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Hyundai Elantra Problems 2001-2006

backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
Hyundai Elantra owners or owner wanna-bes, here's a place to talk about issues with the Gen 3 Elantra.


  • laff66laff66 Posts: 8
    I recently bought a 2001 Elantra sedan for my daughter that only had 41,000 miles on it, and the brakes are absolutely horrible. I had the seller put new pads/shoes on it, and it didn't help. After purchase, I took it to a mechanic who found that the drums and rotors were badly glazed, and the new pads/shoes were very low quality. Although I've NEVER had low quality pads affect performance (just usable life), I went ahead and replaced everything. They are a little better, but still feel very inadequate.
    I would consider replacing the master cylinder, but it doesn't fade with hard pedal pressure, it just doesn't seem to stop well.
    Sorry for such a long post, but can anyone with the same car tell me if this is typical of this model?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I owned a '01 GLS for over five years, and its (regular) brakes were very good--progressive feel, long wearing (still lots of shoes/pads left after 45k miles). It is odd that the brakes are still giving you trouble after replacing all the parts--which I assume included the rotors?

    What are you comparing this car to in terms of stopping distance?
  • laff66laff66 Posts: 8
    Just comparing it to the general braking feel of the hundreds of other cars I've driven; nothing in particular though. I cant even say they're spongy or soft in the pedal, they just feel like they're underpowered. In fact, I tried to lock up the brakes, and it was barely able to do it.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I found that the reluctance to lock up the brakes was a nice asset driving in slippery conditions. But if I would stand on the brakes, they'd lock.

    You sure have driven a lot of different cars! Do you drive cars professionally?
  • laff66laff66 Posts: 8
    I used to.

    So does that mean that you experienced the same feeling in the brakes? I would almost describe it as the same feeling as a car with non-power assisted brakes. (Maybe I should go look and see if this thing even HAS power brakes!)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    No, I have not experienced that same feeling. I've driven a lot of cars over 35 years too, not hundreds but somewhere between 100-200. I don't think my '01 GLS had brakes that were any worse than any other car I've driven, and better than many in that the GLS' brakes were not touchy, but had a nice, progressive action that aided with smooth stops and didn't have a tendency to lock up on slippery surfaces. With some brakes, you barely touch the pedal and the brakes grab hard. I don't like that feeling in brakes, so maybe that's why I liked the brake feel on my GLS. But the stopping power was there when I needed it. They definitely felt like power brakes (I've driven cars with non-power brakes, but not recently). FWIW, I have driven several Elantras of this vintage ('01-'06 with non-ABS brakes) and none of them had the kind of problem you mentioned. I also own a '04 GT with ABS and 4-wheel discs, and those brakes work well also.

    One thing you might try is find a well-maintained '01 GLS on a dealer's used car lot (non-ABS like yours, with low miles or at least with a good amount of brake pads/discs left) and take it for a drive to see if it acts at all like the other car.
  • I just bought one of the last remaining '06 Elantras and got an awesome deal on it, but I have a few questions I was wondering if anyone has had similar issues:

    1. At high speeds (65mph+) it seems the steering wheel has a slight shake to it. Anyone had this problem on the Elantra? Maybe tires need to be re-balanced? Is this common?

    2. I was also wondering about the low beam headlights...they seem a little weak to me, as though the light is not reaching far enough. Anyone else had this issue?

    3. This one has me really puzzled: I lock the doors with the keyless remote. Then I come back and use the key to unlock the door....and the alarm goes off! It seems I need to use the remote if I lock the car with the remote, not the key or the alarm goes off. Oh my gosh what were they smoking when they designed that!?!?!? =)

    Thanks so much for your input guys!
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    I just bought one of the last remaining '06 Elantras and got an awesome deal on it

    Congrats! I have an 05, essentially the same car, and I'm lovin' it.

    but I have a few questions I was wondering if anyone has had similar issues:

    1. At high speeds (65mph+) it seems the steering wheel has a slight shake to it. Anyone had this problem on the Elantra? Maybe tires need to be re-balanced? Is this common?

    This is not uncommon, unfortunately. This is one of the few bugs they never quite got worked out I guess. Take back to the dealer until they fix it. Could be tire balance, could be a little more complicated than that (the way the tire was mounted), could be an imbalance in the brake rotors. I think there are one or two other things that contribute to the issue. The best advice is complain, complain, complain until they fix it. Sorry; I wish it was a simpler answer.

    2. I was also wondering about the low beam headlights...they seem a little weak to me, as though the light is not reaching far enough. Anyone else had this issue?

    Actually, I thought my headlights worked much better than the ones on my last car. It could be bad aiming? Maybe talk to the dealer about it. Also, they do have a pretty sharp cutoff on the top of the beam; my experience is they light up the road fine, but don't go much higher.

    3. This one has me really puzzled: I lock the doors with the keyless remote. Then I come back and use the key to unlock the door....and the alarm goes off! It seems I need to use the remote if I lock the car with the remote, not the key or the alarm goes off. Oh my gosh what were they smoking when they designed that!?!?!? =)

    When you use the key fob to lock the doors, the alarm is armed. When you go back to the car, the key fob is required to shut off the alarm prior to starting the car. This is pretty common on a lot of models with factory alarm. What you describe is exactly what the owners manual says it should do. Don't lose your remotes. If you do, the new remote needs to be programmed by the dealer (older models could be done by the owner but that ended in 2004).

    Thanks so much for your input guys!

    No prob. We're here to help.
  • gary045gary045 Posts: 81
    04 5 spd with 15K miles. Just took my car in for it's second "check eng light" as the first time it wasn't fixed.
    This time they replaced the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, and oxygen sensor.
    But, don't ask me which one solved the problem, or the mechanic

    As far as vibration goes, if you have a 5 spd, you will probably feel some above 70mph.
    Other than that, I'm perfectly happy with my 04 $12.5K purchase price.

    I look foreward to more rebates in 07 as sales have stalled as Hyundai has raised prices within 5% of Toyota, and the pressure is put on dealers to move the metal....
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I don't agree that anyone with a 5-speed Elantra should have to put up with the wheel vibration. Why do you think that 5-speed Elantras will probably have the vibration above 70 mph? My '01 Elantra 5-speed had zero vibration from day one. The only time it developed any wheel vibration is when I had new tires mounted at about 30k miles, and they were not properly balanced. I took the car right back to the shop and had them re-balance the tires, and no more vibration, even above 70 mph.

    I have driven a few other Elantra 5-speeds of that generation and none of them had any wheel vibration.
  • nj2pa2ncnj2pa2nc Posts: 813
    I agree with you 100% the only time we had wheel vibration on either of our elantra 5 spd's was when the tires were out-of- balance. Otherwise, we had none.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    My bet is the O2 sensor fixed the CEL, but does it really matter? Maybe we should arrange a group buy of these :P
  • gary045gary045 Posts: 81
    Maybe I used the wrong words, (eng vibration) to describe my driving experience above 70 mph.

    I agree 100% with what the Car and Driver author wrote about it. Dec 06 issue pg 79.
    I quote him, (On the interstate the engine turns raucous and irritating above 72 mph and downright annoying in the upper 70's.)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    That was a 2007 Elantra, wasn't it? Also did you notice that in the same review, C/D said the Elantra was the quietest car of those tested at 70 mph cruise? I guess that engine must rev up a lot between 70 and 72 mph. ;)
  • 05elantra05elantra Posts: 1
    I have the same issue with a 2005 Elantra. I have had this car since it still had the plastic on the seats. Up until the car reached 53,000 miles it was a beautiful car. Since then I have a wheel shake that comes in about 55 to 65 mph and goes away after 75. I have had the tires balanced 4 times now and the dealer told me all my wheels are bent. I took the car to my local tire shop and the re-balanced them and the shake has lessened, however still there. Also only 1 rim is bent. I have the OME wheels and they shake too, the dealership told me the rims were bent about 30,000 miles ago, however the shake wasn't there at that time. This shake is not always there it takes about 5 miles before it starts and then if I take a corner it stops. This is the second Elantra I have owned. The 03 I traded in because of this issue where I keep buying wheels and tires yet the shake is still there. Dealer knows nothing else but tires being the problem. I have also replaced the rotors and brakes at about 48,000. The rotors had glazing on them at about 20,000. I too would like to know if this is a characteristic of the car or is something else to worry about.
  • annie11annie11 Posts: 5
    My son has 2000 Elantra. Went to work this morning and when he parked the car there was water everywhere. He couldn't find any leaks in the radiator so he thought maybe the water pump or a seal on the water pump went out. He would like to know just where the water pump is on this car and how many seals the pump has?Any and all information would be appreciated. Annie
  • mrm1299mrm1299 Posts: 1
    My left turn signal stays on when I turn on my headlights, the arrow on the dashboard console stays lit, and the left turn signal on the rear stays on constantly. Is this a bulb problem, a fuse? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • ras4151ras4151 Posts: 11
    Hi all. I have a 2004 Elantra GT 5 door with approximately 29,000 miles. The leather on the drivers seat has worn a hole in the lower left side bolster. Has anyone had that problem and is it covered under warranty or is that considered normal wear and tear. Also does anyone have any idea how to patch the hole so I wouldn't have to replace the entire seat cover.
  • nj2pa2ncnj2pa2nc Posts: 813
    I had the leather on my 05 elantra GT replaced by the dealer as a good-will thing. It is considered a normal wear and tear so therefore not covered by the warranty.
  • Hi. When I rev it up to 3000 rpm in first gear and depress the clutch, the rpm's remain high, sometimes only dropping when I shift into second and engage the clutch, which forces the revs down. It only does this between first and second. In any other gear, it drops quickly after depressing the clutch. I had the service manager at the dealer go for a ride with me this morning, and he says the computer is doing exactly what it is supposed to, keeping the revs high to avoid a spike in emissions. He suggested short shifting, but doing so lugs the engine in second. I don't want to burn out the clutch and/or transmission prematurely by shifting with the revs high. Any ideas out there?
  • My 2004 Elantra GT has 110,000 miles. I am the orginal owner and have kept well maintained. All of a sudden my mpg dropped 8-10 mpg. No engine light has come on, the engine runs smooth. I just replaced the plugs and wires to see if that would help, no change.
    Any ideas on where I should look or do ?
    Thank you
  • Hello Backy

    I would have thought the winter blend had switched weeks ago--I did give it some consideration. My mpg was 32-33 hwy, 29-30 stop and go, now 26 hwy -22 combined. To if if it was the gas, i have filled up at three different stations and have noticed no difference. I have replaced some of my senors, back when my car was in the 50-70,000 mile range. I guess it strange wishing the check engine light would go on !
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    If you were able to get 29-30 mpg in stop-and-go driving in the Elantra, that is indeed remarkable!

    For comparison, before winter set in I could easily get 28-32 mpg in around-town driving in my '04 GT AT (EPA 24/32), with the variable being how much urban freeway driving I did. Now that winter is here (lately temps hovering at either side of 0 F), I am struggling to reach 23 mpg overall in around-town driving. I drive mostly short distances (<10 miles one way), and have not adjusted air pressure on the tires since temps were in the 40s (when I set it at 35). So the air pressure is 4-5 ppi lower than earlier this winter, the car is taking longer to warm up, it has more idling time (I let it warm up for a few minutes the other day when it was -10 F :blush: ), there's the winter gas, and the car is pushing colder, denser air (although I have no idea how much impact that has on FE).

    You still might want to take your car in for a look-see at its next service interval, in case there's a problem.
  • Good morning Backy,

    That is an excellent Idea, I am schedule for my tire rotation. I will bump up the psi. I realize the car is older and the winter weather effects performance, but I did not experience this sudden change the past three years. I appreciate your responses.
  • sbirdsbird Posts: 1
    I am told that I need to replace the engine of my 2003 elantra due to damage from overheating last week. The car spent the night in Flagstaff, AZ where it dropped to 3 degrees F. The next day I drove back to Tucson. 60 miles out I saw steam and the heat guage was in the red zone. After pulling over and cooling down, there was no chance of restarting. A mechanic predicted that the head gasket had blown and greater damage to valves etc. was probably done. Any suggestions about sources of new/used engines, service agents, warranties and such. I am kind of new at this and want to find the best value. Thanks.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    If the car was on the road less than 5 years and has less than 60,000 miles on it, you may be able to get the engine replaced under warranty (providing there was no neglect and maintenance was up to date). If you're the orginal owner and have less than 100,000 miles, you *might* even be able to get the engine replaced under the powertrain warranty (although that is more doubtful).

    If I were in your situation and had to pay for it myself, I would try to locate a fairly low mileage salvage yard engine (or have the mechanic do the same). If you have to pay for a brand new engine, you may be better buying a whole new car by the time you're done.
  • I have a 2003 Elantra GLS 5M with about 58K miles. At about 50 mph on even a slight grade the normal under load engine noise begins to drone slightly louder and softer at about a 1 second rate. On the level or downhill it doesn't happen. It seems as if it has to be under load to happen. Something in the drive train? Front bearings? The slight increase in engine noise under load is normal - the droning is something new.
  • jake9364jake9364 Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Hyundai Elantra. Lat year when I bought it, it had 21,000 miles on it, now it has 33,500. Well when I first got after I drove it for a while the right rear would make a clunking noise, only does this when car is stopped. Took to dealer and he said he heard it also. They gave me a loaner and kept the car for a week. Them after that they said they could not find the problem! They said just drive it and when whatever is causing the noise breaks, we will fix it…pretty incredible huh!

    I put new brakes on all the way around (was making noise before brake job).

    Some people have suggested that there is a bad bushing in the rear? Anybody have any ideas….Thanks….I want to print out the answers and take them with me to dealer….
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    So the dealer kept your car for a week, gave you a loaner, and tried fo find the problem but couldn't. Then they said (hopefully in wirting?) that when it's clear what the problem is, they will fix it. I agree, that is pretty incredible, but excellent, customer service by your dealer.

    It could be a bushing, hard to say. I had a rear bushing problem on my 626, and it made a clunking noise. The dealer mis-diagnosed the problem, said the car needed new struts etc. I took it to another mechanic, who properly diagnosed the problem and the fix only cost about $120 including labor.
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