FED UP: Tradie takes on automotive giant
TRADIE Michael Hodgson said he would often argue with his mates that his $47,000 2016 Mitsubishi Triton he bought off the showroom floor would trump his mates' four wheel drives.
But 15 weeks ago, about 4000km out of its 100,000km warranty, the engine of his prized ute exploded on a quiet country road as the third cylinder burst through the bottom of his motor.
A diagnostic ultimately found the failure was caused by a lack of compression likely as a result of a cracked piston.
In a regional centre like Rockhampton, cars are a lifeline for most but for the young business owner and carpenter, the prosperity of his family and business hinges upon his ability to travel.
He now relies on his wife to drive him to work sites, and is bearing added costs, of having materials delivered on site that could have otherwise been easily transported on his ute
He estimates this total figure so far would be between $8,000 and $10,000.
Although technically out of warranty, it is not uncommon for car manufactures to make exceptions and offer out of warranty assistance in cases like Mr Hodgson's, especially when he claims the manufacturer cannot prove any negligence on his behalf.
In a string of emails obtained by The Morning Bulletin, the correspondence between the two parties became contradictory with Mitsubishi Motors Australia seemingly unable to identify what led to the car's engine failure.
Mr Hodgson said the manufacturer will not admit any responsibility for the failure, instead the manufacturer put the blame back on him and his regular mechanic.
The Mitsubishi customer service agent dealing with Mr Hodgson's case originally told him that the issue was a result of "valve clearances not having been adjusted throughout servicing" which Mr Hodgson and his mechanic rebutted.
"That's not entirely true," Mr Hodgson's mechanic said.
"We had checked them and they were within the manufacturer's specification, so an adjustment wasn't necessary.
"There was no point in charging a customer for something that didn't need to be done," he said.
The mechanic said linking valve clearances with a lack of compression which caused the failure was a link that should not be made.
The manufacturer then claimed "sludge oil and blocked oil jet due to poor servicing of the vehicle" had caused the failure, also claiming Mr Hodgson's mechanic had used "poor oil".
Mitsubishi soon abandoned the claim after Mr Hodgson and his mechanic made inquiries to the oil producer.
He said the local service centre dealing with his car's diagnosis told him verbally that no sludge or uncleanliness was found, and an email from the service centre performing the diagnostic read "Mitsubishi Motors have asked us to check for oil jet blockages and we were unable to find any blockages".
The customer service agent then claimed in an email to Mr Hodgson that the sludge may have disappeared.
"The vehicle has been disassembled for some time, so any blockage may no longer be evident," she said.
The customer service agent then changed tack and said the fault was a result of "irregular servicing".
Mr Hodgson refuted this claim by providing them with a service history logbook and mechanics' invoices that eventually proved he had serviced the vehicle more regularly than recommended by Mitsubishi Motors.
Now the only claim Mitsubishi holds against Mr Hodgson is the claim left of "poor servicing of the vehicle" which Mr Hodgson believes there has been "no evidence provided, just claims".
Mr Hodgson's regular mechanic, who carried out all but one of the logbook services on the Triton, took great offence when told of the constant accusations of malpractice from the manufacturer.
The mechanic said he regularly underwent thorough scrutiny from automotive authorities which included his parts, materials and even oils, in order to remain a registered logbook service provider.
He described Mitsubishi's claims as "nonsense".
The mechanic said he did not understand why the manufacturer was not making an exception to its warranty practices, considering he had not seen any evidence to suggest he or Mr Hodgson were at fault.
"All of our parts, all of our oils and all of our methods have to meet and even exceed manufacturer expectations for us to be able to perform logbook services," he said.
He said he forwarded Mitsubishi's accusations of "poor oil", along with Mr Hodgson's service history documentation to his supplier, and the supplier told him he had used the right products at an even greater frequency than suggested.
Mr Hodgson's vehicle now sits at a local service centre, just as it has done for the past 15 weeks.
"No car should be undrivable after only 100,000km," he said.
On June 24, Mitsubishi Motors Australia was offered an opportunity to respond but declined.