My son drives a 2003 Hyundai Sonata with the 2.7 V6 and anti-lock brakes. (Why should you care about the brakes? More about that in a moment.) He’s not a car guy, so the depressing appliance quality of the car is fine for him. It gets him where it needs to go and (generally) just works, even with 200k+ miles on it.

Last week his battery light came on. He’s out on his own and didn’t want to bother me with it, so he took it in to WalMart, figuring the battery was bad. Testing showed he was right, so he bought a new battery and all was well. For about an hour, after which the battery light came back on. He texted me about it and I told him to bring it over after work and we’d check it out. Some time with the tester showed 12.6V while the car was turned off and 11.5V when it was running. Ok, bad alternator. Don’t worry, son, that won’t be too bad. I’ll help you replace it.

Little was I to know it would be no problem IF his car didn’t have anti-lock brakes. You see, the alternator on the V6 Sonata is between the engine and the firewall, down low. The only route the alternator can take to exit the engine bay from above is occupied by the ABS unit. The route out the bottom is blocked by the exhaust and several other objects.  The route through the wheel well is blocked by the axle and the body.  My research shows that the accepted way to replace the alternator on these cars includes removing the passenger side axle and moving the strut and spindle off to one side.

So again I say: Are you kidding me, Hyundai?