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Connecting Rod Bearing Issue Prompts Hyundai to Recall 129,000 Vehicles

Even though it’s getting better in terms of reliability, the Hyundai Motor Group is no stranger to engine problems. This time around, approximately 129,000 vehicles are under recall over bad connecting rod bearings.
2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 21 photos
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The story begins with a letter from June 2018 from the Center for Auto Safety, which petitioned the NHTSA to investigate a few non-collision-related fires. The Office of Defects Investigation requested more information, and just like that, the safety watchdog found out what caused the problem.

Even though the NHTSA presented Hyundai with the findings in July 2020, the automaker took until the end of November to agree to those findings. But the question is, how does a connecting rod bearing cause a vehicle fire?

According to the Part 573 Safety Recall Report, “a damaged connecting rod could puncture the engine block and cause engine oil to leak.” Motor lubricants contain hydrocarbons, and as you all know from school, the organic compound can be easily ignited by hot surfaces in the engine bay.

A total of 128,948 vehicles are called back over this condition. These include the 2012 Santa Fe, 2011 to 2013 and 2016 Sonata Hybrid, as well as the 2015 to 2016 Veloster. The engines in question are the 2.4-liter Theta II MPI, 2.0-liter Nu GDI, and the 1.6-liter Gamma GDI. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that only 1 percent of these units feature the defect, working out to approximately 1,290 vehicles in the U.S.

Hyundai says the engine will be replaced with a new one if bearing damage is found by the service technician, which is a mammoth job in terms of labor. As an added level of protection, Hyundai will also enhance the engine control software with a Knock Sensor Detection System. More or less a few lines of code that form a program, the KSDS continuously monitors engine vibrations for unusual patterns to indicate a potentially abnormal condition.

Owners and dealers will be notified of the recall on January 22th, 2021.

Editor's note: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid pictured in the gallery.

 Download: Hyundai connecting rod bearings recall (PDF)

 
 
 
 
 

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