Repeated Clutch Failure on 2004 Elantra

We need to replace the clutch on our 2004 Elantra for the 4th time! The dealer likes to insist that it is user caused although I have been driving stick shift cars for 2 decades and have never needed to replace the clutch on other vehicles including my 98 Neon which is still running with the original clutch. At this point I am convinced that the problem lies within the engineering. Have others had similar experiences? Your information will be helpful. If others believe a lawsuit would be the most effective means of correcting the situation, perhaps we could work together.

It would help if you could describe the actual clutch failures the dealer is finding.

Is the clutch disk worn?
Is the pressure plate blued/scorched/burned?
Is the dual-mass flywheel acting up?
Is the throwout bearing burned out?

What are the failure symptoms that you’re experiencing every time you need to bring it in?

You really need to provide some substantial details about these clutch repairs as to symptoms, what was or was not done or replaced, and whether or not anyone else has been behind the wheel of this car.

At this point you seem to be assuming the problem lies with the design and omitting the possibility of a faulty repair; if that’s even the case.

Thanks for your replies.

For this current iteration of clutch failure (the 4th clutch we will need for a 6 year old car), it is slipping 8 months after we got our 3rd clutch.

With the third failure, the dealer determined that the flywheel and clutch were worn. (They were only about 1.5 years old) We had the clutch, flywheel, and the slave cylinder replaced.

I kept pressing for more testing to determine why a 5 year old car would need 3 clutches. They were very sure of themselves that there was nothing else wrong with the engine or with the design and it must be user error. Why have I not had any user error with all of my other vehicles including my 1998 Neon which I purchased 12 years ago and is still servicing with the original clutch?

Any other information would be greatly appreciated. This has been an expensive and frustrating situation.

Thanks again for trying to help problem solve this clutch mystery.

With that many clutch failures I would take a serious look at the clutch master cylinder.

When a clutch slave cylinder leaks it can only leak externally. So unless there was evidence of leakage at the slave cylinder I don’t understand why it was replaced. The clutch master cylinder however can leak internally. When this happens the hydraulic fluid bypasses the seals inside the master cylinder to where not enough hydraulic pressure is produced to fully disengage the clutch. This then causes the clutch to slip even when the clutch pedal is fully depressed. And this of course will shorten the clutch life.

The only thing that hasn’t been done that can attribute to the short clutch life is replace the clutch master cylinder.


I agree with Tester about the master clutch cylinder.

There might also be an issue with clutch adjustments on this vehicle - given the binding that can (and sometimes does occur) with the rod between the slave cylinder and throw-out bearing. As it passes through the bell housing, that rod goes through a hard plastic sleeve that can become gritty-and-dry begin to bind. When it begins to bind, the clutch never fully releases and can be prone to slipping. I’ve seen this with manual Hyundai’s of that vintage. I’m not saying this is a mass engineering failure, but it is something to look out for.

Another possibility could be the reuse of an aged and weakened pressure plate if the clutch disc only was changed while ignoring the rest of the clutch kit.

I’m not much of a Hyundai guy but if the slave cylinder or clutch master cylinder operating rods are adjustable then maybe they’re adjusted out too far. This could create a constant pressure on the clutch disc and allow it to slip; similar to driving around with a foot on the brake pedal.

Just offhand, I don’t think this is a car engineering problem and it’s more likely related to someone overlooking something during the repair.

Thanks for your thoughts. It would be so nice if we could fix the car so it stopped eating clutches!

I don’t think they changed the master cylinder, but I’m not 100% sure. On the line where they charged for the slave it says “replaced master/slave clutch cylinder (spring inside)”. My memory is that we were told that’s just what the slave was called, but I’m not completely sure. The other repair line says “replaced clutch, flywheel, and bearing”.

My memory is that they checked for leaks and didn’t find any. We asked them to replace the slave cylinder because someone online had had similar problems and said this fixed it. Part of the reason we suspect engineering failure is that a ton of people seem to have had similar issues – see:

In particular, in one of the posts on that site someone said that “the slave cylinder has a small spring and plate that is designed to restrict fluid return to the clutch fluid reservoir which in turn forces the clutch to slip between gear shifts”

Thanks again for all the informed thoughts on this matter. We’re pretty frustrated; this last clutch went out after 12,188 miles!

The clutch on my 2004 elantra is going out. I have never replaced the clutch, but it only has about 60,000 miles. I have always had standard transmission cars and this is the first car where the clutch has started to go at 60,000 miles. I put nearly 200,000 miles on a Colt Vista and never had to replace the clutch.

Shouldn’t this be covered under the 10yr/100k miles warranty that Hyundai has on their cars?

Check with Hyundai Of America first before you shell out any cash.

The clutches on the Hyundai vehicles are only covered for 12 months or 12K miles. This is specifically called out in the warranty information.

The only part of the clutch mechanism that falls under the 10yr/100k mileage warranty is the flywheel.