One morning in early 2021, I was taking my son to school in my 2018 Hyundai Sonata. As I entered the driveway of his school, which is pretty steep, I noticed the oil light come on briefly on the dash and then go off once the car leveled off. I thought this was strange since I just had the oil changed about a week or so prior. When I got back home, I popped the hood to check the oil, and the image you see above is what the dipstick looked like. The car never had any oil leaks. It was just guzzling oil. Now, Carcomplaints.com reports a class action suit has been filed against Hyundai/Kia over oil consumption issues in numerous vehicles, including my own.
The list of vehicles impacted is long. While I was aware of Hyundai’s Theta engine issues, which was used in everything from the Sonata to the Santa Fe to the Kia Optima, the suit is broad and includes models I wasn’t aware of having consumption issues. Engines included in the suit are Hyundai/Kia’s Nu, Gamma, Theta, Lambda and Kappa engines. This affects nearly every new or current Hyundai/Kia model that has gone on sale in the last decade:
- 2012-2020 Hyundai Elantra
- 2009-2018 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
- 2019-2021 Hyundai Kona
- 2020-2021 Hyundai Palisade
- 2010-2012 and 2015-2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
- 2009-2010 and 2015-2021 Hyundai Sonata
- 2011–2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
- 2010-2013 and 2015-2021 Hyundai Tucson
- 2011-2021 Hyundai Veloster
- 2020-2021 Hyundai Venue
- 2010-2021 Kia Forte
- 2017-2020 Kia Niro
- 2011-2020 Kia Optima and Optima Hybrid
- 2012-2021 Kia Rio
- 2011-2020 Kia Sorento
- 2012-2021 Kia Soul
- 2011-2020 Kia Sportage
- 2018-2021 Kia Stinger
- 2022 Kia K5
Everything owners in the suit are alleging is what I’ve been going through.
The Hyundai oil consumption lawsuit alleges drivers must constantly check the oil levels more than normal, and oil must allegedly be added to the engines more frequently than even the owner’s manuals recommend.
The plaintiffs also allege adding too much oil isn’t the answer because by adding oil above the maximum fill line the crankshaft will be partially or fully submerged. The crankshaft will foam the oil which reduces engine lubrication.
My Hyundai dealer’s remedy was to check the car’s oil levels at 1,000-mile intervals. I did this three separate times over the span of a few months. It was ultimately found that my Sonata was using a quart every thousand miles. Somehow Hyundai called this normal. Some sort of combustion chamber and direct injection cleaning was performed that was supposed to help. But it didn’t, and I was back at the dealer for the same tests where I was told that they were going to submit to Hyundai for an engine replacement.
I had already spoken to a rep from Hyundai corporate over the issue, so I had an open case. I was told before I had taken the car back to the dealer that Hyundai would approve a no cost engine replacement along with covering any costs related to ridesharing or car rentals while the car was in the shop.
When the dealer performed another round of 1,000-mile interval tests, I was told the oil consumption had increased to two quarts every thousand miles. An engine replacement was subsequently approved, but all of a sudden Hyundai had changed its tune: It would replace the engine, but only if I’d cover 50 percent of the cost to the tune of $2500. I assume it’s because of the mileage on my car (over 140,000 miles now), but that shouldn’t matter as this isn’t an issue related to milage. Hyundai built a shit engine. And this problem started thousands of miles ago. So I said fuck that and now I’m stuck buying $40 five quart bottles of Mobil 1 High Mileage every month or so to keep the car topped up while I figure out what my next steps are.
The lawsuit also claims that Hyundai should have issued a recall over the consumption issues, something I’m just now realizing was never done. Whatever the result of this is, I hope Hyundai does the right thing. The case is being represented by Santa Barbara-based law firm Nye, Stirling, Hale & Miller LLP, Sauder Schelkopf LLC, and Walsh, PLLC.