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2007 Hyundai Sonata SE

234 HP 3.3 Litre V6
5-speed Automatic


Daily Driver
Hot Performer

 

February 5, 2017 - I've noted the cranking starting to get a little slower, but had put it off to the car sitting most of the time.  However, while I was going over the car in preparation for a trip to Philadelphia later this week, I noticed that the battery was dated November 2011.  It was a two-year battery that has lasted more than six years!  The Sonata's original battery from 2006 has been in the garage for use as a test battery, and is still holding a charge more than a decade later.  I used that one for the core and kept the newer battery, which is still working well.  Shopping around located a Duracell 3-year full replacement across the street at Sam's Club for just $95 with tax.  It cranks noticeably better, and I was pleased to find out the radio and clock retained all of their settings!  She gets an oil change on Wednesday, and then off to Philly!
December 31, 2016 - The Sonata has been perfect the past year - nothing to post until a few days ago, when a clumsy oaf pulling a large trash bin beside it caught the trash bin wheel on his heel and caused the bin to hit the driver's side mirror and crack the painted outer cover pretty badly.  Said oaf being me, I checked out Row52.com and located a 2006 Sonata painted the same color.  A quick trip this morning and $15 dollars later the Sonata has a clean, undamaged mirror.  The car has racked up just 7K miles since last year - mostly trip miles, as the Mazda B3000 truck has become the daily driver.
December 4, 2015 - I was told the tires would not make it through another inspection back in March, and have been keeping an eye open for sales.  The 225/50/17 Goodrich Advantage TAs have been much better than the Goodyears they replaced, and rather amazingly, I got a duplicate set for $415 at a new Sam's club where they were $680 at Costco in 2012!  The annual mileage on the Sonata dropped off a lot this year, as I have been trying to use the truck more.  She is at 113,800, or about 10K miles added in a year and 8 months.
March 11, 2014 - The Sonata is pushing 104K miles now, and Priority let me know the front brakes were going to need replacement and the back brakes were not too much better.  I had replaced the fronts at 62K, but they do the lion's share of stopping.  The rears were original.  Hyundai has really made it easy:  Pull the wheel, undo two bolts, lift off the caliper, replace the pads, and put everything back together.  Less than ten minutes a wheel, taking my time.  Anyway, the car continues to do great.
November 7, 2013 - You've all heard the story about a car hitting 100K miles - some magic switch flicks and things go horribly wrong.  Well, the Sonata flipped over 100K on a trip to Vienna, VA and sure enough, the car required its very first repair that was not normal maintenance - the left headlight bulb blew.  Yep, after 100K of trouble-free service, I had to replace a light bulb.  And it just so happened that the ONLY spare part I have for the car was a headlight bulb, wrapped up in a paper towel in the glove box.  I had to borrow a small crescent wrench to access the headlight case, but the whole job took less than 10 minutes.  I suppose I can forgive Hyundai for that.
September 14, 2013 - The 2010 accident claimed the original engine cover for the Sonata, and the replacement was a pretty drab hunk of plain black plastic (on left).  The cover bugged me every time I opened the hood, and I finally located a correct replacement on eBay.  As you can see on the right, the correct cover is a lot snazzier, with shiny stuff on it!!  Yeah, only me and the folks at Priority Hyundai will ever know, but it's nice to have things back to rights.
March 20, 2013 - The Sonata has been faithfully carrying me everywhere for another year, and at 93K miles I decided to replace the spark plugs.  No biggie, right?  Ummmm.  The front plugs are easy to get to, but the rear plugs are covered by the fuel intake system.  You have to remove the entire setup to get to them.  I was quoted $360 by the Hyundai service rep, and after research indicated it was a 3-hour job requiring some special tools, I made the appointment.  However, when called to confirm, the price suddenly jumped to $450!  Turns out the service agent had 'forgotten' to include parts.  I cancelled the appointment, but got a call later from the Service Manager who apologized and offered to do the job for the original $360.  They have been great to work with since I bought the car, providing free oil changes and state inspections with no hassle, and to be honest, I would have eventually had them do the plugs anyway.  So I got the job done and saved $90, plus state inspection and oil change at the same time.  While the car doesn't seem to run any different, mileage does appear to have gone up a couple of MPG.  I'm also keeping a closer eye on the cabin air filter - swapped it out.
May 29, 2012 - Good grief!  I think I have developed a trunk fetish!  That nifty cargo net is another official Hyundai option bought for cheap on eBay ($7) as dealerships clear their shelves.  In the past week I have replaced the trunk mat, added a fitted tray, a full-size spare tire, and now a cargo net.  I think that might be as tricked out as I can make it.
May 26, 2012 - I've had an extra factory mag wheel and tire for the Sonata for months now, and finally got around to having the tire mounted.  I had to pull some foam spacers, but the assembly dropped into the tire tray and fits perfectly.  I had to take the jack and tools out and store them in a towel as the foam insert that holds them didn't work with the mag.  However, I now have a matching full-size spare tire.  The original space-saver, foam tool holder, and even the spacer blocks are safely stored in the garage.
May 24, 2012 - The Sonata is 5 years old, and the specific model was discontinued a couple of years back, so dealerships are starting to clean out their options.  The trunk mat had suffered a bit from hauling the Centaur Scooter to shows, and I was able to get a better-quality factory optional mat with the name embroidered on it for $25 including shipping instead of the nearly $100 it  cost a few months ago.  And of course, right after I bought that, I found one of the factory heavy-duty trays for cheap and bought that too! 
April 3 2012 - There isn't a more complicated or less owner-serviceable system on modern cars than the Supplement Restraint System (SRS), or as we more commonly refer to them - airbags.  So I was understandably concerned when the Air Bag light came on and stayed on today.  According to the owner's manual, I needed to immediately take the car in to a qualified Hyundai repair facility.  When I got home, I checked the Internet for information and found one note that said the condition could be triggered by junk under the seats dislodging SRS sensors.   The Sonata typically enjoys a condition of cleanliness that my house can only dream of, so I was pretty sure there was no 'junk' around.  However, (in addition to 37 cents in change) there was a first-aid kit under the passenger seat that has been there for at least two years.  I pulled it out and tried the ignition.  Sure enough, the Air Bag light went out.  It seems that the first-aid kit had slid into a position to interfere with the seat sensors.   The first-aid kit now resides in the trunk, where it is unlikely to cause further trouble.  Whew!
February 28 2012 - The Sonata sailed through inspection with nary a glitch, and the new Goodrich Advantage T/As are definitely an improvement of the Eagle GTs in noise and ride, with no noticeable loss of handling or feel.  I hope they hold up better.  And though it might technically belong on one of the MGs' pages, the Sonata got a new set of personalized plates that I hope it won't be upset by.   However, with four MGs, the plate certainly can be justified.
January 24 2012 - I had the new tires installed today and the initial impression is very good.  They are noticeably quieter than the Eagle GTs, and may even ride a little better.  They also have the rim guard edge that protects the alloy wheels from curb damage.  Coscto put the best of the four old tires in the trunk, wrapped in a plastic bag too keep my trunk clean.  Kudos, guys.  The car is ready for inspection next month. 
January 16, 2012 - The last big item for the Sonata is the tires.  The Goodyear Eagles did not last 30K miles, which goes along with their DOT tread wear rating of 300.  Because the car has the low-profile 17" wheel package and a top speed of 140 (yeah, that's right.  Not that I ever tried it...), you have to buy speed-rated  tires.  After a lot of shopping, I settled on BF Goodrich Advantage T/A 255/50R17s - they have good reviews for quiet ride and handling, and have a tread wear rating of 560.  Costco provided a set for about $680 total, only $40 more than the cheapest tires I could find at Walmart.  They should be in next week.  I'll keep the best of the Eagles and mount it on a spare wheel I have in the garage - I can have a full-sized, matching spare that way.
December 29, 2011 - A visit to Priority for the scheduled oil change turned up some other needed maintenance.  The battery tested low, the air filter needed to be replaced, and the two back tires are worn to 1/32" tread.  Even though Priority has been honest with me, I like to handle the little stuff myself.  So I got the new battery at Advance where I can take it back easily if I run into trouble, as well as new air and cabin filters.  They did not mention the cabin air filter, but it has never been changed, and as you can see by the lower photos, it was in dire need.  Simple to replace, too.  The air filter (upper left) and battery (upper right) were remarkably easy jobs as well.  The tires will take some research.  The Eagle GT's lasted less than 30K miles, even though they are warranted 50K.  I could use the  warranty to get some credit back, but that would only be towards more of the same.  I'm looking now into some Dunlops that have good ratings and are not terribly expensive.  I'd never buy another set of Eagle GTs.
October 20, 2011 - After paying out to get the side repainted, I finally opted to fix one other problem that has been with the car since I bought it -  the driver's visor mirror was smashed.  Yeah, I know that opens up all sorts of comments about the driver's looks.  That could be the reason it took me two years to discover the problem, and I figured it would be hard to convince the dealership it was there when I bought the car new.  So more than 4 years later I finally got an NOS visor off eBay for $48.  It came today and installed in about 5 minutes.  I may never see the mirror again, but I know it's in one piece.  I also got in a set of the factory color-coded carpeted floor mats from the dealership - Hyundai stopped making them for older models and will be selling plain black mats in the future, so I stockpiled a set.  I'm hoping to have the Sonata for another 4 or 5 years, and figure I'll keep it up as best I can.
August 9, 2011 - The stone chip turned out to be expensive - I could have gotten it fixed for free by insurance, but the windshield itself was pitted enough to be annoying.  So I had the windshield replaced for $248.  However, the installer chipped the paint on the hood accidentally and the glass company paid to have the hood redone.  While that was being painted, I opted to have the driver's side repainted to fix some not-so-good bodywork done by Mike's Bodyworks a little over a year ago.  The paint was mismatched and the rear door rub strip was never put on right.  It all looks good now - it was worth the $400 not to see the mismatched doors every time I drive the car.
July 23, 2011 - A good bath and a tire rotation today - The Goodyear Eagles don't seem to be holding up well mileage-wise - the car has maybe 25,000 miles on the tire and they are showing considerable wear.  Still OK, but I doubt two of them will make 40K, much less the promised 50K.  The car runs and drives perfectly, and still looks great.  I have a rock chip in the windshield thanks to a truck on I-64 - gonna see what Geico says about replacement.  There is a National AACA show in Bristol, TN in a few weeks - I am considering taking the Sonata and carrying the  Centaur Scooter in the trunk.
February 6, 2011 - The Sonata has 62K on her now, and with Virginia State Inspection due this month and a trip to Philadelphia coming up this week, I decided to go ahead and replace brakes. I'd already bought pads for front and rear, but when I checked the backs they were still in great shape.  The fronts might even have passed inspection as-is, but I replaced them with new premium ceramic pads and also rotated the tires.  Pad replacement was a 20-minute job for both sides, and that was taking my time.  She got a long-overdue bath and an interior cleaning as well. 
September 11, 2010 - A nice summer and flawless performance by the Sonata.  I actually did some real maintenance to the car today - pulled the wheels to clean them back and front, inspect the brake pads, and rotate the tires.  While there is plenty of pad left and the rotors are clean, I plan to get new brake pads and replace them all in the next few weeks.  The car is approaching 60K miles  - that's when the warranty changes from bumper-to-bumper to power train only.
June 3 2010 - The Sonata was finished up today and I picked her up forom the shop - the car looks great.  (See the photo above).  No sign of damage,  The only small niggle I have is that the replacement engine cover is a lot plainer that the one that came on  it - one of the hazards of replacement parts, I guess.  On the plus side, the nicks and scrapes on the front bumper cover are all fixed, and the car looks pretty much like new again.
May 27, 2010 - I stopped by for a look at the Sonata tonight after work - the hood and fender have already been painted and installed.  They are waiting on a motor mount (liquid-filled!) and an Oxygen sensor so they can get the car back together.  It should be ready sometime next week. 
May 19, 2010 - Intensive Care, But Recovering - My insurance company called and let me know the Sonata will be fixed.  Whew!  I did not want to have to buy another car - this one is great, and I just spent $700 on tires and $60 on new floor mats to keep her nice.  I should have the car back in 3 weeks.
May 12, 2010 - DOA? - The Sonata was part of a 6-car pileup on the Interstate tonight.  The driver of the truck in front of me dropped something on the floor and leaned down to pick it up.  Unfortunately, someone forced their way into the off ramp ahead of him and made everyone else slam on brakes.  He looked up just as he hit the back of the Neon in front of him.  No brake lights to warn me - he plowed into stopped cars and went up into the air - his trailer hitch caught my hood and punched in sheet metal but missed the main front structural member.  The impact wasn't enough to trigger the air bags, which may save the car.  The damage looks to be mostly sheet metal.  I hope they can fix the car - it's been a great one.  Oh, I wasn't hurt at all.  (almost forgot the unimportant part...:grin:)
January 11, 2010 - My new tires came in this morning, so I rolled over to Sam's Club to get them installed.  $655 later (including installation package and taxes) I'm rolling again.  The tires look sporty, and feel and sound as good on the road as the Michelins ever did.  The Eagle GTs have a good reputation and a 50K mile warranty.  I also sprung for a set of new factory carpet mats for $60 - even though they have been cleaned regularly, the driver's mat (right)  had gotten pretty grungy.  The new mats brighten up the interior, which is now pretty much back to new condition.
January 7, 2010 - The lack of entries for more than two years pretty much says it all - the Sonata has been flawless.  Mixed driving mileage averages a little more than 24 mpg, and the car's performance is amazing.  I test drove a 2010 Mustang V6 and found out it was a slug in comparison, and it handles as well as any car I've ever owned.  The tires have reached the point where they need replacement at 47K miles, and the 17-inchers are not cheap.  I briefly considered buying a new 2010 Sonata when I saw Priority's web site listing 11 V6s under $20,000.  This time, however, Priority was not the positive experience it was before.  There as only one V6 Sonata on the lot and it was $27K.  Worse, the sales staff pretty much blew me off - and I was there with checkbook in hand to buy a new car that day!  In the long run, they did me a favor.  I realized it was stupid to trade in the one I have, and ordered a set of Goodyear Eagle GTs from Sam's Club.  Once they are on, I'll get her to a good paint shop to get the front and rear bumpers touched up - that will make her look like new again.  While I won't recommend Priority Hyundai any more, I certainly recommend the V6 Sonata for anyone looking for a fast, roomy and comfortable sedan.
December 22, 2007 - It took three weeks to get the insurance straightened out, and then I had to wait until after Thanksgiving for an appointment to get the car in the shop.  However, Mike did a great job on the car - there's not a trace of damage.  I drove the truck for several weeks while the Sonata was being repaired - it was very nice to get it back.  So far, the car has been flawless in performance, with not a single disappointment. 
October 24, 2007 - The Sonata got winged on the way into work this morning.  A sudden stop of traffic on the Interstate had cars slamming on brakes all over - except for the Cox Communications van behind me.  I was lucky enough to check the rear view mirror in time to cut over to the emergency lane on the right while he swerved left, and he only caught the corner of the car.  The damage isn't too bad, but it is still annoying to have the new car messed up.  Oh, Priority maintained its sterling manner when I took the car in for the first free oil change.  No pressure, no nagging.  I made an appointment, showed up, they took care of the oil and filter in quick order and sent me on my way with a smile.. 
July 15, 2007 - The Sonata was perfect on the trip to Ohio.  Very comfortable and smooth, and this time nudged 30 mpg despite 65+ averages over nearly 1400 miles.  The fold-down rear seat came in handy when I bought a new exhaust system for the Crosley, and the stereo system was great.  I listened to the last Harry Potter book on the way up and back in preparation for the new one coming out next Saturday. 
July 11, 2007 - Two weeks later, and I have no regrets about getting the Sonata.  She is getting about 22.5 mpg in mixed driving, and managed 28.5 on a trip last week.  Comfortable, fast and sporty - plus better mileage than the PT Cruiser.  She gets a harder test this weekend - I am driving to Wauseon, Ohio to attend the National Crosley Club Meet.  About 650 miles each way.
June 29, 2007 - Just when I thought I couldn't be surprised by any new cars, I got 'stuck' driving a rented Hyundai Sonata for a week-long business trip in Seattle.  Understand that I haven't really looked at the South Korean since the days of head-gasket eating Elantras back in the 1980s.  The car completely blew me away.  It has a powerful 24-valve V-6 and 5-speed automatic with shifttronic option, and drove and rode wonderfully.   The PT Cruiser I bought just over a year ago has been disappointing in pretty much all respects - mileage, performance, and comfort all left something to be desired.  So I started doing some research.  Hyundai has come a long way since their first miserable products - so far, in fact, that the auto magazines rate it up with Toyota and Honda, and Consumer Reports rated it a 'Best Buy.' 
On top of that, Hyundai has a 5-year, 60K bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year powertrain warranty (new owner only).  I did a lot of shopping around this week both at lots and online, wanting to get the PT traded before the release of Chrysler's 08 models dropped its resale value.  Last night I found this 2007 Sonata V6 SE with 7K miles at Priority Hyundai in Chesapeake.  It has all the options I wanted and was a nice color.  And as a demonstrator, it came with the full new-car 100K warranty.  Better yet, I got it for the price some of the lots were asking for used 2006 and 2007 models with 20K or more miles on them!   It drives just as nice as the rental car with tons of power and a wonderfully smooth and quiet ride.  Hard to believe that it was only a few thousand dollars more than the used PT Cruiser cost last year.  I benefited from timing (08 Sonatas just came out and it's almost the end of the month)  and ignorance of the driving public.  Too many folks still remember the bad years, and don't know what they are missing.  I'm just glad the rental agent in Seattle wasn't able to talk me into upgrading from the 'little Hyundai' - I'd never have driven one otherwise!  I am also very glad I ended up at Priority Hyundai.  They gave me a good price, everyone was courteous, friendly, and no one pushed me.  The whole car buying experience was the most pleasant one I've ever had at a dealership, and I'd recommend them to anyone considering a new or used car purchase.

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