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 1 of 2)

problem #30

Jan 062017


  • 110,000 miles


Gear will not shift or move. Transmission cable broke and left the vehicle immobile.

- Minooka, IL, USA

problem #29

Jan 022017


  • miles
Sold a lemon law buyback car without my knowledge. From what I understand I was to sign a document stating that I new that I was purchasing a lemon law buyback car. I did not find out until I went to get the plates for my car and they showed me the title. I contacted the dealership and basically my loss their gain. May 2015 had to replace hose and have A/C recharged costing almost $300 July 2015 had to have both from wheel bearing replaced along with tires costing me $800 June 2016 had to have end links on sway bar and cv joint and shaft replaced. This was under the powertrain warranty still in place on the car check engine light come on and off at random times. When tested said it was an O2 sensor. The back drivers side door lock sticks. So I have to manually lock it for my key fob to lock all of the doors. Today was just told I need wheel bearings and tires on the front end. I believe this car has too many issues being a newer car. I have never had a car with this many issues. Especially a newer car. I cannot get out of the loan because it is a lemon law buyback and the resale on it is horrible. I cannot afford the upkeep on the problems it keeps having. Something is wrong this car.

- Preston, ID, USA

problem #28

Jun 292016


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Elantra. While attempting to start the vehicle, it failed to start without warning. The vehicle had to be placed in neutral to start the vehicle. The gear shifter would not help the vehicle start and had to be pushed in order to start. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was repaired; however, the details of the repair could not be provided. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000.

- San Marcos, TX, USA

problem #27

Aug 252016


  • 588,840 miles


Vehicle stationary. Shifter in "park". attempted to start vehicle. Turned key in ignition - car did not start. Radio, lights, air and all other peripherals started and functioned appropriately. Tried to "jump" vehicle using two different jumper-cable sets. Had battery tested - oem battery, 4 years old, rated at 550 and functioning at 542 - good battery, no need for replacement. Popped out the shift lock insert. Inserted flat head screwdriver to depress the button. Put car in neutral. Put key in ignition, turned to start - car started as if nothing was wrong. Drove for about 30 mintutes. Stopped at a store. Attempted to start vehicle as normal - vehicle started fine. Parked vehicle in driveway overnight. Attempted to start vehicle to go to work - vehicle would not start. Repeated the same process from the previous time it wouldn't start and was sucessful. Have a video showing the shifter going through all gears - when put into "park" the lights on the shifter completely go out and then eventually flicker back on. Please contact me if you would like the video, as a picture would not show the issue.

- Clayton, NC, USA

problem #26

May 232016


  • 10 miles
Car wont start when you try to turn it over. All lights work even air will blow but wont start

- Douglasville, GA, USA

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problem #25

Sep 112015


  • 55,300 miles
Highly frustrating and potentially life threatening situation Hyundai has put me in. On September 11th my vehicle caught on fire in the rear by the exhaust pipe. Prior to this my vehicle had been at rick case Hyundai 3 times with me complaining the transmission was not working properly the 1st time I was told there are no codes so we have to wait till it breaks, the 2nd time I was told no codes sorry, and the third time they actually replaced a broken part that controls the shift times in the transmission. Could show them my problem. I asked Hyundai corporate to do an investigation into the transmission and the fire and help me resolve this issue. They went through their 6 week process and then denied my claim saying it wasn't found to be a malfunction of any parts that caused the fire. I have video of where the fire started, the transmission not working, and countless pictures that show the fire obviously started at the tailpipe due to an increase in temperature because of the transmission failure. When I ask Hyundai for the information that lead to their conclusion they say it's confidential and proprietary and will not let me see it. When I tell them the transmission is still not working and everytime I drive it there is a burning smell and I'm scared for my safety and life driving this car they just say Hyundai decision is final and they won't honor my warranty on the car. They claim it's perfectly safe to drive and operating as intended and designed. I feel they are covering somethings up or never actually investigated this incident which is why they won't release information. During the fire malfunctions in the head shield and taillight wiring were discovered making for 4 possible life threatening defects my car was parked at work in my parking space when the smoke and fire started.

- Loganville, GA, USA

problem #24

Oct 092015


  • 39,000 miles


Right front axle bolts became very loose at 39,000 and the axle could have separated from the transmission and or wheel potentially cause the driver to loose control and being involved in a serious or fatal accident. Hyundai should either use effective lock washers or lock tight on the bolts to prevent them from backing out of the axle where it connects to the transmission and or wheel. A recall should be ordered. If you google this problem there is a video on the web where another Elantra has the very same problem. I became aware of the problem because my Elantra started making a very not8iceable popping sound when you put the transmission in reverse or drive. The bolts became progressively loose to the point that while driving at highway speeds when I would take my foot off the accelerator the axle would pop due to looseness and when I placed may foot back on the accelerator it would pop. This is a very serious safety flaw. When I look the car to the dealer they charged me $63.65 to re-torque the axle bolts that should never have become loose.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #23

Oct 012015


  • 23,000 miles
Failure to start; car does not recognize that the car is in park and it prevents the car from starting, even though it is in park. Car cannot be taken out of park or put back in sometimes after it is started and idling. Happens intermittently, very frustrating. Have bypassed the situation by taking the samll clip from the center console off, then depressing transmission engager and moving the gear shift into reverse and then back into park. The vehicle will then start. After all the complaints I have seen for this very same situation, I cannot believe there has not been a recall Hyundai?

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #22

Aug 172015

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 55,002 miles
Yesterday, August 17, 2015, I parked at my apt complex to get my mail, turned car off completely, I was literally out of my car for 40 seconds. I got back in started it up, and nothing. It would not even turn over, no sounds, no clicks, just dead silence. All of the panel lights were lit, however, and the air vents were blowing air from the fan, the radio turned on, but not the engine. The battery was newly installed on October 2, 2015 when I purchased the vehicle as a certified pre-owned. I used my Hyundai roadside assistance, someone arrived in a normal vehicle to jump start my car. First try, it started up just fine. He was trying to sell me a new battery for $150, indicating that because I live in Arizona now, the heat does strange things to cars. I didn't take the offer. I let the car run while I was parked for about 20 minutes, then drove to the carport where I park my car normally in my apt complex. I shut the engine off, and hesitantly tried to start it again, and to no avail. Nothing again. It wouldn't start. After searching online, I found a few sites where others had the same issue. One person mentioned to turn the ignition to acc and throw the shifter into neutral, which I did, and then magically my car started up perfectly fine. I tried turning it off and on again about 5 more times, and it did just fine, no stalling. Since I've had this vehicle there have been many times (at least 20+) that it won't start up on the first try, but seconds later I'll retry the ignition, and it'll start up, but it sounds as if it's going to conk out. Like it's barely hanging on. I've had no other issues with my car besides this. After reading on multiple forum sites, it seems like it's fairly common, and I think there should be a recall set for this. Thank you.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #21

Jul 012013


  • 30,000 miles
I have a Hyundai Elantra limited, 2012, with the technology package. There are multiple issues with my car, that have occurred since I purchased it brand new off the lot in 2011. Whenever I take the car to the shop to have the issues checked, I am always told that they were unable to replicate the problem, so couldn't find anything to fix. First, there are serious issues with the transmission. When taking the car out of park and into drive or reverse, it often lurches into gear, which then continues as I drive into 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and sometimes 4th gear. It shifts really hard, as if the car were a manual and I was not shifting very well between gears. A couple of months ago (~June 2015) the check engine light came on for the first time, and the shop said that it was a transmission temperature sensor error. The check engine light came on the 2nd time this week on 7/14, and turned off within 24 hours. I've continued to have this jerking shift issue, though it never seems to happen when it's at the shop. Second, there is some kind of electrical issue/short in the car, because sometimes when I have windows down and I hit the lever to roll the driver's window up the sunroof also starts to open/close! or, the windows don't go up/down as hard/soft as I move the lever. Also, in the past month or so (July 2015) the proximity key seems to not work, and I have to press the button on the door handle multiple (up to 10) times before the car will lock/unlock. This also prevents me from being able to start the car (ignition switch) because it doesn't recognize the key is inside the vehicle. Please help!

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #20

Dec 102012

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles


Periodically my car will not start or turn over to start. The normal wear and tear parts are young and a couple forums I have found on the internet show that other people with similar model years and the same year are having the same problem. There should be a recall on this issue. It was reported it might be the range switch or the shift interlock. Thank you for your concern. When I called into my local Hyundai dealership they sounded perplexed.

- Billings, MT, USA

problem #19

Apr 092015


  • 59,850 miles
Vehicle accelerated on it's own, and applying break pressure only slowed vehicle but kept accelerating. Hyundai reports no issues, yet this incident is all over the internet doing searches on Hyundai. Hyundai reports no recalls. When car placed in park mode, RPM shot to maximum of 8 and stayed there. When placed car back in drive, car RPM went to 2 and car wants to accelerate fast. Please NHTSA, apply pressure for recall for this very unsafe condition on a vehicle.

- Bolingbrook, IL, USA

problem #18

Jul 252014

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 27,070 miles
Hello, well, I am the first owner, and there was not any accident before. Last Thursday, after I started my car, I tried to shift the gear to drive, and the car was suddenly shook. I kept tried to drive it, but whenever the RPM goes up to 2000, the car was bouncing like that I stepped on the brake or so. I was not even able to drive it, and it was even so dangerous to drive. Therefore, I just tried it again at night, and the engine light turned on. I put my car into the fitzgerald Hyundai service center in gaithersburg, md on Friday morning (11/7/14), and I got my car back yesterday. When I picked up my car, I asked them what was the wrong with it, and they told me that the transmission sensor did not lead the temperature. Therefore, I told them that I put my car into the Hyundai service center in fairfax, va three months ago for the exact same problem, and the fairfax representative told me that they could not find any problems with it, so they just reset the software so that it is going to be fine. However, this happened again after few months. A man from fitzgerald told me that this time they update some numbers, so it is going to be fine. I do not know whenever this happens, the engine light turned on, too, and it seems like that it is breaking transmission and the engine together. Since this was not my first time, I reported this to the Hyundai recall service center. They called me yesterday and told me that they do not know the reason, but they fixed it. How come they can fix it even if they do not know the reason" I kept complained about it, and they just told me that they will expand the dates for the warranty so that I can fix it whenever it happens again! they also said that they do not know the next step for it. How irresponsible! now, all I can think of is that this is the defected car. Can you please investigate this" thank you.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #17

Sep 182014

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
While stopped in traffic (restaurant drive thru lane), vehicle lurched forward; attempted to put transmission shifter into park (automatic transmission) to check the problem; vehicle would not go into park or reverse; would only go into drive or neutral. Hyundai dealer inspected and identified problem as a defective shift assembly. I have been in contact with Hyundai customer care expressing concerns regarding potential safety issues (not being able to reverse vehicle; vehicle not being able to be restarted if engine died). Vehicle is only 2 years old and just out of the 60,000 warranty period. Hyundai (at this point) is refusing to repair under customer good will.

- Chapin, SC, USA

problem #16

Sep 052014

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 59,100 miles
I left home for a 1,000 mile road trip starting on the date specified above. Mileage indicated above is a close approximation to when the incident first occurred. On the first day, I stopped for gasoline at a station. When I tried to start the car back up, I had power to everything but my car made no attempt to start. After trying several times over the course of about 5-10 minutes, it finally started and ran fine. This happened five times over the course of the trip lasted 8 days. I have made an appointment at the dealership to look it over, again. I say "again" because I took the car in to the dealership less than 500 miles prior for what I believe to be a related issue. The automatic transmission shift lever would not leave the "drive" position when I stopped at one point and needed to get out of the car. I could not because I could not put it in "park", gear shift lever was stuck in "drive". back to the "won't start" issue - wiggling the automatic transmission shift lever seems to have helped me start the car when it previously would not. Dealer said they could not find the cause of the stuck automatic transmission shift lever.

- El Dorado Hills, CA, USA

problem #15

Sep 102014

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
On several occasions, I had noticed that it was hard to shift to park from the reverse and drive gear positions. It seemed as if the gear would jam on something and after a while of trying to get it to move forward it would advance to the park position. Now, just yesterday I was getting into my car from work and when I attempted to start it just said quite. Everything else worked, but the engine would not turn. I attempted to shift out of park and it would not let me. I pressed on the brake pedal so that it would release but it did not work. I must have tried 10 times to start it and as I was about to call the tow truck, I tried it one more time and then it started.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #14

Jul 122014

Elantra 3-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
Intermittent problem: Car didn't turn over. I waited a few minutes, tried it again and it started. Dealer couldn't find the problem. Second occurrence: Wouldn't start, then it did when I tried it a third time. That same day, car was idling for about 3 minutes as I was sitting in it. I had put it in park and when I tried to put it in drive, it wouldn't budge out of park. I turned the car off (fearing the worst) and it started and allowed me to put it in drive.

- New Brighton, MN, USA

problem #13

Jun 212014


  • 6,673 miles
The car shut itself off while we were driving. The car would not restart or shift into park and the key would not come out. Finally got the car to start in neutral and car sputtered and it registered no rpms, so it didn't move. After about 20 minutes car did start in neutral and we were able to make it home.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #12

May 122014

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 56,556 miles
Vehicle brought to lester glenn Hyundai toms river NJ on March 21, 2014 for noise in engine or trans...said there was nothing wrong..they pushed car out and told me it was a clamp for my exhaust..I continued to hear noise..(it did not happen all the time) so the car was returned to the dealer 3 weeks later..they did diagnostics on vehicle and pushed my car out telling me that I had "aggressive tires" on the vehicle.and they charged me $243 for vehicle is under warranty..they told me if I didn't pay I wouldn't get my car back...I have brand new cooper touring tires on and the problem was there before the tires..on 05/12/2014 I drove to New York to visit my daughter and when I left was on 278 West traveling to toms river NJ. I was on 278 for approximately 5 minutes..I tried to accelerate and the car wouldn't move..the RPM's were going crazy, speed of vehicle would not accelerate more than 25mph..white smoke started pouring out of rear and undercarriage of was not pressure fine..I managed to get to side of brooklyn queens expressway and shut vehicle off..3 pedestrians stopped because they thought my vehicle was on fire..a tow was called..arrived in 1.5 hours..only 1 tow company allowed on the bqe..I had no choice but to take the cost me $660 to get my vehicle back to lester glenn Hyundai..toms river NJ...they diagnosed my vehicle saying it was PCV valve..I do not feel like my vehicle was fixed and I feel very unsafe in it..I work in a full service garage and I had at least 15 mechanics look at my vehicle..they all say its in the transmission and now I do not want to drive my car more than 20 miles..can you help me??

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #11

Oct 282013

Elantra 4-cyl

  • miles
I purchased this car in June 2011 and there have been three separate times that my car will not start. The first time was a few months after I first purchased my car. I went to start my car in the morning and it would not cut on. After letting it sit for the day I tried it and it turned on with no problems. The second incident happened September 2013. I went to start my car in the morning. It would crank but not turn over. I let is sit for about 3 days and everyday I would try it and it still would not start. I finally had it towed to a Hyundai dealer near me and they ran tests and everything came back fine and was told the car started for them with no problem and I probably didn't push in on the clutch all the way. Even though the tow truck driver also tried it and would not start for him too. The most recent incident the same issue happened. Car would crank and not turn over. I did some research online and saw from another Hyundai owner that they had to pump their gas pedal to get their car to start. Once I tried that the car started after a few minutes. This time I drove it to the Hyundai dealer where I purchased the car and once again all tests came back fine and they cannot find a problem.

- Washington, DC, USA

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