Hyundai warranty woes.. Don't trust the "Hyundai Advantage"..

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by McDao, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. McDao

    McDao Guest

    The key selling point in Hyundai's advertising and the driving factor in my
    decision to buy a Hyundai a few years ago was the 100,000 mile powertrain
    warranty. But I have had the misforturne of discovering in recent weeks
    that Hyundai will do anything they can to get out of actually paying
    anything in regards to the "Hyundai Advantage" warranty.

    I bought a 2000 Tiburon brand new a few years ago and it has been a
    somewhat steady car. I have been diligent in my maintenance, but the car
    has certainly had some issues (tires, headlights, wheel bearings).
    Currently, the car has about 70,000 miles. I was driving home from work a
    couple of weeks ago when I heard a grinding noise, I looked at my dash and
    no "Check Engine" light was on, the temperature gauge showed no problems--
    but a few seconds late my car began to decellerate and I pulled off of the
    highway. I got my car towed in to the dealer, hoping that it was a belt or
    something, but confident that if it was engine trouble-- my vauled Hyundai
    warranty had my back.

    The dealer called me the next day to inform me that my engine had no
    compression and would need to be replaced. Apparently my engine had
    overheated badly and some key components had been melted. He said that I
    had continued to drive the car after it had overheated, which was the
    reason that the damage was so extreme. Of course, he also said that the
    temperature gauge was broken, which was why I had no way of actually
    knowing that my engine was overheating.

    Naturally, I brought in all of my maintenance records, including the
    record showing that my coolant had been checked just 1800 miles prior to
    the overheating incident. I had thought that my perfect maintenance
    records would mean that I would be golden.. But a claim was filed, and
    three days later came the devestating news. The local service rep had
    decided that Hyundai would cover nothing and that I would be entirely on
    the hook for the $3800 + LABOR bill to get this engine replaced.

    Apparently the temperature gauge was only covered under my 60,000 mile
    warranty-- and because of this, they do not feel the need to assist with
    the costs of replacing this engine. I still owe over $4,000 on the car, so
    just simply writing it off is really not an option for me. Hyundai seems
    to be beating around the bush on the fact that it was an ENGINE FAILURE
    that caused the overheating in the first place, not a temperature gauge.

    I have filed an 3rd party arbitration claim, but I've been told not to
    expect much. The Hyundai service manager who had worked ony car pretty
    much told me that the company will do ANYTHING to get out of paying for a
    new engine. And that by signing up for the warranty, I had pretty much
    forfeited my right to sue.

    Please help me.. Im considering various activists methods (fliers, BBB,
    editorials), but nothing can get me off the hook for these car payments
    for a car with a blown engine.

    Any thoughts?
    McDao, Jul 20, 2004
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  2. McDao

    Beave Guest

    Don't despair if Hyundai jerks you around or if the arbitration
    doesn't get you the result you deserve. You are not the first person
    this has happened to. File a claim in small claims court. If it
    costs more for a jury trial, request one.

    During discovery (a pretrial procedure where you get to ask written
    questions which Hyundai has to answer) ask all the questions you can
    think of including how many other similar claims Hyundai received and
    the disposition of those claims. Ask whether Hyundai is aware of the
    problem you had and what the cause is. If Hyundai's responses are
    vague or evasive, file a motion for more complete answers or for
    sanctions (your sanction will include suppressing Hyundai's defenses)

    I assure you that if you stand up for yourself you can prevail. Don't
    let them get away with this. Unfortuantely, I have had to give
    similar advise to a number of other Hyundai owners when Hyundai
    refused to honor the warranty. One of Hyundai's strategy is
    apparently to deny claims and only pay when someone makes a big enough
    fuss. In the long run, it saves them money, even if it is disloyal to

    There are a number of websites that can provide info on filing small
    claims court cases. Most of the time, the court itself is very
    helpful to consumers seeking justice.

    Bottom line. You complaint is justified, not frivolous. Hyundai will
    have to pay an in-state attorney to represent them and will ultimately
    loose if they don't settle. They know it will cost them more money to
    defend than to repair in this situation so they will likely make a
    reasonable offer after you file suit and demand answers to

    The only way you will loose is if you take "no" for an answer.
    Fortunately there are still honorable car manufacturer's out there
    that won't jerk you around when a car breaks down under warranty.
    Good luck!
    Beave, Jul 20, 2004
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  3. McDao

    McDao Guest

    Thanks for your advice on this, Beave.

    I had previously spoken with a lawyer about this case and he had pretty
    much the same advice for me.

    A few more questions:
    1. Should I wait until arbitration to file the claim, or just go ahead and
    do it now?
    2. Who exactly should the claim be against? The dealership where I bought
    the car? .. I assume that Hyundai America is bit of a big fish for someone
    like me to attempt to fry..
    McDao, Jul 20, 2004
  4. McDao

    Beave Guest

    1. If you've already filed the arbitration and it's in progress, you
    may want to finish that process first (it may actually be a
    requirement in some small claims courts to first exhaust other
    available remedies).

    2. I suspect that your warranty was provided by Hyundai Motors
    America (or something like that - see your warranty book). If you
    believe that the dealer mishandled the coolant check or otherwise
    contributed to the problem, you may also want to add them, but the
    main culprit is Hyundai -the one that gave you the warranty but won't
    honor it. Suing the "big fish" in your home town small claims court
    and making them pay for an in-state lawyer to file an answer and
    handle your discovery questions, etc. is exactly what you want to do.
    The more relevant questions you ask, the more it will cost them to
    answer (assuming you follow through with a motion to compel). And the
    more questions that you ask that will require them to reveal
    potentially damaging info (such as known premature
    breakdowns/defects), the more incentive they will have to settle with

    (Unfortunately, threatening to file a lawsuit usually doesn't work
    because companies think there's a good chance that you won't follow
    through - you actually have to act so they know you're serious.)
    Beave, Jul 20, 2004
  5. McDao

    hyundaitech Guest

    What did the dealer say was the cause of the overheating?

    If the cause of the overheating was a part that's covered for 5/60, then
    they're correct, you're not covered beyond that. I understand the
    temperature gauge did not cause your overheating. If Hyundai has denied
    coverage, they should be able to supply sufficient reason. The
    temperature gauge is not. What specific part of the temperature gauge
    system was broken. The gauge? The sensor? The wiring?

    If, on the other hand, the cause of the overheating was a component that
    is covered for 10/100, such as the water pump, or head gasket, then
    Hyundai should cover the repairs unless there was negligence on your
    behalf that caused the part to fail. If Hyundai is claiming such
    negligence, then they should be able to tell you what it is. Driving the
    vehicle did not solely cause the vehicle to overheat. Hyundai should be
    able to show a clear link between some action someone made and a part
    failing on the vehicle that caused the overheating. Unfortunately, you
    don't come out ahead on this. Most of the cooling system parts are 5/60,
    not 10/100.

    Last, find out what the "failed part" is. If you were denied coverage on
    the basis that the failed part was a 5/60 component, then the Hyundai
    should be able to tell you which part failed that caused the overheating.
    If they can't, they have no grounds for denying the claim on the basis
    that the failed (defective) part is no longer covered by warranty.

    Good Luck. Unfortunately, I don't have enough info to tell you whether I
    think your repair shold be covered.
    hyundaitech, Jul 20, 2004
  6. McDao

    Beave Guest

    Well intentioned advice, but the bottom line is that Hyundai
    advertises everywhere that it has America's Best Warranty and covers
    the engine for 100K miles. Take 'em to court and put them on the
    defensive. I'm confident that courts and juries will look at the
    common sense of it, not the technicalities.

    And by now you should know better than to put too much trust in
    Hyundai and your dealer. After all, it was stated at the beginning of
    this thread that:

    "The Hyundai service manager who had worked ony car pretty
    much told me that the company will do ANYTHING to get out of paying
    for a new engine. And that by signing up for the warranty, I had
    pretty much forfeited my right to sue." - which, of course, is total
    nonsense and a sleasy tactic.
    Beave, Jul 21, 2004
  7. McDao

    Bob Bailin Guest

    I assume you aren't the same person as the one on the
    tech forum website that hit some road debris and unknowingly damaged the
    radiator, causing all the coolant to leak out. This person continued to
    until the engine died several miles later. Their temp gauge also showed a
    normal temp the whole time until the engine seized. (They didn't know the
    engine seized until after the radiator was replaced by the dealer and then
    the car wouldn't start.)

    Is there a known problem of the temp sensor not working unless it is fully
    immersed in coolant? On most cars I've seen, the temp sensor will still
    indicate the temperature of steam or even of the metal it's screwed into.
    But if the temp sensor is not screwed into the cylinder head but into, say,
    a coolant pipe leading to or from the engine, you could get a false reading
    when the coolant disappears.

    Any idea where the coolant temp sensor is located on the Tiburon engines?

    Bob Bailin, Jul 21, 2004
  8. McDao

    hyundaitech Guest

    Off the top of my head, I believe it screws into the thermostat housing.
    While temp sensors are relatively accurate in coolant/water, they don't do
    so well with air or steam.
    hyundaitech, Jul 21, 2004
  9. McDao

    hyundaitech Guest

    My point is that in court, he must show the engine to be defective, not
    some other part that caused the overheating that would not be covered by
    the warranty.

    Or, in court, he must show that the overheating was caused by a component
    covered by the 10/100 warranty. He looks pretty good if Hyundai has
    nothing to counter with (i.e. cause of overheating was stuck closed
    thermostat, etc.)

    I don't think we've gotten the full story here. Just that the car
    overheated. We don't know why.

    In any event, he has the right to sue. Agreed. Just because he purchased
    a car which had a 10/100 powertrain warranty doesn't limit his right to
    sue. He didn't ask for this warranty in return for an agreement not to
    sue, it came with the car.
    hyundaitech, Jul 21, 2004
  10. McDao

    Nick Guest


    . You had stated that the temp sensor was reading normal
    however the engine overheated. I am assuming that there was no coolant
    in the system? Did the dealer say if there was a cracked hose,
    radiator and how big the crack was? I would assume that if it was a
    cracked radiator or hose that you should have been able to smell a
    leak of coolant.
    Filing in district court is a pain....and sometimes the
    company may not show up for the court date, you get a judgment for
    yourself and they appeal and they delay the court date for sometimes
    close to a year. Then you have to file an complaint against the appeal
    and they can also file longer delays. Then what do you do for 1 year
    +? Exhaust all possibilities first before going this route, write to
    Hyundai and keep records of all letters and conversations to whomever
    as this is your evidence.

    Hope this helps and good luck with whatever route you decide to take.

    Nick, Jul 21, 2004
  11. McDao

    Nick Guest

    There is no honest dealership/car copmany no matter what route
    you go...Every dealer is out there to get the most money they can at
    whatever cost cutting measure even if it is loosing the customer. I
    had an Acura dealership charge me for changing the drive belts as part
    of the timing belt change and they never did it. When I discovered it,
    I was out of warrenty and it wasn't worthwhile to go to court for
    $140. I'd still take a Hyundai any day over any Ford or GM car
    Also please be honest, how often do you check your fluid
    levels if at all? I know a lot of people who never have seen what
    their engine looks like yet where to check for the fluids.

    Nick, Jul 21, 2004
  12. McDao

    John Semon Guest

    What do you guys talking about?

    Hyundai says 60,000 miles is for certain parts of the car and this guy
    went to the dealer with 70,000 miles on the car.

    I think Hyundai is fair.
    My 3 cents
    John Semon, Jul 21, 2004
  13. McDao

    McDao Guest

    okay.. im the original poster and i have an update. and it looks like i
    might be screwed.

    no.. i didnt hit anything or anything like that. i just operated the
    vehicle under normal driving conditions and like i had stated earlier, i
    had all my maintenance up to date.

    however, i went up to the local hyundai dealer yesterday and it wasnt the
    temperature gauge that they are claiming was bad, it is the internal
    engine thermostat (as eerily predicted by the poster below).

    This thermostat controls the release of coolant into the engine, and
    apparently had malfunctioned on my car. That said, I was driving my car
    with no coolant at all. I was being truthful earlier when I stated that my
    car truly showed no signs of trouble until it actually died. The
    temperature gauge readings were normal, no check engine lighyt was on, my
    car started and was driving as normal, etc. I didnt know anything was
    wrong until I heard an odd noise and my car stopped deccelerating.

    This internal thermostat costs under $50 apparently, but it might end up
    costing me over $5000. Hyundai is not claiming at all that there was any
    user neglect on my part.. their whole defense of the refusal of warranty
    repairs is based on the fact that this thermostat is only covered by the
    60,000 mile warranty and not the 100,000 mile powertrain.

    I still plan on taking this to the arbitration board, because I still feel
    like I am getting screwed. Since the hyundaitech that posted earlier in
    this thread indicated that the thermostat was a possibility, perhaps this
    happens alot with Hyundai's. I would certainly be interested in obtaining
    that information from Hyundai on the typical life on this part,
    considering the disastrous effects that are possible if this part fails...

    I guess that will have to be part of my lawsuit...
    McDao, Jul 21, 2004
  14. McDao

    Neil Guest


    Sounds like a good reason for new owners to purchase the 10/100

    Good luck with your claims.

    Neil, Jul 21, 2004
  15. McDao

    Jon W. Guest

    Yes good luck and keep us updated. I guess my decision to pay the
    $800+ extra for the 10/100 bumper to bumper may come in handy after
    all. That's IF I have the same problem on my 2004 Sonata. Hopefully,
    I'll never need it.

    Jon W., Jul 21, 2004
  16. McDao

    hyundaitech Guest

    I've seen very few thermostat failures on this engine. I think I've
    replaced one in the past year for sticking closed.

    You probably won't be able to get failure data without a court order.
    Hyundai keeps such records (as do all manufacturers) so that they can
    identify problems and make redesigns or whatever other action is necessary
    to remedy the problem, and also so that they can monitor warranty cost. I
    can pretty much guarantee that Hyundai has records on failure/replacement
    rates within the warranty period.
    hyundaitech, Jul 22, 2004
  17. McDao

    hyundaitech Guest

    EVERY vehicle owner should know how to check his/her fluids. I don't argue
    that many don't know how or don't care to. Even I don't check mine as
    often as I should, but if something goes wrong, I will suffer the
    hyundaitech, Jul 22, 2004
  18. McDao

    hyundaitech Guest

    This doesn't look good for the vehicle owner. I can think of no reason why
    Hyundai would be obligated to repair this vehicle. I don't know what
    filing a lawsuit would cost, but I don't see how the customer would win.
    hyundaitech, Jul 22, 2004
  19. McDao

    Nick Guest

    Did you get this statement in writing from the dealer? This is
    very good ammunition but you need it in writing to present to whatever
    forum you take it to. If this indeed is the case and then the temp
    gauge should have gone to hot and indicated this to you. If it didn't
    then it is a flaw in the design of where the temperature gauge is
    located, which 75% or more of the blame should then go to Hyundai.
    This is a very difficult situation because Hyundai can come
    back with that defense saying that the thermostat (internal temp of
    the engine) was in a closed position and that caused the engine to
    overheat, but the owner was unable to know this because the
    temperature gauge going to the dash board was also defective.
    Hyundai will have to prove that the gauge to the dash was
    defective to rule them out as liable. I find it hard to believe that
    with only 70k miles that the gauge is defective though.

    Get ready for court if you don't go anywhere with Hyundai as I am sure
    that is what they will use for their defense.

    Nick, Jul 22, 2004
  20. McDao

    hyundaitech Guest

    This will be an equally tough road as every component which can cause the
    temperature gauge to not function correctly is only covered for the 5/60
    hyundaitech, Jul 22, 2004
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