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Hyundai engine recall details

Hyundai engine recall — what you should know

Hyundai and Kia have had major engine problems and they fall into two categories; defective manufacturing that results in Hyundai engine knocking and fires. This post deals with the Hyundai manufacturing issues and the Hyundai engine recall. Let’s start with the Hyundai engine knocking problem.

Starting in 2011 Hyundai and Kia’s 2.4-liter and turbocharged 2.0-liter Theta II engines began failing due to improper manufacturing techniques used in the Hyundai Alabama engine factory. The factory changed part of the manufacturing process from a mechanical deburring technique to a high-pressure wet blast to remove leftover metallic debris from the engine. The technique didn’t work, leaving metal debris in the engine, which contaminates the oil. Over time, the metal particles damaged the crankshaft and camshaft bearing and journal wear that resulting in the famous Hyundai engine knock and stalling. At first, Hyundai blamed the owners for not changing their oil according to the recommended schedule.

In June 2015, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) raised the engine issue with Hyundai. Hyundai claimed that even though the engines did stall as they failed, they didn’t consider it a safety-related issue that was within the NHTSA’s purview.

Then, when Hyundai couldn’t get away with that excuse any longer, Hyundai then adopted a procedure of installing software that closely monitored the engine knock sensor to detect the early stages of knock. Only then would Hyundai offer a fix. That was a weasel offer, so owners sued.

Hyundai vehicles that have the 2.4-liter and turbocharged 2.0-liter Theta II

• 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata
• 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
• 2011-2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
• 2013-2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
• 2011-2014 Kia Optima
• 2011-2014 Kia Optima Hybrid
• 2011-2014 Kia Sorento
• 2011-2014 Kia Sportage

Symptoms of a failing Hyundai engine

• engine knocking
• excessive oil consumption
• engine stalling
• engine failure

• In September 2015, Hyundai was compelled to recall 470,000 2011 and 2012 Sonata’s to prevent engine failures and fires.

• In March 2017, Hyundai expanded the recall to include 572,000 MY 2013-2014  Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles, also with the Theta II engine. On the same day, Kia recalled 618,000 Optima, Sorrento, and Sportage vehicles – also with the Theta II engine.

NHTSA investigation into Hyundai

“On September 10, 2015, Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) filed a

Hyundai engine recall

Click on the image to download a PDF of the Hyundai Engine Recall No. 17V-226

Defect Information Report (DIR) recalling 470,000 2011 and 2012 Sonata vehicles with “Theta II” engines (Recall No. 15V-568). Hyundai’s DIR described the defect as an issue involving manufacturing debris. Hyundai limited the population of recalled vehicles to those produced on or prior to April 12, 2012, stating that a process change in April 2012 resolved the issue of manufacturing debris.

On March 31, 2017, Hyundai expanded its original recall to include 572,000 2013-2014 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles with “Theta II” engines (Recall No. 17V-226). The DIR continues to describe the defect as an issue involving manufacturing debris.

In 2017, Hyundai settled the class action of Mendoza v. Hyundai Motor Co., Case no. 15-cv-01685, by agreeing to:

1) help vehicle owners pay the cost of repairs or replacements;
2) reimburse owners for rental and towing expenses; and
3) extend the warranties on these cars from 5 years/60,000 miles to 10 years/120,000 miles.  However, the Mendoza case was limited to only certain vehicles, and many Kia and Hyundai vehicle owners continue to suffer through frustrating repairs and engine problems.

NHTSA investigations were opened again on August 21, 2018, and March 29, 2019, regarding the Theta II engines in Hyundai and Kia vehicles for continued engine failures that may cause stalling and non-collision fires.

Hyundai Consent Order

In a consent order dated November 23, 2020, Hyundai agreed to the following:

Hyundai agrees with the agency’s assessment that both Hyundai

Hyundai consent order

Click on the image to download a copy of the Hyundai Consent Order

and Kia conducted untimely recalls of over 1.6 million vehicles equipped with Theta II engines, and inaccurately reported certain information to NHTSA regarding the recalls.

Pay a combined civil penalty of $210,000,000

Comply with the NHTSA recall


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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