Hyundai Won't Honor Their Warranty on Theta II Engine


The two aren’t mutually exclusive in this problem. OP can have a flawed engine that by rights should get replaced for free under warranty, but OP’s poor record-keeping and lax attention to the oil change schedule gives the dealership the excuse it needs to deny warranty coverage.

This is not unique to Hyundai. Dealerships are not, in general, the customer’s friend. They aren’t going to give you warranty coverage unless they have to because the manufacturer isn’t going to pay them for warranty work the same money they’d get for doing out-of-warranty repairs.


There’s a lot to read here @Ken_Reed and I don’t know that I have all the details, but it appears that Hyundai denied warranty coverage based on perceived lack of maintenance. You then took the case to arbitration where the same conclusion was reached.

The arbitrator had the ability to reverse Hyundai’s decision. The arbitrator had the ability to order Hyundai to repair or replace the engine, and yet the arbitrator did not do so.

I can only conclude that you did not present the arbitrator with credible evidence of proper scheduled maintenance to uphold your side of the contract. Everything else is smoke and mirrors and a distraction. It doesn’t matter if these engines are bursting into flames by the millions. If you fail to uphold your end of the contract, you are responsible for the outcome. If I tell you that you can eat today, but I’m not going to feed you tomorrow or Thursday, am I right to expect you to perform properly on Friday?

Now I’m not saying that you did not check and change your oil according to schedule, but doing something and having proof or proper evidence are two different things. Whatever recalls, campaigns, warranty coverages are out there are all irrelevant unless you have proper documentation of oil change service every 7500 miles (or whatever the schedule is). And that includes the brand, qualtity, and type of oil and filter used.


Agreed, with one caveat: Losing an arbitration isn’t evidence that the consumer screwed up. Arbitrators are generally selected by the corporation, and they have a vested interest to find in favor of the corporation because if they make a habit of ruling against the corporation, they won’t get hired anymore.

That said, in this specific case, the arbitrator was correct to find against OP unless OP could produce real documentation that he’d followed the service schedule.


No, not really. A customer not satisfied with refusal of a warranty claim can choose Expedited Dispute Settlement which is administered by a third party entity, which in turn appoints an independent arbitrator to decide the case. It’s not like Hyundai says “Let’s send Bob to hear this case.” The manufacturer has no say, or even knowledge of, who arbitrates the case. This service is offered at no cost to the customer.

That is absolutely wrong. The arbitrator is neutral to the proceedings and decides the case solely on its merits.

Before I hear a case I declare an Oath of Neutrality. I am bound to declare impartiality and there is no benefit to me in any way for deciding the case one way or another. As I open the hearing, I disclose to both parties whether I drive the same make of car as in question, whether I have ever arbitrated a case at the same dealership, whether I have ever had professional or personal contact with any representatives of the dealer or the manufacturer, and if I have I offer the customer the option of having another arbitrator assigned to decide the case.

I decide the case with, and only with, the evidence and testimony provided, without passion or prejudice, and secure in the knowledge that my standing as an independent contract arbitrator will not be affected in any way by my decision.


I wouldn’t say an arbitrator is neutral but I wouldn’t say they always find for the corporation. They have to sit on the fence and decide for both or neither side will choose them again. So it’s a crap shoot depending on their score card that year. Plus, get one that knows anything about cars to cut through the BS? Kinda like small claims where they’ll just split it down the middle unless there is clear law involved. I really think they should be avoided if possible.


If you don’t cover your bases then you’re SOL.

If I was an arbitrator and hearing this case I’d toss it too with zero proof of any maintenance done.

Almost everyone on the planet who ends up with a damaged engine due to lack of oil or not changing it often enough will always swear on a 6 foot stack of Bibles they were religious about the upkeep.


As I’ve said in other ways elsewhere, just because you, personally, conduct yourself ethically, does not mean your colleagues universally do the same.

Arbitration bias is a real thing, and arbitrators tend to see the same corporate clients over and over again whereas they see the individual challenging those corporate clients once. There’s a natural tendency to want to make the client you’re going to see a lot happy.

Put another way, there’s a reason corporations are in love with writing mandatory arbitration clauses into their contracts and user agreements, and it’s not because “we think there’s a 50/50 chance we’ll lose.”


It depends on the contract you sign. Many dealerships have clauses for mandatory binding arbitration which means you sign away your rights to litigate any disputes. On top of that, they often spell out which firm will be doing the arbitration. That is clearly conflict of interest as the arbitration firm will naturally have bias toward the company. Courts and other legal entities have allowed this to stand.

Furthermore, there has been this longstanding position that this benefits the consumer because it is less expensive than litigation. That has been shown to be false without a shadow of doubt. It is actually far more expensive to arbitrate than to sue. Sometimes up to 5000% more expensive. The contracts state the aggrieved party must pay up front for any proceedings and they are way more expensive than a lawsuit. The company can (and there are examples if you care to look) cause people to drop arbitration demands by forcing these payments upon the claimant. For example, discovery is not required in arbitration. In order to demand it, you have to pay a substantial fee. Then they can delay and force another fee to get them to comply with the discovery demand. It goes on and on. This method of dispute resolution has been severely distorted and clearly benefits the corporation and not the consumer.

From what I understand, it basically started by the lending institutions to limit class action losses. It has been so effective that now this is across the board, even if you pay cash…


Arbitrators are like referees and umpires. They always are biased against the sports teams I am cheering for.


Actually OP has worse than zero proof of maintenance done. First oil and filter service was done by dealer at 8,000 miles 7 months. The requirement was 7,500 miles/12 months. Although 500 miles would have unlikely caused any noticeable additional wear it still technically voided the warranty. The dealer has that record which would explain why they had no reason to review additional maintenance records.


regarding 8,000 miles 7 months versus 7,500 miles/12 months…

would 7,501 miles 7 months mean the same result?
7,601 miles 7 months?
7,801 miles 7 months?

why is 500 over the arbitrary cutoff?

(do we have the actual language in the owner’s manual/warranty?)


I don’t disagree with the lack of maintenance or proof of such but maybe we should see what the oil monitor percentage said. Last oil change I had 5500 miles and the OLM said 50%. I don’t like to go below 50%. I always record both the mileage and OLM % when I change oil. Even though Acura says to go by the OLM, I’ll be danged if I’m gonna wait till 10,000 miles to change oil. If I did though, they would have no case because the % was still positive.


Normal Maintenance Schedule

❑ Replace engine oil and filter (2.4 GDI) *3 (7,500 miles (12,000 km) or 12 months)

*3 Engine oil (1.6 TGDI/2.0 TGDI) At first, replace at 3,000 miles (5,000 km) or 6 months, after that, every 5,000 miles (8,000 km) or 6 months.

Maintenance Under Severe Usage Conditions

Engine oil and filter (2.4 GDI) R Every 3,750 miles (6,000 km) or 6 months A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K

Engine oil and filter (1.6 TGDI/2.0 TGDI) R Every 3,000 miles (5,000 km) or 6 months A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K

_Severe Driving Conditions _
_A -Repeatedly driving short distance of less than 5 miles (8 km) in normal temperature or less than 10 miles (16 km) in freezing temperature _
_B -Extensive engine idling or low speed driving for long distances _
_C-Driving on rough, dusty, muddy, unpaved, graveled or salt- spread roads _
_D-Driving in areas using salt or other corrosive materials or in very cold weather _
E -Driving in sandy areas
_F - Driving in heavy traffic area over 90°F (32°C) _
_G- Driving on uphill, downhill, or mountain road _
_H- Towing a Trailer, or using a camper, or roof rack _
_I - Driving as a patrol car, taxi, other commercial use or vehicle towing _
J - Driving over 106 mph (170 km/h)
K - Frequently driving in stop-and-go conditions



OP never did state if the engine was out of oil when taken to dealer. His position seems to be, it doesn’t matter why my engine failed, these engines have been proven to be defective so I should get a new one. Why he would want a new defective engine is another matter.


so 7,501 would be unacceptable… except I suspect that’s not the case


I don’t see where the confusion is here. If it says to get the oil changed every 7500 miles then yes, 7501 is technically unacceptable. Why didn’t you do it at 7499? If you are lucky they will let you get away with being a few miles over on the oil change, kind of like if you are lucky the cop will let you get away with doing 1mph over. But he doesn’t have to, as I discovered when I encountered a very bored cop in Iowa once who wrote me for 56 in a 55.


Of course, this type of thing is discretionary on the part of the dealership, but I think that most dealers’ service departments would look the other way if somebody is 10 or 20 miles over the limit.
But… would they “excuse” 500 miles?
Probably not.


I yield. Off with his head. No new engine for thee. Is there anyone that does not drive under the severe conditions listed? Sand, salt, over 90 degrees, uphill or downhill, etc? So it’s 3750 oil changes, not 7500. Plus it seems like the first change at 3000 is to flush all the crap out from the manufacturing process. True though, why would you want to have your defective engine replaced by another defective engine? Like has been said before though, a 100,000 mile warranty is only as good as the people providing the warranty. Take your lumps and try a different brand.

I side with the defense.


It has been 2 days since we last heard from the OP. Hmmm, maybe he’s not satisfied with the answers he’s getting?


What’s not to be happy about? You guys are charming…

The oil had been changed a thousand miles before the failure and nobody said anything about sludge at the time. The sticker is still in the window showing the next oil change at 35000 miles, I think.