2004 Hyundai XG350, 65K miles. I already laid out the big bucks for the 60K
mile service which I was told included some sort of hugely expensive timing
belt or timing chain replacement. That was several months ago. Took the
car to the dealer for the state mandated annual safety inspection required
to get new license plate stickers. The service dept would not pass the
vehicle, saying that "The vehicle needs a new sterring rack & pinion as it
is making a banging noise and the boots are leaking. Estimate is $744 plus
tax." They said the car was a danger to drive. We told them we had been
thinking of getting another car anyway, and they lent us a 2011 Sonata for
the night as a test drive. We ended up bringing it back and telling them we
would have to think on it. The more we thought, the more we were inclined
to keep the XG rather than rush into something.
Needing to get the sticker, we drove across the street to the Bridgestone
independent dealer, did not give them any hints, and the car passed without
We've been dealing with the dealer since 2004, and our other vehicle is a
2008 Veracruz. They've always been extremely courteous and accomodating,
and we've been very pleased. I was all set to schedule the car to have the
work done, but we decided to get a second opinion. We contacted an
independent garage which was recommended to us by several people. They are
known for doing a lot of work on foreign brands and we got several strong
recommendations. I called the guy to set up an appointment, explained what
I was told, and he sounded incredulous that the steering could have gone bad
at only 65K miles. We took it there yesterday, they put it on the rack, and
said there was nothing wrong with the rack and pinion steering, but that the
upper control arm was extremely loose and the car should not have passed the
inspection on that account. All it took was a little torque application to
tighten down the control arm, and we were safely (?) on our way, no charge.
So I called the service manager at the Hyundai dealership today and
explained to him what happened. I told him I did not know what to think,
but I was inclined not to do business there again and have a discussion with
the general manager to explain why. But I wanted to see what he thought
first, since I did have a good history with them. The service manager said
the technician who worked on his car was a trusted, long-time employee, and
if he said it was bad, it was bad. But since I felt as I did, he suggested
I bring the car in next week for us to look at together.
Now I'm a skilled computer guy, but with cars, not so much. What I would
like to know is, when I'm standing there under the car with this guy, what
should I look for? And how would I know if what he is telling me is true?
I recall seeing some old reports on 20/20 where a mechanic could giggle this
and flex that and convince you that you had a major problem with something.
Any hints on how I would know if the steering is really worn out to the
point of being dangerous to drive?
FWIW, we had been complaining since well before the end of the 60K mile
bumper-to-bumper warranty that the car would periodically make terrible
creaking sounds, but for whatever reason those finally dissapated. More
recently my wife, who is the promary driver of the car, has been complaining
of banging noises which I maybe heard once, but those too had become less
frequent. Heck, they might have been the control arm.
Anyway, thanks for reading this far, and if you have some hints for me, I
would appreciate it.