Bob Rohrman Auto Group
Fort Wayne, INConsumerAffairs Unaccredited Brand
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My daughter purchased a car from Mason in Lafayette and the experience has been terrible. She bought a 2014 and was assured that nothing was wrong with the car. He even told her he had the service department look it over since she was young and just starting out. She just thought this was a kind gesture and he was trying to help her. She purchased the car then he fell off the face of the earth. There was no responses from any messages then come to find out the crankshaft is broken. So she calls him upset and he tells her it's not his problem and to not come back. I expected a lot more from this dealership. I would hope that Mr. Rohrman would make this right in one way or another. We have used Rohrman Auto Group for years and we have recommended others use it because the service was great. Although, I will not use them or recommend them to anyone else unless this problem is addressed.
I strongly feel that I have been greatly taken advantage of. A single mom in dire need for a car since my car had been damaged in an accident. It was rather old, but still in better condition and clean compared to what I was sold. However, because of its age the insurance company totaled it. Long story short, after only having my 1997 Toyota for only a week, that I purchased from Bob Rohrman's, I discovered an oil leak. So taking it back to the dealer to address this issue, that didn't happen overnight, I'm told it would cost me $600.00 to replace an oil pan, of which 172.00 was for the pan and gasket that I can purchase for $46.00 at the most. They would not honor repairing it for free, so of course I left.
Upon further investigation, I have found the car only needs a gasket. Something they could have done and the dealer might have been out of $100.00. It's the most simple fix. If I had a place to do, I would do it myself. The Blue Book, fair value on my car if I were to sell it, which I can not do... is only around $400.00 at best... So, that means they already got 1600.00 from me for a piece of junk. Never again will I not go with my gut feeling and let circumstances influence my decisions. Bob Rohrman's sales isn't what they claim to be. They are not looking out for the customer, why would I ever think differently?
I was given an online quote by Gurnee Hyundai and I was called by one of the sales representatives. We spoke and discussed additional incentives that were applicable to the car I wanted to purchase. Next day I drove 25 miles to the dealership only to be advised by the sales manager that the information I got was inaccurate as the discount was not applicable to the car I was purchasing. He was very blunt in telling me to "accept his offer or leave and remain friend". His response showed lack of empathy and he did not make me feel valued as a customer especially because I did my homework before travelling to the dealership. Please provide accurate and complete information next time as you could have had my business and I would have been a happy customer.
I bought a new 2015 Prius and soon discovered that the GPS software was over two years old (2013). I asked for the software that should have been on the car to be installed and I was told that they refused to do that unless I paid $150. I called Toyota corporate and they could not understand the response, however they advised to get the GPS updated and send them the bill for reimbursement. I scheduled the repair. My wife drove 50 miles from our house to get the update only to be told they couldn't figure out how to do it. She came back later and they installed the update. Shortly thereafter the WiFi stopped working. They replaced the radio, which didn't fix the problem. Seems that the part that went bad was separate.
Another trip got the module replaced and the WiFi worked, but I discovered that when they replaced the radio they put one in with the 2013 GPS software. I called and they said, "Bring it back in for a new radio with updated GPS." Again my wife travelled 50 miles, one way, to get the repair. The new radio also had the old GPS software. We had them change the oil at the same time and they forgot to reset the maintenance screen. They then said to bring it back and they would install yet another new radio. When she brought them the car she also mentioned that the maintenance screen needed to be reset. They installed the new radio and forgot to reset the maintenance screen for the second time. When she called to complain the service manager said he could tell her how to reset the screen. This wasn't going to work, she can hardly send email.
I am very upset at the treatment we have received over these two situations. I feel they were unethical in selling me a new car with old software that did not have the new roads which were recently installed east of Ft. Wayne. I am upset that they seem to have no concern for the inconvenience of going from our home to Ft. Wayne, a trip of 50 miles, one way. I feel that they were very discourteous in not mentioning to my wife when she called about the last repair that they had an employee on staff who could take her across the street to the local mall, resulting in her having my daughter follow behind her in her car to provide them transportation to the mall while the car was repaired. I don't like being ignored while the help is making small talk with customers after THEY have been served.
Apparently I am not all that important. In any case there is not a chance in the world that I will ever patronize this establishment again. I will, for what it is worth, tell my friends and relatives my tale of woe, which may divert business to the other Toyota dealer in town. There did not seem to be any concern on the part of the service manager regarding this situation. There was no follow up on the repairs to ensure that they were correctly performed. I got the impression that since the oil change was a free one that they probably put the car wash kid in charge of it and he didn't know how to reset the maintenance screen. For what they charge for labor they need to use a better class of mechanic. One that knows more than how to read a computer screen.
Went there to buy a SUV. I have my own money and I did all my research on what type of car I wanted. This would of been my 5th car purchase. Salesman was very helpful and polite. When it came to financing and final part of purchasing the manager wanted me to wait from making a decision when my husband got there. I know more about cars than my husband. They treated me like I was stupid. They kept telling me "wait till your husband gets here" that he will make me understand the financing better. What they were really trying to do is screw me with a higher APR and less warranties. I kept saying "I can make this decision on my own, I don't need my husband." But he would just smile at me and say "why don't you just sit down and relax."
I had a down payment and since this was my 5th car purchase I knew what I was doing. My husband showed up and they swooped in on him telling him. "Well we tried to tell her this was her best deal but she wouldn't listen." That was enough... I asked for my car keys and that I changed my mind. When I reported their conduct to the main office. They ran my credit 36 times. 36 hard inquiries which made it hard for me to go to another dealer. This is what Bob Rohrman company means to me. They suck. Would never buy anything from them. This is a warning for all woman that choose to buy from them.
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John **, used car sales, let me drive four hours to look at a car that he told me was like new. When I got there, it had extensive cigarette burn holes and marks all through the interior. Left mirror broken completely. This car was a 2013 prius c with only 14k. Bob Rohrman was asking $1200 over KBB price. I was prepared to pay that amount if the car was as nice as John lead me on to think it was. I talked to him at least 5 times before driving down from Lansing mi. Thanks a lot John for wasting 4 hours of my Saturday.
Go visit Bob Rohrman Lexus if you want to remove any desire to buy a Lexus!! According to what Jeff Bracken (Group Vice President and General Manager - Lexus Division) who said at the 2015 car management briefing seminars "Lexus is losing market share". That tells me that Lexus has a little competition. I started looking for a Lexus over a month ago. I went to Schaumburg Lexus to buy a RX for the wife and after about 10 minutes talking to the sales rep... he walked away. Then a friend refer me to Arlington Lexus and was very excited about all he said to me about them! Went there and talked to the staff about buying a 2016 RX, we then left (it was late).
About 1 week later we test drove a NX and RX and loved both vehicles (well done Lexus)! Went inside the dealership after the test drives and the rep walked away from us and left us standing there, we went home. After about 1 week I get a call from a female associate asking me if there was an issue and I explained it. She said you need to meet with Marcin (the GM), On Monday I call to confirm my appointment and they knew nothing about it. I ended up meeting with somebody else of less stature. Here is the bottom line... on their homepage there is a picture of Marcin saying "Come see me for your best deal". I honestly can't see how they can give me the best deal when I left there and beat the price with 1 inquiry!
That building cost millions of dollars and needs to be paid for by selling cars, don't be fooled. I have stopped looking for a Lexus because of the attitude that all the dealers had was pretty much the same. There are many fine cars out there and I won't put up with these types of tactics. I'm not totally sold on not buying a Lexus from any dealer, I'm just not buying a car now because of the bad impression that these dealers left on me. I believe this is common practice at Arlington Lexus. I'm in the process of contacting Jeff Bracken and trying to give feedback about how his product is being represented by dealerships.
I took my Infinity QX60 to Rohrman's Fort Wayne Infinity dealer for routine service. They checked off all the items on the checklist but failed to do several items. I know for sure they did not check tire pressure. I got a low tire pressure light the next morning, and upon checking all four tires they were all low and very different pressures. Obviously, the tires had not been checked the previous day. Also, a few days later, the warning lights came on indicating that I needed to change oil, oil filter and have engine serviced. I had just been done. So, either they did not do anything or at least failed to reset the warning system. Since there is no way to know what all they did or didn't do, I have no faith that they did anything. I will not ever take a vehicle back to them for service again. I think they just checked off the checklist and took my money. I have contacted the dealership and they never responded.
Fort Wayne Toyota is in no way as good as Evans Toyota Fort Wayne. I do not work for Evans Toyota, neither am I paid to endorse them. I did business with fort wayne toyota in the past and will not again. They are anything but honest (especially in the toyota repair shop). We purchased a toyota from them over a year ago and now we are $6,000 in negative equity thanks to the $3,000 extended warranty and all the other garbage they sold us. Bottom line they are not "real" with you. I could go ahead and write a book about every negative experience I have had with them but I don't have the time. Do yourself a favor and don't go to fort wayne toyota.
Saw an ad on AutoTrader for $4555.00. I called the Fort Wayne North dealer to see if it was still available. Johan said, "Yes it is. I'll have it waiting for you". Got there, the car was ready, looked very nice. Drove it, decided it was the one. Went in to make the deal. Asked if there was any room to negotiate on price. I was asked to initial a paper, saying I would not haggle on price after this if he went to manager to get best price. Ten minutes later Johan and his manager come out and apologize to my wife and I. They say the advertised price was wrong, it is actually $6888.00. The manager said it was his fault he was in charge of the ad. Told us they needed to get $6,000.00 for it. Classic bait and switch! I hope others read this and don't fall for their B.S.. I left after feeling I was tricked.
This by far was the worst experience I have ever had! I worked with Trey ** and David **. First they tried to pressure me - Trey said "I'm not trying to pressure you but I can". Their sales tactics show how inexperienced they are. The store was empty and it still took 2 1/2 hours to even get to the last phase. When I was waiting I could hear Trey, another manager fooling around at the front desk, David as well. The other manager was screaming. I heard him call a employee "stupid". How you treat your employees reflects how the customer is treated. This dealership is ran by immature college students. If you don't believe it, go there, you will see. I left, did not buy the car.
Classic bait and switch. I even made sure to call the dealership before I made the long drive to look at a car I saw online. By their own admission the manager and the person I spoke with on the phone were aware that the price on the ad I saw was wrong but they let me and my husband drive there anyway and decided instead of calling me they would let us know about the mistake when we got to the dealership. We drove an hour to the dealership and they left me standing around for another half an hour or more while they checked with "whoever" to see what kind of deal they could make me if I purchased the car. They offered it to me at about $2,400 over the advertised price. I'm not quite sure if this is illegal but I am certain it is HIGHLY UNETHICAL.
I can't say anything about the cars they sell but beware that even calling the dealership ahead of time does not ensure you will see what was advertised online. I am not talking about one Rogue salesperson. The management was aware of all this and still let me make the drive in. Consequently, I left the dealership about six hours ago and the car is still listed at the deceptive price that brought me in! That was the last straw and what made me sit down to write this review. This dealership is not to be trusted.
The salesman told me the Ford Escape was a 6 cylinder, plus if I found a lower price they would honor it. Both after I bought the car I found to be incorrect. They baited then switched. The car they sold to me was a 4, I trusted the salesman, plus they did not honor a price I found for 3999.00 less. I will not refer this company to anyone, nor will I ever buy a Ford again. They did not even honor a free oil change that was on the contract. I was also informed that can tow. This is incorrect, I cannot tow a camper as I was informed I could. All I was is SUCKER TO THE SALES MAN. I want the company to correct this or I intend to go inform the media. I have been sitting on this for months and now since I just found out that I cannot tow what I want (which I just found out) THIS Made me even angrier. I would not trust a Ford dealer again.
I put 1000.00 down on a used car at Ft Wayne Toyota/Lexus/Kia. The finance rep ** had messed up the paperwork, and calculated my payments without considering the down payment. After the mistake was discovered, he called and said he would be sending me my 1000.00 via the mail. I followed up the next week, and he said he saw the check, and was waiting for his manager to sign it. A week went by, I followed up again, and he needed proof from me that the check cleared (he apparently couldn't figure out how to do this on his end). I sent him a scan of the cancelled check. "All was good", he said. His boss would sign the check and it would go into the mail. A week later, no check, and no response to my emails. I am out my 1000.00, and no contact numbers available to escalate my complaint.
Went through the ENTIRE process of trading in my SUV for a newer and different car. I signed almost every single contract there is and even did the stupid announcement in the dealership that I had "purchased" this vehicle. I was told congratulations and shook hands... then to be told, "There's a "hiccup". Now I need $1000 down after I signed for 0 down!!! Unprofessional and absolutely ridiculous!!! They even had MY truck already stocked and in THEIR inventory!!! Unbelievable!!!
I bought on March 5. Went back next day to get plates as none were put on truck. Next day after work noticed bed sloping severely to driver's side with small tears in back bed with metal frame protruding through it...Tears were rusted as this just not did happen. Also front driver's side body lower, 1 and 1/2 inches lower, than other side. Also horrible noises from frame and body in every bump. Rusted frame. Protruding through bed, and obvious severe problems with driver's side of truck. Put 18 miles on truck, half going back to dealership for a plate off my car trade-in. Need help. This truck should have never been on lot for sale!!
If you receive an offer for a $25.00 American Express gift card to simply come in and take a test drive, be aware. You will NOT be leaving there with a gift card in your hand. They send me this nice letter, a letter sent to me, an existing past customer who bought a $35,000 truck there in 2011. A polite letter with an invitation to come in and get the free gift card. Hmmm. Odd way to treat your existing customers. I had a gut feeling that I wasn't going to get my $25.00. Had to find out for myself. Funny how they just lost me for life because of the way in which they "invited me" to come to their dealership for a test drive and receive a gift. Very odd indeed. For this, I have a gift for them, I'm going to tell everyone I know about this fun day at Santa Bob's stealership.
You state that "customer is the most important person at the dealership.” Then maybe you can explain why I had to call the police to get information from your company when the front bumper of one of the vehicles driven by your employee hit the driver’s side door of my wife's car. I am planning on buying an Optima next spring. But it will not be done at any of your dealership based on the poor treatment by your senior manager on duty. Too bad he could not be as honest as the kid who admitted it was his fault. I find it interesting that once management stepped in customer service went south. The Service manager was nice but was hamstrung by the so-called man in charge. Why were you withholding the name of your employee that was driving?
Salesman was nice, his boss was an ** who talked down to me and said he knew this business and wouldn't find a better deal anywhere. Less than 2 hours later, I bought a new Prius, same identical one Rohrman had and saved $2700. I maybe 70 years old but not as stupid as the sales manager tried to make me feel. I will never go back for any reason whatsoever. They are out of business as far as I am concerned.
My husband and I purchased a brand new vehicle from Bob Rohrman Kia in Schaumburg on April 6, 2013 (2013 Kia Optima). To close the deal, we were offered heating/cooling seats in the front and only heating in the back, which the person who sold us the vehicle has since vouched for repeatedly. This was explained to us by the salesman as a "package". The salesman himself understood this to be a “package”. In other words, front heated seats came standard with a cooling option, and heated rear seats were part of that package deal. Written on the "I owe, you owe" was "heating".
When we first went to pick up our brand new car, only heating had been done in the front seats. Kia sent the vehicle to a third party vendor who drilled holes in the sides of the seats to put the switches in (the switches were located where they were not visible while sitting.) We explained that we were told heating/cooling in the front and heating in the back. At that time, Kia advised us to keep the loaner vehicle longer and they would send our car back to their vendor.
We called several times to check on the status of our vehicle and at one point, we were told by someone in the service department that our vehicle was not in their system because it had already been released back to us. This was not the case. We then asked to speak with the General Manager who had previously advised us to keep the rental longer so that our car could go back to the vendor. He advised us that our car was with the vendor, and that the reason his service department was not aware of that was because he “didn't have to tell them anything”.
Later that day, I received a phone call from the same individual in the service department who had previously told me that he could not locate my vehicle. He assured me that the work was being done on our car, and that the reason it was taking longer than expected was because they (by “they”, I assume he meant the third party vendor Kia hired to put in the heating/cooling seats) ripped the seat in the back. A few days later, we were called and told the work had been done, and we could come and pick up our car. Paperwork had to be re-signed because the dealership noticed that they had asked my husband to sign in a place where I was supposed to sign. We re-signed the paperwork, got our car and returned the loaner vehicle.
Within a couple days, we were able to locate the tear that the gentleman in the service department had referred to, and we also realized that the cooling option was never put into the front seats. We were called a third time to come in a re-sign paperwork, this time because the bank realized that $2,000 of our down payment had not been applied to the loan. At that time, we advised the sales team there that day that the cooling option had never been put in. We were told that the General Manager who assisted/approved in the sale of our vehicle had been fired, and they apologized for his behavior and demeanor. Once again, we were given a loaner vehicle and our car was returned to the third party vendor.
My husband and I had serious concerns about what exactly was being done to our vehicle. For example, with switches already put in that only addressed the heating factor, were more holes going to have to be drilled into our new car? Would the new switches be visible, or would we have to pull over and open the car door to see if the heating light or cooling light was on? We called and spoke with ** (last name unknown), the Service Department Manager, to address these concerns. We specifically asked that no further work be done until it could be explained to us how the new switches were being installed. We did not want more holes drilled into our brand new vehicle without our prior consent. ** agreed to contact the vendor and get back to me.
In the meantime, he had put us in contact with the new General Manager, **. We explained the history to Mr. ** and expressed our recent concerns of how the vendor was doing the work and the tear in the back seat. At first, Mr. ** was reasonable and pleasant and indicated that he wanted to pull our file and review it before offering a remedy. The following day, he called me and his tone had completely changed. In the file, he had found the “I owe, you owe” which merely indicated “heating”. Mr. ** was very rude and indicated that the dealership had already gone “above and beyond”. We again explained to him what we were told and how the “heating” package was described to us.
That day and the following day, we were in close contact with the individual who sold us the car and Mr. **. It was our hope that Mr. ** would try to make this right as we had spent over $26,000 on a new vehicle. Two days later, we were called and told that our car had come back from the vendor. This was odd because we had still not received a return call from ** indicating how the work was being done. This evening (May 14, 2013 - over a month after the car was purchased), my husband and I went to the Bob Rohrman Kia dealership of Schaumburg to meet with Mr. ** and inspect our vehicle. He showed us the new heating/cooling switches that had been put in the front and said that he could not locate the tear we had described. We immediately pointed out the tear and expressed our disappointment in how the heating/cooling had been re-done.
We now have a vehicle that was purchased as brand new that had non-working switches on the sides of the seats and a tear in the back seat. Mr. ** offered to repair the tear and explained that nothing could be done about the switches on the sides that no longer served a purpose (he called them “dummy switches”). My husband and I told Mr. ** that this was unacceptable, and we either wanted our money back, or a vehicle that did not have a tear or unnecessary dummy holes/switches. Mr. ** refused to meet either request. He demanded the loaner keys back, told us to take our vehicle and leave. Mr. ** ordered 2 other salesman to inspect the loaner vehicle we were given for damage, and to charge our credit card on file if they found anything. He also ordered the salesman to call the police if we tried to leave with the loaner vehicle again, and then he left.
We were treated like criminals and forced to leave with a vehicle that we were not satisfied with. On the way home from the dealership, my husband and I tested to the heating/cooling feature and when you turn them on, you hear a loud motor. This was supposed to be simple. We purchased a brand new vehicle, gave Kia $26,000 of our money, and in turn were promised heating/cooling seats in the front and heating in the back. A month and a half later, we now have a vehicle that has dummy switches on the seats, a tear in the back seat, a heating/cooling feature that sounds like a small engine motor when on, and a General Manager who will not fix any of it. The re-sale value of our brand new car has greatly depreciated because of these factors. Buying a new car is supposed to be a good feeling and a good experience. This was not.
I purchased my 2007 Nissan Armada from Bob Rohrman Nissan, Burns Hrbr, IN last year. I noticed that it was having numerous problems as time went on. After numerous calls, I finally got an appointment with the service department in Nov. They were changing my oil every 250 miles and then 500 miles since that time. The motor is bad. I purchased the warranty that they promoted and sold to me; however, they are not turning in the vehicle to replace the motor. They, instead, have decided to trade me out of the vehicle, not giving me what I paid for the vehicle with the bad motor and then are trying to put me in vehicles that I either have to pay additional money towards or putting me in cheaper vehicles. I want to be treated fairly. I don't feel that it is ethical that I was sold a bad vehicle in the 1st place. To correct this situation, they are making money off me 3 times. How is this ethical? There is something fishy with the whole situation! I need answers and actual results!
I purchased a 2009 Saturn Vue just last month, have had the privilege of driving it 2 out of 5 weeks. Transmission went out approx. 3 days after purchase and has been "fixed" 4 times since. I wonder if they will finally put a new tranny in it this time? Everyone at Bob Rohrman's has been extremely unhelpful and rude in getting this matter resolved and even lied about contacting my bank about switching vehicles. My bank says, "get a lawyer," and I think I will. Shame on you, Bob, for hiring such rude people, and not trying to satisfy the customer. Shame on you, Bob, Tim and Luke for such poor and even bad customer service.
Premature failure of the passenger restraint air bag system due to failure of a pressure sensor in the passenger seat. Suzuki refuses to repair it as they consider it out of warranty. The dealer wants $1,200.00 to replace the seat.
In April 2011, we bought new Toyota Camry. Within one week, the tire pressure light started coming on. We bought the car in Fl.and since that time we have added air to the tires several times. In summer 2011, we took it to dealer to have it checked out, they could not find anything wrong. Said bring it back if it happened again. Today we took it back, still said they couldn't find anything wrong. Said bring it back if it happened again. I'm not doubting them. I'm just wondering if anyone else has had this same problem. In 2007, we bought new Camry. Had it serviced, tires rotated every 5000 miles, it had Michelin tires on it, 30,000 miles had to replace all 4 tires due to severe cupping. We just don't want the same thing to happen to this one. Thought maybe someone else may have had the same problem. Any thought you could give this matter would be well appreciated. Thank you very much.
On December 6, 2008 we took the car back in to Rohrman to have the engine noise checked again.
The car had just under15,000 miles on it at this point. This time they said that there was excess sludge in the engine and we had a discussion about the reason for the sludge. Essentially the service tech stated that even though the service schedule in the manual stated 7,500 mile oil change intervals, Hyundai considered any service to be severe service and that meant that the oil should be changed more often. I explained that I had already changed the oil twice, and was due to change it at 15,000 miles.
He also stated at this time that the engine was a quart low on oil. He added a quart of oil and said the engine should be back flushed. We took the car home and the next weekend I chemically flushed the engine and changed the oil. I flushed the engine and changed the oil again in February 2009 at 17,000 miles (2000 miles later). I continued with regular oil changes and service until one fateful day in January 2010. The car had just over 31,000 miles and 6 oil/filter changes, the last one in October 2009 at 29,900 miles.
We pick up the story on January 26, 2010. These are the actual notes I took of the incident and conversations I had as well as my thoughts as we went through this ordeal. The information below is the actual information shared with the Bob Rohrman Hyundai service manager and general manager as well as Hyundai customer assistance and as far as I know the Hyundai regional service manager (I am unsure because right until the end his contact information was kept from me). I also emailed this to Bob Rohrman himself but am unsure as to whether he ever received or read it.
January 26, 2010 Jennifer called and said that the engine oil light illuminated a couple of times while braking, and then came on steady. I told her to stop somewhere, wait 5 minutes and check the oil. She reported back that the oil level was full. I told her it must be a sending unit issue, and since she was only a few miles away to just take the car home. I got home and took the car to the barn to check the problem. Checked oil, it was full. I checked all the belts, fluids and hoses--all seemed okay. I started the engine. The oil indicator light stayed lit. I noticed a knocking sound. Accelerated and decelerated (3000 rpm approximately) a few times to try to determine source of the knocking. I could not tell if it was upper or lower end. Took the car back and parked it in the garage. I went to check the internet for known issues and really found none related other than some after market oil filters (Fram in particular) can cause audible engine noise.
January 27, 2010. I talked to Hyundai Service and explained what took place above. I was instructed to bring the car in to diagnose. I asked if it was wise to drive the vehicle with an oil indicator light illuminated and a full oil sump and he said if I was not comfortable, I could call Hyundai Roadside Assistance and gave me the phone number. I then talked to a colleague at work who had previously worked as a Service Tech for Rohrman Auto Group and he too said that the after-market filters caused noise in the Hyundai engines.
He suggested installing a Hyundai filter to see if that would help. Jennifer purchased a Hyundai Filter and I drove the car from the garage to the barn, removed the Wix filter that was installed, and installed the Hyundai filter. Started the car and the oil indicator lamp was still illuminated and the knock was still there. I removed the Hyundai filter and reinstalled the Wix oil filter so that Rohrman could diagnose the issue with all of the components present at the time of the failure. I called Hyundai Roadside Assistance to schedule towing. While repositioning the car so the tow vehicle could hook up, the check engine light illuminated. The car was towed to Dealer by Jims Towing.
January 28, 2010. Hyundai service manager called Jennifer just before noon. He told Jennifer that the engine was failed and the reason for the failure is "lack of oil changes", and that pictures (as evidence) had already been taken for Hyundai. That afternoon approximately 4:00 pm, Jennifer and I visited Mitch the service manager. I gave him copies of the service record, oil and filter purchase history, as well as technical data for the lubricants and filters that had been used in/on the vehicle. Mitch then showed me the sludge in the top end valve train, and told me that only lack of oil changes could cause sludge like that, and that he had sent pictures to Hyundai, and that the matter was "out of his hands".
He stated that Hyundai made the decision not to honor the warranty based on the pictures. I asked the service manager if I authorized the repair work would that affect Hyundai's reimbursement to me if Hyundai later agreed to honor the warranty. He stated that I would receive a reduced reimbursement because the cost of the engine was less to Hyundai under the warranty than if I purchased it. He then told me my only option for pursuing a warranty claim was through the Hyundai Motor America Customer Assistance Center.
I spoke with Erika at Hyundai Motor America Customer Assistance Center this evening. She told me that it was the dealer's service manager who had discretion over warranties. She explained that the dealer made the all warranty decisions. When I expressed my disagreement with the dealer's findings and explained (see below), she said that she would forward the case to regional for review. Case number ** has been entered. The review process at regional will take up to 4 business days. (I think I hear the circling of the wagons.)
"Lack of oil changes" is not the sole cause of sludge formation and is a readily disputable claim. There are in fact many possible reasons for the formation of engine sludge. Fact: sludge formation is caused by oil being subjected to abnormal operating conditions, such as high heat, excessive blow-by gasses, glycol contamination, poor crankcase ventilation, poor air filtration, etc. Fact: sludge formation, if severe enough, can block the oil passages and oil pump pick up screen, resulting in oil starvation.
Fact: engine sludge formation issues have been acknowledged by Audi, Volkswagen, Lexus, Toyota and Chrysler and Saab, causing them to extend warranties (in some cases up to eight years) due to engine sludge formation issues. If "lack of oil change" was the "only" reason for sludge formation, I am relatively certain that these manufacturers would not have taken such measures.
I vehemently disagree that lack of oil changes resulted in the failure in this case. I find the unequivocal statement to be a rather insulting as I feel I am being am being called less than truthful with virtually no credible failure analysis having been performed. The sole failure analysis mentioned and pointed to by the service manager was the visual inspection of the topside of the engine head and valve cover. I saw nothing that would lead me to believe that any further failure analysis was performed. The lower end of the motor (oil pan, oil pump, oil pickup screen, main bearings, rod bearings, crank shaft, cylinders etc.) had not been inspected. The oil pan had not even been removed.
There was no mention of an oil analysis to determine the contamination, condition, grade, viscosity etc. of the oil at the time of the failure. Photographs of sludge only show the existence of the sludge (which is not in dispute), not the cause. I am an industrial equipment mechanic and reliability engineer with over 25 years of experience. I know of no one who would ever form a definitive opinion of equipment failure root cause on a mere visual inspection of one area of the equipment without a full and complete inspection of all components. The inspection in this case was less than thorough and is far from definitive.
There was an upper engine noise in the fall of 2008, which was brought to the dealer's attention and summarily dismissed. Weeks later, with the engine noise still prevalent, there was a rapid formation of sludge. This sludge was not present during the initial dealer visit for the engine noise issue just weeks earlier.
I submit that whatever was causing the excessive engine noise was a key contributing factor to the sludge formation, and not the other way around. The oil in this vehicle has been changed per the service schedule in the owner's manual since it was new. Even if I had missed an oil change (which I did not) with today's synthetic oils and highly efficient filtration, the likely-hood for an occurrence of sludge formation of this nature would be infinitesimal at best over such a short mileage span. If I am at fault anywhere in this, it is that I did not more aggressively pursue the issue with Hyundai when the initial problems occurred in 2008.
The unequivocal statement that the damage to this engine was caused by "lack of oil changes" is ridiculous on its face. I am not stating sludge formation is a common occurrence with Hyundai engines. As a matter of point my research shows that it would be a rare occurrence to be sure. That does not mean, however, that sludge formation for reasons other than lack of oil changes is not possible. It is in fact possible, and I believe the undiagnosed engine noise during the fall of 2008 contributed to the sludge formation that eventually caused the engine failure. It is not unreasonable to assume that it is likely that a small percentage of even the most reliable mass produced engines would encounter a problem.
I have the service record to document the oil changes performed on this vehicle. I personally performed all service on this vehicle and I will continue to doggedly pursue this matter by any and all legal means necessary to garner a satisfactory settlement. I expect that all engine components will be maintained in their current condition and be made available in the event that analysis by an independent third party becomes necessary.
January 29, 2010. Spoke again with Hyundai Motor America Customer Assistance Center to inquire about submitting documents. I was told to fax them in. I called Hyundai Motor America Customer Assistance Center again to let them know that I had faxed this in. In the mean time a fellow reliability engineer reminded me after looking at my service records that an internal antifreeze (glycol) leak would result in engine sludge formation. My service records indicate that I added antifreeze as a part of the October 2009 service. I believe it is possible that a small glycol leak went undetected and was the cause of the engine noise and the oil sludge formation. I do not believe that the dealership performed any pressure tests on the cooling system, and I know they did not analyze the engine oil. I have enough for a sample to send for independent analysis to check specifically for glycol contamination. If this warranty is denied I will remove the vehicle from the lot and have a certified mechanic perform independent testing prior to authorizing Hyundai to replace the engine with a certified remanufactured engine.
Those test results, together with the oil analysis results, may be used should further legal action become necessary. January 29, 2010. Approximately 1630 hours, I stopped by Home Depot to purchase a container to collect oil sample from Hyundai Elantra for submission to Oil Analyzers INC., an independent oil analysis vendor. At approximately 1700 hours we arrived at Bob Rohrman Hyundai to collect the sample. While retrieving the sample the service manager reiterated that the Hyundai regional rep has based and will stand by the decision not to honor the warranty in this case, based exclusively on the pictures that the dealer has provided. When I told him I intended to follow up with a pressure test of the coolant system and heads if necessary, he replied that all he did was take pictures of the head and valve cover and send them to Hyundai.
While getting the oil sample a visual inspection of the underside of the drive train confirmed that neither the oil filter or the oil sump had been removed for inspection, further evidence that no thorough technical inspection was performed to determine if there was a mechanical issue that resulted in the formation of engine sludge.
Again, a visual inspection and a few digital photographs is not a proper evaluation by any measure, and the fact that the dealer service manager believes that this is his only responsibility to the customer gives me great pause. The statements that he has made lead me to conclude that he is not there to serve the customer. He is not even there to serve as a neutral third party. It would seem that he is there to serve the interests of the dealership and Hyundai. Low warranty numbers and bonuses seem to be more important than putting forth even a reasonable effort to get all of the facts prior to drawing a conclusion.
Eyes and pictures show the end result they do not and cannot determine what caused the end result. Only a diligent and complete root cause analysis backed by actual technical data could possibly determine what caused the formation of the sludge. If a thorough technical analysis showed that there was no mechanical defect that pointed to the sludge formation, I would be satisfied. But to this point none has been performed and Bob Rohrman has not been willing to perform even the most basic tests to prove or disprove their claims. Therefore, upon notice of denial of this warranty claim I will commission a full independent root cause analysis, and thorough inspection of all suspected components. I may well lose this fight, but I have absolutely no intention of rolling over and allowing Bob Rohrman Auto Group and Hyundai America steamroll us.
Saturday, January 30, 2010. I have found the oil filter removed during the October 2009 oil change. Additionally I have contacted Amsoil and Visa for copies of the invoices relating to my oil and filter changes. I have also reminded The Rohrman general manager and service manager of the Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975 and Hyundai's obligation to prove that the oil caused the failure.
From this point forward has not been shared with Rohrman or Hyundai yet. Thursday, February 5, 2010. Late afternoon, Rohrman and Hyundai notified me that the Hyundai regional manager had been in and had the service department remove the oil pan for inspection (finally). He took pictures of the sludge in the pan, and the plugged up oil pick up screen, and determined the cause of failure to be oil starvation due to excess sludge. They would not honor the warranty.
They just don't understand despite my repeated attempts that I do not dispute the presence of sludge, I dispute the cause. And they still refuse to do even the most basic failure analysis. I have also sent oil samples to OAI for testing. Monday, February 8, 2010. Had vehicle towed to Butler Hyundai in Indianapolis. Service department will perform diagnostic testing and replace the engine.
Wednesday, February 9, 2010. I stopped by Bob Rohrman Hyundai to pick up the remaining engine oil from the car. The Rohrman service manager stated that the December 10, 2008 service record indicates that the vehicle required 3 quarts of oil, and that it now looked to him as if the engine had been "run out of oil". This stands in stark contrast to earlier statements that the engine failure was caused from "lack of oil changes". It also contradicts what I was told about the quantity of oil added at the Dec. 2008 Service.
If it was 3 quarts low, where did the oil go? It was not leaking externally, therefore, one must assume the engine was burning excess oil. I adamantly assert that I performed the oil changes as I have documented; however, even if the assumption is made that I performed no oil changes prior to December of 2008, this kind of sludge formation and/or the consumption of 3 quarts of engine oil in 15,000 miles is extremely unlikely without some other mechanical problems.
The warranty service record from Bob Rohrman Hyundai is dated December 10, 2008. Several things are wrong with this record: 1.) The actual date of the service was Saturday December 06, 2008 (not Wednesday the 10th). 2.) The spark plug wires were replaced under warranty without my knowledge or consent for some unknown reason. Ignition spark can affect temperature, high temperature can lead to sludge formation. Rohrman cannot tell me why the wires were replaced the record does not say (convenient?). 3.) I was told at the service appointment that sludge was present, and they added a quart of oil. The official record I am told now says they added 3 quarts of oil.
Thursday, February 11, 2010. I went to meet the service manager at Butler Hyundai Indianapolis. He had performed a pressure test on the coolant system and found no problems. More tests of the emissions system, and the PCV system would be performed. The new engine will cost me just under $3500.00 and should be installed the week of February 15, 2010. Depending on their complete analysis and the oil sample testing, I will decide if there are grounds for legal action against Hyundai. Butler Hyundai at least is willing to perform the testing that Rohrman had absolutely refused to do.
In pondering things on the way back to Lafayette on Thursday, it dawned on me that a sample of oil taken from the failed engine with over 1000 miles on the oil that was placed in an already nearly catastrophically failed engine may not be as definitive as I would like. I am a reliability engineer for industrial equipment, and understand all too well that once the damage reaches a certain point it can become very difficult if not impossible to pinpoint the specific origin of the damage.I may never find the "smoking gun" that I need to force Hyundai to honor their obligations, but you and I both know that a 15,000 mile engine does not burn 3 quarts of oil, and it certainly does not form this kind of sludge without some other contributing mechanical condition. If Hyundai cannot do the right thing and I cannot explicitly prove mechanical failure, I may be forced to chalk it up to experience and realize that a 100,000 mile warranty is useless unless it will be honored, and will never consider the purchase of a Hyundai again. I might even be happy at this point if they were willing to just meet me half way!
What really bothers me the most in all of this is that I believe that Bob Rohrman Hyundai had a responsibility to perform at least a basic failure analysis on this engine and repeatedly refused to do anything other than take pictures of the sludge. That is like taking pictures of a corpse and saying that no further investigation is needed to find the cause of death.
I cannot figure out if Rohrman was intentionally looking to void the warranty for monetary gain or if they are just that lazy or inept. Either way I would not let them wash my windows, let alone service my vehicles. By denying the warranty Rohrman stood to gain by charging me more than Hyundai would have paid, and they keep their warranty numbers lower, thereby ensuring an increased manufacture incentive. The dealer has no incentive to work for the consumer, and every incentive to void every warranty they can.
I am sure that Hyundai has run the numbers and they know that a law suit will potentially cost me more than the engine replacement and, therefore, have no incentive to honor their obligation. The consumer is in a really bad position and has little recourse. All I really know is that Hyundai’s Americas Best 100,000 Mile Warranty isn’t worth the paper it is written on as they do not stand behind it.
The consequence is $3900.00 in repairs. I will update this further as things develop but I am doubtful that I will be successful in this effort. This has been my story take from it what you will, but remember the old Latin phrase: “Caveat emptor” or “Let the buyer beware.”
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