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Shirley is a recent retiree who drives a 2020 Hyundai Kona that she bought new at the beginning of her retirement. When she purchased the vehicle she had the dealer include a remote starter so she could start her car from inside her house on cold mornings. Recently, she noticed her vehicle was experiencing a difficult, delayed start. She called me and I suggested it sounded like a simple battery problem. Given its newish age, I encouraged her to call her dealer and inquire if the battery was still under factory warranty. It was a longshot, but at least worth a call. She made the call and dropped her car off later that same week. They indicated it was possibly under warranty, but it needed to be tested first.

Later that week she called me confused because the dealer said the battery failed and they weren’t going to replace it under warranty. They also said an aftermarket remote starter was poorly installed and draining the vehicle’s battery, ultimately causing its premature failure. They wanted more than $1,000 to replace the battery and remove the remote starter. As the conversation unfolded, I realized the dealer that was looking at the car was different from the dealer she purchased it from.

Shirley couldn’t imagine spending that much on a vehicle with so few kilometres, but she had reluctantly given them approval to repair before she called me. As we continued our conversation and things became more clear, I suggested she call the dealer back and pause the repair while we chatted. Then I suggested she call the dealer she bought the car from and speak with a service manager. I followed up with her a week later and she said the original dealer fixed the wiring for free, but the battery was out of its factory warranty period. Unlike the other dealers’ recommendations, they said the remote starter was not causing the issue, which may or may not be true.

Remote starters come in two flavours, ones that come directly from the manufacturer, sold as a factory accessory and aftermarket, non-original equipment units. The factory units offer a plug-and-play installation process. For the most part, all the technician has to do is follow the instructions and unplug a few electrical connectors and then reconnect the new remote starter unit in-line. It’s a simple job that doesn’t interfere with any of the existing original wiring, thus there is little that can go wrong.

Aftermarket units are typically installed by third-party vendors. Even though Shirley bought the unit from her Hyundai dealership, it was likely not an official Hyundai accessory. The dealership sales staff most likely just called in an outside installer to install it. These aftermarket remote starters and alarms are typically installed by cutting and splicing factory wiring. The success of the install is dependent on the skill of the installer. As you can imagine, results may vary. If you are buying a remote starter with your new car, ask the sales staff specifically what kind of unit it is. They will always tell you it is an approved unit, but it is commonly not a factory original accessory like they may have led you to believe. You should know what you are getting before you make the purchase.

Your automotive questions answered


I have a 2016 Ford F-150 Limited with approximately 86,000 kilometres on it. The truck has been dealer serviced and is in great shape. Recently while opening the full-size moon roof, it made a terrible creaking sound and would not fully open. Eventually I was able to close it and after doing research and inspecting the sliding brackets determined they had failed. My research has indicated this is a common problem on Ford vehicles with the panoramic sunroof as the mounting brackets are plastic and fail where they connect to the pulling mechanism. My dealer said this could cost upward of $1,500 to $2,000 to repair. Are you aware of any extended warranties that Ford is offering to repair what appears to be a design failure.

Thanks - Scott

Manufacturer extended warranties are typically put in place to protect the manufacturer from litigation costs. If enough customers complain about something eventually a lawsuit will be organized, especially south of the border. If the manufacturer is going to have to pay out heavily in settlements, they might as well just fix the problem and save the bad press.

In your case, there is a well-documented problem with the sunroof, but I don’t see any recalls or extended warranties in place. However, there are repair kits available in the aftermarket that deals with the common problem areas. The available kits might be a bit more than a DIY repair but should be easy enough for a technician to do in a timely manner. I would head to an independent and have them research a more affordable repair.


I have a 2008 Dodge Dakota that quit taking fuel. The pump shut off constantly. I’ve had it in the shop for almost a month now. The whole EVAP (Evaporative emission control system) system has been replaced. However, I went to pick it up yesterday and the first thing I did was go to fill the gas tank. It still won’t allow the tank to fill. What has my mechanic missed? Can you help me?

ANY suggestions are so welcome at this point. And I thank you in advance.

Regards - M.W.

I have no idea what they changed, but honestly, I imagine that replacing the whole EVAP would cost well more than the value of the truck. Therefore, I highly doubt they changed the whole system.

Possible related problem areas that can occur on a Dakota are the fuel tank itself, leak detection assembly, vent filter, EVAP Integrity Monitor Assembly system, charcoal canister and canister purge solenoids.

Please understand that when the gas pump clicks off, it is doing so because pressure is building within your tank and filler neck. As fuel goes in, displaced air must come out, if it can’t vent properly, the air then travels up the filler neck and the result is a problem filling at the pump.

Clearly the shop who just repaired your vehicle did not send it down the road to a gas station to check their work. Unfortunately, you are going to have to take it back and ask them why?

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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