I am writing this as a warning. About two years ago I bought a Hyundia Santa Fe. I bought it because it had, what I thought, was a great warranty .... 10 years or 100,000 miles. For a little extra you could extend the Bumper to Bumper warranty to 10 years/100,000 miles, also. It was, also, inexpensive for a good looking SUV and had some nice features for the money. One thing I have learned, to my dismay, is that the paint warranty, like most companies, is only 3 years/36,000 miles and covers VERY little in the way of true coverage.
I usually wash my car at a car wash every 2 to 3 weeks, or if it looks particularly messy. Nothing fancy for the most part and rarely by hand. At the end of August of this year, I decided to detail my car myself .... hand wash and wax, plus all the nice little details. At the time my car was 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days. I noticed that I had paint disintegrating from the hood of my car in 2 spots, the top coat disintegrating in one LARGE spot on the hood of my car plus 2 other smaller spots; and on the roof I had about 6 more spots; also, inside the door, on the bottom decretive molding the paint was flaking off (my neighbor, who bought the exact same car on the exact same day as myself also has this problem). By the way, these do not include the "rock chips" that came SO easily to this car!! I called my dealership, First Team Hyundia in Newport News, Virginia, in concern and made an appointment for them to look at the car.
The first thing the Service Manager said when he looked at the 5 spots on my hood said that these spots were external factors. That they were caused by bird excrement (for the 2 spots) and acid rain and sap for the others .... there was NO explanation for the problem inside my door. When I got upset, and asked the Service Manager why my car was the ONLY car in the neighborhood that was being hit by "nuclear bird crap" and acid rain and "super" sap, he set up an appointment with a Factory Representative for today, September 23, 2004.
So, today I met with the Rep and he says (VERY RUDELY), in my 2 SECOND meeting with him (in which I had to take a FULL day of work off), that the 2 marks on my hood were caused by bird excrement and that the MUCH larger spot on my hood was probably caused by antifreeze or break fluid leaked by a car I was driving behind - notice we stepped away from the acid rain issue. AND these are NOT covered under their warranty because these were external factors. He had no explanation for the chipping paint inside my door, and he never bothered to look at the roof! He then told me to look at the deductible for my insurance because THEY cover "acts of GOD".
When I said that my issue was that this happened to a car that was just barely 2 years old, and that I would have expected it to have happened to a car that was maybe 5 years old, he just shrugged his shoulders, then he proceeded to tell me that because of the EPA, etc. that they are not able to use the same things that they used to in paints and top coats, so they are less durable then they were two or more years ago.
I find it interesting that we pay SO much more for cars than we used to, yet they guarantee less. That paint issues are things that we are SUPPOSED to expect. That they feel they can FREELY pass the buck to insurance companies. Then we wonder why our insurance premiums are always increasing.
So, if you care, or even if you don't, pass the word to all your friends and relatives. Warn them that if they buy this brand of car that they will probably have to spend about $2,000.00 more on a new paint job in about 2 years.
Newport News, Virginia