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PD DCT fluid leak & factory warranty - how to handle?

Bob.W · 20 · 1242

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Offline Bob.W

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Hi All,
I've a MY18 PD diesel that has the 7 speed DCT. First registered in 04JUL2017, so technically the 5yr warranty 'ended' a week and a bit ago.

I'd long ago decided it might be an idea to change the DCT fluid - even though Hyundai as to do at 120,000km (mine is at 64,000km). I only drive around once a fortnigh, my wife using it every day.

Having some extra time I removed the under engine guard after jacking it up and placing on stands today - immediately I noticed what appeared to be a build up of fluid on the underside of the DCT where the unit is screwed together - apparently Hyundai uses a sealant to form a gasket between the two metal sides.

I'd had an oil leak from the filter housing before (due to my error not having the o-ring in proper slot) so thought it could be residual oil from this - even though that was over a year ago.

I opened the viewing/refill/level check hole on the side of the DCT - when filled 1.9-2L of fluid should be inside. Apparently you fill until it runs out this hole - checking the actual level is done by inserting a gauge and seeing what the level is.

ALARMINGLY mine appeared to have next to no fluid in it at all - I had to angle the gauge down severely and push in a long way before any oil showed on it.

This makes me think it's been slowly leaking for a very long period of time - and has long been below proper levels.

What do folks feel I should do?
1) Go to dealership, tell them about the low level and request it remedied as a 'warranty' repair?
2) Top up with gear oil and do #1
3) Contact Hyundai Australia and advise them about the DCT leak/low level - request they remedy as warranty repair?

The thing is the ONLY real way to know how much fluid is in the DCT is to drain it fully via the drain hole and measure but it seems incredibly low (and yes I was on level ground, several hours after last having driven).

My understanding is under Australian consumer law - the warranty for such a significant issue (DCT having a near total leak) is covered, even outside the period (which is by literally a couple of weeks) - this is clearly something thats been happening for quite a while. It is an issue that others online have had.

Welcome your advice and thoughts,
Thank you, Bob
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Offline Bob.W

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Took a long shot and called Hyundai Australia's Customer Car line - long wait to get through but despite my VERY pessimistic view of them (have had nothing but issues from them in the past!) - after explaining issue and that after checking the DCT appeared to both have a leak at it's seal and also was very low - they advised it would on face value be a warranty repair (they'd consider it a 'goodwill' period - though in reality it's really done as it's required by Australian Consumer Law but not to quibble).

Stated they'd have a Case manager look into and contact me - as the local dealership's online system shows can't get in for a service until early AUG - though they generally fall over themselves to do warranty repairs as they can gouge HO for costs!

So seems very positive.....I could be knocked over with a feather but won't count my chickens yet.
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Online Shambles

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Seems a fair 'result', but as you say don't hold your breath [for too long].
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Offline Bob.W

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Craploads of calls this morning the net outcome from which is:

FWIW after many calls this morning - the long story to short version is this: 
- Hyundai don't recommend I drive it any more than necessary (alas it is our ONLY car)

- Hyundai will ONLY allow the car to be diagnosed through a Hyundai dealership

- I live rural and the only Hyundai dealership within 100km of me REFUSES to see the car before 08AUG - a full 3 weeks away - and that is just to confirm that the DCT is leaking - not what they're going to do about it.

- Hyundai Australia says they have zero ability to compel or motivate their dealers to diagnose car earlier EVEN if as the evidence suggests it is a 'major' fault (as defined by Australian Consumer Law).

- I'm highly reluctant to 'top up' the DCT fluid as this may make the severity of the leak less easily evidenced (by when they completely drain the DCT) i.e if I top up to full (which is big PITA to do at $70 of GL-4) I suspect they'll drain it, measure and say "Nah it's full, no leak at all!" So ironically my best evidence is if they drain it and find that it's got only 200ml etc in it.

- Hyundai Australia very reluctantly said I could top the DCT up and they'd not void the warranty for doing this

- Unclear from Hyundai Australia and Fair Trading NSW if I am liable in the event the DCT craps out completely during the period I was aware the DCT fluid was very low but unable to get Hyundai Australia to remedy it

- DCT repair apparently is a several day job, during which I will have no car and be unable to even get home - let alone commute to work (again rural, no public transport) - remedy to this unclear at present.

Fun, fun.  All that said the Case Manager I've been assigned by Hyundai is excellent, genuinely tries hard but seems they're really toothless when it comes to their dealerships. When I stated the dealership I had to go to (as only one in 100km) was (in my previous experiences with them) terrible - he remarked that he understood and didn't blame me - implying they've a bad reputation even with their HO.
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Offline Bob.W

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Checked the DCT fluid level again just before I put car down and replace underneath guard etc.

On a 10cm probe I literally could barely get ANY oil on it.......just traces from the sides. I think it's nearly bloody empty!   I've told Hyundai and I have to start driving it again - what a joke, major fault - you go above and beyond to tell them of how serious it is and they force you to luck it for 3 weeks before they'll even check.

I'm going to lose my nut if they mess me around at diagnosis.

In truth I could have put some GL-4 in myself but then it risks when they drain they'll say 'Ah it's nearly full - no leak.' Bastard of a position but they make all the rules so better to leave alone as if it blows I'll still be covered - notified them of the extra low reading, covering my  arse wherever possible.
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Offline AlanHo

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Are you able to top it up so you can safely use it and drain it off a few miles from the dealership on 8th August
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Offline Bob.W

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Are you able to top it up so you can safely use it and drain it off a few miles from the dealership on 8th August
Hi Alan,
Good idea but to drain it off you'd really have to dump it completely as i.e all fluid out.  So in theory you could do that. But my concern would be that I'd then have to either put it in completely empty or partially full with the mixed dumped fluid - which will look like pretty new fluid and they'll know it's been altered.

And as you might know, as it's warranty related they can be buggers about finding an excuse to slither away from their obligations.  Being it's a likely $5-8k repair I'm not keen to tempt them on this.  Especially given they're insisting I wait 3 full weeks just to diagnose it - so after that probably another week for the parts to arrive. Need a big repair slot, so that might take another few weeks to open up (as 3 week wait just for what I could do in my home garage in 30min max) and then the actual repair, which might be a full week.

Regardless is shows the terrible situation where dealerships are separate from the manufacturer but you're locked into their system - the consumer loses.
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Offline The Gonz

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Could you talk to Consumer Affairs? A reputable accredited mechanic for some sensible interim preventative measures shouldn't have to be the dealer's choice. What does your insurance company suggest?
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Offline Bob.W

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Could you talk to Consumer Affairs? A reputable accredited mechanic for some sensible interim preventative measures shouldn't have to be the dealer's choice. What does your insurance company suggest?
Hi Gonz,
It's always nice to know one's vaguely sane well well respected members suggest things that you've already tried.  So yes good ideas.
1. Consumer Affairs - I'm NSW, so contacted Fair Trading NSW - you speak with a person and they have an incredibly hard job to do - you tell them what it's about, which is quite complex for me - and they search their computer system and then READ WORD FOR WORD some blurb that is if you're lucky vaguely tangential.

The lady couldn't tell me anything at all other than the standard warranty stuff that i can read on their site.  As I said in their defence they have enquiries about all kinds of stuff so knowing the specifics of somethng like mine is a near impossibility. So I wasn't surprised.
2. Independant Mechanic: Was in to one only today as I was ensuring my latest 'service' and longbook was perfect for this matter - explained everything to him and put the car up on a hoist. He said how I measured the fluid level using a probe is exactly how he'd do it - he even uses a cable tie like I did. I

I explained that I had the fluid there and while we could put in I felt that this could be a warranty issue. But mainly that topping up the fluid would compromise diagnosis of the DCT's leak severity. As they'll only be able to do by draining it completely and seeing how much fluid is missing.  So if there's 1L missing - 50% full (and I believe it's well below this) - and we just added 500ml - they'll drain the 1.5L and maybe deduce it's a leak but thats acceptable as incredibly slow.

Whereas if they see it's just 50% full they I'D hope see it's a leak in an incredibly hard to access spot that threatens the car's ability to work at all.

I did clarify with the Case Manager from Hyundai that there is no such thing as an acceptable leak from the DCT e.g it's not if there's a leak but rather how rapidly it is leaking that determines the severity.   He stated that any leak is a faulty DCT and implied that the only way to rectify this is to replace the entire DCT.

Anyway the Independant Mechanic agreed with me that given that Hyundai INSISTS both diagnosis and repair are done by it's dealerships - any fluid top up could cause problems with warranty/diagnosis. And as such was best not done.

3. I have comprehensive insurance but I don't believe that would pertain to them at all. It's a manufacturer warranty issue - so this isn't something I even considered nor have heard of. If you had say an engine failure under warranty or even outside warranty your car insurance unless you had some bizarre policy extra,  wouldn't apply.

Haha so 2 good ideas anyway - but alas no dice.  I don't know if it's a placebo thing now but the car is seeming to be a tad odd - just very weird change times, really hanging on certain gears - I like was barely doing 60km/hr in one section and it was hanging in 6th gear - dunno like I said I might be imagining it now.

FWIW we've always babied the DCT in it - right from day 1 I told my wife how to drive it not to cause issues and explained the stuff vs a torque converter that was different. And I know she's very good about all that. Just a dud unit I suppose.   

Interesting to read that Hyundai has gone with a 'wet' 8 speed DCT on their new cars - I think thats an inditement of the old dry 7's. Which apparently were cheaper but clearly not as good.  I think all we can do is hope the 3 weeks comes fast and the repair isnt drawn out. I'm going to have to fight for a courtesy car during that time - looking like at best everything is a PITA.  :-/
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Offline pidim

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Hi Bob, this sounds like such a complex issue you are facing and everyone seems to be missing in action when it comes to help. 

I honestly believe, that at this point, you should really speak to a solicitor.  Paying for an initial consultation with a local lawyer would be money well spent in my opinion.



Offline Bob.W

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Hi Bob, this sounds like such a complex issue you are facing and everyone seems to be missing in action when it comes to help. 

I honestly believe, that at this point, you should really speak to a solicitor.  Paying for an initial consultation with a local lawyer would be money well spent in my opinion.



Appreciate the kind words but that said I certain legal advice now is kind of putting the cart before the horse. As technically someone could jump in the car now and it'd drive pretty normal. I don't think I really have much scope for movement on this. Technically the car is outside warranty, statutory warranty would still apply and Hyundai right from the get-go owned that such an issue would still be covered by them - as the genesis of it is manufacturing oriented (though technically there's a world where it could be human error e.g I ran over a giant boulder etc). 

So if it was 2yrs old or similar, I might feel more able to throw my weight around - but about 2 weeks after the warranty ended and as I said I know it's still ok under ACL (Australian Consumer Law) - I don't want to make it harder than needed.

Ideally I would have thought 2 things:
1. Hyundai Australia would have some or just ANY pull with their dealerships near me to get me in ATLEAST for the diagnosis earlier - given I'm waiting 3 weeks just for that.  But I asked till I was blue in the face of both the dealers and Hyundai and they assured me they can do no better - clear bullshit but what can I do?

2. In lieu of diagnosis via a Hyundai dealership you'd think atleast partial diagnosis should be able to be ascertained through a licenced mechanic of Hyundai's choosing.  I mean if a licenced mechanic can service and replace all manner of parts on your Hyundai and THIS doesn't void your warranty - why can they not check the fluid level of a DCT?

As that is ALL that needs to be established - as if as I suspect the fluid level is very low there's only 2 ways that could have happened:
1. Someone physically removed it (to what end I've no idea, but it's technically possible - so lets say I was nuts and did for 'fun')
2. The DCT has a leak

I'd apply Occams Razor and I know which one seems the likeliest.   But Hyundai apparently won't even let me do that - not sure why but seems very odd, I have asked exactly that but might have to call them to clarify.

So while I'm hapy they're helping - that this is the best they claim they can do is a bit ridiculous.
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Offline CraigB

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I agree a solicitor wouldn't be warranted at this stage.

I wonder if Hyundai would come to the party on a loan car if they are going to accept warranty, with oil found under/around the gearbox it sounds fairly likely to be a leak so it'd be better sitting at the dealership rather than used daily at home which would likely cause detrimental damage at some stage.

Or ask the dealership if you are allowed to add some fluid to get you by till the due date of inspection, the leak should still be evident when they inspect it.


Offline Bob.W

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I agree a solicitor wouldn't be warranted at this stage.
Agreed - significant extra cost - and as soon as you mention a lawyer, the other side unless they're silly also directs all via their lawyer - except Hyundai likely have one or more on staff and mine would be paid in 15min blocks using Shop-A-Coupons. ;-)   Just complicates stuff and to be fair I'm quite persuasive myself.

I wonder if Hyundai would come to the party on a loan car if they are going to accept warranty, with oil found under/around the gearbox it sounds fairly likely to be a leak so it'd be better sitting at the dealership rather than used daily at home which would likely cause detrimental damage at some stage.
I literally just got off the phone with them again - got Annabelle this time, she was very good. Is funny how they'll be quite open about how frustrating they find the parameters they have to operate within - multiple times on call when I referred to the dealers you could tell the frustration isn't just on the customer side.

But funnily enough a loan/courtesy car did come up - and it had on my previos calls to them.  Essentially she confirmed that they'd defiitely provide one - but only AFTER any diagnosis and likely only during the repair period.  Which is fine by me as I think beyond that is a big ask and I'm not the consumer who asks for the moon so I can just get the sky.

Or ask the dealership if you are allowed to add some fluid to get you by till the due date of inspection, the leak should still be evident when they inspect it.
As mentioned - adding any fluid before the leak's severity is established is a no-go for me.  The residual volume of fluid in the DCT is the only way to easily prove it was leaking.  Perhaps they can stress the DCT and detect the tiny leak - I don't know, but simplest is as I said to Annabelle - check the fluid level > what is fluid level? > How is this explained?    Thats kinda the work flow - and DCT fluid only gets out via a person removing it or a leak (and Hyundai have stated multiple times there is no such thing as an acceptable DCT leak e.g slow - ANY leak is a failed DCT).

So is a good idea but the only time at which I'd be fine with havng fluid added is AFTER diagnosis - when they've established (as I suspect) it's a DCT leak, replacement needed. But they can't do this for say 4 more weeks.   To better ensure I get by until then - they can top up at time of diagnosis - but they'll already know everything they need by that point, so is fine by me & actually I will request this.  :-)   But great ideas, thank you.

PS. I did suggest that to get me in earlier Hyundai could book the diagnosis in at an independant mechanic of THEIR choosing. She said customers always suggest the customers mechanic and they reject that - so I said thats logical but what if Hyundai could choose?  She didn't know and said she'd have to get back to me on that......I'll be fascinated to hear both her answer and rationale if its a NO. So TBD.
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Offline Bob.W

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Last thing for the day - in reading up about ACL and motor vehicles came across the concept of Exclusive Dealings as it pertains to ACL.  Essentially a bunch of areas that relate to restricts consumers choices.  COmpanies can do this but they have to seek permission from the ACCC to do this.

This is recorded on the Exclusive Dealing Register and there is nothing there from Hyundai in terms of their factory warranty and consumers not being able to have the diagnosis done via anyone other than Hyundai's dealerships.  As I've suggested they pick an Independent Licenced Mechanic of their preference.
:link: Exclusive dealing notifications register | ACCC

I've flagged this to them and suggested forcing me to use a dealer only is actually a violation of ACL, for the repair it's fine - but for the diagnosis it seems based on what I've read against the rules.   And as I said to them in closing - even if it isn't doesn't it make sense?

But we don't want to get that in the way I suppose  ;-)

FWIW here's the source for my info - there's actually some fascinating stuff in it that I'm sure all the manufacturers don't want you to know:
https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/1449_ACL%20Motor%20vehicle%20sales%20and%20repairs_FA_WEB.pdf
« Last Edit: July 21, 2022, 08:51:49 by Bob.W »
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Offline Bob.W

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Ok I will sincerely TRY and keep this succinct:
- was promised follow up by Hyundai Customer Care (HCC) trying to get me in earlier that 08SEP22 - that follow up, promised by two Case Managers never came

- called HCC and was told my different case manager those two were not there, he checked their system and advised near no notes on system at all and definitely anything they had to follow up with me - this blew my mind, as calls were 3-4 and in total near 2hrs.

- I advised that was told by 2 staff they would try to get me in earlier - he said,"Well obviously they must have and couldn't - thats why there's nothing on the system!"   SERIOUSLY.......end up barely keeping it together when I said that was a complete guess by him and we do not know if they even called anyone.  Asked for other staff member.

- Got Team Leader of Case Managers. The nuggets I got from him are: HCC takes very few notes from their calls, when I asked him why was this and if it might seem prudent so they can know where they're at - he agreed and gave me some BS.  So my advice is like me take your own notes as HCC IS NOT!

- He said he would personally call to see if diagnosis appt could be brought forward - he remarked "Oh it's only 2 weeks away now, not so bad" to which I advised that this was only as I'd been waiting for a full week for HCC to get back to me and I was still under advice from them to limit driving if possible.  SO he said he would TRY and get in earlier - apparently the Hyundai person in charge of a dealership region has pull with them and this is who he needs to go through.

- He brought up the have it towed to the dealer option again - to which I said the dealer had said this would not work - he said it could but again he'd have to call the regional manager - so could not GUARANTEE they would diagnose faster - which I adised made the exercise moot as it's too much hassle and I'd have to go in with car and wait as is our only car and we're 25km out of town.

- when I queried if repair would be major hassle to book etc GIVEN it took 3 weeks just for diagnosis appt - he said that dealers drop everything and get warranty repairs done nearly immediately once they're authorised.  I remarked thats amazing, they can't get me in now but you're saying they will IF there's an $8k repair they can charge to Hyundai?   And he said yes, thats how it works - but he implied it was an undertaking they had to Hyundai but he implied it was just as they wanted the big invoice.

Really disappointed by how hard I've had to ride these morons on just basic stuff - incredibly amateurish - I mean how do they not have notes in their system at all?  Reeks of sloppy standards.  Unimpressed and the idiot I got this morning before the Team Leader was one of the dumbest people I've ever dealt with - actually argued with me saying that no notes of call meant a call had been made but just nothing worth recording.  Madness.
To be continued
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Offline Bob.W

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So 3 days ago the Hyundai Customer Care TEAM LEADER assured me he'd call back later in the day or on the next day.......so have I heard anything back yet?

What is it with horseshit customer service from this mob?  This isn't me putting words in their mouths either - I've now had 3 different staff members each voluntarily say they'd call back - and not a single one has.

Just called and no surprise when I asked to speak with Daniel, the team leader who was calling  me back - his colleague said he was unavailable and will call me back 'really soon'.

I've never been a psychic before but I've a sense he's doing what he said 3 days ago ....NOW.   Hyundai Australia is an absolute shitshow - laughable stuff.
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Offline The Gonz

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I remember thinking how bad service levels were in the UK when I was studying my Masters there.
Then on return to Australia I found all that posturing about rotten service applied just as well here.

COVID isn't helping. We've had reduced productivity due to government-imposed isolation, now we have reduced productivity due to virus-imposed isolation - go figure!
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Offline Bob.W

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 :crazy1:
So Daniel, Hyundai Customer Care's Team Leader - called me back 'shortly' (4hours) after not being able to take my call.

- claims Coffs Harbour Hyundai says they called me and told me about the situation - I advised this is 100% false and no-one from Coffs Harbour Hyundai has been in contact.  I told him it's bizarre why their own dealership is lying to them. I have had no calls at all - ridiculous!

- he advised he cannot get me any earlier diagnosis appt - so I have to wait the full 3 weeks for a major fault UNDER WARRANTY to be checked.  Thats the best Hyundai can do....oh and try not to drive your car if possible (their helpful advice).

- conceded he'd advised me 3 days ago he'd call back that very day or the next - and he hadn't.....and this as the team leader, after 2 of his staff did exactly the same thing.  They just say sorry about that - and then do again - absolute joke.

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Offline The Gonz

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My dealer replaced my wife's i30 windscreen seal under warranty and proceeded to crack the screen and displodge the lane following camera unit. I insisted on a fleet car until it was fixed and got it, a 0 km Kona. His name is Daniel too, which had me doing a double-take of your location.
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Offline Bob.W

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My dealer replaced my wife's i30 windscreen seal under warranty and proceeded to crack the screen and displodge the lane following camera unit. I insisted on a fleet car until it was fixed and got it, a 0 km Kona. His name is Daniel too, which had me doing a double-take of your location.
Nah, Daniel is the Team Leader at Hyundai Customer Care - not the local dealership.
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