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Engine busted Hyundai Sonata

Last night the car stopped when i was sitting in traffic.

Depite a few attempts it wouldn’t turn. I had just replaced the battery too and there was adequate fuel.

Some background info - I noticed what sounded like a faint knocking noise in the engine. The other week I was surprised to see the oil light on because I get it changed like clockwork.

The mechanic thinks there’s engine damage. His theory is that even though I regularly change my oil, because my car had over 200k miles, it burns oil quicker and it burned out quicker than a normal oil change.

He thinks the engine is damaged enough where it’s worth just getting rid of the car.

Any thoughts? Should I try for a 2nd opinion?

If I read your post correctly you have not been checking your oil level between oil changes. As for a second opinion that is never a bad idea. But only you can decide if you want to spend the amount of money it will take to put this thing back on the road. I also suspect that you have failed to do all of the required service that should have been done.


Open the hood, remove the oil dip stick and check the oil level.

If there’s little or no oil reading on the dip stick, the engine is toast.


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The oil light is the warning that something terminal has already happened. Either there was not enough oil in the engine or the oil pump has failed. That knocking noise is likely one or more failed main bearings.

Either way, with a 200,000 mile engine run on no oil, you now have a very large doorstop that used to be an engine. You can get a 2nd opinion but diagnosing this is very easy. Do what @Tester says, check to see if the oil level is correct. If it isn’t, you need a new engine.

Whether the car is worth the few thousand a rebuilt or used engine will cost is entirely up to the condition of the car and your desire to fix it. And BTW, it is worth scrap value at this point.

I wish I had a dollar for every high mileage engine out there being driven daily that’s been using more than the recommended amount of oil. I’d have a whole lot of dollars.

Before making any decisions, I’d want to know if the lack of oil is the reason it stopped running and if the crankshaft turns freely or the engine is seized (crankshaft won’t turn). If the crankshaft turns freely, and if it seems to run, you may have lucked out and be able to get some more miles out of it… IF you maintain your oil level. But save your pennies. It isn’t a permanent solution. If the crankshaft won’t turn at all, the engine is now only usable as a boat anchor.

In summary, get it diagnosed before making any decisions. And if it stopped because of no oil, you still might be able to squeeze some more use out of it, but the engine is damaged and you need to start shopping. Your luck won’t last forever.

How often you change your oil doesn’t matter much in this situation. What we need to know is the oil level the last few times you checked it.

Those who don’t bother to check their oil (and replenish as necessary) between oil changes are subject to engine failures.
And, the more miles that a car has on the odometer, the more important it is to do frequent checks of the dipstick.
If I was driving a car with that many miles on the odometer, I would be checking the oil level at least once per week, in order to try to prevent catastrophic situations from taking place.

Additionally, when that oil light begins to glow, it is important to pull the car to the side of the road as quickly as it is safe to do so, and to shut-down the engine.
Being “surprised” by the presence of a glowing oil pressure light–but not taking immediate measures to try to save the engine by shutting it off–is not the formula for long engine life.

Just what year is this Sonata?

Exactly what engine do you have?

On some Sonatas, Hyundai has acknowledged mechanical problems, and will perform repairs at no charge to the customer

Once you give us more information, I’ll try to give you some more help

If I had to drive a 2006 Hyundai I think I would pick out a different one with less miles rather than replace a seized engine in this one. These cars can be found for $3500 to $4500 rust free and with half the miles in my area.

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I suspect you already know that there’s no way to tell via the internet if you engine is damaged or not. But you can determine for yourself if the oil level on the dipstick is low or not. If the engine didn’t run low on oil and you heard a knocking, that could be a lot of things, most of them fairly innocuous or at least easy enough to fix… But if the crankcase oil level got so low the oil pump was sucking air for any length of time, that would probably mean the engine is toast. Which means it would have to be torn apart and rebuilt (if the visible inspectin showed that to be possible) , or what most owners would do who wanted to keep the car, the engine replaced with a junkyard engine or an engine sourced from a business that rebuilds junkyard engines. The other option is what Nevada above suggests, send this one to the auto recycler and buy another car. A used version of the same model, if you like it.

There’s some chance the engine remains perfectly good, and your shop has made a misdiagnosis. If you are unsure whether your current engine is toast or not, you could get a second opinion and ask for a wet vs dry compression test. With the compression data in hand, most experienced mechanics can determine the rest just by listening to the sound the engine makes. They might also want to do a pressure test of the cooling system.

In any event, 200 K is a pretty good number, proves you’ve been keeping up the routine maintenance with diligence. If you continue to drive your cars past the 100K mark, good idea to check the oil level once a week going forward.

How do you know it’s a 2006 model year . . . ?

From another thread;

Hi I just had a lower balljoint repaired on my 2006 hyundai Sonata. After 1 day, the battery dies.

Seems the opportunity to check and add oil while the hood was up was missed.

The class action lawsuit @db4690 is referring to is for 2011-2014 Sonata’s with the 2.4 DI theta engine and even then they extended the warranty to 120 K miles.

Don’t ask me how I know!


Hopefully OP has one of those cars . . .