Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Equinox Story

My blend door broke, and I got GM to pay half.  Here's my research and my story.  Like many others, my 2006 Chevy Equinox temperature blend door malfunctioned.  I first noticed this at the end of the summer in 2011 though it's possible that the problem began months earlier.  As it got cooler outside, the lack of a functioning heat system became more noticeable inside.  By October, my wife and I were certain that the vehicle really wasn't producing any heat and that we had to get it fixed.

Being a huge nerd, I immediately went online to try and gather information about the problem.  Searching "2006 Chevy Equinox No Heat" on Google returned 34,100 hits.  The first page was filled with forum threads that matched the problem we were experiencing, and after about 30 minutes I was convinced that our temperature blend door had failed.  I was also convinced that it would cost way too much to fix and that General Motors was completely ignoring most owners that had the same problem.  However, out of every 50 or so posts, I saw that one person had some luck in getting GM to contribute towards the payment.

With that tiny spark of hope, I set out to make the best case possible for GM to help pay for my Equinox to be repaired.  I collected data, did self diagnostics, tried to get the service station on my side, and general did my best to make paying me off their best option.  Perhaps I had an influence on them because in the end GM did cover half the expenses of fixing my Equinox.

Again, being a huge nerd, I decided to document my experience and share the resources I found with others.  To that end, this blog.  Enjoy, and good luck!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blend Door Repair

Repairing a faulty temperature blend door is no easy task.  Although the replacement part only costs about $35-40, the extensive labor required makes the a service center repair cost around $1,100-1,400.  The service center I visited quoted 11 hours from start to finish for the repair.  An author on another site showing a step-by-step on the repair writes that it takes 24 hours to complete.  A few friends offered to help me with the repair, but I preferred the service center route since I got GM to pay half. 

If you want to do it yourself, here's the step-by-step I mentioned at Handymanlyness:


Friday, October 7, 2011

Temperature Blend Door?

In many vehicles, the temperature blend door controls how much air is diverted past the heating core before coming through the various vents in your vehicle.  In old cars, you would often manually move a lever on your dash, which would connect to a cable that opened and closed the blend door.  This was how you controlled temperature.  In modern vehicles, this is often done through computer controlled electronics.  As you turn the heater knob on your Equinox, the computer system sends signals to an actuator that opens or closes the blend door to provide the correct mix of hot and cold air.

Unfortunately for Equinox owners, the actuator often tries to push the blend door past the point of being closed.  Over time the continued stress on the blend door can lead one or more of the involved parts to fail.  Either the blend door itself can break, or one of the parts of the actuator can fail.  With the inability to move the blend door, the Equinox is now stuck on whatever heat/cooling setting it was on at the point of failure.  The result in my case (and that of thousands of others) was that the vehicle could not receive any heat through its vents.  No heat in a Chevy Equinox means no defrost, impaired visibility, and dangerous driving.

More information (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_does_a_blend_door_work)