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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Now with 119k miles on it. I paid $17.6k for it new, and I got almost half that back in mileage reimbursements for 20k miles of business travel.

I have a GM MasterCard and I'm grandfathered into the old rebate rules. I can get up to $4k back on a new GM vehicle, after my best deal with a dealership. This is my second GM beater bought new. I'm going to get a Chevy Sonic in about 15k more miles, after I wear out the Conti DW's on Kobe.

This is a naturally-aspirated "SS," having the aluminum-block, variable-valve-timing 2.4 liter engine. This package was renamed "LT" when the turbocharged SS came out.

Good things about the car:


The engine does not leak oil.

The engine uses about 750ml of synthetic oil in between 8k mile oil changes.

The on-board computer's MPG reading, since new, is just 0.28% higher than the gas pump MPG since new.

The headliner has outlasted the one in my E46 M3 and Frau Putzer's Honda Accord.

It's easier to smoothly and gently pull away from a stop than it is with my 6-speed F10 535i.

Nothing under the hood has broken.

I've got 28.3 MPG since new. My record on a tank of gas was 35 MPG, but that was gaming it.

Oh, my former co-worker, the former stripper turned mathematician, liked the car. She liked my M3 better, though.


There are a lot bad things about the car. But, hey, it's Kobe's birthday!
 

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Those were actually ok cars. They’re not Toyota level quality but at the same time they’re not junk. They can last a long time if you maintain it. Whenever someone is on a limited budget I recommend them these cars as you can get low mileage ones for dirt cheap. A Corolla in the same price bracket would have twice the mileage.


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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The best thing about Kobe the Cobalt is that nobody feels the need to **** with it. I live in a tourist area, the Redneck Rivera. Billy Bob hates BMW's and the people who drive them. Vandalism of expensive European cars where I live is a constant problem. We're moving soon.

When I worked, I wouldn't get home until about 8 p.m., hitting the gym after work. Sometimes, I'd grab a couple of bean burritos at Taco Bell after work and before the gym. I was in the drive-thru getting my burritos once, and the cashier at the window said that the deputy sheriff in line in front of me paid for my order. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have done that if I'd been driving my brand new 535i that I'd bought a couple of weeks earlier.

It rained here last night, and I was out. Water was beading up on my car, but not on a lot of newer ones in the parking lot. The car is starting to attract attention because of its age and because it's in such good shape. Most people who own a twelve year old Cobalt are preoccupied with finding more meth', crack, oxy', or booze, and not really worried about waxing their car.

In 20/20 hindsight, I wish I'd paid a few thousand dollars more twelve years ago and got a Pontiac Vibe, a re-badged Toyota Matrix.


Now that Kobe's birthday is over, here are the really bad things about the car:

The front seat bottoms are absolutely horrible. It's actually painful for me to take the car on a long trip now. I have a wedge cushion I sit on.

The OE carpet floor mats are the lowest quality I've ever seen, including the crap that came in E46's... and that's saying a lot. Frau Putzer's Honda Accord's driver's floor mat was just starting to show wear at 147k miles.

The dead pedal (foot rest for the drivers left foot) is made of carpet, and prone to wear on the edge.

GM's stopped selling a lot of interior trim parts for the car.

The OE front brake pads only lasted 70k miles. I last two passenger cars has 127k and 115k miles on them with maybe still 1/3 of the front pads left. The front pads on Frau Putzer's Accord lasted 147k miles. The original pads left the front wheels filthy. But, I replaced them with special-ordered OE pads to maintain braking performance. The new OE pads have less dust. So, maybe it was a defective batch of pads.

A front wheel bearing failed at about 60k miles.

One of the headlight assemblies fogged up with condensation quickly, just after the warranty expired.

The Pioneer radio had some buttons fail, and then they started working again, and are now still fine after five or six years.

There are some panel-fit issues with one of the doors. (Although, the same was true of Frau Putzer's Maryville, Ohio-built Accord.)

There is no PVC protection on the edges of the sheet metal, especially on the door skin panels. There's no PVC under the car, either. There are also about 10,000 nooks and crannies under the car where road salt can hide. It looks like a lot of small pieces of metal were added to the body under the car as an afterthought, maybe after crash testing showed a need for improvement. They don't salt the roads in Floriduh. But, I'd be curious to see what twelve northern winters would do to one of these cars.

The original exhaust pipe is rusting. But, it's still there... for now. The muffler and catalytic converter are fine, though. The chrome tip is in good shape. (The ones on my F10 535i last about 12 months before getting corroded up.)

Every electric window motor has been replaced, and every one of the replacement motors (made by Denso, oddly) are intermittently failing.


The Cobalt's seats, floor mats, and power windows pretty much stopped Frau Putzer from considering any GM vehicle when her Honda was due for replacement.
 

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Interior panels falling apart is given on GM vehicles. Growing up my family had a 1998 Chevrolet Venture and since day one it rattled a lot. As it aged some of the plastics cracked and literally fell off. My dad got rid of it because it hit 200,000 and issues were starting to arise. AC compressor was shot. Intermittent stalling. Sway bar snapped. Both power windows failed. Up until we got rid of it, it was one of the very few Ventures where the rockers and rear hatch weren’t consumed by rust. And I do miss it because that’s where I learned how to drive. Mentioned issues aside, the Powertrain was pretty bulletproof.

He traded it in for a Mercedes as we were all grown up and didn’t need a van anymore (plus the said issues) and I jokingly said they’ll never take it in as a trade. They did tho for $500 and he got a new (at the time) GLK350.


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The best thing about Kobe the Cobalt is that nobody feels the need to **** with it. I live in a tourist area, the Redneck Rivera. Billy Bob hates BMW's and the people who drive them. Vandalism of expensive European cars where I live is a constant problem. We're moving soon.

When I worked, I wouldn't get home until about 8 p.m., hitting the gym after work. Sometimes, I'd grab a couple of bean burritos at Taco Bell after work and before the gym. I was in the drive-thru getting my burritos once, and the cashier at the window said that the deputy sheriff in line in front of me paid for my order. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have done that if I'd been driving my brand new 535i that I'd bought a couple of weeks earlier.

It rained here last night, and I was out. Water was beading up on my car, but not on a lot of newer ones in the parking lot. The car is starting to attract attention because of its age and because it's in such good shape. Most people who own a twelve year old Cobalt are preoccupied with finding more meth', crack, oxy', or booze, and not really worried about waxing their car.

In 20/20 hindsight, I wish I'd paid a few thousand dollars more twelve years ago and got a Pontiac Vibe, a re-badged Toyota Matrix.


Now that Kobe's birthday is over, here are the really bad things about the car:

The front seat bottoms are absolutely horrible. It's actually painful for me to take the car on a long trip now. I have a wedge cushion I sit on.

The OE carpet floor mats are the lowest quality I've ever seen, including the crap that came in E46's... and that's saying a lot. Frau Putzer's Honda Accord's driver's floor mat was just starting to show wear at 147k miles.

The dead pedal (foot rest for the drivers left foot) is made of carpet, and prone to wear on the edge.

GM's stopped selling a lot of interior trim parts for the car.

The OE front brake pads only lasted 70k miles. I last two passenger cars has 127k and 115k miles on them with maybe still 1/3 of the front pads left. The front pads on Frau Putzer's Accord lasted 147k miles. The original pads left the front wheels filthy. But, I replaced them with special-ordered OE pads to maintain braking performance. The new OE pads have less dust. So, maybe it was a defective batch of pads.

A front wheel bearing failed at about 60k miles.

One of the headlight assemblies fogged up with condensation quickly, just after the warranty expired.

The Pioneer radio had some buttons fail, and then they started working again, and are now still fine after five or six years.

There are some panel-fit issues with one of the doors. (Although, the same was true of Frau Putzer's Maryville, Ohio-built Accord.)

There is no PVC protection on the edges of the sheet metal, especially on the door skin panels. There's no PVC under the car, either. There are also about 10,000 nooks and crannies under the car where road salt can hide. It looks like a lot of small pieces of metal were added to the body under the car as an afterthought, maybe after crash testing showed a need for improvement. They don't salt the roads in Floriduh. But, I'd be curious to see what twelve northern winters would do to one of these cars.

The original exhaust pipe is rusting. But, it's still there... for now. The muffler and catalytic converter are fine, though. The chrome tip is in good shape. (The ones on my F10 535i last about 12 months before getting corroded up.)

Every electric window motor has been replaced, and every one of the replacement motors (made by Denso, oddly) are intermittently failing.


The Cobalt's seats, floor mats, and power windows pretty much stopped Frau Putzer from considering any GM vehicle when her Honda was due for replacement.
Allow me to solve a few of your problems. Why? Because I'm a dude and that's what dudes do. I hope you just weren't wanting us to listen!!!:D:D:D

You: The OE carpet floor mats are the lowest quality I've ever seen, including the crap that came in E46's... and that's saying a lot. Frau Putzer's Honda Accord's driver's floor mat was just starting to show wear at 147k miles.

Me: Buy some new floor mats!!!

You: The dead pedal (foot rest for the drivers left foot) is made of carpet, and prone to wear on the edge.

Me: Yeah, that's annoying. My newly acquired 2011 Nissan Armada has that. I went to Harbor Freight and bought a piece of rubber stair tread and cut it to fit the dead pedal area. Since the carpet is black it just blends right in.

https://www.harborfreight.com/self-adhesive-rubber-safety-step-tread-98856.html
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Allow me to solve a few of your problems. Why? Because I'm a dude and that's what dudes do. I hope you just weren't wanting us to listen!!!:D:D:D

You: The OE carpet floor mats are the lowest quality I've ever seen, including the crap that came in E46's... and that's saying a lot. Frau Putzer's Honda Accord's driver's floor mat was just starting to show wear at 147k miles.

Me: Buy some new floor mats!!!

You: The dead pedal (foot rest for the drivers left foot) is made of carpet, and prone to wear on the edge.

Me: Yeah, that's annoying. My newly acquired 2011 Nissan Armada has that. I went to Harbor Freight and bought a piece of rubber stair tread and cut it to fit the dead pedal area. Since the carpet is black it just blends right in.

https://www.harborfreight.com/self-adhesive-rubber-safety-step-tread-98856.html
My solution for the wear-prone dead pedal is to carefully put my foot on it, and not drag my foot over the edge that would wear.

I always buy spare OE floor mats when I buy a new car. The Cobalt's are so bad that I bought two sets. I also use the back mats to protect the driver's mat. I've also saved the original front passenger's mat that was only slightly worn. The next owner can cut it in half, bind up the cut edges, and use each half to protect the driver's mat.

All three of our cars have leather seats now. When I buy a new car with cloth seats, I buy spare OE covers or the front seats. I'd also buy pull-off covers make out of canvas. Sunlight is the big killer of cloth seats where I live.

GM has stopped selling a lot of interior parts for the Cobalt. They don't continue to make interior parts after a car goes out of production. Instead, they stockpile what they think will be a lifetime supply of parts when the car is still in production, what they call "new old stock" or NOS. At some point they start liquidating the NOS parts still on hand. Most interior trim parts on the Cobalt now fall into two categories: on sale, or not available.

My leather steering wheel was suffering from twelve years of Floriduh sunlight exposure. I got a new one for $90, on sale. I had to replace the steering wheel in my 535i because I cut the leather with the zipper on a jacket. The BMW's steering wheel was $850.

I'm debating unloading the Cobalt either this summer or next summer. To optimize my GM MasterCard rebates, I need to buy my GM cars in the summer. The last 1000-miler I did in the Cobalt was so bad that I might treat myself to a Sonic before the Cobalt's tires are worn out.
 

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Last year I sold a 1999 Chevy Tahoe that I owned for over 17 years. Overall I was very pleased with the vehicle. The interior actually held up fairly well for a GM product. The front leather seats started to crack and tear a few years ago which irritated me at first. It just wasn't worth the expense to repair them so I let it continue. The back seats looked very good when I sold it.

I'll try to remember to take a picture of the dead pedal area on the Nissan and the piece of stair tread I put there. It's been on for about a year now and holding up very well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Last year I sold a 1999 Chevy Tahoe that I owned for over 17 years. Overall I was very pleased with the vehicle. The interior actually held up fairly well for a GM product. The front leather seats started to crack and tear a few years ago which irritated me at first. It just wasn't worth the expense to repair them so I let it continue. The back seats looked very good when I sold it.

I'll try to remember to take a picture of the dead pedal area on the Nissan and the piece of stair tread I put there. It's been on for about a year now and holding up very well.
There's a C/K-7, two-door Tahoe currently sitting in our 'hood's overflow parking lot, and it looks like it's almost brand new.
 

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There's a C/K-7, two-door Tahoe currently sitting in our 'hood's overflow parking lot, and it looks like it's almost brand new.
The two-door versions are hard to come by.

I ran into an older couple at a local Arby's a couple of years ago. They were driving a 99 GMC Yukon that had about half the miles as my Tahoe. I offered to buy it from him on the spot but he wasn't interested in selling. He bought it new and I could tell it was well cared for.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The two-door versions are hard to come by.

I ran into an older couple at a local Arby's a couple of years ago. They were driving a 99 GMC Yukon that had about half the miles as my Tahoe. I offered to buy it from him on the spot but he wasn't interested in selling. He bought it new and I could tell it was well cared for.
The price of new, full-size American SUV's and pick-up trucks have skyrocketed in the last few years.
 

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The price of new, full-size American SUV's and pick-up trucks have skyrocketed in the last few years.


That’s true. A new Tahoe starts at $53,000 here in Canada. That’s before options. Back then they were in the high $30k, near $40k in the early 2010s. Forget it’s fancy cousin, the Escalade.
I wouldn’t mind the new Navigator myself. I quite like it. But at its price range I’d take a CPO Mercedes Gelandewagen or the tried and true Toyota Land Cruiser.


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The best thing about Kobe the Cobalt is that nobody feels the need to **** with it. I live in a tourist area, the Redneck Rivera. Billy Bob hates BMW's and the people who drive them. Vandalism of expensive European cars where I live is a constant problem. We're moving soon.
Congratulations on 12 years of reliable service from Kobe. I may PM you with an offer to purchase Kobe when you are ready to part with it, assuming my wife doesn't get some fancy car or crossover instead within the next year.

I haven't met this Billy Bob you speak of, but he ain't a redneck. Rednecks (including me) don't hate BMW cars, motorcycles, or the people who own and operate them. And they certainly don't vandalize other people's property or condone such behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Congratulations on 12 years of reliable service from Kobe. I may PM you with an offer to purchase Kobe when you are ready to part with it, assuming my wife doesn't get some fancy car or crossover instead within the next year.

I haven't met this Billy Bob you speak of, but he ain't a redneck. Rednecks (including me) don't hate BMW cars, motorcycles, or the people who own and operate them. And they certainly don't vandalize other people's property or condone such behavior.
There's one person in line in front of you, but you're officially #2 now. I had two more in front of you, but they've dropped out. One got fed up with forking out money for his welfare recipient sister after paying for half of her house. The other one mysteriously disappeared from the place I worked, and nobody's talking about where he went. I suspect it's prison.

#1 on the list wants a beater to hold him over until he retires in three years. His mother is up in her late 80's and still driving a Toyota V6 Camry. It's in excellent shape, except for the rear bumper, trashed by her lugging her friend's wheelchair in and out of the trunk. If she can't drive anymore, or if she dies, he might pass on the Cobalt.

I'll be unloading Kobe the Cobalt either this summer or next. I sort of want to wear out the Conti DW's on it first. They're currently at 25k miles and still have about 6/32nds inch of tread. Even drag racing and sliding around turns, I'll still get 40k miles out of them. But, I might get the new car itch and order a new Sonic early.

I celebrated Kobe's 12th birthday this week by drag racing an F-350 Powerstroke dually with a utility body on the back. I was making my favorite left turn, followed by taking an off-ramp to the right. Almost everybody who makes the turn takes the off-ramp. So, they stack up in the center lane. The left lane was completely empty. But, if you're in the left lane and still want that off-ramp, you have to be quick. Occasionally, some buckaroo turning from the center lane will try to stop me from getting over to the off-ramp. That F-350 was surprisingly quick out of the hole... low-end diesel torque. But, he ran out of breath. I waved at him out of my open sunroof after I got in front of him.

My best left turn-off ramp drag races were in my old E46 M3 in the rain. An M's stability control will let the back end kicked out about ten degrees, making me look like Chris Harris. Once, my opponent was in a riced up Honda Accord V6 coupe. That was particularly fun, slamming somebody who'd hacked up such a nice car. He also had a low-end torque and a torque converter. But, FWD and a non-locking differential did him in.

I was trying to be PC, calling the vandalous tourists who show up here "rednecks."
 

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Ok. I know the conversation has moved on but I said I would post a pic of the material I put on the carpet in the dead pedal area. Well here it is. Now I can go on with my life. Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Ok. I know the conversation has moved on but I said I would post a pic of the material I put on the carpet in the dead pedal area. Well here it is. Now I can go on with my life. Enjoy!
How do you attach it? I really don't want to crazy glue something down that doesn't come up. My goal is for the car to look almost just like it did when it was new, but with some unavoidable patina and better tires.

I washed it yesterday, for the first time since Thanksgiving. It was starting to look like one of those Russian cars in the dash-cam crash videos on YouTube. I got it washed because I'm confiscating Frau Putzer's new X3 for a day to wash/wax/Armor-All it, and she's gets the Cobalt when I'm doing all that.
 

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How do you attach it? I really don't want to crazy glue something down that doesn't come up. My goal is for the car to look almost just like it did when it was new, but with some unavoidable patina and better tires.

I washed it yesterday, for the first time since Thanksgiving. It was starting to look like one of those Russian cars in the dash-cam crash videos on YouTube. I got it washed because I'm confiscating Frau Putzer's new X3 for a day to wash/wax/Armor-All it, and she's gets the Cobalt when I'm doing all that.
It has a removable backing that exposes an adhesive. I didn't put on any additional adhesive and it is staying in place fine. If I were to snag the side of it I think it would pull up. Luckily I haven't so far. I'm fairly sure that it would remove easily if necessary with minimal damage to the carpet.
 

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I look up the value of my cars on are around the anniversaries of their purchases. The "fiscal anniversary" is the day that I fill gas tank that is closest to the actual anniversary. I filled the Cobalt's tank yesterday. So, I looked up the KBB value (good condition, private sale) today. It was $2978. I was lazy and/or busy last year and just estimated the February 2018 value as 85% ($2821) of what it was on the 2017 fiscal anniversary ($3319). So, with those assumptions... my Cobalt (the anti-BMW) has actually appreciated in value about $150 over the last year. That also happened back in 2011, when there was a shortage of used cars in the post-recession recovery.

My big metric with car costs is MDI&P (maintenance, deprecation, interest, and property tax). Floriduh doesn't have personal property taxes. My 2014 535i's MDI&P since new has been almost right at $1/mile. For the last year, the Kobe the Cobalt's MDI&P was... drum roll... $0.017/mile. Since new, it's been $0.19/mile.

Back around the time of our marriage, somebody asked Frau Putzer what my hobbies were. Golf, fishing, etc.? Her answer was "It's the damnest thing. His only hobbies seem to be accounting and washing cars. But, we're pretty sure that we will not have to work at McDonald's or Walmart when we're old, and it sure is nice driving a clean car."
 

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