I purchased a 1997 Cadillac Catera from Showcase Auto Sales in Chesaning, MI on Friday February 27th, 2009. When I bought it I was told that it had been looked at by a mechanic for an entire day and the only thing he said was wrong with it was a lifter that made a faint ticking noise for the first 30 seconds or so after a cold start. I was also told that it shouldn't affect the longevity of the engine and would probably go another 100,000 miles without a problem. The salesman said that since this problem existed he would take $800 of the asking price in case I decided that I wanted to get it fixed.
I bought the car and drove it home that afternoon. Upon arriving home I noticed a white smoke coming from the hood and a smell that smelled like burning oil. I thought that maybe it was burning off the engine cleaning solvent and figured I would check on it in the morning.
When I started it the next morning, there was more that the usual amount of exhaust smoke and the smell was back. I took it to an oil change center thinking maybe it just needed an oil change. Within about 5 minutes of my arriving at the oil change center the gentlemen there said that they thought I had a cracked head gasket because there was exhaust smoke coming out of the oil dipstick hole. I took it to my mechanic and his assistant checked it out for about 5 minutes and said that it probably was a cracked head gasket as well.
I then called the owner of Showcase Auto Sales and explained the situation to him. He said that his suggestion would be to find out from the mechanic how much it would cost to repair and have it repaired. I asked if he was willing to do anything as far as a return since it hadn't even been 24 hours since I bought the car and that I thought I probably had some legal recourse under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. He said that he would not do anything and that he would suggest looking into my legal recourse.
Now, just to be clear, I did buy the car as is. However, I bought the car based on the information provided to me by Showcase Auto Sales. And there is a big difference between what I was told, that the only problem was a lifter that makes a slight tick sound for 30 seconds and then goes away, and what was actually the case, a cracked head. The owner of Showcase Auto Sales says that the lifter problem was the only problem that the mechanic reported to him. I have no way to prove that is not true, however, what I do know is that the service tech at the oil change center and the assistant at my mechanics shop were both able to diagnose it by looking at the car for 5 minutes, and once my mechanic looked at it for about 3 hours he was able to fully diagnose it. Showcase Auto Sales had told me that their mechanic had it for an entire day.
Well, I ended up taking the car back to my mechanic to get a full diagnosis. I told him that if it was going to be $500 - $800 I would just pay for the repair and move on. However, after diagnosing it for about 3 hours, my mechanic called and said that I have 2 options. First, I could have both heads replaced for a cost of $2000. Second, I could have an engine with lower mileage put in it for $2700.
That's the story of my one and only experience with Showcase Auto Sales in Chesaning, MI. I am not telling you not to buy a car there. I just want everyone to read of my experience and then decide for themselves if they want to do business with this company.