Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

In Racine Without a Car, 28 Days and Counting…

with 5 comments

Folks, some of you are aware that I had surgery a little over three weeks ago. I kept that to myself until the surgery was over, as I didn’t want to worry anyone — besides, as an independent contractor, I couldn’t afford to drive away any potential writing and/or editing jobs.

And some of you are also aware that I have been without a car now for 28 days. My 2010 Hyundai Accent stopped running on September 1, 2014; the cause appears to be a transmission casing which cracked somehow, damage I could not have possibly caused on my own.

These two things have made for a goodly amount of frustration. Walking everywhere in Racine, Wisconsin, is not easy; yes, we have a bus service, but it only runs every half-hour to an hour at best, and is far from the excellent public transit many cities have — including my late husband Michael’s hometown of San Francisco, California.

So when I’ve needed to go somewhere, I’ve had three choices:

  • Walk,
  • Call for a ride,
  • Or do without.

Now, why haven’t I been trying to use the bus system? It’s mostly because I’ve been extremely tired due to my ongoing surgical recovery. The energy I have must be put into whatever work I can do, as again I’m an independent contractor (so if I don’t work, I don’t make any money; if I don’t make any money, I’m in big trouble).

But it’s also partly because I’ve been fighting with Hyundai over who should pay for my car repair. A cracked transmission casing repair costs $2400. I don’t have it. And I’ve been reluctant to set up a Go Fund Me page for a number of reasons . . . partly because I truly felt Hyundai would do the right thing here.

As it stands, though, I haven’t a clue if they will do the right thing or not. It’s now been 28 days since my car’s transmission casing cracked. It’s been over two weeks since Hyundai itself was alerted. And it’s been about a week since the local Hyundai dealership was alerted — they recently changed hands, and they’re the most likely ones to do a repair if any is to be done.

For those of you asking, “What about the warranty, Barb,” here’s the answer to that: I’m about seven thousand miles over the expiration of my car’s warranty. I bought it used at just over 37,000 miles, and am thus not the original owner. So a six-year, 60,000 mile warranty was all I had.

Of course, if I had been the original owner, this would’ve been repaired and replaced weeks ago. Because Hyundai gives a 100,000 mile warranty on the power train, of which the transmission is a part.

But I bought it in November of 2011 (a few, short days before my best friend Jeff passed away) from a reputable used car dealership in Racine County, Autowerks in Sturtevant (next to the Educator’s Credit Union on Highway 20).

I knew something was wrong at the 52,000 mile mark, mind you. And I called Autowerks at that time. But nothing was done because my own garage, Wild Rides (not a Hyundai place, but I trust them), could not find out what was going on. The problem was intermittent, you see, and the car was still running . . . and no one wants to tear apart a transmission that’s still working.

I also drove into the former Frank Gentile Hyundai dealership at the 52,000 mile mark, but wasn’t given any help. All that happened there was that a young male mechanic drove my car (without paperwork being given to me; a grave oversight, and I should’ve demanded it), didn’t find a problem, and sent me on my way again with a messed-up car.

Mind, one of the reasons nothing was ever done was that Autowerks and Gentile Hyundai had a strained relationship at best. Most attribute that to how Gentile acted — and all I know is how I, personally, was treated. (So I’d tend to believe it was Gentile’s fault.)

Anyway, even though I knew something was wrong, I had no idea the transmission’s casing would crack so it won’t hold fluid in it. And without fluid, the car won’t drive anywhere.

My contention is that this car should’ve been repaired at 52,000 miles by the former Hyundai dealership. But they blew me off, my car died, and I believe it should be covered under warranty because I did my best to do the right thing before the warranty expired.

So here I am. It’s been 28 days since my car last worked. I’ve paid auto insurance the entire month, because I’d hoped the car would be repaired by now — but between my surgical recovery and some unfortunate miscommunication, Racine Hyundai (the new dealership) only got my car to do their assessment (required before they’ll help me, or not) this past Friday.

I remain in limbo.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t recovering from surgery. Or if my Mom’s health were a whole lot better . . . but I am recovering from surgery, and my Mom’s health decidedly isn’t good. Which adds to the stress of not having a car and multiplies it at least a hundredfold.

Tomorrow I’m going to see if I can take care of some pressing business by bus. I shouldn’t be doing it so soon after surgery, especially considering the lengthy wait between bus routes and transferring and my complete unfamiliarity with Racine’s current public transportation, because it will exhaust me.

But I have no choice. Bills have to be paid. My Mom can’t do much. So I have to do it, whether I’m ready or not, and hope my body will stand the strain.

So why have I written all this? Frankly, I’d like some advice. I’m not at all sure this problem is enough for people to respond favorably to a potential Go Fund Me page. Because it’s not life and death — I admit that freely. But it is incredibly annoying and inconvenient, has definitely hurt my health and quality of life, and more to the point is something that should not be happening, as my 2010 Hyundai Accent Blue shouldn’t have given up the ghost this soon, nor in this way.

What would you all do in this situation, other than continue to go after Hyundai and hope they’ll do the right thing?

—————

Note: I’ve had many cars in my lifetime. This is the first time a transmission’s casing has ever done this.

I know I didn’t cause this. And I believe firmly that Hyundai should pay for it. But I can’t guarantee what they’ll do — but I will keep you posted.

All I know is, if they don’t help me, I think people should never buy a Hyundai. Ever. Because they don’t service what they sell.

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5 Responses

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  1. Stay on your local Hyundai dealership and don’t let up! You should be able to do that over the phone but showing up in person is a great idea. It does take a few days for problems to go through the “chain” but if they’ve had two weeks, it should have gone my now. By three weeks start squealing!

    E. Ayers

    September 29, 2014 at 12:38 am

    • The main problem I had was getting the car to them. My own garage evaluated it, and the Hyundai dealership has to also evaluate it . . . they said they’d evaluate for nothing, but nothing else was promised to me.

      And it’s sad that this new dealership, which is not the one that screwed me over, is the one that has to try to clean up the mess.

      Still. I need a car, and I am very deeply unhappy at what’s happened in this situation. I do hope they will help me and I will stay on top of it. (Thanks, E.)

      Barb Caffrey

      September 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm

  2. […] As I’ve said before, I tried to get this addressed at the 52,000 mile mark. The old Hyundai dealership in Racine, Frank Gentile Hyundai, has since gone out of business and took all its records with it. My attempt to get the car looked at back then didn’t get put into the computer, so Hyundai USA has no record of it — and I wasn’t given anything at the time to prove I went there. […]

  3. This is a frustrating situation with few options. I have dealt with having no car and live in an area with little or no public transportation. It was after a car accident and I was hospitalized. When I got out, I was in no shape to walk around. But at least I knew a check would be coming so I could get another car.

    Bo's

    October 24, 2014 at 9:37 am

    • I’m glad you recovered and I appreciate that you understand how difficult this situation was.

      Fortunately my car issues have now been resolved (after 52 days, the car was repaired). I was able to get some help from friends, some in the form of a loan, some in the form of donations. That allowed me to get the car back up and running.

      Granted, Hyundai USA should’ve helped. They didn’t.

      I’m happy with what Racine Hyundai (the new Hyundai dealership) did with regards to this repair, and they tried hard to get Hyundai USA to respond. But they just didn’t. 😦

      Barb Caffrey

      October 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm


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