Hyundai, Kia give lifetime warranty on water leaks

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Hyundai, Kia give lifetime warranty on water leaks

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, the nation’s top two automakers under Hyundai Motor Group, said yesterday they are offering a lifetime warranty on cars that have water leaking into the engine compartments of their vehicles.

The automakers have received a barrage of criticism online after consumers complained that water in their engines might cause corrosion of wires and connectors. So far the problem has been reported with Hyundai’s popular compact Avante and Kia’s K3.

“All electronic-related parts in the engine compartment are designed to be waterproof, and no vehicle-quality problem has been reported to us,” the company said. “However, to alleviate consumers’ concerns and instill confidence in our product quality, we are offering a lifetime warranty.”

Hyundai emphasized it takes a variety of measures to waterproof electronic components. Electronic connectors have a two-level waterproofing system tested for pressure changes, durability and functionality at temperatures from -40 to 120 degrees Celsius (-40 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit).

The automaker also said it checks for leaks during engine-cleaning tests with a high-pressure spray.

Earlier this month, the company issued a rare apology after some Santa Fe DM owners complained about water in the trunk and back seat.

In response, Hyundai extended the warranty to five years with unlimited mileage. Previously, warranties for water leaks were for three years or 60,000 kilometers (37,282 miles).

The latest measure comes as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport considers ordering recalls for models affected by the leaks. The ministry said this week it is investigating the matter and will make a decision next month.

Recalls are usually ordered for potential safety defects.

Industry insiders say a series of quality problems has been tarnishing the brand value of Hyundai and Kia. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo has put a special emphasis on quality this year.

The problem is another headache for Hyundai and Kia, which have been targeted for job actions by their labor unions since the breakdown of wage bargaining. After Tuesday’s negotiations ended without an agreement, Hyundai’s union had an eight-hour partial strike and plans another one tomorrow.

Kia’s wage bargaining yesterday also ended without an agreement, and its union scheduled partial strikes tomorrow and Friday.


BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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