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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is a Hyundai/Kia Theta II GDI engine lawsuit that alleges oil flow problems cause catastrophic engine failure while driving. The 2011-2016 Sonata is among the affected vehicles (Hyundai and Kia) that are equipped with 2-liter and 2.4-liter GDI engines. Various posts and reviews site either a manufacturing defect resulting in metal shavings being left behind and/or possible design flaws that cause premature internal engine failure. The only fix is to replace the entire engine.

Based on my research so far the 2011-2014 engines seem to be most affected but upon further research there appear to be some complaints for seventh generation Sonata engines failing, particularly the 2015 and 2016 year models. Nothing I could find mentioned the 2017's so perhaps those vehicles haven't racked up enough miles for issues to arise, or maybe Hyundai/Kia engineers have already addressed the issues prior to 2017. Hopefully its the later.

What worries me is the 2018 Sonata engines are a direct carryover from the previous generation. Does anyone have any information or data on whether these engine failure problems have been fixed prior to the manufacturing of the 2018 models?
 

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there's no official data that it was fixed for 2018 models..

hyundai did make some changes from 2011-2013, so they're saying that engines produced after September 2013 are not affected by the same problem.

however, as you mentioned, some 2015/16 sonatas, sorentos, sportage's, and santa fe's are also failing..

whether these failures are due to not following the severe condition maintenance schedule, or using poor quality oil/filter, or whether it is due to weak bearings, no one knows for sure..

whether to purchase a hyundai/kia vehicle depends on your risk tolerance, how much you value your life and time, and your family's safety
 

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In my humble opinion, all these problems exist just because some owners like to play catch-cans and similar "inventions" that promise to improve engine performance. When it results in dead engine, smarties do not want to pay the price for their curiosity - they initiate plaintiff. Lawyers smell money of course.
Personally, I have not experienced any problems with Sonata's engines for last 10 years, as well as with any other engines if they younger than 15 years (150 000 miles).

Again, this is my personal opinion that reflects my personal experience. If you do not like it - discard it as stupid.
 

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The 2015+ have all the known updates and haven't been dropping like flies. There have been non-stop updates from 2011+ and I am pretty sure that the 2015+ owners have nothing to worry about.

Regardless, I wouldn't be negligent with any new Hyundai. You'll still have to check the oil often and top it off as needed. It would be smart to follow the severe service intervals, use a full synthetic oil, and step up an oil grade or two.

None of these issues have been caused by catch-cans and 'inventions'. Only a non-smartie would think that. Hyundai has a history of engineering snafus. And, the typical US consumer is an id1ot when it comes to vehicle ownership and preventive maintenance. Most owners are illiterate and have never even read their owners manual.
 

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In my humble opinion, all these problems exist just because some owners like to play catch-cans and similar "inventions" that promise to improve engine performance. When it results in dead engine, smarties do not want to pay the price for their curiosity - they initiate plaintiff. Lawyers smell money of course.
Personally, I have not experienced any problems with Sonata's engines for last 10 years, as well as with any other engines if they younger than 15 years (150 000 miles).

Again, this is my personal opinion that reflects my personal experience. If you do not like it - discard it as stupid.

Hyundai tried to cut costs and we're having to pay the price.

In 2016, South Korean media outlet tested the strength of the rod bearings used in NF sonatas vs YF sonatas. The bearing in YF sonatas were much weaker and prone to breakage.

Also, they released GDI engines in 2011 without addressing potential problems, such as excess heat and carbon deposits on intake valves.
 

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There have been non-stop updates from 2011+ and I am pretty sure that the 2015+ owners have nothing to worry about.
The only confirmed updates, (as per leaked internal documents) are as follows:

May 2011 Change of connecting rod fastening method,
August 2011 Applying of connecting rod plating specification,
June 2012 Increase of bearing oil gap,
August 2012 Connecting rod material change,
Jan 2013 Crankshaft blast application,
September 2013 Crankshaft material change

If Hyundai engineers correctly identified and rectified the root cause of the engine failures, we shouldn't be seeing similar failures in 2015+ models.

I went back to carcomplaints.com, checked Korean forums and read carefully about the engine failure reports that occurred in 2015+ Hyundai/Kia vehicles equipped with 2.4L/2.0T engines.

In some cases, the failures happened within 500 miles after an oil change, or within 1 month after dealership oil change, etc. There was one case where the person said he checked the oil level right before driving, but it still failed. One person in Korea said the oil was changed every 3000km with synthetic oil, but still ended up with a loud engine knock.

You keep mentioning that the synthetic oil, short OCI, higher grade oil, better filter, frequent dipstick checks, and intake valve cleaning will be the cure of this problem, but I can't be as certain.

I don't think anyone, not even Hyundai's engineers, has been able to pinpoint the exact cause/causes of the problem. It is most likely due to multiple factors, and fixing one part of the equation (maintenance), may not be the solution.

At this point, whether the engine fails or not is more of a luck of the draw. The chance will increase with higher mileage.

I, too, would like to be able to say that "the 2015+ owners have nothing to worry about" for the sake of all the Hyundai/Kia owners. I would like to be able to say that Hyundai/Kia is a reliable brand and recommend their products to friends and family. Sadly, we know that is not the case after 2011.

This incident was reported on carcomplaints,

" I was in a 2015 Kia Sorento LX (enterprise insurance rental) traveling on crabb river road, (a city street) sugarland, Texas. I fully stopped at the traffic lights because it was red. Once lights turned green, I put the vehicle in motion by stepping on the gas pedal to accelerate but the car felt really sluggish so I gave it more gas in order to gain enough speed as I was about to go over some railroad tracks (approx. 55+ mph) which were on a road that was on an incline. Right as the car reached the tracks, the engine stalled, the steering wheel locked and I lost all control of the vehicle and it dove into a ditch; plowed directly into a steel billboard pole which was cemented into the ground because the brakes became unresponsive. There were no warning lights on the dash prior to the crash. Even though I was fully buckled, the seatbelt did not prevent my head from violently hitting the windshield and bouncing off the steering wheel since none of the 8 airbags deployed. I suffered near fatal injuries including a broken back (L2 fracture), spinal cord, head, eye, chin, jaws, neck and hip; broken teeth, permanent disfiguration (18 stitches), some vision & hearing loss from nerve damage and ptsd, mental anguish, chronic migraines, extreme stress, terrible recurring nightmares, etc. I'm a 5'2" woman and my chest was pinned to the steering wheel upon the impact with the pole and the fire dept. Had to free me and lift me up to the emts. I was transported to the er of a hospital by ambulance and later transferred to the trauma unit of memorial hermann hospital due to the severity of my injuries."


This forum will have inherent bias as most of the posters are owners of Hyundai vehicles. It would be beneficial to try to keep that bias in check and try to get the pertinent facts.
 

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Hyundai tried to cut costs and we're having to pay the price.

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May be splitting hairs at this point but IMO they were not cutting costs - but the problems with the Theta II design reflect a cheaper approach to initial design and engineering, one of the reasons they can sell cars at a lower price point or in the oft used words seen here " cars that are every bit as good as competing models for thousands less". The thousands less may be true, the rest of well....I own a SFS and it's very nice but certainly not better in several aspects to competitors, but it was several thousands less, lol.

I did see a 2018 Sonata yesterday, great looking car and I'll admit if I were in the market for a sedan given the huge discounts available I might consider it without concerns about the engine, but the fact that Hyundai has blatantly misled about my SFS mpg rating and root cause of the Theta II engine recalls means I'm not about to be a repeat customer.
 

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@OP, I'd look at a fully loaded CPO 2017. If I were looking to buy today. I wouldn't buy a new hyundai. Only Hyundai/kia I would buy new is the stinger gt.
 

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@OP, I'd look at a fully loaded CPO 2017. If I were looking to buy today. I wouldn't buy a new hyundai. Only Hyundai/kia I would buy new is the stinger gt.
OR. . . take a couple-3 months to research/line up a good interest rate (if needed) and then jump on that desired "James Bond"-ish looking 2018 CPO.
 

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When complaining about a failure, EVERYONE will state how great their oil is, how perfect their maintenance interval is, and how full their oil level is. You can believe that bs all you want on how great we all take care of our vehicles. I bet a certain Kia Sorento driver was text driving.

And, I will keep saying.. run synthetic oil, practice severe service intervals, keep the oil levels full, run a thicker grade, and keep the fuel system clean with quality fuel and additives as needed.
 

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"I was in a 2015 Kia Sorento LX (enterprise insurance rental) traveling on crabb river road, (a city street) sugarland, Texas. I fully stopped at the traffic lights because it was red. Once lights turned green, I put the vehicle in motion by stepping on the gas pedal to accelerate but the car felt really sluggish so I gave it more gas in order to gain enough speed as I was about to go over some railroad tracks (approx. 55+ mph) which were on a road that was on an incline. Right as the car reached the tracks, the engine stalled, the steering wheel locked and I lost all control of the vehicle and it dove into a ditch; plowed directly into a steel billboard pole which was cemented into the ground because the brakes became unresponsive. There were no warning lights on the dash prior to the crash. Even though I was fully buckled, the seatbelt did not prevent my head from violently hitting the windshield and bouncing off the steering wheel since none of the 8 airbags deployed. I suffered near fatal injuries including a broken back (L2 fracture), spinal cord, head, eye, chin, jaws, neck and hip; broken teeth, permanent disfiguration (18 stitches), some vision & hearing loss from nerve damage and ptsd, mental anguish, chronic migraines, extreme stress, terrible recurring nightmares, etc. I'm a 5'2" woman and my chest was pinned to the steering wheel upon the impact with the pole and the fire dept. Had to free me and lift me up to the emts. I was transported to the er of a hospital by ambulance and later transferred to the trauma unit of memorial hermann hospital due to the severity of my injuries."

Normally I don't believe or even read these type of stories. But considering I know EXACTLY this location, and in fact used to live about a mile from the described location, I have to speak up. I know the railroad track crossing mentioned, and at the stated 55MPH you will get airborne. Big time. And the description of failures is impressive. Loss of steering control, brakes, engine, airbags, seatbelts ... So all electrics and hydraulics failed at the exact same moment ...

Makes a point to identify that the vehicle was an insurance rental from Enterprise (SOP here for vehicles in for body work. Prior wreck? Or going for deep pockets? Regardless, would be interesting to see what the black box says happened. And, as mentioned above, cell phone data matching the time stamp of impact?

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.537...4!1s4nqE8y2IL878rOUveI-aFA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
 

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Back to the original question, I, too, can only express my experience with our 2015 Sonata Sport 2.4L GDI. Have about 25K on it. Runs great, idles smooth, great gas mileage, no noises from engine beyond the normal tick of the GDI fuel pump. Does not use any oil and as of last change using Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic and OEM filter. Very pleased with the car, excellent for long road trips.
 

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Normally I don't believe or even read these type of stories. But considering I know EXACTLY this location, and in fact used to live about a mile from the described location, I have to speak up. I know the railroad track crossing mentioned, and at the stated 55MPH you will get airborne. Big time. And the description of failures is impressive. Loss of steering control, brakes, engine, airbags, seatbelts ... So all electrics and hydraulics failed at the exact same moment ...

Makes a point to identify that the vehicle was an insurance rental from Enterprise (SOP here for vehicles in for body work. Prior wreck? Or going for deep pockets? Regardless, would be interesting to see what the black box says happened. And, as mentioned above, cell phone data matching the time stamp of impact?

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.537...4!1s4nqE8y2IL878rOUveI-aFA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
Some people are just more sensitive to engine failures and crash landings than others and it's clear to me that the KIA Sorrento would perform poorly in airborne crash landing tests.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here is the latest reliability information from the Consumer Reports 2018 Auto Issue. To provide some context Customer survey responses were taken on over 640,000 vehicles and this information is supposedly updated annually.

Consumer Reports Definitions of Problem Spots-

ENGINE MAJOR: Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbocharger or supercharger, timing chain or belt.
ENGINE MINOR: Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks


2010 Sonata
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Engine major (better than average)
Engine minor (much better than average)

2011 Sonata - *YEAR OF REDESIGN
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Engine major (worse than average)
Engine minor (average)

2012 Sonata
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Engine major (average)
Engine minor (better than average)

2013 Sonata
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Engine major (much better than average)
Engine minor (better than average)

2014 Sonata
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Engine major (much better than average)
Engine minor (better than average)

2015 Sonata
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Engine major (much better than average)
Engine minor (much better than average)

2016 Sonata
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Engine major (much better than average)
Engine minor (much better than average)

2017 Sonata
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Engine major (much better than average)
Engine minor (much better than average)


The general trending of the Consumer Reports data seems to support many of the posts on this forum (and other forums): 2011 was the worst year, then things improved every year thereafter up until 2015-2017 where the issues appear to be mostly resolved (with perhaps the exception of some statistical outlier cases).
 

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There are quite a few Hyundai/Kia vehicles in my family.
Immediate family members, and myself, have 2017 Sonata Sport 2.4, 2015 Sonata Sport 2.4, 2018 Santa Fe Sport 2.4, 2014 Sonata GLS 2.4, 2008 Sonata 2.7, 2005 Optima 2.4.
So far, all have proven to be very reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There are quite a few Hyundai/Kia vehicles in my family.
Immediate family members, and myself, have 2017 Sonata Sport 2.4, 2015 Sonata Sport 2.4, 2018 Santa Fe Sport 2.4, 2014 Sonata GLS 2.4, 2008 Sonata 2.7, 2005 Optima 2.4.
So far, all have proven to be very reliable.

Sounds like you've had good luck with the 2.4 Engine as far as reliability. I test drove a 2018 SEL with the 2.4 and the power seemed adequate but not great. Having lived with this engine on a daily basis over many years, what is your impression on the power? Does it ever leave you wanting more?
 

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Sounds like you've had good luck with the 2.4 Engine as far as reliability. I test drove a 2018 SEL with the 2.4 and the power seemed adequate but not great. Having lived with this engine on a daily basis over many years, what is your impression on the power? Does it ever leave you wanting more?
For everyday driving the 2.4 has plenty of power to get the job done.
The only times I feel the 2.4 is lacking is if I go straight from my 2002 Alitma 3.5 or my 1964 Malibu SS with a 350hp V8/4 speed. :)

As I've said before, what convinced me I could live with a LF is I rented a 2015 and took it on vacation. No power issues with trunk full of luggage and it was very comfortable and got great mileage to boot.
 
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