Hyundai Elantra, Kona, and Veloster Recalled Due to Engine Problems

The 2.0-liter engine is at risk for failure and fire, and may need to be replaced

2021 Hyundai Veloster Hyundai

Hyundai is recalling 125,840 Elantra sedans, Kona SUVs, and Veloster sporty cars with a 2.0-liter engine to address a potential issue with the piston rings. These cars from the 2019 to 2021 model years use engines that may have been assembled with inconsistently heat-treated piston oil rings. The concern is that the problem could lead to increased oil consumption, progressing to a knocking sound, and the engine seizing and stalling.

A stall can be inconvenient and even dangerous at the wrong time. The other concern is that a seized engine could cause a connecting rod to puncture the engine block, causing oil to leak and risking fire.

This problem may be preceded by a warning light in the instrument panel, knocking noise from the engine, reduced power or hesitation when accelerating, or the smell of burning oil and/or smoke.

Hyundai’s Kia brand issued a similar recall last month for 147,249 2021 Seltos subcompact SUVs and 2020 to 2021 Soul wagons to address a problem with the same 2.0-liter engine.

Hyundai says it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition. However, the automaker has said five vehicle fires “with an undetermined root cause” have been confirmed in the U.S.

Hyundai will notify owners in late June 2021 to take their vehicles in to their local dealership for an inspection test. All vehicles will have the engine control software updated to monitor for signs of a related problem. If damage is discovered during the inspection, the engine will be replaced at no charge.

The manufacturing process was revised June 30, 2020, by the supplier, and vehicles built since those new engines were constructed are not expected to have this risk.

The Details

Vehicles Recalled

The problem: The 2.0-liter engine may have piston oil rings that were not properly heat-treated, risking engine damage that could cause a stall.

The fix: Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the engine, free of charge. In addition, Hyundai will install Piston Ring Noise Sensing System software.

How to contact the manufacturer: Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at 855-371-9460.

NHTSA campaign number: 21V301000

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed.

If you plug your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s website and a recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle doesn’t currently have any open recalls. Because automakers issue recalls often, and for many older vehicles, we recommend checking back regularly to see whether your vehicle has had a recall issued.

Stay informed about recalls that might affect your vehicle by using our Car Recall Tracker. Create a free account now to become a CR member.

2021 Hyundai Kona engine
2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0L engine.

Hyundai / David Dewhurst Photography Hyundai / David Dewhurst Photography


Jeff S. Bartlett

A New England native, I have piloted a wide variety of vehicles, from a Segway to an aircraft carrier. All told, I have driven thousands of vehicles—many on race tracks across the globe. Today, that experience and passion are harnessed at the CR Auto Test Center to empower consumers. And if some tires must be sacrificed in the pursuit of truth, so be it. Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSBartlett).