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2013 Sonata Limited Edition Model Engine Problem Experience

I’m looking at a 2013 Sonata Limited Edition (32K miles) that had only one owner. Car has been maintained but I’ve been warned from a few sources that the Sonata engine is “delicate” and has a more than normal track record of developing engine problems, including sludge, and should stay away from it. I’d appreciate any experiences, comments or knowledge of this problem with Sonatas.

Engine sludge is almost always the result of car owners who took a casual approach to maintenance, and who changed the oil at “extended” intervals.

If you can verify that the oil was changed at least twice each year, it is probably a decent gamble
(ALL used cars are a gamble, to at least some extent), as long as a mechanic of your choice gives it a “thumbs-up”.

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I leased a '17 Sonata for 3 years 18000 miles, and the engine was fine when I turned it in.

There is a recall for many Sonatas (and other models) with the Theta II engine.
They are prone to excess oil consumption, and sudden bearing failure.

https://hyundaiengineinfo.com/

If sludge is your worry ask the shop who’ll do the pre-purchase inspection (a must when purchasing a used car according posts here) ask them if it makes sense to remove the valve cover to get a better look at the amount of sludge that has formed. If it has the Theta II, I’d take a pass myself, sludge or no sludge.

One of my mechanics whom I trust said I shouldn’t get a Sonata. He’s seen the engine problems that happen with that model car.

Regarding the engine model (Theta II), would looking up the VIN tell me if that’s what’s in the car?

There is your best advice . Never buy anything that you already have doubts about .

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As mentioned correctly by VDCdriver, sludge is due to owner neglect.

As for Recalls, warranty extensions, settled lawsuits, and so on, the reason for that is that a car maker figures it’s cheaper to go this route rather than go in front of a mechanically clueless judge and for what is the most part a mechanically clueless jury who would tend to side with the negligent little guy against the big corporation. It’s not an admission of guilt; it’s a business decision regarding the cheapest way out.

Over the years I’ve seen almost every engine in the book sludged up and it’s all owner neglect. Fords, Chevys. Chryslers, Cadillacs, Subarus, VWs, Hondas, Volvos, you name it. And when the owners are told of this problem they almost all claim to have “changed the oil every 3k miles” with few if any ever being able to produce any receipts at all to back that statement up.

Those are likely the same folks who–when a cop stops them for weaving all over the road–ALWAYS state that they had “only two beers”. Standard denials are the order of the day, whether one is referring to drunks or those who don’t maintain their cars.

Go to the link I posted and enter the VIN.

The 2013 Sonata had two engine options, 2.4L non-Turbo, and 2.0L Turbo. From what I can see both engines are potentially subject to the same recall. Suggest you secure a copy of service bulletins 17-01-047 and NHTSA17V226000. You can probably view them just by googling those numbers.