By on February 11, 2020

Hyundai Motor America is recalling nearly 430,000 vehicles in the United States over a short risk that could create a fire hazard. Affected models include Hyundai Elantras from the 2006-2011 model years and the Hyundai Elantra Touring from 2007-2011.

Even though the problem is really similar to the one that afflicted older Azera and Sonatas manufactured around the same time, Hyundai says the recall is not related to previous Hyundai recalls. Both cases involved moisture getting into the antilock brake module, which then overheats and creates a fire risk. In both cases, Hyundai said fires can occur after the vehicle is turned off. 

Our advice? Be doubly careful if your ABS warning light makes an appearance whilst driving and don’t park your Elantra inside a garage or carport until after repairs have been made.

Documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claim Hyundai found no “discernible trend relating to a design or manufacturing defect” allowing water to enter the system. It makes one wonder how hard they are actually looking. The NHTSA said it opened an investigation on various Hyundai and Kia models in 2019 (after the Azera and Sonata recalls) due to the elevated number of fire complaints from owners of older vehicles. Plenty of those incidents had nothing to do with ABS, however, and instead dealt with various engine manufacturing defects resulting in debris accumulation or oil leaks (especially on the Theta II).

For the manufacturer’s latest recall, the fix involves installing a relay inside the main junction box to prevent the risk of an ABS short circuit while the car is turned off. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to address the water intrusion that’s at the heart of the issue.

As usual, any necessary repairs will be conducted free of charge. Owners with affected vehicles should be getting their notification letters early next month.

[Image: Hyundai]

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10 Comments on “Hyundai Recalls Over 400,000 Elantras Due to Short/Fire Risk...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “For the manufacturer’s latest recall, the fix involves installing a relay inside the main junction box to prevent the risk of an ABS short circuit while the car is turned off. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to address the water intrusion that’s at the heart of the issue.”

    A cheap cop-out. I just looked, and the retail price for a new ABS module is around $1500, plus add the cost of removal and installation, bleeding the brake system, and probably a reflash to get it recognized by the car.

    So the car won’t burn to the ground, but owners will have to shell out for repairs, assuming the cost doesn’t cause the owner to ditch the whole car (we’re talking about nine- to 13-year-old Elantras, after all).

    A used module on eBay is $30-$150, but there’s no guarantee a used one won’t fill with water like the original.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    For years, I used water to put out fires. Now Hyundai tells me water *causes* fires – has the world gone crazy???

  • avatar
    Steve203

    Hyundai and Kia have been producing some handsome vehicles lately. I like the looks of the Forte5 of a couple years ago, and Canada is now getting a new Forte5 that looks even better. The Elantra GT is quite handsome as well.

    But, the company has been having so many defective engines and fires, I need to take a step back and see if they get everything cleared up. While the big engine recall was for the Theta used in larger vehicles, there seem to be plenty of Nus, in both MPI and GDI trim, in the Forte and Elantra that are coming to grief as well.

    Remember how long the recalls of Ford’s self-igniting cruise control relay went on, and on?

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      That wasn’t a relay, it was a pressure switch screwed into the master cylinder, that was used to detect when the driver pressed on the brakes. Also known as the brake on/off or BOO switch. The pressure membrane would break down and brake fluid would leak into the switch, shorting the contacts. Plus, it was unfused.

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    Get ’em while they’re HOT! Oh, wait…

  • avatar
    thehyundaigarage

    Steve 203

    Buy an Elantra GT or the forte with the 1.6t. It’s from the gamma engine family, which is basically a heavily modernized version of the original alpha engine. They’re solid.

    Theta2. Manufacturing debris my ass. Or they wouldn’t have just extended the warranty to 200k to even the 2019 model year.

    Nu engines. 1.8, avoid it. 2.0, pretty good, just change oil frequently.

    Basically, buy a 1.6t. It’ll be good to you

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      @thehyundaigarage, thanks for the input.

      There were 3 cars I had my eye on: (2) 2016 Forte5s and (1) 2018 Elantra GT. CarFax pulls up the original window sticker for Hyundai and Kia products. Appears that all three have the Nu 2.0 GDI. All have the 6 speed automatic. The CarFaxes for both of the Forte5s, do not show an oil change until over 17,000 miles, nearly 2 years, from first registration, well beyond the recommended interval, but reasonably regular oil changes after that. Both cars now have mileage in the low 40Ks. The Elantra GT has been a service loaner at the dealer since last fall. It has 7852 miles on it, without an oil change.

      Think I’ll just sit back and see what the new GT styling looks like.

  • avatar
    thehyundaigarage

    To add to it, despite working for Hyundai and having seen so many blown engines, there is one thing I will give Hyundai Canada (whom I’m not a fan of) credit for.

    Redesigning an engine for millions of cars isn’t practical, so they have been Good about putting engines in cars with high mileage under warranty.

    Oil change records for your 220k old 2011 Elantra with a knocking engine. They’ll give you a new one with few questions asked.

    That’s not half bad..

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