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Saturday, August 06, 2005


Short OT. No swearing, and only a couple unpleasant words.

Some people were wondering what happened with my car. Well, I traded it in. Since I won't be in court over it, here's the whole story.

Bought a 2001 Kia in '02. Never had any problems with it. It always started, even on the coldest day. I was very impressed with the discount car.

Then I moved to a house with no garage and things changed.

Let me give a little background information. When we bought the car we were charged for "the winterization package". Aurora Motors winterizes every car they sell and tack on about $400 to the price. Fair enough. It is Alaska. They're making a sizable profit off the deal, but oh well. If you buy from them you don't have a choice, and the car needs to be winterized anyway.

The first two years we owned the car we had a garage. The car was protected from the extreme cold most of the time and we just plugged it in when we were away from home. No problems.

When we moved to a home with no garage the catalytic converter started going out, and kept going out every couple months. It is a $400+ repair. The car was still under warranty, and we had a third car to drive when the Kia was in the shop. It wasn't that big of a hassle.

Then we brought the car in for an oil change one frigid winter day. When the car was up on the rack a bright-eyed service mechanic noticed that the car wasn't winterized. There was an electrical cord dangling out the front of the car, but it was only connected to the oil pan heater, a minor component of the "winterization package". The plug heater wasn't even installed, neither were the other minor winterization package components.

We had been cold-starting the car for several years in temperatures the were frequently below -40 and didn't know there was a problem. The car always started right up. That says a lot about Kias. Despite the problems I've had with Aurora Motors I wouldn't say bad things about Kia.

Several mechanics (including the mechanic at Aurora) told me that all that cold starting is probably what lead to the ongoing problem, in the absence of an obvious reason that is. They are probably right. Six catalytic converters later I don't really care what caused the problem, I'm just glad it isn't mine anymore.

One other note. I mentioned in the previous post that Aurora was trying to extort payment out of us even though the car was covered under warranty. Luckily we had a third car and never caved in to their extortion, but this fact lead one observer to note that they were probably trying to "double dip", that is get payment from us and the warranty company. I hadn't thought of that, but now I wonder myself. As I noted before, Aurora Motors is a den of pricks. The desk staff in the service department are the most arrogant bastards I have ever encountered. Arrogant bastards think they can get away with anything, and they usually do because good people are afraid to stand up to them.

You have been warned.

Good luck on the vehicle situation . . . frustrating.
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