The Hyundai Motor Group, better known simply as Hyundai, is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in South Korea. Founded in 1967, Hyundai originally manufactured vehicles in conjunction with Ford Motor Company before striking out on their own in the early 1970s.

Today, Hyundai markets its vehicles in 5,000 dealerships in 193 different countries. The company also operates the world's largest auto manufacturing facility which has an annual capacity of 1.6 million cars.

Popular Models

Hyundai has a large lineup of vehicles – from compact cars through commercial buses, the company is well-represented in every body type. One top model is the Hyundai Elantra. First released in 1990, the Elantra has evolved with the times. A front-wheel-drive compact car, the Elantra was rated Car of the Year at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

The manufacturer is known for its line of cars, but it has had recent success in the SUV market as well. The Hyundai Tucson is a popular compact crossover SUV first released in 2004. The Tucson is one of the smaller SUVs in the Hyundai lineup.

Hyundai is also competitive in the midsize crossover SUV market with the Hyundai Santa Fe. A Consumer Reports Top Pick in 2008, the Santa Fe has been one of Hyundai's best-selling models since its debut in 2000. The first SUV ever released by Hyundai, the Santa Fe was designed to compete with the Ford Escape.

Hyundai Safety Ratings

After years of developing a reputation as a cost-cutting manufacturer that built unreliable cars, Hyundai has improved its reputation for reliability by leaps and bounds. Today, Hyundai regularly scores high marks in safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe was named a Top Safety Pick by IIHS. It scored perfect ratings for crashworthiness, with the only blemish being an “acceptable” rating for the ease of use of its child safety seat anchors. This marks a major improvement from 2016, which had marginal ratings.

Another Top Safety Pick for 2019 is the Hyundai Accent. The Accent also has strong ratings, although it scored marginally worse for passenger-side crashworthiness compared to the Santa Fe. The Accent has improved by leaps and bounds since 2017 when it was rated “poor” for driver side safety.

The Hyundai Sonata also earned Top Safety Pick honors from the IIHS in 2019. The Sonata is the best-rated vehicle in the Hyundai lineup. In fact, it received a perfect score in every category including a superior rating for front crash prevention. That makes two years in a row with a perfect score.

Recalls, Defects, and Safety Issues

Despite steadily improving safety ratings, Hyundai has had a long history of mechanical defects and safety issues. For most issues, Hyundai has issued safety recalls to address them. But in some cases, there are reports of repeated malfunctions that have yet to be addressed by the manufacturer. To learn if there are any active recalls that affect your Hyundai vehicle, you can search their official site using your VIN number. Below, we discuss some of the most common safety issues that affect Hyundai vehicles.

Airbag Failure

An ongoing investigation by U.S. regulators has led to the discovery of over 12 million vehicles with potentially faulty airbags. This failure has already lead to a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturer. 

The defective airbags have been discovered in the Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for model years 2013 through 2019. The issue with the airbags stems from an electronic component called the application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). This circuit is responsible for not only deploying airbags on a collision but also tightening seat belts upon impact. However, the ASIC in these models was discovered to short circuit and fail during some impacts. The end result is a safety failure that has led to as many as 8 deaths. 

Sunroof Failure

A limited number of 2018 Hyundai vehicles have been recalled by the manufacturer due to a faulty sunroof motor. According to the recall notice, these sunroof motors lacked the safety sensors responsible for stopping the window from closing if a hand or arm is in the way. While no injuries have been reported, the potential exists for an injury if they are caught in the closing sunroof. 

Detached Steering Wheel

Nearly 44,000 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport vehicles from model year 2018 were recalled in February 2018 due to the risk of the steering wheel detaching while driving. According to the notice, faulty installation has caused an increased risk that the steering wheel may break away from the steering column while driving. This is especially problematic when turning the vehicle. Although no injuries have been reported due to this defect, the risk of injury in this situation is obvious. 

Brake Light Malfunction

More than 390,000 Hyundai Elantra Coupes and Sedans from model year 2013 and 2014 have the potential for their brake lights to remain on without the brake being applied. This brake light malfunction is due to unexpected deterioration in the brake pedal stopper pad. When the pad deteriorates, it can cause the brake light switch plunger to remain on even though the brake is no longer depressed. 

The faulty brake pedal pad can also make it possible for the shift lever to be moved without pressing the brake. Other drivers have complained of unintended activation of the engine management brake pedal override feature. Together, these malfunctions can lead to collisions and other safety risks on the highway. 

Hyundai Problems? Discuss Your Options With An Attorney And Get The Help You Need

Top Safety Pick awards collected by Hyundai over the years may be comforting to many consumers, but these awards mean little if your vehicle suffers from a defect or mechanical failure. If you are experiencing problems with your Hyundai vehicle, you may be entitled to recover through the California Lemon Law. To learn more, contact the experienced attorneys at The Lemon Lawyer today. 

Don't Hesitate

The longer you let your car sit in the shop, the greater the cost is to you. If you think you may have a case, get in touch with one of our attorneys today.