Md. Woman Spends Thousands to Replace Engine Two Months Before Recall

When a Maryland woman got a recall notice for an engine she just replaced, she thought getting a refund from the manufacturer would be easy.

Carol Eichelberger of Myersville said the engine of her 2012 Hyundai Sonata with 63,000 miles on it failed while she was driving.

“I just had to drift off with no power steering, with nothing,” she said. “The car just quit on me.”

She had the car towed to a Hyundai dealership and was told the engine needed to be replaced at a cost of almost $6,000 because it was no longer under warranty.

“We were sick because I thought, We'll just have to have the car towed home because I don't know what to do with it,” she said.

But a mechanic friend of the family offered to replace the engine at a fraction of the cost.

“We paid him, and it was running again,” Eichelberger said.


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Less than two months later, she received a recall notice for the engine she paid almost $4,000 to replace. According to the recall notice "metal debris may have been generated from factory machining operations." That could cause "possible engine failure," federal safety regulators said.

But when she asked Hyundai for a refund for the recalled engine, she was denied. According to Hyundai's reimbursement policies, it can "only reimburse transactions made with a legitimate business or repair facility." Eichelberger's mechanic "was unable to provide documents such as a business license."

“Had I known, I would have taken it to a dealer, but I had to do what was financially best for me,” she said.

After NBC4 Responds contacted Hyundai, it agreed to refund the full amount of the repair a few days later.

If you have an issue with your car, file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, and if you need to get it repaired, make sure to go to a licensed mechanic, preferably one that is certified to work on your particular vehicle.

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