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Nagging car vibration a headache for this Kia owner

Published July 17, 2012
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Eric Lai answers readers’ auto questions every week for Wheels.

Q: My 2006 Kia Sorento twice went into a Kia dealership for a warranty rear-differential repair, but a new vibration, present after the initial repair, was still there. They said there’s no problem and closed the case.

Another shop confirms a rear-end vibration exists.

I appreciate all that the Kia dealer has done, but it’s been seven months.

Whether through legal action or Kia Canada, all I want is my vehicle back to original condition.

A: Our reader provided this reply from Susan Russell, customer service manager with Kia Canada. Letter was edited for length.

Your 2006 Kia Sorento was purchased pre-owned in April 2011 from a non-Kia Dealer.

Kia’s comprehensive and power train defect limited warranty is for five years or 100,000 km, whichever occurs first, from the original warranty start date of Nov. 30, 2006. The warranty on your vehicle expired due to time on Nov. 30, 2011.

In September 2011, at 75,447 km, your vehicle was serviced by a Kia dealership for a rear differential noise. Despite not having been able to produce any maintenance records to support the complaint, the rear differential assembly was replaced. Regretfully, the pinion bearing in the new replacement differential failed shortly afterward.

Our District Parts and Service Manager (DSM) attended the dealership and inspected the bearing and verified the defect. To ensure quality of repair, the assembly was rebuilt by a Transmission Shop by specialists. After returning the vehicle to the dealership, both the technician and the service manager test drove the car to ensure the repair was done properly. Both indicated that the noise/vibration was gone.

After picking up the vehicle in late November, you advised that the differential was still noisy/vibrating.

As per your request, our DSM test drove your vehicle on January 4, 2012. He found all operation to be normal and consistent with vehicle age and mileage travelled.

Since your vehicle is no longer covered under the terms and conditions of the manufacturer defect warranty, Kia Canada cannot assist with any (further) repairs on your 2006 Kia Sorento.

Eric Lai adds:

The real cautionary tale is in the vehicle history report. A Carfax on this used auto reveals a number of glaring “red flags.”

The car was first registered in Quebec, which has poor or non-existent public disclosure of vehicle history. (Large rental agencies are self-insured and do not report claims.)

A collision “with damage exceeding $1000” (no amount specified) was reported in Jan. 2009. However, this information wasn’t made available and didn’t appear in the Carfax report until Dec. 21, 2011.

The auto was last listed as “retired from use” in Quebec on June 11, 2010. Three days later, it passed safety and was registered in Ontario. MTO notes (or perhaps, warns) that the vehicle was previously registered in Quebec.

On Jan. 21, 2011, MTO was the first to record mileage, as 66,000 km, on this five-year-old vehicle. Because Quebec doesn’t note mileage on the ownership, odometer fraud is rampant on used autos from the province.

In other words, DON’T BUY USED AUTOS FROM QUEBEC.

In considering a lawsuit, keep in mind that “original condition” at time of your purchase could conceivably be a repaired wreck and/or a rental car with its odometer rolled back.

If the collision cited above wasn’t disclosed, you may have legal recourse against the non-Kia selling dealer.

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