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Time to talk cars again. As a reminder, my current car quiver

2019 Volvo XC40, 3k miles - wife's daily driver

2016 Chevy Silverado, 58k miles - ski vehicle, plus general lugging things around

2011 Hyundai Santa Fe, 143k miles - my commuter car

The Santa Fe has been giving me grief over the last few months. Mechanically it's been very reliable, but now electrical gremlins have shown up. A couple months ago we replaced the alternator after it died. Immediately after replacement the traction control light sporadically turned out. Then the new alternator died. Fortunately the part was warrantied, but I still paid labor again ($150). I took the car back to have the tractional control light, and a code came up about the 4WD ECU. My mechanic sent me to the dealer to learn more. Mechanically the drive line and 4WD system are in great shape. But the current thought is that when the alternator died, it fried the 4WD ECU module.

So do I repair the Santa Fe or not? I know it also needs a new AC compressor in the spring. So far I haven't put much money in it at all. Before this latest set of problems over the life of the car there was an oil sending switch replacement, new front strut assemblies, a belt / tensioner, brakes, and tires. Other than the cheap oil sending switch, the rest is typical wear and tear.

The 4WD and AC systems combined could be a big bill, and one that I hesitate to touch.

Options in my mind...

1) Fix the car. Guessing $2,500. The 4WD part alone will be over $600 from the dealer. Probably another $400 for AC parts from RockAuto. Plus labor.

2) Sell the car as-is to a dealer. Use the truck as my daily driver

3) Trade-in the car. Buy a penalty box daily driver. Not sure if I'd get something used, or a new compact car. There are several new models that can be had for $15k.

Discuss!

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Well, with 143k on it, it must not book very high in value, so I'd bet the dealers aren't gonna give you much for it. Even if you dump $2500 into it (which seems a touch high for those parts, but who knows) How many payments would it take on a new car to equal that? This is assuming that if you fix everything, it serves you fine for another 50-60k before you work on it again other than minor wear and tear stuff again. Or would you rather be stuck with a car payment for another 4-6 years?

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Put it into the Santa Fe (especially since everything else is in good shape and you won't get it in trade). Even if it is 2k, its better than a new car payment and increase insurance, etc.

 

Random - Did they actual diagnose the 4WD ECU as toasted? I've seen many a gremlin arise from a battery starting to go bad. Since you just had the alternator done, just double check the battery is good. Even if it is newer the bad alternator could have crushed the battery (if you've really run the battery low a new alternator won't get it back up to where it should be) and its not supplying adequate power.

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5 minutes ago, Flying Yeti said:

Put it into the Santa Fe (especially since everything else is in good shape and you won't get it in trade). Even if it is 2k, its better than a new car payment and increase insurance, etc.

 

Random - Did they actual diagnose the 4WD ECU as toasted? I've seen many a gremlin arise from a battery starting to go bad. Since you just had the alternator done, just double check the battery is good. Even if it is newer the bad alternator could have crushed the battery (if you've really run the battery low a new alternator won't get it back up to where it should be) and its not supplying adequate power.

I'm leaning in that direction. They said that they were confident it was just a software problem, but if the problem persisted it would require a new 4WD ECU. Well the software update fixed nothing.

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Yeti may be on to something on the battery idea. My Tundra was running really rough this Fall sporadically..it would drive fine and then all of a sudden had trouble shifting, the dash lights all lit up, 4x4 started flashing, 4 low flashing despite me being in 2wd.

I un hooked both battery cables, & cleaned the terminals. They were pretty gunked up with corrosion and haven't had an issue since. The problem immediately went away once the computer "re-learned" what it was like to have a strong connection.

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1 hour ago, xwhaler said:

Yeti may be on to something on the battery idea. My Tundra was running really rough this Fall sporadically..it would drive fine and then all of a sudden had trouble shifting, the dash lights all lit up, 4x4 started flashing, 4 low flashing despite me being in 2wd.

I un hooked both battery cables, & cleaned the terminals. They were pretty gunked up with corrosion and haven't had an issue since. The problem immediately went away once the computer "re-learned" what it was like to have a strong connection.

Took the car in for battery and alternator testing. Both were fine. Sad.

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Just now, Weatherman said:

Took the car in for battery and alternator testing. Both were fine. Sad.

Not testing....removing the connection to reset the computer. The battery on my truck was perfectly fine...it was just all scrambled and throwing all these false codes.

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24 minutes ago, xwhaler said:

Not testing....removing the connection to reset the computer. The battery on my truck was perfectly fine...it was just all scrambled and throwing all these false codes.

This is always worth a shot too. Especially just before inspections when you've had a CEL and it takes a while for it to notice the o2 sensor lol

Edited by Flying Yeti
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I have a Crosstrek with p225/60r17 all weather tires on them, and found some 205/50r17 snow tires wasting away in a garage. A tire shop told me I could switch them but I assume the snow tires are narrower. I assume bigger tires are better in the snow, so is switching them a good idea?

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1 minute ago, Benski said:

I have a Crosstrek with p225/60r17 all weather tires on them, and found some 205/50r17 snow tires wasting away in a garage. A tire shop told me I could switch them but I assume the snow tires are narrower. I assume bigger tires are better in the snow, so is switching them a good idea?

Narrower tires are better in snow and ice. 

 

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16 hours ago, Benski said:

The tire shop is warning me the tires will throw off the speedometer, eyesight and all wheel drive. Still a good idea?

It'll be fine. I had WRX wheels/tires on my impreza. They were wider and slightly taller. Threw off the speedo by ~4-5 mph. Whatever. 

Also agree with the above- snow tires are better than not snow tires. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thoughts on Subaru Crosstrek VS a Jeep Wrangler. I am talking about going skiing during this next storm with the owner of a Wrangler, so I am not sure which one is best to take. Both have all weather tires. Subaru has AWD vs the Jeep has 4WD. The Jeep is 1000 pounds heaver, but the AWD should help the Subaru.

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