Hyundai is now charging, what in my opinion is stiff money to access
their repair data. I feel extorted.
It used to be that car manufacturers sold shop manuals that were of
excellent quality. These books were expensive, but because of their
quality, were worth the money. I had excellent affordable books from
Citroen, SAAB, and Chrysler. And when I say "excellent," I really mean
In recent years, as cars have become more intricate, car makers have
increased the prices of these books, often tenfold. As Ed Pawlowski
wrote in another thread, the availability of Hyundai's service
literature without cost was a definite advantage to purchasing our cars
and cemented my loyalty to Hyundai. This benefit is now gone and my
automobile's value has been reduced therefore. And so has my loyalty to
Hyundai. That cement is crumbling.
For my car, the quality and usability of Hyundai's computerized
information has often been confusing and marginal, sometimes
inadequately written and even wrong. With the site's bizarre
programming, printing has sometimes been compromised and I have had to
use screen capture software in order to be able to print a diagram.
OK: I looked into the horse's mouth. I have no right to complain if it
was free. But, at least, it was there. Charging these prices has a
de-facto result of frustrating independent garages. When the mechanic
has to pay $30 just to look at a diagram of the hoses, he is forced to
hit up his customer an extra $30 for the job. And what if, in mid-job,
he has to take another look the following week? Now, it will be $60! I
once worked for an office equipment company who frustrated independent
repair people this way, and did so intentionally. But so long as the
data is made available, no matter what the price, they can't be legally
pinned for restraint of trade, which is illegal.
I bought an Alldata CD ROM for my Ford Aerostar. Too many different
vehicles were crammed onto that one bloated CD; my payment unlocked info
about only one of them. The density of irrelevant data meant that a lot
of my vehicle was omitted and the resolution of many diagrams was so
inadequate that many diagrams were blurry and useless. As with some
aftermarket repair books, this disk was padded with general information
that can be obtained anywhere, and the information that I needed for the
repair that I was performing was missing. I'd thrown my money away.
I think that I've been able to get my Sonata fixed by the addition of a
transmission oil cooler. The mechanic worked the good old fashioned way:
by his experienced wits and his experienced hands.
But a couple of years ago, my car failed the smog test due to poor
original sensor quality and computer programming. $600 for the two
updated sensors and to have the computer taken to the dealer to be
flashed. The State mandated that this work had to be done by a
State-approved shop, which the dealership is not. This event also
diminished my Hyundai's value of ownership.
Having done repair work myself, I got to feeling that honest wear-out
repairs are understandable. But the necessity for stupid repairs is
inexcusable on the part of the manufacturer.
I have begun to think of buying an old piece of heavy Detroit iron.
That's because it's straightforward, service literature is all over the
place: I can fix it. Repairability of things is very important to me.
Now, to Hyundai's credit, they didn't take the path of American
stinginess: there's a drain plug on my transmission, and this $1.00 part
will save me $100 on a transmission oil change. For a car maker to
Scrooge a buck on a drain plug or a bleed valve is inexcusable and
shameful. I like my Korean drain plug.
What alternative service literature is out there for my 2000 Sonata? Is
it any good? Is it worth the money?