Archive for July, 2011

The value of a Hyundai auto warranty

Recently, a friend of mine experienced a problem with the transmission on her Hyundai. She has a six year old Hyundai Elantra GT. She bought the vehicle new from Tom O’Brien Hyundai in Quincy, MA, which is just south of Boston.

My friend has always taken good care of her car. It has received routine maintenance and she has driven it proudly.

A month or so ago, however, a crack appeared in the transmission case. She brought the car to Valvoline who showed her where the leak was and told here she needed a new transmission case.  She then took it to a local mechanic who sealed the leak. The seal did not hold and she took it back to him the next week to reseal.  The mechanic, who is well experienced and had previously worked at a Hyundai dealership, noticed that the transmission fluid didn’t look good and suggested that the car be taken to a dealer. He also mentioned the car should be covered by the 10 year/100,000mi power train warranty, which my friend had completely forgotten about.  This was the first major problem she has had with her car.

When my friend went to the original dealer, she was relieved at the thought of the warranty. However, the dealer told her she would not be covered. Apparently having any mechanic, other than the dealer, work on a Hyundai vehicle voids the warranty. The dealer rejected the warranty repair due to “outside vendor” service. They suggested that she talk to someone at Hyundai and see if they would agree to the repair. After the Hyundai representative talked to the dealer, they still denied the coverage. The dealer apparently felt that the Valvoline transmission fluid used in the car at the 30,000 mile service period was substandard.

I have to ask myself about the value of a warranty. A large, well-known auto manufacturer, Hyundai, wants to blame another large, well-known parts manufacturer, Valvoline, for substandard parts. Is this really a case of passing the buck and excuse-making? What is the true value of a warranty if a company can simply provide excuses to avoid honoring the warranty?

There is a lesson to be learned – Caveat Emptor. This is just one lesson. Hopefully it will be useful to others when considering new car purchases.

UPDATE ON 7/26, 2011

Another friend just purchased a used Toyota RAV 4.  The vehicle is four years old and had a little less than a year left on the initial warranty.  My friend mentioned that she would purchase the Toyota extended warranty.  For curiosity-sake, I went to the dealer when the purchase was to be finalized and asked about the warranty.  Toyota places no restrictions on third party mechanics working on the vehicle.  In other words, having another mechanic – other than Toyota – work on the vehicle does NOT void the warranty.

FINAL UPDATE

My friend took Hyundai to small claims court.  Surprising, there was a representative from Hyundai there.  The cases were presented to the court.  The final result was that my friend won the case and was reimbursed for the cost of the a  transmission.  Turns out justice does prevail.  What does this say about the value of a Hyundai warranty, however?

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July 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment


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