Which Hyundai Elantra Years To Avoid and Why?(Explained)

The Hyundai Elantra is a compact car series manufactured by South Korean renowned automaker Hyundai Motors company since 1990 and called Avante in its native nation. Even initially marketed as Lantra in Australia and some European countries. Hyundai’s Elantra also got an overall 4.5 out of 5 ratings on Hyundai Elantra Reliability – 2022 Ratings|RepairPal and ranked 8th in the RepairPal’s Compact cars category.

Unfortunately, some years models could not keep the standard Elantra series like 2012, 2013, and a few more Elantra models due to their significant engine, electrical, and transmission concerns.

Therefore, keep reading the following article to learn more about those Elantra models-

Hyundai Elantra Years To Avoid: (With Reasons)

Since 1990, Hyundai has served seven generations of Elantra models, which is also one of the most popular series of Hyundai.

During Elantra’s ongoing 32 years journey, Hyundai has showcased significant design or styling advancements, structural modifications, and technological upgrades.

Unfortunately, consumer reports claim that some Elantra models are too problematic, and one should always avoid considering them.

Thus, if you are interested in the Elantra series, remember to avoid the following released years:

  • 2010 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2011 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2012 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2013 Hyundai Elantra

All these mentioned Elantra models years made Hyundai rank in 24th position on the CarComplaints.com website’s Least Reliable Hyundai Models category due to 1,327 received complaints and a 61.02 score on the PainRank™ scoring system.

These Elantra models are infamous for having issues like MPG not matching with the EPA estimates, engine ticking, or complete engine failure.

2010 Hyundai Elantra Problems:

This year’s Elantra vehicle users mostly complained of several transmission issues such as transmission slipping, lugs, noisy transaxle, running hot, won’t downshift automatically, and complete transmission failure.

2010 Elantra users also reported issues like paint fading or clear coat peeling, broken trunk lid torsion bar, and water tend to go into while opening the trunk after rain. Users also commonly mentioned issues like cracked inside door handle chrome, steering clicks, brakes stopped working, and excess brake rust.

2010 Elantra users also noticed and reported some engine, exterior, and seatbelts/airbags defects.

2011 Hyundai Elantra Problems:

This year’s vehicle users most commonly encountered engine troubles such as unusual ticking sounds, engine knocks while starting, rattles at start-up, stalls out, smokes coming from the engine or caught on fire, the check engine light staying on, and complete engine failure.

2011 Elantra users reported that the Mpg was below the Epa estimation rate. Also, noticed transmission issues such as shifting difficulty or rough shifting, transmission whining, clucking noise, and transmission failure.

2011 Elantra vehicle owners also noticed clicking noises coming from the steering wheel, hesitation when turning the steering wheel and tilted steering wheel.

2012 Hyundai Elantra Problems:

This year’s Elantra users mostly complained about engine troubles such as engine ticking, unusual noises at start-up, difficulty in starting or stalls while driving, cylinder misfires, engine compartment fire, check engine light malfunction, and complete engine failure.

2012 Elantra users also reported electrical problems such as the engine failing to turn over or won’t start, noticing an electrical short circuit or fire under the hood, and battery draining or not holding charge.

Users also mentioned common issues like poor gas mileage, noise while turning or steering sticks when turning, the vehicle tends to pull to one side, and steering column clunks or rattles.

2012 Elantra users also mentioned notable suspension, interior, brakes, and wheels or hubs flaws.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Problems:

This is most probably the worst year of Hyundai’s Elantra since numerous complaints were reported against the 2013 Elantra vehicles by the users, and some of the defective issues were really alarming.

According to the Carcomplaints.com reports, 2013 Elantra’s engine, wheels, brakes, electrical, fuel system suspension, interior, and steering are the most concerning area, which alternatively means this year’s models are full of concerns.

2013 Elantra users have commonly reported issues like ticking in the engine, running rough, shaking or vibrating dangerously, no acceleration or sudden unintentional acceleration, stalls while driving, and engine failure.

Other most highlighted symptoms were premature tire wears, blow-out on low mileage tire, bubbles building on the tire’s sidewall, brakes making grinding noises or squeaking, the engine failing to turn over ow won’t start, premature brakes, and battery failure.

What Are The Worst Years of Hyundai Elantra?

According to the HYUNDAI ELANTRA MODEL YEAR COMPARISON graphical presentation, the following Elantra years have produced the worst ones-

The 2011 Hyundai Elantra:

This year’s models got 598 complaints reported by consumers, and Four Recalls were issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which also forced the Hyundai to issue officially 130 TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS (TSBS).
The 2011 HYUNDAI ELANTRA most highlighted symptoms were ticking noise (average fixing cost $3,000), rattles at start-up (average fixing cost $4,400), and Mpg below EPA rating.

The 2012 Hyundai Elantra:

322 complaints were reported against this year’s vehicles, and NHTSA officially issued Three Recalls. Also, Hyundai officially released 116 TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS (TSBS).

2012 HYUNDAI ELANTRA most highlighted complaints were engine ticking (typical fixing cost $4,700), engine failure (typical fixing cost $2,200), and poor gas mileage.

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra:

This particular year’s CTS got 1,000 complaints, including Three Recalls issued by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Also, Hyundai officially had to issue 156 TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS (TSBS). 
Most 2013 HYUNDAI ELANTRA highlighted symptoms such asMPG not close to EPA estimations (average repairing cost $3,000), ticking in the engine (average repairing cost $4,300), and engine failure (average repairing cost $3,600).

Most Common Problems of Hyundai Elantra:

Let’s learn about the most common problems that make some Elantra models worth avoiding- 

1. Engine Issues

Based on the What Breaks The Most Hyundai Elantra list, 288 cases of engine problems or failure were reported against some Elantra vehicles.

According to HYUNDAI ELANTRA Year-By-Year ENGINE PROBLEMS detailed visual representation, engine problems were available in almost all released Elantra vehicles but were reportedly severe in Elantra’s 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2017 released models.

The most highlighted symptom was the engine ticking or ticking in the engine, which commonly occurs at 73,000-80,000 miles and requires an average of $4,300 up to $4,700 fixing cost.

Users also reported engine failure commonly occurs as soon the vehicle reaches approx. 73,000 miles, and if the condition was not too severe, they had to spend approx. $3.600 to repair it.

In the worst scenario, they mostly had to rebuild or replace the entire vehicle engine, and that’s definitely not a cheap servicing.

2. Electrical Problems

According to the What Breaks The Most list of Hyundai Elantra cars, 113 cases of major electrical problems were reported.

According to HYUNDAI ELANTRA Year-By-Year ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS graphical representation, electrical system malfunction or failure troubles were significantly visible in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2020 released Elantra vehicles.

However, problems seemed relatively severe in the 2012 and 2013 Elantra models.

One of the most highlighted and reported symptoms was that the soy-based wiring tends to get eaten by rodents, which commonly occurs as soon as the vehicle reaches 7,450 or some more miles of operation and requires approx. $290 to fix.

The other most reported issues were all dash warning lights suddenly coming on without prior reason and the engine failing to turn over or won’t start again.

Reportedly, the dashboard warning light malfunctioning occurs at 2,600-2,800 miles, and engine turnover failure commonly arises at 38,000-72,000 miles of operation.

Which Hyundai Elantra Years are Safe to Buy Used? 

According to the HYUNDAI ELANTRA MODEL YEAR COMPARISON, following years’ models have been considered safe-

  • 2004 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2005 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2019 Hyundai Elantra

The 2004 Hyundai Elantra five-seater sedan is a front-wheel drive and features 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, as well as sport-tuned suspension on GTs compatible with both manual and automatic transmission. Also, this Elantra has earned a 4.1 consumer rating out of 5.

2005 Hyundai Elantra comes with a manual shift feature for smooth performance, generous interior space, excellent fuel economy, easy-to-drive control, user-friendly handling, and maneuverability. Also, this Elantra has earned a 4.3 consumer rating out of 5, and users claim that it’s a pretty reliable car.

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra features updated front and rear styling, automatic emergency braking, and manual or automatic transmission both options are available with three four-cylinder engine choices. It is one of the recently released models, and this five-seat compact sedan already has earned an overall 4.7 consumer ratings out of 5.0.

Which Year’s Hyundai Elantra Have Most Transmission Problems?

Based on Carcomplaints.com, 2010 and 2013 Elantra models have the highest number of complaints against their transmission, and 116 cases reported by consumers.

Which Year’s Hyundai Elantra Have Most Steering Problems?

According to Carcomplaints.com, Hyundai’s 2009, 2013, and 2015 released Elantra models have the most steering issues, where 106 steering failure cases were reported by their users.


Most Hyundai Elantra models feature significant engine, transmission, and electrical concerns. Undoubtedly there are better options available in the market than them.

But when looking for decent used compact cars, the Elantra series can be a worthy choice to invest in, and all you need to do is avoid the problematic models while considering your options.

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