Posted Tue January 31, 2012 3:05 am, by Douglas P.
I'm annoyed now; let's not make this into a furious, OK?
Just before Christmas, I took my 2006.5 [2007 design, 2006 model year] Optima to a local state inspection to get my safety sticker.
The car passed all tests, except for the fact that the "check engine" light was on. In accordance with Massachusetts law, they issued me a rejection sticker. While defined as an emissions problem, my exhaust was clean. It was not an issue. As such, I was advised to go to a Kia dealership. I was told that the ECM, electronic control module, required an upgrade to its firmware, something that only a dealer could do.
On to Kia's dealership. They give me a quote of $90 to reset the ECM, and install the software update.
Hooked up to their computer, an error code of 0630 shows up, and they cannot correct the problem. I'm told that the ECM has crapped out. OK~~ how much to fix it? $1,340 for the part, plus labor. I ask if they can effectuate the repair, should I come in with a replacement of my own, and I'm assured, Yes. They quoted a labor and programming charge of $135 to get the job done.
As with previous repairs, which have been few since I bought this car brand new in November, 2007, I found your $1,340 part on Ebay and purchased it for $88. Meanwhile, I call the registry to see if I can get a waiver of failed inspection, as the only actual problem is the little light on my dash console lighting up, saying "check engine."
Mass. DMV refers me to representatives of the EPA. Those folks say to follow the dealership's advice, and replace the ECM module. They also advise me to call Kia America to see if there's a recall on this device. If so, it would be taken care of free of charge to me.
Today, I got a call back from Kia America. "UNFORTUNATELY," more "UNFORTUNATELY." I'm told that not only can my ECM never be fixed, the one I've purchased off also won't work, because each such control assembly is paired by VIN to the car in which the factory installed it.
This is a FIRMWARE issue. Firmware is halfway between hardware and software. It's programmed into a device by the manufacturer, and can not be accessed by the product's end user. Changes can be made only by the manufacturer, or at an authorized service center thereof, in this case, a Kia dealership.
Your dealership does not have the resources to correct the problem. It is so intrinsically minor, spending big money to fix anything as trivial as this is ludicrous. Yet today, your USA headquarters calls me back to say "UNFORTUNATELY!"