The Hyundai Motor Company is a South Korean multinational automotive company founded in 1967 and headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. It soon became a world-famous car brand and began selling in the United States in 1986.
Hyundai has achieved tremendous success both in the United States and globally. A survey by JD Power in North America listed the brand as second in terms of “initial quality”. It boasts a wide range of vehicles to suit the taste of various customers and owns numerous plants across the globe.
As of now, Hyundai has issued 624 recalls for its models since 1986. This number accounts for about 1.9% of all NHTSA recalls and lands Hyundai at the 19th spot in the overall number of recalls issued.
Below are Hyundai models with the most recalls.
1. Hyundai Sonata
The Hyundai Sonata was first launched in 1985 as a mid-size car. While it had rough beginnings, including having to source components from other auto companies, the Sonata eventually picked up. It became one of the best mid-size cars on the market and saw sales rise to north of 200,000 units annually.
Number of Recalls
Plenty of critics have described the Hyundai Sonata as one of the most reliable cars in its class. On JD Power, it scores a quality and reliability rating of 83/100.
Shockingly, the Hyundai Sonata has also had the most recalls of any Hyundai model, with 137 recalls. This is about 22.0% of all Hyundai recalls since 1986. Based on these figures, the Hyundai Sonata is definitely a model to watch out for.
15 out of the 137 recalls for the model were issued for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata. This is a startling figure and indubitably puts the model at the very apex of the list of Sonata models to avoid.
Other Sonata models with startling recall figures include the 2013 Hyundai Sonata (13), 2012 Sonata (13), 2015 Sonata (9), 2006 Sonata (9), and 2002 Sonata (7).
The 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2017 and 2020 models of the Sonata are the least-recalled Sonata models with just 1 each.
This also makes them the most desirable of all models and you are likely to encounter much fewer problems when you cop one of these.
Below are some of the most common issues with the Hyundai Sonata as gathered from recall statements:
- Airbag defects (possible short-circuit in the airbag control unit and resultant non-deployment, manufacturing flaw, and sudden deployment)
- Seatbelt problems (Faulty buckle latch assembly of front passenger seatbelt, possible detachment of seatbelt linkages from seatbelt pretensioners)
- Fuel system issues (damaged or improperly torqued high-pressure fuel pipe, possible crack of low-pressure fuel hose, and fuel leakage)
- Engine problems (worn connecting rod, knocking noise, and possible engine failure)
- Service brake problems (likely deterioration of brake pedal stopper pad, unusual extension of brake light switch plunger, insufficient seal between inner brake hose and metal line fitting )
2. Hyundai Elantra
The Hyundai Elantra is classified as a compact car and was first manufactured by Hyundai in 1990. The model entered its seventh generation in 2020 and has achieved immense success commercially. It is also praised by critics and customers for its affordability and excellent handling.
Number of Recalls
The Hyundai Elantra has a more than decent reliability rating of 80/100 on JD Power, making it one of the most reliable compact cars.
However, it ranks #2 on the list of most-recalled Hyundai models with 81 in total.
With 13.0% of all Hyundai recalls since 1986, the Hyundai Elantra sure gives customers reasons to worry. However, our research showed that the bulk of these recalls were issued for specific Elantra model years, as we are about to see.
At the top of the recalls list for Elantra models is the 2008 Hyundai Elantra with 8 recalls. That’s one model you might want to watch out for due to multiple issues it has battled and possibly still battling.
Other Elantra model years with plenty of recalls include the 2007 Elantra with 7 and the 2001 and 2002 models with 6 each. We must also mention that most other Hyundai Elantra models have 3-5 recalls on record.
The 1995, 2000, 2006 and 2014 models are the least-recalled Elantra models, with just 1 each. Also, the 1999 and 2020 models have 2 recalls each. These are models to consider if you are looking to acquire an Elantra vehicle.
Below are some of the most prevalent issues with the Hyundai Elantra that have required a recall:
- Airbag problems (missing chemical enhancer and possible second stage non-deployment, improperly installed inflators, possible displacement of support bracket attached to the headliner, airbag control module flaw, etc.)
- Service brake problems (possible loss of brake booster and resultant loss of brake assist, deterioration of brake pedal stopper, malfunctioning brake light switch, possible electric short in ABS module)
- Fuel system issues (improper uniform internal electric surface contact, inadequate pumping pressure from fuel pump, fuel pump assembly closing flaw, and possible fuel spillage in the event of a rollover.)
- Suspension issues (possible corrosion, thinning, and perforation of steel in front lower arms due to road salt in some jurisdictions.)
- Related: 5 Chevrolet Models With Most Recalls (Check Before Buying!)
3. Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe is Hyundai’s very own SUV named after a chill city in the United States. First introduced in the year 2001, the Hyundai Santa Fe is now in its 4th generation and has sold over 1.5 million units since its debut.
It also boasts stellar reviews from pundits year after year and is ranked #7 on US News’ list of the best mid-size SUVs.
Number of Recalls
Since Hyundai first introduced it in 2000 for the 2001 model year, the Santa Fe has received 58 recalls according to the ARFC and NHTSA. This figure is a massive 9.3% of all Hyundai recalls and lands the Santa Fe the #3 spot on the list of most-recalled Hyundai models.
8 recalls of the total 58 were issued for the 2007 Santa-Fe, making it the most-recalled model year. This figure suggests multiple problems with this model and it is advisable to just steer clear.
Other models with inauspicious recall figures include the 2017 Santa Fe with 6 and the 2008 Santa Fe with 5. Most other Santa Fe models notably have 3-4 recalls each.
The 2006, 2015, 2018 and 2019 models of the Hyundai Santa Fe are the least-recalled models on record, with 1 each.
Below are common issues that have triggered Hyundai Santa Fe recalls over the years:
- Airbag defects (possible airbag damage during deployment, occupant classification system (OCS) flaw)
- Hood latch issues (possible corrosion of secondary hood latch actuation cable and resultant unlatching even when the hood is closed)
- Service brake problems (malfunctioning stop lamp switch which can affect brake light illumination and unusual illumination of Electronic Stability Control light)
- Suspension problems (corrosion of front coil spring caused by road salt, corrosion, and possible perforation of rear trailing arms)
4. Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson is classified as a compact crossover SUV and has been in production since 2004. Named after Tucson in the state of Arizona, the Hyundai Tucson is rated the best compact SUV by US News. It has also garnered rave reviews from several pundits alongside immense commercial success.
Number of Recalls
To add to its successful reception by critics and consumers, the Tucson also notched a reliability rating of 88/100 on JD Power. However, one of its downsides appears to be the 46 recalls it has racked up since debuting in 2004.
The 46 Tuscon recalls translate to 7.4% of all Hyundai recalls, making it the 4th most recalled Hyundai model on record. The 2005 Tuscon leads the way with 8 recalls so far thanks to issues with multiple components.
Other models with concerning recall figures include the 2006, 2007, and 2016 Tuscon, with 6 each, and the 2011 Tuscon with 5.
The 2014 Hyundai Tuscon is the least-recalled model with just 1 recall since it hit the market. Other models with few recalls are the 2012, 2013 and 2017 models with 2 each. If you are eyeing a Tuscon SUV, those are models to prioritize.
Below is a compilation of some prevalent issues with the Hyundai Tucson:
- Airbag defects (possible loosening of airbag assembly from steering wheel mounting, occupant detection system (OCS) flaw)
- Service brake problems (malfunctioning stop lamp switch tampering with brake light illumination and possible illumination of Electronic Stability Control light)
- Parking brake issues (manufacturing flaw and possible damage of parking brake lever ratchet teeth)
- Engine cooling problems (leakage of engine oil pan and possible engine damage)
5. Hyundai Azera
The Hyundai Azera was introduced in 2005 as part of the 4th generation rollout of the much older Hyundai Grandeur. Classified as an executive car, the Hyundai Azera had a decent run until it was discontinued in the US for the 2017 model year.
Number of Recalls
During its relatively brief existence, Hyundai issued 46 recalls for the Hyundai Azera. This makes it the 4th most recalled Hyundai model alongside the Tuscon, although it has a worse year to recall ratio.
Of the 46 recalls, the 2007 Hyundai Azera picks up 11, making it the most-recalled Azera model ever made. It is followed by the 2008 Azera with 9 recalls, the 2009 Azera with 8 recalls, and the 2006 Azera with 7 recalls.
Those are models to watch out for if you are looking for a reliable Hyundai Azera vehicle.
The 2005, 2012, and 2013 models of the Hyundai Azera were recalled just once, making them the least-recalled Azera models in history.
Below are some of the common issues that faced the Hyundai Azera during its time:
- Service brake problems (possible water entry into the Anti-Lock Braking System and resultant short circuit and malfunctioning stop lamp switch)
- Airbag defects (damage of front seat belt wiring harness and possible non-deployment, failure of occupant detection system to differentiate adult and child passengers on the front seat)
- Suspension issues (corrosion of cross member steel and possible detachment of a rear control arm)