Hyundai has become one of the most reliable car manufacturers out there. The fact of the matter is however that even Hyundai cars can turn on the Check Engine Light (CEL) if there is an engine or emissions-related problem.
Hyundai check engine light can be triggered for several reasons which we discuss in this guide.
What does Hyundai Check Engine Light Mean?
In a Hyundai, the check engine light comes on as soon as the onboard diagnostic system (OBD) detects that there is an issue with the way the engine operates or Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) which is used to prevent gasoline vapors from escaping into the atmosphere.
A fault code stored in the Engine Control Unit (ECU), explains what caused the check engine light to come on.
If the ECU has detected a fault code and triggered the Check Engine Light (CEL) / Service Engine Light, don't necessarily assume that there is an engine problem. The problem could be an emission-related problem and the car may drive fine. Still, don't ignore the CEL light.
The first step in the diagnostics process is to read the fault codes via the OBD2 port under the dashboard. You can read the codes yourself or have an auto mechanic.
An auto mechanic or dealer technicians use specialized equipment (OBD2 scanners) to read the code from the car's computer (ECU) via the OBD port.
How to diagnose Hyundai check engine light
Reading Hyundai engine fault codes is easy. A Hyundai owner can read Hyundai engine fault codes using and OBD2 scanner connected to the OBD-II port under the dashboard (see instructions below).
- Locate the OBD-II port. This is a 16-pin port located under the dashboard on the driver's side.
- Plug your OBD2 scanner into the OBD-II 16-pin port.
Turn the key to on. All the dash lights should turn on. Don't start the engine.
Scanner turns on. Hit SCAN or READ button on your OBD-II scanner. You will see fault codes such as P0300. Write down the code and do research online on what those codes mean on Hyundai cars.
Read fault codes.
Fix the problem that caused the check engine light. You can use the scanner to clear the code or drive the car for a couple of days and the light will turn off after four or five driving cycles.
Typically when Hyundai check engine is on but car drives fine you most likely have an Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) code. EVAP is used to prevent gasoline vapors from escaping into the atmosphere from the fuel tank and fuel system.
In many cases that the check engine light turns ON in a Hyundai (Elantra, Sonata, Santa Fe, Accent) the car may still drive perfectly fine. This happens when you have an emissions-related problem.
The problem here may be something as simple as a loose gas cap. Retightening or replacing the gas cap often will fix the check engine light. If the problem is a loose or defective gas cap and you address that problem, the check engine light will turn off on its own usually in a couple of days.
Related fault codes:
- P0440 Evaporative Emission Control System Malfunction.
P0444 Evaporative Emission Control System Purge Control Valve Circuit Open
P0422 Main Catalyst Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
Hyundai check engine light flashing, blinking
If your Hyundai check engine light is flashing and the car is shaking, that means that you have a serious engine malfunction and you should avoid driving your car. Check engine light flashing and blinking is a result of an engine misfire.
Replacing the spark plugs and spark plug wires is all that you need to do to fix this problem. In some cases, the check engine light may flash due to a bad ignition coil as well. All these are easy and inexpensive repairs and can be performed by any DIYer.
Don't continue to drive a Hyundai that has triggered the check engine light and is shaking; you may cause serious damage to the engine. Not only that but if you are driving in heavy traffic, your engine will overheat.
Related fault codes:
P0300 Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected
P0301 Cylinder 1 Misfire Detected
P0302 Cylinder 2 Misfire Detected
P0303 Cylinder 3 Misfire Detected
P0304 Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected
Check Engine Light on / No Acceleration
If your Hyundai will not accelerate and the check engine light is on, it is very likely that a faulty throttle position sensor.
Under these conditions, the car will barely move or not accelerate at all. Replacing the throttle position sensor is easy and can be completed by any DIYer in less than one hour.
Fault codes related to Hyundai CEL on, the car won't accelerate.
P2135 Throttle/pedal position sensor/switch A/B voltage correlation
P2135 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch A/B
P2106 FORD Throttle Actuator Control System - Forced Limited Power
P2127 Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'E' Circuit Low
P2138 Throttle/Pedal Position Sensor/Switch 'D'/'E' Voltage
P2101 P0222 P0123
Hyundai Check engine light and ESC on
If you both the check engine light and the ESC light come on this means that the accelerator pedal position switch has failed. In such cases, the car will lose all power.
Pressing the gas pedal to the floor will not change engine RPMs. The car won't accelerate but you can get your car up to 20 MPH. Try restarting the car as this may fix this problem temporarily. Hyundai sells a redesigned accelerator pedal position switch that should fix this problem.
Replacing the sensor at the dealer or a repair shop costs between $200-$450 USD. Installing a used Hyundai Accelerator Pedal is another possible solution.