Cars like the Hyundai Elantra are reliable for taking you from place A to place B. In fact, some cars, like the Elantra, can take you hundreds of thousands of miles over the span of over a decade! But what you should know is that cars—again, like the Elantra—are comprised of thousands of parts, and if anything goes wrong, you can’t even get it to start.
In many cases, your Elantra won’t start due to the following problems:
- Dying or dead car battery
- Corroded battery contacts
- Key fob problems
- Damaged starter
- Faulty alternator
- Fuel filter problems
- Fuel pump errors
- Blown fuse
- Bad spark plug
- Engine failure
Today, we’re going to explore each of these causes of why your Hyundai Elantra won’t start. I’ll also suggest a few solutions to clear these problems.
Hyundai Elantra Won’t Start—Causes and Solutions
The Hyundai Elantra has a reputation for being a dependable and sturdy automobile. However, it is prone to wear and tear over time, just like any car of any class. In seemingly extreme cases, the engine won’t even start, which can be caused by numerous problems.
Let’s take a look at what those problems are and what you can do to fix them.
1. Dying or dead car battery
A vehicle’s electrical system relies on the power provided by the car battery. It is tucked away in the trunk or the engine compartment and is the source of energy for the car’s electrical systems when the engine is turned off.
Since the battery supplies the initial electrical power required to crank the engine, its failure to function can prevent the vehicle from starting. Furthermore, if the battery is weak or dead, the car’s electrical systems, including the headlights, radio, and power windows, may not operate as intended.
Solution #1: Jumpstarting
Jumpstarting uses the power of a working battery to supply power to a car without a working battery. You’ll need jumper cables and a donor car to do this.
- Park both vehicles close together—e.g., front bumper to front bumper.
- Open the hoods on both cars and locate their batteries.
- Connect one of the red clamps to the dead battery’s positive (+) terminal and the other red positive cable to the positive terminal on the donor car’s battery.
- Connect one of the black clamps to the negative (-) terminal on the dead battery and the other black clamp to a metal surface.
- Start the donor car and wait for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Start the car with the dead battery and let it idle for 2 to 3 minutes.
Solution #2: Replace the battery
This article discusses replacing the car battery in a Subaru Outback, but the steps are the same for the Hyundai Elantra. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to replace the battery.
- Disconnect the battery’s negative terminal before disconnecting the positive terminal.
- Remove the old battery.
- Install the new battery by connecting the positive terminal before connecting the negative terminal.
- Turn the car on and let it idle.
2. Corroded battery contacts
Connections between the battery and the car’s electrical system are made through the battery contacts. If the battery contacts in your Elantra are corroded, electricity won’t be able to flow to the starter motor from the battery.
Solution: Remove the corrosion
- Turn the car off and disconnect the battery (negative first, then positive).
- Clean the contacts using a dry wire brush or a toothbrush.
- Inspect the contacts for other signs of damage, like cracks.
- Reconnect the cables to the car battery (positive first, then negative).
- Turn the car on and let it idle.
3. Key fob problems
The key fob is responsible for many things, including locking and unlocking the doors and alarming other motorists of any emergency you’re experiencing. For Elantras with push start buttons, the key fob will also play a minor role in starting the engine.
If the key fob’s battery is dead or damaged, the Elantra’s immobilizer may not pick up signals that your key fob is within the appropriate vicinity, preventing the engine from starting.
Solution: Replace the battery
- Purchase the appropriate battery size (CR2032).
- Depress the lock button and remove the emergency key.
- Use the emergency key or a flathead screwdriver carefully pry the backside of the key fob away from the front.
- Detach the silicone casing inside the key fob.
- Detach the green chip from the backside of the key fob.
- Check where the positive/negative side of the old battery before using a flathead screwdriver to pry the battery out.
- Place the new battery in the key fob’s battery compartment in the correct way.
- Replace the green chip and silicone casing before snapping the front cover back into place.
- Test the key fob.
4. Damaged starter
The electric motor in a car’s starter spins the engine over to begin the combustion process. If the starter is broken, the engine won’t turn over and the car won’t start. If the Elantra’s starter motor is faulty, the vehicle won’t start.
Solution: Contact a professional mechanic
Unfortunately, there is no reliable DIY method of fixing a car starter unless you know what you’re doing. The best course of action would be to let a professional mechanic diagnose and resolve the problem.
5. Faulty alternator
A car’s alternator is a part of the vehicle’s electrical system that generates electricity to charge the battery and power the vehicle’s electrical components. It is powered by the crankshaft and can be found in the engine compartment. If your car’s alternator isn’t working properly, the engine won’t be able to turn over and start.
Solution: Replace the alternator
An alternator’s typical lifespan is between 60,000 and 150,000 miles or about 7 years under normal conditions. However, an alternator may experience premature failure because of a manufacturing defect or because of extreme driving conditions.
If you don’t know how to replace the alternator, speak to a professional mechanic and let them do it for you.
6. Fuel filter problems
A fuel filter is a part of the fuel system that cleans the fuel of debris and other contaminants before it is sent to the engine. Blocking or limiting the flow of fuel to the engine, a faulty fuel filter can make it difficult for, or even prevent, the engine from starting.
Solution: Replace the fuel filter
- Locate the fuel filter, which is usually found along the fuel line between the tank and the engine.
- Disconnect the fuel lines from the filter with a pair of pliers.
- Replace the fuel filter with a new one.
- Reconnect the fuel lines and make sure the connections are secure and the filter is aligned properly.
- Turn on the car. It can take several tries to repressurize the fuel system.
7. Fuel pump errors
A fuel pump is a part of the fuel system that transfers gasoline or diesel from the vehicle’s tank to the engine. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to start the engine if the fuel pump is malfunctioning and not producing enough pressure or flow to supply the engine with fuel.
Solution: Replace the fuel pump
A working understanding of the fuel system and some mechanical aptitude are necessary for the replacement of a fuel pump. It’s risky because it requires working with gasoline and high-pressure fuel lines, both of which can cause injury if handled improperly.
8. Blown fuse
A fuse is a safety device installed in vehicles to protect the electrical system from damage caused by an overloaded circuit. It’s a tiny, typically cylinder-shaped piece of metal or ceramic that will melt and break the circuit if too much current flows through it. A blown fuse can stop power from reaching the starter motor, rendering the vehicle inoperable.
Solution: Replace the fuse
Look for the fuse box. Elantras come with 2 or 3 fuse boxes—you may need to check them all.
Look for blown fuses. If you don’t have a keen eye for noticing blown fuses, use a multimeter to check for continuity.
Remove the blown fuse and install a new one. Make sure it has the same amperage rating as the stock fuse that came with your Elantra.
Test the car.
9. Bad spark plug
A spark plug is part of a car’s engine that produces an electric spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture. If the spark plug is malfunctioning, the engine may not start at all or may only start after much effort.
Solution: Replace the spark plug
Look for the spark plug, which should be in the engine cylinder head.
Remove the old spark plug with a spark plug socket or a ratchet. Take notice of the gap of the old spark plug to use as a reference for installing the new spark plug.
Install the new spark plug and avoid cross-threading.
Tighten the spark plug per the carmaker’s instructions.
Test the car.
10. Engine failure
The engine is the heart of your Elantra. Without it, your car won’t drive anywhere, much less start it.
Solution: Fix the engine
This is obviously a lot easier said than done. If you suspect your engine is problematic in any way, you should let a professional mechanic diagnose the problem and see what they can do.