If you need to put some miles on your car, whether for work or personal use, you’ll need a reliable, long-lasting vehicle. A properly maintained gas-powered sedan can travel about 200,000 miles before experiencing major engine issues. But some well-cared-for vehicles can go farther, up to 250,000 miles or more. The Hyundai Sonata is one such car.
And if you’re a traveling sales rep, Uber driver, frequent road-tripper, or miser who drives your cars till they die, a Sonata might be the midsize sedan for you.
The Hyundai Sonata at a glance
You can purchase a 2021 base-model SE for about $23,700. With a stylish exterior, the Hyundai Sonata is well-powered with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a 2.5-liter inline-four engine producing 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. The Sonata’s fuel economy is also solid, getting 28/38 mpg city/highway, and handles well with fairly responsive steering.
The Sonata also treats drivers to an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration and six speakers. Higher-level trims bring tech upgrades. For example, the SEL model comes with a 12.3-inch digital cluster display, a wireless charging pad, and a smartphone key. Buy an SEL Plus for a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine with less horsepower (180) but more torque (195 lb-ft). And the top-of-the-line Limited gives you a 10.3-inch touchscreen, a 12-speaker sound system, ambient lighting, and a slew of advanced safety features.
But if you’re looking for a vehicle that’ll stick with you for the long run, tech and torque probably aren’t top of mind. You want to know if the car is reliable. Though Sonata models from the past few years haven’t been that reliable, per Consumer Reports, the 2020 redesign and subsequent redesign have earned higher overall ratings and better engine reliability scores. According to U.S. News, the Sonata’s J.D. Power ranking is 80 — where 71 to 80 is average, and 81 to 90 is great.
Maintenance tips to extend the life of your Hyundai Sonata
So although the Hyundai Sonata isn’t an extraordinarily reliable car, it is solidly reliable. And as long as you take regular care of your Sonata, it should last significantly longer than 200,000 miles before its engine begins to break down.
There are many easy ways to care for your car that can extend its life. Start by regularly changing your oil at the intervals recommended in the owner’s manual. Failing to do so reduces the engine’s efficiency and shortens its life. But oil isn’t the only fluid you should check regularly. Transmission, brake, and power-steering fluids, along with radiator coolant, should be changed consistently. They’ll lengthen your vehicle’s life and help you avoid potentially costly repairs.
You’ll also want to make sure your air, fuel, and oil filters are changed regularly. Keeping your vehicle’s cabin and components clear of particulates can help preserve your car. Check your manual for guidance on how frequently they should be changed.
You should also rotate your tires and check their pressure and condition regularly. Worn tires can increase your risk of accidents. And accidents can be costly. Plus, certain types of collision-related damage can significantly reduce your vehicle’s life.
And be sure to stay on top of repairs. When the “check engine” light appears, take it to the shop. Or, if your vehicle begins to run differently or makes odd noises or smells, take it to a service technician for a diagnosis. Timely repairs can keep your vehicle running for years.
Other ways to preserve your vehicle
Another easy way to preserve your vehicle is simple: Drive carefully. Aggressive driving — including frequent acceleration, sharp turns, and sudden braking — can wear down your car. We all have to stop suddenly sometimes, but doing so regularly will take miles off your car.
Finally, read your owner’s manual. Many drivers don’t do this, deferring to their mechanic to handle all of their maintenance and repairs. But service techs can miss things, especially if they’re working on multiple vehicles. Not every mechanic is well-versed in every model. And some mechanics are simply bad. Determine a maintenance schedule based on the recommendations in your owner’s manual. And ensure that any necessary repairs align with the guidance in your owner’s manual.
Taking these steps can help preserve the life of your Hyundai Sonata for as many as 250,000 miles or more. And regardless of whether you own a Sonata, these steps can help you keep any vehicle in excellent operating condition for hundreds of thousands of miles.