Subscription Based Maintenance Light - 2011 Hyundai Equus Long-Term Road Test

2011 Hyundai Equus Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Hyundai Equus: Subscription Based Maintenance Light

July 06, 2011

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When Mr. Oldham wrote about our Hyundai Equus not having a maintenance light, I was stunned. I know maintenance lights are relatively recent, but I knew of a 1994 Honda Accord that had one. It couldn't be that complicated to put one in an Equus, right?

Still in denial, I went down to the parking garage and tried to see if I could find a maintenance reminder buried somewhere in the car's menu or for a mention of it in the owner's manual. No such luck. More and more, it seemed true that the Equus does not have this basic feature.

Next, I began to look at the records of Hyundais we've had in our fleet (two Sonatas and a Genesis). It turns out that those didn't have maintenance lights either. Not having this valuable reminder had caused us to let service appointments slip past their due dates or-- worse -- miss them altogether. Failure to service your vehicle within the proper interval can sometimes have nasty warranty-voiding implications.

Finally I contacted a Hyundai spokesperson and asked why the automaker didn't provide maintenance lights in their vehicles. This is was Hyundai's response:

"Our new Blue Link telematics system, introduced on 2012 Sonata, Hybrid, and this fall on Veloster, has a maintenance alert function for owners. This system will alert customers of any maintenance needs in a number of ways, depending on customer preference: in-car notification, email alert, text alert, or via the customer's account on myhyundai.com. Blue Link is rolling out on all Hyundai models on a progressive basis, as soon as telematics integration for the specific vehicle program allows the upgrades. For Equus, due to its unique electronics and telematics development program, Blue Link will be added in early 2013. Many other Hyundai models will receive Blue Link during 2011 and 2012, as soon as possible."

OK, so rather than install a simple mileage-based maintenance light, Hyundai instead chose to go the subscription-based-service route, like OnStar. A key difference between those two is that GM cars still have an oil life monitoring system, regardless of whether you've kept up your OnStar subscription.

Hyundai Blue Link has three tiers. According to the Web site, the "Maintenance Alert" is available on the mid-tier "Essentials" package. New cars will come with a three-month complimentary trial period. But what happens after that? If you want to continue to get the in-car maintenance alerts, you'll have to renew your Blue Link subscription at a cost of $179 for one year, $315 for two years, or $448 for three years.

To be fair, the Blue Link Essentials package is more than just a maintenance alert. The Essentials package also has features such as a stolen vehicle recovery and slowdown, recall advisor, remote vehicle start and voice text messaging. But if your main concern was the maintenance alert, it is going to cost you.

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In the meantime, Hyundai owners can keep using the low-tech maintenance reminder in the upper left corner of the windshield. We were impressed that our dealer actually wrote down the correct mileage for the next service (rather than the typical 3,000 miles we've seen at other service departments). And if the sticker happens to fade in the sun, you can always use our DIY solution.

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Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate

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