A software issue can cause the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid to accelerate unintentionally.
This new recall campaign only affects the hybrid version of the 2021-2023 Elantra, though 37,997 owners will want to pay attention to what’s going on. According to documents the automaker submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an issue in the car’s motor control unit (MCU) software could cause unintended acceleration after a driver releases the brake pedal.
Hyundai’s statement to safety regulators goes: “The motor control unit (“MCU”) 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. Service brake functionality is unaffected and remains fully operational.”
The automaker says the issue is not bad enough to prevent owners from driving their vehicles. The MCU issue does not impact the car’s braking system which can still halt the car if unintended acceleration occurs. All affected Elantra Hybrids also have brake override systems as standard fare, so the auto-hold system should help prevent any incidents.
So far, Hyundai says it isn’t aware of any injuries or accidents due to the problem.
What’s the fix?
All impacted 2021-2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid owners will be notified by mail no later than October 17. Once they receive a notice, the remedy is to take the car into the dealer for a free software update. Dealers will update the logic in the MCU software to prevent this condition from happening in the future. While most of the vehicles in this recall should still be under warranty, Hyundai will reimburse out-of-pocket expenses incurred to repair the issue.
To try and replicate the issue, Hyundai drove over 2,000 miles during various tests by June 2023. By July, technicians were able to nail down the fail-safe fault in the Elantra Hybrid’s MCU. It was unable to duplicate the unintended acceleration fault at higher speeds.
As of August 18, Hyundai noted 24 reports dating back to October 5, 2021 regarding the issue. The automaker’s number for this recall is 248, while the NHTSA number is 23V-589 if you want to find more information. You can also find a copy of the technical service bulletin (TSB) here.