Time for a long overdue (3+ years) update on my Vibe. I'm over 130,000 miles now, and still very happy with the car. I'll stick with the order of my previous update:
I track this with every fill. I average about 23 in the winter, and 27 in the summer, and my driving is probably 50/50 city/highway. On long highway trips, I can hit 30-31. I'm pretty happy with this considering what the Vibe is capable of doing and hauling.
I haven't gotten stranded or stuck since I put the tire chains in the car... I've never had to use them. The AWD works great, I'm able to drive confidently on muddy, gravel roads, and make it uphill on some muddy paths on some land that we own. No complaints, although I installed mudflaps soon after purchasing the vehicle, and these always drag when I am offroad. More clearance would be great.
The Continental PureContact Ecoplus DWS tires lasted a little over 44,000 miles until the tread was less than 2/32 of an inch. I really thought they would last longer, and kept the car aligned. I did fall behind on tire rotation a few times, but the tires wore evenly. After a lot of research, I decided to buy General Altimax RT43 tires based on top reviews in Consumer Reports. I'm hoping they wear a little longer. So far, after almost 3,500 miles, they are quiet and handle well.
I've done some preventative maintenance, and some required maintenance. I do everything myself.
1)Alternator- Ever since I purchased the car, the battery light was dimly lit at all times. At almost 103,000 miles, the alternator quit, and I installed a new one. I have no idea why, but the battery light as been off ever since the alternator was replaced. I replaced the serpentine belt at the same time.
2) Brakes- new pads and rotors in the front at 104,085. I had a lot of vibration and brake dust, and the pads were starting to get noisy. I kept my old rotors and had them ground at O'reilly auto (free!), and because the vibration returned, I installed the refurbished rotors at 117,000 miles. These have started to vibrate as well, so I likely will have my spare rotors ground and reinstall. Either I'm not bedding the pads properly, or the traffic I drive in to and from work is warping the rotors.
3)A/C Clutch- The A/C went out at around 110,000 miles. After receiving a $1,500 quote from a shop to replace the compressor and evaporator, I did a little trouble shooting and determined that the compressor clutch had gone out. I purchased an OEM A/C Delco compressor clutch ($130 on CARiD) and purchased a compressor clutch puller, and had A/C again.
4) Routine and Preventative Maintenance (besides oil changes/filter changes)
Spark Plugs- replaced at 120,000 miles- NGK iridium.
AWD components- I do have a drip every once and a while from the front transfer case and rear differential. I replace the fluids once a year, and measure the amount that is drained, and the leaks aren't a concern. As I mentioned in my last update, the rear C/V joint axle boots are cracked, but make no noise, so I'm not in a hurry to replace them. If I do, I'll likely replace the rear differential seals at the same time.
Automatic Transmission- at 127,000 miles, I replaced the fluid/filter and gasket (no leaks) with full synthetic valvoline max life multi-vehicle ATF and a Wix filter.
Valve Cover Gasket- at 127,000 miles, I noticed a slight oil leak when changing my oil that looked like it came from the rear of the valve cover. I replaced the gasket and seals and it looks like the problem is fixed.
Intake Gasket- replaced at 127,000 miles based on the problems many folks on this forum have had with leaks. Mine was a FelPro black gasket- and I replaced it with the same. I don't think replacement was necessary, but I did it as a precaution. My engine barely ran after this repair, and by using some starting fluid around the intake, I discovered that a vacuum hose had disconnected from the engine near the air filter.
Springs and Stuts- replaced at 127,000 miles based on some rough handling on potholes and some squeaks and groans. I used Monroe quikstruts for the front, and Moog Springs and Monroe OESpectrum struts on the rears. The rear struts were completely shot. Comparing the OEM KYB rear springs and the MOOG replacements- the MOOG springs are a heavier gauge, have additional windings, but are shorter when uncompressed. However, the ride height is great, and it handles like a new car.
Stereo/Electronics- I installed a Pioneer AVH-280BT receiver along with a reverse camera. The reverse camera is mounted just to the right of the tailgate handle. I installed a Sound Ordnance B-8PTD powered 8" sub under the driver's seat. The sub is great for filling out the lows, and fits well under the seat. I have the level controller for the sub in the little pop down change tray to the left of the steering wheel. The stock speakers in the rear doors still sound great, and I'm still using the stock amp. My only complaint would be that the volume has to be at max when I use the system for calls, which may be attributable to using the stock 2 ohm amp with 4 ohm front speakers. If I had nothing but time on my hands, I would bypass the stock amp as others have done on this forum.
Other issues left to tackle:
1)Sunroof- the passenger side track has started to rattle. I was able to tighten one screw toward the rear using a small bit that I could turn with an open ended wrench. This helped, but there are more screws that are loose, so the headliner will have to come down at some point so I can tighten the rest (and apply some loctite!).
2) Check engine light- comes on intermittently with a p0442 error code for an evap emission leak. I replaced the gas cap, but the light came back on. I can hear the evap solenoid click near the air filter, so I think that is working find. I haven't found a leak, but routinely topped off the tank for years, and likely have damaged the charcoal canister. If this bothers me enough, I'll replace the canister.
3) Exhaust- I had to cut the connection between the muffler and the resonator as I had a bad leak. I replaced this temporarily with a flex tube, but the pipes are different sizes, so I had to build up the resonator pipe with some sheet metal. This worked fine until...
I was rear-ended in a light mist by a Nissan Versa. Thankfully no one was injured. You can see the extensive damage to her car. As for the Vibe? This is what $2,400 in repairs looks like (it wasn't totaled!). The rear bumper required replacement because the bottom mounting tabs were broken, and they had to paint the new bumper and the tailgate, as well as replace my hitch. Unfortunately, the aftermarket bumper has more of a pebbled look than the OEM one, and I'm not happy about that. In retrospect, I would have searched for a used bumper to have repainted.
The flexible exhaust pipe was stressed by the accident, and eventually came apart. I have installed another flexible pipe, but will likely look into either replacing the entire exhaust from the manifold back, or cut the pipe between the resonator and catalytic converter and weld in a replacement, along with a new muffler.
I will post a separate thread about why I did all of the preventative maintenance at 127,000 miles, but as a spoiler, it was in preparation for a 3,200 mile road trip pulling a pop up camper!
That should do it- if you've read all of this, thanks!