Can you help me with this Mitsubishi recall, please?

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By Christopher Elliott

When Gil Gavins received an email about a Mitsubishi recall on his wife’s 2010 Lancer, he hoped the drive belt defect would be corrected quickly. It wasn’t.


I have been trying to get Mitsubishi Motors to repair a safety recall on my wife’s car for many months, but so far they have not taken care of it.

Mitsubishi recalled her 2010 Lancer Sportback because of a drive belt defect. The company has offered to repair it at no cost.

I live in Maui, where there are no Mitsubishi dealerships. Mitsubishi has a bad reputation for not paying shops here to do the repairs. I talked to a half dozen different ones, and Mitsubishi will not reimburse me if I get the work done at a shop. I don’t know if Mitsubishi wants to ship our car to a dealer, or just refuses to honor any recall/warranty work period. They offered no solutions, and have stopped communicating with me.

I hope to have this safety recall work completed so that we can use her car without a mechanical failure. Since the words of the recall notice explained that the issue would increase the risk of a crash. Thank you for any help you can offer. — Gill Gavin, Kihei, HI


If Mitsubishi says it will fix this recalled component, then it should do so no matter where you live. A drive belt tensioner, which is an adjustable pivot point that keeps tension on the engine belt, is an important component of your wife’s car and should be repaired right away. I’m not sure if having the drive belt recalled makes the vehicle undrivable, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

My advocacy team and I reviewed the paperwork between you and Mitsubishi, and it looks as if you followed almost all of the steps to a successful resolution. You kept everything in writing, and you appealed this case all the way to Mitsubishi at the corporate level. (Our company contacts database contains the names, numbers and email addresses of Mitsubishi’s customer service executives ) But you seem to have forgotten one step. You didn’t contact your closest Mitsubishi dealership — which is understandable since it was on another island. (Here’s our guide to contacting the CEO directly.)

Fixing that drive belt defect

Your story is an essential lesson for the rest of us. First, let the local business address your issue before escalating to regional or corporate levels. Chances are, Mitsubishi saw your appeals and wondered why you hadn’t followed that critical first step. Although, like you, I’m troubled by what you say is happening in Maui about Mitsubishi allegedly not paying local mechanics. That discourages people from getting critical recall repairs done and could lead to an unsafe vehicle. If that’s true, I hope Mitsubishi will address this quickly.

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It turns out there was a new, certified Mitsubishi repair shop on Maui. I recommended that you reach out to the mechanic, and they fixed your drive belt defect at no charge.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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