Locked out

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Buying a car from an auto dealership and using the service department is one of the biggest jokes that can be played on a consumer. They tell you when you buy the car that you have a warranty, you have lifetime oil changes, you have access to loaner cars if needed…they tell you a lot of things.

What they don’t tell you is that they are severely understaffed (which has only gotten worse). What they don’t tell you is that their service department hours are limited to the hours you are working (no weekends), so it makes it virtually impossible to schedule even routine maintenance without having to take time off. What they don’t tell you is that they don’t really have loaner cars, just that they will get a rental for you IF they deem it necessary.

So, the long story…

I bought a 2018 Kia Niro almost four years ago. I like the car. I really haven’t had any issues with it up to this point. But, the routine maintenance has been a challenge for the reasons listed above. It’s just hard to schedule an appointment.

About three or so months ago, the car started to give me issues when unlocking the car. Initially, the car wouldn’t recognize when I walked up to it (mirrors open and lights come on). The keyfob is the trigger for this function so I started keeping my eye on how often it would happen. It slowly began to progress to the point that pushing the button on the keyfob wouldn’t unlock the car. Pushing the button on the door handle wouldn’t unlock the car. Eventually, after pushing the buttons for several minutes, it would eventually unlock.

It did what most people would do and I assumed the battery in the keyfob was going dead. Afterall, it’s been four years with lots of use. I was actually surprised it took so long for it to be needed. So, I replaced the battery.

Did is solve the issues? Nope. It seemed to have made them worse.

Not only was it still difficult to get the doors unlocked, but now suddenly the car wouldn’t start! The car is a push button start, so there is no auxillary ignition slot for a key. Now I was getting a message that the keyfob needed to be in the car – while I was holding it while inside the car! Again, after furious button pushing, eventually it would start. But now I am wondering when I would be stranded for good if something didn’t happen soon…

So, I took the car to the dealership (last Wednesday) to see if they knew if there as an issue that was something fairly easy. They initially discussed that the keyfob might need to be reprogrammed to the car.

Cost? Approximately $75…

Mind you, there is NO OTHER WAY to start the car as there is no key. The keyfob is the key!! So, it is kinda required equipment. To charge a customer for this is absurd!

I complained loudly. The car is even still under warranty. There should be no charge for this!

They decided they better investigate further and find out if that really is the issue. So, an appointment is needed. Remember the whole schedule thing? Can’t do it and I am afraid I am going to be stranded. Soonest they could get me in would be five days (a Monday) because their “electronics guy” is out for training. They offer to pay for a rental while I wait for the car to be looked at.

OK, I supposed. Whatever.

Monday comes, no call from the dealership.

I call. I am told they are too busy to look for the paperwork, they’ll call me back. Two hours later, I call back. I am now told that the car wasn’t looked at and that the “appointment” wasn’t really an appointment so much as they were going to see if they could squeeze me in. I am told they will for sure get to it tomorrow…Tuesday…as yet, still no call with a status update.

Are car dealerships set up this way just to be a pain in the ass? Does everyone else have an issue with their car dealership after purchasing a car?

“Back order”

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Took my car in for service today. It was actually needed before the long drive over the holiday, but timing just didn’t work well. Before I left for vacation, I set up the appointment for when I got back. That works out to just about two weeks before the the appointment.

The appointment is the scheduled 45k mile checkup. This is the one recommended by the manufacturer. So I expected, given the lead time, that there would be no issues in completing the work needed for this appointment. As a business, I expected they would have all the stuff they needed for the appointment lined up before the appointment. That would be good customer service – so that it is all done in one trip.

I guess I expected too much.

They don’t have the air filter needed for my car. This is the dealership, mind you.

It’s the whole, “We’re having a hard time getting parts” and “Everything is back ordered” and “Come back another day and we can just slap that thing in” and “We’ll have it by 3:00 (later) today.”

So now I need to make a second trip over here because you didn’t check to see if you had all the parts needed for this very specific check up?

That’s not good customer service.

Good grief.

Anyone else experienced this whole “back order/supply chain” excuse lately? That seems to be a pretty standard answer when a business can’t delivery on the services they are selling. Is this REALLY that bad of an issue or are businesses just using it as crutch?

Kind of like the whole “national coin shortage”? There is’t one really. Business seems pretty normal to me.

Am I being unreasonable? Should I give grace for something like this when there was time to prepare or give me a head’s up before the appointment?

Defrost

full frame shot of snowflakes

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Programmers for my car’s electronics got it wrong. Not sure what the thought behind it was, but it’s irritating nonetheless.

My 2018 Kia Niro has been a great car, but after having it a year now there are a few things that bothersome. They are probably small things, but you know when you spend that much money on things you want to make sure people have spent time on the little things because that’s what makes it stand apart from the others.

Well, there are two issues that both have to do with the way the Defrost functions work.

First, the defrost for the windshield has a weird setting. When the function is set to be used, the fan automatically comes on at Level 3, EVERY TIME you start the car and no matter where it was previously set. Thus, it starts blowing cold air the second the car starts. I am constantly turning down the fan. I do like to always have the fan running for air glow, but it would really be nice if it just stayed at the level I set it rather than resetting itself every dang time.

Finally, the Rear Defrost button does’t have an automatic turnoff timer. It just stays on and on and on, until you look down and see it is still on and turn it off. How stupid is that? I think every car I have own previously had an automatic timer on that function.

I was recently asked if I had found anything I didn’t like about the car. There are very many things I could name off. These were two that came up right off the top of my head.

 

Really bugged

close up of raindrops on the windshield

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No indicator.

No indication something bad was about to happen.

Strangely odd in a modern car filled with tech and sensors.

On the way home during the latest road trip across the state, I was flying along the highway (in one of those sections that isn’t under construction) and bugs are splattering all over the windshield. One particularly messy bug (must have been a big, fat, juicy one!) messed up the windshield.

I went to clean the windshield and the washer fluid spurts a few times and then nothing. Nothing! So the wipers pretty much spread all that juiciness all of the windshield. Now my semi-obscured view of the roadway is worse than when I turned on the wipers.

That’s odd. I didn’t get a warning indicator on the dash or anything. How can I be out of wiper fluid? I thought to myself. As it turns out, this modern car that is only a year old has no such thing. NONE! As I filled up the fluid last night (a whole gallon) I took a look at the owner’s manual. Lot of dashboard indicators are shown and explained. None for wiper fluid. What??

I like my car. I did research and I feel like I got a good deal when I purchases it. But, this one feature sullies the otherwise good feelings I had about it. The 2018 Kia Niro has no windshield wiper fluid indicator. What was a five star car is now a three star car. I feel cheated. Scammed. I may have to trade the thing in now.


 

What feature on your car were you surprised it didn’t have, either before or after you bought it?