Long-Term Wrap Up: 2012 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T


Our long-term 2012 Sonata met the end of its time with us, with an extremely low ~12,500 miles on the clock.  The reason was not a mechanical failure or accident, but instead a great deal on another vehicle.  Even though our friend traded in the trusty Hyundai, he adamantly defends it as a great car.  It had all the power he wanted, looked great, and was reasonably fun to drive.  The icing on the cake?  There were absolutely no problems with the vehicle, not even a simple rattle or loose trim piece.  It performed flawlessly in extreme heat and never skipped a beat.

We would, however, like to remind Hyundai owners that the 2.0 Turbo is an engine that needs more maintenance care than other modern engines.  The oil change interval is between 3,000 and 5,000 miles, depending on conditions – a far cry from the 10K intervals that many manufacturers are now preaching.  Also, Hyundai would prefer their owners to use 5W-40, which is harder to find.  They do explicitly state that 5W-30 is acceptable, but 5W-40 will give the best performance.  Given that the direct injection and turbo technologies in this engine demand clean, fresh oil, we would follow their recommendations to a T.  Not doing so could result in costly downtime and an even costlier engine replacement.  The importance of using the right oil with the right oil change interval was underscored by an email that we received regarding a blown Hyundai 2.0T engine with 41K miles on it.  The dealer had been doing oil changes between 7000-8500 miles with 5W-20.  This all led to a spun bearing and a new engine in the vehicle.  The moral?  Be aware of what oil your vehicle calls for, and make sure your dealer is using it!