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:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,370 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Hyundai Elantra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #44

Dec 142016


  • 46,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Elantra. While driving 50 mph, the engine failed without warning. The vehicle was towed, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 46,000.

- Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA

problem #43

Dec 132016


  • 46,200 miles
Going 60 mph on freeway. Heard terrible noise and oil light went on. Pulled over. Oil was very low. Rod knocking. Towed to dealer where repairman said engine shot because of damaged bearing and sludge. Car still under original warranty: 2012 Hyundai Elantra, 1.8 engine, 46,000 miles. Dealer refuses to contribute any money. Wants $6200 to repair with remanuf engine. Won't provide form estimate. Car cannot be safely driven. There were no previous warnings: No overheating, no oil lights, no noises. All dealer would do is remove valve cover and send pics which it says shows sludge.

- Etiwanda, CA, USA

problem #42

Nov 082016


  • 107,000 miles
Random no start. Push button start will just make one click sound and not start (this is not a low battery clicking sound). After numerous attempts, the engine will start. One time it took over 10 minutes of pushing the start button on and off to finally get it to start. It seems to happen at random times. It will start fine for months and then just randomly not start. It happened in the past an just started happening again about a week ago.

- Orem, UT, USA

problem #41

Oct 222015


  • 30,000 miles


On November 8th, 2016, saint paul, mn, my car would not start up. No warning signals came on and just made a "clicking" noise". I called Hyundai's roadside assistance when they arrived he told me to try to start it up. The car then came on which was approx. A 45 minute wait. In October 2015- eagan, mn, I was driving on the highway, I felt dizzy, nauseous and had a panic attack. I tried pulling over to the side of the road, the car would not stop despite stepping on breaks, the car kept pulling toward the side of the grass that was surrounded with gravel. I ended up hitting and stopping at a guardrail. The driver side wheel was blown and along the drivers and passenger door was scratched, there was also some front end damage which got repaired. In approx. March 2015- West saint paul, I just got off the highway when my car lost power. I started it up, pressed on the gas and ended up rear ended the driver in front of me. In 2014, maplewood, mn, I was at a restaurant's drive-thru and my car lost all power and steering for about 5-10 minutes. I called Hyundai's roadside's assistance to report the incident. In 2014, eden prairie, mn, I was driving on the highway and my car completely lost power and the steering wheel locked up. I called Hyundai's roadside assistance to report the incidence. About 15 minutes later, the car started up and no longer needed roadside assistance's towing service.

- Oakdale, MN, USA

problem #40

Jul 022015


  • 52,380 miles
Problem : ESC light flashes while driving, some time makes rumbling noise, power loss, feel like car in neutral, steering felt lock, sudden break and creates unsafe condition. Not all symptoms come up same time but one of them while light flashing. Details : 1. first time happened in June/July 2015 contacted dealer. Since dealer cannot replicate they did test drive and felt everything normal. I drove 1 year scarred but issue didn't occurred 2. few weeks ago this problem resurfaced dealer repeated same story but wanted to drive with me which is pending. While normal driving it happened and this time it was recorded on my cellphone to show as proof because in test drive it may or may not happen. I feel company and dealer not working closely and someone can cause serious issue of safety. I request to look into this reaching out to company and address this issue. I cannot upload video let me know if you need. Just loading a picture.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #39

May 152016


  • 69,400 miles
Have a ticking sound in engine. Took to dealership was going to charge me $62 to look at it. Took around 45 mins. Service person came and told me it sounded like a piston slap. With further look at the engine they said I need a new engine. Say what! will I looked on line and youtube about this problem. Went to a web sight about complaints found a lot of them about ticking. Called and asked if it was a short, long or creat engine. To me the short block need replaced. Called next day and told me that engine was on hold. Hyundai wanted them to take pictures and send them to corporate office. Dealership said they would call me when they find out what Hyundai wants to do. Have read online line that Hyundai knows about the bad engines and do not want to replace them. You get nothing but hassle from them about replacing the engine. Dealership stated that it's not there fault. But I feel that they are also. They sold me a car with a bad engine. I could have had a frozen engine while driving on the express way and got into a bad accident. Going to call again on Friday to see if anything has been done. Took it in on Monday. Dealership to me not to call them again. That they will call me. All I want is the engine replaced so I have a car.

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #38

May 302016


  • 20,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Elantra. The contact stated that while in park, the engine compartment caught fire. The fire department was able to extinguish the fire. A police report was not filed. No injuries were sustained. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 20,000.

- Lee's Summit, MO, USA

problem #37

Jul 312013


  • 61,828 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Elantra. While driving at various speeds, the engine light remained illuminated. In addition, while driving 65 mph, the vehicle shook violently and made a loud noise each time it drove over a bump or pothole. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and was repaired from a previous recall; however, the failure recurred. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 15V871000 (electronic stability control). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 61,828.

- Surprise, AZ, USA

problem #36

Nov 012014


  • 70,000 miles
Our 2012 Elantra began making knocking sounds during cold starts. The noise was fainter when the engine was warm but never disappeared completely. The sound became louder when the weather was colder. When I originally took the car to the dealer, I told them that I thought the problem may have been the timing belt but was informed that the 2012 had a timing chain and not a belt. When the noise became too loud, I finally took it back to the dealer for a diagnostic check of the engine and was told that it was a defective connecting rod bearing and a new engine was necessary. I am aware that the 2011-2013 sonata was recalled in 2015 for the same problem but thought that the Elantra was exempt.

- Grand Haven, MI, USA

problem #35

Mar 082008


  • miles
Airbag light came on dealer reports it is a faulty clock spring. I see this has been an issue in the past with other Hyundai years and the dealer states it is a problem they frequently see.

- Coconut Creek, FL, USA

problem #34

Jan 162016


  • 77,000 miles


Car won't start. At first, we thought it's the battery so we got our battery jump starter. But it wasn't the case. Lights and electrical works but the car starter won't turn over. Towed it to the dealer. The following day, went to dealer to check it and the car started without any problem. Dealer's mechanics still hasn't seen it yet that day. There might be some loose wiring or inhibitor switch problem.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #33

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 #32

Oct 192015


  • 84,000 miles
My car was sitting at my apartment. Went to go to the store and the car wouldn't start. The car would not turn over no matter many times I would try and start it. I had to call my dad who told me to hold gas pedal down and start the car. This happened twice. Took it to the dealership, said they couldn't do anything about it because it wasn't happening at that moment. Car starts to jerk while driving. Started off only in the mornings, then while I was driving home from work, it jerked again this time more aggressive. Have talked with Hyundai 3 times about this issue, said they couldn't do anything about it until they see it happening themselves. I am having to press the gas hard to go at least 50 mph. Yesterday 10/19/2015. I stop to get gas. Full my tank up, get in the car and the won't start again! press my foot on the gas, car won't start. Had to call triple a and they say my battery is low. Bought the car in 2013, shouldn't be happening. Something is wrong with this vehicle and all I get is they have to see it happening. I have taken this car to the same Hyundai dealership in South austin. I bought the car from carmax. I have no idea what else to do.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #31

May 152014


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Elantra. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled and failed to restart. The failure was recurring. The vehicle was driven to the dealer where they were unable to locate a failure. After experiencing the failure a third time, the technician replaced the brake switch. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was invalid. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #30

Feb 042014


  • 55,000 miles
On multiple occasions, when starting my Elantra, the engine won't turn over. The car made a "click" sound, but did not start. After a few minutes it would turn over. I had the battery checked and it was fully charged. This happened about 7 times since Feb. 2014. This last time, Sept. 3, 2015 it would not start at all. I had it towed to my car repair. Again, the battery was fully charged. They called to tell me the next day it started up right away, and many times during the 6 hours the garage had the car. The garage was unable to replicate the issue. Called the dealership and they said they have not have any complaints about this issue. Researched the issue on line and there are some complaints about this issue. The posts are pointing to a bad rain sensor or a transmission range switch.

- Croton On Hudson, NY, USA

problem #29

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 #28

Apr 272015

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 32,986 miles
This is a problem that has been going on with other Elantra drivers. There are videos on you tube with this issue. The vehicle doesn't start at times and it should be a recall on this issue. This is a new car and should have issues like that. It seems to be a problem with the starter or the ignition switch.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #27

Dec 312011


  • 31 miles
After purchasing the car new with all of 31 miles on it I noticed on my 350 mile drive home from anchorage to fairbanks Alaska that the rear end of the car would skip around unpredictably when hitting a bump or when I hit an icy patch of road (and as a result of the skipping around, the rear tires wear/cup ridiculously fast, which may also be dangerous but is mostly annoying and expensive). Despite a few attempts by the dealer at repairing the steering column it still does it, 30K miles later. As far as speed, it happens at any speed above about 35 mph. It is bad enough in the summer to feel like the rear end is leaving the road, but it is extremely dangerous in the winter when traction is already tenuous at best. Sooner or later this is going to kill someone if it hasn't already.

- Fairbanks, AK, USA

problem #26

Mar 182015

Elantra 4-cyl

  • 38,999 miles
I turned the key to the start position so I could start the car, but it would not start up. The car was in park. I did some research on the internet, and found some videos on youtube, and people commented they were having the same issue. Some people mentioned that if you turn the key so you can move the shifter from park to neutral, and back to park, the car may start up. I tried exactly this, and as soon as I attempted to move the shifter to neutral, the car started up. It appears to be a problem with the inhibitor switch, which I will try to get that replaced by the dealership if possible. Since many people are experiencing this same problem, there should be a recall for this issue!

- Montebello, CA, USA

problem #25

Feb 222015


  • 48,000 miles
Today I went out to start my car after it sitting out over night (living in North Dakota my vehicle has always sat out in the cold over winter and started with no issues) and it would not start. The lights, doors, widows, everything else electrical worked just find, but the engine will not turn on. I tried charging the battery and jumping it with a friends vehicle. Nothing has worked. I have been reading online this is becoming a common issue among Hyundai's. I would hope Hyundai will soon have some answers and fixes for this issue.

- Minot, ND, USA

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