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  2. Service & Maintenance
  3. Wednesday, May 12 2021
Dear Sir,

PFB a detailed account of what had transpired last year in March 2020. I would really like an expert opinion on whether this case is worth pursuing in the consumer court - as I am not satisfied by the explanation given by KIA Motors.

I purchased a KIA Seltos (GTX variant) in mid-December 2019 through the dealer M/S Shreenath Vehicles Pvt Ltd. I purchased this vehicle after doing a lot of research and also waiting for 4 months. I was happy that I was finally the owner of a vehicle of a reputed make. As of date, the vehicle has registered only about 9000 Kms. I gave the vehicle for the 1st Service after one month of my purchase (about 3400 Kms).

Everyone who had driven the car up till then (all experienced drivers) had complained of a problem with the clutch. The car would repeatedly stall in the lower gears. I had flagged this problem and requested the Service Center to fix it. The vehicle was returned after the service and since then had logged less than 1,000 Kms when we faced an issue again.

On 5thof March 2020, my father who is an experienced driver with over 35 years of driving experience in many countries both with manual and auto transmission cars, took the vehicle to go for an outing. On that day the local Municipality had partially closed a bridge on the route for some repairs and there was a traffic build up on the entire stretch of the road covering a distance of more than 20 Kms. The entire stretch was blocked by vehicles and the traffic was moving bumper to bumper. After a few kilometers of driving - the clutch problem resurfaced and the car was stalling. Immediately thereafter, smoke started to come out from the bonnet. The engine was turned off. My father was scared that the vehicle would catch fire. Luckily a tow vehicle was available close by. Considering the heavy traffic and road blockages, he thought it wise to engage the tow vehicle in sight, rather than wait for one to be sent by KIA Care. He contacted KIA Care (RSA) –to seek their help/suggestions. The roadside assist was a complete disappointment as they were not even competent enough to comprehend the situation. Seeing this he opted to get the car towed to the service center himself. On reaching the service center – he requested reimbursement of the tow charges – but the Service Manager declined - even though KIA Care allows/ promises this assistance.

On the 6th of March 2020, I was informed that the Clutch was burnt out due to wear and tear. I was told I have to pay for the part replacement as it is not covered in the warranty. I was informed that such wear and tear could have been due to acceleration without properly disengaging the clutch – a sheer hypothesis. I challenged this hypothesis as the road was completely blocked that day and the vehicles were stationary for 10 to 15 minutes at every spot, they stopped and moved no more than 5 meters at any given time. There is no question of accelerating the car in such conditions. I did not buy the reason that was given to me for the clutch plate being worn out so fast.

A more probable cause for the clutch being completely worn out could have been that there was a manufacturing defect in the car, to begin with. The clutch problem was flagged off at the 1st service itself and it fully manifested as a burnout in the next drive under bumper to bumper drive conditions. Had this not been the case – the car would not have stalled so frequently from the very beginning – despite being driven properly. I felt the explanation put forward by the Manager was just a convenient excuse to make me pay for the replacement of a defective part. A broken/stretched clutch cable or a leaking hydraulic system from the beginning – could have also caused the clutch plate to get worn out. Considering the facts of this case – they seem more likely to me.

In the end, I was coerced to pay close to 20k as I did not have any other option to get back my car in the midst of a lockdown. They put the entire blame on us and absolved themselves. As I have stated earlier - I would really like an expert to weigh in on this matter - so that I know for sure that I have a genuine case if and when I go to a consumer court. If you do not see any merit in this case - then I will not pursue this any further.

I am also attaching some pictures that were taken at the time along with the repair cost that was incurred. Hoping for a prompt response from your end.
Admin Accepted Answer
Greetings !!

As i understand that clutch related issue was reported by yourself to service center twice
> At time of 1st Service
> Just after 1000 Kms of 1st Service

The explaination given by Workshop Manager is a basic explaination of clutch kit assembly replacement, but been Seltos was a newly launched car at that point of time - was mere 6 month old product - did you not contested about same to Manufacturer ?

Been, both side
> 6 Month old car
> Experienced driver within family
> Company which made entry in Indian Market

Had this pitched correctly, the same would have been covered under goodwill warranty
Needless to mention - we are aware of cases where manufacturer offers goodwill warranty to extent of 50% to 100% in cars under 6 month old

Coming to specific case per se in your matter
Clutch plate failure can happen due to many reason but most common been for short term failure
> Accelerating and using Clutch at same time - means absuing the car
> Half clutch drive - where some people use left foot to relax on clutch

and yes as i understand you using the car withim among family with experienced drivers and also faced the issue twice and even reported to service center - it definite looks like Manufacturing defect, and i truely believe that had same reported to Kia India customer care - a goodwill warranty could have been extended for same.

Now whats the solution after a year - definite not legal ?
A legal case will not lead any good as after a year of issue veen escalated to legal authorities - wont come with favorable solution

Best way is to write to Kia India customer care and management specifying
> Kia Seltos as bought in initial lot within 6 months of launch
> Family of experienced drivers
> Issue reported at service center twice for clutch
> How the issue was addressed by Kia Workshop putting entire blame
> Your apprehension on long term reliability of product

and ask for refund of amount as paid.
Although its been a year but am sure pitching it to OEM Customer care Team and regiional service team (and not dealer workshop) and making a followup on grounds referred on product reliability and questioning after sales service can help in getting something back from them.

Hope should help !!

  1. more than a month ago
  2. Service & Maintenance
  3. # 1
Piyush Accepted Answer
Hi – Many thanks for your prompt mail. It was helpful. However, I have a few follow-up questions/remarks.
1. Did you not contest about same to Manufacturer? – So, we raised the issue directly with KIA. Although we had a tough time reaching them – we did finally get through. They took the same view as the dealer (Shreenath Vehicles). However, it must be noted that they relied on some internal report that was given to them by the dealership - to arrive at this conclusion.

2. I wanted to know if there any way in which the dealership can distinguish between damage caused due to a manufacturing defect and something that has happened due to the customer's wrong usage. Is there any test/ are there any signs that can reveal this to arrive at a conclusion without any doubt?

3. We have also noticed someone else flagging a similar issue on your forum itself. It was around the same time (Mar-20). Attaching a screenshot of the issue described by them. Does this help our cause in any way? Does it give more weight to our suspicion of there being a manufacturing defect to begin with? Is it something we should flag to KIA?

4. Recently we had taken the car out after a prolonged period – and noticed that the display on the screen had disappeared. Although it came back within a few hours (still not sure what had caused this malfunction) – now we are certainly wondering about the long-term reliability of the car and if we have made the right choice in going with KIA (a relatively new brand in India).

Considering the above points – would you still advise us to reach out to KIA India customer care? Would you by any chance have OEM customer cares Email/ Phone number? (We had a tough time reaching out to KIA the last time). Thanks again for your time and inputs. Appreciate it.

Attachments (1)
Admin Accepted Answer

1. Clutch wear is something which can happen even at the 1st day of car delivery by driving with hand brake up
Thats why - is what wear & tear item and if abused by driving can be worn within hours too.

Could be due to number of reasons due to which clutch can be burnt, its always advisable to
> take pic of clutch plate when a replacement happens to identify cause
> Observe in symptoms like car stalling, clutch slippage, noise, power loss etc. for inspection

However, i can tell that if driver is experienced - thats given a good amount of consideration to replace clutch under goodwill warranty or just 50% cost been charged - provided same been escalated by customer.

2. Nop it wont help. Having 1 to 2 issue wont help, clutch failure as said is wear & tear and reasons can be any which may differ across
However, had score of customers faced similar issue - then only it could have helped to pitch.

3. Am sharing a possible reason (actual reason may vary)
Could be car connectors tuned dirty. It may happen to any car
You may take car to service center - they may clean the connectors, If issue do not crop up again in next 1 month - that was the issue, if again issue comes up could be something related to LCD Screen or Touchscreen itself.

Suggest to always make a video of issue so as to have a proof and sharing in with concerned service team of workshop / OEM
For Kia contact - customer care / tweet is best choice.

Hope should help !!

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