2005 Hyundai Tucson Budget Rebuild – Turning the Wrench Myself

I’m trying not to convince myself that this 2005 Hyundai Tucson is not in the process of becoming a money pit. If it were an American brand, the parts are easier to source and in many cases less expensive. But, it is my Tucson. And, I’m a little emotionally attached, which I never thought would happen with this particular vehicle. So, I press on with the maintenance and restoration because, in the end, I know that this little crossover will be good to its next owner, a family member of mine.

This is the fourth part of the series chronicling the mild restoration of my Tucson. At this point, I’m pretty sure that the rest of the repairs will be inexpensive, I hope. I’ve already spent about $2,000. Follow along as I attack the rest of the build list.

Hyundai Tucson headlight repair or replacement?

A headlight with stress cracks and fading.
This headlight has seen better days – 2005 Hyundai Tucson | HJ Pizarro

The headlights are old and have hazed over. They also have a few stress cracks. So, should I repair or replace the headlights? This was an easy choice for me. I had already polished the headlights and recoated them twice previously. This time, I was ready for the Tucson to have new headlight replacements. The 15-year-old originals were just not cutting it.

After a quick $80 Amazon order, I had both sides of the headlights arrive at my doorstep. Some disconnecting, unscrewing, and 15 minutes later I had two shiny new headlights installed. Presto change-o!

Center caps and wiper arms

Wheel center cap froma 2005 Hyundai Tucson is missing paint and has yellowed with age
Wheel center cap from a 2005 Hyundai Tucson is missing paint and has yellowed with age | HJ Pizarro

Over time the wiper arms had lost some of their finish and had begun rusting. The center caps had also lost some of their finish. These were quick fixes. I unscrewed the wiper arms. The center caps of the wheels just popped off. The process for restoring both of these is pretty much the same. I cleaned them, dried them, sanded them, primed them, and painted them. Then it was a simple matter of reinstalling them. In total, I spent $15 for some sandpaper, one can of primer, one can of black paint for the wipers, and another of silver paint for the center caps.

The Tucson receives junkyard treasure

The torn passenger seat of a 2005 Hyundai Tucson.
A torn passenger seat from a 2005 Hyundai Tucson | HJ Pizarro

The passenger seat of the Tucson had seen better days. It was a leather seat whose leather had become dry and brittle. So, the leather covering the seat bottom had split in a couple of places. I thought about replacing the seat, but internet searches turned up costs in the hundreds of dollars for that. So, my next alternative was re-upholstering. But, even that can get pricey. Instead, I searched junkyards online until I found a matching replacement. The seat replacement was a matter of unscrewing few bolts and unplugging the wiring harness. $100 for the seat and twenty minutes later, and voila! You can’t tell that the original seat was replaced.

I enjoy turning wrenches when I know what I’m doing. So, the headlights, wipers, wheel center caps, and the seat replacement all gave me some joy. They were things I was doing with my own hands. Thankfully, they were quickie mini-projects. But, they were transformative, and the Hyundai Tucson was better for it. Look for updates on Mondays and Fridays for more on this continuing rebuild story.