Sunday, September 25, 2011

The dealership and YOU!

As per request, I will be talking about the dealership experience and what one "should" encounter when you get there with your vehicle. I would like to start off by saying that just like fast food resturants all the dealers are independent of themselves and from Hyundai for that matter. They are merely franchises. So do not expect the same service from EVERY dealership.

Since most of us are aftermarket junkies I do have to let you know that some will be friendlier or more "allowable" of aftermarket modifications. Most dealerships will just "look" at the car and go "nope, your aftermarket parts void  the warranty" This is WRONG and ILLEGAL according to The Magnuson-Moss Warranty ACT of 1975. You can find it at The skinny is that the company must prove that your aftermarket part CAUSED the failed part to fail. 

Examples of failure could be...

1. You installed a turbo kit onto your N/A motor and you blew a headgasket with the vehicle only having a couple thousand miles on it. While it is true that it could have been a defect the turbo kit accelerated the process and your going to be denied.

2. You installed aftermarket lowering springs and dampeners, over time you notice that the vehicle is getting noiser while going over bumps in the road. You inspect the vehicle and find the control arm bushings are toast. Unfortunately, lowering the vehicle put the OEM specs out and the bushings could not handle it. You'll be denied.

Things that would be ILLEGAL...

1. You came in because your window switch is no longer working, but you have installed new rims, springs/struts, and aftermarket exhaust. They try to void the warranty for those items. There is no way that the aftermarket parts you installed affected the window switch.

These are merely examples and there is no way to cover every case, but if you do modify your car. You do have a leg to stand on when going to the dealership.

Let us also look at the warranty itself. I have worked in several Hyundai dealerships over the years and for the most part have a good handle on what is covered and what is not. Although your owners manual should have a layout of the basic warranty. Hyundai's 10yr/100k warranty is the BEST in the United States (although sister company Kia has the same warranty). The second tier of the warranty is the bumper to bumper portion which is 5yr/60k. This does cover the car with some exceptions. Wear items are only covered 1yr/12k. This would include things like brakes, alignments, clutches and some other random things. The stereo and some of the other elecronics like amplifiers, xm radio module and some others are covered 3yr/36k So while technically they say 5yr/60k there are some exceptions. Although come cools things that ARE covered are things like headlights.The dealership itself will have all of the specifics, I just wanted to let you know that its not "truely" bumper to bumper. Regardless, its still the best warranty out there period. Hyundai also offers an extended plan called Hyundai Protection Plan or HPP. This extends the basic 5yr/60k warranty out to 10yr/100k. I have taken advantage of this and it saved me quite a bit of coin. It has definitely paid for itself with certain repairs being covered. There are "Aftermarket" warranty companies, but I have found them to be a PITA to work with and most of the service writers do not like dealing with them.

Lets go to the 10yr/100k warranty and what exactly that covers. This is your powertrain warranty. This includes internally lubricated parts, bearings, CV joints, the motor and the internals of the transmission. Also covered are gaskets for the motor like the valve cover gaskets, tube seals, axle seals and other seals like the oil pan gasket. So if you ever have a problem with your Hyundai, take it the dealership. Let them say yes or no to a warranty claim. Do not ever assume that they will not cover it. One little tid bit that I would like to throw in there is  that warranty costs the dealership money. So in return they to up sell you things like transmission flushes, coolant flushes, air conditioner cleaners, and a whole slew of other services. All I'm going to say is that it is the job of the dealership to make money. There are scheduled maintence schedules that need to be followed in order to maintain your warranty. PLEASE make note of what the change intervals are for your particular vehicle. This should be available in your owners manual.

Anytime you go into the dealership for warranty or even maintenance work, they are going to look up your history. If it looks like your are on schedule with your maintenance you should almost never have an issue with getting a part warrantied. This can be tricky though, if you are a Do It Yourselver (DIY'er) like I am. My advice to you is to have ALL receipts for any maintenance done outside of their shop. One more think I would like to add is that you should always use OEM parts when available. Most importantly the oil filter. Hyundai has multiple Technical Service Bulletins (TSB's) about engine noise and aftermarket oil filters. Believe it or not, Hyundai makes some kick ass oil filters. I used to use K&N oil filters for years, that is until I cut apart an OEM filter and my K&N filter side by side. The OEM filter was larger, had more surface area to clean, and a bypass valve built in. This valve prevents a clogged oil filter from starving the motor of oil. The valve simply opens up and the oil is bypassed. Granted the oil is no longer being filtered, but its better then starving the motor of oil. If you do use aftermarket parts or performance parts, just be aware they can and do fail (although I have yet to any aftermarket part fail and cause another part to fail).

If you are new to the dealership experience this is the flow of how things work. First off, find the proper parking spot for the service department, as a former tech one thing we hate is when a car is not parked in its proper spot, if you are unsure ask somebody. Some dealerships will have people to move the vehicles for you and you simply pull up to the service department. The person you should see first is the Service Writer. This person will ask you what the issue is and they (should) explain the process of which that issue will be handled. Most dealershps have a board of some sort that will explain labor charges and fees for services. The way Hyundai does warranty is that you must sign to an hours worth of diagnosis time. Once the technician finds the issue, it will be checked with the service writer. They will then see if the part is covered under warranty. If the part is covered, then that hour of labor goes away. IF its not covered that hour will go towards the time it takes to install the new part. However, the technician can and they do over estimate the time it takes to install the part. Some dealerships go by "book time" and others are subjective or they have a standard for their dealership. Standard time would be just simply are price for the entire service. Usually the only people that care about the hourly rate for the services are the techs. "Book time" is just that a book that tells you how much time it takes to do a particular job. There are governing bodies out there that publish books with these times in them. I had mentioned that some techs are subjective but what does that mean? This means that some techs are fair and will charge you the amount of time (or the approximate time) it will take. Techs will also include some time just in case something does not go exactly right or they do it for rust. Book time does not take other circumstances into account like rust. Trust me, I have charged extra for a rusty car, I spent an HOUR on just a couple of bolts because of the rust. You also then have to replace the rusted bolts that you just cut off or melted in the attempts to get them off. Other techs, however, will try to soak up every little penny they can get! This is when you need to know what a fair price should be for a given repair. If it sounds outrageous, it usually IS!

I think I took a slight detour. Lets get back on topic. The service writer will (should) communicate with you about the repair and how long sed repair should take. During the repair they might come to you with their up sells, do not let  them bully you! Again, you must go into the dealership 1. knowing what your car needs and at what mileage interval its need at 2. what the car actually needs to maintain the warranty. Like I had mentioned earlier, they like to sell you all kinds of flushes and they even conveniently package them together. These are usually big maintenance items like the 30k service, or your 60k service. You can opt out of some of the things in the package if you do things yourselve, but again just be forewarned USE OEM PARTS!

The service writer will also take car of all of the paperwork and should show you to the cashier. Hyundai is great about customer service and they like to send surveys to their customers. These surveys, if the dealer gets a high score, will help the dealership, usually in the form of a bonus of some sort. If you feel that you were treated fairly and customer service was everything that it should have been, by all means give them 10's. There are times where something could have been handled better and sometimes people are people and mistakes are made. What you should NOT do is slam them on those surveys. Please be fair to them, or you will ultimately burn your bridge. Just a word of caution.

I'm sure I did not get to everybody's  questions here. So by all means use the post feature to ask further questions. I'll also take suggestions too! Let me know what you think. Good or bad. Feed back is much appreciated!

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