Hyundai has been using a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine in its sedans and some SUVs for quite a while now, and the Hyundai Elantra might just as well be the most popular Hyundai model that comes with the 1.8L engine for a few generations now. In this article, we are going to focus on all the Hyundai 1.8 engine problems and tell you what you need to look out for when buying a Hyundai with this engine.
First of all, we need to mention that the piston assemblies on this engine are prone to failing at a relatively common rate. The fuel injectors also seem to be an issue and so is the alarming rate at which this engine likes to burn through quarts of oil. Others have reported issues with the starter motor not wanting to start the car which can also be a fairly expensive repair job.
These four tend to be relatively common across multiple Hyundai models powered by the 1.8L Nu engine, but the Elantra seems to be the one with the highest amount of reports. Some like to call this engine a ticking bomb while others swear on it being immensely reliable and dependable. The truth is, of course, somewhere in the middle.
Before we dwell deeper into these issues, we do need to point out that this engine, and all other engines, need proper and timely maintenance. Sometimes these reliability articles tend to come with a great deal of criticism toward an engine, but in reality, most engine issues are caused due to improper maintenance.
More about Hyundai Elantra problems.
Piston Assembly Issues
Likely the worst potential problem with the 1.8L Nu engine is one where the engine can develop something called “a piston slap”. This happens when the pistons are held in place which enables them to rotate and slap against the cylinder walls. These issues are most noticeable when the car is cold as the pistons are contracted and there is more space between the pistons and the cylinder walls to bag into.
When the car reaches optimum temperature, the pistons expand so they sit more neatly. Hyundai first said that this is not a major issue, but time has shown that this can lead to oil sludge which can lead to engine block damage. If this goes on completely unnoticed, there is a great deal of chance that the entire engine might blow. As such, Hyundai has been faced with a few lawsuits as no recalls were ever issued.
Fuel Injector Issues
Issues with fuel injectors are common across many different engines and brands and it seems like the Hyundai 1.8L NU engine is not free of these faults either. The most common symptom of a faulty fuel injector is engine misfiring which tends to be even worse as time goes on. The fuel injector is tasked with spraying a set amount of fuel into the engine which gives you power.
If one fuel injector fails, you will likely notice a decrease in power followed by misfiring. If more of these fail, you are definitely going to notice issues as your car is going to lack power severely. It is said that a Hyundai 1.8L engine injector replacement job is going to cost you anywhere between $500 and $700 with all the labor and parts included.
High Levels Of Oil Consumption
High levels of oil consumption are common across multiple Hyundai engines and the 1.8L unit is also one of those engines. Multiple owners complained about the car going through quarts of oil at an alarming rate. Others reported that they had an engine issue due to not knowing when to add additional oil to the engine as the car kept burning through oil way before any scheduled maintenance intervals.
This led to Hyundai being faced with huge lawsuits for a wide variety of engines and models, one of which was the 1.8L engine. As far as NHTSA is concerned, the Elantra (which uses the 1.8L engine) has countless complaints raging about how the engine drinks oil like crazy. We do need to mention that lack of engine oil can lead to terminal engine damage if it isn’t taken care of early enough.
Starter Motor Issues
The starter motor is a component designed to crank the engine so it can start its combustion process which gives you power. If a starter motor fails, you will not be able to start the car up which is obviously an issue. The 1.8L Hyundai engine does seem to sometimes suffer from defective starter motors which in turn make it difficult to start the car up.
The only way to fix this is to replace the entire unit. However, some have said that repairs are possible depending on if your start motor solenoid or your primary motor is to blame.
Is the Hyundai 1.8 engine a good engine?
The Hyundai 1.8L engine is often deemed as one of the most problematic engines in Hyundai’s catalog, but there are many owners out there who were able to push this engine past 200,000 or 300,000 miles without experiencing any serious mechanical issues. It is not the most powerful engine which is also a problem for many.
However, it is a fairly efficient and fairly sophisticated engine that is likely going to do its job really well if you take proper care of it.
Is the Hyundai 2.0 engine better than the 1.8?
The 2.0 engine is the more powerful engine of the two as it offers more torque and more power. Official ratings state that the 1.8 is more efficient, but that is only the case if you are not pushing these engines driving at highway speeds often.
If you are, then the 2.0L is actually the more economical engine while most also deem the 2.0 to be a bit more reliable and more relaxing to drive thanks to more torque.
How much power does the Hyundai 1.8 engine offer?
The Hyundai 1.8L engine pushes out between 145hp and 150hp at 6,000rpm which is not all that much power for a gasoline engine. VW managed to offer almost 100hp more from a 1.8L engine 10 years earlier. 129-131lb-ft of torque is also a really low torque output which means that the 1.8L does lack power according to most people’s standards.