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2013 Sonata Brake Pedal Travel Issue

drplanariandrplanarian Posts: 4
edited September 2013 in Hyundai
I have recently purchased a 2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS with the "Popular Equipment Package." I test drove many cars before making my purchasing decision, including another Sonata prior to my purchase.

The buying experience was exceptional, the staff (at Fairfax Hyundai in Fairfax, Virginia) was courteous and unusually helpful, they threw in a lot of interesting and useful freebies like a cargo net, carpeted floor mats, and more, and discounted the purchase price so significantly that, well, I can't believe I got so much car for so little money! The car feels great, it's rock-solid, powerful, drives great, I'm getting better than the EPA estimated mileage, and I am really pleased with it, except for one nagging not-so-little thing:

The brakes. The first Sonata I test drove, a month before our purchase at the same dealer, had good, firm, responsive brakes, so taut that I commented on it with pleasure at the time of the test drive. My other car is a 2005 Toyota Prius with regenerative brakes that are quite well-known to be spongy and uncertain in their feel, so I really appreciated that aspect of the car.

But this one's brake pedal feel is spongy beyond the Prius's muddiest dreams. Indeed, although inception of braking takes place high in the travel as it should, the pedal travel under hard application is so great that I have, on three separate occasions, depressed the accelerator accidentally during braking, once during parking when it caused me to go into the rear of another vehicle (fortunately without damage to either car).

These were not panic stops, mind you. I do have fairly big and wide (but not enormous) feet (10-1/2 EE, if you must know), but this simply should not happen, and it could not have happened on the previous sample I drove.

I noticed it first immediately after purchase and mentioned it when they took it into their shop for the final prep. I have since returned it to their shop and even taken a drive in it with their service manager, but he tells me this is "normal." It CAN'T be normal -- it's a genuine safety hazard.

I have difficulty believing that this cannot (or should not) be repaired -- it feels like they used a piece of that flexible translucent surgical rubber tubing in place of a brake line -- but I sure don't think I should be on the hook to pay for it. I can't even get them to acknowledge that there's any problem at all.

Please note that this is unrelated (at least it seems unrelated) to any of the rear brake seizing issues mentioned by other participants here. The brakes themselves seem to work just fine stopping the car, and are predictable, quiet and smooth.

Has anyone else experienced this problem? I have trouble believing that this is all in my imagination, as my dealership seems to think. I've been driving for fifty years now and I know what brakes should feel like.

Does anyone have any advice on how best to proceed without antagonizing the dealership, with whom I would prefer to remain on the friendliest of terms, or incurring an expense I should not be expected to pay on a car with less than 3,000 miles on the odometer?

Comments

  • rysterryster Posts: 480
    If you don't think the brake pedal travel is right, keep taking the vehicle in. Make the dealer prove to you the issue is normal by asking them to demonstrate the same issue in a new cars on the lot. When they tell you it is normal, just say "Wow...okay. Can we take a spin around the block in a new one from the lot just so I can satisfy myself that it operates the same as mine?" Always remain calm and friendly when dealing with them. Always get a work order for each visit that documents the concern and how the dealer responded.

    If after 3 visits for the same issue within the first year the issue doesn't get fixed, you have the option of putting in a claim under the VA Lemon Law and getting the vehicle replaced. The key, however, is to remain on a friendly basis with the dealer. They didn't build the car, but they should be willing to help the customer get any issues resolved.

    For what it is worth, I just had the front brakes replaced on my 2011 Sonata after 45,500 miles. The pedal is firm, and the brakes engage with very minimal pedal travel. When they were worn, the pedal traveled farther, but after being replaced they are firm and extremely responsive. Your car's condition does not sound normal.
  • Thanks for your reply. That's pretty much the plan I have, too, although I may first take a test drive at a different dealership just to avoid wasting my seemingly quite busy maintenance guys' time if I'm off the wall here. The folks were so nice to me that I really don't want to get on their bad side, although I do recognize that sales staff are sometimes more, ummm, accommodating during the purchase process than the repair staffs become after you sign on the dotted line.

    My problem, as I described, was not about the pedal travel at the inception of braking but its travel after the brakes first engage as more stopping power is applied. I don't expect the feel of a Porsche GT3's ceramic composite brakes (which cost almost as much as my whole car), but I do expect a firmer feel than than I get from the regenerative brakes on my Prius.
  • rysterryster Posts: 480
    The brakes on my Sonata engage immediately when touching the brake pedal, and the pedal travels only an inch or so as I brake progressively harder. My feet are 13 4E in size and I have no interference between the brakes and accelerator.
  • You have helped to confirm my perception that there is in fact an issue despite the service manager's effort to persuade me otherwise. I have not had time yet to carry this further with them. Perhaps next week.
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