AAIA Asks FTC to Take Action on Kia Aftermarket Parts Bulletin
In a May 7 letter, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) called upon the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action against Kia Motors for allegedly misleading consumers pertaining to the use of non-original equipment replacement oil filters. The letter was also signed by the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA), the Tire Industry Association (TIA) and the Service Station Dealers of America (SSDA).
AAIA has requested similar actions against Honda and Mazda for releases over the past two years that questioned the quality of non-original equipment parts and alerted consumers to the possibility that their new car warranties might be voided by the use of aftermarket parts that might be substandard. While the FTC disagreed that the Honda release violated the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act (MMWA), as AAIA claimed, the commission did issue a Consumer Bulletin informing consumers of their right to “have their vehicle serviced or maintained at a repair shop of their own choosing or perform the service themselves without any concern that their warranty would be voided by their vehicle manufacturer.” AAIA has yet to receive a response relative to its concerns regarding the Mazda release.
The Kia Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) in question, #114 dated February 2012, has the following language:
Kia does not test or approve any aftermarket filters and only recommends the use of Kia genuine parts that are designed to operate at the specifications set forth during engine lubrication design and testing. If the engine oil has been changed recently and a noise condition has developed, perform an inspection of the oil filter and/or customer oil change maintenance records to help you in determining if an aftermarket filter or the wrong oil viscosity was used. If the vehicle is equipped with an aftermarket oil filter, perform an oil change and filter using the correct oil grade/viscosity and a replacement genuine Kia oil filter at the customer’s expense.
The Kia TSB goes on to state:
Note: Customer concerns as a result of incorrect oil viscosity or use of aftermarket oil filter should not be treated as a warranty repair and any related damage is not warrantable, nor is changing the engine oil and filter to isolate this condition.
The associations have requested in the letter that the FTC compel Kia to withdraw the TSB and issue a correction explaining that the use of non-Kia oil filters is permissible and that Kia must prove that a non-Kia part caused any alleged damage.