CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Should I Return My New Hyundai Elantra?

Help! I just bought a new 2010 Hyundai Elantra SE (literally tonight). I test drove the GLS with the sales rep in the car, and he upsold me on a “better ride” in the SE. I bought the SE without testing it… As I drove it home, I quite literally got nauseous due to the bumpy ride. It was also veering left a bit. I see online that it could be a tire inflation issue but that the bumpy ride is a fundamental flaw of the car. Should I try to return it? I can’t imagine doing that after driving it home and causing a problem of this nature, but it’s horrible. Can I ask the dealer to change anything about it to make it better? The whole reason I bought the SE was for the better tires/ride… Thank you for any help!!! (I paid $16k, which includes them installing a sun roof and blue tooth in the vehicle.)

"I bought the SE without testing it… "

Are you asking this forum to validate your stupidity?

Twotone

[edit] OK, I’ll be nice. “Sir, not test driving the actual motor vehicle you purchased was rather fool-hearty. I suggest you contact your state’s automobile dealers association post haste and inquire regarding your recourse.”

Depending on the laws in your mystery state of residence, you may have the right of recission for a very limited period of time. I would suggest that you go back to the dealership on the next business day, and ask about your options.

As we have heard on more than one occasion in this forum, buying a vehicle other than the exact same model that you test drove can produce some unpleasant surprises. We knew it, and now you know it.

A quick look at the Hyundai website shows the SE to have lower profile tires (205/55R16 vs. 195/65R15) and a sport tuned suspension. To some folks and to a salesman trying to upsell a buyer this could be considered a “better ride”.

In NJ, I believe a buyer has 3 business day to back out of a contract. This would vary from to state to state. Perhaps the dealer would let you trade it for a GLS, but you are going to take a financial beating. The aftermarket sunroof and Bluetooth are going to complicate things a bit also.

Another option would be to replace the tires with the 195/65R15 size from the GLS. The higher aspect sidewall should cushion the ride more. The dealer may be willing to work with you on this. I don’t know if there will be any issues with the sport tuned suspension though. Another option would be to buy 4 new tires/wheels from an outfit like Tire Rack and selling the OEM wheels and tires privately.

Before going into a complete panic, check that the tire pressure is set to the psi on the door placard. The car should not pull in either direction, that’s something for the dealer to fix. Give it some time, you may get used to it.

Ed B.

I believe it is called buyer’s remorse.

I thought we were supposed to be nice.

shirlingtonchristian, if you take it back, be prepared to pay for the depreciation that happened the moment you drove it off the lot. Buying a car you didn’t test drive was a big mistake, so be prepared to pay for it.

Forgive me, but this is appears to be more than just buyer’s remorse. This looks to me like a case of bait and switch, although I agree it was probably completely preventable.

I think I would check the tire pressure. Sometimes cars are shipped with the tires inflated to a very high pressure and once in a while the dealer doesn’t catch this on the pre-delivery inspection. This may be the only problem with your new car. Set the pressure to the sticker on the left door pillar.

I prefer a firmer ride than the ride on many cars with the standard suspension. When I bought used cars, when the car needed new shock absorbers, I would replace the original shock absorbers with a shock that would give a firmer ride.

The SE ride is better, you just don’t like a stiffer suspension, but it is your own fault. Call and ask the dealer what your options are.

when you buy a pig in a poke, you learn to live with the squeel, but in some states you can take it back, so find out what the laws are in your state. And, dont talk directly to the salesman who was working for his commission when you go back to re-deal, talk to the chief honcho at the dealer.

I think there is a nationwide 24 hour window for buyers regret, HURRY!

Tire pressure, tire profile, or the fact that you’re simply not used to a firmer ride could be behind this. There may be nothing wrong with the car at all.

Some states may allow a return but others do not. If you’re in a do-not state then the dealer will take the car back but odds are that it’s going to cost you a few dollars to give it back.

If tire profile is the problem then maybe it would be easier to see if the dealer could change the tires/wheels out to taller profile tires.

I bet the SE has “upgraded” 19, 20 or 21 inch wheels and super-low profile tires. This combination always results in a rough ride, it’s like riding on a fork-lift with solid rubber tires. Have them put the “standard” (16"?) wheels and tires on it and that should solve the problem…

QUESTION RESOLVED. HERE’S HOW.

Thank you so much for those of you who answered with kindness, and I appreciate your expertise! It was really helpful.

Although there is no cooling off period law in my state, the dealership was going to allow me to trade it in for a GLS and make up some of the difference with cash back. That won my loyalty since clearly I know nothing about cars. However, the dealer’s mechanic discovered the tires were over inflated and the suspension was off on my SE since it had been sitting on the lot for so long. I also had a flat spot on my tires from it sitting on the lot in the cold. After he made the tweaks, it drove much better. I decided to keep the SE and really love it.

One of the reasons I did not ask enough questions about the features when I bought the car is that I felt so intimidated buying on my own. I know that’s a classic mistake for women to make, and yet I made it. Live and learn I suppose.

Thanks for letting us know what the solution was.

Man! I do understand the buying pressure. My buying is kind of an oversteer with a broken GPS. I’m older now and I have to be careful. I know this, but it’s easy to fall into the habit of following my emotions. We sometimes try to rush things and we always end up with second thoughts.

When it’s all over and the buying is done, we can then see that the new car buying experience is mostly good and it is hard to get hurt with a new car purchase.

Sometimes the bumpy ride is something that only Consumer Reports or other “professional” driving guru will notice. Flat spots on tires are REAL if some tires are parked for a long time. I’ve driven on a few of those at minus 25 degrees. It was really hard to drink coffee under those conditions. In those days we had no cupholders.

I got my nausea when trying to sell a new Previa minivan when I had to ride in the second row. I was actually relieved when the dude’s wife in the passenger seat mentioned that she was feeling that way. I never suggested to drive on the hills of South Lompoc Ca. I had suggested the level road toward the beach. I should have taken that mind control class. I may be evil, but I’m not always a genius.

In closing, It seems to me that you are organized and now a bit more focused about buying cars. You did things right when you went back to the dealer and they fixed the problem. I’m satisfied with them too. Now, let’s summarize what we’ve learned from your experience…

Next time, don’t be intimidated. It’s your money. They want it. You are therefore in the (no pun intended) driver’s seat. Test drive the car. Ask them all the questions you want. Even stupid ones. And ask them questions you know the answer to, to gauge whether or not they’re lying.

And of course, go in armed with information. In this case, since you knew you were after an Elantra, you should have researched it and known what the differences in the trimlines were. Next time do that.

And as others have said, always test drive exactly what you will buy - not the demonstrator, and not whatever the dealer says you should drive instead. If you don’t drive the actual car, don’t buy it.

New cars are supposed to go through a PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection). The dealer is reimbursed for this and it’s factored into the price of the car. The car is checked over from stem to stern; all fluids, accessories, lighting, check for leaks, loose bolts, etc. and of course, checking the tire pressure.

I’ve worked for 5 dealers over the years and only 2 of them had the regular mechanics perform these PDIs. One of them had every PDI done by those of us in the service dept. and one other had a few of them done in certain situations. The vast majority of dealers never have PDIs done by the mechanics; it’s cheaper to not do it or have it done by a low wage detail guy whose mechanical experience may be limited to changing a flat tire.

I am very glad that you were able to get the issues resolved with the SE being so bumpy, that it made you feel sick while driving it.

I have to admit, after your post, my gf and I went and test drove the Hyundai Sonata GLS on Saturday, and we were really, really impressed with the car. Actually, my complaints of the car were based on the suspension and steering not being a little tighter, and more crisp.

The only other issue we have with the car is that you can’t get the manual transmission in anything other than a fully base car. Can’t even get the alloy wheel package and power drivers seat if you want a manual.

I have a question for you, though:

How did you get them to sell you the SE for $16k?
We actually were very impressed with the automatic on the car, along with the power, responsiveness and smoothness of the Direct Injected engine. The interior was well thought out, and very nice.

If I were in the market, and had to replace my Altima, the Sonata is near the top of the list.

BC.

I am glad for you that you had a positive outcome. I advise you to buy a Haynes (yeah I know, in another post I said I hate Haynes, but that is from the position of a guy who likes to fix his own car, this is from the point of view of general information.) Haynes makes books for cars and trucks that tell you a lot about how they work. You dont have to be a mechanic to read one, they have lots of poor quality pictures, and will give you a good elementry overview of you new SE. Cost, about 35 bucks at Pep Boys or AutoZone.