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Should current news re: Hyundai engine fires & warranty lawsuits affect my decision to buy a used Elantra?

I don’t think Elantra was named in the news coverage but Hyundai’s response to customers under warranty with engine fires in models named plus Hyundai’s quality control over engines makes me wonder if I should keep or drop the Elantra from the list of used cars that I’m considering. I’d appreciate any words of wisdom.

That’s really a decision you have to make. You have access to the same news stories we do – if this problem would cause you concern, or put you in hardship should it happen to you, then you should probably take it off the list. If you’re not particularly worried about it and/or can absorb the impact should the problem happen to you, and you want the car, then go for it.


Unless there is some compelling reason that you want this particular car more than a different brand of used car, I’d steer clear of it just for peace of mind.

Hyundai’s quality control procedures are no worse than any other manufacturer, but being in the market for a used car gives you all kinds of options that you won’t have to fret over.

Having said all that, you should get any potential used car checked by your mechanic (at your expense to avoid conflict of interest) before you buy it anyway. That is enough to alleviate most problems when buying a used car.


I have a similar situation. My wife wants a new minivan, and I’d really like to get the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid. However, they have a problem when switching from electric to the gasoline engine. Unless a software fix is installed, raw gasoline will be injected into the cylinders without firing on the first stroke. The gas is then ejected into the catalytic converter, damaging it. The converter gets hot anyway, but gets really hot if the gasoline lights up. This is all inside the exhaust system, but it heats the exhaust pipe enough to start plastic parts, like wiring insulation, smoking. IMO, the possibility of fire is too high to buy one. When I see six months go by when customers don’t complain to the NHTSA about this problem, I’ll reconsider. The last one was at the end of January, and Chrysler has known about the issue since at least last summer. I also would pass on the Hyundai. The potential consequences from a fire are bad enough that I’d stay away, even if the chance is remote.

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Simple , if you are concerned before you even look then scratch it of the list .


See? We agree on lots of stuff. I have to confess I have considered the brand mainly due to the low cost, but I don’t think they are on my list of approved brands anymore. Just don’t need the hassle. 100,000 mile warranty or not, once a reputation is shot, it’s hard to get it back.

I’m not familiar with what’s causing the fires. The basic gist we get here about Hyundais is they are good cars for the first 10 years, but don’t seem to hold up as well as some other well-known-to-be-reliable makes after 10 years. What Elantra model years are you considering? Maybe those aren’t the ones with the fire problem.

My impression was that the problem with fires was caused by Hudai/Kia decision to use plastic fuel injector rail, which apparently tends to leak over time, so the older car gets, the higher the chances are.

A friend of mine used to have Sonata which he asked me to look over mechanical condition since he started heading some “knock” and it was the one and only modern car I’ve seen with crankshaft bearings worn to the point of making it knock… at under 50K miles to my recollection, I’ve also found it to have a strong gasoline smell from under the hood, which he said he always complained to the dealer and they were always telling him “it is normal”. He traded it from another Sonata, as Hyundai was the only dealer to give him ANY money for his old car. So far it works for him, but his car is apparently affected by the new Theta II engine problem, so he’s on suspect trouble list once again. Unsurprisingly, his recent new car is not Hundai anymore and his Hundai was given for the kid’s first car.

Another friend of mine owns Hundai Accent and he drives a lot. Car lasted just fine until 110K miles, then started to burn oil on an increasing rate. No fuel leaks for him, at least yet.

If it was me, I might keep it on the list, just bump it to the bottom. If your other choices don’t pan out, then consider. When I was looking for a good used car recently, I discovered many choices and that I didn’t have to lock in to a particular car or model or manufacturer.

Your replies helped my thinking process a lot. Thanks! I decided for peace of mind to drop Hyundai from my car purchase list.

It may be unrealistic but wouldn’t it be great if Hyundai management read our comments here and saw with fresh eyes the potential (or real in my case!) economic impact of not addressing customer safety concerns and warranty issues re: engine fires … and then took corrective action?

No , because they want verifiable comments . Reports from the dealers and insurance carriers carry more weight .

I disagree. I think it would be great.

I expect manufacturers do have someone reading social media and car forum posts made about their products. Common sense says they’d do that just to keep up on what’s being said. Whether they monitor here or not, don’t know. The problem with this sort of monitoring is that there’s no way to know if the poster is posting their actual thinking on the subject, or if it is an 11-year old playing games, or maybe it is someone associated w/a competitor trying to cast doubt, disgruntled owner, etc.

I always thought manufacturer specific forums are maintained/ran by the manufacturer, otherwise who else wants to run a site like that.
If they are investing on having a forum, they probably know what is going on there. Now, how much weight they put on it is a different story.

At this point, I not only would avoid BUYING a Hyundai or Kia with the GDI engine, I likely wouldn’t even accept one as a gift.

the 3 samples from my friends stables I brought in the message above actually had other trend: the one with GDI held more or less fine, the one which failed and another under “watch for possible problems” list were of older port-injection type