Misdiagnosed Steering Rack replacement

2010 Hyundai Sonata with 75,000 miles.

Brought it in to dealer complaining of power steering going in and out. Fluid was fine. Happened cold or hot.

Dealer replaced serpentine belt. Car OK for 2 days, then back to same problem.

Dealer did power steering fluid flush. No difference in steering.

Dealer replaced rack. Steering a little stiff to start, and then gets worse over the course of 1 day.

I take to external mechanic. He diagnoses faulty ujoint on intermediate shaft.

I return to dealer and instruct them to look at that issue.They agree with diagnosis of faulty ujoint and say they will fix for free, but that the “internal spool valve failed” on rack, which required it to be replaced,so there would be no refund of the $1,000 for the parts and labor on that job.

I get into 2-hour discussion with Asst. Service Manager and Service Manager, and they both contend that both these problems, which would present to drivers in identical ways, happened simultaneously.

I think they misdiagnosed and now they are covering their butts and their profit.

Please let me know what you think and what I should do.


If they are ready to fix the shaft for free then they know they screwed up. See if they will refund the difference between the shaft repair and the rack. They may not agree to that but might “split the difference”. That might reduce your premium to a couple of hundred dollars.

I agree with @bloody_knuckles. See if they will refund the difference.

I asked for the difference between the rack and the shaft repair and they are sticking to the “both needed to be fixed” line.

I’m waiting for the shaft to be repaired and car collected before I go to BBB, Hyundai central and small claims.

I don’t think they misdiagnosed… I don’t think they diagnosed at all… I think they just guessed and threw things at the problem at your expense until something worked. That’s probably their normal diagnostic method for cars no longer in warranty.

There’s no reason to keep going to the dealer. I’d suggest finding a reputable independently owned and operated shop and beginning to frequent them instead.

I think you’re using the right approach ben. First, you need evidence that the second repair fixes the problem. Once you know that, you can go after them for what makes you whole. To that end, it’s unlikely you could get the entire rack charges back. And it’s always better to do battle when you are in possession of your goods, not them where they can hold it hostage or perform less than stellar work while it’s in their shop.

Even though you may not have needed the rack, you now have a new rack in your car in place of one that had 75k on it. Putting myself in your place, I would want at least the labor charges refunded on the rack repair. If you pay nothing for the shaft fix, you could come out about right on the “make me whole” game as that repair would offset the fractional value of the old rack…

Good points, TwinTurbo. Thanks.

I suggest that in the future, you use this “external” mechanic for all further maintenance, including the oil changes.

Even if there was nothing wrong with the rack – and this is a big “if” b/c there’s no way for us to know via the internet – but let’s assume there was nothing wrong with the rack for sake of argument. It still may have been an honest judgment call on their part is all. The symptoms your car had may be exactly what they’ve found from experience to be a rack problem, and seldom associated with the I-shaft (whatever that is). And at least you have a new rack going forward, that’s something in your favor. I think if you can get them to refund you difference between the retail price of the new rack (he parts cost they charged you) and their actual wholesale parts cost, good enough.