Piston Slap: MT 6-speed Hyundai Sonata…Coda?
TTAC commentator Arthur Dailey writes:
Over 40+ years of driving, I have traditionally changed cars every 2 years and never kept one for longer than 5 years or 150,000km. However I made my most recent car purchase with the intention of keeping it for 8 years or 200,000km.
With the belief that in modern autos perhaps the most expensive item to repair is the transmission (owning 4 Caravans in the preceding 15 years reinforced this), following the truism that “it is more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow”, and being admittedly George Costanza like in my spending habits I ordered a vehicle with a manual transmission. Yes, a manual Hyundai Sonata.
Nobody at the dealership had ever seen one. They even had problems confirming that it came with a traditional hand brake (it does but in return you don’t get heated seats). But find one they did. Unfortunately after taking possession and performing some routine cleaning, I found that the filters were rather dirty for a new car. Checking the manufacturer’s plate I found that it had been made 14 months previously and therefore had been sitting on the lot for nearly that long , exposed to the elements for at least one full winter.
So my questions:
- Will sitting out on a dealer’s lot for 13+ months reduce the longevity of some parts?
- Was I correct in assuming that a manual transmission will both last longer and cost less to maintain than an automatic or was I ‘penny wise and pound foolish’?
- Should I expect a modern car including a Korean one built in Alabama, to be relatively problem free as long as I follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, rust proof it annually and drive like the old fogey that I have become?
Yes! We’re actually discussing the manual 6-speed Hyundai Sonata and its sister ship Kia Optima that I really, reeeeeeally wanted in brown with black cloth. Turns out I needed a 5MT truck more. But I digress…
Shine on you crazy diamond, enjoy your South Korean Unicorn!
Luckily, your first question was previously covered. Assuming it’s been driven after purchase, you’ve cleared the “bad” gas and rusted brakes/flat spotted tires. I think a good detail/cleaning of the vinyl/rubber/leather bits (both inside and outside) is all that’s needed to ensure the patient’s long term health. Maybe do an engine oil change, if you haven’t done it already under normal maintenance. You got nothing to worry about.
Question 2: I can see why you are conditioned to fear transmission/transaxle replacement costs, but you’ve owned older Chryslers. Own something from Germany and the fancy tv screens should absolutely terrify you. Or fixing bent rims. Or a suspension overhaul from years of abuse causing bent rims. I’d be more terrified of any car rollin’ on twankies more than any transmission woe. And is an automatic really more durable than a manual?
I donno, dude. 200,000km isn’t a long time by non-Chrysler-minivan standards. I’ve seen auto transmissions last 400,000km with nothing more than occasional ATF fluid swaps. If you are easy on the clutch, you are fine. If not, you might need a clutch swap and completely destroy the value proposition mentioned. Don’t be that guy!
Question 3: Problems with the Sonata and Optima have been sparse, just look at the TSBs generated. Undercoat/rust proof, follow the owner’s manual, don’t abuse the gearbox (good luck finding a replacement in North America) and you’ll be fine.
And you might love the 6-speed Hyundai Sonata so much that you’ll keep it well beyond 200,000kms. You “old fogeys” (your term) need to understand that most modern vehicles last longer than cars from decades past. Rust proof this one well and I’m confident you’ll agree.
[Image: Shutterstock user NirdalArt]
Send your queries to email@example.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
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