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Turbo charger may be last straw for Buick

Car Talk

Dear Car Talk:

We have a 2013 Buick Encore that has had a lot of problems throughout the years. Thankfully, our warranty paid for it. Then, about four months after our extended warranty expired, we were told we had to replace the turbo charger at a cost of $2,700. The car had only 46,000 miles on it.

We contacted our representative at Buick to see if they would help with the cost. He said he would get back to us in a few days. After a week, I called again and was promised another call back. This went on for a month and he never called back. Finally, he called to tell us the only thing Buick would do for us was give us $1,500 toward a new Buick if we bought it within a year. After all the problems we had with this Buick, that’s not going to happen. They might as well give us ice in the wintertime.

My question is how common is it for a turbo charger to go out, let alone at 46,000 miles? Thank you. — Jeff

Not common at all. Back in the early days of turbos, like in the 1980s, it was not uncommon to have a turbo seize up after 75,000 miles or so. Turbos weren’t well cooled back then, and oil would get caked onto the hot turbo and cause its bearings to fail.

But that problem was solved many years ago. Oils are far better, turbos are better and it’s pretty common for a turbo to last the life of the engine now. So you’re well within your rights to be disappointed in the performance of your Buick, Jeff.

I’d suggest making a counteroffer to Buick. They offered you $1,500 toward the purchase of a new Buick. Tell them you’ll settle for $1,000 if you can apply it to a new Honda.

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Got a question about cars? Write to Ray in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.

(c) 2021 by Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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