2003 Hyundai Sonata loud rumble from engine

Tiny
PD5435
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 HYUNDAI SONATA
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 123,000 MILES
Had oil change 3 weeks ago at pepboys. Told them car was rumbling they said it is something under the engine and would require removing the engine, but it is not a safety issue. On highway check engine light came on steady and car made loud noises. Pulled off road. Person helped me and check oil and said there is no oil at all in my car. I don't understand this since there are no oil leak stains in my driveway. Thought perhaps they forgot to put the oil in my car. When I took it in they also were fixing my tail light bulb. How can the oil just disappear. Someone else told me they might have put in the wrong type of oil and it evaporated. If they forgot oil, would it take 3 weeks for the engine light to come on. I had it towed to pepboys and am waiting for return call. What do you think this could be, and how expensive is it. If they forgot oil, did they ruin my engine and should pay for replacement. Sorry I can't donate, currently laid off, no funds. Thanks guys!
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Monday, September 1st, 2014 AT 1:28 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Some oil change shops have two or three people working on one car so they get it done faster, and every once in a while everyone thinks someone else did part of the job, including putting in the new oil. Someone has to check the level though too so that rarely gets missed.

There are some conflicting and confusing parts to your story. First of all, engine oil doesn't evaporate. Just look at all the stains in any parking lot or the dark spots on the highway right after a big dip in the road surface.

Next, you mentioned a rumbling noise. That doesn't give us any clue as to where the noise was coming from or what was causing it, but the important fact is it was there before the mechanics worked on the car. That proves they didn't cause that problem. If it is related to the bearings in the engine, they should have refused to work on your car for just this reason. To say the engine has to be removed implies it has a bearing problem, and that is a major and expensive repair. It takes a really tough engine to keep running like that for three weeks.

All engines today use a little oil between oil changes, and that is considered normal, but you still should check the level at least every other time you buy gas. If you had done that, you would have known if the level was low. Besides leaking onto the ground under the engine, it can be burned inside the engine and go out the tail pipe. You'll see blue smoke. There can also be a leak from the engine, but the oil pools in a hidden spot on the engine or in the body, then sprays out when you're driving at highway speed. The clue to that is the bottom of the car, at least in the front, will be wet with oil. There may not be enough left to drip onto the ground where you park.

If the engine was indeed out of oil, you would have had a lot of previous warning in the way of loss of power, overheating, a low reading on the dash gauge, or an oil pressure warning light flickering on.

At this point you need to have the problem diagnosed and that shop will provide you with a repair estimate. We don't get involved with costs here because there's way too many variables. If the engine really did run out of oil, it may be less expensive to install a used engine from a salvage yard than to totally rebuild yours. It doesn't sound like the shop that did the oil change is responsible. If they did forget to put the new oil in, you'd be real lucky to make it a mile or two. Oil to an engine is like blood to our bodies. You won't get far without it.
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Monday, September 1st, 2014 AT 6:59 PM
Tiny
PD5435
  • MEMBER
Thanks so much Guys. PepBoys called me back they said I have a spun bearing and cylinder #6 is misfiring. They said I need a new engine. They will call around and try to get a used engine with low mileage which would cost less than a new engine. This is a 2003 Hyundai Sonata. I had a service to remove and replace valve cover gaskets and spark plugs $826.14 on 3/7/14, Remove and replace radiator $437.07 on 12/1/2013, Front and Rear Brakes and Rotors $557.70 on 5/9/2013. I am sure even having a used engine installed would be expensive. I want to ask you if this was your car would you have the engine replaced, or would you buy a new car? I was thinking if I ask them to replace the oil so I can drive it to the dealer for trade in do you think I would get any kind of trade in value? As I previously mentioned I am currently laid off, but could maybe get some funds from my 401k plan, which I would have to pay a 10% penalty on. I know you don't get into pricing, I just want someone educated in mechanics to tell me if I am better off getting the used engine installed or buying a new car. I am afraid if I have the engine replaced, there could still be other problems with the car. I don't know if a used engine comes with a warranty. Thanks for listening guys.
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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 AT 11:06 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There are people here who will disagree with me, but I'm more than happy to share my opinions. My daily driver is an old, tired, rusty trusty '88 Grand Caravan with over 415,000 miles. I have four newer vehicles, but none that I would trust to take on my upcoming trip through a few states. I'll keep this one on the road as long as possible because it has all the toys the new ones have, but only one computer, for the engine. We get so frustrated with all the unnecessary, unreliable, and complicated computers the insane engineers have seen fit to hang onto every system, then we have to give owners the terrible news every time they need a new one. Even very basic and easy-to-repair electrical problems turn into a diagnostic nightmare costing hundreds of unnecessary dollars.

Your 2003 model already has way more computers than I want on any vehicle I own. That complexity doubles every few years. I've been helping a friend in his body shop when he rebuilds one and two-year-old smashed Chrysler products, and I just shake my head in amazement at all the nonsense he is willing to put up with to fix the damaged electronics. Electronics do not do well in the environment they're put in, and now to seriously increase the chances of a failure, there's a computer module inside each door, one for the lift gate, even one to run the dash lights. You can be pretty sure you'll be spending a lot more money for repairs on a new vehicle of any brand compared to your car.

Speaking of brands, a national instructor lists the top three manufacturers in the world for customer-friendly business practices as Chrysler, number three, Toyota, number two, and Hyundai as number one. That isn't referring to reliability, fit and finish, or quality. It refers to how well they address customers' needs and complaints, and how they design their vehicles for the needed maintenance and repairs. BMW, Volkswagen, and GM are at the bottom of that list with all the tricks they have designed in that cost unsuspecting owners money after the sale, ... A lot of money. At that point they have you hooked, and there's not much you can do.

Also consider you're familiar with your car and any other problems it has right now. That may not sound like a big deal, but allow me to bring up the story we used in the tv repair business years ago. People would ask if they were better off buying a new tv for, lets say $400.00, or repairing their old one for $75.00. To start with, there was usually very little we could tell them about any future problems that were developing in their old tv, other than a weak picture tube. If this was the first problem they had in ten years, which was easily possible in a few brands, it was pretty likely they weren't going to suddenly start having all kinds of new problems soon. It was more likely a new tv would have something go wrong. Not good news if it went out during a football game on Sunday afternoon when we were closed.

So the repair part of the story wasn't an issue. A new tv could break down, and so could their old one. The advantage to fixing their old one is they knew how to work it and were familiar with it. The advantage to the new one is you might get some new features, but that was only an advantage if you actually would use them and appreciate them.

That boiled it down to the cost of repairing an old tv to the cost of a new one, and this relates to what you asked about repairing your car so you could trade it in. Suppose for the sake of argument we were going to allow you $100.00 trade-in allowance on that new tv so you'd pay the other $300.00. That $100.00 is for a good, working tv, not one that needs repairs. That means you have to stick $75.00 into it to get $100.00 trade value. On the other hand, if you trade it in not working, we would still give you $50.00 toward that new tv. You were 25 bucks better off trading the old one in and NOT having it fixed first.

The reason for sharing that exciting story is because it's the same with cars. All car dealers know that most people trade in their old cars when there's a problem, and they expect that. That means they've already discounted what they're going to offer you to cover much of those repair costs. You are not likely to get any more for your car after you pay for the repairs, in this case a used engine. Most new car dealers don't even keep cars this old on their lots. They send them to auctions where only other car dealers can buy them, problems and all. No problems or defects are disclosed there. The buyers are taking their chances, and they are hoping the problems they end up with are things they can solve. Even if they knew your car had the engine replaced, they don't know how long ago, what kind of maintenance it had, how many miles were on it, etc. They DO know the history of an engine they rebuild themselves, and that allows them to resell the car with confidence and a warranty.

If you choose to keep your car and put an engine in it, used ones from reputable salvage yards generally come with a 30 or 60 day warranty for major things. Those expensive things usually show up right away, if there are any. The profit the repair shop makes covers a small part of their mechanic's labor if he has to do the job a second time. The salvage yard will find a different engine if necessary. You only pay for the job once.

I've been unemployed too, but for six years, (and I have no intention on looking for a new job when I pay over half my wages in taxes to support others), but I'm lucky that I can do all my own repairs. Something you might consider is having your engine looked at by the students in an Automotive Technology program at your nearest community college. At mine, we charged ten dollars per hour labor for what the job was supposed to take according to the "flat rate" guide, not what it actually took us Parts were marked up ten percent, and the profit formed a "breakage" fund that covered something if we accidentally broke it, which was rare. The students are well-supervised, and mine were very conscientious. The downside is due to their other classes, and my classroom time, they only had about a dozen hours per week to work in the shop. What you save in dollars is offset by not seeing your car for a few weeks, or possibly longer if the engine needs to be rebuilt. You may not get a warranty either because the people doing the work may not be in that class when you come back. That may be up to each instructor. My coworker was real hard-nosed about that. "No warranty"-period! I always took care of my customers, and I had over a dozen people in the community who would sit on a broken car until it fit what I was teaching because they knew the value of having live vehicles for the kids to work on.

They also will not take your car in until they're studying Engine Repair. Any work they do takes work away from the employers who hire their graduates, and they accept that when it's related to the students' training. In return, we never worked on things that didn't relate to the systems under study at that time.

Your engine may not need a total rebuild either. The cylinder heads likely are okay so that can save a lot of money. Your local mechanic will have to disassemble the engine and inspect and measure the parts before he can provide a more accurate estimate. At that point, however, if you decide to not go ahead with the repairs, you'll have a basketful of parts to trade in.
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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 AT 8:40 PM
Tiny
PD5435
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the info Guys. I will definitely check out local mechanic schools. One thing, you mentioned the repair shop should take the engine apart and than give me an estimate. I do not believe they did that. As of today, they are still trying to locate a used engine. Any advice on what to do with the old car if I decide to get a new one. Do you think if I have them put oil in I could drive it to the dealers for trade in. Dealer is about 4 miles from repair shop. Or would I be better off selling it to someone for the parts. How do you go about this? Or I do sometimes get mailers from charities asking for car donations. I don't know if they take cars with problems.

Thanks
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Thursday, September 4th, 2014 AT 2:17 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The charities simply resell the cars at auction. It varies by state on how the tax laws work. By me you get to decide on the vehicle's value or the charity will tell you how much they got on the auction. When you factor that in to your federal income taxes, if you're in the 38 percent bracket, you'll save 38 percent of the value of the car. You'll also save on your state income tax. That will be quite a bit if you're in a Democrat-controlled state because you pay a real lot to start with. If you're in a Republican state like I am, thank goodness, you don't pay much to begin with so the savings from charitable donations is also lower.

You can donate it to a community college's Automotive Technology program. Mine got real picky about what they accepted after I left because the other instructor didn't know what to use real cars for so they just piled up and the lot looked like a junkyard. Most colleges have real good instructors who know how to diagnose car problems and they understand the value in learning on real cars vs. Silly and expensive trainer boards.

There's no point in putting more oil in the engine now. The damage has been done, and the oil will not be able to "isolate moving parts", which is one of its main jobs. The very tiny gaps between those parts is what helps keep the oil's pressure up. Those gaps are hundreds of times too big now and the oil will just run right out and not doing anything of value. If you want to trade it in on a new car, tell the dealer the story and where the car is. They can tow it to their shop. That will almost certainly be for no charge if you do trade it in. They're going to want to look the car over anyway to get an idea of how much they'll get for it on auction, or if they want to put an engine in it.

You can sell the car on Craig's List for parts or "As Is", but you'll have to decide on the price. You'll always wonder if you got a fair price. If you think it's worth $1000.00 with a bad engine, ask $1500.00. You can always come down or take a lower offer, but it's kind of hard to go higher.
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Thursday, September 4th, 2014 AT 8:43 PM

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