Yukon – our new Tow Vehicle

We traded our reliable and capable GMC Acadia for a 3″ wider GMC Yukon with factory maximum towing package.

The 2018 new-to-us Yukon came off lease with about 5,800 miles on the odometer and 120 hours on the engine. It looked and drove as new, equipped with Continental heavy duty tires and the GMC Max Tow package including a transmission cooler and an oil cooler plus an integrated brake controller that couples to the car’s traction and stability control systems, and automatically moderates Winnie’s brakes when the car notices a wheel is beginning to lose traction.

The car is equipped with 2 and 4-wheel drive, plus 4-wheel low range for getting out of places you probably never should have entered. There is even an optional setting to lock the brakes on a skidding wheel that might, for example, be digging into the sand the next time we camp on the beach.

The zillion way adjustable seats and height-adjust brake pedals make it comfortable for Joan to drive occasionally if she wishes.

Finally, the rear window opens independently of the tail gate, making it easier to reach the rear storage with Winnie attached, since access to the main rear opening is partially blocked by Winnie.

The Yukon fits easily into the garage with parking warning sonar sensors helping Stu line it up in exactly the right spot.

Buying the Yukon was not as easy as it should have been. We had to visit several locations because of the COVID car shortage. We thought we found the right car but the dealer made it hard to perform due diligence by refusing to provide the factory build list and declining to provide the VIN until we arrived for our pickup appointment.  At that point they told Stu he had to pay for the vehicle before seeing it a second time. After paying for the car Stu found the vehicle was misrepresented, probably because the sales person didn’t understand our requirements for the GMC MAX TOW package. Anyway, we refused delivery, they  agreed to refund our money (but didn’t), and at this point, Bank of America credited our account pending resolution of the dispute.

I can’t imagine why they did this since there are many more buyers than there are cars, and the prices are significantly above list for those who can find a car.

We had better luck after that. We went down the road to Off Lease Only, and while they had nothing on their lot in Boynton Beach, Stu did find one online in their Ft. Lauderdale location; the salesperson initiated a transfer.

The next morning a sales person from the Ft. Lauderdale location called me and said if I come there, I could save the $175 transfer fee.  Since I was in that location on another matter, I made a 10 am appointment to see what would eventually become our new car.

When I arrived, the car was not on the lot. The sales manager said the car had already been transferred to Boynton. This was his best guess, but it turns out another sales person had moved the car to a corner of the closed (it was Sunday) service department to reserve it for a potential customer that would earn him the commission.

Since I didn’t not know the car was nefariously hidden, I called the first salesman and asked for an appointment when the car arrived. He and his Boynton sales manager checked and said the car was not in shipment. Several calls back to Ft. Lauderdale found a willing salesman who was, literally, willing to go the extra mile to find the car in the service bay.

He held the keys and called us and made an early evening appointment. Once we arrived, caught up with Joe, our hiking salesman, everything went better than smoothly.

Joan checked out the car while Joe and I did some paperwork. She was comfortable with the air conditioning and seats, was able to enter and exit the much higher seats on the truck-built frame and commented on the extra storage and better visibility compared with our Acadia trade.

Off Lease offered us $10k for our trade, $2k more than the dealer who misrepresented the car.

Stauch, the business office person, handled the payment and helped me through the Bank of America process of transferring funds, and soft-sell offered us warranty coverage.

While the buying process was tedious, the actual pickup was smooth, professional, and as rapid as possible considering the volume of paperwork required.

As a pleasant surprise, the 8-cylinder Yukon gets just over 17 miles per gallon in the city, terrible but 2 miles per gallon better than the smaller 6-cylinder Acadia that always felt overworked.

If you are buying a car, this might help. The manufacturer is required to file the “build list” showing every option and component installed on your vehicle when it was built. In our case, with our Yukon intended primarily for towing, this list included a heavy duty radiator, an oil cooler, a transmission cooler, and a special transmission setup with a rear axle ratio ideal for towing,. These are the options the dealer misrepresented.

Once we had the VIN, we were able to look up what became our new car. With some careful reading, we were able to verify the car met our needs where the first one did not.

You can look up your car’s VIN by visiting the following link and entering your  car’s VIN, which should be provided by the dealer and is on the windshield.

Visit this link to check your VIN.

This link will also show you any pending recalls, accidents, sales history, pricing history and everything you might need to assure yourself the car you are buying is the car you want.