Hyundai Elantra Problems: 13 Most-Common Issues (Explained)

The Hyundai Elantra, a popular and generally reliable vehicle, has experienced its share of problems throughout various model years.

In this article, we will delve into some of the common issues faced by Elantra owners.

While no car is perfect, it is crucial for potential buyers and current owners to be aware of these problems and understand how they may impact the Elantra experience.

We will provide a concise overview that focuses on the most frequently reported concerns.

The Main Problems

Steering Issues

The first common issue with the Hyundai Elantra is the steering. Some owners have reported problems with the electronic power steering locking up, particularly when using cruise control.

This issue can lead to a loss of control and is a significant safety concern. It is essential to address this problem immediately if it arises.

Transmission Trouble

Another common problem with the Hyundai Elantra is transmission issues, particularly concerning faulty speed sensors.

These sensors are responsible for controlling the shifting in automatic transmissions. When they malfunction, it can result in incorrect shifting and potential damage to the transmission. This issue has been reported in Elantras with an average of 100,677 miles.

Braking System Problems

Hyundai Elantra owners have also reported issues with the vehicle’s service brakes.

Common causes for these problems include:

  • low brake fluid,
  • damaged electronics,
  • worn-out brake light bulbs,
  • and faulty brake pads or rotors.

Regular maintenance and timely repair are necessary to ensure the safe operation of the braking system.

Check also some of the most common problems with Elantra GT in our article about the best and worst years.

Engine Issues

Lastly, engine problems have been reported with the Hyundai Elantra, although these issues are less frequent. The engine may encounter problems, such as reduced performance and fuel efficiency or complete failure, depending on the severity of the issue.

Immediate attention and consultation with a trained mechanic are advised if an engine problem is detected.

Problem Models Most Affected
Steering Issues Various Models
Transmission Trouble Elantras with an average of 100,677 miles
Braking System Problems Various Models
Engine Issues Less Frequent, Various Models

Other Smaller Problems

Aside from the more common issues previously mentioned in the article, Hyundai Elantra owners have reported several smaller problems as well.

While these concerns may not be as common or widespread, they are still important to consider for potential buyers and current owners.

  • Dashboard Warning Lights: Some Elantra drivers have experienced issues with all of the dashboard warning lights illuminating at once, even when there is no actual problem with the vehicle.
  • Power Steering Concerns: Multiple instances of the electrical steering assist system malfunctioning have been reported. This issue can result in difficulty in steering, especially during low-speed maneuvers.
  • Battery Problems: A few Elantra owners have noted battery-related issues, including difficulty starting the car and premature failure of the battery.
  • Keyless Entry Issues: There have been reports of the keyless entry system malfunctioning, resulting in doors not unlocking or locking properly.
  • EVAP Valve Failure: Some Elantras may experience troubles with the EVAP valve, leading to higher emissions levels and lower fuel efficiency.
  • Defective Crankshaft Angle Sensor: A small percentage of Elantras from various model years might encounter a faulty crankshaft angle sensor, resulting in stalling or engine failure.
  • Airbag Malfunctions: Elantra owners have reported airbag malfunction issues as well as the SRS light showing up on the dashboard, indicating potential safety concerns.
  • Transmission Problems: In some cases, Elantra drivers have experienced jerking or hesitation while shifting gears, particularly in automatic transmission vehicles.
  • Braking Issues: A small number of Elantra owners have mentioned problems with the brake system, such as squeaking noises or decreased braking performance.

Although these smaller problems may occur, it is essential to remember that every vehicle can experience unique issues, and a well-maintained Hyundai Elantra may not necessarily encounter these concerns.

It is always advisable to perform routine maintenance and address any concerns as soon as they arise.

General Pros and Cons with the Models

There are various pros and cons associated with the Hyundai Elantra models.

In this section, we will briefly discuss the general advantages and disadvantages of the Hyundai Elantra.


Some of the positive aspects of owning an Elantra model include:

  • Excellent handling: The Hyundai Elantra offers its owners a comfortable ride with great handling, often receiving praises from auto reviewers for its responsive steering.
  • Impressive fuel efficiency: The Elantra is known for delivering good gas mileage in its segment, making it an economic choice for budget-conscious drivers.
  • Affordability: The Elantra is competitively priced, giving buyers good value for their money when considering its features and performance.
  • Stylish design: The Elantra has a distinctive, modern aesthetic, with sleek lines and eye-catching exterior features that make it stand out from other compact sedans.


On the other hand, there are some common issues or negative aspects associated with the Hyundai Elantra:

  • Inconsistent interior materials
  • Refinement of 2.0L engine
  • Ride quality over road imperfections
  • Defective airbags
  • Lift-throttle oversteer (in some models)

What Generations Have the Most Recalls?

When examining the recall history of the Hyundai Elantra, it is important to consider which generations have experienced the most issues.

Generally, older generations tend to have a higher number of recalls, as manufacturers work to improve and refine their vehicles over time.

The following table shows significant Hyundai Elantra recalls by generation:

Generation Model Years Recall Issues
First Generation 1990-1995
Second Generation 1996-2000
Third Generation 2001-2006 Transmission issues
Fourth Generation 2007-2010 Service brake problems, Engine issues
Fifth Generation 2011-2015 Airbag malfunction, Electrical steering assist malfunction, Fuel delivery system fault
Sixth Generation 2015-2020 Engine problems, Loose lug nuts
Seventh Generation 2021-present

It is worth noting that although older generations of the Elantra may have experienced more problems, they could be a good investment if properly maintained.

That said, consumers should be aware of these problems as they consider purchasing an Elantra, especially when opting for a used model.

For instance, the third-generation Elantra experienced transmission issues, primarily related to faulty speed sensors. This led to incorrect shifting in automatic transmissions.

The fourth-generation Elantra had notable issues with service brake problems and engine concerns that prompted recalls. The fifth-generation Elantra saw a myriad of problems, from airbag malfunctions and electrical steering assist malfunctions to fuel delivery system faults.

As the Elantra has undergone various refinements through each generation, newer generations tend to be more reliable. However, certain issues persist even in the sixth generation, such as engine problems and loose lug nuts. With the seventh generation, it is still too early to make a definitive conclusion on its recall history.

What’s the Resale Value?

The Hyundai Elantra has an average resale value.

Here are some examples of the trade-in values for used models:

Model Year Mileage Price Depreciation
2021 12,000 miles $15,142 – $28,654 Reasonable
2020 12,000 miles $13,845 – $22,097 Reasonable

These estimated values can help inform potential buyers or sellers of Hyundai Elantras about their vehicle’s resale value.

Remember, these numbers are only estimates, and actual values may vary in individual transactions.

What Do the Reviews Say?

Hyundai Elantra has garnered mixed reviews in terms of performance and reliability. Some reviewers praise the car for its safety features, while others mention issues with the engine.

“The safety features and other features are outstanding.”

“The 2.0 nu mpi engine will break down causing a stall…”

While the reviews highlight some shortcomings, it’s important to consider individual experiences and test drive the car to assess its suitability for personal needs.

GO BACK: See problems for all Hyundai models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.