October 28, 2011

∴ No @Hyundai Today

Today I heard from Ally, the service manager at Brown’s Leesburg Hyundai, who informed me that my car wouldn’t make it back to their lot until at least 4 PM. My last conversation with a Hyundai representative was this past Wednesday, when the service advisor called to say that my car would finally return from a third-party body shop today.

It’s taken about four weeks to repair what appears to be a design defect in the 2012 Sonata’s panoramic sunroof, the second of three nagging problems I’ve faced with my new car. They've also replaced the rear seat and headliner damaged by the body shop technicians.

I’m concerned about the quality and efficacy of the roof repair. The repair went beyond a simple disassembly - reassembly, involving “additional bracing” to dampen a loud creaking sound that developed about a month after I took delivery of the car. I wonder if the roof will retain the same strength in the event of a rollover. I wonder, too, how they will handle a repeat of the problem if the third-party body shop’s repair work breaks after the car is out of warranty.

Ally will test drive the car for the third issue after it returns, hopefully reproducing the cruise control problem. We’re expecting light snow in the northern Virginia area tomorrow so no testing will occur, but testing will continue Monday.

The cruise control problem intermittently manifests when it ignores repeated presses of the CANCEL button, or occasionally fails to engage when the SET button is pressed. Occasionally, too, when these problems arise, the radio volume buttons on the other side of the steering wheel also fail to work correctly. There is no pattern to these problems. Clearly, a cruise control that fails to disengage is a safety problem.

I asked what they will do if the cruise control problem can’t be reproduced in their hands. I’m told it will be up to a Hyundai engineer and a company representative who will be on hand Monday. The problem, which occurs sporadically, has not appeared throughout the time the dealer has had the car. The dealer’s initial plan to return the car to me, unrepaired, after their technician could not replicate the malfunction has lead to some acrimony.

It’s worth noting that I’ve found instances of other owners discussing the very same problems on their 2012 Hyundai Sonatas. I forwarded that information to Chris, the general manager of Brown’s. Here’s hoping they use it and my problems are permanently solved.