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Hyundai Sonata Front Suspension "Thunk"



  • supermsuperm Posts: 16
    Interesting; I've only driven three. All GLS rentals with between 6 and 8k miles; one six cylinder. All three had it including one I'm driving. One car was driven my wife who picked up on it and she's not as sensitive.

    I've heard that the noise is strut mounts, the struts themselves and also something with sway bars. Has anyone FIXED it? Granted, these are new cars but given stories of limited/no success with dealers this is one big wart (to me) that shouldn't be tough to fix. If there was an alternate brand of strut mount or bushing I'd consider it, as for me this noise is annoying enough to prevent buying the car.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    I haven't contributed to this forum for some time, though I started this thread as a result of my 07 Sonata LTD. My problem was temporarily solved by replacement of front struts and upper mounts after a less than cordial back and forth with Hyundai corporate. I've concluded that the upper mount (and noise damper) is where the noise originates. See earlier posts of the in-shop diagnostics a friend (ASE mechanic) and I went through to isolate the thunking noise in his shop with a device that cycled the suspension on the rack at different rates. However, within 1000 miles it was again noticeable. Now, 10,000 miles later it is as bad as it was before replacing them. I've resigned myself to having the noise until I trade it for a Toyota next year. As far as I know Hyundai has no plans to redesign the suspension through 2010. Evidently, Hyundai is happy selling cars only to the undiscerning - those who ask, "Does it hurt to run it without oil?" Apparently there are enough of them to make a successful brand sales. Coincidentally, the highway department in my area has repaved many of the streets that were the worst offenders in my normal travels. So the noise is less offensive due to not making the suspension have to do anything. Be thankful for small favors. Good luck to the rest of you who live in areas with worse roads.
  • gslav1gslav1 Posts: 23
    Hello I have a 2009 Sonata and have the same problems with the suspension. I took the car to my dealership and they told me the same thing!!

  • I'm making an appointment to have my car looked at for the third time.
    Where the parts you had replaced the struts and strut mounts?
    Was this on the front only? My car seems to make this noise from the rear as well.
    I let the rear wheels only go over bumps and hear it from behind.
  • vinngvinng Posts: 12
    I had the front struts replaced to no avail. The strut mounts were not replaced. I also had a great deal of noise from the rear as well. It rode like a broken down old piece of junk. As I stated in an earlier post, I got rid of it 3 months after I bought it. My advice to you is to do the same.
  • I am in the market for a new car to replace my accord. The accord has been a good (not great) car and I am considering another one, but thought I'd check out the competition. I prefer something assembled in the USA, but non-union built (been there, owned that, have the t-shirt and battle scars). I drove a new 6 cyl limited sonata and immediately noticed a "thunk" in the front end of the car. Thus I came to this site to see if it was a problem. Apparently it is. I also thought that for a six cylinder it was not overlyblessed with power and I thought the interior materials lacked a bit. I had actually thought it would be the car I would be buying, but do not think it is a car that is "ready for primetime" at this point. I have written it off. I also drove a new 6 cylinder accord and camry. The accord had the same road noise mine does and it was an okay car, but I am not sure all 271 horses were working when I was driving. I drove the camry and it was by far the best of all the cars I drove, but I have heard they have issues with transmissions so I am giving it some more thought. Just my two cents.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    The new-for-2009 Mazda6 is US-made also, as are the Altima and Galant. Not sure if those plants are union or not. The GM mid-sizers are also made in the U.S., but union labor of course.
  • steven39steven39 Posts: 636
    wayne52, the transmision issues that you were refering to have been an issue with the camry since the 07 redesign.slugish shifting,hesitation,and a clunking tranny that toyota like hyndai with this sonata suspension problem refuses to do anything about it.what is happening with automakers these days i don't know.
  • Thank you, steven39. I wasn't sure about whether the camry transmission issue was resolved or not. Makes me wonder if I shouldn't just drive the wheels off my accord and absorb the issues it has. I've driven a few others (mentioned by backy) but not with the intent to buy them as there is no nearby dealership. In tough financial times I hate to stretch myself, but am willing to at least consider a new car. From the consumer magazines, I was really leaning toward the sonata (bang for the buck was my interest). After driving some of these cars, I do not agree with the consumer magazines' assessments. I'm not a car buff, but they will be MY dollars that I obligate. I think people on these sites basically know what they are talking about & are more into cars than I am and more importantly, I don't want to "buy problems". In driving these cars I can say that on a one time drive of each of them I had some of the issues I've read on edmunds. As a novice I can give one (my own) opinion of my experiences to date. Each was a 6 cylinder.

    - Although I did not experience a transmission problem with the camry, my drive was rather limited because the car smelled like a cigarette and I made it a short drive. It was, however, the nicest of the cars I drove.
    - I know what is meant by the sonata "thunk". That was no-brainer for me. The sonata could also use a little more pep and an upgrade of interior materials.
    - The accord 6 cyl vcm is not something I am interested in dealing with. I felt as though an a/c pump was constantly switching off and on. Over time, that would get the best of me. For $28k I would not have expected that from honda. I'm not doubting honda on their horsepower rating, but I think some of those 271 horses were pretty tired and did not show an interest in propelling the car. AND they still haven't taken care of the road noise issue either. I wouldn't think that would be so hard, but since they've had it for years I assume it is not a priority for honda.
    - I have driven an altima, but there is no dealer near me. I think the CVT would take some getting used to, but I also thought the interior of the one I drove was pretty cheap. The altima was, however, by far the most powerful car I drove! It could pass as an eight cylinder. The other issue on an altima would be figuring out what options to get. I am convinced that options packages for the altima were written by the people who write the IRS tax codes - very confusing.

    So I thought about the new camaro until I read that it was made by the CAW (canadian auto workers). I won't own another union-built car. In a short search I learned that the plant making the new camaro is known for being one of the "top quality producers in north america". Then I read a list of the cars they produced. I will just say there was a disconnect! I saw nothing on the list of their products that was "known for being a quality vehicle". I'll keep looking, but am not anxious to "buy problems". Maybe I'll just keep the accord.
  • steven39steven39 Posts: 636
    wayne,i myself also felt that the altima interior felt very flimsy and cheap.i actually felt that i was sitting in a kia rather than an over 20,000.00 automobile.i also considered a 09 malibu ls,but i felt that the black side mirrors was out of place with a car in this price range and i thought it looked tacky and cheap..a car in this price range should have body color side mirrors and door handles.the sonata does have this but the suspension issues doesn't make up for it...iam leaning towards the mazda 6 as it just feels like a sturdy well built car that drives and handles very well.
  • Before I get to the topic of this discussion...

    Let me first emphasize the fact that we're all anonymous posters in here - and it will remain that way until we all meet in person (which, for the majority of us at least, will not happen). So, how do we back up our claims? Data. Actual real-world numbers.

    So let's consider the following.

    1) Number of Sonatas on the road in the US, model years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009: over 400,000. There have been posts on Internet forums regarding suspension noise and/or poor ride quality in each of the aforementioned model years.

    2) Some posters claim they have driven multiple Sonatas and all, or most, of the cars had suspension problems. Some posters claim to have personally spoken with other Sonata owners who had the same suspension issues. Some posters claim Hyundai has been unable, or unwilling, to fix their car's suspension problems.

    Considering these claims, let's be conservative and say that out of all 2006-and-newer Sonatas on the road in the US, at least 1 out of every 4 cars has suspension problems. So, 1/4 of 400,000. In the US alone, that would be at least 100,000 Sonatas, model years '06 through '09, that have suspension problems.

    Now, let's break that number down even more (staying conservative). Of those 100,000 Sonata owners whose cars have suspension problems, let's say 1/2 of those owners consider their car's suspension problems to be a real issue. That would make 50,000 Sonata owners who are unhappy with their car's suspension noise and/or ride quality.

    Now, of those 50,000-or-so Sonata owners who are unhappy with their car's suspension, let's say only 10% of them take the initiative to pursue a Lemon Law case, or other forms of action against Hyundai. The other 9 out of 10 unhappy owners just keep their car, sell it, or trade it in.

    That would make, at a bare minimim, 5,000 disgruntled owners of '06 through '09 Sonatas taking some form of action against Hyundai. That's just in the United States alone, not counting all the Sonatas sold in Canada as well. Why have we not heard about this in the media by now?
  • I'm going on for the third time with my "thunk" on 3-2-2009.
    I have already spoken to a lemon law attorney. He said to let him know what happens after the third time. So far just excuses like "it has to be broken in" and "it's normal for these cars". This time I will try to get them to change something. Maybe it will help a case. I had this problem since I got the car.- (7/2009)
    I reported it when I picked up my plates. I will do my best to get it fixed or give it back.
  • If you're referring to me, please note that I'm a registered nurse and have no interest in selling vehicles and certainly no hidden anti-hyundai agenda. I live in Alabama and wish Hyundai nothing but the absolute very best! Roll Tide! I do, however, find it interesting when I read through the posts here. Most are honest and legitimate entries from car buffs, car owners, or car seekers like myself. For those with an axe to grind let them grind. Of greater concern to me is reading the posts that obviously are written by car dealers or sales people to "promote their product" or what I'd like to call the "defense attorneys".

    As for me, I've decided to put some more money into my accord and drive it awhile longer - until the stock market settles. A new car can wait.
  • Very well stated.
    I have never heard what causes the "Thunk". It would appear that a suspension noise would be easy to trouble shoot. My 2009 does have some noise but I can not determine if mine is one of the good ones or I am just not offended by the noise that others must feel is a safety issue. My car does not dart to the right or the left of shake so It does not bother me. Normally a "Thunk" would be something bottoming out or a binding in the linkage.
  • jack47jack47 Posts: 312
    Does anyone know if the thunk that we sonata owners are enduring also appears on any other of the Hyundai models?

    Or is it only on the cars being assembled by robots in the Alabama plant?
  • It should be pointed out that I currently do not own a Hyundai product although I have had several in the past none were a Sonata. I like Hyundai products in general so if that somehow makes me biased so be it. The front suspension Hyundai uses in the Sonata isn't unique in any way. Most, if not all, auto manufacturers use the same type or a close variation of it on at least some of their competing models. So then, what makes the Sonata "clunk" more than any of the others? The answer is...does it? or has this become a mass hysteria issue much like the Audi unintended acceleration "problem" a decade or two ago. It was never proved that the Audi in question had any inherent problems that would have caused unintended acceleration despite people swearing that the car drove through garage walls, ran over people etc. on its own. I cannot believe that Hyundai would allow this "problem" to continue through three model years uninvestigated and or unimproved. I too have rented various Sonata's in a couple of trim levels and with both engines and of different model years and driven them on Pa.'s generally patched and cratered roads without noticing any excessive noises (except noises any overextended suspension would make dropping into a bottomless pothole). Nope, I see people calling the car "junk" selling a brand new car after a stupid short time all to get rid of this "clunk" and just don't get it. Question, are some people more attuned to certain types of noise and if heard it becomes a big "problem" for them (even though it might be a perfectly acceptable, or normal if you wish, noise produced by the physical/mechanical function of the suspension doing its job)? Answer appears so. Hyundai has always appeared to me to be a company that quickly acknowledges legitimate problems and issues TSB's to rectify them post haste. This was my experience when I owned several Santa Fe's a few years ago so I can't imagine they would abandon their quest as being (and being perceived as)an increasingly quality driven company to ignore, not repair, or otherwise rectify this issue, if indeed it is an issue to other than a few owners and perspective buyers. Yeah, I know I will certainly hear from the few here who absolutely think they hear something amiss, and absolutely loathe what they think they hear to the point of advising others not to buy and trading new cars in and essentially calling the Sonata junk but I still don't buy it.
  • rhonasrhonas Posts: 11
    I do agree with you - I do own a 2009 Sonata (and a 2007 Santa Fe) and do not feel/hear any suspension noises nor problems, and believe me, I am very sensitive to these issues. I owned many cars from different manufacturers including Mazda, Mitsubishi, Toyota and was less satisfied with their products. The Sonata is far better.
  • Before anyone says "there is no suspension problem" they should ride in a Sonata
    that the owner says has the problem. People who ride in my car can't believe how bad it is. I think you have to be a little nuts to read these posts and make comments about the subject if you don't have a problem and don't even own a Sonata. You should find something more productive to do with you time.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,601
    I drive an '05 Sonata--OK different generation. My experience, after 2 years, was so good my business bought my brother a new '07 Sonata 2 years ago. Neither of these car has a thunk problem.

    A friend bought a new '07 Azera and he had no thunk issue UNTIL he read some posts on "townhall." Dealer changed a strut when the car was about 6 months old and he's been happy ever since.

    As I asked before, maybe these cars are so quiet that a thumping normal noise which is bound to occur irritates the driver and any passengers who may be trying to listen for it.

    My business owned Sonatas are quieter than my parent's '04 Cadillac Sedan Deville.

    Maybe other noises in other cars mask whatever the thunk issue is supposed to be. What I've heard, I would describe more as a tire noise from an expansion joint or other road irregularity such as a pothole or raised surface.
  • Be thankful you don't have the problem.
  • Well since "rhonas" states that they do indeed own a Sonata your reply must be directed to me. I assure you I am "not a little nuts" nor do I have to own the car to make personal observations. Also, my time management is fine but thanks for the invitation to find something more productive to do with it.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    It is pointless for a non-owner to philosophically ruminate as to whether a thunking problem exists or not based on a car the writer rides in which does NOT seem to exhibit a problem - or two or three or five. There are many owners who experience real problems. It is to those owners looking for real answers to which I addressed this forum in the beginning. Those who are persistently writing on this forum to try to convince others that they do not have a problem or are somehow unreasonable if they say they have one are not helpful to those who genuinely have problems. Please do us all a favor and go to another forum if you must write and save the undoubtedly snappy response to this post because your feathers got ruffled.

    To those who genuinely have suspension thunking problems I will say this one last time - then I leave the forum. I have written extensively on the problem on this forum including the shop diagnosis and the fix as pertaining to the front end (although a temporary fix). Also available are fixes for the rear end (actually kits in 06 and earlier models). This forum would be much more help to you if you would read the previous posts rather than posting questions as if the post you read last existed alone and was the only thing said on the subject so far. I've said this before - read the thread from the beginning- screening out the off-subject dross and that of those who just like to pose as authorities without any real information to impart other than their own elevated opinions of whether the issue is an issue or not. There are always self-made authorities in every forum. I spent the time and money to go to the shop and make tools to actuate the suspension one position (left, then right) at a time to different heights while on the lift and stethoscoped the suspension during repeated travel (bump simulation).

    I will state it again as I have several times before: The problem (as pertaining to front thunking noise) is in the upper strut mounts - the design, or the design coupled with the installation technique making some worse than others. See earlier posts as to the temporary nature of the fix, the diagnosis technique and the interaction with Hyundai's condescending corporate spokespeople ("Yes, we will replace the front struts and mounts as a gesture of good will, not because we feel there is anything wrong with the car." After the replacement and the problem disappeared I asked corporate how they felt about it now that it had been fixed. She said,"Well, I'm glad you are happy now. Goodbye." And refused to discuss it further. I didn't bother to call back as the problem again began to become evident within 1000 miles and back to its worst after another 7K.

    The bottom line, as also previously stated, is that until Hyundai changes the suspension design (which shows no indication) those who are not hard of hearing or unobserving, or ... you name it... and expect a car's suspension not to thunk over bumps (when lightly loaded) should consider another vehicle. You, of course will have to make that call yourself. It probably is not going to get fixed by Hyundai unless you go the legal route (binding arbitration). That is also discussed earlier in this forum. I headed that way, then backed off after the strut mount replacement and local road repaving, and settled on selling the car next year and go back to Toyota.
    Those who just got their backs up in the air and are about to eloquently expound on how they are not hard of hearing or unobserving... blah blah blah. Save it. No one really cares.
    Oh, and one more thing: Consumer Reports now reports "suspension noise" for Sonatas in their synopsis and is not on the "recommended" list. So its not just us "fanatics" I guess. And lets face it I've never had this complaint with any other car I've owned or ridden in that didn't have worn out ball joints from old age.

    I'm leaving the forum since I feel I have no more to contribute that hasn't been said in past posts. Good luck and determination to all those who are willing to pursue this issue with Hyundai though arbitration. It is only you who will force the design change. They will not spend the money until it becomes cheaper to change it rather than keep it.
  • Oh, and one more thing: Consumer Reports now reports "suspension noise" for Sonatas in their synopsis and is not on the "recommended" list.

    I have no doubt you are having problems, but please get the above info right. I am a CR subscriber and just checked their ratings from the April 2009 auto issue that is already online. The 09 Sonata is still on their recommended list. Regarding that "dreaded thunk", this is a direct quote from their summary:

    The ride is comfortable, but can become buoyant on highway undulations. Handling is secure but not agile, with noticeable body lean and little steering feedback. Suspension noise intrudes.

    I am sure if that "suspension noise" they experienced was the "dreaded thunk", they would have said so and the Sonata would not be on the recommended list. I don't mean to diminish your problems, just wanted to point out a factual error in your assertions. ;)
  • I'm sorry to hear you will not be back to this forum. You have been the most helpful person here. I have read all your posts from the beginning. I have the list of parts that were changed from your post. I'm still not sure if the struts were changed. They're not in the list but then you said they were changed in the next post. I will be back at the dealer on 3-2-2009. I will be trying to get them to do this work. If they don't fix it I'll be calling back the N.J. lemon law attorney I spoke to and take it from there.
    Thanks for all the help.
  • gslav1gslav1 Posts: 23
    Hello, suspension noise like sonata's have is not acceptable in this day and age.

    I have driven cars with the same type of suspension with no undo noise, dating back 30 years. there is a big problem with Hyundai's suspension!!
  • aqua33v6aqua33v6 Posts: 38
    Got it... just as you've mentioned in 4 other posts since October 2008:!keywords=#176!keywords=#227!keywords=#247!keywords=#773

    In the first post back in October, you mentioned how the car bounces over bumps, wanders all over the road above 50 MPH, and vibrates at over 65 MPH. My question to you is:

    How did you not notice all these things when you test drove the car?

    Wandering all over the road, as you claimed, would be a safety issue. Did you report this to the NHTSA?

    In this most recent post, you say "there is a big problem with Hyundai's suspension" in regards to "undo suspension noise." What about the other issues you've claimed to have? Did those other suspension problems just happen to disappear since October?

    My Sonata's suspension performs well in all regards. There is NOT a big problem with Hyundai's suspension. I'm sorry, did I just state my personal opinion as if it were fact? I'll have to work on that. ;)
  • lenstanglenstang Posts: 68
    I was unable to bring my car in on 3-2-09 due to snow.
    I will make a new appointment and report the results.
  • craigbrookscraigbrooks Posts: 420
    do I smell a fire here? :surprise:
  • lenstanglenstang Posts: 68
    What does that mean?
  • jlindhjlindh Posts: 282
    How about, "Where there's smoke...."?
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