Won my Lemon Law case (steering and other issues
A story on my 2011 Sportage SX. Cliff notes version (warning- it's still long). I purchased a 2011 SX in April of this year. Turns out it was probably one of the first built- I think the date code was from January I later discovered. Anyway, on my test drive I knew the alignment was off, but have heard this can happen with new cars and would/could be corrected. Didn't think it that big of a deal. Slap my own hand here.
I also had the PermaPlate protectant applied and was bringing it back within a week of delivery for that. I choose that time to have them look at the steering. They did an alignment, which did not fix the issue. I took the car because I was going out of town the next day and the dealer agreed to look at it again when I got back as well as replace the faulty GPS unit (dead pixel) and work on some paint issues they created when applying the Perm Plate.
On my first road trip I started to notice the wandering back and forth, requiring constant correction to the point of driver fatigue. This on top of the alignment still not being right. (my mistake for taking it back from the dealer probably without a more thorough test drive). The steering wheel was off to the left by about an inch while SUV is pointing straight ahead. (The KIA oval would never look level on the steering wheel) What also developed at low speeds (10 miles an hour and under) was a sound and feeling in the steering column like someone was popping their knuckles anytime I turned the steering wheel. Most noticeable when navigating parking lot, side streets, etc.
Upon return from the road trip I went straight back to the dealer and explained the additional issues with the steering. It sat at the dealer due to their inability to staff technicians. They also couldn't duplicate the issues, so I finally went for a ride along with the service manager. He concurred with two of the three steering issues and the opened a 'tech line' case with kia direct. I had also contacted KIA direct myself and a attorney because it was out of service for so long.
I was promised a test drive of a identical model to check back to back. Never happened. Also, twice I was told KIA engineer would come out and look at it. Never happened.
Eventually the dealer replaced the steering rack and after repeated (as in more than 5) attempts at alignment had the steering wheel lined up and steering fixed (the wandering and bone pop sound and feel were gone). Kia fwd me some free service coupons and away I went.
Soon after, the foam grommet along the base of the windshield popped out from under the dash. This happened about the same time the sunroof started to have an air leak above 60 miles per hour that hindered conversation. Also, there developed a nasty rattle in the rear of the vehicle.
Back to the dealer and recontact with the attorney. Lemon law case was put together and submitted to KIA in August/September. It took KIA over 30 days to respond. The attorney actually prepared a law suit just to get them to respond. When they finally did, they agreed verbally to repurchase/replace/upgrade the vehicle. Great! Not so fast. . .
The first draft written agreement was that it was NOT a lemon law case and had NOT been out of service over 30 days (only 25 according to KIA- actual time out is closer to 45 days at this point). KIA would repurchase/replace but I would have to pay 2200-2300 dollar offset for mileage. I had first reported issues with with less than 100 miles on it. Attorney told them to pound sand and they came back with full repurchase/replacement agreement. Which is where I am today . . .
I would happily replace the vehicle (I love everything all the other SX owners love about theirs) because I don't hear about many issues. I think I got a bad apple. Because it's the KIA legal department we (attorney and I) are dealing with, it is my responsibility to find a replacement vehicle for whats called a transfer of collateral. This keeps the current loan intact. KIA will also pay Tax and license on new vehicle. I loose the service coupons because they were VIN specific. BUT, I can't find a stinking SX on the West Coast! Some FWD in Los Angeles area, but no AWD. It would be a 'leftover' new 2011 or 2012 SX AWD in blue, grey, or black cherry. They seem not to exsist much. So, in the end, I may end up with a buy back and loose a prorated amt (this part is still murky) on the Perma Plate because a replacement can't be found.
On the plus side, the state of California has a good lemon law. Any vehicle with attempted repair more than 3 or 4 times on the same issue and/or 30 days or more out of service (30 days part can apply to multiple issues, not just one from my understanding) qualifies a vehicle for lemon law if it's within the first 18,000 miles or a certain time frame. And, state law mandates manufacturer pays the attorney fees.
So, a story, a lesson, and more I guess. Wanted to share this as I know steering can be an issue in general with this vehicle. When mine was fixed I liked it, enough to want another one that doesn't suffer from so many issues.