Top 5 2015 to 2020 Hyundai Sonata Problems

Today’s post covers the top 5 Hyundai Sonata problems that owners tend to experience with the 7th generation model that comprises model years 2015 to 2020.

The Sonata is actually a great car. However, like any other vehicle that’s on the road, it comes with issues that are specific to it. We cover those together with their symptoms and possible fixes.

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Diagnose and Fix Common 7th Generation 2015 to 2020 Hyundai Sonata Problems 

1. Steering Wheel Airbag Failure

7th gen Sonata interior

Symptoms of Steering Wheel Airbag Failure

  • Airbag doesn’t deploy

Causes of Steering Wheel Airbag Failure

  • Airbag seal opens prematurely and prevents airbag deployment

The 2015-2020 Hyundai Sonata comes with several airbags that are found in different areas within the cabin. One of the most important airbags is the one located right behind the steering wheel. It tends to go bad after some time.

The main issue lies with one of the seals that go along with it. It opens up prematurely and prevents the airbag from being deployed properly in case of a collision. As such, the driver could end up hitting the steering wheel due to a lack of adequate protection.

How to Fix Steering Wheel Airbag Failure

  • Bring the Sonata to a Hyundai Dealership to address the safety recall

Hyundai has a recall out for this issue. You’ll need to head over to your nearest dealer and schedule a free service to have it fixed. 

2. Steering Column Noise

7th Gen Hyundai Sonata steering wheel column

Symptoms of a Steering Column Noise

  • Noise from behind the steering wheel

Our second Hyundai Sonata problem concerns the steering column worm gear. It’s the part of the steering wheel’s joining system that allows the wheels to turn every time you rotate your steering wheel. 

When the worm gear goes bad, you may hear noise coming from behind the steering. It may sometimes be hard to locate it as it is mostly hidden behind lots of plastic material.

How to Fix Steering Column Worm Gear Failure

  • Replace the worm gear

Fixing the problem comes down to replacing the worm gear. Some people try to clean or lubricate it. This might not work especially if you’re already hearing noises.

The noise is an indication that the damage has already occurred. Replacing the worm gear is a tough job that will require you to follow all the steps carefully. 

3. Chattering Engine Noise

Timing chain location 2015 to 2020 Hyundai Sonata

Symptoms of a Chattering Engine Noise

  • Noise below the engine or timing chain tensioner after start up

The third problem on this list brings us to a strange noise that comes from below the engine compartment after a few seconds of starting your car. You may also hear this noise where the timing chain tensioner is located, which is usually inside the engine on the passenger’s side.

Causes of Chattering Engine Noise Problems on the 2015 to 2020 Hyundai Sonata

  • Low or dirty engine oil
  • Timing chain failure

If you’ve not been at par with your maintenance, low or dirty oil could cause the engine to make noise. 

If the oil is at the correct level and you change it as required, one of the other common places that you’d hear noise is where the timing chain tensioner is located.

How to Fix Timing Chain Tensioner Failure

  • If the timing chain tensioner is causing the sound, replace it

Servicing the timing chain tensioner is one of the more complicated Hyundai Sonata problems that we have on this list. You’ll need to give it a listen first to confirm that it is indeed the source of the noise. You want to look for a chattering sound. 

The best solution for this problem is to replace the timing chain tensioner. Remember to inspect everything else while at it to ensure that all other parts are intact and working as they should. 

4. Seized Alternator Bolt 

Serpentine adjustor bolt on the alternator on the 2015 to 2020 Hyundai Sonata

Symptoms of a Seized Adjuster Bolt on the Alternator

  • Alternator bolt tends to freeze up

For our fourth Hyundai Sonata problem, we are still going to address the belting system found in the model that comes with the 1.6 turbo engine. These come with a manual adjusting serpentine belt that has two bolts on the alternator. 

Hyundai included an actual adjuster unit on one of the bolts that helps to adjust the serpentine belt. What happens here is that the bolt tends to freeze up.

How to Fix a a Seized Alternator Bolt

  • Coat the bolt with rust penetrant and grease
  • If the bolt breaks off, replace the bolt or the alternator depending on the severity

You can spray some penetrant on it and even add grease to it as a proactive measure to combat the problem. 

Not very many people think about this. As such, the bolt can rust with time and freeze. If you go to adjust it in this condition, it might break off. You’ll need to either service the entire unit or replace the bolt depending on the severity of the problem. You can also purchase the entire alternator assembly as a replacement. 

5. Poor Acceleration 

Hyundai steering wheel

Symptoms of Poor Acceleration

  • Sonata accelerates slowly or not at all with the gas pedal is depressed
  • Check engine light for code P1326

Our last Hyundai Sonata problem concerns an acceleration issue that many owners tend to experience after using their car for a while. The most common symptoms here include having a vehicle that moves just a bit or doesn’t move at all when you step on the gas pedal.

Another symptom that you might notice is seeing a check engine light with a P1326 code.

How to Fix Poor Acceleration

  • Bring the car to a professional mechanic

This relates to an internal engine problem that’s more difficult to fix. It’s not something that you’d want to take care of in your driveway. You may need an expert to take a look at it. 

Diagnose and Fix Parts Yourself on Hyundai Vehicles and More

Find out how to diagnose and replace parts on different generations of the Hyundai Sonata and more makes and models with 1A Auto’s how-to videos. We have repair videos that cover common car knowledge and detailed repairs for all kinds of DIYers from beginners to experienced gearheads.

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Top 5 Hyundai Sonata Problems - 7th Generation (2015 to 2020) - 1A Auto
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Top 5 Hyundai Sonata Problems - 7th Generation (2015 to 2020) - 1A Auto
Here are the top 5 Hyundai Sonata problems that you’re likely to come across with the 7th generation comprised of model years 2015 to 2020. Learn their symptoms and possible fixes.
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1A Auto
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