Hyundai / stupid mechanics
I left to go on vacation with my 82 year old father on July 5, 2010. We were going to Oklahoma to see family and friends but my dad also wanted to stop in Reno and Vegas so we went on rather a long roundabout. We left from Auburn Washington.
My 2003 Hyundai Elantra almost made it to Reno Nevada. About 30 miles from Reno it lost power, sputtered, and refused to move again for awhile but it didn’t die. I managed to get the car to Reno after turning it off and resting it for about 25 minutes. I took it to Auto Motion in Reno the next day. They gave it a complete diagnostic and said the only problem code that came up appeared to be one of the O2 sensors. It was about $100 for this diagnostic. They said it might need to be replaced but said it didn’t appear to be in terrible shape since I had only had problems with it once. The service man said it should last until the end of the trip. He gave me the diagnostic paperwork and said if the car had anymore trouble that I should give it to the next mechanic that worked on it. So we took off that same day and made it to about 25 miles from Tonopah Nevada.
My Elantra had troubles there again with the same symptoms but this time it died outright twice. The mechanic at Dougs’ Auto repair said the problem wasn’t the O2 sensor since the sensor can’t make a car die. He said the problem was the fuel pump. He tried to overcharge me by about $200 to replace the fuel pump so I didn’t have it done. He got $40 for just putting it up on the car rack and looking at it for 5 minutes. We had no choice but to spend the night in Tonopah. I was told by a resident of Tonopah that this mechanic was constantly overcharging travelers and ripping them off. He said that we should try to make it out of town or this mechanic would take us for everything we had. I believe the mechanics name was Mickey. By this time I had learned that if I gave my car about a half hour rest and let it cool down then I could drive it awhile until it broke down again. We left Tonopah very early the next day and drove to Vegas. I then took it to Planet Hyundai in Vegas.
When we got there I tried to give the diagnostic report from Reno to Doug the service man at this Hyundai shop but he refused to look at it or listen to what they told me. They performed another diagnostic and said that the O2 sensor needed to be replaced. I asked them to check other things as well but they were stuck on the O2 sensor. This cost $274.11. What was really a mistake on my part was telling them I was looking to buy another car soon. A sales person found this out and went out to appraise my car. He came back in with the story that my transmission was dead and that he would give me a $1000 trade in for my car. This astonished me since I had had not trouble with my transmission. The diagnostic performed in Reno had showed that the transmission in my car was fine. It also scared the heck out of me when the salesman said this to me. I sat there in terror for two hours only to have the service man come out and say that my transmission was fine and only the O2 sensor was bad. Well they replaced the sensor and the next day when we continued driving to Oklahoma the car broke down again close Flagstaff Arizona with the same symptoms. I called Doug back at Planet Hyundai and told him that the car had broken down again. He said he would try to find another Hyundai place near where I was and he would give me a call back. He called back a few minutes later and told me that he had personally called and talked to the service manager of the Diamond Hyundai of Flagstaff Arizona. He said that the service manager was informed of my problem and that he would be waiting for me when I could get my car to Flagstaff. About an hour later I made it to Flagstaff from 15 miles away. I stopped on the freeway in Flagstaff to call Diamond Hyundai to ask then were they are located. Imagine my surprise when I found I was given a disconnected number. I tried to call back Doug but was only given his voice mail. I then went to a store in Flagstaff and asked them about Diamond Hyundai and was told there was no such place. I then went to a Goodyear tire store and was told that there had been a Diamond Dodge but it had closed down about a year ago. I spent about 30 minutes circling Flagstaff hoping someone could tell me were the Hyundai dealer was located. Confused I called Planet Hyundai again and talked to assistant manager Craig. He gave me another number for Diamond Hyundai which also turned out to be disconnected. Finally Craig admitted that they had made a mistake and Diamond Hyundai had closed over a year ago. I asked him how Doug had managed to talk to the service manager of a place that hadn’t existed for a year. Craig said didn’t know. He told me that I could go to Cottonwood Arizona Hyundai as that was the next closest place. From then on Planet Hyundai personnel would not answer my phone calls and either put me on hold or gave me their voicemail. Never once did any of them call me back to help me again. I rested my car again and drove to Cottonwood. This town is quite a bit off of hwy 40.
The service manager Pete was very nice and gave me a good deal on everything he did. I asked him to check the fuel pump and he did. He told me it needed to be replaced. He charged me $185 for the fuel pump. He had also did another diagnostic and said that there was nothing else wrong with my car. This is also the first time I called Hyundai Customer Assistance. We had to spend the night in Cottonwood since he had to order the fuel pump from Phoenix. He replaced the part the next day and we left. Well we got to Gallup New Mexico and the car died again with the same symptoms except now it died as I was going 72 MPH on the freeway. We were almost killed since I was in the fast lane on interstate 40 and I had a big truck on my right. It took some maneuvering to get my car over to the shoulder. I rested the car again and got it to a mall in Gallup. I called Pete and told him that the fuel pump replacement hadn’t worked. He told me he would help me by calling up a Hyundai engineer friend of his and asking him what the problem with my car could be. Well after he hadn’t called me back for an hour and a half I figured I was abandoned again so I called consumer assistance of Hyundai for a second time. The person I talked to (Mathew) told me that since my car is off warranty that I might not get any help from them. I told him that the problem wasn’t the warranty but the incompetant mechanics I had let work on my car. Mathew promised that he would call the Albuquerque New Mexico Hyundai dealership and have an advisor waiting there the next day and they would tell me what they could do for me. My father and I had to spend the night in Gallup. Well Mathew lied and he didn’t call the Albuquerque dealer. I called Albuquerque Hyundai the next day and they didn’t show any Mathew calling them. They told me I could bring my car in but I would have to leave it for a couple of days as it would take that long to figure out the problem. I said no as I could feel another rip off coming on. I drove my car home instead of going on with my vacation that had been cut short from 14 days to 6 days. I had wasted so much money fixing a car that still wasn’t fixed and staying in motels that I had budgeted in with my expenses. I had to stop my car every hour and a half for about an half hour so I wouldn’t overheat and die again as each time the car died it was worse and more violent. My Dad and I were lucky to make it home at all. We had to sleep in a rest area in Idaho since we had run out of money. We were both nervous wrecks since we were not sure we were going to make it home or be killed on the highway by my suddenly dying car. This scared me terrible when we went through the larger cities like Salt Lake City since they didn’t have much shoulder area to pull over on. We finally made It home.
My car was running worse than before I had the O2 sensor replaced. I basically shelled out a bunch of money to have a car that runs worse than it did before and for us to be driven crazy by a group of incompetent mechanics. I have talked to several people (four) at Hyundai Customer Assistance. The last one I talked to (Jamie) said she would call both Hyundai service managers at Vegas and Cottonwood and then get back to me. Well that was two weeks ago. Guess that won’t happen. I am at my wits end trying to get reimbursement of some kind for the car parts that were replaced and didn’t need to be. My father and I saved up for months for this trip and we were ripped off the whole way. I feel so crappy about watching my dad suffer so badly. He is in fragile health (as well as legally blind and half deaf) and all he had to look forward to was going to visit family in Oklahoma. All Hyundai does is say they are sorry and that’s it. They aren’t sorry in the least. Two of their customer service people just outright lied to us and their mechanics are just stupid. I will never ever buy a Hyundai again.
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