Story time! I've long been a fan of smart. From the first time I laid eyes on one, I fell in love. I think I was the only teenager in the world to proudly proclaim that a smart was my dream car.

It took me four years to achieve this teenage dream. And still, two years later, I love every second I get to drive this little car.

I'm also like smart's greatest supporter and unofficial spokesperson!

Unfortunately, my ownership (well, I leased my vehicle with full intentions of buying at lease-end) experience has not been exactly the most pleasurable ever.

When I first took delivery of my car, the steering wheel was pretty far off centered and the car didn't want to track straight.

When I took it to my delivering dealer, they misunderstood me when I said it was off to the right, and made it worse. So I took it to another dealer, where they performed a full alignment. This fixed the tracking issue, but the steering wheel was still pretty far off centre.

When I brought it up again with the dealers, one said it was normal, and the other said it was designed to have tons of freeplay and will never be exact. They said that any issue I may have had was probably because a tyre was broken or a wheel had been damaged.

It wasn't until my alignment warranty expired that the dealers finally offered to fix it...for a fee...

So, I took the dealer's (they're closed now) advice and bought new wheels and tyres (I wanted to change the look a little anyway). And guess what? It did nothing!

Then came another issue. During my first Winter with the car, I noticed the engine acted a bit odd in below 20 degree (Fahrenheit) weather. It would very lightly kind of shudder, "hiccup", and drive as if I were trying to pull a freight locomotive.

Being my second car ever (and first 3 cylinder), I shrugged it off thinking it was just the nature of the 3 cylinder beast. Besides, during that time, my mileage barely took a hit, so there were no true red flags. And once Spring rolled around again, the problem disappeared entirely.

This winter, well it's back and worse than ever before. The engine has a very uneven and often rough idle, it shudders, shakes and hiccups all the time, and my mileage has taken a 10-12 MPG hit. The engine is crippled in cold weather, and it gets worse with every passing day. And performance? It drives like it only has twenty horsepower. I bet if I drag raced a glacier, it would beat me in the quarter mile (always trying to make humour of something, I am).

I now also have an UltraGauge installed, and I noticed that when this is happening, the engine is not getting anywhere close to running temperature, hanging around 120-150 degrees (Fahrenheit) unless I beat the living daylights out of the engine trying to drive like an actor in Fast and Furious. I can get it up to running temperatures by working the little thing really hard...

But even then, as soon as I stop moving, the engine would immediately cool back down to 150 degrees or lower and start shuddering and stuttering all over.

The only non-factory items I have related to my engine is an aftermarket muffler, which actually produces more engine bay heat than the factory one (wow, imagine how cold my engine would be without it).

There is also a rubber hose in place of the factory resonator box chamber. But, it's attached to the completely OEM and unmodified factory airbox with an OEM air filter...so the airflow and Intake Air Temperatures are no different from a car using a stock plastic resonator...

It appears to me that my thermostat could be malfunctioning as well as probably something else. But my dealer will refuse to even look into it unless a Check Engine Light is present!!!!

Furthermore, they claim the car is operating as designed and that very rapid engine temperature changes of 30-40 degrees is normal due to the location of engine and radiator.

So, I contacted SmartUSA. Their Client Care Representative got me in contact with someone higher up to investigate the situation. I explained the situation to the person and they said they'd call me back when they've found a possible resolution. That person actually called me back almost a week later on Thursday...at an inconvenient time...

So, I called back, but they didn't answer. I left a detailed message that also indicated the best times to call me. It's now Tuesday of the next week and I've not heard a single thing, not even a call or a message.

I love this car, and I want to buy it when my lease ends in about 40 or so days...but this issue needs to be corrected!

I preach the smart concept everywhere I go and even had the chance to meet with the President of SmartUSA at some point. But unfortunately my service experience has been far from as satisfactory as I hoped it would.

My original plan from day 1 was to buy my beloved car at lease end, so I allowed myself to go waaaaay overmileage. However, I don't really want to buy a car that could grenade itself sometime after the warranty expires, because of an issue that could've been corrected.

But of course, I'd never want to turn in my dream car, you couldn't pay me to. So I hope for an eventual happy ending.

Best regards,
Johann

Tags: engine, smart, smartusa

Views: 98

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Neon, you are definitely one of the most supportive of the smart. There are many of us out here who have been disenchanted with the entities that are 'marketing' the fortwo in the USA. MBusa and the majority of MB dealers seem to have little interest in the car or its loyal owner base. The smart in Europe gets the respect, but it doesn't carry over to the US.

I hope they help you out, but maybe you should think about trading to a 2014. They seem to like it when a owner 'upgrades' by giving 'loyalty' money toward a new smart. btw, I don't think the 2015 will be a smart as we know it.

Good Luck and keep us posted.

MJB 

   

Thanks for your DM Johann.  I will speak to customer service and engineering first hand. Hang in there with me while I investigate.  I know I don't want to lose you and would love it if you can hang onto the car.  Thanks taking the time to write here. We all appreciate it. 

- Eric



Eric Angeloro - smart USA said:

Thanks for your DM Johann.  I will speak to customer service and engineering first hand. Hang in there with me while I investigate.  I know I don't want to lose you and would love it if you can hang onto the car.  Thanks taking the time to write here. We all appreciate it. 

- Eric


Thanks for the speedy response Eric! No extreme worries just yet. Although I do await what the engineer thinks!


spicejax said:

Neon, you are definitely one of the most supportive of the smart. There are many of us out here who have been disenchanted with the entities that are 'marketing' the fortwo in the USA. MBusa and the majority of MB dealers seem to have little interest in the car or its loyal owner base. The smart in Europe gets the respect, but it doesn't carry over to the US.

I hope they help you out, but maybe you should think about trading to a 2014. They seem to like it when a owner 'upgrades' by giving 'loyalty' money toward a new smart. btw, I don't think the 2015 will be a smart as we know it.

Good Luck and keep us posted.

MJB 

   


Thanks!

Heh, it's always said I'd make a great ad man for smart. Especially my love story.

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