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2014 hyundai elantra engine problem

I had driven my car over 13 miles when it went into an idle mode and would not go above 1250 rpm. After dealership did approved tests they stated #4 piston had 25 lbs pressure and needed to be replaced. After breaking down the motor, they dealership stated that my car was vandalized and I have attached picture of the wood chips sitting on the piston. Dealer stated that someone placed the wood chips down my spark plug chamber. First door always locked and 2nd no damage to the hood and 3td how was I able to drive 13 miles before the car shut down, 4th chips look like brand new with no damage and not discolored and there was no smell of fuel on the chips. My question is how this could occur and allow me to drive so far . I am a lost and trying to get answers as something sounds fishy


Rule num 1, don’t trust anything the dealer says. I agree, If those chips were actually in the chamber, they would be charred.

And someone removing the plug, inserting wood chips, and replacing the plug is pretty unbelievable.

I’d keep all the documentation you can, plus the chips and photos, and contact hyundai headquarters. Info on this should be in your users manual.

What’s unclear is why the dealer would make up this strange story…

I hope you, the OP, are not messing with us. If that is not the case, I agree, call the regional rep, Hyundai headquarters. Those chips are pretty fresh too. They should have come up with a better story.

Perhaps the dealership “conveniently” placed those woodchips there AFTER they took the head off

Because they want to label this as “vandalism” so that they won’t have to replace/repair the engine under warranty

I cannot envision any way woodchips would survive

Assuming you averaged 3,000 rpms and took 20 minutes to drive the 13 miles, that would have meant
1,500 combustion cycles per minute X 20 minutes = 30,000 combustion cycles at temperatures averaging around 2,000F (not unusual for a chamber under acceleration)

PLUS 30,000 cycles of the pistons trying to push the wood chips out the exhaust port even if they WEREN’T charcoal…

Sorry, I ain’t buyin’ it. It ain’t possible. They’re lying to you. And they’re not even good at it.

I just can’t envision someone vandalizing a car by removing one spark plug and inserting wood of all things. The easiest and fastest way to wipe the engine is open the intake tract and insert some small hex nuts.
If that engine had run for 30 seconds with wood chips in that cylinder the small chips would have vaporized and more than likely the larger ones would have also. At the least the large chips should be totally blackened.

If that cylinder had those wood chips in it it would not have been running well and blazing embers should have been causing all kinds of detonation.

You really need to hammer them with some questions (maybe based on some of what you’ve been told in this thread) and post back with the answers they give you to see if the BS is getting even deeper.
There’s always the possibility that the 25 pounds is an incorrect diagnostic and someone needlessly tore into the engine based on that. Once inside; uh oh, try to cover their tracks for tearing a new engine apart for no reason.

In a nutshell, I ain’t buyin’ what they’re trying to sell you and offhand, I might suspect there is, or was, a glitch with the electronic throttle body or the PCM. (computer)

That’s For The Birds. Whooo’s The Service Manager/Director? Woody Wood Pecker?

Seriously, have you talked to the Service Manager or only the technician or service writer?

Like those tiny chips would survive more than one combustion cycle without vaporizing or being blown out past the exhaust valve.

This one is going to be a riot over what is likely the Mother of All Bad Diagnoses.

OK4450, you’re being way too kind. This is fraud. And it isn’t even intelligent fraud.
If “going up the defined chain of complaint resolution” doesn’t get this resolved totally under warranty, no small claims court judge in the land would find for Hyundai if presented with the facts we’ve provided here.

For the record, in small claims court the most credible party usually prevails.

Well, I’m trying to be a bit diplomatic but it’s difficult. My honest opinion if I asked the dealer about this would be, “what kind of fool do you take me for”.

There’s no way those small chips would even survive the intial engine startup much less driving it for 13 miles and the larger chips would be mulch and incinerated in 2 seconds.

I can say that I’ve seen some loopy things but this has to take the cake. It would be fun to walk in there and grill them about this just to see how much deeper they could dig their grave with the BS shovel.

You would think someone would have enough intelligence to char the chips with a torch before laying the blame on wooden sabotage.

Thanks for the info. Since the dealership claimed this was vandalism, I contacted my insurance company and they have been working on this for over 1 month. It has been escalated to their special investigative team and they have not made a decision yet. I am hoping they have an independent investigator look into this, but they have told me without a camera showing someone doing this they will not pursue the dealer. I am waiting for a report from the insurance company and I plan to go see the owner of the dealership and file a complaint with the new car commission and will then contact Hyundai. The insurance adjuster has never seen anything like this . The dealer had it approved to replace the block and the block has been sitting at dealership and once they broke the motor down, this was their allegations which I never believed and no one else does also.

“…and will then contact Hyundai”

I believe that the OP is doing things in the wrong sequence.

Whenever a dealership’s service department demonstrates that it is either unable to unwilling to take care of a warranty issue, the corporate folks should be contacted immediately. Assuming that the contact folks at Hyundai corporate are at all knowledgeable about things mechanical, I can’t believe that they would buy the type of BS that the dealership is attempting to foist on the OP.

Anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about IC engines could look at that photo and know that the dealership’s tale is simply not believable. The OP needs to kick things up to the corporate level NOW.

VDC is correct. I would never have bothered the insurance company but gone directly to corporate.

I’ll be back later to follow this and may be able to add some more insight. In the meantime I wholeheartedly concur with VDCdriver; get corporate Hyundai involved in this right now. Seriously, they should have been informed of this wood chip business from the start.

Even the placement of the chips in the cylinder look like they were scattered there by hand.

Thanks for the info. I am calling Hyundai now. I figured once they threw out the vandalism word , I wanted some type of proof from a professional that it wasn’t. I will up date as soon as I have new info

To the OP’s benefit, even though this is–to some extent–a case of he said/she said, the photo of those “planted” wood chips should be enough evidence for Hyundai corporate to realize that the dealership is scamming the OP.

Edited to add:
I hope that the OP doesn’t say something like “I’ll never buy another Hyundai”, because that tends to remove some of the incentive for the mfr to come to the OP’s aid. Instead, the OP should emphasize how he/she LOVES the car, but is incredibly disappointed at the shabby treatment that he/she is receiving from the dealership’s service department.

Tell the corporate folks that you hope to be a loyal Hyundai customer for many more years, but that you will probably go to a different Hyundai dealership in the future after experiencing the way that this dealership has chosen to NOT deal with the situation.

Who knows? It is even possible that the corporate folks might have the car towed to a different dealership.

I don’t see how corporate can not rule in the OP’s favor.

The question now becomes is how Hyundai can compensate the OP for their time and loss of transportation. That may require small claims court.

“The dealer had it approved to replace the block”

How could wood chips damage a block or piston?
So many packed in it arbolocked (like hydrolock but with a tree) and bent a rod?
With only a few chips one could lodge between a valve head and seat, killing compression or even holding a valve open far enough to hit a piston.
The chips would be unburned if the cylinder never fired after they were put in.
But yeah I’d think they would smell of raw fuel.

But the fact that it drove 13 miles with (I assume) no misfires or check engine light rules out the above.

If there were justice in this situation not only would the manufacturer cover the damages 100% and give the OP a free loaner while the work is going on, but they’d also open up an investigation to find out (1) who did this, and (2) if there are other incidents of this type of occurrence at that dealership.

I had a car involved in such an investigation once years ago that was conducted by the state attorney general’s office. I have no idea what initiated the investigation, but I got a full refund for maintenance work that had been recently (not?) done. The dealer shut down not long after.

Think About It… If You Were Going To The Trouble Of Vandalizing A Car, Would You Choose Wood Chips To Do The Dirty Work? There Are So Many Other Desirable Things That Would Do More Harm And Would Be Easier To Instill…

On the other hand, when critters (primarily rodents) “vandalize” a car they often use what’s available (seeds, acorns, nest building material, etcetera). Could critters pack in chips anywhere where they could be ingested by the engine? I can’t imagine how that would work. It seems like they’d be on the business side of the air filter.