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How can a Hyundai owner prove maintenance was performed on schedule?

February 16, 2021 George Iny
How can a Hyundai owner prove maintenance was performed on schedule?


–NJ

A. Several Hyundai and Kia owners have reported similar stories to the Automobile Protection Association (APA). The requirement that you provide documentation of all oil changes is indeed unreasonable. Hyundai has, at times, applied an internal guideline requiring proof of two recent oil changes,  and a recent Hyundai class-action settlement for some 2L turbo and 2.4L engines requires proof of only one oil change in the last year to qualify for a new replacement engine — both of which are much more reasonable conditions. In Quebec, a warranty company or automaker cannot demand the previous owner’s service records as a precondition for approving a claim, as almost no used-car buyer would have this evidence.

A cursory reading of the owner’s manual could lead you to think the standard 12,000 km interval applies, but that’s not the case in Canada, due to extreme seasonal weather conditions and the prevalence of short drives. Hyundai and Kia prefer Canadian owners follow what’s known as the “severe usage” oil-change interval, which is every six months or 6,000 km. The exceptions would be certain parts of the West Coast, like Vancouver Island, and perhaps vehicles that spend winters in mild climates outside of Canada.

If your claim is contested for an oil-related reason, the first step may be to have a sample of the used oil in the engine analyzed to determine if it did indeed cause the bearing failures that Hyundai and Kia engines are experiencing. You’ll want to rule out lubrication breakdown resulting from wear, contamination or a low oil level. There would almost certainly be a lot of debris in the engine from the bearings, and possibly plugged oil passages, too—ideally, you’ll want to rule out that those conditions are the consequence of missing several oil changes or running very low on oil.

Here are some suggested steps:

  • Try to locate records of oil and filter purchases in your credit card statements, bank transaction records and/or cash receipts. Perhaps the store where you buy your oil and filters can help. The two most recent oil changes are the important ones.
  • Oil sensitivity appears to be a weakness in the 2.4L engine; if it ran low between changes, a low oil level may have contributed to engine failure. The dealer is certain to check the oil level as soon as you bring in a vehicle that has triggered a KSDS code, so get into the habit of checking the level regularly.
  • Neglecting oil changes  likely will have contributed to sludge deposits in the engine, and these will show up in photos. If you haven’t done so already, have some photos taken of the engine to document its internal condition.
  • Consider sending a sample of the oil that’s currently in your engine to WearCheck for analysis. Explain your situation so they can select the right tests for you. You don’t need the test to determine that the engine is shot, as you already know that. Rather, you need to rule out oil degradation due to excessive service intervals.
  • Contact Transport Canada. You’ll need to rule out lack of maintenance by providing Transport Canada with the secondary evidence suggested above by the APA.
  • The APA may be able to help you further your claim with Hyundai. You’ll have to go through the above steps anyway—and patience will be key.

Owners of many Hyundai and Kia models are eligible for a no-charge replacement engine in the event of a failure at the connecting rod or crank shaft bearings, thanks to a generous and very broad extension of the new vehicle warranty to 10 years/200,000 km. Coverage is conditional upon having installed an early warning system required in one or more of the 22-plus (!) recalls affecting the models below. Using your vehicle’s unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can visit the recall sites for Hyundai and Kia to see if your vehicle is eligible for the Knock Sensor Detection System recall. 

The following list of recalled vehicles has been changing frequently as the recall expands; it is current to early February 2021. In some cases, recalls omit some engines in a given model year. If the engine in your vehicle experiences a sudden failure similar to the one in the recall, but it’s not covered under any program, report the incident to Transport Canada at 1-800-333-0510. If there are enough complaints, they may be able to convince Hyundai or Kia to expand the scope of their recalls. 

Hyundai
Elantra 2L 2014-2016
Santa Fe 4 cyl. 2012, 2019
Santa Fe Sport 2013-2018
Sonata 2011-2019
Tucson 2L 2014-2017; 2.4L 2010-2015, 2019
Veloster 1.6L turbo 2013; 1.6L & 2L 2015-2016, 2019

Kia
Forte 2012-2015
Forte Koup 2012-2015
Optima 2011-2019
Sorento 4-cylinder 2012, 2015-2019
Soul 2L 2014-2016
Sportage 2011-2020

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