2015 Sonata Limited FAILED inspection because ABS light on dash DID NOT illuminate during startup?!

Nine months ago I purchased a 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited w/ Tech pkg from a Hyundai dealer in Pittsburgh. I have taken the car with me for a 2 year employment term in Quebec Canada. In order to drive the vehicle in Canada, it must undergo an inspection according to Canadian standards. As part of that inspection, during vehicle startup, the ABS warning light on the dash must illuminate for 3 seconds and then go out to signify normal operation of the ABS. My ABS light did not illuminate during startup, so it failed. I took the car to a Canadian Hyundai dealer. The diagnostic came back with no error codes, the ABS module functioned normally, and an emergency stop road test activated the ABS system. Despite this, the regulatory body in Quebec for motor vehicles will not pass it for inspection because the ABS light did not illuminate at start up.

I’d like to say I was able to convince them by opening my owner’s manual, but to my surprise the owner’s manual states that the ABS light SHOULD illuminate for 3 seconds and then extinguish. My ABS light has never come on since the first day I bought the car. Canadian dealer recommend replacing the entire instrument cluster (despite a clean diagnostic) for 1200$ CAD.

I immediately contacted Frank (sold me the car from dealer) and additionally spoke to Bill and Jamie in the service department about this issue. I didn’t get very far with them, so I’m hoping you can help resolve the problem. Frank was able to replicate the same condition (NO ABS light at start up) on an identical 2015 Hyundai sonata limited vehicle (he’s driving a demo) and stated there were no pending recalls.

Thus, this is not a manufacturer defect (able to replicate on identical vehicle), there is no malfunction in the ABS system (Canada diagnostic), and there is a discrepancy in the owner’s manual that is model-specific. There is no breakdown for ABS in the owner’s manual to this effect, so I am unable to reference ABS lighting conditions specific to the Limited edition during the inspection process. (They are glued to the fact that the manual says the ABS light does illuminate because it’s in black and white). Hyundai Motor America, who had no other reference than the manual, suggested another inspection.

Another inspection is not going to find an issue. Although I could have the instrument cluster replaced (surprisingly not covered at Canadian dealerships despite their willingness to have the American part shipped from the US), replacing the instrument cluster will not solve the problem because the cluster is manufactured and operating at it should be.

I was told that if the US dealer could provide a letter that states that ABS warning lamp does not illuminate during start up for a 2015 sonata limited or to otherwise clarify the discrepancy, the car will pass inspection. The US dealership has been reluctant to provide this letter, despite replicating the issue on-site, in their own vehicles. (I would think this would be a huge liability for them if all Limited models have this “defect”). I’m am reaching out to you in desperation to assist with information on this issue (maybe you’ve had others ask the same questions or know where I can find an updated manual) so I can satisfy my Canadian inspectors and the car can stay in Canada! I have only 48 hours to provide some recourse or face fines for the infraction. Please help!!

Wow. Yet again, government intervention saves us meek citizens from the horrors of an ABS lamp that doesn’t illuminate during self-test! (I know I feel much safer.)

I was hoping you were going to tell me you were inspecting it in PA…no ABS functionality required here. I’m sorry you’re being hassled by government bureaucrats–you’re hardly the only one.

If it’s any consolation, you will soon be able to curse fluently in French…

The light should illuminate to show that the bulb is not burned out. This is a defect and you need to contact Hyundai and you also might want to contact the NHSTA to report this defect. If the bulb can’t be replaced and the whole cluster has to be replaced this should be a warranty item, no charge to you. If other Hyundai models do not illuminate the light, then they are defective as well.

It might help if you spoke French up there. Since when though did ABS become mandatory? Just pull the plug and tell 'em I don’t have ABS.

Since when though did ABS become mandatory? Just pull the plug and tell 'em I don’t have ABS.

Yeah, nice try but it won’t work. Big Brother is really looking out for you, all cars 2012 and newer are required by the feds to have ABS/traction control/stability control.

At least in the US. Canada, not sure. But since Daytime Running Lights are mandatory, I’d suspect the same applies up there.

“I’m hoping you can help resolve the problem.”

Unfortunately, those of us who volunteer our time on this site have neither regulatory nor punitive powers when it comes to vehicle defects and getting them resolved. All we can do is to make recommendations, and my recommendation is to be persistent with the folks at Hyundai corporate regarding this issue, and to also file a complaint with the NHTSA.

"But since Daytime Running Lights are mandatory, I’d suspect the same applies up there. "

Since DRLs became mandatory in Canada before they were required in The US, I’m sure that the Canadian ABS requirement was effective as of 2012–if not earlier.

This is what the online manual says. Does yor manual say the same thing?

Anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light
Hyundai Sonata: Warnings and indicators. This light illuminates if the ignition switch is turned ON and goes off in 3 seconds if the system is operating normally.
If the ABS warning light remains on, comes on while driving, or does not come on when the ignition switch is turned to the ON position, this indicates that there may be a malfunction with the ABS.
If this occurs, have your vehicle checked by an authorized HYUNDAI dealer as soon as possible. The normal braking system will still be operational, but without the assistance of the anti-lock brake system.

i would contact usa Hyundai and get it sorted.

They have warranty service north of border, if not a drive to Nh, vt or me is not that far to a Hyundai dealer who would address problem.


I agree that on any vehicle that has ABS, the light should illuminate for a few seconds upon startup, and then turn off

On any abs vehicle I’ve ever worked on, for what it’s worth

Here’s what I would do . . . go to a Hyundai dealer and explain the situation. Ask them to hook up their scanner and command the abs light to turn on. If it does NOT come on when commanded to do so, there might be a problem with the cluster

That said, there is clearly a problem, because the light is never coming on

And you shouldn’t have to pay one cent for the repair, because this vehicle is under warranty

It’s up to a Hyundai dealer to diagnose and repair the vehicle, at no charge to you

I would even go so far as to request/demand a loaner car while they resolve your complaint

Is Hyundai of Canada denying coverage, because you have a US-spec model?

Thank you all for the comments. To UncleTurbo, when the fuses are pulled, yes the bulb illuminates (as it should because now there is a fault in the system). It is not burnt out. I’ve seen the same discrepancy in 5 Limiteds now. Strangely enought, the ABS lamps in the SE and Sport models work at startup. Why is it different in the Sonata Limited, I don’t know. But I doubt all 5 have a defective cluster. If they do, then why hasn’t Hyundai released a recall about the issue and how can dealers be moving these cars off the lot with such a significant malfunction? I cannot find any other complaints about this issue - likely because Limited drivers don’t realize it IS an issue. I’ve gone ahead and filed a complaint with NHTSA.

And as far as the “folks at Hyundai” are concerned, they are looking at the same manual I have in my car. Their advice was to get another inspection.

ABS and your problem, Absoulute Bull Stuff, can you keep US tags while in Canada, does not look like there will be an easy fix to this ABS issue.

The OP should consider filing a Lemon Law complaint with Hyundai.
Being successful with one of these complaints usually means that the defect in question must “materially affect the safety or drivability” of the car, and I think that this should qualify, as failure to pass a government inspection will…eventually…mean that the car is not drivable.

The complicating factor, of course, will be the US purchase/Canadian residency issue.

Since the ABS light does not come on during startup, it makes me wonder if the ABS module is even conducting its self-test . . .

This would deeply concern me, as ABS is a very important safety feature of the car

I would fight Hyundai corporate tooth and nail to get this issue resolved

The idea of just getting another inspection is a very lame cop-out on Hyundai’s part. Shame on them

As mentioned above, I would consider getting a lawyer involved. You don’t want to ignore this until the warranty has expired

From what Knfenimore posted from the manual the ABS bulb test can be observed by turning the ignition switch “on” however it seems that in Canada the ABS light must illuminate when starting the engine. Have you tried the verification test by switching the ignition to the on position and not starting the engine?

I don’t thing Hyundai can be forced to make a U.S. purchased vehicle meet Canadian specifications. Have you contacted a higher authority to get a ruling on this inspection discrepancy?

It makes no difference . . .

If you leave the key in the on position for a few seconds before starting . . .

If you immediately start the engine . . .

The ABS light must be on for a few seconds before extinguishing. During this time, the system is conducting a self-test

In my opinion, it is clear that whoever OP talked to is too lazy to get off their ___ and get the ball rolling, so this can be diagnosed and repaired correctly

As far as “inspection discrepancy” . . . I don’t see a discrepancy

The Canadian inspection wants the light to remain on for 3 seconds, while the car conducts a self-test, then extinguish, signalling everything is okay

So does the owner’s manual

And the car is NOT doing it

I don’t see a discrepancy, or a difference, for that matter

I’m afraid I can’t help much but I wonder if this is a chronic issue that just hasn’t made its way through the bureaucratic chain at Hyundai yet seeing as how this is a 2015 model.

Sometimes it takes a year or so for repeat problems to end up as a recall or technical service bulletin.
Granted, that doesn’t help you at the moment and I can understand the dealer’s reluctance to commit themselves in writing due to that always nasty potential liability issue.

There are more than a few States in the U.S. where this problem would cause the car to fail a safety inspection too…Hyundai must fix the problem or give you an “official” letter of explanation explaining why the ABS system does not function as per their own specs at start-up…

It appears your car violates US fmvss 135. I would contact NHSTA and Hyundai corporate. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=

It appears that you have no warranty coverage in Canada, which wouldn’t surprise me as I know that’s true for at least one other manufacturer (Acura). In that case, how far is the nearest US Hyundai dealer? I think you might end up needing to let that dealer take a crack at fixing the problem, replacing the instrument cluster if that’s what they determine they want to do. If that doesn’t work, as you’re anticipating, then perhaps a lemon law would apply, as it does mean the car can’t be driven in some jurisdictions.