— A Hyundai Sonata brake lawsuit has survived a motion to dismiss the complaint that alleges 2006-2010 Sonata brake systems are defective, including the brake rotors, calipers and assemblies.
The Sonata brake lawsuit has six named plaintiffs from five states alleging Hyundai committed fraud by misrepresenting the quality and safety of the cars. In addition, Hyundai allegedly denied warranty coverage for the brakes while knowing the parts were defective.
According to the plaintiffs, the brake calipers prematurely corrode and stick to the brake pads when the brake pedals are applied. The rotors are allegedly defective because they are too thin compared to industry standards, and in some cases the rotors have varied thickness levels.
The combination of defects allegedly cause the brake systems to prematurely fail from wear and tear and damage.
All the named plaintiffs claim they took their cars to repair shops or dealerships after experiencing brake problems. Each plaintiff was allegedly told the brake rotors, pads, calipers or brake clamps needed repaired or replaced.
In each case, Hyundai allegedly refused to pay for the repair or replacement of brake parts, forcing the plaintiffs to pay for repairs or replacements out-of-pocket. Several plaintiffs say they had to pay for repeated repairs or replacements of brake parts.
According to the lawsuit, Hyundai knew or should have known about the Sonata brake problems since at least 2005, and the owner's manuals are proof of this.
The Sonata manual apparently recommends that brake pads, calipers and rotors be inspected every 15,000 miles and cleaned, adjusted, repaired, or replaced, if necessary. The maintenance work, termed "pre-winterization" measures, are to be at the owner's own expense.
The plaintiffs complain the directions in the manuals constitute a hidden exclusion that buyers will only discover after purchasing the Sonatas. The lawsuit further alleges Hyundai used these pre-winterization requirements as a pretext to deny warranty coverage for brake parts, and it's proof of Hyundai's prior knowledge and intent to sidestep its warranty obligations.
The plaintiffs claim Hyundai knew the brake parts could suffer from premature corrosion, a claim Hyundai allegedly acknowledged in internal documents when employees said a "mass production fix" was the answer to the problems.
According to the lawsuit, even though Hyundai knew about the corrosion problems, the automaker still charged Sonata owners for repairs that wouldn't last, leading to more expensive repairs that continued ad infinitum.
As for the warranty, the lawsuit alleges Hyundai promised that purchasers of new Sonata cars would be protected by a "bumper to bumper" express warranty. The warranty allegedly covers repairs and labor for defective, covered car parts during the first 60,000 miles or the first five years of ownership, whichever comes first.
However, the warranty specifically excluded certain brake parts from coverage, including brake pads and brake linings. But the warranty was silent as to coverage of the brake parts that are alleged to be defective in the cars, including brake rotors, calipers and clamps. According to the plaintiffs, this silence about the matter means the brake parts are covered under the warranty.
The judge says the lawsuit explicitly says the warranty applies to newly purchased Sonatas, but nothing in the lawsuit indicates the warranty applies to leased and/or used Sonatas.
Although Hyundai wanted the entire lawsuit dismissed, the judge dismissed some of the claims while allowing others to proceed.
The federal judge threw out certain warranty and consumer protection law claims, but the judge ruled certain claims can proceed based on the automaker allegedly knowing about and possibly concealing the brake problems from consumers.
The lawsuit also references a Hyundai recall of 2006-2010 Sonatas, but the judge seemed confused about why the recall is mentioned. According to the judge, the recall was for a different problem other than braking, and the plaintiffs don't make clear whether the recall was even related to the brake system or to some other part of the vehicle.
The Hyundai Sonata brake lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York - Miller et al. v. Hyundai Motor America.
CarComplaints.com has owner-reported brake complaints about Sonata cars: