Hyundai Won't Honor Their Warranty on Theta II Engine


If only the owner’s personal reminder notes to themselves are available, absent verifiable receipts from shops or parts stores, seems to me that Hyundai has the one-up, and the right to deny the warranty claim.


@ common_sense_answer My problem with Consumer Reports is that it now seems to test upscale products. Back in the early 1950s, CR tested products on the very low end. I remember looking at one 1952 issue where they compared the low end Chevrolet Special with the low end Ford Mainline 6. Now the low end Chevrolet Special didn’t even have an ashtray and didn’t have a passenger side sun visor. The Ford Mainline was just as sparsely equipped. Most purchasers bought the Chevrolet Deluxe which didn’t cost much more and did have an ashtray and passenger side sun visor. Most Ford buyers went for the Customline. These more upscale cars were the ones that should have been tested. In another 1952 issue, CR compared the Dodge Wayfarer with a stripped down Pontiac 6. The Wayfarer 2 door was on a shorter wheelbase than the senior Meadowbrook and Coronet. Very few 1952 Pontiac 6 cylinder cars were sold. Most buyers went for the 8 cylinder with the Hydramatic automatic transmission.
Now it seems to me CR tests products on the other extreme. I am not going to buy a Tesla or a $5000 refrigerator. We just had to replace our dishwasher that submitted its retirement papers after 29 years. This was a frustrating experience. There were plenty of models on display at the big box stores, but these were for display only. We were finally able to find a suitable model that was available at the third big box store. The one we bought scored about the middle of the pack. It does the job and I would guess that most differences among dishwashers is minimal. In the old days of independently owned appliance stores which sold and serviced one brand, CRs rating was valuable in deciding what to purchase. These independent stores are all gone in my area. I was so disgusted trying to buy a dishwasher at one big box store when I was told that it was a week to get it delivered from the warehouse that I told the salesperson I could get a machine faster from Amazon.
I subscribe to Consumer Reports, but I question its value to a consumer like me.


Is that the only explanation for sludge? Couldn’t an engine defect cause sludge, either the design or a problem at manufacture, at least conceivably? For example it seems like if the pathways that allow engine oil to drain back to the crankcase from the top of the engine were defective, that might cause sludge to form over time.


Hyundai engines have not all been bad. I have never owned one but close relatives have owned 4. Never an engine problem and didn’t we just have a post with a 2013 Hyundai with 1 million miles on it with the original engine and transmission.


The note the engine was low on oil seems to be the bull in the china shop.


Fake news? The 2013 Hyundai Elantra has a very high number of complaints on Car Complaints, 475 complaints, 84 for engine. In comparison the 2013 Ford Focus, considered a disaster for the dual clutch automatic transmission shifting complaints has 439 complaints.


You are making a car payment every month for a car that won’t run. Let’s just guesstimate the payments on the car at $400 a month. You’ve paid $9600 for the car over 2 years. It has lost value just sitting there so another $5000 in depreciation You need to pay for another form of transportation in the meantime. Let’s say you paid $2000 for a clunker to drive and $500 in service to keep it running. Now we are at $17,100… for a car that won’t run. The math says that is stupid.

Sorry for your situation, but there were and are options. Doing nothing wasn’t the best one.


Ken, what was the real issue here?

Was the vehicle run low on oil?

Was it the lack of maintenance receipts?

Was your engine issue one of the fault that is known on these engines or something else (“didn’t put oil in it often enough.”)

Too few oil changes?

Please note that too few oil changes or lack or receipts to prove that’s not the case is totally different from not adhering to the Owner’s Manual requirement that the owner is responsible for frequently (every gas fill-up) checking oil and replenishing the volume as needed.

That would certainly cause the engine to get hot enough as it was self-destructing to “cook” the remaining/residual motor oil into a nice sludge.

You have responded to others’ questions and comments, but have missed or ignored mine. Please scroll back up a bit and find the post where I asked for information pertaining to oil consumption rate and checking/topping-off frequency and respond. Otherwise I see this whole discussion as irrelevant.

Your discussion. Your call, I guess. Answer or ignore.


Did he respond to my question regarding how many months it took to accumulate those 7k miles between oil changes? If he did respond, I must have missed it.


he said they opened motor and saw sludge. if he had proper receipts they would have said darn, we gotta replace it under warranty. but they did not. so that tells you something
why why why did he write down notes in his manual and NOT save receipts???


You’re missing the point. They didn’t ASK to see maintenance records and they refused to even look at them when I offered them. They didn’t say, “I hope you have receipts for all your oil changes, if you do we’ll replace the engine.” And they didn’t look at the handwritten records and say that’s not good enough. They REFUSED TO EVEN LOOK AT MY MAINTENANCE RECORDS!

They had a policy to NOT REPLACE THE ENGINE unless absolutely necessary.

Now they had just recalled model years 2011-2014 for the same problem. If they replaced the engine, people might think there was a problem with the 2015 models, too. But they took a gamble that I wouldn’t make a fuss about the whole thing, and that I wouldn’t sue them, and they were half-right (I can’t afford to sue them yet).

Why do YOU think they refused to look at my maintenance records?


Sorry. I didn’t mean to ignore your question. I had to look it up in my paperwork.
I bought the car July 6, 2014, with 10 miles on it. The new vehicle limited warranty was 5 years, 60,000 miles from original sale. Power Train Warrant: 10 years, 100,000 miles from original sale.

February 13, 2016, with 8,060 miles, had routine maintenance at the dealership. Oil and filter change. 7 months, 8,000 miles.

My Owner’s Manual Maintenance Log, for Engine Oil and Filter (2.4GDI): Replace every 7,500 miles or 12 moths.

It also says Additional maintenance to be added for severe usage, but I wasn’t doing anything “severe” other than living in Texas.


I didn’t have 10,000 to replace the engine (I still don’t because I own a small business). Not making payments would have resulted in a reposession, affecting my credit. I fail to see another “option” that was less stupid.


I’m not a “car guy”. You guys obviously are. I am a “research guy”, though… And this is what I learned about he Sonata and the Theta II engines, after mine failed:

In September 2015, Hyundai recalled 470,000 Sonatas, model years 2011 & 2012) to prevent engine failures and fires. The Sonatas all had 2-liter or 2.4 liter gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines, called the Theta II engine. (See Theta II Engine Knocking and Seizing, Updated December 6, 2017)

A former Hyundai engineer told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that Hyundai was “well aware of the Theta II problems, even as they denied it publicly and pushed against a recall”.

In May 2015, Chimicles & Tikellis LLP filed a class-action lawsuit against Hyundai.

After a year in court, Hyundai reached a proposed settlement, reimbursing Sonata owners who paid for engine block repairs or replacement.

While the original lawsuit only mentioned the 2011 and 2012 model years, the settlement covered any 2011-2014 Sonata in the US with the Theta II 2-liter or 2.4 liter GDI engines.

A Hyundai/Kia Engine Lawsuit Says Theta II Engines are Defective. (See Hyundai/Kia Engine Lawsuit Says Theta II Engines are Defective, By David A Wood,, Dated February 19, 2018:

The lawsuit claims Hyundai and Kia owners have vehicles with decreased resale values because of the Theta II engines that lose power, knock and stall. Both automakers have allegedly known about the Theta II engine problems but concealed that knowledge to continue selling the defective vehicles.

The lawsuit alleges owners complain to Hyundai about the engine problems, but the automakers routinely blame customers for failing to properly maintain the vehicles. Even when the warranties are allegedly still in force, the lawsuit claims dealers refuse to make free repairs to the vehicles.

The federal government, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - NHTSA) is investigating Hyundai. (See Hyundai and Kia Theta II Engine Recalls Investigated, May 21, 2017)

Safety regulators want to know if Hyundai and Kia did enough, and fast enough, concerning the recalls of nearly 1.7 million vehicles with Theta engines.

NHTSA maintains a list of customer complaints for different makes and models of cars. (See NHTSA Engine Problems)

Several reports highlight similar problems to mine.

Complaint #78: “I was told I need a new engine because of sludge indicating that I hadn’t had regular oil changes. The car it two years old and I’ve had five oil changes. … We never had any warning light that our oil was low.”

Complaint #75: Took it to 2 Hyundai dealers, both said car needs engine replaced, neither could tell me exactly why. Said engine is all gunky. First dealer said it was due to metal shavings in oil. Second dealer tried to blame us for poor maintenance, even though we have service records.

Complaint #73: “… Hyundai is now claiming that the engine failure is due to neglect as now they are requiring all maintenance records for my vehicle or my warrant is null.”

The Theta II engines were known to have problems, resulting in recalls for model years 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. When a 2015 model with 30,000 miles presents with the same problems as those previous years, why did the company not (1) ask to see maintenance records, and (2) why did they assume that the problem is an owner maintenance issue?

How would Hyundai tell the difference between an engine that was damaged due to known previous problems and an engine that was not properly maintained? Wouldn’t the seized engine have the same appearance? Wouldn’t they both have sludge in the engine? If they were able to tell the difference, shouldn’t they inform the customer what process they used?

Is it because the company simply rejected all claims for engine failures?

How many other claims have been denied by the company?

If an owner failed to maintain an engine properly, it would result in high temperature gauge warnings. Why did my car seize up without any warning?


Seems there are a lot of people in the same boat as you regarding this issue. So many in fact that there are attorneys advertising to help with Hyundai engine failure and warranty claims. That isn’t a good sign. I picked the first one I saw but there are many others. Within this link they specify the issue and what is known to cause the problem. Not sure if this will help but its interesting to read the info on this known issue.

In addition…and possibly exacerbating the issue is the instance of the Turbo models… People choose to use regular oil instead of full Synth which is a common source of oil sludge due to the high temps at the turbo cooking regular motor oil…Synth can handle higher temps without turning to Fudge. Your vehicle may have been fighting a battle on two fronts if the incorrect engine oil was used in a Turbo and having a known mfg defect as well.


dealer says no. arbitrator says no. what do you want from this website? maybe a poster here can provide a link to a lawyer that beat hyundai for a sludge case?


Info was what I was looking for from the website… Outside of that nothing… I didn’t include it as a Silver Bullet to solve his dilemma. I just thought it was interesting that a law firm listed this as a specific Advert to attract business. It speaks to how widespread the issue is and explains it to those, who…like me…was not aware of all this business in the first place. I hope the OP has some luck with some avenue but the link was for me and maybe others to catch us up on the issue.


You borrowed money to buy the car. You can’t borrow more to fix the car? Personal loan, credit cards, or loan against your house or business? You say you are a good researcher? Try researching a lower cost engine repair or replacement. Try researching how to fix it yourself, how to rent and use the tools needed, the machine shops that do the work or buying and installing a re-manufactured engine.

You can rant about the problem here until we all get tired of reading and posting about it. None of it will be read by Hyundai and none of it will solve your current dilemma of a dead car. Lots of good advice was delivered without you even asking for it. You choose to argue instead. So the problem continues. Enjoy your Hyundai and Good Luck


Since you refuse to respond to my questions that could help you understand this I will take a wild guess. Then perhaps you’ll respond to that.

Maintenance records show oil changes.

I’m guessing that upon doing an autopsy on the engine it was determined that the engine was run low on oil or run out of oil, making checking any oil change records a moot point.

It is the owner’s responsibility (read your manual & warranty) to keep adequate oil in the engine (especially important if trying to stretch oil changes to 7,000 mile intervals which I would never do). I check my oil on all 6 cars, weekly. I add if or whenever any of them are 1/4 quart (8 ounces) low.

Since you won’t respond and I have inadequate information put forth on your end, that’s all I’m coming up with to answer you. This could have nothing to do with the supposed engine defect.



I wouldn’t accept that either. Either show me a receipt from a real repair shop, or at minimum show me the receipts from the auto parts store from when you bought the oil and filters if you did the work yourself.

I can fake any hand-written note I want any time I want, and businesses know that.

This isn’t to say that the situation is your fault, or that Hyundai shouldn’t have to work with you on repairing the engine, but it is to say that in future, get better documentation to reduce headaches.

Your next step should be to consult with a lawyer, not car-repair guys, and you should expect to be at least partially responsible for the necessary repair unless you can come up with better documentation that you did what you were supposed to do.