Notes: Be aware that there's a significant trend of owners complaining that the Elantra's fuel economy is significantly less than the EPA estimates.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,930 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2012 Hyundai Elantra drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Hyundai Elantra Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #10

Jan 012013


  • miles


I bought the Hyundai Elantra 2012 and has been giving me problems. The car will not start sometime till I start moving the steering wheel and the shifter. It has done it to me several times since I bought it and I took it to the dealer I purchased the car and the mechanic said there is nothing wrong. I argued that there is they expect me to leave it at the dealer for a while till they find the problem but the only thing is that it's my only transportation. The shifter locks on me while I'm holding the brake down, I have to use the manual button to unlock it. I notice that when it doesn't want to start and I manually shift the gear to neutral the car starts. The dealer wants me to replicate the problem and I ask my self how"?" it doesn't do it all the time. I have roadside assistance and I called them but by that time they get to me I got the car to start.

- Bell, CA, USA

problem #9

May 172013

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 18,800 miles
Car will periodically not start - all warning lights come on and there is a humming sound. Often occurs when wheel is on an angle. Car will typically not start 4-5 times in a row. Overhead lights work at the time of the failure. A few minutes later, after much jiggling of the steering wheel while turning on ignition, it starts fine. One time it started after emergency brake was released and the car rolled a bit. Brought to dealer who could not replicate problem but acknowledged this problem had occurred with other Elantras. Dealer was about to release car when driver demonstrated that gear shift would not move out of park. Dealer found code C1513 brake switch shorted. Brake switch was replaced. Dealer kept car a few days with no replications. 7 days later, starting problem recurred at driver's home and again after a day at work. In both cases, wheel was not in "12 O"clock" position. In conversation with dealer, we discussed that when the steering wheel is locked (not sure of definition), car should not start. He recommended jiggling the wheel while turning ignition. He also explained that the gear shift will only move out of park if 1) ignition is in on position and 2) foot is on the brake. Why is steering wheel locking so often?

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #8

Dec 012012

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
Almost every time I have started the vehicle and placed in drive from reversing out of my driveway, the vehicle jolts and seems that transmission is lagging or changing gears abruptly. The service engine light went on and I had made an appointment. When I took it in for inspection, the dealer said they could not recreate what I was talking describing. In addition, when I drive the power steering has had some issues. It has never drove in a straight line after two alignments. And it can be tough to turn the wheel. When I contacted the dealer about how I hear a clunking sound when driving over bumps, he test drove it and was confirmed that he agrees that there is clunking noise, but said he cant pinpoint it and it will have to get worse before he could tell.

- Midway, GA, USA

problem #7

Aug 212012


  • 10,000 miles


When I accelerate and every time the gear changes, the car would jolt as if I went over a speed bump. It's really uncomfortable when the car jolts while I accelerate, but the real problem is when I'm applying the brakes. The car would jolt and the speed would increase which nearly caused several accidents. I currently have about 13,000 miles and purchased this vehicle about 1.5 years ago. Within that time, the ignition wouldn't start. I would ignite the car and the car would eventually die on me. People said it might be the spark plugs, transmission or even the battery. However, it didn't make sense because the car was purchased only a couple of months before that incident. I never even wasted my battery in any way either. What if the car decides to turn off while I'm on the freeway? I can't afford that to happen.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #6

Sep 102012

Elantra 4-cyl Diesel

  • 18,750 miles
Several times a day when going to crank the car it would crank. Also you could not shift the car from park to drive. (throttle plate stuck).

- Callahan, FL, USA

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problem #5

Jun 172012

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 4,273 miles
Car lurched, engine shut off. Car became uncontrollable and all the warning lights on the dash lit up. Eventually managed to get to side of road where the transmission locked into place. Electrical system was still functional but car was completely unresponsive. Occurred again 800 miles later after "repair" both incidents nearly caused accidents.

- Queen Creek, AZ, USA

problem #4

May 142012

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 24,000 miles


My car started to clunk and would loose drive train power this happened a 4 separate occasions while accelerating and after being completely warmed up. I brought the car to orlando Hyundai and they called their main office and was told that there were 5 2012 Elantras that had to have the transmissions replaced in the United States but they were not going to replace mine. They said they were going to do some further testing but in all likelihood I would be put back into my car with the problem not being solved. I think this is a safety hazard and Hyundai is not taking this seriously and playing with peoples safety.

- Kissimmnee, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 272012

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 66 miles
This incident happened the night I bought the vehicle. The vehicle will suddenly buck/jolt/jerk as if hitting a speed bump in a very jarring manner. This also happened during a test drive of a vehicle of the same type and color (I'm not sure if they sold me the one during the test drive.). I was informed that the vehicle which jolted in this manner was repaired and sold to another customer. I'm not sure if they were telling the truth or if they gave me the same vehicle. Still, this is a serious defect that is potentially a big safety hazard. The salesman who sat next to me was also concerned when the incident occurred twice in the span of one 10 minute test drive. I bought a brand new vehicle not expecting this type of serious, internal issue. After some testing, I believe that this sudden buck will more likely occur after accelerating then decelerating. Please investigate this issue. Thank you.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #2

Jan 212012


  • 139 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Elantra. The contact stated that while driving up an incline, the transmission made a loud clunky noise and shifted gears noisily. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the dealer performed a diagnostic and located the failure at the transmission. The transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 139 and the current mileage was 218.

- Pittsburg , PA, USA

problem #1

Sep 182011

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 6,464 miles
While pulling onto a city street away from a curb, the car lunged forward and would not continue to drive.I checked to see if the gear selector had jumped out of D to N. did not. Tried to continue down the street, and the car did the same thing at different intervals. Transmission would not shift properly out of 1st gear. RPM's and engine continued to operate, but transmission was continuing to grind, bang, jump and not shift. After coaxing the car to my residence, some three or four blocks away, I notified the 24 hour Hyundai assistance line. Being Sunday, they could not help. No way to tow car to dealership. Drove car to dealership at roughly 15 mph. Car continued to balk and jump. Dealer manager was contacted on Monday morning. After checking with Hyundai and a computer readout on auto, it was determined that it was a defective transmission. Transmission was ordered and replaced. Interesting to know if other customers have had same problem. May lead to a total recall of the 2011 and 2012 automatic transmissions on the Hyundai Elantra automobiles. Investigation needs to be conducted!!

- Smithfield, UT, USA

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