I bought my car used five years ago. It had 59,000 miles on it, two owners before me, and looked to be in great shape. I LOVED it. It served me very well driving long-distance back and forth from college. The V6 engine gives it great acceleration (though at the expensive of very low gas mileage) and everything about it started out smooth. It was affordable and a very attractive car. Well, after about a year the paint started coming off. My roof is now completely bald five years later and the lovely red paint is not perfect anywhere except maybe the doors. (Of course I've never parked it in a garage and we have harsh winters.) Then about two years in my entire transmission gave out and had to be replaced - VERY expensive. Almost cost as much as the car itself. Then it was the door handle, then the electric window buttons, then the alternator, then all four brakes at the same time. This is spread out over five years, but I've spent well over $4,000 (what I paid for it) in repairs. And it only has 75,000 miles! Today I found out the spark plugs are in wrong so I have to replace them and some other parts. The engine is really loud and clicks when I drive. The transmission can still be a little rough, and when I have the air conditioning on, my car rocks quite a lot. The passenger window is slow to go up. It seems like from the reviews I've been reading, most people have gotten more miles out of their Sonata, but maybe mine was driven hard before me or just wasn't a good one. I'm very attached to it, and it's served me well, but be wary of all the problems that may come along the road!
I just "retired" my 1997 Sonata due to a major mechanical problem and was very upset to have to do so because up until this incident this vehicle performed FLAWLESSLY for me. I had absolutely no mechanical problems whatsoever with this car and it was by far the best vehicle I have ever owned up to this point (I am 35 years old)
You should get your timing belt changed before you hit the 65000 mark. The car has no saftey engine shut off when the timing belt goes and the engine is therefore ruined and you will need a whole new one because all of the valves get smashed together. I was only in my driveway when mine went without any warning. I turned my car on and boom the timing belt went and so did the engine. Buyer beware.