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So my 2007 Sonata has the dreaded, inevitable valve cover gasket leak. It's the standard story, with oil leaking onto the alternator. The car has 110,000 miles on it, and I'd like to get at least 50K more, so I'm okay biting the bullet.

BUT... I'd like to know what a reasonable price is. The independent shop where I get my oil changed said it would be a 4 hour job (because they have to remove the upper intake manifold) and that it would total $643.38. Does that seem right? It seems like a common enough problem that there should be an established price range for it.

He also recommended changing the spark plugs at the same time (because they both require removing the manifold), adding another $130 to the price tag. It's time to do that too...does that sound like a fair price?

Many thanks...
 

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So my 2007 Sonata has the dreaded, inevitable valve cover gasket leak. It's the standard story, with oil leaking onto the alternator. The car has 110,000 miles on it, and I'd like to get at least 50K more, so I'm okay biting the bullet.

BUT... I'd like to know what a reasonable price is. The independent shop where I get my oil changed said it would be a 4 hour job (because they have to remove the upper intake manifold) and that it would total $643.38. Does that seem right? It seems like a common enough problem that there should be an established price range for it.

He also recommended changing the spark plugs at the same time (because they both require removing the manifold), adding another $130 to the price tag. It's time to do that too...does that sound like a fair price?

Many thanks...
Valve cover gasket itself is cheap, I don't think it would take a trained mechanic full 4hrs to replace it but even if it does take them 4hrs, they seem to be charging you ~$145 / hour for labor. I would shop around.

As far as spark plug replacement is concerned, I think your car requires iridium spark plugs (~$10/each), make sure they use quality stuff and not $3 a pop junk.
 

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...they seem to be charging you ~$145 / hour for labor. I would shop around.

...iridium spark plugs (~$10/each), make sure they use quality stuff and not $3 a pop junk.
Perfect! Well said!
 

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The gasket cost money too. A regular shop guy will just look up the hour estimate in the book, and charge you per hour. I think four hours is the standard charge I keep hearing to do plugs, which is a lot. So he's actually charging you around $100 an hour, and $150 for the gasket, which is pricey, but these guys are all crooks anyways.

Just pour some more oil in there and fugetaboutit.
 

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No, you can't. The alternator...

Is the leak in the front? Why don't you try tightening up the bolts first? Another possibility is using high mileage oil because is has seal conditioners that will swell up the gasket.

Hate to see people throw away money on such puny problems.
 

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Remember you are charged book value on a job. The alloted time x rate. Doesn't matter if it's a 15 min job and you're billed 2 hours. It is what it is. Some jobs take longer then what you can bill for..

The price is not bad all things considered. Small price to pay for maintenance. Treat your car. High mileage oil isn't going to fix a leaking valve cover gasket..
 

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I've been recently getting quotes from multiple shops on this as well. From what I have heard back so far the front valve cover gasket is easy to get to and is a 1-2 hour job, I've been quoted $100-$200 for just that so far (inc parts). Once you add in the rear valve cover gasket they are quoting me for a 4-6 hour job or about $400-600, when adding spark plugs to the job it goes up to about $700. So far these are rough estimates, not actual job prices.

My question: Does the rear valve cover gasket have the same leaking issue as the front? I'm thinking I only want to do the front gasket on mine at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I think the problem is fairly far advanced---the build up of gunk (that's oil, right?) on the alternator is substantial, and my mechanic told me about it a year or two ago when it was minor. It was on his "watch" list then, but now he recommends fixing it, and reading around it seems like I should listen.

My question is, how can I tell if the front AND the rear are both leaking---like dxs2104 said, there's a huge price difference.

I've called around, and the over-the-phone estimates are between $540 and $755.
 

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Hey, as a mechanic I take offense to calling us crooks.

You can tell if the rear is leaking by looking at it. You might have to get under it, peek around little nooks and crannies etc.

A gasket is a gasket, if one is leaking, the other either is, or will be soon enough, just do them both. No reputable place would do just one for you because you'll come back crying that your car is leaking oil once the other starts leaking.

The 4 hours you're getting quoted is what the set time for that job is. Your mechanic makes money by doing the job faster than the book time. That's how the whole industry works. If they only charge you on the actual time it took the mechanic to do it, well, I wouldn't be a mechanic anymore.

I also think you should shop for a mechanic based on the quality of the work, not the price. Do some research and find a good mechanic nearby and for the love of god, please keep going to the same place. I hate the customer who never takes their car to the same place twice. I have no idea what prior repairs have been done, a hundred different brands of products have been used, and those cars are all usually in worse shape than our consistent customers.

That being said, if you feel like you have some sort of mechanical aptitude, the front valve cover is relatively easy to replace. In case you aren't aware, the upper intake plenum needs to be removed to access the rear valve cover. The plenum will need a new gasket after being removed, and the removal itself involves disconnecting quite a few pieces. A lot of transverse mounted V6s and V8s require the intake come off to get to plugs and anything on the rear of the engine.

Also, quotes over the internet are very difficult. I don't know what the economy in your part of Colorado is like. Maybe you live in a town with some dirt cheap hillbilly mechanics, maybe you live in some fancy ass part of town where they mostly service European and luxury autos. Keep shopping around, read reviews on the places you like, and then pull the trigger.
 

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Thank you so much, MNV33! That's the kind of perspective I really needed.

BTW, is there anyway to find the book that lists the set time for each job? And how do you find out what a shop's hourly rate is?
 

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3.9 hours for both according to my system at work, that info is pulled from the manufacturer. You can just call a shop and ask their hourly rate.
 

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This thread is recent so I'm going to post here a question....does a mechanic have to remove the engine knock sensor in order to replace these gaskets? I had a check engine light that said the knock sensor was not working just a hundred miles after I had the gaskets replaced on my v6 2009 Sonata.
 

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I haven't taken the manifold off of the sonata yet but of the V6's i've had to replace intake manifolds on, there are many sensors that need to be unplugged and the knock sensor (usually located between both banks, ie: around manifold area) is one of them. I've been burned in the past by not plugging a connector in firmly. The rubber weather seal around the connectors can get in the way and prevent the connector from being fully plugged in even though it seems like the two connector ends are fully connected.

If you had this preformed at a shop I'd take it back and let them know that you got a check engine light after their work was done. The technician will likely blush and have to go back and make sure it's fully connected.

Don't fault the shop though. Sometimes it takes quite a while for a code to illuminate the light and we normally don't have all day to drive cars around to make sure everything is okay. It's an easy fix and they should take care of you.
 

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Well get it done or do it your self before oil drips kill an expensive alternator (perhaps another $200+). I never had an obvious drip, but it was too much for the alternator! I did the valve cover gaskets and tube seals and probably did spend about 4 hours working outside in dead cold weather on the v6. But I was not pressed for time so worked in spurts as I saw fit in the weather. I think three hours should do the job working inside a garage, including new plugs and plenum gasket. Add another 45 minutes to install an alternator if it comes to it.
 

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So my 2007 Sonata has the dreaded, inevitable valve cover gasket leak. It's the standard story, with oil leaking onto the alternator. The car has 110,000 miles on it, and I'd like to get at least 50K more, so I'm okay biting the bullet.

BUT... I'd like to know what a reasonable price is. The independent shop where I get my oil changed said it would be a 4 hour job (because they have to remove the upper intake manifold) and that it would total $643.38. Does that seem right? It seems like a common enough problem that there should be an established price range for it.

He also recommended changing the spark plugs at the same time (because they both require removing the manifold), adding another $130 to the price tag. It's time to do that too...does that sound like a fair price?

Many thanks...
i just had the same problem diagnosed on my 08 v6 sonata, with 103k on it. my mechanic advised a full tune up together with the job since its due for one anyways and hes anyways taking off the intake manifold to access the gasket. (you need to remove the intake to get to the rear spark plugs and pcv valve). he estimated about 600 to 650 for the whole thing. i went to a second mechanic who is slightly cheaper and got a quote of 300 to 350 for the gasket alone. now, the pcv valve costs 25 dollars from hyundai and as low as 10 dollars from a parts store. NKG iridium spark plugs are 7 dollars a piece at parts stores (and very often you can get rebates or discounts to save about 2 dollars a plug)(i recently verified prices). so thats 45 (with tax) for the plugs and 25 for valve, and the labor is not that long once the intake is off anyways. so im not a mechanic but 130 sounds like way too much for the add on of a spark plug change. in summary i think you should look around for a lower quote on the gasket, and try to negotiate the spark plugs and pcv valve to be done at the same time(do the pcv valve, a clogged pcv valve can cause the gasket to start leaking again) for about 100 dollars (the 30 dollars extra for labor should compensate his 20 min of work for that at 65 dollars an hr labor costs).
 

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So my 2007 Sonata has the dreaded, inevitable valve cover gasket leak. It's the standard story, with oil leaking onto the alternator. The car has 110,000 miles on it, and I'd like to get at least 50K more, so I'm okay biting the bullet.

BUT... I'd like to know what a reasonable price is. The independent shop where I get my oil changed said it would be a 4 hour job (because they have to remove the upper intake manifold) and that it would total $643.38. Does that seem right? It seems like a common enough problem that there should be an established price range for it.

He also recommended changing the spark plugs at the same time (because they both require removing the manifold), adding another $130 to the price tag. It's time to do that too...does that sound like a fair price?

Many thanks...
hyundai just released a recall for veracruse for this exact oil leak on alternator issue ,same family of engine ( 3.8 or 3.3 ) maybe enough complaints by santa fe owners would get a recall on them as well, this is a common problem since 2007
 

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sonata owners as well need to complain to get a recall issued ( this problem can cause stalling out while driving leading to an accident or can cause engine fire )
 

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I don't know about a recall. A valve cover is a wear item and while the alternator being below the valve cover might not be the best design, lots of cars are set up this way. I forget what vehicle specifically but there is one that I always think is the stupidest design (it's a Dodge or Ford I think) where the oil filter is directly above the starter so oil pours all over the starter every oil change.

If your valve cover has leaked enough oil on the alternator that it caused it to die and kill your battery while driving, there's likely some other maintenance issues (or lack thereof) going on
 

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Hi guys. I have a 07 Sonata and having recurring valve cover leak. First time it happened it leaked onto my alternator and had to get car towed and whole bit. About a year later they discovered it again during routine oil change and had it fixed again. Yesterday during a routine oil change, they discovered a leak again!! I know this is an established problem but how many times can the same problem occur?? I'm passed the warranty ( 103K ). Any suggestions in dealing with this with the service dept?
 
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