2008 Hyundai Tucson 2.0 GLS

I’ve been spoilt in the last few years with the vehicles I’ve been able to drive on a daily basis. And I fear it has spoiled me (1, 2, 3, 4). When we moved to the US, I didn’t have work lined up and had to wait several months for a work permit. During that time we were living off a grad-student salary and savings. Very quickly we realised the need (or extremely strong desire) for a vehicle to get aroudn and out of LA. Although living in close proximity to public transport, it lacked in many areas. So we were shopping on a budget. Definitely pre-owned, but we wanted something we could at least take into the wilderness. 4WD wasn’t off the cards, but not a necessity.

As such our vehicle search landed us with a lowish mileage (72,000 miles) 2008 Hyundai Tucson. It was well-priced, likely as a result of its manual transmission and “small” 2.0 petrol engine. Besides a couple scratches on the bumpers, it was devoid of major dents or indication of having been in an accident. And so it became ours. It had two open recalls, which the Hyundai dealership quickly sorted for us free of charge and has otherwise been problem free.

Since getting it we’ve replaced the tires and brake pads, as well as the front rotors. An oil change and other minor maintenance have been all its required. Almost 10,000 miles in, and it’s still going strong. It doesn’t use oil, has been surprisingly capable off-road, and the platinum paint job hides the dirt well.

But as I mentioned I’ve been spoilt, and this car is underwhelming to drive. My 1996 Audi competes with this Hyundai on features. But it’s a car. It gets us from A to B, and doesn’t complain. The 2.0l engine is surprisingly sprightly, but lacks torque when climbing long hills at highway speeds; of which the Americans are fond. Was it a bad decision? definitely not. As we’ve gotten to know California better, my only regret is not having looked for a 4WD version. The ground clearance has let us do a good amount of exploring, and while the boot (trunk) isn’t large, it’s ample for two people, and camping for four has been achieved. Even in a bit of snow.

If you’re looking for an amazing car. This isn’t it. It has power steering, it has electric windows, and it has a radio (with front loader). It has AC, that battles on the hottest of LA days, but is otherwise capable. It has airbags and we’ve added a towbar. It is a car; it is ours; and we like it.

There isn’t really anythign else to say about it. It has done all that we’ve asked of it, but bar the fact that it is our Tucson, it is nothing special.

Would I suggest you buy one? Sure. If it meets your needs, and you can get one for a good price. Hyundais of this generation have a good reputation for reliability. And I expect this car to convey us many more 10s of thousands of kilometres before we eventually give it up.

Although we could afford a new car, why? We either cycle or take public transport to work. The car sits at home during the week, besides the odd grocery run. Otherwise it sits in waiting; waiting for our next adventure. It is a car, and it is ours.

Brake Pad and Disc replacement – 2008 Hyundai Tucson (1st Gen)

The rear brake pads on our 2008 Hyundau Tucson were wearing thin; I’d also noted some vibration after extended braking coming from the front wheels. As such I decided to replace the rear brake pads, as well as the front discs and pads.

I had replaced the pads on my old Audi previously, and while it wasn’t difficult, it was still a hassle. In contrast, replacing the Tucson’s pads is something almost anyone can do, all you need is a size 14 socket.

There are a bunch of manufacturers who all make products to fit your car. I went with Bosch, because they were the only brand I recognised, but there are many other good manufacturers. In fact I was quite disappointed by Bosch, who packaged incorrect parts into one of the boxes I ordered. Amazon were quick to send me a replacement set.

two parts with the same number, but different shape

For the 2008 Hyundai Tucson, I purchased the following parts:

Disclaimer

Properly functioning brake pads are a critical safety component of your car. While the process for replacing these parts is relatively straightforward, you shouldn’t perform the task if you’re not comfortable doing it. If anything doesn’t fit right, or looks unusual, rather get it checked out by a professional. Additionally, after installing new components, your brakes take some time to wear in, and won’t function 100% immediately. For more info on properly wearing in your brakes, look here.

Rear Wheel Brake Pad Replacement

Get the car up onto jackstands and remove the rear wheel. The brake system is fairly prominent. The entire mechanism is attached to the back of the wheel with two size 14 bolts that are tensioned with a spring washer. You don’t need to remove these. There are another two size 14 bolts (caliper bolts) that are more accessible and easier to remove that hold the mechanism together.

rear wheel caliper bolt

Loosen just the top bolt, and the mechanism folds open. You can then remove the old pads and runners if you have replacements. Now is the best time to push the piston back in. I opened the brake fluid reservoir and emptied some fluid from it before pushing the piston back. This way you don’t have to worry about it overflowing. I put the old brake pad on top of the piston, and used a C-clamp to push it back in.

Now you can load the new clips and pads. Depending on what you purchase, you may want to switch shims over from your old pads to the new new ones. Installation is easy, and you can also apply some lubricant to surfaces that you want to slide easy (not the brake surfaces!). Slide everything back together and tighten bolt.

Front Wheel Brake Pad Replacement

The front brake pad replacement is basically identical. The only difference is that instead of loosening the top caliper bolt, you’re going to loosen the bottom one and open the mechanism upwards.

Front wheel caliper bolt

Otherwise the process is the same.

 

Front Wheel Brake Disc/Rotor Replacement

The brake rotors only have two bolts holding them in place, but the entire brake mechanism has to be removed as well. For the front wheels you’re going to need a size 17 socket/spanner. For the rear wheels it’s a 14. Loosen both of the bolts, and have something nearby that you can rest the brake mechanism on.

front brake bolts

Front wheel brake bolts

Then you need to loosen the two screws holding the rotor in place. You need a rather large Philips screwdriver. These screws can be quite tight, I used a bit of WD40 to loosen them up, but if you’re going to be reusing the discs/screws, make sure to clean them properly, you want them to be tight.

My old discs came off very easily. Some people have more trouble, especially on older cars, you can try something like this if you’re stuck. The new discs go on in reverse order.