Niro severe rear wheel misalignment - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Niro severe rear wheel misalignment

Watch out for Niro rear wheel misalignment - which you may not discover until they refuse to rotate your tires because they're worn out! This happened to me at my recent 15,000-mile service on my 2018 Niro PHEV.

At the 7,500-mile service & tire rotation, it was noted that "the rear tires were 1/32" more worn than the front" and "the front tires were in better shape", but it did not indicate there was a misalignment.
At the 15,000-mile service, the local dealer would not rotate the tires due to excessive wear on inside of the rear tires. They offered to sell me replacement tires which would take 3 days to get there for a high price, which I balked at, and they told me to see a Michelin dealer about the tire warranty. Right away I went to a Michelin dealer who told me the tires were worn due to extreme misalignment, not covered by Michelin warranty.
I then went to a local tire shop and purchased new tires and an alignment. However, they could not align the rear due to a stripped alignment bolt that could have only been stripped before the vehicle was purchased. I contacted Kia dealer where I purchased the vehicle (not the same one as the local one) and they said they don't have a service shop and only do new vehicle inspections and I'll have to go to Kia corporate with a claim.
So I had the tire shop order a new bolt from Kia and complete the alignment on the new tires. Before I left there, they told me they know Kia dealers perform final alignments on new vehicles. Everything cost more than $500.

After I had all my paperwork together including pictures of the tires, and before & after alignment numbers, I submitted an online claim to Kia Customer Service. Today - 3 weeks later - I received a call from Kia Customer Service to tell me that my claim was denied. The reason it was denied is that I did not have the misalignment determination, new alignment and new tires purchased from a Kia dealer. They told me Kia does not believe or trust anything coming from a 3rd party.

I don't believe Kia treated me fairly, especially as this resulted from a fault with the original vehicle, regardless of where it got fixed. Does anyone have any ideas for recourse?
What Kia should have realized is the negative publicity from this could cost them many times over what it would have been to settle this fairly.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 05:20 PM
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Someone else here reported the same issue. A search might find the thread.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yticolev View Post
Someone else here reported the same issue. A search might find the thread.
I think this might be the thread / post you're thinking of.

https://www.kianiroforum.com/forum/2...wet-roads.html

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Originally Posted by lawdog View Post
Dealership just called and said the rear suspension was so bad that they were replacing the rear tires after 4500 miles. They advised the rear suspension was so out of alignment that they contacted KIA because they had never seen anything like it before. They are going to replace any parts that need it and realign everything. Hopefully this was just a car built on a Friday and its not going to be indicative of the overall quality.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 10:30 PM
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<< I contacted Kia dealer where I purchased the vehicle (not the same one as the local one) and they said they don't have a service shop and only do new vehicle inspections and I'll have to go to Kia corporate with a claim. After I had all my paperwork together including pictures of the tires, and before & after alignment numbers, I submitted an online claim to Kia Customer Service. Today - 3 weeks later - I received a call from Kia Customer Service to tell me that my claim was denied. The reason it was denied is that I did not have the misalignment determination, new alignment and new tires purchased from a Kia dealer. They told me Kia does not believe or trust anything coming from a 3rd party. >>

WOW, that is not good customer service from dealer or central office! This is likely an outlier issue. Non-the less, based on your descriptions, it certainly sounds like this should be covered under your warranty & hope Kia will cover it. FWIW several sites I consider reputable (such as True Delta) suggest that Kia can be very stingy when it comes to warranty issues.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sstr Maria View Post
Watch out for Niro rear wheel misalignment - which you may not discover until they refuse to rotate your tires because they're worn out! This happened to me at my recent 15,000-mile service on my 2018 Niro PHEV.

...


I don't believe Kia treated me fairly, especially as this resulted from a fault with the original vehicle, regardless of where it got fixed. Does anyone have any ideas for recourse?
What is the manufacture date for your Niro (you can find this on a sticker on the door jamb for the driver's door)? There is a TSB for the HEV for rear lower control arm replacement for cars manufactured from September 26, 2017 through January 22, 2018 (scroll to page 3 from that link and expand the one described as "July 16, 2018 MANUFACTURER COMMUNICATION NUMBER: TSBCHA089_R2"). That's probably not your situation, because it describes the complaint as a rubbing sound instead of an alignment problem, and it looks like you're driving a PHEV instead of an HEV. Still, if your car was manufactured at about that time, it might be worth pursuing.

jmurphEV posted a link to one of the threads where I read about a rear wheel alignment problem. Your post on that same thread was the other one I recall reading about.

It sounds like you might be getting push back from someone who's job description probably entails pushing back at least a little as part of their standard operating procedure. I'd be inclined to return the favor, ensure that I had communicated reasonably and clearly, and persistently. Since you have photos, you might want to be sure that you've shared them with whoever you're dealing with. If that doesn't work, I can think of a few other things you might try, such as contacting the dealer that sold the car, posting on Kia's Facebook or Twitter pages, or even posting a review on Google. That kind of activity is likely to get someone else from the organization to pay attention. Just try to be fair and professional in that kind of posting so that you will be taken seriously.

This seems like something that should be covered by warranty, and while I might be mistaken, I don't recall seeing anything in the warranty documentation that indicates that getting a repair done from a non-dealer shop is disqualifying.

And then finally, you could also consider resorting to your state attorney general, and you could also file a complaint with the NHTSA. But my guess is that these options are less likely to bear fruit in the near term, compared to the ideas I mentioned first.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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deltasmith,

What is the manufacture date for your Niro? 12/17.
There is a TSB for the HEV: Upon entering my VIN, the link reports "There are 0 Recalls associated with this VIN".

jmurphEV posted a link to one of the threads where I read about a rear wheel alignment problem. Your post on that same thread was the other one I recall reading about. --- Agree.

It sounds like you might be getting push back from someone who's job description probably entails pushing back at least a little as part of their standard operating procedure. I'd be inclined to return the favor, ensure that I had communicated reasonably and clearly, and persistently. Since you have photos, you might want to be sure that you've shared them with whoever you're dealing with. If that doesn't work, I can think of a few other things you might try, such as contacting the dealer that sold the car, posting on Kia's Facebook or Twitter pages, or even posting a review on Google. That kind of activity is likely to get someone else from the organization to pay attention. Just try to be fair and professional in that kind of posting so that you will be taken seriously. --- Agree with you about Kia Customer Service - in fact I was passed around to at least 4 people before they called me to deny my claim. I submitted my photos as part of all supporting documents - it didn't make any difference. They said they presented my case to a District Manager who made the denial determination - not sure about the validity of that statement. They further said - upon denying my claim the case is closed and the file deleted such that no reference to it exists going forward. I confirm I am no longer able to access the case online using the reference number I was provided for it.

This seems like something that should be covered by warranty, and while I might be mistaken, I don't recall seeing anything in the warranty documentation that indicates that getting a repair done from a non-dealer shop is disqualifying. --- Thanks, I agree!

And then finally, you could also consider resorting to your state attorney general, and you could also file a complaint with the NHTSA. But my guess is that these options are less likely to bear fruit in the near term, compared to the ideas I mentioned first. --- Agree as well. In addition, I'm looking to find contact info for a top manager at Kia USA that I can present my case case to - someone in that position will appreciate the amount of damage negative publicity from a case like this can cause to Kia's business and reputation - and take action to resolve it.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 12:22 PM
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The one thing I don't understand is...The selling dealer doesn't have service, just inspects new cars???? How is that possible. I always assumed any dealer had to have a full service department?

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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FlNiro, I'm afraid you are correct.

I checked www.kingautokia.com: "King Kia Service & Parts Maintenance and repairs are a part of every car and car owners life regardless of the year, make, or model. Our service center is located on the premises and the trained technicians who work there are experts at repairing nearly any issue you have with your vehicle." It appears the service manager there lied to me over the phone to get rid of me and divert my attention elsewhere.

I've also followed up with the service manager at my local Kia dealer (who found the original worn tires) for any helpful info. He just told me he does not believe this is a warranty issue because he does not believe the alignment bolt was stripped coming from the factory. He also said the final alignment is done at the factory and not by the selling dealers, so he does not believe I received the new vehicle with a stripped alignment bolt. He also said he does not believe the tire shop when they said that the alignment bolt was stripped before the vehicle got there. He hung up right there and then.

What he said does not explain why my tires wore out the way they did. I feel my main recourse now is to contact and present my case to the executive team at Kia Motors America https://www.kiamedia.com/us/en/executives - perhaps the President and CEO.
I really don't want to do this and waste their time, but I believe in fairness, and I have not been treated fairly.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 11:28 PM
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I had a similar problem with my local dealer - they had trained technicians that could work on my PHEV Niro, but they had untrained people answering the phone who told me (on two separate occasions) that I needed to take my car elsewhere for service, because they weren't qualified to work on it.

It turned out that the people answering the phone were confused: they thought a plug-in hybrid or PHEV was the new all-electric EV car that Kia announced earlier this year, but still doesn't seem to be selling very much (if at all) in North America. I had to explain to them that a PHEV was a hybrid, like an HEV, only with a bigger battery. Once they understood that, the guy on the phone said "Oh... we can work on that one".

I only figured out that the problem was with the people answering the phone after I posted a somewhat critical review on Google reviews for my local dealership. I questioned how a dealership could sell cars that they weren't prepared to service. The dealership's PR manager promptly posted a reply advising that I was mistaken, and they certainly were prepared to work on all cars that they sold as new cars, and that encouraged me to be a bit more insistent when dealing with the folks that answered the phone. This is one of the reasons why I suggested that you might want to say something in a more highly visible social media venue than this forum might be, as a way to get your selling dealer and Kia Corporate to maybe reevaluate their response to you.

If you haven't already done so, you might want to reach out to the shop that did the work and explain the situation, and ask them if they have any additional supporting evidence that they could provide to support your claim. It would be great if they still had the stripped bolt, but don't count on that. Still, they might have something.

I am inclined to believe your local dealer's comment that "the final alignment is done at the factory and not by the selling dealers". I'm not an expert on this, but I'd be surprised if dealers were expected to do alignments on all the new cars on their lots.

If I was dealing with this headache, one of the things that I would probably do is ask to speak with the district manager who you were told made the decision to deny the claim. The story about your situation was probably described in somewhat different terms by the time it made its way to that person. Sometimes situations arise that feel very unjust, not because of unjust policies, but because of imperfect communication. I once headed off a lawsuit by walking into my lawyer's office and insisting that he temporarily put aside all the legal blathering and letter-writing and court filing and just pick up the phone and call the opposing lawyer. Once those people started talking to each other, it only took five minutes for them to recognize that there had been a misunderstanding, miscommunication, and everything was quickly sorted out after that. It seems like there's a chance that you might be able to find a similar outcome if you can just find a way to get in touch with the right people.


Good luck!

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 10:54 AM
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No, dealers do not check alignment on new cars. I doubt manufacturers do except for random QA.

TSBs will not show up on a recall check.

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