Automaker Hyundai has issued a recall for nearly 129,000 vehicles over production issues that can lead to premature engine damage. The recall affects some 2011–2013 and 2016 Sonata Hybrids, 2012 Santa Fes, and 2015–2016 Velosters.
At issue is a connecting-rod bearing manufacturing error that can cause undue wear-and-tear on the engine, wearing out the internal engine components much more quickly than anticipated.
The recall was announced on December 4, and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, affects some 128,948 Hyundai vehicles. The engine damage, caused by the faulty connecting-rod bearings, isn’t minor: it can lead to an increased likelihood of engine stall or ever engine fires.
Engine stalls are dangerous, as they can cause the vehicle to lose power in the middle of normal operations. Engine fires, of course, are among the most dangerous developments a vehicle could encounter during operation.
Starting on January 22, 2021, Hyundai will begin notifying the owners of recalled vehicles of the issue. Then, those owners will be able to bring their vehicles to a dealership to be inspected. Should the dealership find engine damage in the vehicle, Hyundai will replace the engine for the owner free of charge.
Dealers will also be installing Knock Sensor Detection Systems, or KSDS, which are electronic devices that can monitor the damage done to engines by tracking engine vibration. These vibrations can put undue stress on engine components and are the most common cause of early wear and tear on vehicles.
If you drive any of the vehicles listed in this recall, be careful. Before you’re notified in January whether your vehicle is included in the recall, you should be cautious when operating your vehicle. It is recommended that you stay vigilant for signs of early wear on your engine.
Those signs could include something as simple as the “check engine” light coming on, up to strange knocking sounds from within the vehicle and a loss of power from the drive train.
If your vehicle feels like it “hesitates” before acceleration kicks in or if you see oil leaks or smell a burning smell from the engine, it’s likely that you’ve incurred early engine damage from the connecting-rod bearings.
Owners are encouraged to check the NHTSA’s website to see if their vehicle is included in the recall. If it is, it’s ideal to not drive that vehicle until repairs can be implemented by Hyundai.