Q. I have a 2017 Kia EX 4-cylinder with 57,000 miles on it. While returning from Georgia it broke down on Route 95 outside of Richmond VA. The Kia dealership said it needed a new GDI fuel pump, a coil pack for cylinder number 4 and an oxygen sensor. They said the oxygen sensor was the only thing covered under warranty. A few days later they told me that it needed an fuel injector assembly not a fuel pump. Total cost for repairs $948 not to mention all the other costs just to get there. I guess I find it hard to believe that something like this was not caused by some sort of factory defect. I have had the Kia serviced every 3000 miles from day one at the dealership where I bought it. We have owned four Kia’s and have never had any problems at all. Could something like this just happen without there being a factory defect?
A. At five years old I wouldn’t call what happened a factory defect, but more that the part failed. The question becomes what is covered under the warranty. The emissions warranty on your vehicle like most is quite varied and somewhat confusing. Some components are covered by a three-year 36,000 warranty, some five years and 60,000 miles and some eight years and 80,000 miles. In addition to a five-year 60-mile bumper to bumper warranty and a 10-year 100,000 powertrain warranty. As an example, the ignition coil is only covered under the five year 60,000 mile warranty that unfortunately expired. At this point I would call Kia customer service and ask the representative to review the invoice and explain why certain items were not covered under the various warranties.
Q. I have a 2014 Honda Pilot with about 110,000 miles on it. The maintenance manual that came with the vehicle does not mention when the timing belt is to be changed. A friend who has the same vehicle was told by his mechanic that it doesn’t have to be changed unless you are using it for towing. Does it really have to be changed?
A. Honda like many vehicles uses a indicator based maintenance reminder system. The vehicle’s computer looks at driving conditions, mileage and temperatures to determine when certain items need service. On your Pilot the maintenance reminder is sub-menu number four. This includes, the timing belt, spark plugs and some other repairs. AllData the technical database that I use has a approximate conversion for the maintenance reminder to mileage. In the case of your Honda, the recommendation for a timing belt replacement is about 105,000 miles. If this were my Honda Pilot and I planned on keeping it, I would replace the timing belt, water pump and sparkplugs.
Q. I am the original owner of a 2002 Toyota Tundra. I had a front strut break recently and was told my truck won’t pass inspection in June because of rust, specifically the brake lines, fuel lines, steering gear box and frame. A few years ago, Toyota attempted to fix the frame (per a recall) by sandblasting it and applying a coating to it. My questions are: Is Toyota no longer responsible for the corrosion on the frame and brake lines? Also, one of the problems in the recall I unknowingly lost my spare tire. My other question is this, if they are not responsible is it time for me to part ways with my beloved truck. By the way, the body is in great shape considering its age and I’ve kept up with all the required maintenance.
A. The warranty of the frame typically is three years or 36,000 miles but due to the rust issue, Toyota extended warranty coverage to 2012. The warranty covered the frame, but not fuel and brake lines, exhaust and other components attached to the frame. At this point with extensive rust unless you are comfortable with the cost associated with a full frame replacement and replacement of all the other rusty parts it may be time to let your Tundra go.
Q. I have leased for many years. My current lease expires at the end of March. People are suggesting that I buy it this year. Especially because of the need for used cars today. The buyout seems very fair, and I have low mileage. I know I have to check my contract but am I responsible to pay taxes again? Of course, they charge you when you first lease. My plan is to pay it off completely. What are your thoughts?
A. Every vehicle manufacturer has “end-of-lease” consultants where they can answer all of your questions. Generally, taxes are rolled into the lease payments, so you may have paid some of the taxes. Also lease tax does vary from state to state. I agree that if you have maintained your car and it has been trouble free considering the crazy car market there is no better time to buy out a leased car.
Q. I drive a newer AMG Mercedes Benz and it requires premium fuel. One day I needed gas and the station only had regular. When I got home, I mentioned to my wife that I filled the tank with regular and the car may “feel” different. She said that she read this could void the warranty, is this true?A. If your car requires premium you should use it. In cases where there is no premium fuel available you can use a lower octane fuel in an emergency (per the Mercedes owner’s manual). A steady diet of lower octane fuel can damage the engine and can void the warranty.
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