By March 9, 2012 Read More →

Front Coil Springs Breaking – Recall?

Reader Question,

Hi There.

I would appreciate and value your help. A little background. I have bee taking my vehicle to a Meineke shop in London, Ontario. Until recently. I was satisfied with the service given to me and trusted their advice. About 2 months ago, I came back from vacation and realizes that me front spring on the driver’s side of my FWD 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe, with 127 000 Kms, had broken (while parked!) This also cut my brand new tire and brake line. In the end the final bill was $2040.00. I was told by the mechanic, that the spring failure was cause by worn struts.

The Meineke shop has been servicing my vehicle since I had approximately 100 000 Km’s on it and I have been in for approximately 6 services, ranging anywhere from oil changes, tune-ups, brakes, etc. In fact, the front brakes are the last thing that had been done before the spring failure (about 5 months before). Every time I bring my vehicle for even minor service, they are suppose to inspect my vehicle for any possible problems.

I have trouble believing that when they did the brake work that my struts were in perfect condition and 5 months later, they are so bad that they caused a spring failure! When talking to the mechanic (he was new at that location) he mentioned that he was surprised. nothing was mentioned to me during the brake servicing. What makes matters worse, is that during that last inspection, they made a point of telling me that my vehicle was in great shape!

I can’t help feeling that they dropped the ball on this and if they would of inspected my vehicle properly, this would of been avoided. I cringe at the thought of this happening on the highway with my family in the car! I contacted the owner of the Meineke and mentioned my concerns, but he will not take any responsibilities regarding this matter. I think, they at a bare minimum, should of covered half the cost.

So I guess my question is or are: Am I right in feeling this way? Should they be held accountable for failing to spot this, especially after front brake work? Is it possible for struts to look in good shape but then fail in the span of 5 months so drastically? I have been told by them, that it is recommended that struts be replaced every 80 000 km’s. Then why was this never been suggested to me? Am I right in believing that they dropped the ball big time!?

I am contemplating filling a report with the local BBB, but I am not sure if my feelings are justified and would appreciate the help of a un-biased mechanic on whether or not I should go ahead with this. I don’t want to cause problems to a business if it is not warranted. With that said, I don’t want to get screwed either. Right now, I think I am being screwed and they are giving me a lot of BS to cover their mistake!

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Michel

Why hi there Michel,

Hi there. This is the strangest story I have ever heard. I have NEVER seen a spring fail when the vehicle is just parked…..I could see a spring failure or break during an accident or under severe heavy loads but on a parked Hyundai….no way. :) BUT anything is possible and I hear of strange stories everyday.

I really don’t think the Meineke shop had anything to do with this or could have prevented it. The strut and the spring are sold separately and the spring is reused. So even if they replaced your struts 5 months ago you might still have the same issue now. I would also not write a complaint to the BBB, I really don’t think they have any liability in this situation. The spring is like your wheels, you routinely replace the tires but seldom if ever replace the metal wheel…same as the metal spring.

Now, how in the world did the repair bill get to $2040, that is a better question. Hummm, a strut and the spring, a new tire replacement and a brake line…I would have to call Hyundai and get the price of the spring and the strut but I dont see how this could have cost more than $1200….and that is TOTALLY a guess, unless he also replaced the other side as well…then MAYBE……MAYBE, or there is more that was replaced that we dont know.

I would have suggested a used strut and spring assembly from a junk yard on a 9 year old vehicle to save you some money. You MIGHT have more of a complaint with the new mechanic than with Meineke. You also MIGHT have an insurance claim with your auto insurance, it would be worth a call. if this happened while you were driving and hit a pot hole in the road you probably would have coverage for it and just had to pay the deductible amount if you have full coverage. You might still be able to get coverage, if you call your agent and you have full coverage….I would ask any way.

For grins…if you really want to know, call a junk yard in your area and ask them how much the left front suspension parts cost, spring, strut, spindle, brake line and brake rotor. They usually just sell everything needed (an assembly) from the strut to the wheel. I can buy it here in Texas for about $200 and installation is quick and easy replacing everything at once instead of individual pieces. Probably 2 1/2 hours labor time plus a front end alignment…..thus my $1200 estimate, and even that might be high for used parts.

Are you sure your car was not used by someone while you were on vacation….something about this does not make sense at all.

On a side note, if the left spring broke….what is the condition of the right side spring? Will it fail next? Is it heavily rusted due to salting of the icy roads??

Blessings,
Austin Davis

Reader Follow Up Hi Austin.

Thank you very much. I appreciate the reply but also how quick it was! They did replace both side. I figured if one spring can go, so can the other one and it’s most definitely something I did not want to take a chance on. I have never heard of that before either, until I looked it up and found and almost identical situation in a Hyundai forum.

http://www.hyundaiforum.com/forum/hyundai-santa-fe-20/broken-spring-8019/

I actually did not see these in my initial search. I only found one instance in the Hyundai forums, but now it seems to be a serious problem and should be a recall! Some broke while moving, but a few of them while parked.

http://www.arfc.org/complaints/2004/hyundai/santa_fe/suspension/problem.aspx

Perhaps, It’s Hyundai I should be contacting! I will have to look into this some more. Again, thank you for your help Austin. I appreciate it!

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."

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