2013 Hyundai Sonata - Strategic purchase

I am considering buying a 2013 Hyundai Sonata. I know that these things are part of a massive recall and $750 million dollar class action lawsuit because of their engines blowing up without warning while people are driving.

The reason I am even considering the car is because of the settlement in regards to the class action lawsuit against Hyundai. In it Hyundai has agreed to provide a lifetime powertrain warranty to anyone who has one of these vehicles, whether you are the original owner, or 2nd, or 3rd so long as the vehicle has been maintained to specifications. The Vehicle I’m looking at has had all regular service done and when it’s engine blew up at 66k miles the previous owner replaced the engine under warranty at the dealership.

Since then nobody else has driven the car, it is still at 66k miles and was resold by the dealer to a local dealer. They have me out the door at $11,000 for the 13 Sonata Limited that has a lifetime warranty because of this class action settlement. I may be asking for trouble, but I have researched it thoroughly and feel like I can safely operate the ticking time bomb. I’m just wondering if this is a good buy because of the warranty or if I should steer clear?

Yes …

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Just curious, you don’t think the power-train warranty on this vehicle is enough to compensate? Just would like to know your reasoning. The rebuilt engine has less than 100 miles on it. The body is in good condition, interior as well. More features than I’ve ever had on a car. Hard to find anything else like it in my price range. My budget is 11k. Impossible to find anything with a warranty in my price range.

Used 2011 Sonatas with under 75k sell for $8-12k so you’re at the upper end. OTOH, it has a newish engine and the warranty is a nice extra. If I were in your position I’d take a chance.

Hyundai has retrofitted a system to alert the driver that the engine is failing, does that restore the honor of Hyundai Motor Company?

The purposed class action settlement calls for a lifetime powertrain warranty but the warranty does not cover the complete powertrain.

The settlement will cover the short block only, a typical powertrain warranty covers the complete engine (certain covered parts), transmission and axles. The short block warranty only includes the block, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons and bearings.

The cylinder head, valves and engine seals are not covered. If you own any common 10 to 15 year old vehicle you may need to replace the rear main crankshaft seal to correct an oil leak, this “powertrain warranty” offers no advantage over other manufactures, not a covered repair.

Admittedly, I have not worked with Hyundais and do not know their corporate policies but I would be leery of this lifetime powertrain warranty you refer to. That sounds like sales personnel talk who are puffing (also called legalized lying) things up bigger and better than they actually are.

It’s been my experience with other makes that something like this is a one-shot deal. In other words, the vehicle got a new engine once under corporate policy. It won’t get a second one under that policy.

If it were me? I would look elsewhere. The dealer did the repairs and obviously had trouble selling the car so they dumped it off on someone else. That tells me potential buyers were also leery of it.

Dude, op is talking about buying a 2013 Sonata

And you’re listing prices for a 2011 Sonata

Not a good comparison, in my opinion

If you had listed prices for a 2013 Sonata, then I wouldn’t have anything to comment on . . . :smiley:


I would be tempted to to purchase this thing… after taking a super close look at the so-called life time warranty and what all is covered.

My bad. I misread the model year. 2013 Sonatas with less than 75k run $8-14k. The example the OP is considering is in the middle.

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The warranty in the proposed class action settlement only covers the short block, far short of a true powertrain warranty;

“The extension of the warranty will cover the short block assembly, consisting of the engine block, crankshaft and bearings, connecting rods and bearings, and pistons, in those Class Vehicles owned by individual consumers that have completed the knock sensor program software update.”

In any other vehicle there is no need to worry about those parts failing.

Parts not covered; cylinder head, valves, timing chain/guides, seals and gasket, transmission.

The proposed class action settlement;

My son has one of these, the recall was that shavings from the casting process weren’t properly/completely removed and eventually worked loose destroying the block which was replaced around 70,000 miles.

Nice to have a new engine, still happy with the car and intends on keeping it long term but the reality is that it’s more likely that age, wear and repair costs on all the other components will be the reason for eventually unloading the car so when buying it used, I wouldn’t pay a premium or expect a discount just because the engine was replaced…

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Just found a 2011 sonata with new motor for $5k. More miles though. Friends kid blew his motor on another sonata and they wanted to know if I wanted car. 1 day later they called and said new motor time. Kid was keeping it.

This was Hyundai’s official narrative, but I find it difficult to believe that metal shavings from the manufacturing process can remain inside an engine for years–and tens of thousands of miles–without issue, and then cause a sudden failure at around 50,000-60,000 miles for most people. It is much more plausible to assume that there is some design defect, or perhaps a manufacturing defect which causes some part(s) inside the engine to generate metal shavings while in operation. The question is whether this defect has ever really been corrected for this type of engine.

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If you translate this Korean web page:


It talks about cylinder deformation causing piston to cylinder contact, cylinder scoring, and metal shavings created in the Theta II.
It also shows how H/K has revised block design over the years to battle the problem.
The fact that many of the failing Theta II engines also develop excess oil consumption supports this theory.

With all that, I recently helped a friend of my wife’s choose a 2019 base Sonata with 4K miles for $16K.
It has the recall done and lifetime engine warranty.