2020 Hyundai Elantra Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Suspension, powertrain and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

This article was written by Brian Jones, ASE Certified Master Tech and Lemberg Law Automotive Contributor

The 2020 Hyundai Elantra is one of the top choices among American drivers. Even the automaker claims it is a “stylish, dependable sedan.” Still, owners find many defects once they have been driving it for a little. From the suspension to the wheels and the engine to the powertrain, there are many major components that are failing.

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Problems with the Suspension

The steering and suspension work together to ensure a smooth ride on any road. When any part of this system malfunctions, it can be very difficult to control the vehicle.

That’s what is shown with this NHTSA review. “While driving the car at the speed range of 40-70 mph the steering wheel undergoes abrupt stiffness change from stiff to very soft causing sudden jolt of the vehicle right or left depending on the road condition. This happens all the time at this speed range. Lost control resulting in almost crashing into a divide barrier. Driving requires maintaining the steering wheel in strong grip at all time and a lot of experience to avoid loss of control.”

It turns out that there is a suspension-related recall affecting the Elantra. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V721000 states that the lower control arm ball joints can detach because they were insufficiently tightened from the assembly line. If this occurs, owners are looking at trouble with keeping the car under control and therefore, might cause an accident. This wouldn’t be what most people would consider “dependable.”

Problems with the Wheels

In conjunction with the suspension, the wheels and tires must also be reliable in order to keep occupants safe. Yet, this is another area that simply fails.

One NHTSA complaint states, “When I pulled out of my driveway at about 5 mph and began increasing speed (10-15 mph), I felt like my front tires may have needed air. I checked my dash and confirmed that all the sensors for tire pressure were on and working and the air pressure seemed to be fine. I began to increase speed and by this time was traveling eastbound at approx. 55 mph on the hwy, when the front left tire suddenly felt loose. I wasn’t sure if it was my tire or the road itself but before I could even switch lanes my tire seemed to jerk me over to the left side of the road. My back tire fell off the ledge of the hwy and caused me to pull the wheel to try to correct the imbalance but I didn’t have enough time before the steering wheel was wandering off toward the left causing me to smash head on into a tree into the center divider.”

It should come as no surprise that there is also a wheel-related recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V720000 states that the right-side wheel lug nuts on the rear tire might not have been tightened correctly, which could cause the wheel to detach. What is going on at the assembly plant? Were they distracted when building the Elantra or simply incompetent? Sadly, this is a dangerous situation, not nearly as fun as something that is seen in cartoons.

Problems with the Engine

Aside from the structure, there are also mechanical aspects that must be made correctly. The engine is probably the most important. However, this is just one more source of pain for owners.

An NHTSA complaint states, “The contact drove a 2020 Hyundai Elantra loaner vehicle. While the contact’s son was driving, the vehicle revved to approximately 80 mph and then suddenly stalled. The driver stated that the Check Engine indicator illuminated. The contact’s son coasted the vehicle off the road and started the vehicle, but it did not respond. After approximately two more attempts, the vehicle regained power. The contact called [dealership]. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 1,000.”

While there isn’t a recall for this problem – yet, the company is acknowledging some engine troubles. Even Campaign T5B Dea talks about various DTCs with illuminated warning lights that are signaling troubles. Some of these might require an ECU and TCU update. At this point, it takes an expert to fully control the Elantra. From the steering to the suspension and surging engine, it’s best to keep both hands firmly planted on the wheel and hope that the journey to Point B occurs safely.

Problems with the Transmission

Finally, a look at the transmission reveals just as many defects.

Here is one Edmunds review worth mentioning. “Transmission failed at 3500 miles and had to be completely replaced (took over 2 weeks but was covered by warranty). Now at 6500 miles it is happening again and I was essentially told I would have to pay or wait for it to completely fail again. If it does, I will be contacting a lawyer about lemon laws. I need a reliable car and can’t afford to rent a car for two weeks every three months.”

While the company hasn’t recalled any Elantras due to the defective suspension, Service Bulletin #19-AT-021H-1 does acknowledge a slipping transmission. From the beginning to the end of this Elantra production, it’s a major disaster. It started by putting a defective engine and transmission under the hood and ended with assembly workers failing to tighten parts and bolts properly. At this point, the car might have been better built by a five-year-old.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Hyundai pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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