Hyundai has issued back-to-back recalls this morning, affecting nearly 570,000 U.S. vehicles. According to bulletins from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2011-2012 Hyundai Sonata may suffer from a major engine problem, while the 2009-2011 Hyundai Accent has issues with its lighting system that could affect more than a few lightbulbs.
RECALL #1: 2011-2012 Hyundai Sonata
UNITS AFFECTED: 470,000
The far, far larger of Hyundai's recalls stems from a serious flaw in the Sonata's engine. NHTSA says that "metallic debris may not have been fully removed during manufacturing of the engine crankshaft. If the debris was not completely removed, oil flow may be restricted through the connecting rod bearings, causing connecting rod damage."
And that, as some of you unfortunately know, is a recipe for disaster. "Blowing a rod" isn't just a terrifying experience for a driver (imagine a very caffeinated, very angry metal kangaroo bouncing around your engine compartment), it's also a great way to destroy an engine. The experience can involve lots of smoke and engine failure, leaving you with a stalled vehicle that can't be restarted.
The recall affects Sonata vehicles built between December 11, 2009 and April 12, 2012 equipped with 2.0 liter and 2.4 liter Gasoline Direct injection engines. All affected vehicles were built at Hyundai's Alabama plant.
The good news is that each Sonata will be inspected by a dealer, and if necessary, its engine assembly will be replaced at no charge. Hyundai also says that it will boost warranty protections for the engine sub-assembly on all affected vehicles to 10 years/120,000 miles. The extension will apply no matter if you're the original owner, or if you bought the Sonata used.
The bad news is, parts aren't available to carry out the inspections and repairs yet. Hyundai says that it will mail interim notices by November 2, with a follow-up notice mailed after parts become available.
If you own one of these vehicles and you have questions, you're encouraged to contact Hyundai customer service at 855-671-3059 or visit www.HyundaiUSA.com/Campaign132. Hyundai's number for this recall is 132.
You can also contact NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V568000.
RECALL #2: 2009-2011 Hyundai Accent
UNITS AFFECTED: 99,500
Hyundai's smaller recall is only smaller in the relative sense: inspecting and repairing nearly 100,000 vehicles is still a major undertaking.
The recall stems from an issue with the Accent's brake light switch. While that sounds like a lighting problem, its repercussions could be far more dire. As NHTSA explains in a defect report:
"The stop lamp switch on vehicles in the subject recall population may experience intermittent switch point contact when the brake pedal is depressed. This condition could potentially result in an inability to remove the vehicle’s shifter from the Park position while the vehicle is stationary, limited ability to cancel the cruise control feature (if equipped) using the brake pedal, or intermittent operation of the stop lamps." [emphasis ours]
The recall affects Hyundai Accent vehicles built between March 1, 2009 and February 11, 2011.
Hyundai says that it will mail recall notices to owners no later than November 2, 2015. After receiving those notices,owners will be able to take their vehicles to a Hyundai dealer, who will replace the brake switch at no charge.
If you have questions, you're encouraged to contact Hyundai customer service at 855-671-3059 or visit www.HyundaiUSA.com/Campaign131. Hyundai's number for this recall is 131.
Should you like, can also contact NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V566000.