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2011-2014 Sonata Theta II engine: Advice

Hi All!
I have a 2013 Hyundai Sonata 2.0 Turbo and I love it. I recently learned through a class action lawsuit that it will throw a rod and die, usually around 100k miles, sometimes before. Hyundai has automatically extended the warranty to 120k miles, but I’m not happy with that.

Here is where I need your advice. I am not Mr. Fix It. My car currently has 16,000 miles and it is three years old.

It seems I have two options: 1) get a new car and sell this one for piece of mind or, 2) drive this one up until 115,000 miles and get rid of it then.

If I am going to sell it, I can get the most for it now with the very low mileage and showroom look to it.
If I kept it, it would seem that if the engine did blow at any mileage under 120k, Hyundai would, what, replace the engine? Or do they treat it like a totaled car and give me a check for the residual value?

What would you do? Sell/Trade it and get a new car (looking at the Mazda CX3 or CX5) or just drive it until the warranty is about to expire?

Thanks for your help!!!

3rd option. Keep the car, appreciate the extended warranty & change your oil per the manual. If the engine throws a rod Hyundai will fix or replace the engine. Check the details of the warranty. Not every engine will have this failure, only a few. Every car has the potential for some type of failure, so if you sell now or later- the new car you buy will have a different set of risks.

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Thanks for the advice Steve!

I am not sure why you have gotten the recall notice because yours is a 2.0 Turbo engine if I am right.

Either way, we have a 2013 with the 2.4 said engine. It has over 45K miles and so far no issues. I believe the problem is more common for the 2011-12 models.

The dealer could do a test which is essentially listening with a tablet for a rod bearing noise-from what I have read pretty useless as some have had engine failures a week after passing the test.

It also seems that most failures are from running the engine low on oil, so keep an eye on it which is good advice with any car any day of the week.

We are keeping our car and will see what happens. It is a nice ride :slight_smile:

You never know what you will get with your next car either. I have a 2005 Camry that is prone to stripped head bolts. These stuff is going to happen when you sell 200K of the same car. You will have to live with some suspense as to what is the next issue with your cars.

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Hi Galant. I punched in my VIN and it said I was eligible for the extended warranty because I have the Theta II engine. Yes, it is a nice ride and I do enjoy the thing. Perhaps the best bet is just to keep it and keep driving.

Not to be a wet blanket but I’ve never been in favor of dumping troubles on some other unsuspecting person. If you trade, what will the dealer do? Sell it to someone else. So the problem is not solved, only transferred to someone else that may not be able to afford a new car and less able to sustain the cost of an engine replacement. Are you sure the warranty extends to second and third owners? It’s in the fine print.

So if you like it, take care of it, and drive it until you don’t like it. If the engine fails, fix it free or whatever expense before passing it on to someone else. I’ve never sold a car without fully telling the buyer my opinion of the shape it is in and what to expect. Stupid me. The last two I got $50 and $100 for but my conscience is free.


If you have driven 16,000 miles in three years, the car will be over 22 years old by the time you reach 120,000 miles at the rate you put miles on the car. It may be rusted out by that time, the transmission may have handed in its resignation or a host of other things may have gone wrong. Use the oil specified in the owner’s manual, change the oil when recommended and in your case, go by the calendar as well as the miles driven and you will be fine.

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I’m much more likely to hit the ten year mark before the 120,000 mark, which still gives me seven years to drive it under warranty. Nothing wrong with that!

An engine will throw a rod because oil changes have been neglected and/or someone is not checking the oil level and has run it very low or out of oil.

I wouldn’t read too much into class action lawsuits.

On oil changes: time is as important as miles. If your manual specifies every 6 months or 6000 miles and 6 months have elapsed since your last oil change, but you have only driven 3000 miles, change the oil.

Yeah back to toothpaste and class action lawsuits. Crest pulled their designer tubes off the market because of a class action suit because 20% of the toothpaste was left inside the tube. Sheesh. If you really wanted it you could cut it open.

I’ll bet you guys lunch there are a few Hyundai owners out there with that specific engine, that have taken perfect care of their cars . . . oil changes on time, correct viscosity, always kept the oil level topped up, etc., and STILL had an engine that was toast

Yeah, sure, if you take lousy care of your vehicle, it’s much more likely you’ll have mechanical problems

But there’s always a few guys that do everything right, and they still get the shaft, to be blunt :frowning2:

My concern here is in the manufacturing defects in the engine itself. I maintain the oil changes on time and will continue to do so. According to Hyundai, these engines die regardless of how well maintained the oil levels/viscosity are regulated. This isn’t a normal issue which is why I wrote in.

The jury is still out on what the exact problem is. Apparently at some point Hyundai changed the dipstick on these cars so that the oil level would be higher/more. Now if you drove around for 30K miles with the old dipstick, then you are definitely out of luck as you were low on oil for quite some time. I believe they corrected this in 2013 model year. The initial recall was also for 2011 & 2012 models but then somehow got expanded to 2013 & 14 too. I am okay with the recall but also at the rate that my wife is driving, the car would be at ~120K miles in 4 years.

We are in agreement . . . if it’s fated to happen, it will, regardless of how well you take care of the car

In any case, I’d continue to take excellent care of the car

But be mindful of the expiration date on that extended warranty for the engine

What I will say next is my personal opinion, and others may not share it . . .

Drive on, and if you do decide to sell the car in the future, and the engine has not yet been replaced, I wouldn’t bother telling any prospective buyer about what MIGHT happen. You are under no legal or moral obligation to do so. If anything, it might make it that much harder to sell the car, or you might get lowballed. And then you’ll wish you hadn’t opened your mouth.

Just because there is an extended warranty for the engine, does not mean it will happen to all of them. There will probably be a large percentage of owners who never experience the problem. You could be one of them.

If I understand the situation correctly, Hyundai will not take action, UNTIL your engine experiences the problems. They will certainly not replace the engine proactively.

It boils down to this . . . what is tolerance for risk?

I suppose I was a little sharp in my comment. The other aspect is if it does become a common problem, resale value can go down the tube pretty fast. In your case though, not driving many miles, you’re likely OK for the life of the vehicle. If you were driving a lot of miles it might be a little different.

On my Olds diesel the value went from $10,000 to $2500 in two years when the diesels were going kaput. I just kept driving the thing since I was putting on a lot of miles and changed engines a couple times.

You have already suffered the huge depreciation of the first 3 years. Hyundai’s warranty is 10 years 100,000 miles. Did they extend the years as well as the miles ?

At the rate you drive, you will have less than 60,000 miles at the 10 year mark. Sell it then if you are worried. At that point it will have given you years with no car payments to save up for your next car.

They just extended the mileage with nothing added to the years. I am taking the advice of all of you and driving it until the ten year mark. Someone, somewhere will want it and even if I only get $2000 from it, I will know I got my money out of it. Thanks for your help everyone!

As far as the resale value mentioned above, I think these cars have already taken a hit that is reflected in the kbb and other appraisal sites and the market.

If anything, it might be a good time to grab a used 2013-2014 Sonata CPO for a good price.

I agree with Triedaq. You are probably a conservative driver and the car will likely rust out long before any engine problem develops. Just keep motoring on and enjoy the car.