Hyundai Problems

No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Hyundai reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

How do I tell if a 2019 Hyundai Kona is AWD or FWD?

Answered by CarsGuide 20 Jan 2022

It’s pretty simple, James, and despite both two and four-wheel-drive being offered on all trim levels of the Kona, there’s one thing to check that will answer your question: If the vehicle has the two-litre, non-turbocharged engine, it’s a two (front) wheel-drive. If it has the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, it’s an all-wheel-drive Kona. Hyundai never offered a front-wheel-drive Kona with the turbo engine, nor all-wheel-drive with the non-turbo.

Beyond that, there were some other major technical differences that will also tell you what you’re looking at. The front-drive Kona has a simpler, torsion-beam rear suspension, while the AWD version has a multi-link arrangement. Then there’s the transmission. Front-drive Konas got a six-speed conventional automatic, while the AWD Kona got a dual-clutch seven-speed transmission.

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Who is responsible to help resolve issues with my 2019 Hyundai Venue?

Answered by CarsGuide 15 Jan 2022

You’re on the right track with this approach. Fundamentally, you need to give the dealer (and manufacturer) the opportunity to put things right. That means giving the dealer access to the vehicle, even though that’s obviously inconvenient for you. A switched on dealership will, where possible, offer you a replacement vehicle while yours is being worked on, too.

Only when the manufacturer and dealer have told you there’s nothing that they can do should you approach the ACCC or other statutory body with your request for a refund or a new vehicle to replace the one that can’t be fixed. While ever the dealer is making an attempt to fix things, it’s wise to give them the access to do so.

For what it’s worth, the problem is likely to be something to do with the car’s body computer which is playing up and not allowing the central locking to work, while also allowing the battery to drain. What looks like a faulty battery can often be traced back to a body computer problem, particularly when the central locking is involved.

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Does the Hyundai Staria-Load come with Hyundai Smart Sense safety features?

Answered by CarsGuide 14 Jan 2022

The Staria Load has a stack of standard safety features, including autonomous braking (including pedestrian and cyclist detection) blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise-control, a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors. The best news is that those are included on every variant of the Staria Load, including the entry-level, front-wheel-drive model.

Had this been a case of you ordering a vehicle you were told would be fitted with these safety features and then discovering they weren’t included, you’d have been entitled to a refund of your deposit on the basis that the vehicle being supplied was not as described at the time you placed your order. But it seems Hyundai is being very serious about safety with this new vehicle, so those bases seem well and truly covered.

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My 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe has a transmission fault, what should I do?

Answered by CarsGuide 21 Dec 2021

I definitely agree that 60,000km is pathetically short for the lifespan of a modern transmission. And if, indeed, the transmission has failed or is showing dramatic wear in that distance, I’d be asking Hyundai to help out with the cost of repairs. Even though the vehicle is out of warranty (by only about a year it would seem) the low kilometres and full factory service history might give Hyundai cause to come to the party on a pro rata basis.

Meantime, don’t hit the panic button yet. The fault could be a much simpler one than you might be imagining and could be something quick and easy to fix. The problem could be as simple as low transmission-fluid level. If the quoted cost to examine the transmission is putting you off, try an independent transmission specialist who should be more than familiar with this unit.

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Does the Hyundai iX35 engine have any issues?

Answered by CarsGuide 24 Nov 2021

Hyundai’s Theta 2 family of engines does, indeed, have a pretty chequered track record for reliability. But it’s important to note that the majority of vehicles affected have been US-market cars with engines built in a different factory to the cars supplied to Hyundai Australia. For the record, the North American cars in question experienced debris from the engine machining process blocking the oil passages inside the engine, leading to bearing failure. In some cases, the engine failure resulted in a roadside fire.

Even though our iX35s were built in South Korea rather than North America, there’s still a chance the same problem could crop up here given that engineering materials and techniques tend to be standardised across all factories in the name of efficiency.

As you point out, your car is now out of warranty, but I wouldn’t leave it at that. I’d be talking to Hyundai’s customer service department with a view to at least getting some assistance in having the car fixed if, indeed, it was a manufacturing fault that caused the engine failure. I’d also be pointing out that 80,000km is not a realistic life expectancy for a modern engine. To get anywhere with this approach, you’ll need to be able to show that the car has been serviced by the book and (probably) that the failure was due to a loss of oil pressure that led to bearing failure.

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What is causing my 2010 Hyundai Tucson to overheat?

Answered by CarsGuide 29 Sep 2021

If a car overheats (for whatever reason, but a blown head gasket is a prime cause of this) the damage to the engine internally can be catastrophic. Pretty much any component can be compromised after an overheating event, so knowing where to start looking is the big question here.

Changing the head gasket requires removal of the cylinder head, and reassembly involves making sure that the camshaft timing is reinstated correctly. If there’s been a mistake made in this regard, the engine will almost certainly not run. 

Certainly, injector failure is not unknown in modern turbo-diesels, but the fuelling system on a modern, common-rail turbo-diesel is a complex, fine-tolerance arrangement, so you also need to check the filters, fuel pump(s) and operating pressures. Even then, you might find that a simple, cheap-to-replace sensor is the single component preventing the vehicle from running.

I’d start with an electronic interrogation of the car’s computer. The problem there is that if the car hasn’t actually run with the issue that’s preventing it from starting, the computer may not have had the opportunity to log the problem in the first place. That said, a simple fault code might be all you need to know to move forward, so a scan is in order. Beyond that, it’s back to first principles, checking the timing and clearances of all the mechanical bits and pieces, including having the injectors bench-tested.

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If the Hyundai Santa Cruz ute is sold in Australia will it be classified as an LCV?

Answered by CarsGuide 22 Sep 2021

The Santa Cruz not only has an integrated tub, it’s also a monocoque design rather than a separate body on a ladder-style chassis as many commercial vehicles are. But it would, in Australia, still be classified as a light commercial vehicle. According to the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, light commercial vehicles are: '…motor vehicles constructed to carry goods or specialised equipment that are less than or equal to 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass. They include utility vehicles, panel vans, cab chassis vehicles and goods vans.' And that pretty neatly describes the Santa Cruz utility.

There has been a lot of talk about the Hyundai tray-back making it to Australia, but a couple of things are standing in the way. The volume models, for a start, are front-wheel-drive and the construction rules out the huge towing limit of something like a Toyota HiLux or Ford Ranger (3.5 tonnes). But there’s plenty to suggest that the Santa Cruz would be a nicer thing to drive than a conventional dual-cab ute and, for those who don’t need to tow super-heavy loads, the Hyundai might make a bit of sense. But don’t hold your breath on it coming here. For now, Hyundai is saying no to an Australian launch, purely because the Santa Cruz is not being built in right-hand-drive form.

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What is causing my 2013 Hyundai i30's rough cold start?

Answered by CarsGuide 7 Sep 2021

Any smoke from the exhaust of a car suggests there’s something wrong with the fuel system or that there’s wear inside the engine. I’m leaning towards the fuel system in this case, though, as a cold-start is when the fuelling system is under the greatest stress.

To make a cold engine run properly, the engine’s fuel-air ratio has to be altered (more fuel and less air than when the engine is up to temperature). To know how much extra fuel, the engine has a range of sensors that measure the temperature of the air going into the engine, the temperature of the engine itself, the flow of air, as well as sensors that sniff what’s coming out of the tailpipe to make sure the mixture is just right. If any of these sensors begin to send false information to the engine’s computer, the mixture can be incorrect and the rough running, poor idling and visible smoke can be the results.

Even something as simple as the stepper-motor, which controls the idle speed of the car, can be the cause of rough idling, but that’s less likely to contribute to gales of smoke from the exhaust. The best advice is to have the car scanned and see if the computer has logged any faults. Smoke from the engine might also warrant a compression test of the engine’s cylinders, too. From there, you can make a more informed diagnosis and replace only the faulty parts.

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Why is my 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe unresponsive when I press the accelerator?

Answered by CarsGuide 5 Sep 2021

There’s no point giving an engine a double-dose of whatever the manufacturer recommends as the correct amount. And that applies to everything from injector cleaner to windscreen washer fluid. It’s also true that these injector cleaners will sometimes work if the problem is a simple case of a build-up of dirt and gunk that shouldn’t be on the injector, but if the problem is an actual worn injector or some other problem, then all the cleaner in the world won’t help. You’ve asked if the condition might improve with time, and in the case of a dirty injector that is gradually cleaned by these products, then the answer is maybe.

The fact that your engine runs perfectly once warmed up is the interesting part. That suggests that there’s something going on when the engine is first started. Does it start easily? If not, the glow-plugs (which pre-heat the combustion chamber on a diesel) could be malfunctioning. I’d also be checking the fuel delivery pressure as these modern, common-rail diesel engines use very high fuel pressure to work properly. If the injectors aren’t getting the correct pressure from the moment you hit the key, they can run very poorly. That would then lead me to check for a dirty fuel filter and perhaps even the condition of the pump and its regulator. You might even find the problem is related to the turbocharger or even the throttle-by-wire system that is having a temperature-related hissy-fit.

The first thing to do now would be to have the vehicle scanned and, in particular, look out for fault code P0401. This will be logged as a problem with the EGR system, but is often caused by carbon build-up in the engine rather than a problem with the actual EGR valve. This fault code can also be associated with loose turbocharger plumbing which can lead to boost leaks and the sort of sluggish behaviour you’ve noted. Either way, it’s a good clue about where to look. It’s also worth noting that Hyundai was aware of a problem with the engine fuel-filter fitted to engines built around the time of your car. A change of the filter cartridge was a simple fix, so make sure that’s been done on your car. A Hyundai dealership will be able to check if your car was affected and whether it’s been fitted with the new filter.

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Which popular mid to large SUV is best for a family?

Answered by CarsGuide 14 Aug 2021

This is a really interesting question, because most car-makers tend to quote their products’ luggage capacity in litres, rather than a set of dimensions in each direction. Even then, it’s not that simple as there are different methods fort calculating the cubic capacity of a load space, and the two methods are not readily comparable. It’s also a bit of a con-job, because a figure in litres mean very little to most people, while actual measurements in centimetres would be much more relatable.

In any case, since you obviously have two kids with cellos and school-bags, it’s clear that you’ll also need the rear seat for at least one passenger, so you need to find a vehicle that either has enough space in the rear with the first two rows of seats in place, or a car that has a split-fold rear seat to allow longer loads (like a cello or two) to pass from the luggage area into the rear seat space. The good news there is that many (if not all) SUVs do, in fact, have this split-fold seat, and that will surely accommodate even a full-sized cello which, after a bit of scratching around, I discovered is about 121cm long.

If, however, you need to occupy the whole rear seat with passengers, then you need to find an SUV that is wide enough to accept the cellos loaded across (or diagonally across) the car. That won’t be easy, because most vehicles just aren’t that wide inside. Even a conventional full-sized car-based Holden or Ford utility (which aren’t being made any longer) is only about 1400mm wide. And if you check out something like a Hyundai Santa Fe, it’s load area with the third row is feats down is just 1080mm at its narrowest point. Even the huge Hyundai Palisade is just 1111mm across the narrowest point of its load area. There will be areas where the space is wider, but that narrowest point is usually between the rear wheel-arches.

I’ll also take a punt and suggest that the cellos in question are either in carry-bags or even hard-cases which would add even more to their length. So you might find it very difficult to find anything that will accommodate a 1.2 or 1.3 metre cello lengthways in the luggage area without resorting to folding down half the second-row seat. Even a big car like a Volvo XC90 has just 1220mm of load length with the rear seat in place, and mid-sized station-wagons typically have less than a metre between the tailgate and the rear seat. The best idea might be to make a short-list of cars you’d be happy with and then visit the relevant showrooms with a tape measure (or even a cello) in your hand.

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