Hyundai Sonata 2012 transmission fluid change

Well, I went to the Hyundai dealer for my 2012 Sonata 60k maintenance. It seems that my car would need the transmission fluid to be changed and the dealer is asking about $510 to do so.
Is that something that I can have done at any garage ? The owner manual states “[…]the fluid should be changed at an authorized HYUNDAI dealer in accordance to the scheduled maintenance […]”, so is it really THAT important to have that done at the dealers ? Does $510 sound reasonable ?

A friend of a friend owns a garage and is offering to do that for $225 - good or bad idea ?

I wouldn’t be surprised if your car has one of those transmissions that requires the fluid to be pumped in from the bottom, using a machine

Perhaps somebody more knowledgeable can chime in . . .

If your friend has the necessary tools . . . and can get the genuine Hyundai transmission fluid . . . he can do it. One more thing, on many transmissions . . . the ones that get the fluid from the bottom, it’s crucial to check the fluid level at a very specific temperature. Typically, the scan tool is hooked up to read the temperature.

Do not let anybody use generic fluid on your transmission

Seems excessive. I paid $80 at the Toyota dealer. You could buy the fluid and filter at the dealer and take it to an independent shop and have it done. I would use their fluid, because it has their preferred additives in the fluid.

I asked the guy that offered to do it for $225, and he said he is using the Hyundai fluid - so that sounds good.

The dealer told me part of the price is because my car would need about 12 qt of fluid (and he said it is about $26/qt), but when I look in the owner’s manual, the volume is 7.5US qt.
That’s another reason why I am suspicious about those $510, do they really need to use 12 qt ???

Perhaps the dealer is planning to flush the system . . .

If so, that is generally unnecessary

$26/qt sounds pretty high . . . I believe not even Toyota WS fluid is that expensive

Please ask the other guy how much he’s charging per quart

Something about the dealer sounds strange

FIVE HUNDRED AND TEN DOLLARS to change trans fluid??? That’s insane.

I changed the fluid in my wifes 2002 Sonata every 40 k miles and it was a simple drain & fill. Forty bucks for 5 quarts of Hyundai fluid from the dealer. On her 2002 there was no filter to change. Traded the car at 170,000 miles and never had any transmission problems.

Check your owners manual & if theres no dip stick for checking/replacing trans fluid than db4690 is right about filling from the bottom. But that still shouldn’t cost $510.00. OUCH

I had a look at the estimate, and I misunderstood what the dealer told me - it is actually for transmission FLUSH (and not change) - does that make more sense ???
Sorry about that ! Ididn’t even know the difference before today.


You may want to actually open the hood and look for a transmission dipstick

My owner’s manual doesn’t show a trans dipstick, and they don’t mention it anywhere in the text

Yet, open up the hood, and there it is

Do not let anybody flush your transmission fluid

This is what I recommend

Drain the fluid
Remove the pan
Replace the gasket and filter
Reinstall pan
Drain the torque converter, if it has a drain plug
Refill with genuine Hyundai fluid

Trans flushes are big time profit generators. The shop can sell more fluid, and the job gets done faster. And they usually don’t replace the filter. They’ll find some way to rationalize not replacing the filter. But it’s just a lame excuse, in my opinion.

Might be better off going to your friend’s shop, after all

Transmission flushes are usually not the best way to do a proper auto transmission service. I’d ask around more to see what Kia experts say before going that route. The reason it takes so many quarts to do a “flush” is b/c during the “flush”, the way they do it using the transmission cooler lines, most of the new fluid simply flows into the pan and right back out. Very little actually flows through the transmission. It would be like trying to flush the cooling system by pumping coolant into and out of the coolant reservoir. Might work, but would take a lot of coolant pumping through that plastic reservoir before there was much flushing action.

The better way to do a proper service on most cars is to remove the pan, clean it, check for metal filings, replace the filter, and re-fill with fresh fluid of the proper type. The re-filling can be quite complicated with newer cars, as sometimes the specific manufacture’s scan tool has to be used to open valves and such, and it all has to be done with the car perfectly level and the fluid at the correct temperature.

The dealer has lied to you about the reason for the cost, so based on that alone I’d never frequent their shop again.

I also suspect that for that price they’re doing a highly overpriced chemical flush, something I strongly recommend against on a good transmission. They peobably want to do a “72 point lets-find-something-else-to-do-too” service as well. That’s a polite way of saying that at your cost they’ll find a way to screw you even more.

All you really want to have done is exactly what db recommended and no more.

I vote for your friend’s friend’s shop.

If Hyundai has left well enough alone the only thing at the bottom of the trans will be a drain plug. No pan to drop and no filter to replace. That’s how it was on my wifes 2002 Sonata.

Likewise the fuel filter never needed to be replaced.

Caro_r do not let anyone flush the trans & do ask them to explain the procedure for changing the fluid and let us know.

“If Hyundai has left well enough alone the only thing at the bottom of the trans will be a drain plug. No pan to drop and no filter to replace.”

That sounds like a “non-conventional” automatic transmission

it sounds either like the automatic trans that Honda uses . . . the ones where the internals are basically a standard transmission

Or a CVT

The first one would be okay

The second would not . . . not for me, anyways

Nope the 02 Sonata was just a conventional 4 speed auto, made by ZF Europe I believe. Loved the slap shift feature on it as I could lock any of the 4 speeds & it would hold regardless of what I was doing with the throttle. The wife used it in full auto mode.

I googled this and it looks like the only difference on this 2012 is that the dip stick has been replaced with a horizontal fill plug. It’s still a simple drain & fill with 5 quarts.

If you google changing transmission fluid on 2012 Hyundai Sonata click on the 39 second youtube video to see the fill plug. Looks like it’s big enough to fit a transmission funnel.

Changing trans fluid on this is so simple the OP might want to do it himself.

Wife now drives an 09 Kia Rondo which also has a slap shift 4 speed auto trans and simple drain & fill fluid swap.

I see the only downside with the new Ford Focus is the clunky automatic stick shift. Other than that the test drivers love the car.

OOPS i’m getting conflicting info on this. Looks like the level/fill plug might be on the side of the transmission pan.

If this was mine i’d roll under it & see whats up. Regardless of the setup it’s still just a simple drain & fill. Looks like trans fluid is still a dealer only item & OUCH around 20 bucks a quart.

Caro see if you can find a Haynes manual at an auto parts store. Instructions for fluid change should be in there.

“Nope the 02 Sonata was just a conventional 4 speed auto”

A conventional auto trans has a pan

You said the 2002 Sonata had a drain plug, but no pan

In that case, it wasn’t a conventional auto trans, even though it might seem like it from the driver’s seat

A little off topic, but what @db4690 said above reminded me something I’ve wondered about. Air cooled VW Beetles (you know, the 1960’s,70’s version) had an optional automatic transmission. Was that a “conventional” automatic, or what is really a standard transmission with some kind of robot that does the clutch work and the gear shifting? Did it shift by itself, or did you still have to tell it when to shift?

I used to own a '67 Type 3 with the 3 speed auto trans. It was a conventional design using a torque converter and a vacuum actuator. And used Dextron trans fluid.

Per Wiki:

Marketed as the Volkswagen Automatic Stickshift, the three speed manual transmission was connected to a vacuum-operated automatic clutch. The top of the gear shift was designed to easily depress and activate an electric switch, i.e. when engaged by the drivers hand. When pressed, the switch operated a 12 volt solenoid in turn operating the vacuum clutch, thus disengaging the clutch and allowing shifting between gears. With the driver’s hand removed from the gearshift, the clutch would re-engage automatically. The transmission was also equipped with a torque converter, allowing the car to idle in gear, like an automatic. The torque converter was operated by transmission fluid. This would allow the car to stop in any gear and start from a standing stop in any gear.

As I recall, the manual said that 1st gear was for hills, and on level ground you could start in 2nd. Also, there was a temperature sensor that alarmed if the torque converter fluid got too hot.

Not sure what you’re saying db4690, but the 02 Sonata had a plain jane electronically controlled 4 speed automatic with a lockup torque convertor. It had a drain plug instead of a pan.
What am I missing here??

If it didn’t have a pan, it couldn’t have been a conventional auto trans

Honda “auto trans” doesn’t have a pan, and the guts are essentially a standard transmission, but electronically controlled

CVT is the same way

But, like I said earlier, for the driver who isn’t a car guy, it doesn’t really matter

As far as many drivers are concerned, if you’re not rowing your own, it’s an auto

But that’s only half the story

I really wish transman was here to explain. I’m doing a lousy job . . .