Are you currently struggling to find an affordable car that you want? A reporter would like to talk to you about your experience with car shopping; please reach out to [email protected] for more information.

Hyundai Elantra Cooling System Problem

jogo26jogo26 Member Posts: 1
When My car warms uo to normal running temperature, steam comes out from the top of the radiator housing across from the cap. The steam appears to be comming from around the front of the grill, and out of a space about 3 inches long. The car does not appear to be overheating, and the Guage is reading normal! Any Ideas?


  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    Bad hose? Bad radiator? This isn't the sort of thing you should put off doing something about.
  • mom47mom47 Member Posts: 2
    i had the same problem, you need to have your thermastat checked. mine broke causing the radiator to crack. broke the water pump and damaged the engine. I was told it will cost me about $3000.00 to cover the repairs. I was thinking could this be a defect in the function of the Gauge reading normal when the engine is really overheating? My car has 84,000 miles, i was told because it is the thermastat that caused the problem, it is not covered under the warranty. If anyone has any information that will help me educate myself, to deal with the dealership in regards to my engine warranty I would greatly appreciate your help. The car is a 2003.
  • lhansonlhanson Member Posts: 268
    What good is the Hyundai 7 year/100,000 warranty if you are not covered for this? Have you tried another dealer.
  • nthenthe Member Posts: 414
    well, the powertrain warranty (10 yr, 100k miles) may not cover the thermostat.
  • mom47mom47 Member Posts: 2
    if there is a gauge failure, how would you know that your car was overheating? Would the gauge be part of the power train warranty?
  • caazcaaz Member Posts: 209
    guages are not part of the powertrain......Engine, which is pistons, valves.etc. and transmission are the powertrain. Now, how old is ur hyundai? could still be part of the bumper to bumper warranty.

    p.s. mom47 call a few dealers and of them may say its covered and if so...use them, but get it in writing first.
  • cali64cali64 Member Posts: 2
    Yesterday My Radiator cracked at 61,1416 miles just 1416 miles outside my warranty. I have already replaced my thermostat at approx 54,000 miles and now I will have to do it again since it continues to overheat, I have to take it back tomorrow I barely went 3 miles before it overheated and they swore they took it for a roadtest. I wish there was something we could do as a nation who has this continual problem apparently we are not the only ones who suffer. I dont trust it outside the city limits now cant take it on roadtrips.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    It appears you had the work done by someone else ("took it for a roadtest"). Hyundai dealers (and many other shops) guarantee their work, and there's a 1 year, 12,000 mile warranty on OEM parts they use. So if the part(s) they installed failed right away, take it back and demand they fix it for free.
  • sherrylssherryls Member Posts: 3
    My 2005 Elantra just died! The radiator overheated, broke a hose and blew up the engine! I heard the same thing happened to someone else I know. Both cars had 70k miles on them! Is this a widespread problem? No engine light appeared to alert me to the problem. Just had the oil changed and everything else checked in late July. I'm wondering if this is a defect that hasn't been fully reported.
  • favesis21favesis21 Member Posts: 4
    I bought my Elantra brand new back in '03. Regular maintenance has been performed by my own mechanic since the dealer is more expensive. I took the car to the dealer to get the clock fixed and they informed me that I need to replace the thermostat. They asked me for my maintenance records which I handed over no problem. They then told me that due to the fact that I did not have a coolant flush performed at 24,000 miles, the warranty would not cover the repair for the thermostat. I held off on having the thermostat fixed because I did not have the $. Just this past weekend the car broke down had to be towed and the dealer is telling me that I need to replace the head gasket and thermostat. Because I did not have the thermostat replaced originally the warranty will not cover these repairs either. Does this sound right? Also would not having a coolant flush performed at 24K really cause the thermostat to need to be replaced and cause the domino effect where now the head gasket needs to be replaced also? My owner's manual and maintenance log book as well as the maintenance schedule on all say a coolant flush doesn't need to be performed until 30K. Any advice? Also, the dealer is telling me that to replace the 2 items it will cost me $980 but I keep reading that a head gasket normally costs a few thousand dollars! If that is the case why is the dealer only charging me $980. Not complaining about that just curious. Maybe they aren't telling me the truth. Any one with any ideas on how to handle this situation? Right now the car is just sitting at the dealer waiting for me to figure out what to do with it. Money is very tight and even $980 is out of my reach.
  • sherrylssherryls Member Posts: 3
    Hi! My 2005 Elantra was just donated to a charity today! As stated earlier, the car died as a result of a clamp on the radiator hose which failed. The radiator hose caused the radiator to lose all of its coolant and ultimately, the engine died. The repair estimate turned out to be $6400 and the mechanic blamed us for not stopping sooner to check the overheated engine. We did not notice whether or not the car was overheating, it was driving fine and after being parked for a few minutes, it wouldn't turn over. End of story. No smoking engine, no lights went on, nothing. The Hyundai company would not cover any costs because they claim the problem was the clamp, not the motor or the radiator! I have one other person I know who had the exact problem with their car. If I find anyone else, I will contact a lawyer to look into the possibility of filing a class action suit. It's too coincidental that both of these 2005 vehicles had the exact problem and are now worthless. I also plan to file a complaint with the States Attorney office in my state. In addition, I will do everything in my power to tell everyone I know to NEVER BUY A HYUNDAI because their warranty is as worthless as their cars.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Member Posts: 1,601
    Sorry you had this problem. But the cause of your problem is stated as two different reasons in your posts #10 & #12.

    Belts, hoses and clamps do break, as you painfully found out and can happen with any make of car.

    We did not notice whether or not the car was overheating, it was driving fine and after being parked for a few minutes, it wouldn't turn over.

    The fact that you did not notice that the engine was running higher than normal and becoming dangerously hot, unfortunately, was your fault not the car's. The fact that there was no smoke only means there was no fire. It was super heated metal (cylinders and block) that caused the engine to seize.

    Again, sorry for your misfortune, but there is no easy way to say the problem was of your doing and not a defect of the car.
  • favesis21favesis21 Member Posts: 4
    My car is a 2003, but I feel even more horrible for you since yours was newer! My car also had a coolant leak, when you opened the hood you could see the fluid all over. I had the radiator hoses and clamps replaced also. The problem had been going on for some time, judging by the way the fluid had dried all over the place in there. I don't tend to look under the hood often unless I am checking my fluid levels. Hyundai is putting me at fault saying that my current problem is due to a faulty thermostat that they had told me needed to be replaced a few months ago. I admit my part that I should have replaced the thermostat, but who ever heard of a car with less than 40k needing this done? If you ever do file a class action suit let me know on this board. Good luck!
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    Hyundai is putting me at fault saying that my current problem is due to a faulty thermostat that they had told me needed to be replaced a few months ago. I admit my part that I should have replaced the thermostat, but who ever heard of a car with less than 40k needing this done?

    Umm.... YOU did, when your mechanic TOLD YOU about it. I mean.... DUH! If a thermostat fails, you don't wait MONTHS to fix it!

    And replacing a thermostat at 40k is not unheard of. It doesn't happen a lot, but once it a while it does. If I were the dealer I wouldn't fix your engine under warranty either.

    I know of several people that have had major work done under Hyundai's warranty. The difference between them and you is they took proper care of their cars.
  • favesis21favesis21 Member Posts: 4
    Being that I already said in my original post that I admit that I was wrong in not replacing the thermostat, I don't feel it was necessary for you to make a comment like that. You don't know my situation but I wish you did you would take your snobby comment back in a heartbeat. Besides, my previous mechanic (who I now no longer go to because of this) had told me that I did not need a thermostat and therefore would be wasting money that I don't have. I do maintain my car this just had caught me at a bad time. Please don't make comments to a person like that unless you know their whole situation. Like I said I already admit my wrongdoing.
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    So what do you want from Hyundai? I mean, you say, "Hyundai is putting me at fault", as if it's not your fault.
  • favesis21favesis21 Member Posts: 4
    my question (and purpose for posting in the first place) was is it common for these problems to happen on a car with low mileage, carefully driven and garaged and maintained on a regular basis? Contrary to what you believe, I do maintain the car regularly. I just don't take the car to Hyundai for it. My mechanic at the time advised me that there was nothing wrong with the thermostat and told me to save the money for my son who is very sick. Helpful, maybe even friendly answers are is all I am asking for. Thank you
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Yes, it is not uncommon for a thermostat to fail at around 40k. That happened most recently for me on the last Honda Civic I owned. It doesn't matter if the car was garaged (as mine are), has low miles (as mine do), are carefully driven (as mine are), and are maintained on a regular basis (as mine are). If a part is going to fail, none of that will matter.

    Since your mechanic advised you that there was nothing wrong with the thermostat after your Hyundai dealer advised you to replace it (I thought that is what you said?), have you asked the mechanic if he/she would be willing to cover the cost of the repair?

    To my knowledge, a thermostat replacement is not an expensive repair. Sometimes it is the best policy to pay a little now vs. (potentially) a lot later. Another example is timing belts. The replacement can be fairly expensive, a few hundred dollars if done at a dealer. But if it breaks, the engine can be ruined. So holding off on replacing it can save money now, and maybe it won't break. But if it does... bad news.

    This may not be the kind of answer you are looking for, but it's the best answer I have based on my 35 years of owning cars.
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    So your mechanic basically told you what you wanted to hear instead of what you needed to hear, it sounds like. That kinda sucks.
  • lightfootfllightfootfl Member Posts: 442
    Am I missing something here,? IF there is/was a thermostat problem would it not be advisable to replace it as soon as possible? I don't know the price of such a repair, but certainly it can't be too much. IF the problem is hoses, and or clamps giving away, these too are unpredictable and shouldn't be exorbitant either. Regardless, it is obvious that they need to be repaired so as not to lose the engine or have any major problems. I wouldn't begin to guess about the warranty coverage however. :confuse:
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    If a wear item breaks that causes other damage, Hyundai generally won't cover it under warranty, although it's worth it to try several dealers. I base that on brake problems that they try to blame on bad pads or shoes causing the calipers to go bad (when I think sometimes it's the other way around). Is a thermostat a wear item? I'm not sure. But if it was diagnosed as bad, then wasn't replaced and a major engine problem results, you can hardly blame Hyundai for the major engine failure.
  • jsmithsonjsmithson Member Posts: 2
    This is the kind of thing that concerns me. While it's not unheard of for a thermostat to fail to open and overheat an engine at 40k or so miles, it is certainly not common. Most concerning, though, is hearing that lights weren't coming on before the engine internals were damaged. Every time I've had a car overheat, it was obvious on the gauges.

    Frankly, I'd raise holy heck and try to get them to put a crate engine in my car, at least about leaking hoses or faulty clamps. It isn't fair for Hyundai (or any other automaker) to dwell long and loud about their fantastic warranty and then be so brutal in their expectations of average car owners. Their warranty is worthless to me if I have to crawl all around my car and constantly inspect it every time I think about driving it to make sure a hose hasn't failed, all so that my warranty will be honored.

    FWIW, if it overheats severely within the B2B warranty, through no fault of my own, I'm likely to *ensure* that the engine seizes. Just because it will still turn over and run doesn't mean that Hyundai's faulty hose/clamp hasn't galled or scored a main bearing that will now fail prematurely. I paid for this warranty. I'm willing to do my part to realize the full potential for reliability from my Elantra. In return, I want a mechanically flawless car from Hyundai.
  • sherrylssherryls Member Posts: 3
    Thank you for your comments. You're the first person to reply who at least understands my frustration!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Every time I've had a car overheat, it was obvious on the gauges.

    Same for me. The Elantra has a temperature gauge. When the engine started to overheat, the needle on the gauge should have moved up close to and then into the red zone before the hose blew. If not, then perhaps the gauge is faulty (was it checked out after the hose blew?) and that could be a good reason to demand that Hyundai cover the engine repair.
  • cali64cali64 Member Posts: 2
    Is there someone besides the dealerships that we can talk to?
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    Yes. There are owner-contact numbers to call in your owners manual.
  • durantpdurantp Member Posts: 1
    Aftter running well for a half hour or so the air conditioning runs warm. It will come back on for several minutes and then run warm again. This continues a couple of times more with shorter cooling periods until it runs warm continuously. Can anyone help me with this problem?????? thanks. durantp
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Member Posts: 2,743
    When was the last time you had it recharged?
  • menzy3045menzy3045 Member Posts: 1
    That happens to me as well. I haven't had it checked but I was assuming it was the coolant.

    Also, this must be a problem with all elantra's but my car just broke down as well without any warning, no engine light or any indication from the temperature guage. Turns out my radiator was cracked and leaking coolant all over the place. This was without warning starting a 90 min car ride. Luckily it was only my radiator and no gaskets were blown.

    My 2003 Elantra has about 90k miles on it and it sounds like this problem is common. No mechanic mentioned my thermometer as the problem. Is this an expensive fix?
  • curly51curly51 Member Posts: 1
    Does the 2012 Hyundai Elantra use extended life antifreeze?
  • jessielynnjessielynn Member Posts: 1
    How did it all go?
    I had a simmiliar experience. I had talked to a former Hyundai mechanic who worked at a dealership till his conscience got the better of him. He told me that my overheating was related to a manufactring defect. Radiators just don't break. And there are alot of things they (dealership) won't tell you.
    I will never buy another hyundai either. There is more that I wont say on here but there really should be an investigation as to why so many elantra have overheating issues. Something is definitely being covered up. And many other people have posted on many other forums about how hyundai denies many repairs even when they are within the 5 yr./60k miles warranty. I am looking into Subaru and toyota as they are more honorable warranty providers.
  • ted2006ted2006 Member Posts: 1
    DO NOT BUY a HYUNDAI and here is why. Hyundai will not honor the warranty when something major happens to your car. I have a 2006 Elantra with 91,200 miles. This still falls under the Powertrain warranty that Hyundai is so proud to promote.
    In short, my engine seized due to overheating. The dealership in NJ told me it was my fault because they told me of a leak and I refused to have it fixed. Fact is they did not tell me that my cooling system was leaking or was in such bad shape that a leak was very possible. Based on the paperwork from the service visit(s), the only thing this dealership does is to add "recommended" services to the service sheet every time you service your car. In the past, they would make it very apparent when I should fix something because of possible failure. I would always agree or do the minor fixes myself.
    The District Service Parts Mgr (DSPM from Hyundai) denied my claim without having all the details. They refuse to talk with me even though they based the decision on incomplete facts. i've faxed over requested information but Hyundai does not return calls. This has gone on for weeks now. I also found others that have stated similar problems on

    How it happened:
    I was driving my car back home on Thursday, October 18th from a business trip in Atlantic City on the Garden State Parkway (G.S.P.) North Bound. I was just at or before mile marker 52 just before a bridge (being expanded) when I saw smoke/steam starting to come from under the hood.
    I immediately put my hazards on and looked for a safe place to pull off, since the traffic speed was in excess of 65 mph. At that point of the G.S.P., I was at the base of a bridge, (under construction), where cement barriers were in place on both the left and right sides, so I had no shoulder or other safe place to stop. I feared that if I just stopped in the lane, I would put myself and any other driver’s lives in danger because of the speed of traffic and my location. I knew I had to make it over that bridge or the first turnoff if available on the bridge. I pulled my car off at the bottom of the bridge at the first location I could stop safely. The engine was turned off and I lifted the hood. Then I called for help.
    I had the towing company tow me and my car back to my home town mechanic thinking it was just an overheating issue or belt issue. On Thursday, October 18th that mechanic looked at my car and diagnosed overheating and saw antifreeze in all four cylinders which all resulted in a seized engine.
    I then had my car towed to my Hyundai Dealership to fix it under warranty since I am under 100,000/10 years. Once the dealership mechanic looked at the car, I was called and told that this was all caused by a leak in the radiator hose and I was told of this by the dealer back in August (2012) that a leak was found and I should have them fix it.
    In fact, I was never told of a leak or any impending issue(s) with any hose or clamps. I have the paperwork printed from that August maintenance visit. No mention of a leak or any language stating a potential leak or hazard.
    The only thing stated is the Dealer’s normal/standard “Recommendations” list of items. I would have had them fix any leak or impending issue if they would have told me of such.
  • valorieovalorieo Member Posts: 1
    So it's been pretty sad to read about all these other Elantras having cooling issues ending up with their engines seizing. My 2012 Elantra has 15K miles on it. I've already replaced the thermostat on it at 12K miles but the symptoms have started up again so it's going back to the dealer. I bought the car new with fewer than 500 miles on it and all my repairs have been done at the dealer.

    I first noticed it in December 2012. The heat was on its warmest setting and the car was toasting nicely then the hot air turned cold. It felt like the AC was on. Eventually, I learned to turn the temp down to the midpoint for a moment and then turn it back up to get warm. I figured this wasn't an urgent problem but noted it to mention it at the next oil change. About 3 weeks later, I noticed that the engine temp had redlined but was then going back into normal territory. As I drove the car to a parking lot, the temp stayed fine. I figured I'd imagined it so continued driving and the temp remained fine for 30 minutes with me keeping a close eye on it. Next morning, I started the car, fought with the heater, and kept an eye on the temp gauge. The temp would be fine, then redline for 10 seconds, then go back to normal. I called the dealer and was told to drive it in.

    There was no coolant in the system so they refilled it. They also replaced the thermostat. They checked the system and proclaimed it fixed. I figured it was a strange event. If there was no coolant, the car should have redlined and stayed redlined so I didn't understand what was going on and the dealer decided I was a stupid woman who didn't deserve an explanation.

    Fast forward 3 months, and the heater started acting up. I immediately started keeping a close eye on the temp gauge but noticed nothing for about a week. Then it once again started to redline for 10 seconds then be fine for 30+ minutes. The car had an oil change two weeks prior and everything was topped up but when I brought the car in, there was again no coolant.

    They pressure checked the system, checked hoses, and couldn't figure out what was going on. So they filled the coolant and I drove the car for a week. No temp issues (or heater issues) but when I brought it back a week (and 500 miles) later, there was no coolant in the system.

    I'm taking the car back in tomorrow for them to do another round of testing/repairs but frankly, I don't trust the dealer to have a clue. Anybody have any ideas what kinds of things this could be? I buy new cars so I don't have to worry about these sorts of issues. If the car were older, not maintained, or had 60K+ miles, I could see this sort of major repair but in a 15 month old car with 15K miles? I don't know if I have a lemon or whether I just stumbled into a Hyundai known issue.
  • shopdog97shopdog97 Member Posts: 160
    A friend from church called me last Wednesday and said his 2003 Elantra was overheating and would I be interested in taking a look at it. I've done auto repairs for myself and others for a long time. Well, this job was pretty cut and dried from the get-go. His radiator's top tank blew. Now this car has 155K on it and when I got to where the car was, he said he poured water into the rad and it just ran out. He did the same with me standing there and sure enough, out the water came. I removed the radiator from the car and saw that someone used what I'll call an epoxy-like sealant on that top tank in a effort to save it, but now it was definately shot.

    Turns out that my friend's father in law previously owned the car, and he and his wife has had it since last December, so they got 6 months out of it before the radiator was toast. So I put a new one from Auto Zone in ($116). Of course with this mileage I'm thinking that maybe the water pump or at least the thermostat should be changed as well, but we decided to take one thing at a time. But when I filled the rad with coolant and fired it up, it wasn't too long before the gauge went to the top, and you guessed it, the thermostat was stuck closed.

    I did this work in a church parking lot that had just had new seal coating put down the week before. My friend didn't want to make another mess, so he actually drove the car to his place later that evening and then over to my place this past Saturday with a new thermostat and gasket. This installation was a breeze and the problem with overheating are now a thing of the past. One thing I had asked him when he first called me was did you notice the car getting hotter with the A/C on? It's been hot and humid here in Pa. and I was wondering if he was using the AC, but he said no, it didn't work. Now of course we know the rad was shot, but while I was under the car at the church, I found out why the AC wasn't working, at least mechanically. The drive belt was gone! Only a few strands of what used to be a belt was left. No wonder it didn't work. This leads me to a mild chastisement to the powers that be at Hyundai. What genius or geniuses there decided that it would be BETTER to have 3 drive belts rather that one serpentine like most cars have had for a long time now? This is the first car I've worked on in a long time that DIDN'T have a serpentine belt. Just sayin'!

    I know I'm long-winded, but please bear with me. My friend also brought new oil and a filter over for me as I offered to do an oil change for him, the oil was rather dark. While I was looking for the owners manual in the glove box, lo and behold I come across a brand new drive belt that was marked AC! He figured his father in law got it and threw it in the glove box and never put or had it put on. I told him that I would do it but could not guarantee that the system was still charged and would work. He said lets try it. Now to put that belt on, you of course must remove the Alternator belt, the one in front. THIS belt was totally shot! I wouldn't doubt if it was an original belt. I called my friend yesterday(Sunday) and told him he needed to make one more trip to AutoZone for that belt. It was so worn out that you could see through it from the top!

    I'm coming to the great finish now, folks. On went the new AC belt, the new Alternator belt and I started the car and after checking how the belts were tracking, I had my wife hit the AC button. It worked! It got like a freezer in a matter of minutes. When I called my friend and told him, he was elated! Now there's a few other issues with this car, it's got a cracked windshield that he's gonna have to deal with before his next inspection, he may need front rotors and brakes, and a few minor things like that. But I think for being 10 years old with 155K on it, it's not a bad running car. I see some of the stories some of you have posted above, especially you, Ted2006. That's just a terrible thing to have happen and Hyundai wouldn't make good for it. But I have to say I like this Elantra GLS model and now that I have had some mechanical experience on it, I might be inclined to buy one some day. Thanks for reading this, folks, and have a great day!
  • tsnmomtsnmom Member Posts: 1
    Thank you Shopdog97! My daughter called to advise that her car started overheating and the a/c went out. I started to panic since money is tight. But, after reading your (very appreciated) long story, I have hope. I will check her fluids first, then move to belts etc. Who knew there was a third belt? I am wondering though, is it possible that one problem can cause the other problem? Thanks again for your informative input! :) Have a great day!
  • asar77asar77 Member Posts: 1
    Hello. Are you a mechanic? I have a Hyundai with the same problem and several for some time now. It never used to act up and concerned about it's present care. If you are a mechanic, would you mind telling me if you're near the Florida area, etc.? If you're not, would you be able to recommend one? I ask because of your complete honesty in this forum. I look forward to your reply.
Sign In or Register to comment.