2005 Hyundai Tucson Budget Rebuild – My Wallet Needs a Wallet

When we go to buy or sell a car a used car, it’s the little forgotten things that stand out. That’s what happened with my 2005 Hyundai Tucson. I took care of the big maintenance issues while it was mine. But now that I’m giving it to a family member, I realize all the little things that should be addressed as well, at least for my own good conscience. In the first installment of my Tucson budget rebuild series, I developed a punch list of things that would address all those little things. In the second installment, I set out to fix the air conditioner on the Tucson, or at least have someone else do it. Sadly it got complicated and expensive fast. Today I will cover the next surprise. 

Surprise radiator and oil cooler replacement

Passenger front quarter view of a burgundy and gray 2005 Hyundai Tucson parked with the hood up.
2005 Hyundai Tucson | HJ Pizarro

Sadly, not too long after the air conditioning repair, the Hyundai Tucson left me on the side of the road. The little crossover SUV had overheated. That’s when a discovery was made that the radiator was leaking. It was a slow leak coming from the radiator’s side. This was not on the original punch list, but it is a critical concern. So, surprise! I’m replacing the radiator. My wallet rejoices… not really. 

That’s a repair I didn’t have time to do. So, I took the Tucson to a local shop that could do it while I was at work. Surprisingly, this was an extremely costly repair as the radiator and the oil cooler come together as one unit. Astonishingly, when the unit was removed, it was discovered that the oil cooler was clogged. It hadn’t been free-flowing for a while. When you mostly do small trips, the vehicle doesn’t have an opportunity to really heat up. So, the clogged oil cooler didn’t have a chance to develop into a larger problem. But, as a consequence of replacing the radiator, the oil cooler was replaced too. That eliminated two problems with one repair shop appointment. But, my wallet took a hit. Diagnosis and repair, $600. Did I mention this repair was not on the rebuild punch list?

Driver’s power door lock assembly for the Tucson is large and costly

Apparently, the failure of the 2005 Hyundai Tucson front power locks is a known issue. In fact, Hyundai has had the parts on and off back-order over the years. Dishearteningly, it is also not a cheap assembly to replace. What is customarily a $30 switch and a little labor for installation, instead turned out to be dismantling the door panel and installing a large assembly that seems as wide as the door itself. Oh, yeah! This involved me forking over $600 again.

I probably could have shopped around for this one, but, a backorder is a backorder and if the parts are known to fail, then getting a replacement from the junkyard was not a good idea. I’m still pretty sure I got taken on this one, though. I just don’t have time to argue and shop around.

I already spent over half of the KBB trade-in on the Tucson

The passenger side view of a burgundy and gray 2005 Hyundai Tucson
2005 Hyundai Tucson | HJ Pizarro

RELATED: Hyundai Tucson Sales Have Grown Significantly Since Its Last Redesign

According to the KBB trade-in value, I am looking at just under $3,000 for the 2005 Hyundai Tucson. So far, the repair from the last installment, and these two items on this installment means I have spent over half of what the vehicle is worth in repairs. But, at least I know what has been done versus buying a used car. That is my argument, at least. Thankfully, the rest of the rebuild was going to be inexpensive, or so I’m hoping. Otherwise, my wallet is going to need a wallet.

In the next installment of this series, I will bring you along as I tackle the easier and less costly things on the rebuild punch list. Let’s just say it feels good to turn a wrench myself and not pay someone else. Keep an eye out on Mondays and Fridays for the continuing saga of the Tucson rebuild.