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If you own one of these Hyundai or Kia vehicles, you could wind up with a free engine replacement. That’s because a class-action lawsuit has reached a settlement for owners of certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Those cars include the hugely popular Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima sedans. These were some of Kia’s and Hyundai’s big sellers in this period. Unfortunately, its engines were big failures. 

Hyundai has a reputation for quality, reliability, and more bang for your buck. Unfortunately, that has not always been the case. With the debut of the Sonata in 2011, it had a sure winner that competed evenly with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, two of the best-sellers ever. 

Which Hyundai and Kia engines had the problem?

2014 Hyundai Sonata
2014 Hyundai Sonata sedan | Hyundai

But it became apparent that the 2.4-liter and 2.0-liter turbo Theta II engines found in the Sonata and Kia Optima failed in large numbers. It was bad enough when a car was brought into a dealer with a dead engine. Usually, a replacement engine was the standard fix. Recalls were issued but did not completely cure the problems with the Theta II engine. That is what prompted the class-action lawsuit. 

Most people who did their research when looking for a new or used vehicle steered clear of the Sonata and Optima. Quickly, it was a known issue and discovered by many more beyond those enlightened to the issues. Nice, well-maintained cars were being sent to the scrapyard that would otherwise have lasted for years longer. 

Which Hyundai and Kia vehicles had engine problems?

2014 Kia Optima
2014 Kia Optima | Kia

There are more than just Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima vehicles that ran the Theta II engines. Others potentially eligible for replacement engines are the 2013 to 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, 2014 to 2015 and 2018 to 2019 Hyundai Tucson, 2012 to 2019 Kia Sorento, and 2011 to 2019 Kia Sportage. 

According to The Drive, there are some exclusions. In 2019 Hyundai and Kia issued a recall to reflash the ECU. It involved the knock sensor, and most of the cars listed should have had this done. The recall reflash may or may not have saved the engine, in which case there could be an exclusion to the engine exchange.

The other exclusion is with a warped head or blown head gasket. Either of these problems could cause engine overheating, which, in turn, can lead to failure. But if overheating contributed to a blown engine, the settlement won’t cover the engine.

What if you’re the second or third car owner?

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport | Hyundai

Most of these years’ vehicles are on second, third, or fourth owners. But that does not exclude you from Hyundai’s lifetime engine warranty. So if you own one of the vehicles on the list, it is best to see if the lifetime warranty for your car’s engine covers replacement. The service department of any Hyundai or Kia dealership should be able to determine eligibility based on the VIN number. 

There is also a settlement website for both Hyundai and Kia cars. You can read the entire settlement conditions for both manufacturers.


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