The Most Common Hyundai Problems, Solutions and Cost
We’ve synthesized data from owner grievances, recalls, investigations, and technical bulletins to compile a comprehensive list of the most prevalent issues across all Hyundai models and generations. This analysis also includes a reliability ranking for each vehicle.
These problems are just the tip of the iceberg.
1. Persistent Ticking in Elantra’s Nu Engine
Owners of the Elantra with the 1.8L Nu engine face a barrage of issues: constant ticking sounds, connecting rod clatters, a tendency towards engine bearing failure, and oil sludge complications. These issues typically arise within the span of Hyundai’s 10-year / 100,000-mile warranty.
2. ABS System Fires
A worrying trend in Hyundai vehicles is the outbreak of fires in the antilock braking system (ABS). These fires are often sparked by short circuits within the ABS caused by fluid contamination and corrosion.
3. Theta II Engine: Knocking, Seizing, and Sludge Woes
The Theta II, a gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine, is infamous for all the wrong reasons: bearing failures, metal debris in contaminated oil, piston ring defects, seizing, and knocking.
Top Owner Complaints
Analyzing the most frequent complaints from owners on CarProblemsHUB.com, sorted by topics, problems, and model years.
Most Severe Issues
- Engine seized in the 2011 Sonata (180 complaints)
- Clicking noise when turning in the 2011 Sonata (74 complaints)
- Door handles fell off in the 2010 Sonata (53 complaints)
- No acceleration from a stop in the 2016 Tucson (50 complaints)
- Hesitation on start in the 2017 Tucson (48 complaints)
- Brakes grinding in the 2013 Elantra (47 complaints)
- Engine seized in the 2012 Sonata (44 complaints)
Most Problematic Areas
- Engine: (1730 complaints)
- Transmission: (666 complaints)
- Interior: (590 complaints)
- Electrical: (508 complaints)
- Steering: (473 complaints)
- Fuel System: (365 complaints)
- Body: (362 complaints)
Years Best Avoided
- 2011: (1138 complaints)
- 2013: (1052 complaints)
- 2012: (789 complaints)
- 2015: (404 complaints)
- 2016: (376 complaints)
- 2010: (345 complaints)
- 2007: (314 complaints)
Least Reliable Hyundai Models
Certain models consistently underperform. We’ve identified the least reliable Hyundai models using metrics like complaint volume, repair costs, age at breakdown, and recall frequency.
- Reliability: 25th of 25
- PainRank™: 74.27
- Complaints: 2100
- Reliability: 24th of 25
- PainRank™: 61.02
- Complaints: 1327
- Reliability: 23rd of 25
- PainRank™: 26.92
- Complaints: 598
Hyundai Santa Fe
- Reliability: 22nd of 25
- PainRank™: 22.36
- Complaints: 988
- 30 models: Each with unique trim levels, body styles, and their own set of problems.
- 57 generations: Specific model years grouped with similar designs and issues.
- 30 model years: Categorizing all models by their year to highlight the problematic ones.
- 6,274 complaints: Total number of owner complaints filed to CarComplaints.com.
- 3,269 service bulletins: Documents detailing troubleshooting for common issues.
- 242 recall campaigns: Urgent, no-cost repairs for widespread safety issues.
Generations to Avoid
Certain generations, with little to no changes, are notorious for their reliability issues. Here are some that you should steer clear of.
6th Generation Sonata (2011–2014)
- Reliability: 50th out of 50
- PainRank™: 68.11
- Complaints: 1312
5th Generation Elantra (2011–2016)
- Reliability: 49th out of 50
- PainRank™: 45.43
- Complaints: 937
2nd Generation Santa Fe (2007–2012)
- Reliability: 48th out of 50
- PainRank™: 21.52
- Complaints: 559
5th Generation Sonata (2006–2010)
- Reliability: 47th out of 50
- PainRank™: 19.96
- Complaints: 384
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