If you’re a California resident, think twice before buying any Hyundai with an aggressive exhaust because you’re on your own if anything goes wrong.

Earlier this week car blogs reported that a Hyundai Elantra N owner in California was pulled over in Riverside, cited, and sent to a state ref for violating exhaust laws 27150(a) and 27156(b) of the California Vehicle Code.

Illegal in California now? Possibly.

If you haven’t seen him getting pulled over, it’s worth a watch for how obnoxious the cop is.

Despite reassurances from Hyundai Corporate in response to journalists that,

Hyundai N vehicles as sold fully comply with Federal regulations and are legal for sale and street use in all U.S. states”

and that, Hyundai is aware of this incident and is working directly with the customer to help resolve the issue

…the Elantra owner, in an update posted earlier yesterday (Sept 8, 2022) emphatically states that Hyundai Corporate’s supposed help has amounted to nothing. Over the past several weeks he’s instead observed Hyundai Corporate passing the work from one case manager to another as his court date fast approaches.

You can read his full update linked here with a mirror here just in case his post suddenly disappears.

The update is rather lengthy, so I’ll do my best to summarize succinctly what’s going on.

It’s been 40+ days since he’s been cited, sent to a state ref (failed,) and had his license suspended.

To the dealership’s credit, they have provided him with a letter stating his car is completely stock, which has proved of little value to the state ref but might be worth something when he does eventually go to court.

Since his failed state ref test, Hyundai corporate’s assigned him with a case manager that has since refused to issue him a letter to authorize a dealership repair, an e-mail confirming that they’re refusing to send a letter to authorize a dealership repair, and refused a buyback stating his Elantra N was not eligible.

Two weeks ago, a new case manager took over where the old one left off and confirmed that the old case manager was incorrect denying a buyback.

In the past two weeks, he’s heard nothing from the new Hyundai case manager, is scheduled to go to court for his citations since he failed his state ref test and has retained an attorney that advised him to, “fight the actual citation rather than pursue the state ref or Hyundai.”

Since he’s not had his fix-it ticket resolved, he legally can’t even drive his Elantra N, his car parked for all this time.

On top of all this, to get it over with, he’s decided to sell his Elantra N to Carvana at a considerable loss.

To further drive home how useless Hyundai corporate and the dealership are, he concludes his update reiterating to journalists that nothing has technically been done.

“To all the journalists out there that have gotten statements from Hyundai saying that they are working with me to figure this out: while it is technically true, nothing has been done besides tossing my case around person to person and wasting time.


It’s quite clear, his dealership’s hands are tied as they’re beholden to corporate.

If Hyundai’s approach is to do as little as possible seeing how this might just be a once-in-a-while California problem, with a looming court date, corporate, for the meantime, might also have its hands tied, their next steps depending on what Riverside’s traffic court does.

Regardless, communication is key and leaving this Elantra N owner in the dark and saddling him with a sub-par case manager for several weeks does not bode well for the overall Hyundai ownership experience.

If his case is dropped in light of his car being completely stock, he’s left “holding the bag” so to speak, having been without a car for more than two months at that point and ultimately lost time and money dealing with this issue.

More importantly, the issue won’t be resolved, that is requiring an exception for stock cars that surpass exhaust decibel limits when tested per California’s ref test requirements.

If he ends up having to pay a fine, will Hyundai step up and defend their statement that their Elantra N is legal in all 50+states?

Or will they sweep this under the rug and hope it never comes up again?

We shall see in the next coming weeks.

As mentioned, if you’re a Californian and don’t want a potential months long headache and loss of car for all that time, stay away from any Hyundai (or any make for that matter) with an exhaust and/or mode that makes it extremely louder than 95 decibels.


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