More than 300,000 Hyundai Sonata 4-door sedans have been recalled, after the manufacturer received several warranty claims indicating that the brake pedal stopper pad deteriorated prematurely, potentially increasing the risk of an auto accident.
The Hyundai Sonata recall (PDF) was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on November 13, after an investigation found that the brake pedal stopper pad may be prone to deteriorate and fail over time, allowing the vehicle to perform functions that would normally require the brake to be engaged, such as shifting gears and activating the brake pedal override feature.
Hyundai began receiving warranty claims in July 2014, requiring the replacement of the brake pedal stopper pads due to deterioration factors. The automaker serviced several claims and continued to monitor for further complaints.
By September 2015, Hyundai’s had reached a 0.5 percent claim rate and opened an investigation that is still underway to determine the root cause. No accidents or injuries have been reported.
The recalled Sonata vehicles have a brake pedal stopper pad that is located between the stop lamp switch and the brake pedal arm, which at this time is believed to be made of a material that will deteriorate and pose several safety hazards.
In the event stopper pad material deteriorates, it could cause the stop lamps switch plunger to remain extended when the brake pedal is released, leaving the brake lights illuminated. The problem can also allow the shifter to be moved out of gear without depressing the brake pedal. In addition the problem could illuminate the traction control warning lamp, and activate the engine management system’s brake pedal override feature.
According to both Hyundai Motors and the NHTSA, any one or combination of these possible outcomes could pose a crash hazard including roll-away hazards and miscommunication of signals to rearward approaching vehicles.
The recall includes 304,000 model year 2011 through 2012 Hyundai Sonata vehicles manufactured by Hyundai Motor America. The specific line of vehicles recalled was manufactured at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing plant in Alabama from December 11, 2009 through June 2011 and distributed for sale at licensed dealers throughout the U.S.
Hyundai’s investigators are still trying to determine the definitive root cause. However, the company has announced a repair process anticipated to begin in January 2016.
Owners with recalled models will receive notification via mail to schedule an appointment at a licensed local dealer to have the brake pedal stopper pad replaced with an improved part free of charge. Owners with further questions may contact Hyundai Customer Service at 1-855-671-3059 and reference the company recall number 136.