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Auto blogFri, 05 Apr 2013 18:32:00 EST
The days of changing your engine oil every 3,000 miles are long gone thanks to most cars having automatic oil monitoring systems, but about 800,000 General Motors vehicles apparently have incorrect monitoring software that is leading to premature engine component wear. According to Autoweek, certain 2010-2012 Buick LaCrosse, Regal, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain models equipped with 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines could be going too long in between oil changes resulting in a higher-than-normal number of warranty claims for the engine's balance chain. The balance chain links the balance shaft to the crankshaft, and a worn one can produce higher noise levels.
As a fix, GM dealers will be reprogramming the software for the monitors in an effort to reduce the interval between oil changes, which varies based on driving habits and conditions. Through February 2015, the software update will be done at no cost to vehicle owners, but since this is not a recall, after that point, it will be up to the discretion of dealers as to whether or not they will charge for the service. What isn't immediately clear is whether GM plans on giving assistance to out-of-warranty customers who are experiencing engine issues from the worn chain.
The last time General Motors had a diesel passenger car in the US, it was the 1.8-liter 1986 Chevette. At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show today, GM is unveiling the much-anticipated 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel. The compact bows with a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that boasts 148 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, with full twist coming on at just 2,000 rpm. What's more, the common-rail, direct-injection diesel features an overboost function that allows the engine to deliver up to 280 lb-ft of torque for 10 seconds at a time. Even with 10 more horsepower and 110 more pound-feet of torque than the available turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder in the Cruze, the 2.0-liter diesel engine can return up to 42 mpg (highway) bolted to its six-speed automatic transmission.
If you're counting, that figure meets the less powerful Cruze Eco with a six-speed manual transmission. More importantly, the auto transmission Cruze Diesel matches its main competition, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, in highway fuel economy. The Cruze 2.0 TD (as it will be badged) can also handle up to 20 percent biodiesel (B20), whereas the Jetta is rated only for B5. General Motors has not released city fuel economy for its newest diesel, but we do know how much it will cost you to jump behind the driver's seat.
GM will kindly ask for $25,695, plus an $810 destination fee. That marks a $2,115 premium over a loaded Cruze LTZ Auto and $2,640 more than the Jetta TDI, though the MSRP will net you a leather interior, 17-inch alloy wheels and an Aero Performance Package, as well as a two-year maintenance plan and five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Compared to the gas-powered Cruze, you also lose a couple cubic feet of rear cargo space thanks to a 17-liter diesel emission fluid tank. That urea fluid, which helps put the clean in clean diesel, will need to be refilled at least every 10,000 miles.
Four different General Motors vehicles from the 2012 model year are being recalled over a potential airbag issue. The driver's side airbag shorting bar in the 2012 Buick Verano and 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze and Sonic might make contact with the airbag terminals, even during a crash. If so, the airbag won't deploy when it should, possibly increasing injury to the driver.
The recall is expected to begin on February 13 for the 3,896 units that might be affected. GM will notify owners who can then take their vehicles to dealers to have the airbag coil replaced. A bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration below has more info.