2006 Tuburon SE thrown rod/piston


I bought a 2006 Tiburon Se manual last month it currently has 93,000 KM (55,000 miles0… I immediately changed the oil and did a safety check the only thing that needed work was a leak in the power steering. I have put 5,000 km (3,000 miles) in month because drove partly across the country. I was driving on the highway in 5th gear on a flat road at 160 kilometers (100 miles) it was 7:15 am clear on roads. I heard a bang and the car started smoking I pulled over right away and had it towed in. Immediately, before it happened car was fine I had been on the highway for an hour with speeds between 120-160 km (60 -100 miles). There were no noises nothing strange. The mechanic told me that I threw a piston/road through the engine block and/or manifold and needed a new engine. Is this my fault for going 160 km (100 miles)?.. the car was not near read line… I am confused… the oil levels should have been fine. The warranty is 100,000 km or five years

“the oil levels should have been fine”, if this means the oil level was never checked in those 3000 miles then it’s on you. Perhaps the car was abused by a previous owner and was already consuming oil before you bought it. Unfortunately it’s going to be difficult to prove otherwise. Driving a car with an unknown history at 100 mph didn’t help either

Ed B.

This is likely going to boil down to how much oil was in the engine when it blew up and how often you checked the oil level after changing the oil.

You say “the oil levels SHOULD have been fine”. That sentence needs clarification because it sounds like the engine was run out of, or very low on, engine oil.

If so, this falls back onto you and is not a warrantable issue.

+1 to edb’s comments.
Without knowing the maintenance history of the vehicle, or how it was driven by the previous owner(s), the cause is really not identifiable, IMHO.

Additionally, that warranty (100,000 km or 5 years) is almost surely a case of, “whichever comes first”, meaning that the warranty probably expired a couple of years ago on a 2006 model.


Yes, the warranty has expired. If it was in the U.S., it would still be under warranty but in Canada it is shorter unfortunately because different company manufacturing them or something.

Let me restate the oil was fine. I changed it less than 4000 Km ago (2500 miles) I had a safety check on the car done last week because I had to register it in my name. The oil was fine etc. I have driven it 800 km since the safety check (500 miles). There was no oil leak when the safety was done.

I bought the car of my cousin who is 45 and I thought took good care of it.

p.s. I meant to say red like not read line in first email

also, when the engine “blew” there was oil everywhere causing the car to smoke profusely as it went on top of the parts under the hood and then there was a very large oil spill under the car as it all leaked out on the ground.

The same mechanic that did the safety the week before said the oil was fine when I towed it in.

Driving 100 mph didn’t do it any good. If the oil blew out after the rod went, how could the tow driver say the oil was fine? There wouldn’t have been much oil left after that. At any rate, really doesn’t matter, its the same result. New or used engine is in order and no warranty help. Maybe the oil should have been changed more often like 3000-5000 miles. And a safety check is not going provide any information on the internal health of the engine, only things like brakes, tires, lights, hoses, etc.

This car is a “sport” car and perhaps the car was driven hard. Throwing a rod isn’t that common, but if the motor was driven hard, and some oil change intervals were missed it might have had loose rod bearings. Loose bearings usually make more noise than on a good engine, but you might not have noticed the different sound since you are a new driver for the car. Also some folks would put in a very heavy oil or heavy oil additive (STP) to cover up the sound when selling a car.

I won’t say your were “taken” by your cousin, but I can say it seems you didn’t do anything to cause a rod to give way. Running at 100 mph while not good, is still well within the capability of this car in high gear. If the car has a manual transmission it is possible the motor has been overrev’d in the past, but most cars have rpm limiters programmed into the PCM.

The question for me is; did the seller of the car know that the motor was compromised before selling the car? Then even if you suspect the seller was dishonest, is there anyway to prove it? Sadly is seems the OP is pretty much up the creek on this one.

I have seen this type of failure before. If your uncle had abused the vehicle…I doubt that you would have driven it 3,000 miles without something showing up. I believe what happened is that your uncle drove this vehicle without ever driving it past 70mph or so.

You come along and drive it at 100mph and are surprised that you threw a rod. I’m not pointing fingers here because I was in the same boat as you about 30 years ago. I bought a nice '63 Impala that belonged to a neighbor of mine. All of her driving was in-town and at speeds below 50mph. I took it out on the interstate and attempted to drive across the country with it. A connecting rod started knocking and I had the pan dropped at a local garage some 1500 miles from my destination. There was not a rod bearing left that was not damaged. The new oil was still in the pan and I had driven the car gently other than taking it to 75mph where it had never been before. I sold the car for scrap with less than 30K on the clock.

From your description it sounds like your engine had a metal fatigue failure which would not be related to oil. It could have been a connecting rod, a wrist pin or a piston that failed, more likely a connecting rod or one of the bolts that fastens the rod cap to the main portion of the rod as a guess considering that there is no picture here of the parts. This is very rare but not impossible. A mechanic may be able to look a the broken parts to determine what happened. Otherwise a metallurgist might be needed if there is doubt from the mechanic. Metallurgists are hard to find, can be found in a corporate R & D lab or an engineering college campus. A highly stressed metal part such as a connecting rod can have a metallic defect that can eventually precipitate a metal fatigue failure even with good oil in adequate quantity.

No, I do not believe that it is your fault.

An inspection of the engine after teardown should reveal what caused this problem if one wanted to go that far with it. A competent engine guy should be able to sort out why it happened pretty quickly. The vast majority of incidents like this are oil related.

If the oil level was full or anywhere near full at the sound of the bang then some possibilities as to cause could be:
Poor prior maintenance leading to oil sludging and oil starvation at high speed.
The possibility that the oil had been stiffened up to cover a problem as Uncle Turbo mentioned. Once the oil was changed to a normal weight any benefit that it had would be gone.
Overheating which led to a piston skirt, or plural, momentarily seizing in their bores and which then snapped a rod cap off.

There’s always the possibility of metallurgical failure but the odds are so remote it would be on the bottom of the list; at least in my opinion.

“There’s always the possibility of metallurgical failure but the odds are so remote it would be on the bottom of the list; at least in my opinion.”

A metallurgical problem would have shown up much sooner on a car that has been in service for
~7 years.

A reasonably healthy person can run an hour in 8 minutes say, but the same person, ill with a fever, well, they probably wouldn’t fare so well. They’d get sicker trying to run a mile in 8 minutes, maybe even croak. Your 100 mph driving shouldn’t cause a major engine failure like that with a healthy engine. But if there was some undiagnosed problem before just waiting to happen, well, 100 mph driving could be enough to put the engine over the edge. 100 mph driving may have speeded it up, but the engine was bound to fail at some point.

Everything has to be in tip-top condition to cruise reliably for hours at 100mph.
Besides the reasons others have given it could have been low coolant pressure causing localized boiling at a hot spot, then a bore gets distorted and a piston seizes.

I’m not implying anything, but here’s an amusing story

A few years ago, an SUV in our fleet developed a rod knock VERY shortly after having been in for a scheduled service

All of the cars that are to be worked on that aren’t in the shop are parked out back, in the same location.

The guy that had worked on it last, just a few days earlier, was seen sneaking out towards the car with a 5qt container of engine oil . . .

Apparently someone had given him the heads-up that the SUV was coming in with an ominous lower end noise

Soon afterwards, it was determined that it wasn’t financially viable to save the vehicle . . .

I’ve had this happen to me, sometimes it just happens. It is not necessarily the fault of the previous owner, your driving or lack of oil. It just happens, sorry.

If you’re not leaving out part of the story, it doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong. As long as an engine is not overheating, has decent oil in it, and is not being continually driven at (or near) redline, it should last indefinitely. Especially a fairly low mileage engine like yours. A tear down would indicate whether there’s a lot of sludge in the engine, and if it was neglected.

I have beat the snot out of cars with well over 100K miles on them and never had an engine failure. True, I always kept good oil in them and they were old-school cast iron V8s, which are known for being pretty indifferent to punishment…

Driving 100mph on a public highway is really freaking stupid from a safety perspective, but from a mechanical perspective there’s no reason a Tiburon can’t handle it within reason. The Tiburon is aerodynamically limited, which means it reaches its top speed before the drivetrain reaches redline.

That said, doing 100mph for an hour is almost guaranteed to burn some oil and heat things up. Depending on the condition of the engine, it’s entirely possible that it couldn’t take it.

The upshot is that it’s impossible to determine from here whether you destroyed it or whether it was already damaged to the point that it couldn’t take abuse when you bought it.

Chalk this up as an expensive lesson: Don’t pretend you’re in a race car unless you’re in a race car, on a race track.

I get the impression from the OP’s content, this 100 mph driving wasn’t done in the USA. Maybe in Germany, on their autobahn.

I drive from San Francisco to Denver once in a while, and across the northern Nevada desert the legal speed limit is 75, maybe even 80 at some of the most remote stretches. Many cars on that road, by the speed they pass me, I’d guess they are going 80-90 and for hours at a time. This speed, combined with high road temperatures, does cause some problems, but from what I see, not w/the engines, but the tires. Lots of cars off in the sagebrush w/blow outs.