I have also posted this under “Coffee Break.”
I’ve submitted this as a letter to the editor, vis-a-vis harpmobiles.
The Chrysler Pacifica has one of the highest ratings (4.5 out of 5) for a Harpmobile, and indeed, I owned a 2017 Chrysler Touring-L model.
However, there is an enormous issue that my fellow harpists need to be be aware of.
There is an ongoing, serious problem obtaining parts.
My Pacifica was exactly 3 years old—a 2017 model, purchased in September 2016. I had quite a history with bizarre electrical and electronic issues over the next 36 months, but it is the events of the last month I am writing about. The vacuum brake booster went out on my vehicle. This is a major safety issue….the NTSB has multiple reports online of people in precisely the same situation as myself. This leaking booster makes the car unsafe to drive because you cannot stop the vehicle. The last time I drove it, I had the brake pedal depressed “to the metal” and the car was still moving forward!
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Okay, what does this have to do with the Harp Column?” Well, it also appears that critical parts for the Chrysler Pacifica are simply not available. And no aftermarket parts are available either.
I contacted Chrysler and pleaded with them. I explained that I was a harpist, and my performance schedule all over a three state area in the next month would have me driving nearly 2000 miles. It’s not like I can afford to rent a van (at $90+ a day for a month!) and I can’t just hail an Uber ride or bum a ride from a co-worker to work. In the last 5 days I’ve driven to three different cities for a total of 720 miles!
Chrysler admitted there was a problem getting this part—maybe a part would be available in a month. And their “Client Escalation” over the issue (“somebody will be reaching out to you in 1-3 business days”) didn’t happen until 8 business days later, fully 16 days after I ordered the part. And their response was NOT “Mr. Ice, we have a part for you!” No, the escalation consisted of “reaching out” and telling me they are sorry, there are no parts. Have I tried going to a junk yard to find a wrecked Pacifica and getting a brake booster that way?
Dealing with the dealership was no better. They admitted, yes, this is a problem, and yes there are no parts. When I asked, politely, what can they do to help me, I was told, “well, we can sell you a 2019 Pacifica!” I asked—again, politely—“why would I buy a 2019 car when I can’t get parts for a 2017?” Their response was, and I quote, “I don’t need your attitude.”
So I feel it is imperative that I warn harpists to NOT buy a Chrysler Pacifica. I’ve spoken to many professional mechanics who have told me “Chrysler was so close to bankruptsy that this is an ongoing problem. They don’t have the cash or desire to stockpile replacement parts, so when something goes wrong, you’re out of luck.” I noticed this myself, earlier. It took nearly 2 years before you could even buy an oil filter for a Pacifica at AutoZone or O’Reilly’s Auto Parts. I had to go to a dealership and backorder an oil filter! And this was not because of some sort of natural disaster—fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, shortages.
Don’t get me wrong—I loved my Pacifica. It was a great harpmobile!! But I had no options when my brake booster went out on September 9. I had to purchase a new vehicle on September 16 to replace a two model year old Pacifica because nobody in the ENTIRE UNITED STATES had brake parts. And would not get parts until a month later. MAYBE.
One of the NTSB complaints about the brake booster said, “vehicle was returned to dealership for repair July 19, 2019 and is still at the dealership, unrepaired.”
Chrysler simply cannot provide crucial parts for their flagship vehicles. And harpists must have a reliable vehicle that is fixable should anything malfunction. It is outrageous that I had to purchase a new vehicle (a Ford this time!) because Chrysler could not repair my BRAKES!