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I am unsure of I am posting this matter in the correct area; however I wish to share my experiences of issues with my wife’s Kia Optima, the dealerships approach to resolution and Kia customer service.


Very briefly my wife bought an approved Optima 3 Estate in June 2019 (car was reg'd July 2018). Initially we had issues with one wheel corroding and eventually Kia replaced it as a goodwill gesture on proviso that I do not disclose the full details including online forums to which I agreed at the time and this remains the case.

Anyway roll on December 2019 and I am washing the car, which is washed regularly and with quality products and I note some surface corrosion spreading under the lacquer on the rear wheels, upon further examination noted a front wheel to be displaying this also. I am not talking one small area, this is covering many edges of all wheels.

I booked the car into a local main dealer and yesterday 6 January 2020, I was informed that the wheels were not covered, I questioned this and asked for written conformation as to why this was not covered. The written reply is as follows.

“Checked N/S/R, O/S/R + N/S/F. Alloys not covered by warranty due to stone chips on alloys. Technician reports that design on original alloys and rotation of wheel cause stone chip damage on inside of alloys causing corrosion.”


Firstly I did not design the wheel and obviously secondly I cannot help the fact the wheel rotates, it is a requirement to get anywhere. I contacted Kia CS and was informed that the wheels had suffered “external factors”, this is a phrase that Kia love, and that would get the dealership to contact me. I spoke with Consumer Affairs Scotland who informed me under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 that any goods purchased from a trader should be of satisfactory quality and therefore free from defect and DURABLE.

I was informed by the dealer service manager who in my opinion had particular poor customer service skills that his staff are specially trained in warranty matters and would not be submitting the claim, this is the same dealer who stated in writing that rotation and original design caused stone chipping.

To be quite frank this has put us off ever touching a Kia again or indeed recommending one. I am not unrealistic and I am pedantic about caring for our cars, hence why I know I have done as much as any owner could to avoid undue damage, but with Kia I get the feeling they do not see the car as a quality product and merely a disposable white good. Our Optima has not even had its 20k service and is jut under 18months, yet Kia think that 4 corroded wheels is acceptable.


In summary I would be very careful if you purchase a Kia, because whilst the sales teams are great and sell to the max the 7 year warranty, which promises you the world, post purchase good luck getting any joy with it. I am genuinely at a loss as to what external factors I can possibly avoid. I have to drive the car in an external environment and it does have to rotate. If anyone requires further information please contact me as I would be delighted to share my experiences
 

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I spoke with Consumer Affairs Scotland who informed me under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 that any goods purchased from a trader should be of satisfactory quality and therefore free from defect and DURABLE.

Our Optima has not even had its 20k service and is jut under 18months, yet Kia think that 4 corroded wheels is acceptable.
Well, first of all, a belated welcome to the forum, 'Jayfad'.

As for the wheel corrosion, if you were to search through the forums, you should find several complaints of that but I can't recall the Optima being afflicted with that problem. From memory, I seem to remember that some had wheels replaced under warranty and others were refused - some dealers clearly being more supportive than others in regard to pursuing a warranty claim.

Why don't you prosecute a case against KIA in the small claims court, (I imagine that exists in Scotland too) given the advice from CA Scotland? You might need to provide an engineer's report (at your expense) to support your case but CA should be able to guide you through the process.

I'm a little disturbed by your reference to the 20,000 mile service and I'd like to think that you simply didn't describe the service history well. Your car should have had its first service no later than July 2019 and I presume that was done. If the mileage was much over 10,000 at that time, the oil and filter would have been changed whereas if under 10,000 miles, it would have been purely an inspection check, with the second service due at 20,000 or 24 months, whichever comes first.

The reason I mention that is that adherence to the laid-down schedule (in the owners' handbook) is critical to warranty claims (your side of the bargain with KIA being prepared to provide a guarantee on most major parts for a full 7 years). In the case of wheel corrosion, the servicing schedule is irrelevant in my view as if your case is justified, then a fault in the manufacturing process is the likely culprit. Of course, if the vehicle has been rigidly maintained in accordance with KIA's servicing schedule, that is helpful in pursuing your claim. On the other hand if you have used 'Slippery Sid's garage under a railway arch rather than a KIA franchised dealer…….well, you get my drift.

Have you considered taking the problem to a different KIA dealership to see if their view differs from that of the previous dealer?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah full kia history. At 12k when they stated it was an inspection service only. However oil and filter changed anyway and the 20k due soon. It will be serviced at a vat regd garage using dealer supplied filter.

The claim may lie directly at the supplying garage. Just appalling the kia have no interest. Hence my post to make buyer aware.
 

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The claim may lie directly at the supplying garage. Just appalling the kia have no interest. Hence my post to make buyer aware.
How do you know that KIA UK has no interest in your problem? Have you been in touch with them or have you been simply fobbed off at dealer level? I would suggest, unless you say otherwise, that KIA UK may well have never been contacted with regard to your wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
3 times in 2 days to kia customer services so yes I have attempted hence this post
 

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3 times in 2 days to kia customer services so yes I have attempted hence this post
Well, if you have written confirmation from KIA UK that they have rejected your warranty claim, then see them in court - it doesn't cost much to visit the action on them in the small claims court.
 

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Ipersonally think this is down to how good your Kia dealer is. Had a visible problem on two wheels on my Sportage, dealer examined it and stated that the other two wheels had minor signs of corrosion which were difficult to see visibly but their technician could see on closer examination. Was told that all four wheels needed replacing and they would take it forward for me. Within two days I got a phone call asking me when I could take the car back as they had four new replacment alloys for me. All done and fitted within one week. I know this is no consolation to you and I have seen other members having issues getting this done, but my experience was of excellent dealer/customer service.
 

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If I get chance I may respond in more detail later, however just to advise that I have a 2017 Optima and had the same problem with corrosion on the alloy wheels. Kia quoted the same old "external influences" to me too and tried fobbing me off at dealer, KCS and Director level. I can't say much more for the reasons summarised in the second paragraph of the OP but I will say there was a goodwill gesture in the end.

OP, I think you need to press the issue at the highest level possible and if still no joy, take them to small claims. I'd be happy to support you in anyway possible i.e. photos of my wheels to show that this isn't just your car affected.
 

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Ipersonally think this is down to how good your Kia dealer is. Had a visible problem on two wheels on my Sportage, dealer examined it and stated that the other two wheels had minor signs of corrosion which were difficult to see visibly but their technician could see on closer examination. Was told that all four wheels needed replacing and they would take it forward for me. Within two days I got a phone call asking me when I could take the car back as they had four new replacment alloys for me. All done and fitted within one week. I know this is no consolation to you and I have seen other members having issues getting this done, but my experience was of excellent dealer/customer service.
How long ago was that dmrodgers? I seem to recall reading on here that a few years back Kia were very good at replacing wheels with corrosion, then presumably they realised it was too widespread a problem and was costing them too much money so stopped doing it and came up with the "external influences" line.
 

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Hi all, I agree with earlier comments and as I said somewhere else in this conversation, Kia, Hyundai seem to be taking a harder line in recent years, and saying no to corrosion on wheels and waiting for owners to commence litigation. I recall a 12 year old vauxhall some years ago , no obvious corrosion after all that time outside no garage, no special cleaning. Clearly manufacturing standards are much lower on modern alloy wheels. The problem with litigation is it may cost you more than having the wheel/s refurbished privately?
 

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The problem with litigation is it may cost you more than having the wheel/s refurbished privately?
Very true and I think an engineer's report (expert witness) would be key to persuading the court that the problem is the result of a manufacturing defect.

I believe witness expenses may be recovered but perhaps that is limited to travel/time off work expenses, rather than the charge for compiling an authoritative report.
 

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The problem with litigation is it may cost you more than having the wheel/s refurbished privately?
Small claims court.
£500.01 to £1,000£70 paper fee£60 online

So if you are talking more then 1 wheel. Certainly not cheaper than taking Kia on.
 

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We do we want alloy wheels? Yes they might look good, I have them, but not by choice. I'd much prefer steel wheels with a good hub cap. If you kerb them you get a replacement for £10. If I had a super racing/sports car it might be worth having them to reduce unsprung weight, but otherwise they are a complete waste of money.
 

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Agree with Lancelot on this - bling and not practical. Also feel the same about large diameter wheels and low profile tyres - again a truimph of form over (road) functionality. Track cars do this for good reasons, and an expensive passtime it is too, but our pothole filled roads are not suited to such idle fancies.
 

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I think we need to remember this is a problem with poor manufacturing, not alloy wheels in general. Steelies rust if not manufactured well, the same way good alloys don't develop problems that the kia stuff does. On previous cars, the alloys have been fine. Even after curbing they didnt blister and worm up. Plus you can have non-diamond-cut wheels refurbed from around £30 a corner so it's not exactly the end of the world. Probably the price of a new steelie these days.
 

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I think we need to remember this is a problem with poor manufacturing, not alloy wheels in general. Steelies rust if not manufactured well, the same way good alloys don't develop problems that the kia stuff does. On previous cars, the alloys have been fine. Even after curbing they didnt blister and worm up. Plus you can have non-diamond-cut wheels refurbed from around £30 a corner so it's not exactly the end of the world. Probably the price of a new steelie these days.
I don't think the problem with poorly manufactured alloys is unique to Kia. I have had alloy wheel blistering with previous Audi and Toyota cars, which I might add, were dealt with admirably by the dealers by replacing wheels without question.
 

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I don't think the problem with poorly manufactured alloys is unique to Kia. I have had alloy wheel blistering with previous Audi and Toyota cars, which I might add, were dealt with admirably by the dealers by replacing wheels without question.
Oh no, I don't suspect it is limited to kia but having had alloys last 10yrs plus without these symptoms, I'm suggesting bad manufacturing processes are to blame. It's akin to saying cars are a bad idea because BL minis suffered from rust. If done correctly the finished product is fine.
 

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i think before you make any purchase you have to do your homework, there is plenty of info about alloy wheel problems and the way kia treat them on this site and others. you gather your evidence then make your decision, until people stop purchasing the product manufactures do not have to improve.
 

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How long ago was that dmrodgers? I seem to recall reading on here that a few years back Kia were very good at replacing wheels with corrosion, then presumably they realised it was too widespread a problem and was costing them too much money so stopped doing it and came up with the "external influences" line.
Two and a holf years ago on a 12 month old Spaortage 4. Guess it could be as you say too many warrenty claims on wheels costing them money so shut the stable door on this before it got any more costly for them. Wrong in my and many of our members mind, the 7 year warrenty should be just that. If you have kerbed the alloy then I agree this should not be replaced at tno cost under the 7 year warrenty but this problem, like mine, was nothing other than a mnufacturing issue which should be covered.
 

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I do not see why faulty alloys should be a problem for Kia assuming that the manufacture of these products is outsourced. Surely any reasonable supply agreement would contain provision for faulty products to be referred back with appropriate credit to the supplier? If, on the other hand, Kia manufacture their own wheels, then the remedy is very much in their own hands in improving their production processes. Or am I over simplifying the issue?
 
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