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I can't help but suspect that it may have an additive such as molybdenum from OEM which may be omitted at OE level. Noise could be a separate issue. It's not common for any gearbox to fall apart from the lack of an oil change. Lack of oil yes. It doesn't add up to me. I would love to get my hands on a new car with 0km and a take apart a faulty gearbox. This sounds like you changed headlight bulb now the car won't start. I think ok there is gear box issue. Also fun fact the gear oil used is black. Is the mag plug picking up particles from the black oil. Like the Ferro fluid videos on YouTube? Happy to be wrong I wish I had one to look at and work out.
Newcastle NSW. Yeah I'm a certified light vehicle mechanic.
 

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When you do get around to and see what the oil looks like it I suspect you'll wish (as I did) that you'd done it sooner! I delayed this for 2 years because it was unfamiliar territory but in the end it's no different from changing the oil in a diff, transfer or conventional gearbox. Add to that the lack of a magnet and it's not a pretty picture.
I think I should be at a good interval for the oil change since I’m currently sitting at 11k miles. I don’t understand when certain things no matter how small they are get overlooked.
 

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... I don’t understand when certain things no matter how small they are get overlooked.
If I had even suspected that Hyundai had left out such a critical yet inexpensive part I would have been on to this when the car was new. It really is a puzzling mistake. But once this is attended to I expect the gearbox's ongoing deterioration will be minimal.
... Is the mag plug picking up particles from the black oil?
According to information gleaned from articles in an industrial gearbox journal magnetic particle filtration is far less effective on small particles (under 100 microns) and so it's not going to return the oil to its natural colour. The point of a magnet is to sequester particles when they are large, before they have a chance to cause unnecessary wear, as is happening in the unprotected Kona/Niro/Ioniq gearbox.

But a drain plug magnet is the most basic form of particle filtration and that reflects the reality that automotive applications have a comically-short life compared to industrial. 250,000 km at an average speed of 60 km/h takes about 4167 hours, merely 174 days of 24/7 operation, where an industrial gearbox would need to last at least 10 times that. Even a splash-lubricated gearbox could have an auxiliary pump, filter and cooler to maintain optimum oil condition and maximise maintenance intervals.

The Chevy Bolt (see photo) uses a large internal magnet with no cleaning requirements while Tesla (M3/Y) opted for an automotive spin-on filter with no required change interval. The Nissan Leaf uses 2 magnetic plugs, both drain and fill with a cleaning interval of around 60-80 thousand km. None of these gearboxes have a reputation for issues while our's does.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design Vehicle Watch
 

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So as a prospective new Kona owner who is also not very mechanically abled, would it be prudent to ask the dealer to fit these magnetic plugs to the gearbox upon arrival?
 

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So as a prospective new Kona owner who is also not very mechanically abled, would it be prudent to ask the dealer to fit these magnetic plugs to the gearbox upon arrival?
It would be prudent but I doubt that a dealer would want to do that but it's worth a try. What is more likely to be agreed to is ask the dealer to do a reduction gear fluid change at the first service (in Aus, 1500km and free), even if you have to pay for the oil change yourself which is most likely. You could ask them to fit the magnetic plug then and even if they decline (non-standard and all that) the oil change would be immensely beneficial to the long term health of the gearbox.
 

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If you wish you can install a magnetic drain plug in the drain and optionally in the filler openings. There is one available from Hyundai p/n 00810-17121 or search Amazon for:
VOTEX - MADE IN USA - DP007 Stainless Steel Engine Oil Drain Plug with Neodymium Magnet (M18 X 1.5 X 15 MM)

A pack of spare washers:
VOTEX - MADE IN USA - 20 Pack - M18 Aluminum Oil or Coolant Crush Washers/Drain Plug Seal Ring Gasket
I'll just update this post by noting that the tightening torque spec for the Votex drain plug needs to be moderated, especially if it's oily. Tighten until the soft aluminium crush washer just starts to yield. It seems to be more in the 25-30 ft-lb range.

Also, although I've been using the Votex for a few weeks now I'll just note that there's always a risk from putting something glued together inside the gearbox. So, if you're risk-averse and/or still under the mechanical warranty, best stick to the stock drain plug and an oil change each 2 years. I'll be checking the security of the magnet about every 3 months so I'll know in a year if it's trustworthy.
 

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I read through all the pages today, thank you for directing me to that! I will contact my dealer on Monday to arrange for the gearbox oil change/collection/test. I have about 26,000 miles on it now. Sincere thanks to @Kiwi and @AusKona for their comments to me in this thread!! I will see if I can get the attention of our service manager on this issue. At least he might be able to help the dozen or so other Kona EV owners at that dealership.
Oil changed and new plug installed today at 28,600 miles. Took about 1 week in SoCal, USA, to get the Hyundai magnetic plug part and oil. The Service Manager wasn't expecting to have to change any gearbox oil for a year or two yet. I have the drained oil in a clean and dry plastic bottle, of course it looks quite black. I will work next week on finding a lab. I did not notice any difference in whine or noise levels, but definitely feel better about clean oil in the gearbox. Total cost was $170 US.
 

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... Took about 1 week in SoCal, USA, to get the Hyundai magnetic plug part and oil...
Excellent!
Do I understand you were able to obtain a Hyundai branded magnetic drain plug?
Did they have any off-hand comments as to the black condition of the oil?
 

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Oil changed and new plug installed today at 28,600 miles. Took about 1 week in SoCal, USA, to get the Hyundai magnetic plug part and oil. The Service Manager wasn't expecting to have to change any gearbox oil for a year or two yet. I have the drained oil in a clean and dry plastic bottle, of course it looks quite black. I will work next week on finding a lab. I did not notice any difference in whine or noise levels, but definitely feel better about clean oil in the gearbox. Total cost was $170 US.
Nearing the 15k mark so I’ll also be getting my Kona serviced. I purchased the Hyundai brand magnetic plugs so when they work on it, I can have those replaced. Also thinking if I can have them change the reduction oil.
 

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Excellent!
Do I understand you were able to obtain a Hyundai branded magnetic drain plug?
Did they have any off-hand comments as to the black condition of the oil?
Yes, I had them order the Hyundai part number for the magnetic drain plug, dealer charge to me was $12 US. No comments from the service tech on the oil. I will report the lab results as soon as I have them.
 

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Yes, I had them order the Hyundai part number for the magnetic drain plug, dealer charge to me was $12 US...
My interest is because a Canadian owner ordered one and a non-magnetic one was delivered, looking exactly the same as the original. He ordered a second and it arrived also non-magnetic.
Looking forward to the analysis...!
 

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Well, luckily we don't work for Hyundai in Canada as The Offroading Mechanic does. Glad that video has been saved, thanks m.marcoversteeg.
 

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Any news on this?
Sorry, not yet. Still looking for a competent lab to do the analysis. A couple are out of business, a couple more have not responded to messages, and my workload at work substantially increased after the first of the year. I will succeed, will try again on Friday.
 
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