Should Hyundai fix my i20's air conditioning for free?

A reader finds out that repair work to his car's air conditioning system wasn't carried out properly, yet he's being told he now has to foot the bill...

Hyundai i20 (09-15)

A year ago, my 2012 Hyundai i20 developed an issue with its air conditioning, so I took it to my local Hyundai dealer, J&J Motors in Swansea, where it was fixed it under warranty.

However, the fault reoccurred this year, so I contacted J&J Motors again, but was told that it was no longer a Hyundai dealer. I then went to Hutchings Hyundai, also in Swansea. Upon inspection, Hutchings told me that the initial repair had been carried out incorrectly, invalidating my car’s manufacturer warranty.

The issue was caused by a split in a flexible hose that connects the air conditioning unit to the air vents. Instead of replacing the hose, J&J had glued it back together. I’m now being asked to pay £344.50 to have my car repaired.

I contacted Hyundai UK Customer Services and was told that as this is a workmanship issue rather than a manufacturing defect, my warranty doesn’t cover the cost of the repair.

I then emailed Hyundai UK’s CEO. His reply offered to cover the cost of the part as a goodwill gesture but not the £90 for labour. This seems very unfair; the work was done by a franchised dealer, so surely Hyundai is responsible for the standard of workmanship.

Philip Ayres

What Car? says…

We agree that manufacturers should be responsible for the work of their franchised repair centres, so we contacted Hyundai to see if it would cover the cost of both the parts and the labour.

We received this response: “The dealership that carried out the original repair is no longer a Hyundai dealership, so we are unable to investigate the situation further. Hyundai UK will therefore pay for this repair in full.”

Although it took longer than it should have to get the repairs done under warranty, this is a good result for Mr Ayres, whose car has now been fully fixed for free.  

The best small cars - and the ones to avoid

More people buy small cars than any other type of car, but these vehicles still need to excel in a number of areas to make them worth buying. Here we round up the best small cars and the one you should avoid.

The small car market is one of the most fiercely contested – great news if you're after this sort of vehicle, because it means not only that there are stacks of models to choose from, but also that standards are incredibly high.

To have a chance of topping the class, a small car must be as comfortable on the motorway as it is in the city. It must offer a decent amount of equipment, enough boot space for weekly shopping trips and an interior that's practical enough to cope with the demands of families. And it must, of course, be competitively priced.

To help you find the right small car, we've picked out our top 10 – and named the one you should avoid.

Mini 3dr

Although the Mini 3dr doesn’t quite have the practicality of its slightly larger 5dr sibling, it's no less worthy of making the cut in your deliberations - particularly if you’d like your small car to have a premium feel but don’t regularly need all five seats.

There’s a bewildering array of options with the Mini that you can use to customise your car and make it truly your own. However, stick with the Cooper model that comes with an excellent 1.5-litre petrol engine and choose wisely from the optional packages and you’ll have a well-equipped and well-built small car for a reasonable outlay.  

Our pick: 1.5T Cooper

Read our full Mini 3dr review, see our latest deals or view our leasing offers

9. Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

The Jazz has long bridged the gap between small cars and mini-MPVs, and the latest version continues that tradition. It offers class-leading space and practicality, and it might even outlast you with its outstanding reliability. It's a shame that its ride is rather unsettled.

The Jazz was the first car to come with ultra-practical fold-up rear seat bases that let you create a space large enough for a pushbike or bulky flat-pack furniture.

Our pick: 1.3 i-VTEC SE

Read our full Honda Jazz review, see our latest deals or view our leasing offers

8. Mini 5dr

Mini 5dr

If you want a truly high-end small hatchback, the Mini 5dr should be on your shortlist. If you go for the Cooper version, you'll also get a great engine and all the technology you could ever want.

The Mini has a classy, tech-laden interior and plenty of personalisation options. Inside, a dinner plate sized central dial houses the infotainment screen.

Our pick: 1.5T Cooper 5dr

Read our full Mini 5dr review, see our latest deals or view our leasing offers

Next: more of our favourite small cars > 

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