Hyundai Elantra Problems 1996-2000

backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
edited March 2014 in Hyundai
Hyundai Elantra owners or owner wanna-bes, here's a place to talk about issues with the Gen 2 Elantra.


  • simplecjsimplecj Member Posts: 7
    Well a few days ago me and a few of my friends went to Vegas for spring break. I'm glad to say that we all made it back safe, but BARELY!!! I have a 98 Elantra with only 70,000 miles on it, I change the oil regularly and drive it with care. Yet, when we went to leave the NY NY casino, my car backed out fine, but when I shifted into drive I felt it attempt to engage the gear, but it simply slipped back out and refused to go. After a few minutes of trying I got it to engage and we were off. It drove fine until Mesquite where I stopped to refuel and it did the same thing. Once again after a few minutes I was able to get it moving again, glad that it didn't slip in the higher gears. Well we made it home thanks to the direct highway route with no stops, but now my car is parked and not going anywhere unless it's in reverse. I consider us luck to have made it back! :sick:

    So my first thought is that it may be a torque converter issue, but it reverses just fine, so I am thinking this is a valve issue where the transmission is not applying enough pressure to engage first gear. HORRIBLE!! The last thing I want to do is fork out almost as much as my car is worth just to have the transmission rebuilt. Anyone have any ideas on alternate causes or easier repairs??

    My experience with this car so far is that while it might be nice and economical, when it comes to repairs, they are overly difficult and usually expensive. IE: The local shop cannot turn my warped rotors without breaking the front wheel bearings because they placed the rotors behind the main wheel hub! HOW FLIPPING STUPID IS THAT?!! :lemon: I hope to never own another Hyundai!
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    The rotors are not behind the wheel hub. But they have been known to fuse to the hub and have to be cut off.

    As for the torque converter.... have you done the maintenance and do you have the records? When the transmission was serviced, was SP-III AT fluid used? Are you the original owner? If the answers are all yes, this should be covered under the 10 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

    (If you haven't serviced the transmission or used the wrong fluid, then the fault is yours. Elantra ATs are pretty good as long as you do the maintenance right.)
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    Unfortunately, I think the 10 year/100k powertrain warranty started for the 1999 MY, and this is a 1998 Elantra. :cry:
  • simplecjsimplecj Member Posts: 7
    Well, I am not the original owner so it is not covered by warranty. I have serviced the trasmission about 8,000 miles back and unfortunately I believe it was Dexron ATF type III used along with some additional transmission protection fluid. I even had the service manual and it was not made clear that only SP-III was to be used. Service information states SP-II, but neither of these types are available at my local parts stores, not Checker, Autozone, no where I looked had it and now I'm reading that you have to use the specific Hyundai-BRAND SP-III. How ridiculous is it that a company would make a tranny that is so specific you can only get the oil from them and like many people out there, it is not clearly stated even on the car itself, therefore the wrong oil is used even by many mechanic shops and lube service places. Do I really have to go to the dealer who is almost an hour away, just to get the right fluid for my tranny??? Unfortunately it may be too late to do any good now. I ordered a code reader to see if there are any problems with sensors or what-not.

    Since my car broke, I've been reading that these transmissions are NOT dependable and there are many known issues with them. Hyundai did not do a good job designing them and the fact they didn't design them to run on standard ATF is a big mistake costing their customers alot of grief and money! Boo to Hyundai, I'll never buy another one! :lemon:
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    I even had the service manual and it was not made clear that only SP-III was to be used.

    That is odd. In the owner's manual for my 2004 Elantra, there are two places where the AT fluid is mentioned:

    Back cover: "Use only HYUNDAI GENUINE ATF available at your dealer or DIAMOND ATF SP-III or SK ATF SP-III."

    p. 6-14: "Recommended Fluid: Your Hyundai automatic transaxle is designed to operate with HYUNDAI GENUINE ATF, DIAMOND ATF SP-III or SK ATF SP-III. Damage caused by a nonspecified fluid is not covered under your new vehicle limited warranty."

    Seems pretty clear to me. Also FYI, Hyundai parts are orderable via the Web.

    Re all the tranny issues you've ready about: did you get a sense for how many of the failures were due to misuse or improper maintenance?
  • simplecjsimplecj Member Posts: 7
    Well I do admit that it is stated in the manual, but as most people might expect that it is a marketing ploy to ensure service is done using their materials. I do not believe that it is mentioned that using other standard ATF fluid will cause failure. What I read in the forums was that several people had their cars serviced by lube stations or mechanics shops who evidently also overlook the importance of the oil type. I still stand by my opinion that it was bad for Hyundai to choose such a hard to find oil for their tranny's and they should clearly state that somewhere one the car or under the hood. Standards are used for a reason, so that the average Joe can find it at his local parts store instead of the dealer or searching for it online, that is if the average Joe is lucky enough to realise the difference. Type III... SP III ??? Bah! Hyundai has been horrible to work on all around! :cry:
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    Standards? For ATF? What standards are you talking about? Many automakers require special ATF formulations for their cars. See for example:

    A couple of years ago the clutch broke on my '01 Elantra. It was still under warranty, so I expected there would be no charge for the repair, which cost $1300. But the techs looked at it and said it broke because it had obviously been abused, multiple times. I know I had never abused it, so I asked the other drivers of the car--my son and wife--if they had ever done so. Turns out they had! So I was not happy about paying $1300 for the repair, but I didn't blame Hyundai for a mistake that someone else had made.
  • nthenthe Member Posts: 414
    hyundai was not a good car 10 years ago, but they have come a very, very long way since. do not base this bad experience on a very old car on hyundai as a brand now.
  • simplecjsimplecj Member Posts: 7
    Standards as in, using oils that people can actually find locally or are already familiar with. Of course if you have a new car you're probably still taking it to the dealer for servicing, lucky you. I can't afford a new car.... Here's one page with a bunch of peoples experiences with Hyundai transmissions. :sick:

    I know they might have some decent cars come out the last few years, but there's still plenty of their money traps out there. I just received a quote from my local Hyundai dealer for a rebuilt transmission. If you can believe it, he told me $2731.69 BEFORE taxes!! WTF!!! The car only books at about $1800 in good condition. That is horrible!! Older Hyundai--> :lemon:
  • simplecjsimplecj Member Posts: 7
    Just found another quote at $1586. Much better than the dealership by about $1200 but still equal to the value of the car and doesn't include installation. I might as well look for another whole car to buy and just use one or the other for parts. This car only has 70k miles on it!! :sick: BOOO!!!! I miss my old beater Escort now, at least Ford parts were cheap and the car was a billion times easier to work on than the Elantra.
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    Those ATs are really expensive to fix. I am sorry for you that your mistake wound up costing you so much money. That's about how much my friend's $30,000 Odyssey would have cost to fix when its tranny failed outside the Honda warranty, except lucky for him he had bought an extended warranty that covered it.
  • nthenthe Member Posts: 414
    there seem to be just as many complaints about honda transmissions here too.

    you have to take some consumer complaints with a grain of salt, as you don't know what each individual does or doesn't do to a car.
  • sarakatie04sarakatie04 Member Posts: 5
    I will not buy another Hyundai, because quite frankly, it is nothing but a mechanical nightmare... I have had no luck whatsoever with this car. It's a 2000 Hyundai Elantra. It only has 72,000 miles on it now, but when I bought it, it had 44,600 on it. I loved the car at first, but it was one thing after another that has gone wrong with it, and that made me decide to never again buy another Hyundai. First the windshield wipers work only occasionally, then my engine blows at only 53,000 miles (apparently the timing belt broke, and caused it to blow), then my stereo system that was in it failed...something happened to the wires and it wouldn't work, so now I have no cd player in it, something went wrong with my fuel system and I can't pump gas into it right, and finally my driver's door handle snapped on the inside so now I have to open it up from the outside. So I have had absolutely no luck with this car, and this is why I would never buy another Hyundai.
  • fishinwarefishinware Member Posts: 3
    My son recently purchased a 1998 Elantra. He and a friend of his installed an aftermarket stereo. Everything seemed to work fine until it got dark out and he turned his headlights on. He said the dimmer switch started to smoke and the instrument panel lights went out. Last night he asked me to look into this for him. So when the sun comes up , I will give it a shot. Besides having the stereo wired incorrectly, connections not connected right, grounds not grounded properly, and a blown fuse (which I am saving for last, have to find out the root cause first), is there anything else I should look for ....?
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    Not sure about the 98, but I know that from 01-03 there were two connectors that could be crossed. I think they are the dimmer and the hazard lights. Assuming you have to remove those connectors to install a radio on the 98, check to make sure they are connected properly.
  • fishinwarefishinware Member Posts: 3
    Thank you, I will keep that in mind. We are going to work on it tomorrow. It ended up raining over the weekend .
  • fishinwarefishinware Member Posts: 3
    Hi, thanks for your help. It turns out the wiring was incorrect and the fuse was blown. Top it all off, something is rattling around inside the dimmer switch. Is there a way i can bypass the dimmer switch ? It has three wires: black, green w/ white stripe and solid green. Autozone wants over $100 for a new one. I am thinking I can connect two of them and the dash lights will light up ....Any ideas ?
  • vschwenkevschwenke Member Posts: 2
    My teenage son just purchased this car for less than $1000, but it has a few issues. Seller had a problem with the catalyst converter and removed after being told that was the reason for the check engine light. Check engine light came back on after he removed it, and was told that it was because of the catalyst converter be missing. We put our reader on it and found codes PO335 & PO427. The PO427 matches what the seller was told for the catalyst converter being missing. Our question is the PO335.

    1. Definition for code in question

    PO335 – Crankshaft position sensor A circuit malfunction.

    What is A? We have not been able to find a repair manual at any of our local auto part stores, and the Hyundai dealership can order and get here in a month. I have ordered one from Amazon, and should be here in the next few days. Was hoping that someone has a little knowledge of what this can be.

    2. Another question is why the car would stall after being driven when you come to a stop. We were advised that the seller had this problem on occasion and would have to wait about 10 minutes for it to start again. We drove it on the highway from the sellers about 50 miles, stopped at a gas station and it stalled. Waited the 10 minutes and it started right up. Could this be because of the catalyst convert being gone or another issue?
This discussion has been closed.