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The Cobalt SS/SC on Going to the Sun Road

Triumphant Return Home

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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Aaaaand, I'm back.

I'm just going to be upfront, using the word "triumphant" in the title is false advertising.

The Cobalt's chassis is no longer "nearly sublime."

I had heard how fragile the Cobalt suspensions and brake systems were before buying this car, but this is...well, I don't have the words.

This Cobalt SS' chassis is the China doll of the automotive world.

After 15 miles or so of rough road/construction work, its ball joints and tie rod ends are loose again. The steering is flopping like a dead fish around corners, she's tramlining and catching every rut and irregularity in the road, and squirming around when accelerating or braking.

On the positive side, the new brake rotors and hubs I had installed are in great shape — and for the very first time, the rotors haven't warped after a single, multi-day road trip.

I don't know who engineered these chassis, but seriously, they're about as durable as a wet paper towel.

Don't get me wrong, when this car's chassis is in great shape, the driving is excelsior. It's handling is predictable and fun, it's cornering is phenomenal, and the overall experience is just plain addictive.

So far, it just hasn't held together well.

Now that I've returned, I've got a litany of issues to deal with — again. This time it's the damage to the hood and glass, as well as getting the ball joints and tie rod ends replaced.

I wish I could say something positive like "it's never boring," but the reality is, I'm getting tired of her temperamental, needy, and expensive chassis.

The fact of the matter is, even when she's in good shape, this car isn't engineered for the rigors of the open road.

I'm going to need to find another solution for that.

Maybe I can rub the two nickels together I've got left over from the trip and magically make enough to get something that can handle long distance driving, but going forward — as fun as it is — the Cobalt's days as a touring car are numbered. She's going to need to be strictly relegated to commuter activities — because at this rate, trying to keep her from falling apart every time I hit the open road is going to wreck what meager finances I have.


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