CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2005 Hyundai Sonata (manual transmission): Car won't start after check engine light came on and car

When I started the car the check engine light came on. Since there had been a lot of rain recently, I thought that perhaps it was an electrical malfunction since the performance of the car did not seem to be affected. I was only a few miles from home and going at a constant speed on the highway. When I slowed down to get off at my exit I noticed that the car wasn’t getting up to gear with the same power as it had been. By the time I had to slow down for five or six stop signs, the car was having a lot of trouble getting up to speed, and at the stop sign before my drive way, it stalled and wouldn’t start (although it always sounds like it’s just about to turn over). The mechanic is suggesting an engine flush and tune up, but both seem a little excessive, especially the engine flush. Any ideas?

How Many Miles On This Vehicle ?
Has It Been Maintained Well According To The Manufacturer’s Schedule Or When Was The Last Maintenance Performed And What Was Done ?

CSA

What was this mechanic’s explanation for why to do a “tune up” and “engine flush”? I really want to know what the diagnosis was with this recommended “repair”. Getting the code or codes that set the check engine light would be a good start on the path of getting a real diagnosis for what happened. Maintenance history will also be helpful. Your current mechanic’s suggestions do not point to any kind of explanation as to what happened, especially with his suggestion for an engine flush. Does your car have variable valve timing?

I guess he’s having trouble getting a code from the check engine light and he thinks a tune up will fix that. The car has about 85,000 miles on it, it got its engine, timing belt, and clutch replaced two years ago, and since then has had only minor wear-and-tear repairs done to it. I don’t know if it has variable valve timing or not.

If your mechanic is having trouble retrieving a code from the car’s OBD system, a tune up (usually referring to replacing the spark plugs and ignition wires, but can mean any number of things) is not going to help this. This usually means there is an internal fault in the car’s computer. The reason I asked about the variable valve timing is because of the recommendation of an engine flush. Many vehicles with variable valve timing are more affected by neglected oil changes and use of the wrong weight of oil than others. I wondered if your mechanic had found a trouble code for the camshaft phaser (if it has VVT and uses one; most if not all VVT systems do) and thought it’s operation was being affected by sludge. It sounds like this is not the case and it may be time to change mechanics, especially if your current one thinks a tune up and engine flush will encourage the engine management computer to communicate with him.

I’m 99% certain the OP’s car does not have variable valve timing.

For the 2005 Sonata, the manual transmission was only available with the 2.4L 4-cyl. I have that engine and it does not have VVT.

Turns out the car jumped timing. Yipee.

That’s a Yipee? If it jumped timing, something is wrong. Just putting the belt back on the right teeth is not enough. The belt could have been installed wrong, it could have broken teeth, the tensioner could be bad, if it drives the water pump, that could be seizing. You need to find the root cause of why it jumped timing or it will do it again.

That was sarcasm Keith. I’ve already asked them to check for all that stuff. We’ll see what they say.

Oops, I left my sense of humor in the off position, It’s back on now. Got it.

I’d not consider the timing belt a high probability cause, simply because a jumped belt will usually manifest itself as a sudden change in perormance that then remains constant. This sounds like somethng breaking down gradually but with a rapid ramp, more like a rapidly failing electrical component, like a dying igniter for example. Or [erhaps even a dying fuel pump.

I’m absolutely not going to accept a tuneup and an engine flush as a solution. The only “tuneup” on this vehicle is new plugas and filters, and those deteriorate very slowly, not a quick degradation like this. And an engine flush is something you do for cooling or oil pressure or maintenance…or something the shop does for revenue enhancement.

You definitely need a new shop.

My guess is possibly the catalytic converter? Sounds strange and I readily admit that I am not as experienced as many others here, but this has happened to me - a Ford Pinto wagon jumped time when the cat failed. Granted, this was long before the fancy cars we have now…