What’s the problem with new Hyundai models?
Recently, we’ve been getting a lot of calls from Hyundai owners who are having problems with their recent model year Hyundai. The Hyundai Tucson and Hyundai Santa Fe, in particular, are causing trouble for consumers who thought they had bought a new, popular, decently rated SUV, and ended up with a lemon.
Both the Hyundai Tucson and the Hyundai Santa Fe were in the top 25 most popular SUVs purchased in the U.S. in 2021. They appeal to families for their interior space and safety ratings. They appeal to the crossover market who want to drive in the city and the country, without looking out of place. Whether urban, suburban, or rural, the Tucson and Santa Fe are everywhere, and people are paying high prices to get a new Hyundai. A recent report showed that the Tucson, the Palisade, and the Elantra are all currently selling for more than 15% above MSRP in the U.S.
Reliability and safety ratings for recent year Hyundai vehicles are a mixed bag. In 2021, only the Palisade and the Nexo earned a Top Safety Pick rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) but the 2022 models of the Tucson, Santa Fe, Palisade, and Nexo were all chosen as IIHS Top Safety Picks. JD Power only gives an average quality and reliability rating to the 2021 and 2022 Santa Fe and Palisade; while the 2021 and 2022 Tucson and Sonata both earned a great rating. And in a disappointing move for Hyundai, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe lost its Consumer Reports recommendation due to issues with its reliability, primarily related to transmission problems.
Are Hyundai models still catching on fire?
Let’s talk first about the elephant in the room, or rather parked outside the room and away from anything that might catch fire. Yes, Hyundai vehicles are still at risk of catching fire. There have been numerous fire risk recalls for Hyundai vehicles. Owners have been told over and over again to park outdoors and away from other vehicles or structures because their Hyundai might burst into flames unexpectedly. Some of the recalls blame an electrical component in the anti-lock brake system; some attribute it to a fuel leak in a pipe connection; but the recalls are continuing and they affect even the most recent model year Hyundai vehicles. Hyundai owners should check current recalls on their vehicle on the NHTSA website, and get any repairs completed as soon as possible.
But fire risk is not the only problem plaguing Hyundai owners. Many other things are going wrong with the new Hyundai vehicles, which cannot and should not be ignored.
What other problems are Hyundai owners reporting?
Defective Forward Collision Avoidance System
Issues with the forward collision avoidance (FCA) system are some of the most common problems that we see in the new Hyundai models. The FCA system is designed to warn a driver and initiate braking when there is a risk of collision with an object (usually another vehicle) ahead. Some drivers are reporting that the FCA system does not activate when it should which can lead to collisions. More often, we are told that the FCA system has activated when there is no object ahead, causing the vehicle to slow down unexpectedly while driving. Some Hyundai drivers have reported this happening while they were driving on the highway, and they were almost rear ended. Even if you turn off the FCA feature (which you should not have to do,) it will automatically turn on again when you restart the vehicle, so the problem is hard to avoid.
There are reports of airbags not deploying in new MY Hyundai vehicles, including the Hyundai Sierra. Often this is discovered in connection with a collision caused by defect in the FCA system. In 2019, Hyundai, and its sister company Kia, were involved in a huge investigation by the NHTSA into nondeploying airbags, and, very recently, Kia had to issue another airbag defect recall (which did NOT include any Hyundai vehicles.)
Hyundai owners are reporting failing transmissions, sometimes requiring complete replacement of the transmission computer, particularly in the Hyundai Santa Fe. Most of these issues seem to be with the problematic eight speed dual clutch transmission that was introduced to the Hyundai Santa Fe. Transmission problems were one of the main reasons the Santa Fe lost its Consumer Reports recommendation.
Upside Down Displays and Other Electronic Malfunctions
Hyundai owners have told us that warning lights have appeared in their display indicating problems with anything from the shift selector to the ABS, but their dealer has been unable to diagnose and repair the problem. Some Santa Fe Hybrid and Plug-In SUVs had to be recalled and repaired due to the instrument gauge display appearing completely upside down, which is a real safety risk for drivers.
Hyundai dealers can’t get repair parts
Adding to the problems for Hyundai owners, dealers and mechanics do not seem to be able to get the parts that they need to repair defective Hyundai vehicles. The auto industry globally is suffering from the semi-conductor chip shortage. It is causing delays in getting auto parts both for repairs and for new vehicle production. Hyundai owners have told us that they are waiting weeks and even months for repairs to be completed.
Delays in getting your vehicle repaired may make you eligible for a lemon law claim. Lemon laws protect you if your vehicle has been out of service for an unreasonable amount of time (typically 30 days,) and that time is not extended just because the dealer cannot get a part.
What can Hyundai owners do if their vehicle is a lemon?
If you have a defective Hyundai, you do not have to live with it. You have options.
Lemon laws exist to protect owners of new (and sometimes used) cars from giant auto manufacturers who might otherwise have the resources to drown out any complaints or claims. If you have given the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to repair the defect, or if your Hyundai has been out of service for an unreasonable time, you may already be eligible to bring a lemon law claim for a replacement vehicle or reimbursement of the full purchase price of your vehicle. What is a reasonable opportunity to repair or an unreasonable time out of service is different in every state, but 3 repair attempts and 30 days (total) out of service is pretty typical. You can find out more about the lemon laws in your state in the state-specific FAQs on our website.
If you are having problems with your recent model year Hyundai, we may be able to help. Contact one of our experienced lemon law attorneys for a free, no-obligation case review. We will ask you about the specific details of your case, tell you about your legal rights, and explain how legal fees work in lemon law case. [Spoiler alert: You will NEVER have to pay us a cent in legal fees.] We are ready to hear from you.