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3 On Your Side: Hyundai Sonata Steering Issue

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It's one of the best-selling cars in the United States, but some drivers say it took them where they didn't want to go!

It was a ride with her sister that Freda Salley won't soon forget. She says, "We're on 295 and she goes 'why are you blowing the horn like that?' I said 'because they keep coming in my lane.' She said 'they're not coming in your lane, you're going in theirs!'" Freda says her 2011 Hyundai Sonata had a mind of its own. She says, "The car will go all the way to the left side and then when I try to straighten it up, it'll go all the way to the right side. So it's hard to keep it in the lane."

In fact, 223 complaints have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration involving 2011 Hyundai Sonata's claiming they pull to left, pull to the right, and are difficult to steer. Some drivers have even posted You Tube videos documenting their experience.

"I've been having problems the whole time since I owned the car," says Rita Wendling. She knew something wasn't right with her Sonata after it needed two alignments and four new tires within 20,000 miles. She says, "I just thought the tires were bad."

But Lemon Law attorney Bob Silverman believes it's the car that's the problem. He says, "These cars are pulling all over the road. It's their steering system and they can't be fixed."

In the summer of 2011, Hyundai initiated a service campaign to install new front suspension struts to fix the problem. It's a problem the company says involved less than 5,000 Sonata's built from September of 2010 through April of 2011 at one Alabama manufacturing plant. Hyundai says the repairs solved most of the problems.

But Bob Silverman says he's got clients that would disagree. According to Silverman, "They do things like replacing struts, it doesn't fix it, drilling new holes to put new bolts in doesn't fix the problem, alignments, wheel balancing, nothing works." In fact Silverman says a week doesn't go by without another client seeking his legal help. Among them was Freda, who says, "Get it checked right way because it can be very, very dangerous."

Hyundai never did end up fixing the women's cars. The manufacturer bought back Freda's Sonota after she won a Better Business Bureau arbitration hearing. In Rita's case the company agreed to pay her $4,000 to compensate for the diminished value of her car due to this problem.

Lemon Laws in our region allow car owners to seek compensation if they've given an auto manufacturer at least three chances to fix a car and repairs aren't successful. If you're having an issue with repeated car repairs be sure that each time you bring in the vehicle for service that the mechanics document the problem on a repair order, and you get a copy. You'll need that work order to prove that you've tried to get your car fixed.

For more information visit the links below:

Hyundai Sonata Service Campaigns:

Kimmel and Silverman:

Consumer Reports:

PA Lemon Law:

NJ Lemon Law:

DE Lemon Law:

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