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Hyundai Elantra Basic Maintenance Questions

Hello everyone...

I have a question about some fluid flushes..

I have a 2002 elantra with 42500 miles on it. I have been good about all of my maintenance, and at 32k miles I got my 30k service done at a dealer. that included some belts, coolant drain ( not flush ) and a transmission drain ( not flush ). I had also previously done the chemical clean before on the fuel injection system. Well, I bring my car in every 3k miles for an oil change to a local shop ( not dealer ), and the last two times they tell me i need all of my fluids flushed!! He showed me the transmission fluid, and it wasn't cherry red, but not "black" as he said either ( only 8k miles after I had it done ), it was a burnt sienna, brownish color. He also said I need a coolant flush, power steering flush, brake fluid flush, and fuel injection chemical clean.

I just got the power steering done, because I haven't before, but do i really need the rest of those again so soon, as well as the brake fluid?

Thank you for your advice!


  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    Regarding the transmission fluid -

    My boss drained the fluid in his Explorer a couple of years ago, and refilled it. After driving for a couple of weeks, he was surprised to find tht the fluid was a little dirty. He took it in to his dealer, and they told him that when you just drain, instead of flushing, there is a lot of dirty fluid that is trapped in the torque converter that doesn't get removed. When you then drive the car, that dirty fluid mixes in with the new fluid and causes the dirty appearance. This may be the case with you. However, if you are going to get your tranny fluid flushed, you should have a dealer do this. The Elantra uses a special transmission fluid, and a lot of times, outside shops do not carry it, and will even tell you their own fluid meets the specs (or that they can add something to it to make it meet the specs) when this actually is not true. I am not sure why your dealer would not have actually flushed it to begin with.
  • When you only drain ATF, you are not replacing all of the fluid. More like half. To flush, they need to drain and refill, drive for a short distance, then drain and refill. repeat it for 3 times. ATF flush costs 2-3 times as much as a single drian and refill.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    "To flush, they need to drain and refill, drive for a short distance, then drain and refill. repeat it for 3 times.

    Most places around me are able to suction out ALL of the fluid, and then replace.
  • For my 03 acura CL, the manual says to do it that way. Maybe they have some special suction machines. But if you want to do it yourself, that's the procedure to follow I guess.
  • I recently purhased a 2000 Elantra for my daughter can someone tell me where the heck is the fuel filter?
    I did a complete service but could change it (fuel filter) because I could not find it.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    I believe it is in the tank, with the fuel pump, but I am not sure.
  • I know that's true for 2001 and later; I suspect it's true in 2000. If it's like the 2001-2006 Elantras, you have to pull the fuel pump to get it. The dealers don't like to do the work to do this because while they're in there, they'd just as soon sell you a whole new pump. It's possible to change out the filter, but it's kind of a pain and not really designed for it.

    All that said, I've seen Do-It-Yourself instructions for this on other message boards. (Google on "Elantra forum" and check out the first few sites... one of them should have the DIY.)
  • acura03gacura03g Posts: 76
    First oil change on this car. milage 4686. Age 6mos. Here is the procedure I used.

    1. Warm up engine, drive onto ramp, shift to P, apply parking brake firmly, shut off engine, put wheel chokes (or bricks) under rear wheels to prevent car from moving.
    2. Open hood and remove oil filler cap.
    3. Get under car, remove the plastic cover piece under the oil pan and oil filter. This done by removing 3 bolts (using 10mm socket).
    4. Place container under oil drain plug, remove drain plug using 17mm socket or wrench, wait until used oil is completely drained to the container.
    5. Move container under the oil filter, remove oil filter with an oil filter wrench. This took me a while as the oil filter was very tight.
    6. Use finger to apply new oil to the rubber band on new oil filter, install new oil filter with hand. Then use oil filter wrench to tighten 1/2 to 3/4 turn.
    7. Put a new aluminum gasket/washer on oil drain plug, then screw it on with hand. Tighten it with wrench 1/4 turn. Do not overtighten. Or if you have torque wrench, use 30 lbft torque. Reinstall the plastic cover piece under the oil pan.
    8. Using a funnel pour 4.23 qt new oil to oil filler hole (I used Quaker State 5W20 synthetic oil), put oil filler cap back on.
    9. Turn on engine, oil pressure light should go off within 5 seconds. Drive to level ground. shut off and wait for 5 minutes then check oil level. It should be at Full.
  • spupeckispupecki Posts: 1
    hi. i wonder anyone can answer a question? i've been looking at 2006 elantras for my daughter's first car. i've noticed that pretty much all have coffee colored oil on the bottom of the oil cap when i check it. is this normal? i heard that this may mean water has gotten into the oil. should i be concerned? thanks.
  • rguedelrguedel Posts: 11
    I have a 2004 Hyunda Elantra and was wondering if there was a website that listed the check engine light codes? My light just came on tonight at 67,000 miles.

    Thanks for the help.

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    a website that listed the check engine light codes
    Just google "obd codes" and it will show you listings for the OBD II codes that appear on a diagnostic tool (also known as an OBD reader).
  • ref51ref51 Posts: 1
    2010 elantra do i get to the cabin air filter
  • taftdadtaftdad Posts: 2
    My daughter has a 2003 Elantra GLS. About once every 4 months the car will completely loose power. The engine will run but only generates enough power to creep along at 10 or 15 Mph. It always clears up by itself after a few hours and whenever she takes it to a mechanic they can't find anything wrong. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance....
  • fushigifushigi Chicago suburbsPosts: 1,389
    Sounds like it's entering limp home mode ( ). There should be computer codes that can be read to diagnose.

    Do you still have any powertrain warranty left? If so, I'd suggest talking to dealer's service dept. for a process to follow the next time it happens; i.e. drive it straight to a dealer or have it towed or something else.

    Even without warranty you might talk to them. A sensor somewhere is saying something's wrong.
    2017 Infiniti QX60 (me), 2012 Hyundai Elantra (wife)
  • taftdadtaftdad Posts: 2
    It's worth a try. Thank You.
  • The plastic radiator drain plug is leaking on my 2003 Elantra. When I try to screw it in tighter, it doesn't seem to tighten or loosen. Does the plug require a "push and turn" motion, or is it a threaded plug?
  • jacktbjacktb Posts: 41
    I own two of these cars--05 and 06. I have noticed the brown colored oil on the caps as well, however I think this is normal. Probably due to the fact that the cap is in the valve cover with little clearance.

    The 05 has 96K and the 06 has 45K and both run perfectly. The 05 uses no oil at all between 5K oil changes.

    BTW: Bought both new as first cars for my son and daughter. Plan was to get them through the last two years of HS, college and a few years beyond before a replacement is necessary. So far the plan has worked well and seems to be cost effective for the long run.
  • jayessjayess Posts: 59
    Not sure if this belongs here, the transmission, or 2001-2006 forums.

    Have a 2006 GLS 4-door with 51,000 miles which my daughter has at school. I've done all the scheduled maintenence which is really just coolant flush! and oil changes at 5,000 miles or 6 months. I did the timing and three other belts at 48K because it was 5yrs - we brough the car from a dealer a little over two years ago with 26K+ miles.
    Now I'm wondering if I should have the auto tranny fluid serviced. The manual shows it to be done at 108K miles/7 yrs but the severe schedule shows at 30,000 miles. The car gets probably 60/40 city hwy driving and the city is generally shorter distances, in traffic which qualifies as severe. I've just checked it, the level is good and color is within reason, looks red on the dipstick and sort of brownish on a paper towel. So should I have it serviced or just leave it alone?
  • sarah2175sarah2175 Posts: 76
    I bought my 2011 Elantra 3 months ago...two days ago I got a nail in the sidewall and had to have the tire replaced. Grrrr! They are NOT cheap tires! Anyway, I didn't think it would be a huge problem not having the spare tire, but it SUCKS! That thing in the truck is absolutely worthless, and from everything I've read and from what people have told me, using it can permanently damage your tire. I also read yesterday that Hyundai saves $22 for each car by not placing a spare tire in the trunk. Thanks, Hyundai...thanks a lot!

    Other then that, I'm still loving my car. LOL
  • fushigifushigi Chicago suburbsPosts: 1,389
    Eliminating the spare also saves weight which improves fuel economy. That said, I fully agree with you and dislike this trend of replacing the spare with a can of fix-a-flat.

    You should still have the space for a spare so you can always purchase a wheel & tire on your own.

    BTW, others like the Chevy Cruze have also dropped the spare tire. But Chevy at least offers it as a $100 option.
    2017 Infiniti QX60 (me), 2012 Hyundai Elantra (wife)
  • wallywannawallywanna Posts: 5
    edited November 2011
    The owner manual for my 2011 Elantra says change the oil at 7500 miles or 3750 in "severe conditions." My dealer say that because I live in Minnesota (snow, salt, etc.), Hyundai would automatically consider any driving I do as "severe." from a warranty perspective.

    Thoughts? I believe that most auto dealers are self serving in this area (really??) and as a matter of fact the sticker they put on my Elantra windshield says change the oil every 3000 miles.

    Yes, I am aware many folks just want to change their oil every 3k to 4k miles. I had been thinking every 7500 miles, or 6 months ... whichever comes first for me.
  • The owner manual for my 2011 Elantra says change the oil at 7500 miles or 3750 in "severe conditions." My dealer say that because I live in Minnesota (snow, salt, etc.), Hyundai would automatically consider any driving I do as "severe" from a warranty perspective.

    Thoughts? I believe that most auto dealers are self serving in this area (really??) and as a matter of fact the sticker they put on my Elantra windshield says change the oil every 3000 miles!

    Yes, I am aware many folks just want to change their oil every 3k to 4k miles. I had been thinking every 7500 miles, or 6 months ... whichever comes first for me.
  • fushigifushigi Chicago suburbsPosts: 1,389
    The manual has a paragraph or two where it describes what qualifies as "severe". It should be at the front of the maintenance section. Typically it includes lots of stop-n-go/heavy traffic driving, driving in very dusty areas, lots of short trips where the engine might not fully warm up, and so on. It might mention weather from a temperature extreme view, but snow & salt don't really impact the engine.

    If you want further clarification, I'd suggest going by what Hyundai says v. the dealer; sometimes they operate with different (profit) motives. lists their phone number or lets you submit a questions online.

    I think you can very reasonably split the difference and do 5K between changes year-round or, if extreme cold is your guide, 3750 in winter & the full 7500 in summer. Figuring out what works for you may depend on how many miles you drive.

    I wouldn't do it on the first batch of oil, but maybe on the 2nd or 3rd (after you've got 10K miles or so) you could also use an oil testing service to determine how the oil is doing after 3750, 5K, 6K, etc. miles. I haven't done it personally but Edmunds has and they use

    And as a friendly reminder, you don't have to get the oil changed or have any other scheduled service performed at the dealer. Just document the service (keep your receipts) in case you need to make a related warranty claim later. Personally, I use my dealer as their prices are competitive enough and they're friendly & competent and don't usually try to oversell. My wife uses a local shop for oil changes but the dealer for most other things (related as she now has a '12 Elantra).
    2017 Infiniti QX60 (me), 2012 Hyundai Elantra (wife)
  • Great suggestions! I had read the manual and it uses the word "salt" which is the only condition that applies to me. I did email Hyundai to ask the question specifically of them. I will post what they tell me if they say anything definitive (doubtful!). See my other post about my Elantra and early tire wear. I hope she does not experience this on her 2012! Search "2011 Elantra Excessive/Fast Tire Wear".
  • Just want to mention one thing concerning oil changes an especially oil filters. Most of the after market oil filters, which do ok, don't have a relief vavle in the oil filter. The purpose of this vavle is to retain oil in the filter. What can happen with out this valve, is that on some of the engines, all of the oil drains back into the oil pan, so when you start it up, it takes a few seconds to get circulated through the engine. After time, you can have lifters starting to tick, premature bearing wear, or even worse. That orange filter is one of the worse you can use, in fact, at one time years ago, Chrsler stated in their owners manual, if you use one of those, your warranty is null and void. If most people were smart they would go an but the filters at the dealer and get whoever to use them when you having it serviced at your favorite repair shop. That 98 cent oil filter they sell for $6.99 or whatever, is about as cheap as you can get. You need to cut one of those apart and you will see what I'm talking about.
  • I had a similar experience of my 2011 Elantra. I had a blow out in the interstate. It took the tow truck 1.75 hours to come. When my car was towed to the nearest dealer I was told that there was not one dealer stocked my tires in the whole state. So I had to take off another day off work. I called Hyundai and was told that it was not Hyundai problems because they did not manufacture the tires. However, they chose these tires for the car.
  • Hyundai "investigated" my tire problem. Wear out at 12000 miles was perhaps caused by "hard driving" per the dealer. Actually funny if it hadn't cost me $700 to replace 4 tires.
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