— A Hyundai Elantra class action lawsuit alleges the cars have piston problems that cause knocking engines to eventually fail.
However, Hyundai says the arguments set forth by Elantra owners don't merit a lawsuit, much less a class action.
According to the plaintiffs, the clicking noise occurs in 2011-2016 Elantras equipped with 1.8-liter Nu engines that suffer from oil sludge that can cause owners to pay up to $10,000 to replace the engines.
Plaintiff Elizabeth Brown purchased a new 2013 Hyundai Elantra Limited in August 2013 from New Jersey Hyundai dealer Avenel Sansone Auto Group. The plaintiff claims she noticed a clicking/ticking noise in October 2017 that seemed to be coming from the engine when she started the car.
She didn't take the car to a dealer but says about a week later her son was driving when he heard a loud pop before the engine failed. The Elantra had about 64,000 miles on it when it was towed to Sansone for repairs.
According to the class action lawsuit, the dealership found the engine was “full of oil sludge, which was caused by her failure to timely change the oil in her vehicle.”
Brown alleges the Elantra is covered by a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, but Hyunda argues the warranty has conditions that customers must meet. In this case, the plaintiff was told the warranty requires proof of abiding by the maintenance schedule, but Hyundai and the dealership determined the Elantra wasn't covered “due to inadequate maintenance.”
Plaintiff Thomas Pearson purchased a 2015 Hyundai Elantra in December 2014 and alleges his engine “catastrophically failed” in July 2018. Hyundai says the plaintiff doesn't allege the Elantra suffered any symptoms related to piston problems including any clicking or ticking noise.
The car had 76,000 miles on it when the plaintiff was told he had exceeded the mileage limit under the new vehicle limited warranty. However, the powertrain warranty was still good so Hyundai replaced the engine under warranty.
In its motion to dismiss the class action, Hyundai says the only "harm" claimed by the plaintiff is that Hyundai should have reimbursed him in full for rental car fees. According to the automaker, the plaintiff has no claims at all because Hyundai replaced his engine under warranty, leaving his claims moot.
Plaintiff Janeshia Martin purchased a used 2015 Hyundai Elantra in May 2015 from a non-Hyundai dealership, but in 2018 the engine allegedly failed on two occasions. Hyundai notes she never mentioned any symptoms of alleged piston problems but was told the engine would need to be replaced due to “metal shavings in the oil.”
The dealership said because the Elantra had 74,000 miles on the odometer the engine replacement wouldn't be covered under the new vehicle limited warranty. In addition, the powertrain warranty was no good because she purchased the car used.
The plaintiff claims a "Hyundai dealer" replaced her engine for $3,000, but Hyundai notes the plaintiff never says she had to pay for the replacement.
Plaintiff Nicholas Moore purchased a used 2013 Hyundai Elantra in December 2014 from a non-Hyundai dealer, but more than two years after he bought the car it started making a ticking noise.
Hyundai says the plaintiff claims “Hyundai denied his warranty claim,” but the plaintiff didn't say why. The automaker says the new vehicle warranty was no good because the car had too many miles, and the powertrain warranty wasn't in force because he purchased a used Elantra.
According to the class action lawsuit, Hyundai must have known about the alleged engine problems based on complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
However, Hyundai argues only two of 24 complaints predate Brown’s purchase of her vehicle, only "three predate Pearson’s and Moore’s purchases of their vehicles, and only five predate Martin’s purchase of her vehicle."
Some of those complaints never mention anything about a clicking or ticking noise and several complaints specifically say Hyundai "was not notified of the failure.”
Hyundai further argues the plaintiffs failed to plead the most basic elements of fraud because they have not identified a single misstatement by Hyundai that prompted their decisions to buy the cars.
Hyundai also says claims about denied warranty coverage are baseless because none of the plaintiffs "allege that they performed regular (or any) maintenance on their vehicles, nor do they allege that they retained (or ever had) copies of any maintenance records."
Hyundai questions how the plaintiffs would even know alleged piston problems caused failed engines considering none of the customers claim they maintained their vehicles.
The Hyundai Elantra class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Newark Division - Brown, et al., v. Hyundai Motor America, et al.
CarComplaints.com has engine complaints from Elantra drivers: