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Hyundai Sonata Front Suspension "Thunk"

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,621
    I wonder. I've driven a couple of dozen (at least) 2006-2009 Sonatas over the years. Only one had a suspension noise I considered unusual. It was definitely a "thunk", albeit a faint one, over large bumps like railroad crossings. It was a used 2008 car with about 24k miles on it. So why do only some Sonatas exhibit this noise?

    Assuming it is a design issue, it might only manifest itself in some cars. Perhaps the design issue is in the way the suspension components fit together--the tolerances in other words. It might be hard to align the components properly at the factory. Or they are susceptible to getting out of whack after a time. But if everything is done just right at the factory, there's no problem and no unusual noise.

    Here's an example of how this could work, using another well-known issue with a Hyundai. The 2001-6 Elantra is known for having an issue with front wheel "shimmy". Only some Elantras have this issue, and some don't have it initially but develop it later, e.g. when tires are rotated or rebalanced or replaced. I have personally experienced this issue on the two Elantras I owned (still have one). In each case, there was no wheel shimmy initially. But when I replaced the tires or had them rotated and rebalanced, the shimmy showed up sometimes. A careful rebalancing using a specific kind of Hunter balancing machine fixed the shimmy each time. But some owners have trouble completely eliminating the shimmy. The theory on this is the design of the Elantra makes it more susceptible to even a small out-of-balance condition on the front tires than on most other cars.
  • espo35espo35 Posts: 144
    I drive 5 or so different Sonatas every day. I've yet to hear one doing what is described here.

    One noise I HAVE heard on 2006-2010 Sonatas is caused by a slightly "loose" front, lower conrol arm. I would call this more of a "click" than a "thunk", though.
    This is easily corrected by the dealership by re-torquing the mounting bolts.

    I probably do this about once a month and it works for the concern I am being approached with- clicking when turning and/or accelerating with wheels turned.
  • I can't help thinking that'" once a month" so nonchalantly mentioned sems to me - somewhat excessive.. I had a toyo echo - took it out the dealer - and nothing else needed for 7 years.

    Test drive with maints mgr today - ticking in engine is injector motor - who knew? - at 120 kph I can hear this in the cabin.!!
    Transmission..."seems to be a bit different.."
    suspension wasn't co-operating...!
    RESULT::
    Ordered new accelerator module (we test drove another manual car - there's a difference!!)
    Will change hydrolic clutch fluid to synthetic - "maybe air, may assist this or that..." blah blah technical... I think it's the gate or the thrust bearing
    "Will check suspension arrms bushings etc etc..."
    Fingers Crossed !!
  • Well, personally speaking, with only one post "reporting" a clunk on a 2010 and this being the internet after all where anybody can write anything about any subject this one post may or may not be accurate or even a person who owns a Hyundai of any year or type I wouldn't put too much stock in it and use it to avoid purchase of a Sonata...
  • There are a lot of owners with the "thunk" problem and I'm one. Like me, I think they are just disgusted with Hyundai ignoring the problem. This is my 3rd and last Hyundai. :mad:
  • espo35espo35 Posts: 144
    Define "a lot". I meet 10 Sonata owners every day and haven't had one complain so far.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Given that you work in Hyundai service, that's a good thing indeed. However, as we've noted before, this is a discussion for those who are having the issue. So let's let people discuss it here, please.
  • After they replaced my gauge cluster I spoke to the service manager that hyundai consumer affairs asked me to see about the suspension problem. I got the same old stuff from him that I had heard all along. "We found nothing wrong with the suspension. The noise is normal for the car". I asked about driving another car to compare with mine. He said he had no 2009 sonatas. I asked about driving a 2010.
    He said he couldn't do that because it wasn't the same year car. He would have to get a regional manager in to ride with us to do that. He said he would call when he could set that up. That was two weeks ago. Guess it's back to hyundai consumer affairs to see what else they might do. I don't think it will ever be fixed. I will still report what happens here.
  • vinngvinng Posts: 12
    Get rid of that piece of junk like I did. You are right it will never be fixed. After 3 months of driving my 2009 Sonata I stopped in at the showroom and yelled about what a piece of junk you sold me. There were a few customers in the showroom at that time and the sales manager came to me and said can we discuss this problem in my office. I told him that I made 5 trips to the service depatment and each time I was told we put in new shocks front and rear and made a couple of adjustments. I was fed up with that bull, and I told him to give me money back. He saw my frustration and how mad I was, so he said let's go for a ride in a brand new Azara he had in the show room. Wow what a difference in the ride. Right there on the spot we made a deal for a few dollars more and I have the Azara since Now 2008 and I love it. Great car, everything is smooth and quiet.
  • I am surprised you purchased another Hyundai. You were very upset about how you were being lied to and not getting the problems fixed and you went and purchased another model. Most people would steer away from the dealer and the brand. Hope you will be happy with your new car.
  • I'm glad you got the vehicle you wanted, but yelling at the sales manager isn't very nice. :( Keep in mind that sometimes when they sell NEW vehicles, they aren't even aware of problems that will crop up later in that model. Also, if you came in originally shopping for a Sonata, he sold you what you asked for.

    Hopefully, some of our members can find a less dramatic resolution to the problem!

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • I have a 2006 Sonata LX. It's been a pretty good car except for the suspension noise. (Thunk, Thunk). I had the rear struts replaced and went through the test drives with the "it's normal" response. It's been 4 years of "living with it." I said to myself I'll get a different car next time. Now I see the 2011 model is going to be out soon. It looks nice! Before I fall for a pretty face though, I'm going to want to take a serious test drive. Ideally I'd like to test the car for 60 days ala GM, and then decide. Even a few days would be nice. How about it Hyundai?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,621
    If Hyundai sells some of those 2011 Sonatas to fleets (likely they will), that is a good way to go for an extended test drive if Hyundai doesn't offer such a thing. Might cost you $100-200, but that's a small price to pay to make sure it's the car for you. I've learned a lot about cars by living with them as rentals.
  • znarfznarf Posts: 2
    I bought a 2008 sonata in missouri, test drove it in an area with all smooth roads. I drove it around the area I live for about a month and was happy with it, everything seemed fine. I had driven a couple other korean models as rentals in Mexico, and found them to have good suspensions, so I assumed the sonatta was ok too. Big mistake. I was driving it down to mexico when I hit some rough pavement in arkansas, and thought, this is awful! Rough, loud, something must be wrong with this thing. Then the road got better and I thought maybe it was just some really bad pavement. The next two days were ok, good roads all they way to the border of mexico in texas. After passing monterrey, even though I was on toll roads, the slightest imperfection in the road caused jarring movement and noise. A bad bump was like a punch in the gut. After many hours it just wears you out. I thought that maybe an unscrupulous dealer had sold me a car that had been wrecked, but after reading these blogs I see that that´s how these cars are. I´ve had cars with bad struts, that´s not the problem. I don´t know what it is, but it´s a nightmere down here in mexico - I don´t even want to drive it. I be back in Missouri in a few months and will sell it where the roads are smooth, if I can find a buyer. What´s strange is I´ve read a few reviews of the sonata and most of them mention a smooth ride, and on yahoo autos I didn´t find anyone complaining about the ride. I´m really disapointed, it seemed like a nice car, but rides way worse than my intrepid which is twelve years old and has 185,000 miles.
  • espo35espo35 Posts: 144
    Have you checked your tire pressure? Should be 30 lbs. Air expands when hot, about 1 lb every 10 degrees. If your air pressure was set in Missouri when it was 50 F and now you're in Mexico at 90F, your tires will be around 35 lbs. and you will absolutely notice the difference in ride quality, especially on rough roads.
  • znarfznarf Posts: 2
    Thanks for the tip, I did check the tires and they were a little high. But then I lowered them to a few pounds below the recomended cold pressure, and drove another six hundred miles, and it wasn't much better. These cars have a problem. I'll take it to hyundai when I get back to the states, but judging from these blogs, that will be a waste of time. Fortunately, I have a pair of noise canceling headphones, they help with the noise....
  • kaypeakaypea Posts: 10
    After having no luck with the dealer I bought the car from I decided to try another dealer in the area.This time the service manager knew right away what I was talking about with the thunk sound.He even mentioned online forums like this one without me even bring it up.He also told me before even looking at the car or driving it that replacing struts is no guarantee-not too reassuring.He also asked me where the noise was coming from and I told him mainly from the passenger side front.

    A tech drove the car and they wound up replacing the front passenger side strut-that's all they would go for.The car still makes more noises than I would like when going over various holes and ruts in the road but at least that annoyoing rattle where it sounded like something was broken or loose is gone for now and the car does ride somewhat better.
  • Interesting...Hyundai has just issued TSB 09-SS-010 for the Elantra.

    SUBJECT: Front Strut Noise.

    DESCRIPTION: Some Elantra, & Elantra Touring vehicles may exhibit a noise originating from the front struts when passing over bumps or dips at speeds of 10 - 16 mph.

    The fix is the addition or replacement of the "Bumper Stopper"; PN 54626-27000FFF in the front strut assemblies.

    Let's see if they issue anything similar addressing the Sonata noise issue. I won't hold my breath!
  • Steven, I am not sure about the 2009 model, but I own a 2010 and have had the car in because of a front suspension "thunk" noise. The dealer said nothing was wrong with is, however the noise still exists. I am now guessing it is just the suspension design.
  • I have a 2009 Sonata. I have had it in many times for suspension noise. I even started a case with hyundai consumer affairs. They ended by saying that if the service people can't duplicate the noise, if they say " it's normal for the car", there is nothing they will do. I have posted here many times since I own this car. I can see that with all I have done and all that everyone who has this noise has done that Hyundai is going to do nothing about these cars. I hope people read these posts and see that if you have a problem with a hyundai you are out of luck. I wouldn't buy another one for half price.
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