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Hyundai Sonata Maintenance and Repair



  • Unless something has recently changed this is true. And my research indicates that if one were to use something else transmission problems in the form of improper operation would occur so it isn't just a matter Hyundai using a phony warning so that only their transmission fluid is used. This is only available at Hyundai dealers naturally but worth the effort to seek it out.
  • I'll add to this. A friend who has an 06 Sonata used Castrol Import Multi Vehicle fluid which meets or exceeds OEM fluid. His trans is shifting better than new. His 1st to 2nd lag is gone too. I am looking into this for my upcoming flush. ;)

    I might also add if this is the first change of fluid at 60K on the other poster a flush may not be right for you. If the fluid is black or smells funny a change rather than a flush may be in order.
  • targettuning,

    thanks very much for your input. very helpful.
    Do these machines have a name? I don't want to sound like an idiot when I try and find out if the shop has one...I would assume a dealership would definitely have one?
    Also, which items to be flushed have filters? Is it just the trans that has a filter? Or do the power steering and brake fluid systems have filters? Radiator?
  • If I recall, Hyundai uses a propriatary transmission fluid (Made by Mitsubishi???) that most independent shops don't have. Another reason to use the dealer for that service, or at least buy the fluid & filter there. Bob D.
  • I don't know if a power type fluid change qualifies as a flush, it probably does, but I feel that even if the fluid is colorful (red) and not black or dark and doesn't smell burned a power flush/change is preferable to just dropping the pan or opening a drain plug because there is still a certain amount of "contaminated" fluid within the torque converter and it will never drain on its own. It just seems a waste of $$$ and effort if you cannot remove the maximum amount of "old" fluid when one decides to change it.
    As I said things may have changed concerning other manufacturers developing transmission fluid that is equal to or better than Hyundai's and maybe someone (Castrol)has but will Hyundai buy a warranty claim if theirs isn't used?? They seem pretty unyielding about what can and cannot be used at least in their service literature.
  • I read in my owners manual yesterday that as long as it is an approved fluid they are ok with it. We'll see. I will do a little more digging before I take the plunge.

    Our service dept uses the BG machine and I am told it removes 98% of the old fluid.
  • I pulled the trigger on the Castrol today. Called the local Hyundai parts guy and he said as long as it was an SPIII fluid I was ok. Had a heck of a time finding a parts store in town that could get/find the fluid for me. Had to have it ordered. Seems the local guys have converted to Valvoline fluids. Must be a good salesman calling on these places. I'll post results in a week or two, when I get the flush, about the "new" fluid and my trans performance. I'm looking forward to it. :D

    To the poster questioning filters,
    The only fluid filters you should worry about are oil, transmission and fuel. On our cars you can't get to the trans filter, as far as I know. A trans flush will scim the top of the filter and make it "somewhat" new again.
  • Beyond the generic "power flush" name I would imagine that they are called something like "super change 2000" (this is a fictional name so don't ask for it at your dealer) or some specific name by their manufacturer but I don't know what that might be. I think simply asking the service advisor whether or not they use a "power flush" type transmission fluid change machine should get the answer you desire..either they do or they don't but I suspect many/most dealers now use them.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    Like I have been doing for my Honda Odyssey, I will be changing the tranny oil on my 07 Sonata V6 Ltd in the same fashion every 20K miles. It has only 4500 miles at present.

    I simply drain the 3 - 4 qts from the transmission, refill it up, drive the car for a week, then drain again and refill it up. The second drain will serve to dilute and get most of the oil in the converter out. At 20K, the tranny oil is still very clean - so there is minimal risk of "junk" in there. Also I am making sure that I am using SP111 for the Hyundai and ATF-Z1 for the Honda, instead of some other cheaper substitute (like Dexron) that many garages are tempted to use to cut cost.

    I have heard that flushes can move around "junk" stuff in the tranny and cause it to operate erratically afterwards. I have been maintaining my cars for the past 4 decades and have never had tranny or engine problems due to lack of PM.
  • I won't try you convince you otherwise since you seem dedicated to this maintainence schedule and convinced that it has worked for you but changing (even partially) your transmission fluid at 20 K intervals is totally unecessary not to mention labor intensive and environmentally wasteful. In my experience transmission fluid will look clean and clear far into the middle to upper thousands of miles (60-80 K) and probably won't need a flush until around 100K assuming there is no internal physical problems. Think of the many new car drivers who never change their tranmission fluid during their ownership, trade it at 65,000 or so miles. A second owner may not change it either until well after 100,000 miles if then. Considering that most modern cars/vans/SUV's can easily do this without transmission failure your schedule seems obsesive to me. I guess if it makes you feel good go for it but it is wasteful in my opinion.
    The power flush does not merely move "junk" around but does indeed "flush" it out. That statement has been proven to be mostly untrue over time and experience. In fact before my first powerflush a couple of years ago I voiced that same concern and I was told that it was "non" concern with newer equipment. The only time this may be true is if the transmission is mechanically on its last legs with excessive clutch pack friction material and other debris floating around. If this were true then no flush will help it anyhow. I had my transmission power flushed and I have experienced no ill effects...the car has 201,211 miles currently.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    Your right.

    Engine oil/filter changes at 3months or 3K miles; tranny oil changes at 20K miles. Engine Oil and fliter cost about $6 for the Honda and $11 for the Sonata. ATF-Z1 and SP111 each cost under $6 /qt for a DIY job. It takes about 1/2hr to change each in our home garage with a 6-pack at my side and the stereo blasting. Cheap insurance.

    Those who don't change their fluids are significantly increasing their chances of failure, especially tranny at 100K miles - the oil must be like molasses quality/viscosity then.

    This PM worked for 4 decades with no failures. Yes I am an engineer & mechanically inclined and have been doing my own maintenance since the mid 60's. So you can imagine the $$$ saved over that time.

    I keep my cars at least 10 yrs. Last trade-in was a 13 yr old Conti for the 2007 Sonata. We have 4 cars in the cars now.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    I'm one of those people that gets the transmission fluid changed in an I4 Accord and V6 Odyssey approximately every 30K. I don't do it myself. I may try next time as I already get under them both to do my own oil and filter changes...

    I definitely notice improvement in shift quality. That's enough for me to keep doing it on that schedule.
  • Yes, although I personally think that a transmission fluid change every 30K miles is somewhat obsessive (unless you happen to drive a taxi in the city of New York) I was mostly replying to the proceedure performed by the poster who drains a portion of his transmission fluid (3-4 qts. by his estimate) every 20K miles refills it then drives the vehicle a couple of weeks. After driving the vehicle a short time drains off a few quarts more and refills it once again. I maintain this, while fulfilling a longtime habit with no transmission failure, is mostly unecessary, time consuming, and environmentally wasteful. I am also heavily into preventative maintaintance but early and frequent transmission fluid changes is something I don't do for better or worse. I tend to buy a lot of high mileage used cars for work and keep them beyond what most would consider prudent. I have had one partial and one complete transmission failure over 7 or 8 of these high mileage cars. One 1987 Taurus completely grenaded its transmission but it occurred at around 186,000 miles and more recently our 95 Stratus had a partial transmission failure despite several fluid changes. We are the second owners and bought it @ 95,000 miles. It also occurred at 186,000 miles and I made it home due to the "limp home" function. The fluid was red and smelled fine at that time. A cluster gear broke and I lost 3rd-4th gears. It simply wore out.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    Good PM practice!

    Tranny oil changes in the Honda are easy as the tranny has a drain plug similar to that in the engine oil pan. A 3/8" hex nut driver fits nicely into the tranny drain plug of my Ody. Simply drain the oil, measure the qty that flows out, and refill with ATF-Z1. I refill through the tranny dipstick (with a long tapered funnel) instead of the refill hole for convenience. Takes about 3.5qts. It is a piece of cake!

    Frequent oil changes are key to longevity - no failures in engines and trannies in my 40 years of car ownership are testament to it. I do not like to be inconvenienced and/or aggravated by a failure that I could have prevented.

    The Ody built to 12/2003 had recalls for past tranny problems (oil jet kit installed was the fix) - so that makes a more compelling case for frequent oil changes.
  • I'm a new Sonata owner and I'm a bit peeved at the schedule for changing transmission fluid for "severe service". I live in Michigan so supposedly that's severe service with our low temps, salt use, etc.

    My booklet says 30,000 miles or 24 months, whichever comes first. I only put about 10,000 miles per year on a car, so if I follow the rules, I will be doing transmission fluid changes every 20,000 miles. That seems quite excessive to me. But I guess I really don't have a choice if I want to keep my warranty.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,181
    I would read that severe use definition again. Salt should have nothing to do with it. I think the type of driving ie. short trips(not warming up completely), a lot of dusty or gravel road driving etc. IMO, very few overall driving situations should throw one into the severe category.
  • OK, here are the severe driving conditions on page 5-6 of my 2008 Sonata manual that apply to me with my short explanations:

    A. Repeatedly driving short distances of less than 5 miles in normal temperature or less than 10 miles in freezing temperature.

    (for 5-6 months out of the year we have freezing temps and most of my driving is under 10 miles per trip. Distance to work is 7 miles, I run to the store, etc.)

    C. Driving on rough, dusty, muddy, unpaved, graveled or salt-spread roads.

    (For 4-5 months out of the year we experience snow and have salt on the roads)
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,181
    Grew up in SW Mich so know of which you speak if that is the South Haven in your display name. Anyway, it's the short trips I was referring to that may throw you into that catergory. If 90% of all your trips are in that less then 5-10 category, then you probably do fall in the severe category. I guess getting the tranny fluid changed every two years is not out of the question. Depending on how long you keep the car, it's probably only a couple of extra changes during your ownership which doesn't sound so bad and maybe cheap insurance.
  • Being retired and owning other vehicles, I only put on about 5000 miles per year. During the winter the car sits in the garage most of the time. I think it is foolish to change oil with less than 1000 miles just because 3 months have passed. That also means at 24 months, I will be expected to change trans fluid, probably with less than 15,000 miles. Am I to believe that if I have a failure when fluids have been changed at the proper mileage times, not the calendar times, that Hyundai will disallow warranty repairs if, for instance, the failure is at 20,000 miles and 4 years? Why would I be expected to change the oil when the car has not been driven, just because 90 days have gone by? This makes no environmental, economical, or common sense. :confuse:
  • Yep, South Haven, MI it is! :) Howdy!

    Thanks for your thoughts. I definitely don't want to invalidate the warranty. We plan on keeping the car at least 10 years. I guess I will be getting that tranny fluid changed every 2 years.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,181
    I agree on the most part. However, the situation we were addressing related specifically to someone that uses the car everyday of the year basically and just about ALL trips were less than 5-10 miles and under salty, freezing conditions for a good portion of the year. In this case the severe schedule applies.

    Most new car manuals say, under normal driving conditions, you can go between 5,000/7500 miles and 4-6 months between oil changes. No new car manual that I know addresses the type of non-use you mention. I don't think changing the oil a couple of times a year hurts the environment that much and probably will do the car some good. How it would affect your warranty exactly I guess you'd have to ask Hyundai.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,181
    Hi back to you. If it makes you feel any better there was a poster over on mid-size cars that is swears that changing your tranny fluid every 20,000 is the best thing since sliced bread. I think that is way overkill.
  • rajibdrajibd Posts: 1

    I have just bought a Hyundai Sonata 2001 from the first owner - It has ran for 71 K miles .
    I would appreciate advice and recomendations for the preventive maintenance so that I do not shell out much money for repair

  • Timing belt change is due if it hasn't been done already. If you hear any noise going down the road, Front and rear wheel bearings are also something to check out. Other than the starter and a output transmission sensor, this has been a great car. 140,000 miles.
  • sonata01sonata01 Posts: 21
    to ZOOMZOOM13 - I have a 2001 Sonata with approx. 120,000 miles. I haven't changed my timing belt yet, but am seriously considering it before.....
    Also, I'm having trouble with trans shifting, which I think, from reading the forum, is related to the output trans sensor. I've heard that replacement of this sensor at a Hyundai dealer is really expensive; I would appreciate any suggestions.
    Thanks, Tom
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,601
    If you haven't changed the timing belt in 120,000 miles, have you also skipped flushing the transmission fliud?
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    You should be doing more than just considering changing your timing belt at this point. You should be on your way to your mechanic/dealer as we speak. When that belt breaks there will be absolutely no warning....the car will simply shut off...there may be some mechanical engine noise as it destroys will coast to the side of the road...and you will have some quiet time to ponder repair costs as you wait for the "hook".
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    I'm curious to see what Hyundai recommends/requires for scheduled maintenance on 4 cylinder models.
    Do they have a "maintenance minder" that adjusts to your driving habits (like Hondas) or is it on a hard mileage interval?

    I noticed someone posting that their manual stated that they are required to change the oil at 3,000 miles for schedule "B" and I find that surprising. Most modern cars nowadays have longer oil change interval requirements than that even on their most "severe" manufacturer's required schedule.

    I know many people like to change their oil every 3,000 miles because that's what they've always done and their ancestors have passed this down to them for generations and the dealer service departments and oil change shops also recommend this, but I haven't seen this frequent oil change schedule coming from the actual car manufactures lately.

    Is the complete maintenance schedule posted online anywhere (not just the oil changes)?
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    I found a web site that had the oil change interval and the Sonata seems to be one of the few new cars that still have maintenance requirements with oil changes as often as every 3000 miles.

    That will be a hassle for anyone who drives high mileage. 4 times a year even if you only drive 12K miles a year. With a Honda Accord, the oil change requirements on the same site were listed as roughly 1 per per year.

    I'm still curious to see the full maintenance schedule so I can see if the rest of the required maintenance (transmission fluid/coolant changes, belt and hose changes, tune-ups etc. are also frequently required.

    The Sonata could be an expensive car to keep maintained over several years.
    The cost of this is not just the price of the actual oil changes, but the cost of the hassle and your time required for all the additional trips and waits for all these oil changes over the years you own the car.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    You don't have to go that far away. :P

    Maintenance Schedules, Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins

    Also, some may be interested in this feature as well:

    True Cost to Own (TCO)
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