Hyundai Elantra Problems: 2011 to 2016 (5th Generation)

It’s common for the 2011 to 2016 Hyundai Elantra to have problems like engine ticking or issues with the dash lights. Find out the top 5 common problems we’ve found with the 5th generation Elantra.

Top 5 Common Problems with the 2011 to 2016 Hyundai Elantra (5th Generation)

Mechanic reviewing the top 5 common problems with the 2011 to 2016 5th generation Hyundai Elantra

1. Engine Ticking

Symptoms of Engine Ticking

  • Engine makes a ticking sound when running

Causes of Engine Ticking Problems on the 2011 to 2016 Hyundai Elantra

This issue has also been a common issue with the Sonata. If the engine oil level is too high, there will be too much oil to circulate and that can blow seals. The blown seal can leak oil, and this can lead to low engine oil levels. The particular problem this engine runs into involves the piston slot.

How to Fix Engine Ticking

If you hear an engine ticking noise you’ll want to check the oil level. You’ll also want a record of all your oil changes. There is a recall for this problem and having records will help tell if Hyundai needs to install a new engine for you

2. Timing Chain Jumps

Symptoms of Timing Chain Problems with the 5th Gen Hyundai Elantra

  • Engine cranks but won’t start
  • Chattering noise from the timing chain that amplifies when accelerating
  • Check engine light for P0340 or P0016

Causes of Timing Chain Issues with the 2011 to 2016 Hyundai Elantra

Timing chain guides
Timing chain guides

The timing chain guides that secure the chain can crack and brittle. The chain can slap and skip teeth, and this can lead to a crank and no start condition.

How to Fix Timing Chain Issues

You may find you have spark and fuel pressure but the engine still won’t start. You might also hear a chattering noise from the timing chain. If you have these conditions and a check engine light for both codes P0340 and P0016, the timing chain is probably the issue.

Fix common Hyundai Elantra problems yourself with quality auto parts and tips at

3. Loose Steering

Symptoms of Loose Steering

  • Steering wheel feels loose

Causes of Loose Steering

You may notice the steering wheel moving when the wheels aren’t. A steering coupler is the common cause for this with the 2011 to 2016 Hyundai Elantra

How to Fix Loose Steering

Check out our how-to video related to this problem to find out how to fix it yourself

4. Airbag Light Flashing On and Off

Symptoms of Problems with the Airbag Light Flashing

After the key is in the ignition and the car is started, the passenger air bag light indicating the air bag is off turns on. This is turned on by a sensor in the seat when it has less than 65 pounds. Drivers have reported the light flashing with no weight on the seat and no other air bag lights on. After driving and shutting the car off, the accessory and airbag lights remain on.

Causes of the Airbag Light Flashing

This problem is related to programming that needs to be updated.

How to Fix an Airbag Light Flashing in the 2011 to 2016 Hyundai Elantra

To fix this problem temporarily, put the key in the ignition, start the car again, let the engine run, shut the car off, and remove the key from the ignition.

To fix this problem long-term, bring the car to a Hyundai dealership so they can update the computer.

5. Alternator Light Is On

Symptoms of Problems with the Alternator in the 5th Gen Hyundai Elantra

  • Alternator light turns on

Causes of Problems with the Alternator Light

The alternator is known to fail in the 2011 to 2016 Hyundai Elantra and trigger the alternator light.

How to Fix a Failed Alternator

This was such a common problem for our mechanic, Sue, that she had to replace the alternator four times.

5th Generation Hyundai Elantra Model Years

Learn How to Fix Problems and Parts on Other Models

With our how-to videos, you can learn how to replace tons of parts on many different models using our step-by-step instructions from experienced mechanics.

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Hyundai Elantra Problems - 5th Generation (2011 to 2016) - 1A Auto
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Hyundai Elantra Problems - 5th Generation (2011 to 2016) - 1A Auto
Learn the most common Hyundai Elantra problems of the 5th generation, years 2011 to 2016, with these tips from expert mechanics in this article and video
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1A Auto
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