Hyundai Accent years to avoid — most common problems
Find out about the crucial years to steer clear of when considering a Hyundai Accent.
Over the years, Hyundai managed to find its place in the automotive industry as one of the brands that offer the best price-to-quality ratio. This also goes for their subcompact and compact models like the Hyundai Accent. It’s a car that hit a lot of good spots for buyers of affordable vehicles that still offer plenty of space and reliability.
In this guide, we’ll take the challenge of expanding a bit more on the main Hyundai Accent years to avoid based on common problems reported by drivers. We’ll also recommend you the best model years up to date, so make sure to pay close attention as we go through the best and the worst model years.
Why you can trust REREV’s advice on which car model years to avoid: Our car experts look at official data, ask real drivers what they think, and talk to experienced mechanics to make sure our list is useful. This reliable info can make buying a car easier for you. Want to know how we do it? Find out more about our research methodology.
Most common Hyundai Accent problems
Having in mind that the Accent was in production for five generations and nearly 30 years, there weren’t many problems associated with the model. Of course, it’s difficult to make a car in the affordable price range that will never require visiting the mechanic. One of the main problems that were prevalent for this model is the issue of a bad brake master cylinder and faulty brake switch.
There’s also the matter of engine overheating and higher temperatures due to coolant leaks. There were some issues with the 4-speed automatic transmission that included slipping and rough gear shifts. Finally, we have to point out a problem with the throttle position sensor that caused rough idling and poor engine performance.
When the time comes to draw the line – the Accent is rather reliable for this vehicle class. However, some of these issues simply deserve a more detailed explanation, so let’s take a closer look.
Braking system problems
One of the main problems with the Hyundai Accent is the braking system fault. It happens for a few reasons and one of the main ones is the bad brake master cylinder. In case the master cylinder fails, the brake pedal goes to the floor and there’s simply no braking pressure.
You can probably guess how dangerous this situation could get, and this mostly happens due to brake fluid leaks or simply completely seized cylinders. Another problem with the braking system on an Accent is the faulty brake switch. Because of this, the brake lights don’t illuminate as you step on the brake, and while it doesn’t make a major mechanical threat, it’s an important signal for the drivers driving behind you.
Engine overheating and coolant leaks
Cooling system leaks are among the worst things that could happen while driving, and the fourth-gen and fifth-gen Accent models with the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine were plagued by this issue. This often led to the engine overheating and considerable raise in operative temperature.
Coolant leaks can also be quite troubling for diagnosis since drivers reported several components to be the source of the leak. From the coolant hoses to radiator caps, it should all be inspected and thoroughly checked.
Even though many drivers complain about these leaks, there was never an official recall and that means you have to be extra careful when buying a used Accent.
Problems with the automatic transmission
Another common issue that we often see reported by Hyundai Accent drivers is regarding the 4-speed automatic transmission. We’ve seen a fair share of these issues reported including rough gear shifts and transmission slipping.
The problematic four-speed automatic transmission was finally replaced in the fifth generation, so this problem is mostly present in the previous generations. To tackle this issue, your only hope is to frequently check transmission fluid level and have a trusted mechanic inspect it. The automatic transmission rebuild costs around $2000, so it’s better to go with a five-speed manual if you are considering third and fourth gen Accent cars.
Failing throttle position sensor
In modern cars, there are several crucial sensors that monitor various factors that the ECU later on uses for controlling the combustion cycle. One of these is the throttle position sensor and it’s sadly prone to failure on the modern Accent models.
Some symptoms of a bad throttle position sensor include idle surges, sluggish acceleration, and the check engine light may show up. It can be a big problem since the air-to-fuel ratio simply won’t be right in case the sensor fails, and that leads to combustion problems and potential engine problems.
Which Hyundai Accent years to avoid?
It’s always useful to get some insight into the major problems of a certain car model before you decide whether to buy it or consider other options. However, that won’t do you much good on its own unless you go the extra step to find the exact model years that should be avoided.
Don’t worry – our team will help you with that as we go through the model years you should avoid from each generation.
Second-generation Hyundai Accent (2002 and 2004 model years)
The first problems with Hyundai Accent as a model began with the second generation. Precisely, the 2002 and 2004 model years were considered the worst and they received the most driver complaints.
The 2004 model year received the most complaints due to faulty brake switches, and this was the time when the troublesome four-speed automatic transmission got introduced. The overall quality of the car was pretty good and the current market price makes this model a decent pick as long as you go with the manual one.
Fourth-generation Hyundai Accent (2010-2014 model years)
The third generation of the Accent was pretty much reliable except for the issues with the automatic transmission, but things got a bit worse with the fourth one. From the 2010 model year to the 2014 model year, we’ve seen a plethora of issues starting with the brake switch, brake master cylinder, and the airbag issue.
What truly made this generation the worst Accent generation yet is the 2013 model year that’s by far the worst-rated year of the Accent. It was mostly affected by transmission problems and airbag issues, so owners have rated it as the worst option when it comes to driving safety.
Fifth-generation Hyundai Accent (2017 model year)
The fifth generation of Accent has only received a couple of reliability complaints, and these mostly affect the 2017 model. It had problems such as a failing brake master cylinder, an inoperable trunk lid, and equipment labeling issues.
The rest of the fifth-gen models are quite reliable, so you can get great reliability by simply going for any other model from the fifth generation.
Best Hyundai Accent years
We are aware that all these listed issues and problematic model years may trigger the question of whether the Hyundai Accent is a reliable car at all. It can’t be helped since our team wanted you to have complete insight into its reliability by models and years, so it’s now time to go through the best years:
- 1997 Hyundai Accent
- 1998 Hyundai Accent
- 1999 Hyundai Accent
- 2000 Hyundai Accent
- 2001 Hyundai Accent
- 2003 Hyundai Accent
- 2005 Hyundai Accent
- 2006 Hyundai Accent
- 2007 Hyundai Accent
- 2008 Hyundai Accent
- 2015 Hyundai Accent
- 2018 Hyundai Accent
- 2019 Hyundai Accent
- 2020 Hyundai Accent
- 2021 Hyundai Accent
The first generation of the Accent may be a bit outdated and old right now, but it’s the most reliable generation of the Accent along with the more recent fifth generation. The 1996 and 1997 model years stand out here, while the 2003 model was the most reliable second-gen Accent.
As for the third generation, it’s safest to go with the 2006 model year, and the safest model year of the fourth generation is 2015. Finally, the fifth-gen Accent is pretty much the best generation along with the first one, so make sure to skip 2017 one and you’ll have no problems or additional repairs that need to be done except regular maintenance.
Is the Hyundai Accent worth buying?
If you are looking for a compact four-door sedan with a fair amount of interior space and low maintenance costs, not many cars can compare with the Accent. It’s made to last and Hyundai knows how to create their cars in a way that’s appealing for owners, so you won’t have to visit the mechanic too often.
Overall, we can only appraise this model and give you a green light to go with the purchase. The final thing we’ll ask you to do is simply to follow this guide to prevent getting burned by the extra maintenance required by some of the worst model-year Accents.
What is the common problem of Hyundai Accent?
The common problem with the Hyundai Accent is the throttle position sensor fault, as well as the issue with the cooling system leaks.
Is Hyundai Accent a reliable car?
Yes, a Hyundai Accent is a reliable car and there are only a few unreliable model years like the 2011, 2013, and 2016 models.
What is the engine life of the Hyundai Accent?
The average engine life of a Hyundai Accent is around 180,000 miles, but they usually last over 200,000 miles with just regular timely maintenance.