sharp dropoff on one side of the road.

Doing about 80mph down this road, and actually thinking about how cool this car is, all of a sudden everything went dark. The entire electrical system shut off and the motor stopped. I was barreling down the road with nothing working, including power brakes and steering.

Luckily for me I am a big guy in my 30s, and was able to control the car to a stop at the side of the road without power steering and brakes. But I think about the "typical" Buick buyer of an older man or woman and think many people who were on the stretch of road I was on would be dead had the same thing happened. And all we would know is that they were in a wreck and no one would know that there was actually a major electrical problem with the car that led to it.

At the side of the road the radio and OnStar actually still worked, nothing else, so I called OnStar and had them run the remote diagnostics to see what the problem was, all they could tell me was that the car had a major electrical problem and needed to go to a dealer right away, which since it would not start or do anything else, meant towing it from the middle of nowhere.

That's also when I found out about how the "FREE TOWING" from GM works. I wanted it towed 90 miles to the dealer by my house, and since I was in the middle of nowhere that seemed fair. They wanted to tow it to a dealer in a very small out of the way town called Cottonwood that was officially closer. Since I for one did not even know where that is, two - needed my clothes and daughter's items from the back, and three - did not want to have to travel way out of my way during the week to find this place, I was on the hook for the towing, almost $200. So much for free.

The dealer got it Monday night, and spent all of Tuesday working on it, and cannot figure out what is wrong. It is definitely fried, after a day of trying the dealer still can't get it to start up or the electrical to work. I stopped by late Tuesday to check it out and grab some more things out of it, and sure enough they had a bunch of wires and a few computers connected to it and are stumped. My new Buick LaCrosse is DOA.

Within the next few days I should know more and will post it, am searching now to find anyone with the same issue so want to leave this here for future people with the issue.

But the hard part is even if they find it, I do not want this car anymore. How can I ever trust it to not try and kill me again? Why wouldn't it even pop a warning, a check engine light, something before just dying on me? I will never again be comfortable taking a long trip in this car, or going very fast, always thinking it is about to die on me.

I was really hoping that this car would be GM's statement to the world that American cars are back, and I wanted to reward them by buying one. Now I fear I will forever be stuck buying imports. Our carmakers just aren't what they used to be, sad.


  • asctonyasctony Member Posts: 46
    Is this your car and report on this site? CONSUMER COMPLAINT: ODI Case Number: 10310776
    If it is not, then here is another occurrence.
  • jdinazjdinaz Member Posts: 5
    Yeah that's me. For anyone that doesn't want to activate on that site you can read it here also --> http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/complaints/ search for 10310776

    By the way, I mistakenly said CXS, I have a CXL... which might make a difference since they have different engines.

    My status update is this, car is still at the dealer... Dealer so far says Engine is fried, GM is shipping a new one to arrive this Tuesday. GM has informed the dealer that they want my engine sent back to them in its exact state, with the oil and everything left in so the engineers can study it. According to my service manager this is a sign that they know there is some issue they are trying to get to the bottom of.

    The dealer says a new engine won't completely fix, after it is installed they still have to get to the bottom of the electrical issues, they said the main 300 AMP fuse blew also which took out some systems with it.

    My feeling is the electrical went first and took the engine, they are telling me they think the engine went first and sent some sort of surge through the system taking out the electrical. Either way this car has a lot of issues.

    I filed an official complaint with GM, I might be inclined to take home a different car but I do not want to take home a rebuilt car when I bought it new 1 1/2 months ago. Will see if I get anywhere with that. The dealer that sold me the car (Coulter Cadillac) is basically saying once I drove it off the lot it became 100% my problem and basically sucks to be me. (I towed it to a different dealer for the service).

    You know, I really wanted to baby this car so I even bought the $500-something-dollar "Super Polyshield" because the finance guy gave me this big speech on how the Buick paint would fade without it (which we all know is a lie, but I went with him), and how it really needs the paint protection, which after googling I realize is a crock of crap. But funny thing is I didn't have time yet to get the car back there during the week to get it put on the car, Coulter won't even refund that to me. Told them no matter what happens I will not be keeping this car, whether I drive a different Buick or something else, my plan is to take the hit on this particular car since it tried to kill me. Met with Coulter's General Sales Manager yesterday and was told flat out tough rocks, they are keeping the cash from the paint protection plan even though the car died before it was applied. Schmucky if you ask me.

    They asked me why not just keep this car since GM will get it fixed eventually, I told them this is how I feel: Imagine you are dating a perfect 10, totally hot (which this Buick is), and the sex is great. Now one night you wake up and find her trying to kill you, do you stay with her? No, even though she is super hot, you have to break up with her and get a restraining order on her, because dating an 8 who does not want to kill you is a better choice in the end.
  • smarty666smarty666 Member Posts: 1,503
    I love your analogy at the end man, it really cracked me up; I know this isn't a funny issue for you but at least your still able to see some humor through all the crap your dealing with! Best of Luck but its been my past 30 year experience with GM on various Chevy's, Buick's, and Pontiac's I had that they will do practically nothing to help you out!
  • mwhitworthmwhitworth Member Posts: 14
    Well look at the bright side, at least your not driving a new Toyota!! :P
  • jdinazjdinaz Member Posts: 5
    smrty - Yeah, what got me so frustrated as to come here was really the lack of interest GM and the dealer who sold me the car has shown in having anything to do with me... GM I got through to a District Customer Rep who sounded like he cares but has little power to do anything... the dealer is, you know, a typical 'sucks to be you' dealer.

    mwhitworth - Hate to say this, but two months ago we bought my wife a 2010 Toyota Sequoia... I'm 0 for 2 this year... What just scared me 10 mins ago also is that I have told my wife that if her car starts to accelerate out of control to shift into neutral as fast as possible, but in reading an article about today's testimony on Capital Hill a woman who had the issue said one of the things she did was to shift to neutral and it did not slow her car down.

    On top of that one of the first things I did when we bought her Sequoia was to put in the TRD Supercharger, so if she has that issue its gonna be bad. So far though the car has been a dream, she had a 2006 one we traded in also and never had even one mechanical issue with it.

    I think my next stop is going to be the local bike shop, done with cars. :-)
  • mwhitworthmwhitworth Member Posts: 14
    Ooops well sorry about the Toyota comment!
  • nish_njnish_nj Member Posts: 9
    Lol your analogy at end of your message made me laugh so hard, I am still cracking up. It reminds something of my personal life. Anyway, I sometimes ask myself - do we need all these sophisticated cars at all? All we need are reliable and safe cars with bare minimum electronics- the cars that can be fixed by any roadside mechanic. I have Honda Accord 2009 and am very happy with it but after learning about Toyota, am just wondering, it could have happened with an Honda too. I am now scared of driving. My break has been making an screeching noise since the time I bought it and sometimes it freaks me out.
    Why I am posting under this forum? Well I just happened to see one ad for Buick 2010 LaCrosse and was impressed by its asthetics and was thinking of trading my Honda in for LaCrosse. But after reading your thread, I have entirely given up the idea and am keeping my Honda.
    Thanks for posting and I hope things work out for you finally. Toyota episode has shaken my confidence in driving and I guess I am not alone. America needs an assurance and a gurantee from car makers that they are making safe cars and a guarantee from the govt that yes it will ensure the implementation and inspection of safety regulations.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Member Posts: 2,770
    "......Met with Coulter's General Sales Manager yesterday and was told flat out tough rocks, they are keeping the cash from the paint protection plan even though the car died before it was applied. Schmucky if you ask me."

    I think I would make a call to the Attorney General's office if I were you. I find it hard to believe that they could get away with that. Now, if you did get another car from them, and they applied it for the bubble (not really, as you already paid for it) that's different. Although, I doubt I'd buy anything from them again.
  • jdinazjdinaz Member Posts: 5
    Yeah, having a tough time deciding exactly what to do... I always want to fight for what's right and can't stand losing the money on that, but then I have these thoughts of my job and three kids and how much time away from both it might be to fight for it, and can't decide if it is worth it.

    My car is supposedly fixed as of today, new engine and all. The dealer said they drove it around and put 40 miles on it and they want me to come pick it up. But since I have an ongoing complaint with GM going I am waiting to see how that goes first, told them to keep it until GM lets me know if they are going to let me swap for a different one or if they are going to try and make me keep this one. The District rep wants until March 3rd to get back to me, luckily I can get by without this car til then so I said fine.

    If GM goes the extra mile and makes me happy in a different car or buys it back somehow, I will probably just eat the dough on that paint crud and try and forget the whole thing happened. If they want me to keep this car and try and talk my wife and kids into getting into a car that no one feels comfortable with anymore, at that point I will do what I can to make an issue out of it. If I have to spend time on any of it I will make an issue out of ALL of it.

    Might be a week and a half until I get any resolution but will post when I do.
  • mwhitworthmwhitworth Member Posts: 14
    I think I would wait as well an see as well if they would just give you another one since what has happend. I dont think i would want my new car to already been taken apart and put back together and now you have something loose or whatever. THen again they might have everything fixed and hopefully no more problems if they dont give you a replacement.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Member Posts: 2,770
    God, I would hope that they do give you a new one. Yours may be a great candidate for a trade school shop car now (not saying that it's a bad apple now even though it's fixed).

    I think I'd want a thorough explanation as to what exactly happened and reassurance that it won't happen again before I took it back. Otherwise, give me a new one.
  • surrfurtomsurrfurtom Member Posts: 122
    Will GM ever change? Reading this thread brought back memories of my 1990 Pontiac STE so I looked back in an old Word Perfect file and found my letter to GM CEO. I must be a glutton for punishment because I've continued to buy GM cars and trucks for many years (before and after this 1990 Pontiac) and I've had electrical problems with almost every one of them. They must put all the emphasis on price and no emphasis on quality from their suppliers of electrical components. They've had this reputation for decades. I'm now more than weary of their problems.

    August 24, 1993

    Mr. J. F. Smith Jr. - President & CEO
    General Motors Corp.
    3044 West Grand Boulevard
    Detroit, Michigan 48202

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    It defies my imagination as an electrical engineer how any manufacturing company with the resources of GM can continue to design and manufacture electronics with such consistently poor reliability.

    My 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix STE purchased new in April '90 now with 31,000 miles has been plagued with electrical problems, since it was new. The first bad omen occurred when it was only 2 days old and the electronic control module failed leaving my wife and I stranded. One only has to read the Consumer Reports annual auto issue to know these electrical problems are typical with the Pontiac and other GM cars. I had hoped when purchasing this car that the electrical woes of my previous '83 6000 STE would be corrected.

    Some of these problems which I've listed below, I consider quite serious and are a threat to safety:

    1) Four Electronic Control Modules (ECM) replaced ...the first left me stranded with 217 miles on car, the last at about
    30,000 miles.
    2) Electronic compass and driver information center replaced
    3) Instrument cluster replaced
    4) Interior lights have on several occasions stayed on after
    door was closed and discharged battery leaving my family
    stranded. If I noticed the problem I would remove the fuse
    to extinguish the lights. The dealer could never find
    problem as it was intermittent and usually occurred in
    bitter cold weather.
    5) Have "lost" low beam headlights when switching from high
    beam to low beam. Another intermittent problem but a very
    serious safety problem that dealer could not duplicate or
    correct. As car was out of warranty (38mos.) the diagnostic
    charge was over $50.
    6) Electronic compass indicates "recalibration required" once a
    7) Cruise control is now starting to act erratically.
    Sometimes it works fine, other times it will not engage, and
    other times the car surges when engaged.

    The service department of xxxxxxx in xxxxx, PA. has generally been satisfactory and has always been able to squeeze me in and where a problem exists fix it. The intermittent problems though have been more elusive.

    The intent of this letter is not to address repair problems though ... it is to make you aware of what I (and many others) see as a serious deficiency in your design and manufacturing process. These kinds of problems should never reach the customer.

    Like most other Americans I hope GM and the other U.S. car manufacturers can successfully compete head to head with the imports especially on quality and reliability. But I believe you've got a ways to go. My wife's 87 Subaru with 76,000 miles just runs and runs with only routine maintenance ... luckily as we need it to get to and from the Pontiac dealership.

  • smarty666smarty666 Member Posts: 1,503
    edited March 2010
    I hear you about electrical problems man!! My 1990 Buick Skylark went through 5 alternators during the 10 years I had her! every time they put an alternator on, the good old Goodwrench techs couldn't figure out why I barely got 2 years out of an alternator! finally, after the fourth one went they told me oh it was due to an electrical problem and that they had fixed it! so the fifth alternator went on and I sold the car when it was 10 years old to a guy I worked with and he kept it for another 3 years! he himself went through two more alternators before junking the car for scrap metal! so much for GM finding the problem!

    I never got reimbursed anything for all the thousands of dollars I spent in towing bills, parts/labor, etc from GM even after begging them to at least pay me just half of what I put out! what really is the kicker, GM only guarneted, during the 1990s at least, I'm not sure about now, the replacement parts and labor for 1 year; the replacement alternators always lasted to just over 1 year until it went so that I would be out of the part/labor warranty and would have to pay everything again and again and again; almost as if the parts were designed just to last over a year so you'd be back to get more money out of you ;) :P

    then my 1994 Chevy Lumina, that was on its 3rd alternator when I got rid of it at 7 years old!

    it took me a while but I finally broke, the vicious throwing money down the toilet for repairs after repairs, from GM in 2005 and went to Japanese vehicles and couldn't be happier! you need to break the cycle man!

    P.S. Oh I forgot, 1992 Buick Century went through 4 alternators in the I think 8-9 years I had it! seemed GM got better with alternators as each new model year progressed :P
  • happie442000happie442000 Member Posts: 1
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Member Posts: 1,380
    Now that it is brought up, I've also had alternator issues with GM vehicles and I can't ever recall replacing one on other vehicles.
    One I do recall, it was the diodes that kept going out. The first indication was at night you'd see the alternator idiot light very faintly. It was at that point with the third alternator when it left my posession.
    I have come to the conclusion that GM is horrible about fixing some issues and suspect the union impedes.
    One very long standing issue is with the remotes. The metal used to make the battery holder will not accept solder and consequently the solder only fills the hole on the circuit board where that holder attaches. Some have avoided buying a new remote by remelting the solder but that fix is temporary at best. I found a better way that lasted years.
    Also on a 96 Aurora, they found that some electronic components were being eaten by spikes of voltage created when the cooling fans would cut in and out. There cure was to add a short jumper harness that included diodes to stop the spikes. Enter 2009 Malibu and it has the same issue and the exact same fix.
    Some were recalled to add the fix, but mine was not in the applicable VIN's and it did not have the diodes! This could potentially be the cause of the crazy electric power steering issue that would try to drive me off the road about once every thousand miles. Car is gone back to GM and may be on the road somewhere.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Member Posts: 2,770
    ".....I have come to the conclusion that GM is horrible about fixing some issues and suspect the union impedes."

    Why would you think that the union would have any say in what's wrong with a component? A bad diode (if that's the problem, and not the symptom of the problem) is not a component mfr'd by an automaker. MANAGEMENT decides where to buy from. Engineers (who I don't believe to be union) design and test the cars, and that's where you would find fault with an issue that is unresolved prior to manufacture.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Member Posts: 1,380
    Sorry, but in most cases if the company is union then all employees except management are. Because union benefits don't relate to product quality it often suffers because management then has to decide upon a less costly methods to maintain profitability. Also many companies that build auto parts are owned subsidiaries.
    The simple diode pack for alternators is not new and relatively simple in today's level of technology. So it should be quite simple for anyone with a bit of experience. But enter the union and you can not remove someone from a job that is not performing well without great effort. You can't even put them into something more qualified. The union's main aim is more employees, thus more dues being collected.
    I met a union autoworker while waiting for mine to be serviced for 3 mo old bad battery. According to him the union would be the holy grail, it was responsible for being able to build cars, not the company. And btw the company was trying to short pay him and a myriad of other bad comments about GM. But absolutely nothing bad about union.
    I can show you at least four exterior flaws on my vehicle that would have been done during final assembly. With that many on one vehicle, that is at least four people that should lose their jobs plus those that would be handling any oversight of such workmanship.
  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Member Posts: 2,770
    ".......I can show you at least four exterior flaws on my vehicle that would have been done during final assembly. "

    That I would agree with. I know here at Verizon, engineers are management postions.
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