Hyundai began building the seventh generation of the Sonata for the 2015 model year. But the resulting vehicle did not hit its stride until its redesign for the 2018 model year. The result is that some 2015-2018 Hyundai Sonatas are nightmare cars. Owners of these seventh-generation (2015-2018) Sonatas currently have three separate Hundai Sonata recall alerts to worry about.
Hyundai Sonata Recall (Hyundai #208) – 348,158 vehicles may suffer trunk latch failures
The trunk latch recall applies to 274,376 gasoline-powered 2017-18 Sonatas and 18,147 hybrids from 2016-18. The recall also involves to certain Accents, Azeras and Kias. The Hyundai faulty latch recall affects over 600,000 vehicles total.
Hyundai reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it first received reports of Sonata hood latch failures in high-temperature environments in the Middle East. When customers in the US began complaining of broken trunk latches, the NHTSA found a plastic component was cracking prematurely because of heat. As a result, Hyundai engineered a steel reinforcement for dealers to install and issued a recall on August 6, 2021.
NHTSA considers the malfunctioning trunk latch a safety issue. This is because every car sold in the US needs a functioning trunk latch with an internal safety release, so no one gets trapped in the trunk by accident.
Hyundai Sonata Recall (Hyundai #209) – 95,515 cars may have prematurely wearing engine bearings
The engine bearing recall affects Hyundai vehicles equipped with a 2.0-liter “Nu” GDI engine. At-risk vehicles include 13,247 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids from 2017, as well as Hyundai Tucsons. All told, the Hyundai engine fire recalls impact over 100,000 Hyundais total.
The bad news is that this defect is caused by prematurely wearing connecting rod bearings. A highly worn bearing could affect the engine’s performance enough to stall the car. There is even a chance that a loose connecting rod could puncture the engine block. A punctured engine block will cause a massive oil leak and, according to NHTSA, is a fire risk.
The good news is that Hyundai expects only 1% of hybrid 2017 Sonatas are affected. In addition, if a connecting rod bearing wears out, the engine will likely make a loud knocking noise. Eventually, the oil pressure light may also warn the driver that something is wrong. Dealers will check every at-risk car for engine damage as part of Hyundai’s September 17, 2021 recall. The manufacturer will also install an engine control software update designed to detect engine knocking.
Hyundai Sonata Recall (Hyundai #210) – 466,109 sedans at risk of turn signal malfunction
The third Hyundai recall is a software issue potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of Sonatas. The bulk of impacted cars are 432,981 Sonatas from 2015-17. Also included are 30,684 hybrid Sonatas and 2,444 plug-in hybrid Sonatas from 2016 and 2017. The Hyundai turn signal recall affects 466,000 sedans total.
Most controls in a modern Sonata are drive-by-wire: they send an electric signal to the car’s Smart Junction Box (SJB), which then distributes these signals. Certain SJBs (likely less than 1%) sometimes misinterpret input signals from the turn signal stem. When drivers activate the left signal, the right one comes one–and vice-versa. When the Sonata’s turn signal malfunctions, its dashboard indicator malfunctions as well, alerting the driver that there’s an issue.
Hyundai has devised a software patch. Dealerships will install this update to the SJB on all affected Sonatas. Hyundai dealerships will repair all recalled Sonatas free of charge. If you have questions about this recall, you can contact the Hyundai Customer Service Department at 10855-371-9460 with reference numbers 208, 209, and 210.