BOONE CO. — No matter the season, Orty Ortwein enjoys bike trails.
He enjoys it so much that when it came to buying a vehicle, it had to have the ability to carry his bicycle. Ortwein picked a Kia Soul based on reviews and friend recommendations.
All went well until this past August when the oil light came on in Indianapolis, and he never made it to his home in Lebanon.
"All of sudden, I started hearing horrible noises,' oh this is not good,'" Ortwein said. "I pulled over — smoke and steam everywhere."
An inspection found a hole in the engine block. The mechanic wrote in a report that it was most likely caused by a lack of lubrication.
Ortwein took his Kia to the dealership, counting on his warranty to kick-in since the vehicle was under 100,000 miles.
The dealership told him that Kia was not paying for an engine replacement.
"I said, 'why?'" Ortwein said. "'They saw the Lyft sticker in your windshield and said it had been used for the commercial purposes.'"
Ortwein admits he provided about 20 rides as a Lyft driver, and says he was unaware of page 4, item 8 of his warranty.
It warns consumers that the warranty could be jeopardized for several reasons, including if the vehicle is used for competitive driving or racing, police or emergency service, or carriage of passengers for hire.
"I was livid, frankly, because it felt like a loophole. Clearly, something was wrong with this car. A hole in the engine block just doesn't happen," Ortwein said. "I felt like they found an excuse not to make an expensive repair, was my feelings on that."
Kia did not address the Lyft issue when RTV6 asked. The company did, however, release the following statement:
"Kia Motors America (KMA) takes reported customer concerns seriously. KMA’s Warranty and Consumer Information Manual states that damage due to improper maintenance is not covered by KMA warranties and also detail the vehicle owner’s responsibilities relative to maintenance intervals and the retention of accurate maintenance records. Additionally, the subject vehicle has approximately 90,000 miles, more than 30,000 miles beyond the new vehicle limited warranty term. In this case, an inspection of the customer’s vehicle by Kia technicians revealed clear signs of lack of maintenance, including engine oil sludge, which can lead to engine failure. Therefore, consideration for additional possible goodwill coverage beyond the terms of the new vehicle limited warranty term has been denied. Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle and warranty coverage should contact their local Kia dealer for assistance or Kia’s Consumer Assistance Center directly at 1-800-333-4542 (4Kia)."
RTV6 reached out to several other dealerships representing Chevrolet and Acura. They say that one of the best ways to beat a claim is to follow the maintenance requirements of your vehicle and keep the maintenance records just like you would keep tax records in case of an audit.