Hyundai owners sued over excessive oil consumption

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picture: Lawrence Hodge

One morning in early 2021, I was taking my son to school in my 2018 Hyundai Sonata. As I walked into his school driveway, which is quite steep, I noticed the oil light flashing briefly on the dashboard and then going off once the car was stable. I thought this was weird because I just changed the oil about a week or so ago. When I got home, I blew the hood to check the oil, and the picture you see above is what the dipstick looks like. The car had no oil leaks. It was just oil consumption. right Now, Reports indicate that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Hyundai/Kia for oil consumption issues on several vehicles, including mine.

2018 Hyundai Sonata

2018 Hyundai Sonata
picture: Hyundai

The list of affected vehicles is long. While I was aware of Hyundai’s Theta engine problems, which have been used on everything from Sonata to Santa Fe to Kia Optima, the suit is extensive and includes models I wasn’t aware of having depreciation issues. The engines included in the suit are Hyundai/Kia Nu, Gamma, Theta, Lambda and Kappa engines. This affects nearly every new or current Hyundai/Kia model that has gone on sale in the past 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 & 2015-2021 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2011-2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • 2010-2013 & 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 the plaintiffs say is what I’ve been through.

Hyundai’s oil consumption lawsuit alleges that drivers should constantly check oil levels more often than usual, and claims that oil should be added to engines more frequently than owner’s manuals recommend.

The plaintiffs also claim that adding too much oil is not the answer because by adding oil above the maximum fill line, the crankshaft will be partially or completely submerged. The crankshaft foams 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 it three separate times over a few months. He eventually found that my Sonata was using a quart every 1,000 miles. Somehow Hyundai called this normal. Some sort of combustion chamber cleaning was done and direct injection was supposed to help. But it didn’t, and I went back to the dealer for the same tests as I was told they would offer Hyundai to replace the engine.

I already spoke to a representative from Hyundai about this issue, so I had an open case. I was told before I returned the car to the dealer that Hyundai would agree to replace the engine at no cost plus cover any costs related to the ride or rental while the car was in store.

When the dealer ran another round of 1,000-mile interval testing, I was told that oil consumption had increased to two quarters every 1,000 miles. The engine replacement was later approved, but Hyundai suddenly changed its tune: It would replace the engine, but only if you covered 50 percent of the cost to the tune of $2,500. I suppose it’s because of my car’s mileage (over 140,000 miles now), but that doesn’t matter because that’s not a mileage issue. Hyundai built a shit engine. This problem started thousands of miles ago. I said that, and now I’m stuck buying $40 high-mileage Mobil 1 bottles every month or so to keep the car filled while I figure out what my next steps are.

The lawsuit also alleges that Hyundai should have issued a recall over depreciation issues, something that it now realizes was never done. Whatever the outcome of this, I hope Hyundai will do the right thing. The case is a Santa Barbara-based law firm Nye, Stirling, Hill, Miller LLPAnd Sauder Chalkov LLCWalsh, PLLC.