Researching buying used Elantra 2004 2005 2006
This will be my first used car and I’m trying to make sure all my basis are covered as I would like to have it for awhile.
After looking around I’ve seen some common problems posted about this model and want to know if these are things I should pay attention to (are they common enough that I should worry)
Timing Belt going between 60-100k
Power Windows Failing
Head Gasket/Engine Overheating/Thermometer Issues
I know there are a bunch of other things I need to look at in with used cars, like the fluid levels/quality and structural things, but I’m just trying to get an idea of what to look for in this car in particular.
Thanks for any help!
You are smart to do this kind of research before you begin shopping. Then you can move forward armed with the facts you need. These forums are a good place to learn from the experience of other Hyundai owners. You can also do Google searches for other reliable sources of information.
The problems you've listed here are all serious and would be expensive to repair. So I'm assuming that you either really like this car or you are anticipating buying it at a bargain price. I would suggest finding a trusted mechanic in your area who specializes in Hyundai cars. Ask the mechanic if these are common problems and what it costs to repair. Then, when you find a car you're interested in buying, take the car to the same mechanic.
As with any used car, make sure to pull a vehicle history report and ask the seller for maintenance records. Then, have the car inspected. Finally, see if the Hyundai powertrain warranty is transferable. Good luck and happy shopping.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor
Philip Reed, Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor
I own a 2004 Elantra GT hatch that I bought new 10 years ago. It's been a great car; for the past few years my son has driven it to/from school and work (pizza delivery). It's been very reliable, very few problems in 10 years. Really did nothing on it except normal maintenance and new brakes (all disc) until recently, when I had to replace the HVAC fan switch. Also, the valve cover gasket was leaking a bit and also a power steering cable was leaking a little. In each case the dealer said "a lot of people just live with this and keep an eye on it", but since my son drives the car and he might not keep a close eye on these issues (and I don't want the steering failing on him), I decided to have both repairs done. They also tightened the belts as the steering belt was slipping a bit.
As for the problems you mentioned, some are potentially big deals and some aren't. Re the tire "shimmy" issue, that is a common issue on 2001-6 Elantras, and I've seen it on both my 2004 Elantra and a 2001 Elantra I owned for five years. It was easily remedied by having the wheels/tires properly balanced on a Hunter machine at a tire shop. I stress "properly". This model is very sensitive to proper balancing, and a couple of times the shop had to rebalance to get it just right. Re timing belt, the recommended replacement interval is 60k miles, so if you have it replaced every 60k miles (as I did) you should have no problem there. Never had a power window fail on either of my Elantras, but I've noticed recently that the driver's power window switch is getting a little finnicky on my 2004... but it's 10 years old. Never any problems with engine overheating/thermostat issues. But I will say that I always follow the manufacturer's recommended service schedule for my cars, which includes replacing coolant per their schedule, checking thermostat and hoses, etc.
BTW, my sister bought my 2001 Elantra from me several years ago, and it's still running strong. She's had to do some work on it over the years, but it still has the original brakes (!) and the interior still looks new. She's thinking about selling it soon, before she has to do any major work on it.
Although I got full use out of the 100k powertrain warranty on my 2004 Elantra, I never had to use it.
I highly recommend the hatchback, the GLS version if you can find it as it would cost less than the GT and has a nice cloth interior and I think maybe a smoother ride than the GT. Be sure to look for ABS/TCS, which was optional--it was often bundled with a moonroof. I still think the Elantra's driver's seat is one of the best I've seen on an economy car, with dual height adjusters and lumbar adjustment. If I could find a pristine, low miles hatch, I'd buy one again!