Lawsuit Investigation into Hyundai, Kia Oil Pan and Drain Plug Leaks
Last Updated on May 24, 2023
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone who owns or leases certain 2017-2023 Hyundai or Kia vehicles and experienced oil leaks due to a problem with the oil pan or drain plug.
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether a defect is to blame for a large number of complaints from Hyundai and Kia drivers who say they’ve experienced oil leaks stemming from problems with the oil pan or drain plug. It’s possible that a class action lawsuit can be filed over the issue.
- How Could a Lawsuit Help?
- If filed and successful, a class action could help drivers get back some of the money spent on repairs or replacements. It could also force the automakers to recall the vehicles or provide a free fix for the problem.
- What You Can Do
- If you’ve had issues with your Hyundai or Kia vehicle leaking oil due to problems with the oil pan or drain plug, fill out the form on this page. The information you provide could help get a lawsuit started.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org would like to speak to drivers who own or lease a 2017-2023 Hyundai or Kia vehicle and experienced oil leaks caused by issues with the oil pan or drain plug.
They’re investigating whether a defect is behind reports that the vehicles can develop severe and sudden engine oil leaks, resulting in engine damage or failure. Before the attorneys can take action, however, they need to speak with owners and lessees to learn more about the problem.
Have you experienced oil leak issues with your Hyundai or Kia vehicle? If so, attorneys want to hear from you. Fill out the form on this page and share your story.
What Started the Investigation into the Potential Defect?
The investigation began after a number of complaints were discovered on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website and other consumer forums involving oil leaks due to cracks in the oil pan – a metal dish that holds the oil used to lubricate the engine.
Many drivers have also reported issues with their drain plug – a screw located at the lowest point of the oil pan that seals the drain opening. Specifically, consumers have complained that they lost most or all of their engine oil after the drain plug loosened or fell out while driving, causing costly engine damage.
Some drivers say the oil leaks caused the engine to seize and the vehicle to stall while driving at highway speeds, raising safety concerns.
A sample of online complaints can be found here [sic throughout]:
I have a 2017 Santa Fe Sport, 2.4L engine. Noticed oil leak after changing oil and thought drain plug not properly sealing. Went through a series of new crush washers without stopping leak. Further inspection seems to show origin of leak is not at drain plug, but about 3/8" below drain plug, through the oil pan itself! Looks like the oil pan has developed a pinhole leak.”
— Frank DeCarmine, SantaFeForums.com
2018 kia soul 45,000 miles only had it for four months have not had to do oil change yet and have put about 3500 miles on it. Driving down the highway after 8-hour road trip and lose oil plug out of the blue. Dealer says has to be vandalism somebody had to have loosened it. Not possible I live down a private road out of town no one even around. Any on heard of anything like this before?”
— JNF2679, Kia-Forums.com
I bought a new 2017 Kia Soul in July 2017 in the state of Washington and moved to my current residence in Wyoming the following month. Since then I have put 16,500 miles on the car and have maintained it in good condition. This past weekend, I was driving on the highway going about 70 mph when the vehicle shut down- the battery and oil warning lights both turned on at the same time, I was no longer able to accelerate, and I was forced to coast onto the shoulder to a safe location … When the tow truck arrived and pulled the car onto the bed, we noticed a large puddle of oil formed under the car and leaking onto the truck bed. This is when we noticed that the car was completely missing the oil drain plug.”
— KiaSoulLegaladvice, Reddit.com
Engine oil pressure warning light turned on without any auguries while driving on a highway. We pulled over the car as soon as possible, but the car could not be started again after we turned off the engine. We had the car towed to a Hyundai dealership, and then we were told the engine was seized and needed to be replaced. When we asked how it happened, they told us that our engine oil plug was missing, so all the engine oil was drained out. They checked our maintenance record, and found that we had an oil change three months back at another Hyundai dealership.”
In September 2022, the NHTSA began investigating the potential oil pan assembly defect after receiving a petition submitted by the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA). Models that may be under investigation include Hyundai’s Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Sonata and Tucson, as well as Kia’s Forte, Forte Coup, Optima, Rondo, Sorento and Sportage.
What Could Be Causing the Leaks?
According to the July 2022 petition, the oil pan used in affected vehicles is made of flimsy material that can crack and cause leaks. The petition also claims that the “cheap” steel oil pans tend to expand and contract under pressure, which can loosen or even dislodge the drain plug and lead to leaks.
In addition, the AOCA and other automotive repair and preventative maintenance professionals who requested the investigation attribute the leaks to a design defect with the oil pan gasket, a seal that prevents oil from leaking as it moves between the pan and the engine block.
The oil pan gasket in affected vehicles is fused to either the oil pan or drain plug with black paint, the petition reports. Per the AOCA, this makes it easy to miss an extra gasket and accidentally install two of the same component during an oil change, which is known to compromise the effectiveness of the sealing system and lead to leaks.
How Could a Lawsuit Help?
A class action lawsuit could help drivers get back some of the money they spent on repairs or replacements. It could also potentially force the automakers to issue a recall or find a fix for the problem.
If you’ve experienced oil leak issues with your 2017-2023 Hyundai or Kia vehicle, fill out the form on this page. An attorney or legal representative may reach out to you directly to address any concerns you may have and explain how you can help the investigation.
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