2012 Hyundai Elantra engine problems: engine ticking

Engine Ticking

2012 Hyundai Elantra (Page 1 of 2)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Hyundai dealer.

CarComplaints.com 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
72,500 miles
Total Complaints:
27 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
  2. short block was replaced (8 reports)
  3. replace long block (5 reports)
  4. repair engine (3 reports)
  5. replace engine (2 reports)
2012 Hyundai Elantra engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Hyundai Elantra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

Mar 162020

Elantra GLS 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles


Engine ticking, the dealership claimed that the sound was no an issue for two oil replacements, then let us know that it was “piston slap” and we would need to replace the engine. This has followed almost exactly the experiences out laid in the relevant class-action lawsuit that Hyundai is fighting.

- Jaden B., Lehi, UT, US

problem #26

Mar 262018

Elantra GLS 1.8L 4cl

  • Manual transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Extremely annoying. Especially in winter. Every time I start my car. I've been told about it from family, friends, co workers and even the lubes mechanics. It gets less noticeable when the car warms up. But even then it shouldn't be an issue for a well maintained vehicle.

- Jacob B., Warren, US

problem #25

Jan 182019

Elantra Limited 4 Cyc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

I started hearing ticking noise 1st thing in the morning when I started my car. Then as time went on it would tick even when I was driving during the day when it wasn't cold. I'd put up with that for a few months because I didn't time to get it looked at. I had all my service at Hyundai so my records were sufficient. When I called to schedule oil change and ticking noise they told me over the phone that they would have a loaner car for me to drive bc they need to do a cold start. Ok'... no word from them for 4 days. Do I called on the 5th day and they told me there was metal in the oil and they have turned it over to Hyundai waiting for a response. I called back a week later and the service man asked for my vehicle registration and I told him it was in glove box. Within 24 hrs he called back and said Hyundai has approved my engine replacement and they are on back order 8 weeks!!! So I am driving a 2019 sonata with 1800 miles on it until they fix my car. I am pleased they did not give me issues. I had just had my 60k service back in August which was a $1000 for everything. I will update you guys in September with out some of vehicle. I am also under the impression my mileage warranty starts over for the engine... Disappointed but happy St Charles Automotive in St Louis MO took care of me with ease. I will purchase another Hyundai some day because I have had no other issues. ♡♡♡ Actually love my Elantra..

- queensess, Madison, IL, US

problem #24

Jan 102019

Elantra GLS 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


Just checking here ...

- Shakir S., Herndon, VA, US

problem #23

Mar 182019

Elantra L 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

My wife and I live in Canada. We are the second owners of this vehicle, got it from a Hyundai dealership with 80,000 km (50,000 miles). At about 120,000 km (75,000 miles) the engine began to tick, started in the winter.

We brought it into a local shop and they recommended either having the engine taken apart costing about 1000 CAD but first to just try an oil additive to lessen the issue. If that didn't help to come back in and we'll have to foot the $1000 bill. It didn't help so we brought it in and about 2 hours later the shop calls us and says that the engine is in such a bad state that he will need to replace it, not fix it. This would cost $7000 CAD and the cars only worth maybe $8000 CAD (best guess).

The mechanic was fairly puzzled how an issue like this would occur in a vehicle that kept up with regular maintenance. So he found this website (carcomplaints) and informed us our best course of action would be to contact the dealership and see if they will extend the warranty because of this issue seems to be of recall proportions (though there is no recall, just a Technical Service Bulletin).

I found out about the issue a few days ago and wanted to research the issue as much as I could before contacting the dealership, so I will add an update about what I hear back but I am not expecting this to be resolved in a satisfying way.

Kinda late to the party but here's some links for people just finding out about this issue

Technical Service bulletin for the issue : TSB 14-20-002 https://static.superservice.com/content/pdfs/HYW/bulletin/CA/14-20-002%20%20UD%20Engine%20Knocking%20%20V2.pdf

article on class action lawsuit: https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2018/hyundai-elantra-engine-ticking-noise-pistons-lawsuit.shtml

In the lawsuit one of the legal teams has this page to contact them (I have no information about this but this page gave me the most hope that maybe something good will come of this)


- Kendel J., Winnipeg, MB, Canada

problem #22

May 012018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

I came across this website when checking to see if my 2012 Hyundai Elantra was part of the recent recall or not. It was interesting to see how many others experience the engine ticking. I purchased the car used, when it had about 35,000 miles on it. The engine ticking started after the first oil change, when I had around 38,000 miles on it. The car actually vibrates (almost like it will stall, but it never stalls). It typically only happens when I am driving slow, right before I come to stop or right after I start up the engine.

Most of the time, the check engine light does not come on. Every once in awhile, the check engine light will go on, but I am pretty sure this relates to over-use of the air conditioner on hot days, during or after long drives.

I have had the car evaluated by a local mechanic I trust and by the head mechanic at a Hyundai dealer. The local mechanic said he doesn't know what the problem is and the computer that hooks up to the car doesn't detect any problems. The head mechanic at the dealer said the issue is common with Elantras, but he doesn't know why.

After reading this website, I wonder if he is being honest about the "not knowing why" part...He listed a few things he has tried that sometimes seem to help, such as only using high quality oil during oil changes. I wonder if there is any possibility that lower quality oil (or the oil replacement place using the wrong viscosity weight oil) damaging the engine? I know very little about car engines, so I have no idea. It was interesting that the stalling-like noises happened after the first oil change.

I have been living with the noises since no one seems willing or able to fix it. I have to explain the situation every time I offer a ride to someone.

- Robin F., Corte Madera, US

problem #21

Nov 012018

Elantra Limited 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


Many other Hyundai Elantra owners have complained about the ticking noise in their engines. I am experiencing the same issue and am concerned because ultimately this issue seems to end with complete engine failure. Although there were some success stories mentioned in Canada about Hyundai replacing peoples engine, dealers in the USA seems to be trying to bury the issue. I downloaded and read the Hyundai TSB 14-20-002 which flat out confirms why this is happening. There was a class action lawsuit started in July 2018. Can anyone give me any details on how to participate in that class action?

- Fred R., Glen Spey, NY, US

problem #20

Apr 132018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

I am the 2nd owner of a 2012 Hyundai Elantra. When purchased in 2016 I bought the extended warranty. Over the last month the engine has started to make a ticking noise which seemed to get increasingly louder.

I took the vehicle in early for an oil change, and to check on the noise - to the used car dealer where I have it serviced and purchased the car. The shop indicated it was an unidentifiable engine issue. The company the warranty was purchased through requested the vehicle be towed to my local Hyundai dealer to be further diagnosed.

They tore down the engine half way and advised that it was something wrong with the pistons, but they were having a hard time showing the inspector who needed to see the issue present. The warranty company then requested the Hyundai facility tear down the engine further to determine the "root cause". Finally after the 2nd inspection they saw the problem. The extended warranty company is agreeing to pay for the replacement of the engine.

So now I have the green light for the repairs to be covered... and no engine available.. because these engines are on back order... The dealership is telling me they have SEVEN other Elantras at the dealership waiting on engines as well - one has been there for 3 months. The Hyundai dealership said they are expecting a wave of engines in late May early June - but that I will not get one of those because my name is just going on the list.

My warranty company will only cover up to 6 days of rental reimbursement as they go by labor hours, and do not take into consideration the time I will be waiting for the engine on recall.

At this point I am anticipating being without a car for up to 3 months going forward.


- melanie ct, Meriden, US

problem #19

May 012018

Elantra GLS 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I bought this car from a Hyundai dealer with 30K miles on it. I've maintained it very well and in the 4 years I've owned it, I have only put 25K miles on the car. About a month ago I heard a ticking sound from the engine. I took it to the dealer and they said I need a new engine. Hyundai is not replacing it for me because they say I am past the warranty for a used car. They did offer to cover $1500 of the repair.

I really wish they would stand by their product and replace it for free. Lots of complaints here and online about the same problem and it being a manufacturing defect. If they don't, I will never buy another Hyundai again. This is clearly their fault and I shouldn't have to pay for this .

- Anthony S., Rahway, NJ, US

problem #18

Jan 242018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

A ticking began in my car out with no cause. I took it to my usual repair place and they recommended that I take it to the Hyundai dealer. First, Hyundai charged me for diagnosing the problem. Just for them to look at it was $140. After assessing the noise, they called to say that there were metal shaving in the engine and that it would require a complete replacement. The estimate was $8000! They submitted the claim to Hyundai corporate for it to be covered under warranty, but the corporate office denied the claim. Because I am a second owner, the 100,000miles/10 year warranty doesn't apply. My warranty was for 60,000miles or five years. I am five month over that deadline. The local office said I should try and call customer service.

The customer service agent were pretty awful. They told me to call the dealership back with all of these questions, basically giving me the run around where in truth, they just weren't going to help me. The dealership explained that they fulfilled all of the required protocols. Eventually I was on the phone with a customer service rep that said, "There is nothing you can do. Once corporate says no, it means no". They offered to give me a P.O. Box to write a letter.

I am so frustrated. The repair team conceded that this is likely a production problem and that it hasn't become a recall yet. Sounds like there are a lot of others out there with a similar experience. Any solutions? Class action suit to force a recall?

- Alexis K., Minneapolis, MN, US

problem #17

Jan 082018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles


My 2012 Hyundai Elantra started making a ticking/knocking noise. Took it in to the dealership and I was told the short block needs to be replaced. This problem seems to be very common, why hasn't Hyundai done a recall on this model?! The dealership submitted a claim to Hyundai Canada to approve to the replacement but I am still waiting to hear back from them. I don't have all of the receipts for my oil changes and maintenance and I'm sure it will get denied just for that reason.... DON'T EVER BUY A HYUNDAI!! Never again..

- Tefanny H., Edmonton, AB, Canada

problem #16

Dec 202017

Elantra GL 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,876 miles

My wife and I bought a 2012 Elantra (after my brother had great success with his 2002 Elantra getting over 300000km on it). We have loved our car. It has been reliable (always starts...even when it is -30 outside!). But, unfortunately we have been struck with the infamous engine tick. It did start when we were going through a brutal cold snap.

I brought it into the dealer while we were on vacation thinking it might be a simple one or two day fix. I also thought that it might simply be a lifter tick or timing chain slap. I was surprised to get the news that I needed a new engine. When I asked the service department to explain when we returned home "How could it need a new engine?" he replied that "This is a common problem" and already had 10 cars waiting for their new engines.

He even went on to say the engines were back ordered by about 800 engines as many other dealerships were having the same problem, and that we were lucky to get the 170,000km on it that we got. We did have plans already to buy another vehicle as our daughter is getting her license and was going to use the Elantra. So at the time, we decided to just buy another car and purchased a 2018 Santa Fe XL (we are hoping we do not run into the same engine issues now with this car!). We opted not to replace the engine in the Elantra at that time as beside the tick, it was still running fine, and everything else on the car is still in great shape.

Since having the car home I began to do some research on the engine. I was very surprised to find out that many other people have had the same issues with their Elantras (and also felt lucky ours made it to 170,000km before the ticking happened). I'm not sure at this time how I should proceed, but 170,000km is a far cry from the 300,000km my brother had with his older Elantra.

We have treated the car well to ensure we could pass it down to our daughter. Now, it's a giant paperweight! Hopefully Hyundai is honorable enough to correct this issue and not let it become a class action lawsuit. Thanks for reading :)

- Ben B., Everett, ON, Canada

problem #15

Dec 042017

Elantra Limited 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,259 miles

Specific Labor Description- From Mechanic dated 2/16/2018


- Gary S., Brimfield, MA, US

problem #14

Jan 082018

Elantra GLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,389 miles

Fellow Elantra owners,

Unfortunately I can now relate. My 2012 Elantra with 65 000 kms now needs a short block replacement. The engine started ticking when running after a cold snap here in Edmonton. It was -30 for a couple of days before it began knocking if that makes any difference. I stopped driving it and took it to the dealership where I have now been told I need a short block replacement.

I am the second owner and have only driven the vehicle myself for 15 000 kms so I am quite upset with this. The dealership is currently in talks with Hyundai Canada regarding the issue to determine whether or not Hyundai will pay to fix this issue. Hoping for the best, fingers crossed. It just seems like such a joke to me that a car with only 65 000 kms has such major engine issues.

- Sara H., Edmonton, AB, Canada

problem #13

Jul 172017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I bought my 2012 Elantra in March of 2016. At the time the engine had this strange ticking and I told the car salesman that I would not buy the car until we knew what was wrong and fixed. He took it to a Hyundai dealer and they got a certified engine block and replaced it. The noise stopped. That was at 42,000 miles.

I have had some little issues since then that were caused by the Hyundai dealer, but they would not take the blame. So I paid for it myself. That was an improperly installed valve cover gasket. Anyway, my check engine light went on and my mechanic said it was the timing chain. That cost me 60 dollars. When I called Hyundai corp. they said to take it to an authorized Hyundai dealer. I did and they said they got the light off, charged me 150 bucks and said there was metal flakes in my engine. They had no explanations for it other than not changing my oil enough and not using a certified Hyundai filter. I said I had proof that I changed my oil more than I was suppose to. As for the Hyundai oil filter, why was I not told to do that in the first place?

Anyway, I started an internet search and many Hyundai's have this problem. Many! Not just Sonatas I found many Elantras, mostly 2012 and 2013. I went back to my mechanic and asked him what the metal in the engine was. He didn't know, but suggested that I unload my car to a poor unsuspecting person while it was still driveable. He said the engine was going to go soon.

I'm bummed because I love my car and I certainly don't have the money or time to get another car right now. Hyundai needs to come clean with us consumers. Right now! I'm going to bug them until they do! This is unconscionable! I had a 2003 Sonata that never caused me any trouble for years. I'm thankful for this sight and also for social media. Does anyone out there want to start a class action suit?

Sincerely, Disgusted in Olympia

- janhillman, Olympia, US

problem #12

Mar 242015

Elantra GLS 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,155 miles

I bought a used 2012 Hyundai Elantra that starting ticking five months after our purchase. I took it to the car dealership and they said it was a bad wrist pin and that they recommended a total engine replacement. I went to an independent mechanic for a second opinion and he was in total disbelief that could be the case. After he looked the engine, however, his findings were the same. He said this HAS to be a manufacturer's defect and that this issue should never occur. There was quite a bit of confusion with Hyundai Customer Care and the local dealership on the warranty for a subsequent owner. At first it seemed like it would be covered, but in the end no one will step up and help. As we continue seeing this issue reported more and more online (and a potential class action lawsuit), I have kept the car and hoped for a recall. We drove it for a while longer (short trips near home only), but we had to stop driving it as I was worried about safety. Very disappointed to say the least.

- Bridget B., Geneva, IL, US

problem #11

Apr 072017

Elantra GLS 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,800 miles

Thought I would try a Hyundai since I heard so much about their quality and only previously owned US car company vehicles.

I was the second owner of this Elantra so I understood that the Powertrain Warranty was reduced to 60,000 miles instead of the 100,000 mile for the original owner. At just over 60,000 miles an engine "ticking" started when it was cold. It gradually got worse and at 64,888 miles, the "ticking" became a "knocking". Turned out to be a main rod bearing and had to have the short block replaced.

While I am able to accept almost any repair "out of warranty", a main rod bearing is not acceptable to me.

The crank and main bearings are the main artery of the engine and I don't expect to ever have a problem with this. Short search online showed others having the same problem. Obviously an engine defect. The Dealer and I both talked to Hyundai America but they would offer no compensation.

Unacceptable outcome. Not sure what's going to prevent the same problem from happening again?

- Richard K., Fort Wayne, US

problem #10

Jan 132017

Elantra GL 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,378 miles

I bought this 2012 Elantra as a lease back and it had 58,000 km on it. The purchase price was $13,500 CDN. It drove perfectly fine for two years until one night it got really cold, like minus 30 and the next day i started it up and it had been ticking ever since. The engine blew completely at 115,000 km and it won't start now at all. I have been a loyal Hyundai buyer for a decade now but no more, not only that but my entire family who buy Hyundai have decided to switch as well. What a terrible company, this is a known defect regarding defective cylinder wall coating used in the Alabama manufacturing facility and there was never a recall done on this issue. So basically I paid 16k for a car that lasted only 56k kms. NEVER AGAIN HYUNDAI, I will tell everyone i know or ever come across to never ever buy your cars. Pretty convenient that the engine failed right after the warranty expired.

Update from Mar 17, 2017: If Hyundai actually would fix this problem for me I might be convinced to buy a new 2017 Elantra with the better 2.0 Atkinson cycle engine, but I doubt they are going to do anything so I will be buying a Mazda3, Corolla or Civic.

Update from May 25, 2017: Hyundai put in a new short block for me free. Car was over 100k warranty. They delivered the goods. Thanks hyundai.

- Michael E., Calgary, AB, Canada

problem #9

Mar 102017

Elantra Limited 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Week #1:

I have a 2012 Hyundai Elantra Limited and have about 78k on it. This week, I have noticed a loud clicking (tapping or clacking) noise upon startup and continues for about 10 minutes coming from the engine. The noise is loud and can be heard inside the passenger compartment. It (the noise) tends to subside after 10 minutes or so after the engine is warmed up and its rate changes as the RPM changes. I took my car into Hyundai of Frederick, Md. to have them look over it on 3/10/17. The first thing the dealer rep. asked is if I was using an Hyundai oil filter and oil, as non OEM filters may have a different flow rate. Before they even look at my car, I had to agree to a $113 inspection, if in the event that they don't find anything wrong, the inspection doesn't fall under Hyundai's warranty--only if they find a reparable warranty, do they cover the inspection. The next morning, I get a call from the rep. and he tells me that the will have to replace to engine oil and filter (OEM oil/filter, $35.00) to see if that clears up the noise. Several hours later, I get a call back from the rep. and he advises that the noise is still there. Now, the rep. advises that they will now have to tear-down the engine to get a better idea as to what is going on, and then check with Hyundai USA to see if they will cover it. This will take a good part of a week, say Wednesday or Thursday before I hear back. I will keep everyone up to date as to my progress with this and to the quality of Hyundai's warranty service. I believe I should not have to pay the $113 inspection fee and the "diagnostic" oil & filter change, since this is a verified warranty claim.


Well, I'm back with an update. It's almost a week later (03/16/17) and I have some good and bad news. I got a call this afternoon from the service department who explained that the engine was trashed, not in those words, but kaput! He stated that metal shavings were found in the area of the valves, the oil pan, and timing chain--lots and lots of metal shavings! He told me that he now has to contact Hyundai USA for approval to do the work and that someone would call me tomorrow to advise if it would be covered. About an hour later, I received another call from the same service employee who said that Hyundai approved the work and was going to cover the repair and the provide a rental for the time while the car was being repaired. The repair in question will be a short block and not the long block. My understanding is that the lower half (short block) will be factory new, while the upper engine head (valves, lifters, valve cover, etc.) will be re-machined. A long block (a full engine replacement) repair is better. I think you get the cheaper (short block) fix if you car has a lot of miles on it, as it is closer to the end of its warranty and will no longer be covered. Look to get a long block repair if your car has few miles and metal particles throughout. As far as Hyundai is concerned, their short block replacement only has to last 22K miles.

I asked the service representative what caused the damage but he was not able to give me a definitive answer. The inspection consisted the removal of the valve assembly, which revealed metal flakes. They then checked the oil pan and found more flakes; along with flakes in the area of the timing chain (say what?). At that time, they then declared the engine dead and started the approval process; not finding what the root cause was. Perhaps they will later. It was only a matter of time that the engine was going to fail in a big way. So far, I am very happy with the way the dealer and Hyundai USA has handled this situation. They've kept me informed throughout the process and moved quickly on repairs and provide me with a rental car. If everything turns out the way it should, this will go along way for me to consider buying another Hyundai product, Hyundai stands behind its product. This is going to be a very expensive repair/replacement for an engine with 78K and it shouldn't have failed at a relatively low mileage.

Major takeaways so far: 1) Keep excellent records of your oil changes and servicing. Stick with the recommended service intervals or sooner; however, be consistent where you take your car for its service (helps with record keeping). 2) You don't have to take it to the dealer for service, just make sure you are consistent and the place you take it to and they uses the manufacture specified "like quality parts and tolerances" (non-OEM oil and filters)--they don't have to be Hyundai parts, just places that use exact similar part (e.g. Midas, Jiffy Lube, etc.). The easiest though, is just taking to the dealer, because they of course use OEM part and keep unquestionable records. 3)They seemed to focus on any engine repairs to the vehicle. This may be used to red-flag the vehicle. 4) Do your internet research before going to the dealer for repairs. Knowing what you are up against will help you. All-in-all, pretty good so far!

To be continued.....

Update from Mar 29, 2017: I just got my car back from the dealership today (03/29/17) and returned the Hyundai rental car. The dealer representative let me take a look at their invoice and what they are charging Hyundai for the warranty work to my car. The total cost of repairs is close to $10,000.00 ($9,700-ish). The repair/replacement consisted of a new engine head and a re-manufactured short block. I was told that Hyundai is currently out of long blocks and this was the only option. The rep. said that I would have received a long block replacement if they were available. I had dealer take this opportunity to replace the plugs w/ new ones; as the originals were still in use w/ the old block and need replacing anyway, along with a new serpentine belt, new water pump, and alternator. No labor was charged for installing the new none-block replacement parts, as they were not covered under the warranty, but felt is this was cost effective move, since there was no labor charge involved and I was starting out with essentially, a new engine. The ticking noise is now gone! The car seems to have more pep (improved engine response)and runs much quieter. Overall, I am very happy the way Ideal Hyundai of Frederick and Hyundai USA handled this situation; confirming that Hyundai does indeed stand behind their product. The major takeaway is this: Keep good records of your oil changes (using OEM parts preferably, per manufactures specifications, and be the original owner of the vehicle, as they are the only ones that are covered by the 10yr/100K power train warranty.

- Dan B., Frederick, MD, US

problem #8

Oct 242016

Elantra LS 1.8L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

The engine tap became more noticeable over a period of time but was not that bad. Meanwhile a C/V joint went out at about 73000 miles. When I took it in for the C/V joint I said by the way can you check out that tap. They called and said yep, you need a new engine. Hyundai approved the work and they furnished us with a rental. Which is a good thing because it took almost three months to get the engine from Hyundai. They did decide to replace the head as well (long block). I really have no complaints about the repairs (which were just completed yesterday, as I write this) so far or the service from the dealership (they warned me up front it was going to be at least a couple months). Here is the snag. The title for the car was transferred from us to my daughter. Technically, so I have read, the 100,000 mile power train warranty is not transferable, period. The dealer (which is where we bought the car) presupposed that we were still the owner. They did not ask for a current registration until 30 minutes after we got the car back home after the repairs were finished. The dealer rep who called for the registration said it should not be a problem because of the title transfer being to an immediate family member who does live with us. So far I have heard nothing back from the dealer. I am hoping that Hyundai will treat like a recall repair instead of a warranty repair and they will pick up the tab in spite of the transfer of title. One thing I think we can all agree on is; an engine should last more than 73,000 miles. This wheel however is still in spin.

- Keith D., Baton Rouge, US

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