Q. I read with interest your recent column regarding the Santa Fe and rust, which is a related issue with my 2003 Santa Fe. In December I spent almost $2,300 at the Hyundai dealership replacing the front exhaust pipe assembly, which had rusted out and fallen off the car.
When I took it to my regular mechanic in January for an oil change and checkup, he told me the rust on the bottom of the car -- brake backing plates, gas tank shield, etc. -- was so bad it looked like the car had 300,000 miles on it instead of the 90,000+ miles it does have.
I still have a few thousand miles left and about six months on my 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty. Do I have any recourse to get the car repaired or the rust problem addressed before the whole car falls apart? I believe there have been multiple lawsuits against Hyundai on the rust issue in "Salt Belt" states but not much came of it. Your recommendation?
A. Thanks for reading the column and sorry you are having all those issues with your car. My assumption is that your warranty excludes rust as car companies typically will not cover rust. You are probably on your own with this.
The only thing I can suggest you do if you are not getting satisfaction from Hyundai is to phone or write to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or online at www.nhtsa.gov if you prefer. If there are enough complaints on this then maybe something will get done.
Generally speaking, it does require a large amount of complaints on the exact same issue before the government will step in and force a recall. Check first with Hyundai because sometimes if you squeak enough they will take care of you in some fashion.
Hyundai is working hard to build their brand and they are building really nice cars these days, so maybe you can get some help if you get to the right person. Good luck with this.