Piston Slap: Expired warranty, a goodwill repair for a “Nu” engine?


Gary writes:

Hi, I have approximately 138,000 kms on my 2015 Hyundai Elantra. At about the 130,000 mark I started noticing a sound similar to a fan blade hitting something. More noticeable during start ups. It seems to “run” fine. Yes, I’ve had regular oil changes through the dealer. Also, I took my car to an independent mechanic which I know well. He said unless it doesn’t bother you, you can continue to drive it as long as I continue to do regular oil changes. The dealer says otherwise, understandably. They said I need a new engine. Presently, I filed a claim with Hyundai to replace the block of the engine, essentially getting a new engine. (Actually you will get a Nu engine…sorry, I will see myself out. – SM) 

Although my warranty is up, they said they could help. Now, the dealer wants to take apart the engine to show proof of engine damage. Dealer wants $700 Canadian to take apart the engine. That will be my cost to receive essentially a new engine. What should I do? Drive it or go through Hyundai?

Sajeev answers:

Unfortunately this is how the warranty process works when considering a “goodwill” replacement out of warranty. Goodwill repairs happen all the time, but the customer has to pay for the exploratory surgery so a Hyundai Corporate rep can see the problem, and approve it. Goodwill repairs don’t mean a replacement in good faith, as you often need to put money down to show you have skin in this game. Considering this Hyundai engine was recalled in the US and in Canada (download here) for certain applications, there is ample reason to fork over $700 for a goodwill engine replacement in the future.

Even more reason? You said the magic words, as you had “regular oil changes through the dealer.” While manufacturers see less red flags with owners loyal to their dealer network, they’d likely do the same if you bought the Elantra from a Hyundai dealership and had service receipts from another shop. Things get bad if you go back to a dealership with no service history, no warranty, and a purchase outside of the Hyundai-blessed network. So in your case, this looks like it could be a slam dunk in terms of approval and the speed in which it happens.

Should you pay the $700? There’s a chance Hyundai disagrees with the dealership’s diagnosis, rejects the claim, and their managers don’t push back. But it feels like such a small chance! Maybe your dealership can reassure you somehow that the surgery will pay dividends?

Gary replies:

Well, I brought it in today (LOL). They assured me that Hyundai will 99.9% approve my claim based on a perfect service record with that dealership. (Just as I suspected! – SM) They wanted to see the engine. So, I have to weigh my options. Another mechanic said I could drive it, as is. But, personally, I’d rather invest a little to get another two years of driving it. What do you think?

Sajeev answers:

If the dealer is that confident, why should I doubt them? If you still have concerns, try to call/meet a Hyundai regional service person (sort of like an insurance adjuster, but for manufacturer warranties) to see if they can give you any more insight.

A “Nu” flame has come, and nothing she can do can do me wrong. Hyundai

That said, I am confident this will work out for you. Not to mention the warranty claim often reimburses you for $700 diagnostic work you’re about to pay for. A new engine will definitely add value when you choose to sell two years from now, too. Fingers crossed: Keep me in the loop!

Gary replies:

Definitely. I’ll keep you updated.

Sajeev concludes:

Annnnd, months later, guess who did not reply back? I’m neither saddened nor offended from Gary’s silence, actually the opposite!

Anyone with a decade of customer service experience (shout out to all those working in retail right now!) knows that satisfied customers rarely go online to praise a retailer addressing a problem. Well, unless you ask them in person or via text, but that’s a whole ‘nother story I’ll share for another day.

More to the point, there are employees that read online complaints, and they always care about the problems presented … provided the customer comes across as a non-violent person with a legitimate beef. So I am gonna bank on my previous experiences and say that Gary has a “Nu” engine (sorry) thanks to Hyundai Canada and one of their local dealerships.

Have a question you’d like answered on Piston Slap? Send your queries to pistonslap@hagerty.com, give us as much detail as possible so we can help! Keep in mind this is a weekly column, so if you need an expedited answer, please tell me in your email.

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    My brother has an Elantra and they had paid for a 10 year warranty. Engine failed at the very end of that time period. Ended up being 100% covered. They are still driving the car as it isn’t high mileage on it (and long ago paid for).

    So they swear by the Hyundai experience.

    This adds up…friend bought a used Sonata from the dealer with 104k, motor blew in a few hundred miles, they replaced it under good will. She’s real lucky she bought that thing from a Hyundai dealer.

    With friends that work in dealers including Hyundai there are things in play.

    #1 There are good dealers and bad dealers. Some will go the extra mile and help some will not even do what they should do. When you find a good dealer use them and recommend them.

    #2 Hyundai has had a history if issues. As time has gone on they have tried to learn proactively. Nt hunch here is they either wanted to learn on this engine or they have had some others with the similar issue and are trying to resolve it.

    Most automakers so try to learn from issues and failures. I had a intake tube blow off my HHR Turbo. It blew the map sensor out of the pipe.

    About two weeks later I was speaking to someone from GM Performance and I mentioned to him that I had an issue. He asked for my Vin and it just so happened the part was in his office and he said it just had a bad weld. What are the odds to get that guy. It was nice to know they were following up.

    #3 Some items are easier to cover for customers so dealers will try. My fathers car lost a computer 2k miles out of warranty. The work order was written up for 3K miles less.

    In this case I think Hyundai had a concern. They may have been looking for a solution to a complaint and they were trying to learn. The lack of response is a sign that odds are he was taken care of.

    Will call this an happy ending.

    Glad your experiences lead you to the same conclusion (i.e. he got a new motor). Not gonna lie, this warranty and dealer support is making me like the H brand even more these days…and that’s on top of how much I loved my week with the Ioniq 5.

    I know three people who’ve had Hyundai engines die well before they should have. Good on Gary for finding a good dealer who took care of him. The people I know said getting their engines replaced was a fight with Hyundai despite good maintenance with the dealer. One even made the local news because the car was less than 200km past warranty and Hyundai denied her claim (seriously). A popular consumer show here in Canada even dedicated an entire episode to Hyundai and Kia’s crappy engines. I prefer to not spend my money with manufacturers who build known defective engines for a decade plus and then not want to fix them. The recall they were forced to do is in my opinion too little, too late.

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