NHTSA Investigates Sonata Rust Problem

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
nhtsa investigates sonata rust problem

Consumeraffairs.com reports NHTSA is investigating complaints of rust producing "fist-sized holes" in the subframe on Hyundai Sonatas, resulting in suspension failure. So far the problem has occurred in 1999 – 2002 model year Sonatas. The rust weakens the subframe to the point where it causes "wheel collapse or separation, half shaft detachment resulting in sudden vehicle disablement and or steering anomalies" according to the NHTSA web site. Most of the reports are from states where salt is used to control ice in the winter. Several accidents have been reported, and one car was rusted so badly the insurance company totaled it. If you have a Sonata, you may want to check under it to see if yours is affected. The car comes with a seven-year, unlimited mileage warranty against rust through; depending on how old yours is, you may need to move fast. Or slowly. Or both.

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  • on Apr 29, 2008
    jthorner : April 29th, 2008 at 5:24 pm Yep, plenty of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains and neither salt nor other deicers are used. Said roads do, however, have chains required zones when needed. Oh yeah, and lots of snow plows. If nothing else, laying down salt by the dump truck load is environmental idiocy. And they lay down crushed rock/sand to improve traction.
  • Menno Menno on Apr 30, 2008

    Hi windwards. Yeah, it's now pretty industry standard, but the 360 degree rotation in the e-tank is something fairly new (don't know if it is indeed, a Hyundai innovation or not). It was American Motors and Ford which started using the e-tank dip-primer systems, but Ford only used it in a few manufacturing plants, whereas AMC used it accross the board (one of the advantages of being smaller - it is easier to innovate). Chrysler products rotted so fast starting especially with the 1957 cars, that even with 2 and 3 year car payments being the norm, the cars were worthless junkheaps and half gone back to the earth via rust before the payments were done. I have to wonder if that is one of the reasons that AMC's Rambler make passed Plymouth as #3 in the US car market in 1961. Chrysler fought back and by 1965 through 1968, particularly the full-sized Chrysler cars were rustproofed so well that they routinely could be seen driving around Michigan 30 years later. I actually bought a 1967 Chrysler Newport as a daily driver in 1980 and until about 5 years ago, still saw it running around town in daily use. In northwestern Michigan.

  • JK43123 JK43123 on Apr 30, 2008

    Toyota Tacomas from the late 90s have had frame rust issues also. What matters is how Hyundai handles the issue. John

  • Tbakerkcmo Tbakerkcmo on May 05, 2008

    Since November 2006 I have been contacted by 25 different people who have all experienced a failure with the right front subframe rusting apart and actually breaking. Approximately 18 people have been settled with, either Hyundai repairing the car or reimbursing for the repair. Most people have been on the eastern have of the United States. I have been working with an attorney building a case for a class action Lawsuit. We are currently looking for anyone who has had this problem and not contacted me. The NHTSA Number PE08029 is an active investigation that report 40 known failures. I am especial interested in anyone from California. If you own a 1999-2001 Hyundai Sonata I suggest inspecting your subframe for rust. If you are not sure where to look, you should turn your steering wheel all the way to the right. Look where the A-Arm bolts to the frame. You will probably find severe rust. If you do, I would like to hear from you at tntnknbjuno.com Even if it has not failed yet, I suggest taking it to a Hyundai dealer and filing a claim with Hyundai Consumer affairs. My hope is that Hyundai, who has admitted to a problem by paying for repairs will soon address this obvious safety issue. Tom Baker, Kansas City, MO