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While I'm new to this forum, I'm not new to Hyundai. Previously, I had the Tiburon (2003 and 2004) and Tuscon (2004). The ex took the Tuscon. LOL. My 03 Tib had a bad engine and the dealership upped me to the 2004, which I ultimately traded for an SUV later when I needed more room. Recently, I bought a 2001 Santa Fe with the V6 and AWD. I bought it from a friend because "it had too many things wrong with it" and she "didn't want to put the money into it." It had 129,000 miles on it and got it for $1573. Since buying it, I've made several repairs, and for anyone that just bought a santa fe or is considering buying one, there's a couple things I wanted to bring up:

1) While I'm a novice as a mechanic, I know enough about the Hyundai brand to make most general repairs on my own (though I can't do the major stuff cuz I simply don't have the tools or lift). That being said, while I have respect for most mechanics, be very careful about throwing parts at problems without first understanding how ALL of the components interact within your vehicle. The previous owner was told by her mechanic that her 2001 needed a new idle air control valve ($134 part plus labor of $65) to fix a over-rev/stalling issue her vehicle was experiencing. I scanned the car and it told me temperature sensor. I even verified my results with research that this little $16 sensor feeds information to the computer that can affect gas usage, etc and ultimately created the stall problem she was experiencing. She still decided to sell me the vehicle because she wanted a different car, and I ultimately bought the sensor and made the repair. Issue fixed. Now, my friend "hates" me because she's driven with me 3x in the santa fe and it drives so much better.

2) If you can't do a tune-up yourself on the santa fe (which I did), don't let the mechanic convince you that it's a 2.5 hr labor charge "according to the book." It's not. I installed E03's. (I've always had good results with the no gaps, etc. and tried these though I know some people swear by different brands. I've learned spark plugs are like religion: people tend to have strong opinions about what to use.) The front 3 are unobstructed and take 10-15 min. tops. The back 3 are obstructed; however, I'd rank it 6/10 on difficulty for a novice to remove the various bolts, cables, etc. to replace the back 3. That being said, the Santa Fe was getting 17 mpg on highway before the sensor and plugs were changed. After last night's gas refill, it's already up to 24.6 mpgs. The nice thing about the 2004 Tuscon was the 4WD could be disabled and it improved gas mileage. The tires on it are more "aggressive," so I know I'm sacrificing some mpgs from that.

3) Rotor and pad replacement on the 2001 Santa Fe are easy. 2/10 on novice scale of difficulty. I did both the fronts and backs, and I used carquest and ebay to get my parts. Sears auto wanted $595 for parts and labor. The last thing I need to fix regarding the brakes is the emergency brake. It needs to be adjusted because it is lightly rubbing on my back right rotor. I'm sure that drag affects my mpgs too.

Needless to say, if you take care of these cars that Hyundai makes, my experience has been that they will run a long time.
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