An exhausting Hyundai question

Our nearly new 2010 Hyundai Elantra has been discharging exhaust through the small ports in all of the doors and the hatch. These are the small squares designed to allow water to drain out. Each square has exhaust residue around it, some covering quite a large area. Our dealer’s service manager says he’s never seen anything like it and there is no recall or service item about this. The shop checked our exhasust system and found no leakage. He thinks it’s a design problem and offered no solutions. What gives? If the seals ever deteriorate, will we be gassed in our own vehicle?

For the exhaust to get inside or come out anywhere other then the tail pipe it must have a leak. Remember the exhaust includes everything from the engine to the very end of the tailpipe.

I’m with Joseph.

With your owner’s manual should be a booklet outlining a process for following up problems beyond the dealer. Follow that. Document everything, requiring specific descriptions of the complaint on the shop order and specific responses from the dealer’s shop. Keep all of your copies. Also take photos of the exhaust residue. keep these as documneted evidence of the problem.

Also, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). This is a safety issue.

A letter to the Atty General’s Consumer Protectioin Office can’t hurt either.

You can also have an independent shop put a “sniffer” by the openings and print the results. If exhaust is moving through those orafices, the sniffer will detect the exhaust components. That’ll be absolute evidence. Body cavities do not put out CO2, CO, and NOx by themselves. The cost should be minimal, less than $25.

Bottom line: you need to continue to push the issue, document everything, and use every outside agency you can to support your claim.

Has the dealer contacted Hyundai’s customer service department. They have done an outstanding job dealing with complaints here. And I am very curious about exhaust being identified as exiting from the doors. Exhaust from a properly running engine leaves virtually no residue. But for the sake of your health take mountainbike’s advice and get the body ‘sniffed’ for hydrocarbons, etc. Give Hyundai the bill.

Rod made a good point. Are you certain that this is exhaust residue and not residue being washed out the drain holes from a manufacturing process? The “sniffer” would at least confirm or disprove exhaust as the source.

By the way, manufacturing residue coming out the drainholes would not be acceptable, but at least it wouldn’t be dangerous. Stamping oils, welding residues, they can both be messy but not dangerous.

Thanks, guys! These are all excellent ideas. I should add that the residue smells and tastes like exhaust. Even the service manager agrees that it is. I’m not sure about manufacturing residue. We first noticed the problem when we got discoloration and residue along the body just behind the rear doors. We chalked that up to road grime working its way up the space between the door and the body. We no longer see that. My wife also pulled some grittier stuff out of the holes in the hatchback door. Might have been some sort of build-up.

I will take all of your suggestions. I have a reliable mechanic I can get to conduct the ‘sniff test’. I don’t take the Hyundai to him because it’s still under warranty.

Thanks again. I’ll post updates as they occur

While it may just be something that’s flew up to the areas that’s been near the exhaust, you should really not drive this until they sort out what’s wrong with the car. You never know when you’ll take a deep breath and pass out from CO2 poisoning.

Shooting from the hip, I would have to guess that the car was hauled on a truck, positioned at the top/front position and taking many miles of diesel exhaust. The car left the factory with a “skin” to protect the finish but it would not prevent the particulates from accumulating in the door jams and door handles. But until it can definitely be determined that there is no exhaust leak involved I would recommend that rodbowling drive with the window open.

OK, we think that it is NOT exhaust. After much crawling around and pulling panels, it appears to be road grime with a hefty amount of oil/grease, etc. The buildup on hauling makes sense as well. I am now satisfied that we will survive our travels. I will get the dealer to replace a few of the plastic plugs running along the bottom of the vehicle which might be allowing rainy globs from entering the ventilation system. And, our tailpipe is remarkably clean so we don’t think it is getting sucked back into the panels that way either. Thanks to all for your prompt suggestions.