2012 Sonata - Fix or Sell?

I have a 2012 Sonata with slightly over 100K miles and I want to know what maintenance I should do on it before I give it to my daughter. (For example, change hoses, change belts, etc. ) Over the years, I’ve pretty much done nothing except change the oil and the tires, and fix things that broke. I need to replace the shocks and the tires ($800). The front passenger door will not reliably lock or unlock when using the remote. (I’ll either fix the lock myself or ignore it.) Other than those issues, as far as I can tell, the car works as well as it did the day that I bought it. (It was either new or had very low mileage when I bought it - I can’t remember which.) I don’t want to spend money fixing this up for her if it’s likely to need expensive repairs in the near future. I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

What are the maintenance instructions in the owners manual? Do those first unless there’s a good reason not to. Does this engine need a timing belt change?

I would sell it because they are known for engine problems.

What type of driving will your daughter be doing? If she is doing local driving, the Sonata should be fine. If she is doing a long commute to her job, maybe a newer, low mileage car might be better.
Your statement ". . . the car works as well as the day I bought it . . " seems to indicate that the car is o.k. You know this car whereas you don’t know how a used car has been treated that you might purchase.
I have been in a similar situation. I had a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander we sold to our son in 2011.
He still has the car. It has well over 200,000 miles and has only had brake pads, tires and the routine maintenance. About three years ago, he bought our 2011 Toyota Sienna. While both vans have been satisfactory, the Sienna had to have a water pump at 90,000 and an alternator.at 150,000. The Uplander still is running on the original water pump and alternator. Yet, the repair record of Chevrolet Uplanders is worse than average while the Sienna is better than average according to Consumer Reports.
Since you know the Sonata and what it needs, I would do the required maintenance and pass it on to your daughter.


Everything you’ve mentioned is either routine maintenance or small repairs.

If the car is paid for, otherwise reliable, and would meet your daughter’s needs… I don’t see why you’d get rid of a car with known issues for one that could have (potentially) unknown issues lurking.

Just my two cents.

The mileage is low for the age and the issues you mention are normal maintenance. I’d fix what it needed and drive it.

A word about internet complaint websites. Many of those complaints are totally unjustified. Many people want to point the finger at everyone and everything except themselves for self-generated problems.

A few examples out of the engine complaints.
“Shut the car off and it would not restart. Checked the dipstick and no oil on it.”

“The oil light was flickering - a telling sign of things to come”. And kept going.

“Engine knocking but I kept going”.

“Oil pressure light came on and engine died”.

“Engine showed no sign of oil…”.

Well, whose fault is all of this? Certainly not Hyundai’s fault because people will not raise the hood and check the motor oil level in spite of warnings in the owners manual.

Or the person who got a new engine under warranty along with a starter motor free of charge. The 5 year old battery needed to be replaced which they had to pay for. What did they carp about? Having to pay for that battery. “I’ll never buy another Hyundai. Will buy a Nissan…”.


Just a word about the passenger door lock. It could be binding a bit due to the accumulation of grimy dirt over the years. Try spraying the latch mechanism in the door jam with brake cleaner, allow it to dry, and the apply some aerosol motorcycle chain lube.
That may free it up enough to where the fob will operate it.

Consumer Reports collects data from car owners who are CR subscribers, then tabulates the data to create their reliability charts. It’s the most trustworthy info available to the general public.

Regarding the 1660 problems, how do I know whether or not I’m likely to have any of these after all of these years with the car? I know that you can’t really answer this question, but if there’s anything you’d like to add, I’m interested in listening.

My daughter will mainly do local driving at her college, which is 3 hours away from where I live.

Thank you for the suggetion regarding the door lock. Less and less often, the remote would unlock that door. It never, or virtually never will now. Given this, do you think that your suggestions for how fix have a chance of working?

Do you have two remotes? If so, does the other one unlock it? IMO, it could be the remote battery. If it hasn’t been replaced, try that and see if it improves unlocking at a distance. Check in your users manual to see how to open the remote for battery replacement. It probably pries open, and the manual should show where to put the flat blade to open it. I usually use a kitchen knife.

I’d keep the car. Note that CR calls a problem much worse than average if 4% or more of the vehicles report that particular problem. They don’t try to hide that information, and I don’t fault them for setting a high bar for reliability. It’s worth knowing what the words mean, though.

With all the other threads you have about this vehicle I certainly would not put someone in it who was going to be 3 hours from home. Frankly , I just think it is going to keep having problems.

@shanonia. Consumer Reports gathers its data from its subscribers. I subscribe to CR and fill out the surveys. However, I am not certain that subscribers to CR are representative of the general public.
I once owned a 1971 Ford Maverick. After I had owned the Ford Maverick for a couple of years, I read CR’s annual auto issue, that the Maverick had a below average repair record. On the other hand, the Mercury Comet, which was the same car except for the trim and nameplate, had an above average repair record. I wrote to CR about the discrepancy. CR’s response was “This is the way the data came out”. Why did the data come out this way? I did a little research and found the average age if the Mercury owner was about 7 years older than the Ford owner. Older owners may have been more conservative in their driving habits and had more money to keep up the maintenance.
In the case of the OP, his Sonata is running well. This being the case, and the use given to the car by his daughter who is a college student, my suggestion is to keep the ride. With an 8 year old car, it’s running well. Do the maintenance and drive on.

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There was something similar years ago in CR. The long wheelbase Chrysler minivans had a worse record than the short. Mechanically, they were the same except for their length. So why the diff? Did the owners of long ones put more people and stuff in them, which they could hold, and that made for more wear?

I agree CR subscribers are not representative of the general population. For instance, not only do they read, they pay for what they read!

The main engine problem was oil burning which Hyundai blamed on not getting all the casting sand ot of the engine during manufacture. This problem showed up well before 100000 miles. Just teach your daughter to check the oil the first of every month and she should be fine.

cartalk.com is in corporate partnership with carcomplaints.com in case you don’t know.Its a very reliable source.

Absolutely keep it

  1. The key fob problem is probably an internal connection in the fob itself where the battery holder connections are soldered to the circuit board, are easily pulled loose when changing the battery and easily resoldered from the back of the board or you can buy a new fob.

  2. My son has a Sonata with the engine casting debris issue and several years ago Hyundai replaced the engine at 60,000 mi, so if yours hasn’t blown, it probably won’t.

  3. Shocks and tires, belts, hoses and plugs are just normal maintenance

  4. Most important is, “My daughter will mainly do local driving at her college, which is 3 hours away from where I live.”.
    Do you have any idea what a car goes through at a college? Well picture a WalMart parking lot on Xmas eve with the cars driven by drunken monkees and you’ll have a pretty go idea. :crazy_face:

We’ve owned so far we’ve owned 4 Hyundais (Tiburon, Azera, 2 Sonatas) and never had a breakdown and aside from the free engine replacement, never has a breakdown. ,

Since you’ll get practically nothing for a car with over 100,000 miles, I suggest you do all the maintenance (including filters, fluids and brakes) so you know it’ll be reliable for the 4,5 or 6 years of Undergraduate and save the money you would have spent on a new car for when she announces that she wants to spend a semester overseas or go the Graduate school.
And you won’t have a stroke when she comes home with the rear bumper held in place by “Free the Indianapolis 500”, “I heart Wombats” and “I Etta Pie” sorority stickers.

Since only the right front power door lock is inoperative, the likely cause would be a failed door lock actuator.

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I have looked at Car Complaints and really don’t see much use to it . Of course I don’t care for Consumer Reports either .