7 Serious Hyundai & KIA 3.5l V6 Engine Problems (G6DC engine)

If you’re after a Kia Sorento, Carnival or Cadenza, or even a Hyundai Santa Fe, Azera or a Palisade with the 3.5L V6 engine, this article is for you.

In this article, we’ll uncover the biggest concerns of the Hyundai G6DC engine, which was fitted to numerous Kia and Hyundai models (full list of exact models and model years below) from 2010 and forward.

Doing your own research on a particular engine, in this case the Hyundai 3.5L V6, is always a good idea. Most people look for the models, but each model can carry a few different engines and each of these engines perform differently. This is why you need to be aware of the problems with the specific engine that you intend to purchase. And that’s why we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to cover the basic specs of this engine and then we are going to cover all of the Hyundai & Kia 3.5l v6 engine problems (G6DC engine) and see what troubles this engine the most. Once we clear that out of our way, we will learn which models have this 3.5L V6 engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

Basic Hyundai & Kia 3.5L V6 Engine Specs

The 3.5L is a V6 engine that was introduced by Hyundai in 2011 with the Kia Sorento. This engine belongs in the Lambda II family of engines.

This engine is placed between the smaller 3.3L V6 engine and the bigger 3.8L Lambda II engine. Overall, the G6DC is greatly inspired by these two engines.

Everything is pretty much the same besides the displacement. The 3.5L engine implements an all-aluminum block and cylinder heads.

The cylinder heads are running a DOHC layout. This means that there is one camshaft for the intake and one for the exhaust.

The engine is naturally aspirated and also uses MPi. Also known as multi-point injection. This means that this engine does not have many of the problems that other Lambda engines have with the direct injection system. So, carbon deposits on this engine are not a real thing.

Nevertheless, here are the full specs of this 3.5L V6 engine.

  • Configuration: V6
  • Displacement: 3.5L
  • Cylinder Bore: 92 mm
  • Piston Stroke: 87 mm
  • Block & Head Material: Aluminum
  • Head Design: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Fuel Injection: MPi
  • Horsepower: 276 – 286 hp
  • Torque Output: 248 lb-ft (336 N-m)

Common Hyundai & Kia 3.5l v6 Engine Problems (G6DC engine)

Common problems of the Hyundai 3.5L V6 engine include:

  • Spark Plug & Coil Failure
  • Head Gasket Failure
  • High Oil Consumption
  • Piston Slap
  • Valves Require Readjustment
  • Timing Chain Tensioner Failure
  • Oil Leaks

We briefly listed the common Hyundai & Kia 3.5l v6 engine problems (G6DC engine), now let’s move on and further elaborate on these issues.

Knowing when and how these issues occur is really important for you. Each of these issues produces different symptoms and has a different level of concern. So, let’s cover these problems and learn more about the circumstances when they develop.

Spark Plug & Coil Failure

The first problem on our list is the spark plug and coil failure and it’s not that serious. So, what are spark plugs and ignition coils?

Well, as you probably assume, spark plugs are the components that create a spark and ignite the fuel. While ignition coils are the components that sit on top of the spark plugs.

The ignition coil has the purpose of transforming the low 12 v power into high current and then the coil sends this power to the spark plug.

Both these are expendable components. They last for 60,000 – 70,000 miles and you have to replace them.

And this engine also has another condition that accelerates the failure of these components. Which is oil consumption.

These engines tend to drink a lot of oil and cover the electrodes with deposits. Whenever the electrode of the spark plug is covered with deposits, it will damage the spark plug and also damage the coil.

So, you need to beware of this issue. Whenever you have bad spark plugs and coils, there will be engine misfires, check engine light, and overall poor engine work.

Head Gasket Failure

Head gasket failures are another common problem with the 3.5L V6 engine. So, what is a head gasket and why does it fail?

A head gasket is a steel sheet that is located between the cylinder head and the deck of the block. This engine specifically has two banks, this means that there are two of these gaskets. One for bank 1 and one for bank 2.

Whenever the engine overheats, the head gasket is the weakest component that will fail. The engine will overheat and the gasket will fail.

This can allow the cooling system to lose coolant and also will warp the cylinder head. The cylinder head needs to be resurfaced and a new gasket to be installed.

This could result in a very expensive repair. This is why if you notice a strange noise from the water pump and coolant leaks, it is important to react quickly because this component often causes overheating to occur.

There can also be other causes for this problem considering the fact that these engines run pretty hot in the cylinders. That’s why you don’t want them to overheat, it is very expensive to fix the problem.

High Oil Consumption

Another big problem that this engine has a problem with is high oil consumption. These Hyundai engines are heavy drinkers of oil and it lead owners to even file class action lawsuits.

Usually, when people do not maintain them properly, sludge will start to develop around the piston rings and this will seize the rings of the piston which include the oil control ring and the two compression rings.

This problem will lead to other major issues in your engine. This is why it is important that you do preventive maintenance on this engine.

And by this, we mean replacing the oil sometimes even prematurely in order to keep the engine in good shape.

Once it starts collecting sludge, the engine oil could easily block the rings of the pistons and allow oil consumption.

And another thing that most people do is never check the engine oil. They simply allow the engine to starve from oil and the engine will fail prematurely.

Piston Slap

Piston slap is another problem that happens with some of these engines that consume a lot of engine oil.

The piston rings seize which allows allow the clearance between the piston crown and the cylinder liner to be large.

Whenever you have this situation, the piston will start banging against the cylinder walls. This situation is known as a piston slap.

This is really a sign of a decaying engine that hasn’t been serviced properly or an engine with high miles. That’s why if you notice something slapping and creating noises, run away from it as fast as you can because this engine is probably not good.

Valves Require Readjustment

What is worth noting about this engine is that this design does not include hydraulic lifters. In other words, this means that you need to do a valve adjustment.

Whenever you need this service, there will be ticking noises coming from the valvetrain. This means that the valves are misaligned and need to be readjusted.

An experienced technician can do this job. It is recommended that you do readjustment every 100,000 miles (ca. 160,934 km) in order to avoid wear on the camshafts.

Timing Chain Tensioner Failure

This engine implements a timing chain. In other words, the Hyundai 3.5L V6 is a chain driven engine.

This design is more expensive to maintain compared to your regular timing belt. And many people think that this is a lifetime part. Which it is not.

Usually, the timing chain tensioners fail or the timing chain guides wear out. In some instances where the timing chain is really thin, it can even stretch.

So, whenever you notice some rattling noise coming from behind the timing cover, you know that you need to replace your timing chain. If you don’t, the chain could jump and destroy the engine.

Oil Leaks

Oil leaks are also very common on these engines. And the most common place where you can find oil leaks is definitely the valve covers.

Other places that can also cause oil to leak are the oil pan gasket, as well as the timing covers. Inspect for oil leaks very carefully when buying one of these engines.

Which Models Have The Hyundai & Kia 3.5l V6 Engine?

  • 2011 – 2020 Kia Sorento
  • 2011 – 2014 Kia Carnival
  • 2011 – 2021 Kia Cadenza
  • 2010 – 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2017 – 2022 Hyundai Azera
  • 2018 – Present Hyundai Palisade


What Are The Common Hyundai & Kia 3.5l V6 Engine Problems?

Common problems with this engine include high oil consumption, overheating, oil leaks, timing, and chain tensioner failures. The worst problem is definitely oil consumption. This engine tends to drink a lot of oil, especially if not maintained properly. So, make sure that you do the maintenance in order to avoid these issues.

Is The Hyundai 3.5L V6 Reliable?

The reliability of this engine is good. But it has some issues. Namely, oil consumption. This can be a very serious problem that can total out the engine if you are not aware that you lose engine oil. Also, the timing chain will require replacement at one point. These are the most serious issues. This engine should last at least 150,000 miles (ca. 241,402 km).

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