Friday, August 29, 2008

Hyundai disappoints

I drive a 2003 Hyundai Sonata, and overall I've been happy with it; a great price, seems solidly built overall, and I've had very few problems. But, I am sorry to say in one regard, it has proved to be a disappointment, and I thought you might benefit from knowing it.

I'm also interested in knowing if anyone else has the same problem, and if you have a suggestion.

The problem is the radio. I noticed it failing a couple of years ago; for awhile, I thought it was because I'm further away from a big city than I used to be; but then I'd drive through a big city and not be able to get good reception on a local station. Just today, I drove through Dayton and could barely pick up a Dayton AM station!

When the problem first arose, I called the local dealership, and suggested this should be addressed at no charge to me--the radio ought to perform better. The dealership said no, so I wrote Hyundai USA, and eventually spoke with someone on the phone. The rep convinced the dealership at least to consider repairing it, but, in the end, the local dealership (35 miles south in Centerville) said no--the radio was performing as well as the radios do for that model. The service guy admitted the radios were weak; "but they're better in the newer models!"

Tell me what you think of this. I've been saying, to Hyundai, that what the black-and-white of the warranty says is irrelevant, for two reasons. First: Hyundai makes a major thing of its 10-year warranty, i.e., being way better than anyone elses. Second, it's just smart business, because really, does it behoove one of the less well known automakers selling in this country to have a reputation for shoddy materials? Far better to be known as the guys who go the extra mile.

Anyway, Hyundai won't replace my radio, which because it's unreliable, isn't very helpful to me.

I do live 30-plus miles outside a big city--Dayton--so already I'm at a disadvantage. So what suggestions does anyone have for a new radio? If I'm going to buy something new, I'd really like to resolve this problem--what ideas does anyone have?


Father Schnippel said...

Go with the Satelite Radio, XM or Sirius. If they get their act together, won't be much different. At this point, compare what you want to listen to and which one has the better line-up in that arena. I have Sirius, mainly because it has EWTN and the Catholic Channel, plus has a heavy focus on sports (which i like, no MLB as that's on XM).

Because of the radio issues, you might have to get a whole new dash unit, others could tell you better than I.

Patrick said...

I have a 2004 Sonata and it's been a great car overall. I've had AM reception problems in several different cars so there may not be much they can do. In this one the radio is ok, not great but not terrible.

You might look into XM or Sirius satellite radio. They have some pretty inexpensive units now and there's a huge variety of programming. I like listening to the audio feed from Fox News Channel. Reception is near-perfect unless you are in a tunnel or something.

Patrick said...

I should add, you can use satellite radio without tearing up everything. They have units that plug into the lighter and have a tiny antenna that goes on the dashboard. The sound comes out of your car speakers by tuning into an FM channel.

Not sure about your model, but my Sonata has a little notch in the center console with a lighter outlet. The XM unit fit very nicely right into it. Then I just snaked the antenna wire under the carpet and to the rear dashboard, where the antenna sits. It is very unobtrusive and works fine.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Fr. Schnippel.

Also, do not buy Nissan. That is all I am going to say here...have said plenty on my blog.
I had to replace the engine at my cost.

Sorry to hear about your radio. You can file with the BBB. They have no teeth in my opinion, but it is another step

Anonymous said...

One more thing about the Sirius we have, I can bring it out of my car too.
So, as long as I have a radio in the room I can listen to the Sirius station of my choice in the car or in the house.

I have had reception problems during thunderstorms but that is to be expected b/c of reception.

Dad29 said...

My daughter recently acquired a brand-new VW; my son was the salesman.

I rode someplace in the car and tuned to an AM station; reception was terrible.

Asked the son about it and he said that 'digital radio receivers' are just terrible with non-digital broadcasts.

FatherTF said...

I'm very glad to hear that you drive a Hyundai Sonata. I bought a 2005 Sonata just over a year ago. Very happy with it. In the UK it is regarded as a Very Big Car and I can only just get away with it by pleading my weekly hour and a half journey to teach at the seminary.

Our Glorious Leader Gordon Brown has ensured that I have to keep it until it runs into the ground because I will never get any money for it second hand on account of his announcement that the annual road tax on it will be phased up to £400 sterling per annum (=$750 US) because of its oh-so-non-green nature.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father Finigan:

Sonata "very big" eh? Oh, you should come to America, we'll show you some big-eh..uh...some really big cars!

Anonymous said...

I just bought a Hyundai Elantra last week and interestingly the radio is one of my favorite features. Wonderful AM reception and my first experience with XM satellite radio...Fantastic! I wish it came with Sirius because of the EWTN/ Catholic channel, but since XM and Sirius have just merged maybe that problem will be resolved. In any event, the Hyundai is terrific and I highly recommend it for value / warranty.

Anonymous said...

Satellite radio is the answer. Also you may have a problem with antenna and leads. Do you have one of those systems where the windshield or the car body itself serves as the antenna? There may be a short or other interference in there. I'd try to find a third-party electronics place to do some investigation. (They'd also be best suited to install the satellite radio system.) Here in Columbus I'm just as happy with the radio and the direct wire-up link my Prius has for our various i-Pods (my daughter owns one, I own her old one, and my wife has TWO!!).

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