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Check your Chevrolet SS twice. Does it still have the shipping blocks?

SS buyers are getting an unwanted gift

Published: December 23, 2013 10:00 AM

As any car owner knows, the dealer is sometimes the weak link in the purchasing process. Maybe the order was screwed up, or possibly there was some issue with the final price or financing. Perhaps the car didn’t have the pre-delivery inspection done properly. In the case of our new Chevrolet SS, the latter is the big issue. And it isn’t something that just affected our car.

If you aren’t an SS enthusiast, you may not know it’s a rebadged and Americanized version of the Holden Commodore, built by General Motor’s Australian subsidiary, and features a 6.2-liter, 426-hp V8 that drives the rear wheels. It uses the GM Zeta platform, which is the basis for the Chevrolet Camaro. GM also used Holden platforms for the Pontiac GTO (2004-06) and G8 (2008-09) before the brand was shuttered in 2010.

When the staffer who purchased our SS—remember, Consumer Reports buys all of our test vehicles—dropped it off on Wednesday, our workshop technicians immediately put the car through the standard shop review. Among other procedures and inspections, we organize the paperwork, check fluid levels, and make sure the lug-nut torque is correct.

Photo by Robert Algoo

Our technician noticed that the Chevrolet dealership apparently forgot to remove the red spring blocks that are installed prior to shipping cars from the factory to the dealership. While it really is an inexcusable mistake--a proper Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) should catch these—it does happen: our last Dodge Caliber SRT4 and Mitsubishi EVO also had this issue.

Apparently, our car isn’t the only one. According to www.SSforums.com as well as members of the Chevy SS Performance Sedan group on Facebook, a number of other buyers have run into the same problem.

A General Motors representative told us the spring blocks “should be removed and consumers whose vehicles have been delivered with the blocks still in place should be encouraged to return to the dealer at their earliest convenience to have them removed. Consumers will experience a much stiffer ride because of the blocks.”

If you are an owner of a new SS, take a quick look in the wheel wells and see if you, too, have red blocks in the springs. The image above, supplied by Robert Algoo from the SS Facebook group, shows what they look like.

If you find the shipping blocks still in place, it may be worth documenting the problem with photographs. While it won’t be dangerous to drive with them, the blocks will make the ride stiffer and may affect handling. Contact the dealer who sold you the car and make an appointment ASAP to get the blocks removed.

Jon Linkov

   

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