Hyundai, an auto brand from South Korea, has a reputation for manufacturing affordable vehicles. As a reputable car brand that has existed since the 1980s, you can testify that they are doing a fantastic job in the industry.
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However, these vehicles have problems ranging from fires triggered by short-circuiting ABS modules, crash sensor defects, airbag deployment, and rodents eating the cables.
JD Power awarded the Hyundai Motor Company for being a dependable car brand in 2022.
This article will discuss the common problems associated with most Hyundai cars. Let us treat them one after the other.
We’ve recently also looked specifically at problems around the SUV lineup from Hyundai.
1. Shifting Gear Problems and Light Issues (Hyundai Sonata)
The complaints that have been received about this vehicle are overwhelming, and this is not good news. Though the average annual repair expense is placed around $468, the problems linked to the Hyundai Sonata are not minimal.
Older Sonata models have issues with engine failures, leading to a lawsuit in 2016. The 2012 Sonata models have shifting gears problems, while the 2003-2015 models have defective light issues.
The Sonata is a commuter vehicle, and it is on record that there are more complaints about the 2011 model despite being one of its best sellers.
Other problems are XM satellite antennas and electrical faults.
The Hyundai Sonata 2010 model had only two recalls, which is commendable. The 2022 Sonata only has a problem with the fuel pipe, but it is acknowledged for being reliable.
You might also want to check our list of the best and worst Hyundai Santa Fe years, it features some of the models you should stay away from as well as the best models over the years.
2. Airbag Warning Light, Defective Seat Belt (Hyundai Elantra)
The vehicle price is around $21,245, and the older models of the Hyundai Elantra are known to have airbag problems. This issue is caused by accidental deployment and switching on and off of the airbag warning lights.
In 2013, there were complaints about the seizure of the car engine from the owners of the Hyundai Elantra models. Another issue about the Elantra is the possibility of an electrical short in the ABS module, likely to cause a fire.
Though JD Power gave the 2022 Elantra model a clean slate, it is known to have a few problems, such as the inability to accelerate and a buggy lane assist technology.
It is also important to note that this model was recalled once for a seatbelt pretension problem. The reason is that it has the potential to cause an explosion whenever there is a car crash.
3. Transmission Problems
The 2017 Santa Fe is known for its transmission issues, which is not good news. And there are complaints about defective speakers in the 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2017 models.
Drivers of the 2014 models also complained about engine stalling, and the 2022 model has had one recall due to the cracking of the oil supply pipe.
Despite receiving a good rating from JD Power for being reliable, the 2022 Santa Fe model received complaints about its electrical system and other miscellaneous issues.
Check also: Problems with Hyundai’s Veloster models.
4. Defective Transmission, Collision Avoidance System, and Acceleration Problems
The Hyundai Tucson costs over $26,000 and provides a comfortable driving experience, but not without its problems. Its annual repair expense is around $426.
There are complaints about the acceleration, especially in the 2016-2018 Tucson models. The models from 2016-2019 also have complaints about their collision avoidance and blind spot warning systems.
The 2022 Tucson model has been recalled once, and this has to do with software installation in the integrated central control unit.
The Hyundai Tucson is one of the popular Hyundai SUV models.
5. Airbag and Wiring Problems
The older models of the Hyundai Accent have problems with airbags, soy-based wiring systems that are attractive to rodents, and faulty transmission systems.
It is not surprising that Hyundai faced litigation because of the wiring system problems. However, the 2022 Accent model has not been recalled for any safety issues.
6. Electrical Issues, Accelerator Pedal
The 2011 Sonata model has the worst reputation because of several issues that give drivers sleepless nights.
Some problems associated with the Hyundai Sonata are electrical and rough idle triggered by a defective EGR switch valve.
Seizure of the engine, failure of airbag deployment, and accelerator pedal issues are part of the problems of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata. In some cases, the parking lights fail to switch off.
7. Breaking of Exterior Components
Hyundai claimed there was a modest investment in its vehicles’ interior and exterior components, but there are some reports about the breaking of external parts of some models.
For instance, some drivers complained about the mirrors and door handles breaking off. The drivers raised concerns about the lack of quality in the plastic molding and its adjoining parts.
8. Poor Paint Quality
The Hyundai brand came under heavy criticism due to the poor paint quality of its vehicles. Most of its models have this problem, and more drivers are complaining about fading and peeling after a few years.
Unfortunately, the warranty policy of the Hyundai brand does not cover the painting issues. It is confirmed that many customers have complained about the paint quality in the first five years of purchasing their vehicles.
9. Steering and Handling Issues
The Hyundai Sonata and Elantra models are plagued by steering and handling problems.
There are several complaints from drivers, such as vibrating whenever the car wants to make a turn and making clicking noises from beneath.
The 2011 models are the biggest culprits, and the manufacturer must address these safety issues as quickly as possible.
10. Crash Sensor Problems
It is noteworthy to remember the events that made the company recall the 2011-2013 Sonata models. The crash sensor was the major cause of the problem and faulty airbag control units.
11. Unreliable Crash Detection
Safety is an important feature that must not be ignored when considering your vehicle purchase. However, safety is one area that Hyundai has struggled badly.
Irrespective of the enhancements in airbag technology, Hyundai is yet to crack the code, and this has caused problems for most drivers. In many Hyundai cars, the airbags fail to deploy whenever there is a crash.
This issue compelled the company to recall millions of vehicles due to defective crash detection in 2009. The auto brand also officially scrutinized the problem in 2018 to save its reputation.
Causes of Transmission Issues in Hyundai Cars
Hyundai cars have transmission problems involving a stuck shifter and hard shifts. We will discuss the leading causes of transmission problems in Hyundai vehicles.
- Low transmission fluid level: Once your Hyundai vehicle hits the 100,000 miles mark, you will likely experience transmission issues like delayed shifting, shifting at high RPMs, and hard shifts.
- Clogged transmission filter: Metal shaving, broken internal components, and clutch metal could clog the transmission fluid filter. Once this happens, you may need to replace the transmission, as changing the filter will not resolve the issue.
- Faulty transmission range switch: This issue may cause the selector to rust and may not allow the gear to be in the Park mode. Older models such as Santa Fe, Genesis, Sonata, and Veloster are not exempted from this problem. The 2001-2006 Elantra and the 2005-2009 Tucson are the most affected models as regards this problem.
- Input and output sensor: When one of these sensors is defective, it will cause erratic shifting and set off the check engine warning light. This problem will also affect the vehicle’s speed and may limit it to 45 mph.
- Brake light switch: It inhibits the movement of the shifter out and ensures you cannot revert to the Park mode. It also triggers intermittent starting problems.
- PCM and TCM Issues: Inconsistent shifting could be caused by problems with the transmission software and powertrain, especially during cold weather. Santa Fe, Sonata, Elantra, and Veloster are the models mostly affected by this problem.
ⓘ 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.