really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
80,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced engine, radiator, associated parts (1 reports)
2002 Hyundai Elantra cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Hyundai Elantra Owner Comments

problem #1

Jul 022009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


I've had this problem twice. The first time (April 2007) my car overheated I was driving home from the airport after attending a funeral out of state. I heard a thumping sound then fluid spurted onto my hood. I thought I'd hit a water bottle on the highway, so I kept driving. Shortly thereafter my car conked out. I didn't have AAA at the time, so getting my car back to my area was an ordeal in and of itself. At my dealership, I learned my engine was FUBAR, that I needed a new one and because I hadn't come in at 30,000 miles to have my coolant flushed, I wasn't covered under warranty (NOTE: I had been adding coolant to my car as needed, and quite frankly, there's no reason this should have happened, coolant flush or not) . At the time, my car had about 62,000 miles on it and, of course, I'd just finished paying off the loan. They said the price tag would be $3,000. After a harrowing, knock-down drag-out fight with the dealership and Hyundai's corporate folks, I ended up paying about $1,000 for labor and all the parts were covered by my Hyundai warranty and an extra warranty package I'd got when I purchased my car years earlier.

Flash forward to July 2009, when I was once again far, far from home and my car conked out on the highway. I was able to start it up and pull into a restaurant parking. I'd learned my lesson, and gotten AAA Plus, so getting it towed to back home was relatively painless and didn't cost me anything except for my regular AAA dues. (AAA is really, really worth it, especially if you have an unreliable vehicle. Even if your vehicle is brand new and in good shape, I recommend it, cuz you never know when disaster might strike.) My dad looked at the car and saw that something was wrong with my radiator and thought maybe the thermostat had malfunctioned. He replaced it and the radiator cap, but that didn't help, so I had the car towed to my dealership. The folks there said my vehicle had overheated again, and that it shouldn't have happened considering my vehicle had a brand new engine, radiator and other stuff from 2007 and only 20,000 or so more miles since the last problem. They are replacing my radiator and head gasket at no cost. It's covered under warranty, they said. Oddly, they didn't put up a fight which tells me three things. ONE - They know there's something wrong with the 2002 Elantra's cooling system in general. Other complaints I've found online support this theory. And TWO - They remembered me from our last go round over my car.

The morals of my story are don't be afraid to go to the mattresses with your dealership (Confrontation is part of life), get AAA Plus (Really, I can's say enough good things about it) and if you're thinking of getting an Elantra, think again.

- , Easton, PA, USA

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