You will never believe the hell I've been through the past 4 months. I
live in the Montreal area where KIA has a pretty good market
penetration. This story is scary enough to give any Sorento owner the
chills. The story begins....
Four months ago (mid February) on a night that saw the thermometer dip
to -35 Celsius I was coming back from a meeting with a real-estate
agent. I had decided to sell my land in the furthest backwater suburbs
of Montreal. I had just gassed up, a full tank, and was feeling snug
as a bug in my warm Sorento. While driving on the on-ramp to a
secondary highway (about 40-45 km/h) I suddenly hit a patch of black
ice. The vehicle swerved and skidded as I tried to get out of this
predicament. Unfortunately, there was nothing to do as my Sorento, now
in a sideways skid, hit the snowbank on the side of the road. Next
thing I knew the SUV was in a slow roll over the snowbank and while on
it's roof skidded into a ditch. Dazed but relatively unhurt, held in
my seat by my seatbelt, I shut off the engine and CD player and
decided to get the heck out; after all the tank was completely full
and wanted to avoid any nasty surprises. The impact while not hard
enough to activate the airbags was hard enough to crumple the front of
the roof and break the windshield. With the driver side door
completely blocked by snow I had to clamber out the front passenger
door. Standing about 15 feet away, legs trembling, I looked at my
Sorento, wheels pointing toward that cold black sky, steam hissing
from the engine, my heart about as broken as can be. Then reality set
in and called the provincial police to let them know what had
happened. I was lucky that at that moment a kind soul (never did get
her name) called me in to her car to warm up while I waited for the
police to arrive. A few minutes later and I was filling out an
accident report in the back of the police cruiser. It was at that
point that I realized that somehow I had gashed my leg below the knee
and the lower pant leg was red with blood. Still can't figure out
where in the car I could have done that. Anyway, after refusing an
ambulance I performed some battlefield first-aid and patched things up
while I waited for the tow truck and flatbed to rescue my Sorento.
When they did arrive I watched from inside the police car as they
turned her back over on to her wheels and got her out of the ditch.
The damage didn't seem too bad considering what had happened. The
impact had evidently been softened by the snow and the passenger side
was miraculously unscathed. They then got her on to the flat bed and I
accompanied my car to a local body shop. A couple of days later I went
back to check out the car and after determining that the place did
merely acceptable bodywork, I was wary of having them do the work so I
arranged for my close friend's BMW dealership to do the work. I knew
that they had an excellent bodywork operation and was lucky that my
friend was able to squeeze me in. Here is where the real horror show
Firstly, the body shop told me there was at least a 45-day wait for
the Sorento's roof. It had to be shipped from Korea!! Because of this
delay, the car had to sit outside for close to 2 months outside while
the parts slowly trickled in. We (BMW and myself) found this
unacceptable that KIA Canada did not stock the parts in country but
being a new model I swallowed the pill and accepted the reality of it.
Cut to scene of clock hands spinning, calendar pages flying off
(just like in those old movies).
Two and half months had passed and the car was still being worked on.
Nearing completion, some mechanical issues needed addressing, namely
the wiper assembly and a very disturbing sound coming from the
starter. For this the BMW dealership farmed out the work to Bourassa
KIA in Laval. The wiper assembly had to be repaired twice, seems they
forgot to do some work and BMW had to return it a second time. The
starter was supposedly replaced despite the fact that it still made a
very disturbing sound when started. Bourassa KIA's explanation was
that there was rust on the flywheel and that the sound would disappear
over time. Oddly, however, the sound kept getting worse, and we (BMW
and myself) were skeptical about what had REALLY been done to repair
All this time I was paying $515 a month for the lease + $125 a month
for the insurance. The insurance allowed up to $1200 for taxis and
rentals. While sufficient for repairs taking a month or so, this was
nearly not enough for the length of time required for my car. I'm not
faulting my insurance company (TD Insurance) though. They were helpful
and understanding in their own way.
So throughout one of the coldest winters to date I humped it using
public transportation or taxis and the occasional car rental, all the
while paying for non-usage of my car. BMW Laval does not have loaners
but they did the best they could to help me out (I got the free use of
a Mini Cooper demo on a couple occasions).
Well, we're now in late May and I finally got the Sorento. The
bodywork was impeccable! The color matching was perfect and anyone
looking at the car would never have guessed what it had been through.
I took her on the highway for a test drive and pushed the speed to
about 150 KMH without even a vibration. That was good! Unfortunately,
every time I started the car I was reminded about what had transpired.
After several days of use the starter decided to stop cooperating and
the Sorento was back on the flatbed on its way to Bourassa. After
keeping it several days (of course they had no loaner for me so I had
to rent a car) they told me the battery had died and needed
recharging..... BUT IT STARTED FINE MINUTES BEFORE IT HAD DIED A
COUPLE OF DAYS AGO (NOT TO MENTION THE SOUND WAS STILL PRESENT AND
After 3 solid weeks of driving I noticed the starter was really
beginning to complain, to the point that I was unable to start car
with the key and had to use the remote starter. I decided I better
bring it in to my dealership Montreal KIA. Surely they could do a
better job.... They also had no loaners and so I had to rent a car
(are you folks seeing a pattern here). (It get's better). So I brought
it to them and explained that the starter was on it's way out. I also
told them that Bourassa had said it was rust on the flywheel.
'No problem Mr. so and so, blah, blah, blah... . We'll take care of
it, blah, blah, blah... .'
Later that day I got a call from the service manager at KIA Montreal
telling me that the problem with the starter was caused by my remote
starter, the Compustar (search this group for Compustar, one of the
best high-end car starters on the market). He goes on to tell me that
it was not installed properly and was damaging the Sorento's starter.
I disagreed with him stating that the Compustar was installed by
probably the best installer in Canada (he teaches other installers how
to install the Compustar). Also the remote starter worked flawlessly
before the accident. In any case they would not cover the repairs
under warranty (despite a 'new' starter having been installed a month
earlier). This would end up costing me close to $600 for the starter
and another $800 if the flywheel was damaged. I told them to not carry
out any work and that I wanted a second opinion on this. I decided to
bring the car back to Bourassa, the dealership that supposedly had
fixed the problem in the first place. In fact the service manager said
I should have done so in the first place since the KIA dealerships are
franchises and are not related, that he would have done the same to
save $1500 and that he was washing his hands of this affair (how's
that for service and support).
OK.., sigh..., grumble..., at least I had a functional car, or so I
thought.... . When I went to KIA Montreal to pick up my Sorento, they
charged me $75 for diagnostics, which I paid without a fuss. They
assured me that I could still use the car with the remote starter.
When it came time to start her you couldn't believe my frustration
when the starter failed to engage. I went to complain and the head
mechanic came out to tell me I was SOL and went on to lecture me about
how this remote starter had damaged the starter. Yes, but when I
brought it the starter was still working... In effect I just paid $75
for them to finish off the starter. Now that's a good deal!!!
Now I was faced with having to arrange for a flatbed (again) to bring
the Sorento to Bourassa. When I broached the subject of who was to pay
KIA Montreal said they would not even contribute (despite their recent
role in finishing off this damned starter from hell). OK, more
grumbling... and 2 hours later the flatbed finally arrives (all the
while I kept thinking of Michael Douglas' portrayal in Falling Down).
ALL RIGHT, an hour later (+ $75 for the towing) and I arrived at
Bourassa who told me they would work on my car as soon as they could.
They also told me they were out of loaners so if I wanted a car I
would have to rent one!!! By now my energy is spent and I just want to
get the hell out. ":OK, I'll rent" (even though the car was there for
repairs relating to something they should have fixed in the first
place a month ago). By now you're figuring 'OK, there's light at the
end of the tunnel for Mike' right? WRONG!
The next day the service manager at Bourassa KIA calls me up to tell
me that they were 'advised' that the starter problem was due to the
remote starter and that they would not repair the starter and flywheel
if I didn't pay for the work. When I asked who had advised them they
replied "KIA Montreal". "How nice!" I thought to myself. KIA Montreal
went out of their way to 'advise' Bourassa KIA. When I asked if they
carried out a diagnostic the service manager told there was no point
in second-guessing the diagnostic made by KIA Montreal. "How very
nice!" I thought to myself as visions of lawyers danced through my
That's IT! Now I was really pissed. I told them to not do a thing on
my car until I called KIA Canada, which I promptly did (and should
have months ago). I was relieved to hear a very sympathetic voice on
the other end of the line; taking note of everything I've just told
you. I was told that my call was being given high priority and that
someone from head office in Toronto would be calling me Thursday or
Friday (which btw they didn't). more sighs...
Now I'm stuck in limbo waiting to get this issue settled! In the
meantime I've signed up with the Automobile Protection Association (a
Canadian watchdog organization with some b@lls) to see if they can
help me out with this predicament.
Please understand that I love (if it is possible to love inanimate
objects) my Sorento. I was the second person in Quebec to get one (one
of the very first in Canada) last September. It was love at first site
and I had all the faith in the world that this was the beginning of a
beautiful relationship. Unfortunately, the recent events I've been
through have shaken my faith, not so much in the product, but in the
Thanks for letting me vent!