HT: Struts broken by placing car on lift(?)

TIA!
Long time lurker de-lurking...
HT, Yesterday I took my 2002 Elantra to the dealer where I bought the car for the 30K Maintenance (only 1 mile drive to work every day) and
the infamous timing belt replacement.
During inspection a leaking brake cylinder on the back right wheel was discovered and the repair was accomplished with my approval. Later I received a call that the car was ready and I was advised that the "struts were a little tight" and would need to be replaced. When I asked how that would manifest itself I was told that there would be early wear on the outsides of the tires.
When I picked up the car I immediately realized that the very smooth ride I was used to was no more. The car now rides like it has no struts in it at all. If you hit anything in the road (think painted lane lines), it feels like the back end is lifting off the road. Unfortunately the service dept was already closed and Sales was no help at all (not unexpected).
I called first thing this morning and after explaining the problem the first thing out of the service guys mouth was "Let me get you an estimate for the repair...", not bring it back in and let us take a look. I explained that the car rode perfectly when I dropped it off and now it is dangerous to drive. I was then told that the struts probably broke when the car was lowered off the lift and that "these things just happen". Further discussion proved useless and I asked to speak to the Service Manager (SM). 6.5 hours later no call back. Called the dealer and was told the SM was at lunch but would call when he got back. 2 hours later still no call. Drove to dealer.
Spoke with the SM who started off with the company line of "just one of those things". After some discussion the SM said he would have to "do some research" and would have an answer for me on Monday. He wouldn't even ride in the car to actually experience the problem.
I did my own research and spoke with a good friend who has been a Master Mechanic with Ford for 15 years and he said that he had NEVER heard of hydraulic struts failing simply by being lowered off a lift. I guess anything can happen but really...
HT: 1. Have you ever heard of hydraulic struts faiing merely after being lowered off a lift? 2. Do struts typically fail after only 30K miles? 3. What responsibility does a dealer have releasing a car that is unsafe to drive to a customer? 4. Am I being setup to be ripped off?
JDog
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Dont think I,ve heard of such utter crap from any "mechanic". How is coming off a lift any different to a pothole, let alone a bump on the road?. Do your struts every time you hit a bump?. What the hell is "get tight"?. If anything a bump would tend to weaken the spring action or "wear out" the shocker.. Dont know where you live but I would be visiting/writing/complaining to every body I could think off. Best of luck John

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John wrote:

Never. It doesn't happen. It's no different that jacking the car up to change/rotate tires, change brake pads or similar types of maintenance. There is no way that simply lifting a car up off the ground and lowering it again could kill the struts, especially not all of them. At least not unless the dropped it.

No. Struts should be good for ~100K miles.

Plenty, IF they knowingly did so and didn't inform you, then you went out and got hurt. That didn't happen, so no harm, no foul. However, that doesn't mean that they're not responsible for any damage they caused. They ARE.

It sure sounds that way. They're playing you for a sucker.
The rear brake cylinder leak is an easy thing to fake, though it can also happen legitimately. On a 5 year old car, it's possible.
Here's what I would do:
- First, I would check your tire pressures. It's quite possible that these jerks overinflated them to make the car ride like a buckboard, so they could tell you that you needed struts.
- Regardless of whether that's true or not, the next thing I would do is to complain to Hyundai customer service. If the car was fine before you brought it in, these guys obviously did something to it and they are responsible for fixing it. Tell the dealership that you're going to Hyundai and see if that gets any reaction.
- Take the car to a reputable independent service shop, have it examined and get an estimate for any necessary repairs. You might want to do this before complaining to Hyundai, though speaking with them first won't hurt. They may even suggest the same thing.
- Your state Attorney General's office should have a consumer complaint department of some sort, so if you don't get satisfaction, file a complaint with them. They can also tell you if there have been any similar complaints from other consumers. The Better Business Bureau can also provide that type of information.
- The last option would be to get the car fixed elsewhere, then sue the dealer in small claims court. It sounds like you have a pretty good case, particularly if you find out that other people have complained about this dealership.
Good luck and don't give in. Keep at it until you get satisfaction.
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On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 16:34:47 GMT, Brian Nystrom

John and Brian - Thankyou for your considered replies. My apologies for not getting back to you both sooner.
An update (or the beat goes on...)
My original post ended with me awaiting a call back on Monday. The Service Manager (SM) did call but not until 4PM! He said that they "would replace the struts at their expense _if they had the parts_" and to bring the car back on WEDNESDAY. Well I brought the car in today and guess what - they don't have the parts and can't get them before FRIDAY!!!
Anybody NOT see that coming???
Called HyundaiUSA to file a complaint. That was wasted effort as while HyundaiUSA will record the complaint, they do not take any action or intervene in any way. Apparently dealerships are individually owned and HyundaiUSA does not intercede on customer's behalf's. HyundaiUSA's recommendation was to call a lawyer... Apparently HyundaiUSA isn't particularly interested in the quality of their customer's experience.
Called the owner of the dealership and explained the events leading to my call. He said he would look into the issue and call me back. The owner called back in about 15 minutes and said that they believe that the struts were broken when the car was placed on the lift. (How about that!) He also said that a loaner vehicle would be driven over immediately. The owner went on to say that there was no excuse for the parts not being in stock.
Well, the dealer still has my car and I don't know when I will be getting it back or what condition it will be in when I do. I'll update again whenever I do get it back.
JDog
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snipped-for-privacy@nope.com wrote:

There are probably limits to what Hyundai can do, since dealers are independent and this is a non-warranty, service-related issue. My experience has been that they DO care about customer satisfaction and will go out of their way where possible to make people happy. It sounds like you may have found a case of a bad Service Manager, but a responsible owner, but this could all be an act. Hopefully, they fix your car and you'll be good to go.
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Hope it all works out. Its an odd response from Hyundai. Sure they may be independent dealers but they are selling Hyundai products, they are the public face of Hyundai.. Guess where the mud sticks in the case of I,d call it "fraud" should cases like this blow up.?. "Fraid it really gets up my nose, for every person like yourself who will chase it up how many non technical, non computer, non newsgroup persons out there who would have taken them at there word and just paid up. Obviously enough for the crooks to try it on. Cheers John

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1. Have you ever heard of hydraulic struts faiing merely after being lowered off a lift?
Nope, never. I suppose it's possible, though. When raising the car, the struts go to full extension. If they stick there, or for some other reason start sticking because they were fully extended, it might occur.
2. Do struts typically fail after only 30K miles?
No.
3. What responsibility does a dealer have releasing a car that is unsafe to drive to a customer?
If they knew about it and didn't advise you, then they can be held responsible for any damages you incur.
4. Am I being setup to be ripped off?
Hard to say. Go to each corner of the car and bounce it. It should bounce once or twice and stop. If it doesn't bounce at all, the strut or shock is stuck. If it continues bouncing after three bounces, the strut or shock is worn.
I'd also be interested in exactly what services were performed in the 30k. One of my first thoughts, too, was overinflated tires.
"Called HyundaiUSA to file a complaint. That was wasted effort as while HyundaiUSA will record the complaint, they do not take any action or intervene in any way. Apparently dealerships are individually owned and HyundaiUSA does not intercede on customer's behalf's. HyundaiUSA's recommendation was to call a lawyer... Apparently HyundaiUSA isn't particularly interested in the quality of their customer's experience."
Actually, Hyundai is genuinely interested in your experience. The fact that you've called means they've opened a case about it and that case will show up to your dealer and their factory rep. The dealer is required to follow up and report any action taken to resolve the issue.
Hyundai's ability to assist, however, is limited to authorizing warranty repairs and intervening when the dealer fails to honor their franchise agreement. Factory reps have other tools with which they can incentive a dealer to act, but this is more along the lines of "you scratch my back," or "if you don't, then I'll...."
There's a reason those struts were not in stock. It's because they're almost never replaced. Seriously. Unless you're in an area where the roads are in terrible shape, struts are among the most reliable components of Hyundai vehicles. I suspect that the service manager (or dealer owner) is simply appeasing you when they say there's no excuse. Actually, there is. They don't sell enough of them to make an investment in having them in stock worthwhile. Of course, they could have ordered them and had them available *before* you arrived.
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