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Lawsuit alleges defective pistons cause engine noise, oil sludge and complete engine failure.

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Hyundai Elantra Engine Ticking Noise From Pistons: Lawsuit
Lawsuit alleges defective pistons cause engine noise, oil sludge and complete engine failure.

— Hyundai Elantra engine ticking noise has caused a proposed class-action lawsuit that includes all consumers who are former or current owners and lessees of 2011-2016 Hyundai Elantras equipped with “Nu” 1.8-liter engines.

According to the lawsuit, the piston assemblies of the Nu engines cause the knocking and ticking noise that eventually leads to engine block damage, oil sludge and finally complete engine failure.

Owners and lessees are allegedly left with the prospect of paying up to $10,000 for new replacement engines, a price way too steep for many Elantra owners.

Plaintiff Elizabeth Brown says she purchased a new 2013 Hyundai Elantra Limited containing a “Nu” 1.8-liter engine, a car she still owns. Brown says she noticed a ticking noise coming from the engine in October 2017 when the car had 64,000 miles on the odometer.

Within a week the engine failed and the dealer told her the warranty claim and permission for a loaner vehicle would take a day or two to authorize. Several days later she was informed oil sludge was found in her engine and that Hyundai would be denying her warranty claim due to inadequate maintenance.

Brown says she was told by Hyundai's corporate office to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and Hyundai would honor the BBB’s decision, but the BBB told her nothing could be done because the Elantra had more than 60,000 miles.

Although her Elantra engine was allegedly still covered by a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, Hyundai said the oil sludge problem was caused by Brown for failing to change the oil in the car. The Hyundai dealer allegedly said the least expensive option would be to pay $3,500 for a used engine.

Brown says she has now been without transportation since November 2017 as the Elantra sits in her driveway, all while she has been paying $470 per month for the auto loan and about $3,000 the past year for insurance.

Other Elantra owners have complained their engines failed, including the owner of a 2012 Hyundai Elantra who told CarComplaints.com the engine started making a ticking sound that seemed to get louder.

The woman had purchased an extended warranty, so she took her car to the used car company where she bought it, then was referred to a Hyundai dealership. The inspector for the warranty company said the engine would be replaced, but the dealer said other Elantra owners had been waiting months for replacement engines.

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

According to the lawsuit, Hyundai has allegedly known about the piston problems and engine ticking noise since 2011 when changes were made to the pistons, followed by more changes in 2013.

The plaintiff claims Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. issued a technical service bulletin (TSB 14-20-002) in March 2014 about engine knocking in 2011-2013 Elantras.

The TSB blamed the ticking problem on “defects in the piston skirt coating as well as improper finishing of the connecting rods” of the Nu 1.8-liter engines, a problem that would be fixed by replacing the engines.

According to Hyundai Canada, “the engine exhibits a loud knock during start up but the noise reduces as the engine reaches operating temperature.” Dealers were allegedly told to reject any warranty claims if owners could not produce perfect oil change records.

However, the lawsuit says Hyundai has never made the same offer to U.S. customers even though the Elantra engines were allegedly built on the same assembly lines with the same defective pistons and parts.

The plaintiff claims Hyundai dealers tell customers the engines are acting normal and even when an engine fails, dealers allegedly deny warranty claims by throwing blame on customers who allegedly have not maintained the cars. But even when dealers do replace the engines, the replacement engines are allegedly just as defective as the original Nu engines.

Lawsuit documents claim the ticking sounds are consistent with something called "piston slap" that occurs when there is too much of a gap between the piston and the outer cylinder.

This is caused by a piston head that isn't secured in the cylinder, allowing the piston to rotate and causing the piston’s edges to collide with the cylinder wall. The ticking and knocking noise usually goes away once the engine reaches operating temperature and the piston expands to sit securely in the cylinder.

But the plaintiff claims Hyundai knows the piston problems also create oil sludge in the 1.8-liter engines, then blames the oil sludge issue and subsequent engine failure on the owner or lessee who allegedly didn't maintain their car.

The Hyundai Elantra engine ticking noise lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Newark Division - Elizabeth Brown, et al., v. Hyundai Motor America, et al.

The plaintiff is represented by Sauder Schelkopf LLC, Migliaccio & Rathod LLP, and Levin Sedran & Berman.

Read what owners have told CarComplaints.com about their Hyundai Elantra engines:

Hyundai Elantra Engine Complaints - 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016

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