Hyundai 3.8 engine problems

Hyundai Genesis problems

Hyundai is not a brand known for making large displacement engines these days, but some higher-end Hyundai models are still being offered with a 3.6L V6 engine called the Lambda II RS MPi. This engine debuted in the 2009 Hyundai Genesis and Genesis coupe which were some of the most advanced Hyundai models at the time.

This 3.8L engine pushes out between 286hp and 348hp and 264lb-ft to 295lb-ft of torque. All in all, the 3.8L unit offers solid performance while also being relatively efficient for what it is. Reliability-wise, it is also a really good engine, but it sure isn’t completely free of faults. As such, in this article, we are going to mention all the Hyundai 3.8 engine problems and tell you what you need to look out for.

The most common issues with the 3.8L Lambda engine include carbon build-up issues, oil leaks, and issues with the transmission. Stuck piston rings also seem to be an issue, but aren’t as common as the rest. Finally, we also need to mention problems with inconsistent oil pressure which has even led to complete engine failures with certain models.

All in all, even though these seem serious, they aren’t overly common as the 3.6L unit is fairly dependable and should be able to last a long time if you take proper care of it.

These are some of the other problems there are with Hyundai Genesis.

Carbon Build-up Issues

The 3.6L Lambda V6 engine is a naturally aspirated direct injection engine which inherently means that it can suffer from carbon build-up as it is rather common across N/A direct injection engines. Direct injection technology is indeed impressive, but oil blow-by is only a small drawback for these engines which should not cause any issues if you take proper care of it and if you clean the engine when needed.

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The fuel is being sprayed directly into the cylinders and some oil tends to stick to the valves and ports and later leads to form deposits we all know by the name of carbon build-up. In order to “fix” this, just be sure to clean the engine with a so-called “Walnut blasting” method every 100,000 miles or so.

Oil Leaks

Oil leaks are customary with the 3.8L unit and should be dealt with as soon as possible in order not to cause any damage to the engine. Oil is an essential engine fluid without which the engine is sure to destroy itself from within. The most common causes of oil leaks on these are due to oil filters, o-ring issues, and a defective oil drain plug.

Also, be sure to inspect the valve cover gasket and the oil pan gasket as these can leak oil too. All in all, these issues are common with higher-mileage models and aren’t too common across newer 3.6L models with not too many miles on the odometer.

Transmission Issues

Even though the transmission is not a part of the engine, it is a focal part of the powertrain without which the engine will suffer from a wide variety of issues. This means that these transmission issues can lead to engine issues which is why we listed them here. The most common issues are associated with transmission slipping which can cause the engine RPMs to jump and can lead to overheating.

Stuck Piston Ring Issues

Stuck piston rings aren’t overly common with the 3.8L engine, but when they do occur, they can cause a whole load of issues. These are typically caused by combustion issues where the engine burns improper fuel-to-air ratios which can leave lots of fuel being left being unburnt. Excessive carbon build-up can also lead to this issue as well.

The problem here is that the decrease in compression ratio can lead to a whole load of engine issues down the line. Be that as it may, these are typically caused by improper maintenance on higher-mileage examples.

Inconsistent Oil Pressure

Inconsistent oil pressure problems have plagued quite a few Hyundai US-made engines in the mid-2010s and have even led to Hyundai recalling almost 1.5 million examples, some of which were equipped with the 3.8L N/A V6.

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The issue here is that inconsistent oil pressure can lead to pressure build-up and many other issues, some of which can destroy the engine completely. These engines are known to seize and never start again which is why you should do your due diligence and see if the unit you are looking at was included in these recalls.

FAQ Section

Is the Hyundai 3.8L a good engine?

The Hyundai 3.8L N/A engine is indeed a really good engine as it has been around for quite a while and is one of the most powerful and effortless engines Hyundai ever made. Sure, it does suffer from certain issues, but that is the case with virtually all engines ever.

If you take proper care of this engine and you don’t go for one with hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of miles on the clock, you should be more than good with this engine. It really is a well-balanced powertrain with more than enough power, but also decent efficiency numbers.

How long can a Hyundai 3.8L engine last?

With regular proper maintenance, there is absolutely no reason why the 3.8L engine shouldn’t last at least 200,000 miles. Some have even said that the 3.8L can easily do 300,000 miles without major mechanical mishaps which is indeed optimistic, but doable.

All in all, mechanical issues don’t seem to arise before 100,000 miles for those who take adequate care of this engine. If you pay close attention to carbon deposits, the state of your plugs, the state of your ignition coils, and everything that has to do with oil, you should be able to reach 200,000 miles or even more relatively trouble-free.

Does Hyundai still offer the 3.8L engine?

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade is still being offered with a 3.8L engine The Kia Telluride also comes with the 3.8L engine which means that the 3.8L is still going strong, even in 2022. These are mated with 8-speed automatic transmissions in both models and most people believe that the 3.8L engine is still better than any other 4-cylinder engine.

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However, given its large displacement and no forced induction, the 3.8L is far from being green as it emits as much as 261 grams per kilometer which is way too much for 2022.

Cars with Hyundai 3.8 engine

The Hyundai 3.8-liter engine, also known as the Lambda II 3.8, has been used in various Hyundai and Genesis models. Here is a list of cars that have been equipped with the Hyundai 3.8 engine:

  1. Hyundai Genesis Coupe: The 3.8-liter engine was available in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, a sporty two-door coupe. It provided a powerful performance for enthusiasts.
  2. Hyundai Genesis Sedan: The Hyundai Genesis Sedan, particularly in earlier model years, featured the 3.8-liter V6 engine as one of the available options.
  3. Genesis G80: The Genesis G80, a luxury sedan, has utilized the 3.8-liter engine in certain trims. It offers a blend of performance and upscale features.
  4. Genesis G90: The flagship luxury sedan from Genesis, the G90, has been offered with the 3.8-liter engine. It delivers a smooth and refined driving experience.
  5. Hyundai Azera: The Hyundai Azera, a full-size sedan, has been equipped with the 3.8-liter V6 engine in some model years. It offers a comfortable ride and a range of features.
  6. Hyundai Veracruz: The Hyundai Veracruz, a mid-size crossover SUV, has been powered by the 3.8-liter engine in certain versions. It provides a spacious interior and good utility.
  7. Hyundai Santa Fe (previous generation): In the previous generation of the Hyundai Santa Fe, specifically the Santa Fe Limited model, the 3.8-liter engine was an available option. It offered a balance of performance and versatility.
  8. Kia K900: The Kia K900, a luxury sedan from Hyundai’s sister brand Kia, has used the 3.8-liter engine in some iterations. It provides a premium driving experience and upscale features.
  9. Kia Stinger: The Kia Stinger, a sporty fastback sedan, has been offered with the 3.8-liter V6 engine in certain trims. It delivers a combination of performance, style, and practicality.
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Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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