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Discussion Starter #1
Hi to all Sorento owners in the Philippines.

I've actually posted a few more details on this problem I've been having in the main Kia Sorento forum, but I figured I'd drop a line to the Philippines guys, since you might have similar experiences, at least we can compare.

When I bought my Sorento here (CRDi LX), it did not come with an alarm system. None of the Kia dealers I spoke with had any alarm systems for sale, though they said I could easily install an aftermarket alarm.

I did just that, bought an AutoPage RF310 and had it installed by the same guys I bought it from. Pretty standard installation, I suppose. Except now my door lock actuators are failing, and Kia (Columbia) are saying it's because of the aftermarket alarm, and because it's wired to the central locking system, which it shouldn't be, at least according to them.

(If you want more details, you can check out my post in the Kia Sorento forum, under the topic heading "Problem with lock rotor, I think".)

My questions are:

- Have any of you guys bought alarm systems from Kia? Are they even available?

- Did any of the dealers warn you about not wiring any aftermarket alarms to the central locking system?

- For those of you who bought aftermarket alarm systems, who installed them -- the shop you bought it from, or your Kia dealer?

- If you know the details of the installation, would you know whether it was wired directly to the central locking system, or if they had to find another way to wire it?

- Any problems so far with any of your aftermarket alarms?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give. Much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey, mtmkia.

Would you be able to give me a few more details on the install? If in fact the guy who did mine screwed up, he sure isn't owning up to it, so I need to find out the facts so I can hit him with the info.

- does your car alarm have a shock sensor?

- does it have a car page function?

- does it include automatic release of the rear glass hatch? some of the info I've come across suggests that this might cause some problems, since there's a separate module for the hatch

- finally, would you know if it is wired directly to the central locking system, and/or to the ETACS? the guys at Columbia said you "can install an alarm, but not through the central locking system, as it has its own timer", ergo, you can have an alarm but not with a remote lock/unlock function (which isn't very convenient, if you ask me); someone else at Kia said the alarm was sending wrong inputs to the ETACS, or something like that

Thanks.
 

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Hi mtmkia

Would you share with us where you bought your car alarm system, who installed it and how much?

Thanks
menph
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Menph --

You looking to install a car alarm as well? How long have you had your Sorento?

Just in case, my alarm is an AutoPage RF-310, I got it at LA Car Accessories, along St. Paul, just off of Buendia. Cost P3,700 including the installation.

I'm going back there this afternoon to have a talk with the owner, am trying to find out how they really installed it, and see if they might have messed it up. In the meantime, I'm also waiting for Kia themselves (Columbia Motors) to give me a proper answer on how to wire the alarm, since they told me the other day they're "still studying" how to.

mtmkia --

Would be curious to know also who did your installation. Is the technician someone who really knows his stuff, you think, or just someone who knows how to read a chart and strip and solder wires? I really need to get a proper, objective opinion on what happened with my alarm and my car.
 

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monster

I got my car last May 2005. Soon, I will be in the market for an alarm system as the car has been running well so far. I am taking my sweet time before installing one as I am afraid the dealer might use it as an excuse in voiding warranty.

menph
 

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Monster,

Mannix has all the functions you mentioned. I got this from Goldrich which is our car accessory partner here in Kia Motors Quezon Avenue. SRP is around 14k. According to the goldrich installer, the installation requires for it to be tapped to the central locking system and other engine parts (for remote start) but not the computer box.

Your problem is the second case I've encountered. The first case was also a Sorento with an Alien alarm installed. All the actuators were replaced. We are also studying this rare case very carefully. Some Sorento owners who have installed car alarms haven't reported any problem so far.

From a dealer's stand point, please remember that installing any after-market product (alarm, bulbs, etc.) that may affect the efficiency or performance of the car voids the warranty of the particular system it affects.

From a consumer's stand point, I understand your situation. Rest assured that we will look into this matter.

Hyundai Mobis, which is the certified parts and accessory manufacturer of Kia has an alarm system similar to the Mannix Alarm but it costs the same which is 4 to 5 times more expensive than regular alarms.

mtmkia
 

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Discussion Starter #8
From a dealer's stand point, please remember that installing any after-market product (alarm, bulbs, etc.) that may affect the efficiency or performance of the car voids the warranty of the particular system it affects.

From a consumer's stand point, I understand your situation. Rest assured that we will look into this matter.
Thanks, mtmkia.

I've also written Kia Global about this, to see what they have to say. Unfortunately, I got conflicting reports from Columbia on what exactly was "wrong" with how the alarm was connected.

I understand the dealer's standpoint as well, but my argument to Columbia and Kia Global is that, in my opinion, the alarm is a necessity in some places where I end up driving to and parking, but when I asked several dealers if they had keyless entry/alarms available, they said they couldn't offer it, so I'd have to go aftermarket.

Also, as others have pointed out, and as I'm familiar with from having dealt with other dealers, they of course won't recommend aftermarket accessories and warn you that it might void the warranty (blanket statement), but if what Columbia said is true (when they diagnosed my unit, they said outright that Kia specifically warns against installing alarms in the Sorento because of the electronics, some kind of known incompatibility, the said), then I would've expected an explicit warning like that when I asked at the dealers, instead of a recommendation to buy alarms at other places.

Again, thanks, and would really appreciate you keeping us posted on this problem. I've asked Kia Pasay as well as Kia Cebu to continue looking into it as well, but the more people who are checking it out, the better.

What happened to that guy whose actuators all had to be replaced? Did he have to pay for it all? I'd feel bad for him if he did, knowing also that he didn't have any option but to go aftermarket, because of the lack of accessories currently available here in the Philippines.
 

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Your welcome Monster!

Columbian Motors has just released a memo regarding this incident. We have been furnished a copy of the electrical diagram to be used in installing alarms. As for us, we are already making sure that customers are well informed before accomodating their requests for installation of any after market product. For me, proper installation is the real key in installing after market products.

With regards to the other incident, the owner did not pay for everything. I absorbed some of the cost.

By the way, I am currently importing some sorento accessories from the US. Anyone who is interested can visit us Mondays to Satudays , 8am-5pm.

Thaanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great.

Now they release the memo, but up until the other day, when I called up the dealers to ask around, I was still getting a "no alarms here, sir, but you can go aftermarket", but they don't specifically warn about the "somehow unique" (Columbian used that description in a letter to me yesterday) electrical system.

And the other day, when my car was at the plant, they were saying they couldn't install it, the were "still studying it".

That's what really gets me -- all this conflicting information, all this finger-pointing, and at the end of the day, I still don't get an "I'm sorry for your inconvenience" from Columbian or an offer to pay for some of the cost or whatever (I think what you did, mtmkia, was more than just about the money, it just shows an interest in the customer's satisfaction), instead I get an "it's your fault" letter, even though I keep reiterating I didn't get all the information I needed when I asked around about installing alarms.

They haven't even offered to come with me to the alarm guy to show him how it should've been done. Without these guys to back me up and show proof (like an electrical diagram, whatever settings, etc), of course the alarm guy is going to say he didn't mess up, so that I can't claim the damages against him.

While the 7.5k I had to pay for that one actuator sucked, what pissing me off even more is Columbian's (and even Kia Global's) attitude -- indifferent, apathetic, unapologetic, and aggravating. It's like, "you're on your own, dude".

Am still fighting Columbian and Global on this, as they have not been able to give me any straight answers. They seemed to be more concerned with who was at fault; they didn't care that I had to lose time at work, had to drive back and forth from dealer service center to plant and then to the alarm guy and then service center again, and this was just to "argue" what had caused it, never mind that the longer they drew this out, the more inconvenient it was for me.

Good customer service would have been, let's diagnose it, we're the plant and we know for sure what's wrong, so let's document it beyond a shadow of a doubt (for purposes of deciding warranty claim, or who pays, later on), and then let's fix it right away so our customer can get his car back. Instead, I got yanked around for almost three days. pissing me off.

Sorry for the rant, but I also got yanked around while trying to buy my Sorento as well, so my experience with Kia as a company hasn't been good at all. Love the car, but I told Columbian and Kia Global that something really needs to be done about the dealer processes and attitudes here in the Philippines. No offense, mtmkia.

On another note, what accessories are you bringing in?
 

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None taken. I understand your point of view since I'm a consumer also and not just for cars.

You have to understand that dealers are different companies granted authority to sell the cars. In effect, every dealer has its own system of operations and so "service" and "policies" varies from dealer to dealer. As much as Columbian reinforces the standards of Kia (Global), they have their limitations too. Some dealers are dependent on Columbian, others are not since they carry other brands.

As a dealer, we have limitations too. We are pretty new (we started late November last year) and we're not saying we're perfect but this is what we are working on... to change the total brand image of Kia here in the Philippines. We are trying our best to differentiate ourselves from the old and traditional dealers. We value every opinion and criticism thrown at us or at Kia in general and we take this as a challenge in achieving total customer satisfaction and our mission to be the most preferred Kia dealer in the country.

I agree, the cars are great and the quality of after sales service is the key to every dealer's success.

With regards to the accessories, I import grilles, chrome trims, euro tail lights and more. Actually, I can import almost anything upon request of a customer. You can visit Customsorento.com. They have given me authority to distribute their items here. Local mag wheels made by Rota are also now available for the EX (units with cladding).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
but this is what we are working on... to change the total brand image of Kia here in the Philippines. We are trying our best to differentiate ourselves from the old and traditional dealers. We value every opinion and criticism thrown at us or at Kia in general and we take this as a challenge in achieving total customer satisfaction and our mission to be the most preferred Kia dealer in the country.
That's exactly what I've been wanting to hear from Columbian. Hear, and maybe see it demonstrated even just a little bit in their attitude when dealing with me, yet they haven't been proactive, they haven't shown "customer-first" thinking.

Kia Global is guilty of the same thing, for that matter; they always just pass me back to Columbian, even when I categorically ask if they might be able to intervene, even just to write a letter or at least tell me what they themselves think of the whole situation, but they haven't so much as granted me the courtesy of an actual reply.

In my experience so far (about 8 months now), I haven't gotten the feeling that either Columbian nor Global are as interested in improving the Kia brand as they say they are. Even when I've already specifically said in my letters that the very least I'm looking for is that attitude of "how can we make your life as a Kia owner easier?", because I'm not looking to screw the company anyway. I want the brand to get better, too, because I own a Kia now, and a d*mn fine one at that.

As for the dealers, I'm glad there are dealers like you guys (attitude-wise, at least; I'll try your service out firsthand one of these days :) ) and a couple of the others I've dealt with who think the way you (we) do.

That's also why I feel that Columbian or Global should take a more proactive interest in doing what they can to correct the other dealers who not only aren't helping the image, but are in fact making it worse. Granted that the dealers aren't the same company, but the distributor did make a deal with them to carry the cars, and so they should also hopefully push that they protect the brand.

Accessories... am interested in the replacement antenna (the 13" rubber antenna) because I don't like how the stock one snags on a couple of our low parking ceilings at the office, or some of the lower tree branches in my driveway.

Also considering fog lights, nothing too expensive, don't really need them so I'm really just thinking about them at this point, only because the front bumper moulding for the fog lights looks kind of bare without them. Any you can recommend? These fog lights seem reasonable.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
THE RESOLUTION
and some warnings

Just wanted to share with you all that the issue with the car alarm has finally been resolved, sort of.

To date, I am still not sure what really caused the problem because the people at Columbian who evaluated and diagnosed the problem did not document it thoroughly, apart from the diagnosis.

The guys who installed the alarm in the first place also helpfully volunteered to write out an incident report and do a wiring diagram of how they connected the alarm. They have provided neither, to date, and I am posting also to caution you out there against this shop.

Warning to other car owners!

I had my car tinted and bought my car alarm from the same place, Tint Room/LA Car Accessories (owned by the same guy), just off of Yakal/Buendia. The owner was very helpful when I went in to have my car tinted as well as got the alarm, but I was not happy with the first job they did, for both.

The tint job on the back window hatch was sloppily done; they used leftover strips of tint and didn't overlap them well, so there were gaps, and at the edges, they were of different lengths. I had them re-do it, using a single piece, and it looks much better. I just wish they'd done it right the first time.

As for the alarm, apart from the problems already mentioned, a few weeks after I had it installed, I was driving around when something fell on my foot. I looked down to find that it was the shock sensor, which had not been taped or secured in any way. When I checked under the dash, I noticed also that the alarm module itself was not mounted or taped down in any way, it was just wrapped around the steering column.

I taped the alarm and shock sensor down myself, but wrote the owner of LA Car Accessories about both issues, telling him I was quite happy with the tint job and also the alarm install (this was before the problems), but I hoped that my feedback would get him to tell his people to double-check their work before saying it's done.

Regarding the incident report and wirin diagram, he was the one in fact who volunteered to provide both, to help me try to figure out/prove what exactly the root cause of the problem was. He said he'd e-mail them to me, but he never did. Despite repeated follow-ups, and repeated claims on his end that he did mail it, I never received the e-mail.

So after two, three weeks of this, I suggested he print them out so I could swing by for the hardcopy. He said okay, but when I did, he said it would take time, it was still being done. I had to leave, but told him I would send the driver over to pick it up, but when the driver came back, he was told it wasn't done yet, to come back the following week.

And so it went, he would keep saying "next time", "next time". Then he claimed he'd printed them but left them at home, so I should text him the night before I planned to pass by, so he could bring it. I would text and call, but come the next day, I would get a new excuse. At some point, he stopped responding to my messages, and never returned my calls.

When I finally had the time to drop by the shop, he made another excuse up, something about the girl who printed the report being absent. As for the wiring diagram which he said was done, he asked a guy there to draw one on the spot, and he drew a super simplified, completely useless one, on a piece of scratch paper.

In short, this guy was yanking my chain. BSing me. Pretending he was on my side ("yeah, the dealers will really try to screw you") and being all helpful, but without any follow-through. And without courtesy to return my calls, or the balls to say, I don't have what you're asking for. Instead, he comes up with lame excuses, and at last, a sorry excuse for a wiring diagram. And still no incident report.

He was very friendly when it came to selling me something, but when it came time to do some customer support, he was next to useless. They sell some good stuff in that shop at decent prices, and their air-conditioned tint room is a good idea, but that's all they have going for them. Their work ethic is shoddy, and the owner is a BSer. I, for one, am never going back to that shop, and would like give you other guys out there fair warning about this place.

The good news

But I said the issue had been resolved. It took my tracking down the president of Columbian and having just one good conversation with him, but right away, he saw it from the customer's point of view, and could not believe all the inefficiencies, the excuses, and the finger-pointing that had happened, from the service center (Kia Pasay) and Columbian's own electronics guys (never mind the guys from LA Car Accessories).

So he told me to bring my car in to Kia Pasay, have them replace everything they should have replaced in the first place, he sent a guy over from Columbian to do the wiring, and have it all covered by warranty. Kia Pasay also had to refund what I had paid for one actuator, which, based on my conversation with Columbian and with other dealers, they actually overcharged for, and by quite a bit -- Columbian/other dealers said the driver's side actuator assembly was P4,300something, but I was charged P7,575!

So now I've got my alarm back and everything's working fine again, no thanks to the other idiots and lazy butts (in terms of showing initiative or helping a customer out) (this includes Kia HQ in Korea; I had phone conversations and e-mail exchanges with them, which got me nowhere) involved, but thanks really to my being such a pit bull about finding the right person to talk to, and thanks to that right person at Columbian. Finally, someone who actually walks the walk, instead of just talking the talk. Thank god for small miracles.
 
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