Worst Hyundai Elantra Years To Avoid (5 Key Problems)

“Elantra” is a decent-looking ride from Hyundai, and it outperforms most other classic rides in its category. The Hyundai Elantra is a compact sedan to desire; it looks attractive on the outside, and the interior is well-crafted to suit everyone.

The Elantra ranks #4 in the compact sedan category as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. But then, not all Hyundai Elantras are built equal, and as such, there are certain Hyundai Elantra years to avoid. You may want to ask, “Why?”

Well, these indicated “worst” Hyundai Elantra years are alleged to be problematic – with the common problems being engine, electrical, brakes, and transmission failures.

Hyundai Elantra Overview

The Hyundai Elantra, also called Hyundai Avante, is a compact sedan manufactured by the South Korean automaker Hyundai.

This sedan first appeared in 1990 and has since had seven generations. There are various models of the Hyundai Elantra, including a hybrid model and PHEV.

Inside this car lies a lot of hi-tech features that’d amaze you and make you feel much more comfortable with the ride. Furthermore, the Hyundai Elantra is well balanced; it drives so smooth across terrains. Also, Hyundai Elantra provides ample space for passengers and cargo.

Buying a Hyundai Elantra is never a bad choice; the engine and powertrain/drivetrain are well engineered, and if you’re buying a brand new one, there are multiple configuration options to choose from.

See Also: Nissan Altima Years To Avoid

Worst Hyundai Elantra Years To Avoid

As hinted earlier, not all Hyundai Elantras are built the same. With constant innovations on the Elantra’s body and components, some specific models were affected the most that they are flagged as the “worst” ones to avoid.

Hereunder is a quick list of the worst Hyundai Elantra model years to avoid.

  • 2011 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2012 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2013 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2014 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2015 Hyundai Elantra

These five (5) model years received the highest number of complaints by their owners. The commonly identified problems include engine failures, transmission faults, loud noise while driving, and power steering issues.

Well, below is more detail about the problems you may face with these worst Hyundai Elantra years.

Common Hyundai Elantra Problems

Put simply, the problems listed out here are the commonly reported ones faced by Hyundai Elantra owners. This implies that you may experience other problems with the car, but these are just the common ones a lot of owners have experienced.

1. Engine Problems

  • Affected Models: 2011 to 2015 model years

In the above-indicated model years of the Hyundai Elantra, quite a lot of engine problems were reported by the owners. The common problems include tickling noise when driving, engine stalling, and the engine dying off completely while driving.

These common problems allegedly occur after hitting the 50k miles region, and the average repair cost is $4,500. According to the affected Hyundai Elantra owners, in most cases, the solution is to install another engine in the car.

2. Electrical Faults

  • Affected Models: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2020, and 2021 model years

A high number of complaints regarding the electrical system and components were reported in the 2012 and 2013 Hyundai Elantra model years. Other years above had a fair share of the complaints too.

The electrical faults reported include all dashboard lights coming on at once, the engine won’t turn over, battery problems, and hard starting.

There is no specific mileage range when these problems occur; however, the average repair cost is $300, and in most cases, you need to get a new battery.

3. Transmission Problems

  • Affected Models: Mostly reported on 2010, 2011, and 2013 Hyundai Elantra model years

The transmission system on every car is one of the most critical systems that make the car drive. Any issue with the transmission system’s components would certainly make the car un-driveable. Also, transmission problems are costly to fix.

For the Hyundai Elantra years mentioned above, the common transmission issues faced by people who owned the models include transmission slipping out of gear, fatal failure, and rough shifting. Fixing these problems cost an average of $2,000, and they typically occur after 60,000 miles.

4. Steering Problems

  • Affected Models: Mostly reported on the 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015 model years

You certainly don’t want a car that doesn’t steer well even after going for alignments. Well, alignments can fix most Hyundai Elantra steering issues, but it seems some of the steering problems can’t just be fixed.

Instead, you have to learn to cope with them – just like “Unintentional Steering” in the 2015 model. To fix most Hyundai Elantra steering issues costs around $300.

5. Brake Failures

  • Affected Models: Mostly reported on the 2013 Hyundai Elantra

Well, only the 2013 Hyundai Elantra received up to 1,000 complaints regarding its brakes. The commonly reported problems include squeaking and grinding noise when applying the brakes.

Also, the brakes reportedly fail around 30,000 miles. Fixing Hyundai Elantra brake problems can cost up to $700 in some cases.

What Are The Best Hyundai Elantra Years To Buy?

There are just a few bad years for the Hyundai Elantra; the rest of the years are considered “good to buy.” But then, buying a first-gen Hyundai Elantra model isn’t advisable because it’s too old and lacks a lot of modern features (plus fortifications) to match what we have on newer vehicles on the roads today.

That said, hereunder is a quick list of the best Hyundai Elantra models to buy in these recent times.

  • 2005 to 2009 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2016 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2018 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2019 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2020 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2021 Hyundai Elantra

We can’t immediately recommend the 2022 model – even though it has decent predicted reliability. Notwithstanding, if you love riding the latest models of your favorite cars, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra looks all good and takes home “above-average” ratings from various websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hyundai Elantra A Good Car?

Yes. The Hyundai Elantra is a decent car to desire. It gives you great comfort; the interior is well furnished, and the exterior is just as classy as you’d love it to be. Also, the Hyundai Elantra holds up its value and costs pretty little on annual maintenance.

Is The Hyundai Elantra Good For Long Drives?

With proper maintenance and a good driving culture, the Hyundai Elantra can last over 220,000 miles or up to 15 years. The ride is sturdily built and can go over 300,000 if you treat it the right way.

Are Hyundai Elantras Reliable?

The Hyundai Elantra takes home a 4.5 out of 5.0 reliability rating on RepairPal, ranking #8 out of 36 other compact sedans in its category. Also, the average annual repair cost of Elantras is $452, which is considerable and “affordable.”

See Also: Worst Ford Edge Years to Avoid


So, what are the Hyundai Elantra years to avoid and why? The 2013 model year is the worst of them; you can cope with the other years mentioned among the “bad” Elantra model years.

But, if you really want to enjoy riding an Elantra, pick from the “best” model years listed above. Overall, the Hyundai Elantra is a decent ride to own; it can even be your first car ever – the maintenance cost is low, and it feels good to drive.

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