10 Typical Problems With Hyundai Elantra Problems (Reliability Report)

The Hyundai Elantra is a popular car for its safety features and stylish design. However, like any other car, they do come with a few quirks. Getting to the bottom of these can be stressful whether you already own one or looking into buying one.

The most common problem among all Hyundai Elantra models is the window regulators failing early and often. In addition, many models have several different safety recalls regarding the breaks, airbags, and engines. You’re also likely to run into a faulty electrical system, loose steering, failed power steering, or suspension problems.

In this article, we’ll explain all of the most common Hyundai Elantra problems and their solutions. You can also find out whether they’ve been recalled, and how much it could cost you to fix the problem if there’s no recall.

Are Hyundai Elantras Reliable Cars?

Overall, the Hyundai ELANTRA is a reliable car. Repair pal, who bases their ratings on actual repair invoices and other essential statistics, gave the Elantra a 4.5 out of 5 in terms of reliability. Repair pal also ranked 36 other compact cars, and the Elantra ranked number 8.

There are also reports of some Elantras running almost 300,000 miles. But, how well the car is taken care of will be the most significant factor in how reliable it will be for you. In addition, the way the previous owner cared for the vehicle will contribute if you’re buying a used Elantra.

It’s essential to thoroughly research the car before you buy it. You should investigate the recall history and any reports that may be available for the specific vehicle. CarFax is a great place to find information on a used car before deciding to purchase it.

Is Hyundai Elantra Worth Buying?

While the Elantra is a reliable car, whether it’s worth buying will depend on the price versus several other factors.

If the car is new with no miles and no known problems, there’s no way to say that it isn’t worth buying. For a new 2022 Elantra, around 23,000 is a fair price.

Used cars, on the other hand, there are several things you consider when determining what you should spend.

The most imporant is the mileage. The higher the mileage, the more risk of running into expensive problems. You can always use Kelly Blue Book to find the value of the car before you agree to a price.

Hyundai Elantra Problems

It’s also important to consider the common problems you could encounter with the car. This way, you’ll have an idea of what you can expect to spend on repairs.

It’s also good to see what type of safety issues you could run into. However, when it comes to safety concerns, it’s best to address them immediately to avoid putting yourself at risk.

1. Defective Airbags

One of the most common problems with the Hyundai Elantra is that many of them have defective airbags. Hyundai Elantra owners reported 1205 problems with their vehicles related to the airbags.

Two issues are the most prevalent. In some cases, the airbag doesn’t deploy in a crash. In others, they may accidentally deploy when they’re not needed. Many owners experienced these problems before 50,000 miles.

There have been several recalls for Hyundai Elantras because of these two common malfunctions. In addition, some Elantra models were included in the Takata airbag recall with many several other vehicles.

Many Elantra airbag problems are fixed at no charge because of these recalls. Others, like the 2013 and 2017 models, may have faulty airbag control modules. Owners have been quoted up to $1100 for this repair, with the average cost of the part being around $600.

You’re also likely to run into problems with the air conditioning if you have an Elantra.

2. Air Conditioning Problem

The air conditioner in the Hyundai Elantra has failed as early as 25,000 miles for some owners. The usual complaint is that the air is blowing, but it’s not cold.

If you experience this problem, it’s most likely because the freon is low. Freon leaks are a common problem with the Elantra. If there’s not a leak, you can usually recharge the freon yourself, and it’ll only cost around $25.

Your problem could be other small things like a blown fuse, bad relay, or clogged cabin filter. These things are usually simple and inexpensive to repair.

Unfortunately, it’s common for these cars to need a condenser, compressor, or evaporator replacement to fix the problem. These things could run anywhere from $600 to $1300 to fix.

It’s easiest to pinpoint a bad compressor because it will almost always make a squealing or grinding sound when it goes out. However, if you notice a ticking or knocking sound, your problem is with your engine.

3. Engine Issues

The most common complaint among Elantra owners is this knocking/ticking/slapping sound that Hyundai engines are so famous for. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you’ve heard this sound when starting your car if you own an Elantra.

Unfortunately, the sound is more than just a simple annoyance. While it may sound like it’s coming from the top of the engine, it’s actually coming from a fault with a piston in the block. This problem has resulted in many having to replace their engines.

However, if you notice a knocking sound when you try to start your car, and it won’t turn over, you likely have a timing chain issue. The port to fix this issue will cost around $650. So, with labor included, you can expect to pay between $1000 and $2000.

Elantra motors also have a common issue with the piston oil rings. This has caused many Elantra engines to stall and could cause them to catch on fire. There was a class-action lawsuit filed against Hyundai and Kia because of this.

Will Hyundai Pay for a New Engine?

Thanks to this settlement, you may be able to have your engine replaced for free if you have a 2011-2016 model. In addition, 2019-2020 Elantras that have the 2.0 “Nu” engines are covered under a recent recall on the engines. Sadly, there are still several gaps where your Elantra may not be covered.

If you have to replace the engine out of pocket, a new engine could cost between $2500 and $4000. In addition, labor costs to have it swapped could add another $1000 to $2000. However, you may be able to find a used engine to lower the price.

According to many Elantra owners, you could end up spending close to the price of a used motor on repetitively replacing your window regulators.

4. Window Regulator Failure

Window regulator failure is a problem that seems to plague Elantra owners of all models, both older and newer.

Many have voiced their frustration with having to replace all four of their window regulators at some point. Others are even more frustrated by the fact that they’ve had to change some more than once.

If you notice that your windows are stuck or move up and down slowly, it’s a sign you’ll need to replace your window regulator. A replacement regulator costs between $250 and $410. If you can’t change it out yourself, you could spend up to $550 after adding in labor costs.

Another frustrating problem you may run into with your Elantra is reduced output from your headlights.

5. Weak Headlights

Weak headlights can make it difficult to see when driving at night, especially on roads without clear markings. When considering your safety, this issue can be concerning.

Luckily, in most Elantras, this results from a film that develops on your headlight lenses. You can easily use a powder cleaner, like Comet, and a soft cloth to clean this. Once you do, your headlight output should be significantly better.

6. No Audio From Car Speakers

In addition, it usually doesn’t require a repair to fix audio problems with your car. The audio not working when you turn on the radio is a common software glitch with the Elantra. You may notice that your GPS isn’t working along with the audio if this is what you’re experiencing.

All you need to do to fix this problem is reset your car’s software. To do this, disconnect the negative battery terminal and leave it off for at least 15 minutes. When you reconnect it, you should be able to hear audio through your speakers.

While this issue is simple and cost-free to fix, other problems are more complex. For example, the commonly reported steering problems can be complicated. Not to mention dangerous.

7. Steering Problems

The Elantra has several common issues regarding steering. These include the steering wheel being hard to turn, the steering being extremely loose, and the steering wheel locking up while driving.

If your car becomes noticeably more difficult to steer, it’s likely because of the common power steering assist issue. For example, certain 2017 Elantras were recalled because of a faulty connector in the electric power steering system that can cause the power steering to fail.

In addition, certain 2021 and 2022 were recalled because of a bolt in the steering column allowing the steering column to detach from the steering rack. When this happens, it’s impossible to control the car.

You can contact Hyundai for a free repair if you have a steering problem related to one of these recalls. Conversely, many Elantra owners have experienced similar issues with models that have yet to be recalled.

If this is the case, you’ll be responsible for the cost of repairs. Depending on the exact cause, it could cost up to $500.

However, some power steering problems could be related to other issues within your car’s electrical system.

8. Faulty Electrical System

A faulty electrical system can cause many puzzling problems. It could even be the root of the other common issues discussed above if your solution wasn’t covered. For example, it can cause your dash lights to come on for no reason, so it could be why your airbag light randomly comes on.

Along with power steering issues, it can cause your battery to die often and an excessive amount of blown fuses. However, the most prominent indicator that your electrical system is flawed is if you smell something that smells like burning wiring.

A faulty electrical system can also sometimes show up, similar to a dead battery, when you try to start your car. However, the difference will be that your interior lights still come on.

It’s challenging to pinpoint the exact issue regarding your electrical system. So, your best bet is to have a mechanic diagnose your system. This usually costs between $80 and $120.

9. Service Brake Problems

Elantras have a long list of recalls when it comes to the brake system. One of which is also related to the electrical system of the 2010 and 2011 Elantra.

This recall was due to the malfunctioning of the electronic stability control sensor. When this sensor fails, it causes your wheels to brake without cause. Sometimes, it even causes you to lose control of the car.

The 2003 Elantra was also recalled because of the increased risk of brake fluid leaking from the brake tubes. When this happens, your brakes are not as effective and sometimes even fail.

Various other models, including the 2013 and 2017, also have recalls relating to brake light malfunctions. These include the brake lights not lighting or lighting at the wrong times.

10. Suspension Problems

In addition to the lengthy list of brake-related problems, some 2011 model Elantras were recalled because of problems with their suspension.

The concern was that the front coil springs were likely to rust, especially when in locations where the roads are salted during winter months. When this happened, the rusty coil could easily splinter off and puncture the closest tire.

Similarly, the 2003 Elantra was recalled due to corrosion on the front lower control arm. This made it more likely for the arm to fracture and cause the driver to lose control of the car.

For models with this problem that have not been recalled, a replacement coil will cost around $55. After labor, you’ll spend between $150 and $200.

On the other hand, the control arm will cost between $330 and $460. After added labor costs, your total could be up to $600.

The best way to avoid severe problems with your Hyundai Elantra is to stay on top of the scheduled preventative maintenance.

Your manual will outline the exact maintenance schedule for your exact model. These schedules outline what you should have services for every 15,000, 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 miles. Most schedules look similar to the following.

Hyundai Elantra Scheduled Maintenance

MilesWhat to Service
15,000Change the oil. Make sure all fluid levels are full. Check the air filter and replace it if it’s needed. Have your tires rotated and balanced.
30,000Replace the fuel filter if needed Replace the brake pads if needed Have your suspension inspected
60,000Have your battery tested. Have your belts checked. Have all the hoses inspected. Have your brake rotors inspected. See if spark plugs/ignition coils need to be replaced.
90,000Inspect the safety features. Get a full mechanical inspection.

Hyundai Elantra Ignition Coil Replacement

Having your ignition coils replaced at regular intervals is among the most important of routine maintenance. These coils are what control the power from the battery and make it possible for you to start your car. They also enhance the performance of the engine when it’s running.

Running your car with worn ignition coils can cause many undesirable things. The check engine light will usually be your first sign that it’s past time for an ignition coil replacement. However, there are some other signs that you may notice.

You’ll likely notice decreased gas mileage when your coils first become worn. Once they pass the point, the effects get worse. For example, you may notice that your car doesn’t run as well. Eventually, it can cause your engine to stall, misfire, or not start at all.

The coils usually cost between $120 and $160, depending on the model of your Elantra. If you have a professional replace them, labor costs will usually be around $50.

How to Contact the Manufacturer

You may run into a problem with your Hyundai Elantra that you need help with. You may also have questions about a recall or warranty for your specific model. If these things come up, you can always reach out to Hyundai for help.

If you need to find out where the closest dealer is located to take your car for repairs, you can find it using their online dealer locator.

For problems that don’t require your car to be looked at, you may prefer to call them (1-800-633-5151) or send a message online.

List of Recent Recalls For Hyundai Elantra

To make things easier, we’ve researched the most recent Elantra recall numbers and what they pertain to.

  • 21V302000: (Improperly welded seat back recliners)
  • 03V257 (Brakes)
  • 97V026000 (Windshield wiper motor)
  • 99V178 (Transmission)
  • 00V259 (Engine Stalling)
  • 04V178 (Fuel tank assembly valve)

Recent airbag-related recall numbers include:

  • 22V354000
  • 22V218000
  • 22V123000
  • 00V332

Check to See Whether Your Vehicle Has an Open Recall

To find more information on whether your vehicle has an open recall, you can visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

Here, you can enter your VIN, or the year, make, and model of your car, to search for any open recalls.

Are Elantras expensive to insure?

The price of the insurance on your Elantra will vary based on many factors, such as your age, location, and driving record. However, the average cost of insurance for Elantras is slightly cheaper than the overall average.

On average, insurance for an Elantra is approximately $146 cheaper annually than other vehicles. However, the annual price can vary up to $337 based on certain factors. For example, the rates for younger drivers or drivers with tickets will be higher.

On the other hand, older models will be cheaper due to their lower value. This is because the value of the car is lower, creating less of a risk for the insurance company if something happens to the car.

Are they safe cars?

While no vehicle is 100% safe, the Hyundai Elantra is a relatively safe car. Many models of the Elantra have passed their safety testing with above-average results.

In addition, the 2021 Elantra is designed to distribute force away from the cabin of the car if it’s hit in a collision, which increases safety significantly on its own.

However, there have many issues and recalls regarding safety features on the Elantras. While they should have been repaired under the recall, you should make your car has been fixed for any recall it’s included in to ensure safety.


While the Hyundai Elantra has its quirks, it’s a good car overall. Most major safety concerns in most models have been addressed through recalls. So, if you’re looking at buying an Elantra, you’ll likely be happy with it as long as you do the right amount of research before you pick.

It’s always best to make sure you check the open recalls on any car before you buy it. If the vehicle has open recalls, you should double-check with the dealer to ensure they have been properly repaired.

Hopefully, the information covered in this article has helped you with buying or getting to the bottom of a common problem with your Elantra.