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Friday 02/13/04

A little over a year ago, after much deliberation (documented on this site), I bought the first new car I've ever owned: a 2003 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback. Not the world's sexiest car, but I was impressed with the features you get for the price and the long warranty. I wanted a small, affordable car for the daily commute, with the flexibility to bring a friend or two along as passengers or to haul a bit of cargo. The 5-door Elantra was exactly what I was looking for, and it was two to three thousand dollars less expensive than its competition (primarily the Mazda Protege 5).

I now have 16,500 miles on the car and have had no mechanical problems with it. I have had the following three issues, all of which I consider minor enough not to justify a trip to the dealer:

  • The driver's side power mirror won't adjust horizontally when it's raining. It works fine if I run the defroster for a while (the mirrors are heated). I'm the only one who drives the car, so the mirrors haven't needed adjusting for months.
  • The driver's seat shifts very slightly forward and backward, usually when accelerating or braking. It doesn't seem dangerous, but you can feel it.
  • The vinyl adhesive trim on the rear passenger door is starting to bunch up a little, but not so much most people would really even notice.

The latter two issues are apparently fairly common on this car. I have received a recall notice for a potential brake problem, and when I take the car in for that, I'll have the dealer take care of the other issues as well.

The Check Engine light has come on a couple of times due to, I was told, a gas cap that wasn't tightened quite enough. I'll have the dealer double-check the codes during the recall service, too.

Fuel economy has been decent, though not outstanding; I'm averaging 26 MPG for the particular combination of highway and city driving that constitutes my commute. On the highway I often get 34 or even 35 MPG, 2 MPG better than the EPA estimate on the sticker. (This is due to the less restrictive K&N air filter I installed along with the Bosch Platinum +4 plugs, each of which was good for about an extra MPG on the highway.)

Some design features that could be improved on this car:

  • The moonroof control needs to be one lever instead of two.
  • The glovebox should have a lock.
  • The detents on the doors (where they "stop" when you open them) need to be adjusted or to have an extra stop added between the two existing detents. It always seems like the door is open too wide or not wide enough.
  • Pushing on the map lights should turn them on and off, rather than having separate buttons for that.
  • The alarm system needs an indicator light on the dash. (I had the car stereo installer add a dummy flashing light.)
  • The cargo area could really use a brighter light on each side.
  • The lights on the dashboard should all be blue to match the instrument cluster.
  • The steering wheel is kind of plain and could use, say, a chrome ornament in the center or something.
  • The plastics in the interior outgas for quite a while. I was wiping film off the windows for months. It seems to have finally slowed down now, though.
  • The trip computer is really hard to read during the day. It needs to be lit up all the time regardless of whether the headlights are on, or something.
  • The "adjustable lumbar support" could stand to be a few inches higher; it's more a poke-in-the-butt lever now.
  • I wanted both the moonroof and ABS anyway, so the fact that you can't buy the ABS without the moonroof didn't bother me, but it's kind of a dumb bundling of options.
  • You can't turn off the A/C when running the defroster.
  • The armrest on the door needs a bottom on the handhold you use to pull the door closed. It's very handy to put your wallet there when going through a drive-through or a toll booth, because when you get out of the car it's right there so you won't forget it. I still occasionally leave my wallet in the car accidentally.
  • There's only a single horn rather than a dual horn like on most cars. It's kind of wimpy. Luckily, it's cheap to upgrade this yourself if you so choose.
  • The interval wipers need a Mist function (a momentary switch that causes them to perform one cycle and then stop).

As you can see, these are incredibly nitpicky things to be concerned with. I could put together a similar list of annoyances about any of the other cars I've owned. Some of the issues above, in fact, have been addressed in the 2004 model (which also includes a new version of Hyundai's 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing and a Kenwood MP3 CD stereo). I understand they've got a chrome emblem on the steering wheel now and better lighting in the cargo bay.

The car salesman told me that Hyundai's build quality is about where Toyota's was ten or so years ago, and my experience bears this out. Bottom line, I still often find myself smiling when approaching my car, and I still look forward to taking it on road trips.

Some things I liked about this car that I didn't expect:

  • The windshield wipers actually go different speeds depending on whether it's raining or not. It doesn't seem to be documented, and I kind of freaked out when I first noticed how slow the wipers went, but later I noticed they went faster when it rains. I swear I'm not making this up!
  • The shoulder belts can be adjusted in height.
  • There are more storage cubbyholes in this car than I can find things to put in 'em, including a bulge in the door storage pocket that doubles as a cupholder.
  • Speaking of the cupholders, the car came with a little plastic insert that allows the center cupholders to be adapted to different-sized cups.
  • The hatchback acts like one of the doors; you don't need a key to open it if the car's unlocked. Instead, there's a handle just above the license plate.
  • The remote keyless entry system doesn't make any annoying sounds when you arm or disarm it. (You can hear the doors locking, particularly the hatchback; that's plenty of audible feedback.)
  • If you leave the key in the ignition when you get out of the car, you will find that you can't lock the doors; the power locks push back at you when you try! An incredibly clever and thoughtful feature.
  • Another thoughtful feature: when you turn off the ignition, the windows remain powered for about a minute, so you can roll 'em up if you forgot. Of course, it would be even more thoughtful if this applied to the sunroof, too, but the sunroof requires that the ignition be in the On position.

As an aside, the 5-door body style (in hatchback or wagon format) seems to be enjoying a resurgence; the new Toyota Prius hybrid is a 5-door, and Chevy has a new 5-door version of its midsize Malibu dubbed the Malibu Maxx. That's in addition to the 5-doors available when I was shopping in January 2003: the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe twins, the Ford Focus ZX5, and the Mazda Protege5 (which has since been replaced with a 5-door model of the Mazda 3), not to mention the Subaru Outback. It's a very practical and attractive body style for a small car.

Re: Elantra after a year

There are 63 messages in this thread, displayed in the order they were posted.

Dan Lyke 2/13/2004 1:41:18 PM Pacific

I'd be concerned about that driver's seat issue. Specifically, I'm thinking about safety if you're ever rear-ended. Taking an impact to a well cushioned back isn't bad, taking one to the neck or elsewhere should that seat break loose would be... suboptimal.
Jerry Kindal 2/13/2004 1:46:37 PM Pacific
Yeah. Like I said, it's not that loose and it doesn't feel flimsy, but I'll have them fix it when I have it in for the brake recall.
Martin 2/13/2004 1:56:02 PM Pacific
I picked up a new Citroen C3 about four months ago, and I feel much the same as you do Jerry.

Granted, I don't have as many issues as you - I had a minor door problem, and my washers packed in on me twice - but my next-door neighbour is the service manager of the dealership where I bought it, so he handles all of these things for me without any inconvenience.

Regarding the speed of your wipers in the rain: they might be tied in to your accelerator. I don't have rain-activated washers on my model (it's a standard feature of the higher-rated models) - but if I put the wipers on full-speed, they slow down when I'm braking, and speed up when I'm accelerating (since the ferocity of the rain will naturally increase with speed).

The only major irritation I have with the car is a whistling noise from the wind rushing through the engine block when I go above 60mph.

Apparently, it's a snag of the build - they're trying to eliminate it for future designs of the car.

Jerry Kindal 2/13/2004 2:23:34 PM Pacific
I thought at first that the wipers might be speed-controlled, but no, when it's dry, they go really slow even if I'm on the freeway, and if I use the washer, they kick right in even if I'm parked. I'll test it again, but I'm pretty sure I'm not imagining things here.
Martin 2/14/2004 4:20:16 AM Pacific
It's entirely possible that you have a rain detector embedded in the winshield - it's usually underneath the point where your rear-view mirror is stuck to the glass.

However, if you did have one of these, the wipers would automatically activate in the rain...


Warren 2/14/2004 12:11:41 PM Pacific
The A/C defroster this is on purpose. The A/C compressor is on to dry the air being blown on the windows. If you had previously owned only American cars (though some have push button A/C now) then you were likely unaware of the compressor engaging. Blowing warm air on the window is ok, but blowing slightly less-warm dry air is better.
Jerry Kindall 2/16/2004 1:54:47 AM Pacific
Yeah, having the A/C compressor come on when the defroster is turned on is good. However, once the engine is warmed up, being able to turn off the A/C would be good for performance and fuel economy.

Older versions of the Elantra allowed this -- when you turned the climate control mode knob to defrost, the A/C would automatically turn on, but you could turn it off by pressing the A/C button. In the 2003 model I have, though, when you turn the mode knob to defrost, the A/C light doesn't come on, but the compressor runs anyway; the manual A/C control is completely out of the loop when the mode dial is set to defrost. You don't have a choice.

On my Buick the compressor ran all the time in defrost mode and you never noticed. But that car had a V6.

Maxine 3/13/2004 5:58:41 PM Pacific
RE - check engine light and gas cap - after 18 mths. of this with Toyota Matrix I discovered I was driving a car with a leaky gas tank,
Jerry Kindall 3/14/2004 1:30:13 AM Pacific
Turns out it was a "capture canister" or something. They replaced it under warranty.
Bob 3/30/2004 4:38:12 PM Pacific
Regarding the magic windshield wipers, they probably are working faster in the rain because the windshield is lubricated by the water, not because they have some sensor that detects rain. As a 2001 Elantra owner for the past 3 years, I have never noticed the wipers "responding" to rain.
Jerry Kindal 3/30/2004 4:48:27 PM Pacific
You could be right. I have to admit it's pretty weird.
Adam 4/13/2004 7:36:25 AM Pacific
Found your site off of google - I've been keeping an eye on the Elantra GT 5-door ever since I graduated from college the same month it came out, and I'm finally purchasing one on the 30th. I just wanted to drop a note thanking you for the down-to-earth, insightful nit-picking impressions of the car. I feel even better than I did before about my decision.
Thomas 5/12/2004 10:45:01 AM Pacific
I have heard about problms with installing K&N Filters and a sensor in the engine... Has anyone heard of such a thing or is this just something my dealer made-up to scare me?
Jerry Kindal 5/12/2004 11:09:18 AM Pacific
My understanding is that you have to be very careful re-oiling the K&N filters after you clean them, as any excess oil wil indeed get sucked into the intake and foul the mass air flow sensor. This is fairly expensive to replace, and it won't be covered by the warranty. Luckily, the filters come perfectly oiled from the factory, so my solution is (or will be; I'm still on my first) to simply put a new one in when it comes time to replace the air filter. The cost works out to be about the same as paper air filters, since you need to change the K&N much less frequently.
Paul 9/26/2004 9:52:57 PM Pacific
I've been noticing the same problem with my Elantra driver's seat since I purchased
the car new in July 2003. Was the dealer able to fix the seat problem? if so, do
you know what they did? I asked my dealer about it, and they couldn't find any
service bulletins on it.
Jerry Kindall 9/26/2004 9:55:41 PM Pacific
They tightened it up, and it was better for a while, but it's getting loose again.
Godwin 10/27/2004 1:00:08 PM Pacific
Just wondering if anyone out there has spongy breaks on the 02 Elantra GT. I keep taking it to the dealer and they keep telling me that it's fine.
I can't seem to lock the front breaks up. (I have ABS) and it does not engage. Any suggestions??
Jerry Kindall 6/29/2005 12:34:52 AM Pacific
Forgot to post an update in 2005... still have the car, it's still doing fine. Took it to a local garage (not the dealer) for its 30,000 mile service in February; cost under $300. No problem with the brakes or the breaks.
Doohickie 8/11/2005 9:24:55 PM Pacific
Excellent review. I'm considering an Elantra myself. Considering some of the comments you made, you may enjoy looking over some of the solutions other owners have posted at this site.
Doohickie 8/11/2005 9:26:23 PM Pacific
That link didn't seem to work; trying again.
Jeff Servis 10/3/2005 6:11:19 PM Pacific
The following are my comments to a fellow Elantra owner who is experiecing a vibration problem in the front end of his Elantra. The sysmptoms are similar to that of tires that are out of balance.

Apparently there is a design problem with the front suspension on many Elantras. I have been experiencing the same lateral movement (wobble) in the front of my 2004 Elantra GT hatchback that you describe. The vehicle has 38,000 miles on it and the problem began at approximately 30,000 miles with the stock 15 inch alloys and Michelin MXV4 Plus 195/60/15 radials. I thought that the problem was related to worn tires and/or warped front rotors (I knew that the rotors were warped). However, the problem was not corrected when I switched to Kumho Ecsta 711 215/55/15 and then Fuzion ZR1 205/55/15 and was not noticably improved when the front rotors were replaced. When the rear tires were rotated to the front, the vibration was substantially reduced which would indicate that this condition is causing abnormal wear on the front tires. I intend to pursue this matter with Hyundai because I am very disappointed in the quality of the vehicle and I can't stand the vibration! The other issues that I have had in the 18 months since I purchased the vehicle are: wrinkling trim tape near the small triangular side window (both sides, three attempt and still not corrected), plastic gasket retainer coming off the rubber gasket between the front and rear door windows (replaced, both sides), shorting switch on the clutch pedal causing intermittent starting (replaced after two attempts and I drew them a map!), failed right rear window motor (replaced), failed right high beam adjustment mechanism (right headlamp assembly replaced), scratch resistant coating came off of left headlight assembly (left headlamp assembly replaced), and now one of my lifters is clacking after sitting for a few hours or overnight. It's really too bad because I like the design, but I am beginning to hate the car. I will let you know my results regarding the vibration.

If anyone has any comments, please e-mail me at

eWALKER 11/20/2005 8:49:54 PM Pacific
I just bought a 03 elantra for my daughter and it didn't have the keyless remote with it. I went to the dealer and bought a remote. But my problem is how do you shut off the alarm if you open the door with the key. I know you can use the remote, but what if you don't have the remote at hand. If you lock the doors with the remote and try to open it with the key the alarm goes off. We don't have the owners manual.
Jerry Kindall 11/20/2005 9:44:57 PM Pacific
Hey eWalker... generally that's not a problem because the remote's on your keychain right next to the key. But if it does happen (lost remote, battery dead, whatever) I believe putting the key in the ignition is sufficient to prove to the car that you are its master. You might have to actually turn the key to the accessory position or start it, in fact now that I think about it, you probably do need to do exactly that.

Personally I always use the remote to lock and unlock the car (unless I'm inside) and only use the key for the ignition.

Doohickie 2/8/2006 12:44:51 PM Pacific
You can see what Hyundai tells their dealers about wheel shimmy here. Click on "NVH", then ''Wheel & Tire". They know it's a problem and tell their dealers how to fix it.

By the way, I ended up buying the Elantra and have over 6000 wonderful miles on it. If you want more Elantra information, two VERY active owners forums are and

DP 2/11/2006 3:23:35 AM Pacific
2002 Elantra GT. The brakes dont seem to work very well. Takes a long time to stop. It feels spongy like Godwin mentioned. The dealer replaced the Master Cyclinde kit improvement and he says its okay but feels very risky.

another dealer had changed the rear pads a few months ago. This problem of poor brakes has been there since I bought it.

webby 4/21/2006 9:53:49 AM Pacific
I purchased a 2005 Elantra last August. My first brand new vehicle EVER! Had 12 miles when I drove it out of the lot! I was obviously very excited to be able to finally at 39 years old be able to purchase a new vehicle that I could assure was maintained properly, but apprehensive of making a mistake in choice. I researched and checked out the corolla, ion, and elantra. The corolla was about $2000 more with many less features...including a dummy alarm button and no real alarm system, stupid is that??? Anyway, I liked the amount of space in the elantra and how it felt when I test drove it...but major buying point was the warranty.

I took my new car on a road trip after having it less than a week...I know you aren't supposed to break in a new car by highway speeds, but the vacation was planned and the previous vehicle died. Anyway, it was wonderful! I was able to really feel the vehicle in every condition possible, use my a/c, heat, traveled up and down mountains, used the cruise control and really realized that the elantra WAS bigger than it appeared at first as I traveled with two teens and not one complaint of being "squooshed" was heard! I only have one complaint and I suppose I should make it to the dealer also, although I haven't because I thought it may have just been me, and that is after traveling only about 8 hours, an elk appeared directly to my right quarter panel out of no where and natural reaction was to swerve away. I understand the experts say it is better to hit the animal than to swerve as it is more dangerous to the vehicle occupants, but in a split second, natural instinct takes over rather than what you have heard to do so I swerved. I was traveling on a highway at about 70mph and as I swerved my wheel, the vehicle over steered and was all over the road shimmying and shaking and did a the midst I had slammed the brakes, but as I have read and can attest to from this experience, the brakes were squishy and did not seem to perform as I would have expected them to. We did avoid an accident and I have no idea where the elk went as I only heard my children screaming and my own heart beating in fear, but I did notice before this occurrence that there seemed to be a shimmying and an over steerage at higher speeds. If barely touching the wheel to either direction, the vehicle would start to lose control and I would have to drop my speed to gain control and stop the shaking. I just attributed this to my not being used to having a new vehicle and having had SUV's for many years prior. Now I see this shimmying seems to be a known issue. Would have been nice if they corrected the issue before you drive away with the vehicle.

Other than that, I only have a few minor gripes such as the wipers seem to be missing a couple speeds. One in between slow to fast and one that goes faster than the highest speed. I learned this on the trip when caught on the highway in a very bad storm and the wipers didn't seem to be going fast enough causing visibility to be very bad. I have experienced the same living in Florida with the storms we have here. I don't know if there is any way to have the speeds adjusted, but maybe I will ask when I take it in for the next maintenance. I hate the cup holder between the front seats because they are too close together so if you have a cup that is large or with a handle, you cannot use the other holder or they push against each other and tilt and spill. I really wish my glove box had a lock which I did not even think to check until later when I put my items in the car and went to lock it...surprise! I also wish the armrest between the front seats was bigger (?) or at least further up so it was usable for the driver who isn't tall enough to push the seat way back. seat has always stayed locked with no moving during stops or such. I love the extra "cup holder" in the door cubby. I have the sedan rather than the hatch back and love the trunk size and that the back seat folds either 60/40 (?) as seperate units...good for fishing poles! Absolutely love that the headlights go off automatically when you turn off the vehicle and open the door and basically cannot lock your keys in the car. I must say that I still smile also and occasionally stop sometimes as I am walking up to it and admire it. I love my elantra and plan to stay with Hyundai as I believe I got more than my money's worth for what I got in comparison to the other comparable vehicles...I also received excellent service when purchasing from the salesperson to the maintanance dept. They even send me reminders that the time is getting close for my next scheduled service. OH, and when I brought it in for the first oil change, there had been a recall (I don't remember right now what it was for) and when I was checking out, they informed me that they had taken care of that item as well. I was very happy they took it upon themselves to take care of the issue while they had the vehicle rather than waiting til later to notify me and having to make another trip.

So...other than the "elk" issue with the shimmying, I have to say that I am sooooo happy with the decision I made in purchasing my Elantra. It is my baby and I love it! It even has a name! My last vehicle (caravan) was known as the Elantra is bonbon...because it's soooooo SWEET!!! :)

JG 6/7/2006 11:17:42 PM Pacific
I bought the 2002 Elantra GT new 4 years ago and love it. I found a few problems with the sidemirrors in heavy rain - the passenger mirror stopped moving completely though only happened a couple times and hasn't happened in the last couple years at all.
My new concern, which lead me to this site, is that at 107,000 km the cruise control no longer works... i push the button and the light comes on indicating it is on but when I go to set it and let go of the gas it starts to decelerate. I didn't know if it was the kind of thing that would be related to a blown fuse so I checked all the fuses and they're all fine... .anyone have any problems with their cruise control?
RS 6/27/2006 7:37:17 PM Pacific
I bought a new 2002 Elantra GT back in Nov '01 and recently had to replace front and rear brake pads at just over 20,000 miles. To make matters worse, the pads in the rear (!!! ) were worn down so thin that one of it fell off. By the time I noticed, it was too late and the metal had cut into the rotor making a replacement necessary. Since I never had pre-mature wear on brake pads on my previous cars, I requested an explanation from my local hyundai dealer and tried to get the replacement covered under warranty. Turns out that the 10 years / 100,000 mile warranty is not as good as it appears. Althought the dealer acknowledged that the brakes wore prematurely, he was not able to get the claim approved by Hyundai USA. I am stuck with $780 repair costs and a very bad taste about the quality of Hyundai or its warranty.

Did anyone have a similar experience with premature brake wear? Any recommendations how to recoup my money?

Laura 6/30/2006 9:12:29 AM Pacific
Hi there
I just purchased an '03 GT Elantra with 69,000 kms on it. The a/c seems to be kicking off and on again every 30-60 seconds or so. The dealership says this is normal and there was a "bulletin" put out that some Hyundai's 2001 and up do this. Something about an H-valve and moisture buildup?? And they told me that it's normal and cannot be fixed. My mom has the SAME car and hers doesn't do it. Being a girl....of course I have no clue what I am talking about in the service industries eyes. (I worked in a shop for 3 yrs so I actually do know my stuff).
Can anyone help me with info so I can get this irritating problem fixed? The car surges everytime the air kicks off and then hisses 2 seconds later when it turns back on. The compressor is fine I've been told.
HELP would be wonderful so I can back up what I am saying
THANKS !! Laura
JEWELL 7/7/2006 10:50:15 AM Pacific

I have a 2004 elantra 5 door hatch back my only problem with the car is that when I ride over a bumps or a group of bumps it is terrible its like you can here it and see it and you are bumping around, I look at other cars that went over the same group of bumps and they go over them so smoothly so I am wondering why I can't do the same thing I don't know if I have to much air in the tires or what.

KD 7/12/2006 10:19:16 AM Pacific

I have a 2004 elantra and it's time for its 30,000-mile service. I called to make the appointment, and the quote they gave me was $495.95 plus tax. Everyone I've talked to said that seems a little steep for what it is. Does anyone know what it should cost?


Jerry Kindall 7/12/2006 10:30:51 AM Pacific
I got my 30,000 mile service done at a local mechanic, not at the dealer. Cost around $275.
Ian Keefe 7/17/2006 1:56:50 PM Pacific
I bought my Elantra GT new in January of 2005. It has 38000 miles on it right now, so I have alot of experience in the driver's seat of this car. Before it was a Toyota Camry, so this Elantra has a pretty high standard to live up to. So far it has met or exceeded all of my expectations.

Its a 5-speed, as was the Camry, and I like the shorter throws in the gearbox. Makes it feel sportier than the Camry. It "feels" alot lighter than the Camry did. Ride isnt as smooth and squishy as the Camry, but she is the GT so I shouldnt complain about that one. Not all that crazy about the Michellin tire that came on the car. After driving it a while I noticed that I was always getting a static shock when getting out of the car. Seems to be a commonly known thing specific to these tires, which at the rate I am burning through the miles should be a probem that solves itself shortly. I like the handling very much. It is a very controllabe car. Mine has the traction control system. Driving down the highway recently at highway speeds (like 85 or 90) I suddenly lost the rear driver's side tire. Just out of the clear blue it popped and shredded and I am sure something like that in the Camry would have put me in the ditch or into another car. The Elantra was fairly well composed as I got myself out of the lanes of travel. Not as smooth as glass, but other than my heart there was no damage to anything. The leather seats....... Nothing sells leather seats like January here in Phoenix. I dont even know why this car comes with leather seats. Its a great car, but its a Hyundai. Come on guys.... The leather looks kinda cheap. Well the whole car is kinda cheap but the leather material is the only part of the car that LOOKS cheap.

No problems mechanicly. Something is rattling on the passenger side like near the mirror i think when you drive the car. That comes and goes. It seems to "go" most often when I bring it to the dealer to have them look at it. Maybe a power outlet (cigarette lighter) for the back seats would be nice. She's done 125 on a deserted desert highway once and I think I had some peddle left, but I wasnt going to push my luck. Its 30.5 mpg in the city and that is with the air on. If you dont drive like a maniac you can easily get 37-ish mpg on the highway.

Holding up real good. You have a happy Hyundai driver here.

Ian 7/30/2006 9:25:53 PM Pacific
RS. I have experienced the same brake problem at 20,000 Miles. Email me and lets talk.
Charles 8/8/2006 4:16:22 PM Pacific
I just had to replace the front brake pads on my 2005 Hyundai Elantra (it's one year old and 33,000 miles), which is WAY TOO SOON, in my opinion, especially when 80% of it is highway, when brakes don't get used much.

The "fabulous" warranty doesn't cover this, as they call it "routine manintenance", even though replacing brake pads in under a year is far from routine. The brakes weren't balanced right, causing the fronts to work too hard, and wear out too fast, but again the dealer said it was "maintenance" even though it was the manufacturer's fault for not balancing them right in the first place. $340 thanks a lot.

Jerry Kindall 8/8/2006 4:18:59 PM Pacific
For the record, I'm still on my first set of brakes at 45,000+ miles.
Dawn 8/18/2006 5:37:01 PM Pacific
I had to replace front brakes at 35,000 and back brakes at 40,000 when they became so bad the emergency brake stopped working.
Paige 8/20/2006 1:09:05 PM Pacific

I need some advice about my 2001 Elantra GT- its alarm goes off for no reason more often this summer. So I need to know what I am supposed to do about it since the neighbors get irriated with the fact my car's alarm just goes off all the time. The maintance guy (I live in an apartment complex) even came to my door to let me know that the neighbors complained about my car (well, i am hearing impaired so how am I supposed to know when the car alarm goes off?). So is anyone out there who knows how to deal with the alarm problem??

Jerry Kindall 8/20/2006 1:15:10 PM Pacific
Take it to the dealer? That should be covered by warranty.

If that doesn't work, just don't use the alarm.

terry 10/7/2006 9:19:19 PM Pacific
I have a 2005 elantra..Iam so upset..the car is in the shop manunfacturer for the 7th time..I had a problem with the brakes..cylinder were replaced due to leak, rotors, pad, leakage, brakes locking..there was a loud noise coming from the rear everytime I stepped on the brakes and it felt like the brakes were not going to stop and the pressure on the brakes very low..i first brought it in at 6400miles and at that time was fuming that I WOULD have aproblem as is in again..and at this point I dont feel this car stops right and is making a different noise now..i want a refund or a new car..they breeched their contract..and this car to me is a lemon and not safe to drive for me and my little son in it..any input ..the car was in the shop7 times for the same problem first time not even a year old and 6400..i am writing to corporate ..any advise..please email me not sleeping over this and getting the run around..this car has a big problem with the brakes..any one else have this problem..maybe all these complaints will help me to prove there is a problem with the brake system..i want my money back..

terry z

terry 10/7/2006 9:27:48 PM Pacific
Please email me any problems you had with your Hyundai Elantra Brake system..Iam getting a petition going and would like to take this to corporate to see how this company is ripping people off..Any letters regarding any issue's with brakes going so early in the car..and what type of problem you had would be helpful..
My brakes started at 6400 miles and is the repair shop again for the 7th time..I am going to fight them I want my money back or a replacement car..I have fixed rotors, pads, cylinders, air pressure, leaks, adjustments in pressure..and dont feel my brakes are safe at this point..please help me and emai me with your complaints..Thanks Jerry for making this site..Iam so upset Iam loosing sleep over this..and have so much one is calling me from corporate but I intend to go all the way..


steve 10/14/2006 7:25:27 AM Pacific
i'm from england and ive got a 2003 elantra 2.0 cdx saloon, my brakes are spongy and feel very un-trustworthy. i'm having problems starting it when my engines been running and then when i leave it and go back to it a few hours later it will start and then stall and thats when it takes upto 9 atemps to get it started. if i drive it fast i get a really loud wind noise which is really getting up my noise. i've taken it to a hyundai dealer who told me he can't hear it, my cruise control works when it wants to and i'm very dissapointed with my engines profermance. my car has only done 22.000 miles and ive driven 1.0 litre cars that feel more powerful. ive had 3 sensors replaced since ive bought it.
JohnnyB 10/18/2006 4:17:46 PM Pacific
I have a 2003 Elantra GT and have been a happy Hyundai owner for 3 cars now. We had and Accent and currently own a Santa Fe GLS 2002. WE were very happy and loyal until a recent issue with our clutch. We noticed the car was slipping so we took the car in for our oil change and got the bad news that after 62,000kms our clutch needed replacing. We wanted an explanation for the reason our clutch was gone after so little driving, the only explanation they gave was a bad choice of pant saver car mats (that we had in the Accent which we changed after 3 months use in the Elantra as we noticed it interfered with the brakes) and the usual dealership blame of our bad driving skills. Both are ridiculous as we have driven standard since day one of owning our licences. One car lasted us 210,000kms with a clutch issue. The worst part was Hyundai Canada's customer service where i was informed that our 2 1/2 year old car now with 70,000kms on it is considered old and parts wear down. As a loyal customer I was expecting a bit of understanding from Hyundai and a bit of ownership for a faulty clutch but none was given. I have forwarded my complaint to the corproate office in Canada and will post my resluts if any from them when I receive them. I am sad to say that after a decade of driving Hyundai I will not be going back, I fear that they are in a dangerous zone right now where times are good and customer service is failing.
terry 11/20/2006 10:03:19 PM Pacific
Iam filing a lemon law complaint to Hyundai regarding my 2005 elantra..It has been in for brake problems 7 times and I still feel my brakes are not safe..anyone who had these type of problems with faulty brakes please email me directly..lets talk..
any additional complaints will help me with my hearing..I think there should be a recall on these brakes..they are low to the ground and very loud squealing.. Low air pressure , and when I go to stop the brake pedal is soft and very pads, rotors, etc..while car not even a year...Iam so upset..they tell me this is all way..
I dont trust the brakes in these cars and intend to get a full refund with the lemon law..please email any helpful complaints or concerns to me directly...thanks so much

Jonathan Barrie 12/13/2006 7:10:46 PM Pacific
I'm having lots of problems with my Elantra too. I had a faulty parking brake cable (standard transmission) that was not fully releasing. Consequently my rear brakes wore out and the rotors needed machining. IT was only after a bit of fighting that Hyundai covered 100% of the damage.

Now my clutch is worn out after 42000km. Fight #2

Dan 1/7/2007 6:09:30 PM Pacific
I bought my 2002 Elantra GT used with 40 000km on it. The parking brake did stick and I didn't get to it quick enough and the rear brakes must be replaced. The dealer wants to replace both cables and both calipers at a cost of $1154. I'm adept enough to do this myself. The calipers were $40 apiece at Murray's auto in Detroit and the pads were $20. Unfortunately the cables must be bought from Hyundai at $80 each. This would have been a smaller problem if I had addressed it when first noticed.

Overall, I'm now at 75 000km and I still love this car. I feel I got a much better deal than the Sunfires and Neons that were competing at the same price point. Mileage is good. The car is sound. Hits the ruts a bit hard even for a GT. Don't care for the leather, better lighting in the hatch would be nice and they are still using the same darn clock in the dash that was in my best friend's 1986 Pony. There's always little things but for the price I don't complain too loudly. I quite like the looks of the car although it is clearly a rip off of on older Saab 9-5.

I HATE the keyfob. The lock button stick out too far. The day I bought it I locked my one year old daughter in the back seat. I brushed the button as I reached up from the back seat to turn the radio on (attempt to soothe the savage). When the lights flashed as I closed the door I knew I was about to be $50 poorer.

I feel quite badly for the folks with major complaints - and I'm quite glad I'm not one of you. I'm not prone to excessive good luck, so my feeling is that yours has been quite bad.

melody riley 1/31/2007 8:02:54 AM Pacific
i have a 2003 hyundai elantra whose headlights and tail lights have just about driven me mad! just today i returned to have a burned out light bulb replaced that had just been replaced the day before yesterday. this is a common scenerio for me -- replace one bulb -- return a few days later to replace again -- then other head light or tail light goes -- replace that -- by that time the first ones blown again. the service station will replace them with in a certain amount of time but it is very inconvenient and while driving in the city with a blown light the police usually do not bother with you it is another story when you have to drive thru a small town to get home. i have been pulled over so many times that now i get a sick feeling every time i have to drive through that small town wondering what my lights are up to now. is there any one out there that has been experiencing this problem? the service station assures me that i am not the only elantra with this problem and that I would not believe all the elantras they see come in consistently with this head light issue. i am also told it is a fault within the headlight itself (rather than the car) and that the manufacture is aware of it and won't recall or fix the problem, can this be true? also i have decided to start replacing the bulbs myself because i know it will be much less expensive and i feel like the service must by now think i am taking out the good bulbs and selling them on the black market. but before i begin ripping into my poor car is it a straight forward job of take out one bulb and put in another or is there any thing i should have warning of? any help from fellow hyundai owners will be greatly appreciated!!! thanks!!!
Jerry Kindall 1/31/2007 8:11:52 AM Pacific
I've had to replace the bulbs three times, in fact. But after the original lights blew, I started using these German "high intensity" bulbs that I believe just were not as long-lasting. They lasted about 6 months for each pair. (After I replaced them, I discovered that the original bulbs were covered under my 5/60 warranty and could have been replaced for free. D'oh!) For my latest set of bulbs, I've gone back to Sylvania Silverstars, which is what was originally in the vehicle. Hopefully they will last longer.

If you are installing them yourself I suggest being VERY careful not to touch the glass part of the bulb. Getting grease of any kind on the glass is a sure way to blow the bulbs in a very short time. If you are having the dealer install them, try another dealer or mechanic; maybe whoever is installing them is not taking proper care not to get grease on them.

Another suggestion I've heard from others is to make sure you always turn the headlight switch off when you shut off the engine. The car turns off the headlights automatically with the engine, of course, but when you start it back up again there'll be a second when they come on before the engine cranks, and some people believe this causes stress on the bulbs and is best avoided.

Gerard Holman 2/20/2007 11:14:13 PM Pacific
So glad I found this site- I just finished e-mailing Hyundai Canada about my costs in having a frozen parking brake cable, their response was 'your car is out of the warranty period' so get lost(I'm paraphrasing there) They refused to cover the costs of a defective rear wheel bearing at 62,000 km, but did cover the cost of a defective exhaust manifold that had a hole the size of a quarter in it one day. Notice a trend here with 'defective' parts?
The unfortunate part of the brakes was that I had recently had all four brakes(new rotors,pads) done a month earlier. And had to do the rears again, this time putting in rebuilt calipers, because I feared with the extreme heat generated from the parking brake not disengaging, I may have ruined seals.
They won't even bother replacing what is obviously a common problem with these cars, and that is, the parking brake cables.
Has success made them arrogant and indifferent, like all the current 'almost bankrupt' car manufacters have become?
I will never buy a Hyundai product again - and I do like the car overall. But come on, Hyundai, you know about all these defects, and refuse to deal with them. Word gets out -
Godwin 5/22/2007 9:33:54 AM Pacific
Car: 2002 Elantra GT.
Problem: Damm Sticking Emergency Brake!!
DAN, you mentioned that you replaced them. I think I need to do that too. Would you mind emailing me at with some details on this. I've stopped using my E-Brake becasue of this.
My rear pads are worn right out. I need to replace them, but I don't have the tool that pushes/twists the piston back.
Gerry 6/23/2007 1:12:21 PM Pacific
2003 Elantra, 35000. First time I've seen this one! The front pads are OK but the rotors are so corroded that the inside edge is flaking off. I can't find any service bullitin on this. Has anyone else had this problem?
Shane Boucher 8/21/2007 11:34:09 AM Pacific
I have had problems with the front end shimmy, on the highway, ever since new. Had them change the rims, but little difference. I'd love the car, if they could ever fix it (62k miles, now)
M.Cook 12/6/2007 6:45:32 PM Pacific
I own a 2003 Hyundai Elantra. I just passed 100,000 miles. Never a problem until the headlights failed to turn off when the key and headlight switch on the column is turned off. Anyone have this problem?
Dan 1/19/2008 9:17:58 PM Pacific
I have a 2005 Elantra GT with 38,000 miles on it. the only problems I,ve had is with the battery. It is dying a slow death. I also have a little movement in the drivers seat. i also noticed upon checking that the brake pads are getting thin. i do have one question though. has anyone else experienced a drop in fuel economy at the 35000 mile mark. I've lost about 2 miles to the gallon. I think it may be related to dying battery as alternator has to charge more.
Barry 1/21/2008 3:49:08 PM Pacific
I have a 2003 Elantra GT that has been a pretty good car for me. I need to replace a tail light on the passenger side, but I can't seem to be able to access the bulb. I have managed to open the trim panel inside the trunk, but that's as far as I got so far.

Any help out there?

charlene 4/16/2008 10:07:53 AM Pacific
While researching cost of a climate control filter replacement, after getting a quote from the dealer, I came across your website. I had to add my story: my VERY MACHO son was visiting me for the first time after I bought my elantra gt hatchback in 2003. As I pulled out of the driveway to get our breakfast bagels, and as he prepared to mow my lawn, he stopped me, I rolled down the window, and he said: "Nice car, Mom, I never thought I'd be envious of my MOTHER'S car!" It's carbon blue with the rear end that looks exactly like a Saab! I love it, it still looks great, and it's been problem-free even with lots of city/traffic driving.
Sue 7/16/2008 10:05:59 AM Pacific
I own 2003 Elantra GT, I have had nothing but problems with this car since day one. I have experienced pretty well all the problems everyone else has and more. Vibrations in front end, handbrake seizing (3 times), tape on doors has been changed 7 (yes 7) times and now there is rust bubbling under one of the tapes but Hyundai says that rust appearance is not covered because it is above the door line (it is coming up from the door) I paid $400 extra for special rust proofing. The drivers side airbag sensor has been replaced 3 times, the radio has been cutting in and out when you go over bumps for over a year (since when does a radio die in a car after 5 years). The stablizer links (front and back) have been replaced 2 times each, the clear coating and paint has peeled off in several places (some in the first year). Also had to replace the radiator after 4 years. This car is a nightmare. I do not recommend anyone buying one. Going directly to Hyundai is not help at all. They just blow you off.
Eddie 7/21/2008 10:30:14 AM Pacific
Hey guys! I like the far it seems very informative. I have an incredibly strange issue with a 2003 Elantra. It started shortly after I purchased the car used and what happens is sometimes it just wont start. It makes all the sounds and does everything it would normally do but just not start. The strange thing is when I tried to get someone over to look at it, it started right up no problems. So I figured it was a fluke and kept driving. Well it has done it several times randomly over the course of a little over a year. I have called several mechanics and they all tell me they need to replicate the problem to fix it which I understand but the only problem with that is that I work two jobs and need my car so I cant just leave it at a shop for a few days to just try and find the problem and if it doesnt replicate I still get charged for them looking at it. Well today it finally stopped starting when I try to start it I get a clicking sound. Does anyone have any suggestions for an Elantra owner in need of some help?

Thanks in advance!

Rick 9/27/2008 6:41:22 AM Pacific
Just went over 100k in our '05 GT hatch (Highway commuter doing about 35 mpg at the moment.). If I were reading this site and wondering whether to buy one of these rods used here's my take FWIW: Shimmy is real on the front end. Up around 60mph ya better HOLD ONTO THE WHEEL! In fact, the front suspension has always felt a bit loose to me. Sorta like a cat crossing a creek kinda thing. Also, the 5 speed shifter has never seemed quite right. Had a '00 Mazda Protege' before this ride and the shifting of that 5 speed was much smoother. She turned corners a heckuva lot tighter too (almost go-kart like!) but the engine was waaaay underpowered unlike this Elantra, although definitely not a race car, sufficient for the job. All in all, I'd buy one again. Nothing to speak of has broke on the car. Routine maintenance done at correct intervals with synthetic oil changes of course. Still thinking the two to three grand we saved on the Mazda 3 at the outset has turned out okay. Time will tell if we make it to the 200k mile goal. Protege' went to 176k. Elantra? We'll see.
Katie 12/17/2008 12:44:17 PM Pacific
I am getting ready to do my 30,000 service and the dealership I go to get everything done (I generally like it there) had a whole list of things I need to do.

Coolant Flush - $89.99
Transmission Flush - $145.99
Power Steering Flush - $78.99
Fuel Induction Service - $135.99

I can't afford all of these nor do I believe they are scheduled maintenance. I am looking for any recommendations on how to proceed. I do not have a mechanic or know of one to trust.

Jerry Kindall 12/17/2008 2:53:42 PM Pacific
Proceed the same way you would with anyone who offers you something you don't actually need -- say "no thank you." The required maintenance is listed in your owner's manual. Figure out what you need and have them do just that.
Nick Bird 7/8/2009 2:53:24 PM Pacific
We purchased a new 2005 Elantra and I am seriously disapointed in the quality compared to run of the mill GM's. The rear brakes are lasting between 14000 and 22000 km on the pads, whereas I am used to up to 200,000 km on shoes. The 3rd set is worn out afteronly 14500 km.. This is pure 'cheap consumer crap'. The calipers are seizing after every 6 months, pure consumer crap. This car is driven every day a reasonable distance to exercise the mechanisms. And during a hail storm, it accumulated 300 dents while the 89 Chev beside it had 'zero'. Time for heavier steel to reduce the human activity to repair these thin cars every couple of years. By good quality NA cars, never again Hyundai.
Sumei FitzGerald 9/11/2009 9:31:13 AM Pacific
I have a 2005 Hyundai Elantra with brake problems. Always hear grinding but when they check them out there is "nothing wrong." So they go--$400. Still grind, bring it back, they take the brakes apart and blow out dust, "nothing wrong." Now they're gone again, the front pads and rotors and the back brakes need looking at because "they're not doing their job."

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