Hyundai recalls almost 38,000 Elantra Hybrids for unintended acceleration issue

Hyundai’s hybrids are among the most popular and well-reviewed vehicles on sale today, but they’re not immune to the same sorts of weird issues that plague almost every other automaker. The company recently recalled nearly 38,000 Hyundai Elantra Hybrids for an issue that could cause unintended acceleration after the brake pedal is released.

The recall impacts model year 2021 through 2023 Elantra Hybrids. An issue with the motor control unit software “may detect a transmission/drive motor synchronization fault while driving, triggering a “fail-safe” condition that temporarily results in slow, unintended acceleration after release of the brake pedal.”

Involuntary acceleration is bad no matter how you slice it, but it appears the affected vehicles don’t need to be parked. Hyundai said owners could continue driving the cars as the issue does not impact braking system effectiveness and does not make the Elantra less safe in daily driving situations. Additionally, all affected models also have brake override, which can help stop and prevent the issue.

Hyundai will update the Motor Control Unit software logic to fix the issue, which can be done at a dealer. It’s likely that most vehicles affected by the recall are still under warranty, so there won’t be any costs involved, however, recalls get repairs without cost to the owner, regardless of warranty coverage. The automaker will also cover any out-of-pocket expenses owners incurred before and during the repair process.

The automaker first noticed the problem in August 2022, prompting an internal investigation into the issue. Hyundai had found 24 unconfirmed reports of the problem by May of this year, and by June, it had tried unsuccessfully to replicate the issue. The acceleration problem is apparently related to the handoff between gas and electric powertrain components. Still, the automaker hasn’t seen any injuries or crashes from the problem but said it would send owner letters with a notification of the recall by October 17. 

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