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Road Salt Corrosion Risk Spurs Series of Hyundai Recalls

April 22, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Hyundai Motor Co. has issued a series of vehicle recalls because of the risk of corrosion in states that use salt to de-ice roads.

The automaker is recalling 175,765 MY 2001-2004 Sonata and MY 2001-2004 XG300 and XG350 vehicles because of a potential corrosion risk involving the front sub-frame. 

During winter months, large quantities of salt are used to de-ice roads in the salt belt states. Road salt may result in internal corrosion of the front sub-frame. The corrosion could eventually result in thinning or perforation of the sub-frame steel, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website. 

The corrosion is often visible and may be discovered during inspection or routine maintenance. Drivers also may be alerted to the problem after hearing noises or noticing tire misalignment and steering pull. 

"These are indications your vehicle should be serviced," the NHTSA advised on its website. "If these signals are undetected or unheeded, the corrosion may progress and the forward mounting of the lower control arm may detach from the sub-frame. If that happens, the vehicle may lose driver power to the wheels. The front wheel may make contact with the fender or wheel well." 

Separation of the forward mounting of the lower control arm may increase the risk of a crash. 

To remedy the problem, dealers will measure the thickness of the front sub-frame and inspect it for corrosion damage. If necessary, the front sub-frame will be replaced with a new one that incorporates additional holes in the upper and lower panels. If the front sub-frame doesn't require replacement, the dealer will add drainage holes to the sub-frame and treat the sub-frame with rust-proofing material to arrest the corrosion process. This procedure will be performed free of charge. 

Hyundai is also recalling 170,610 MY 2001-2003 Elantra and MY 2003 Tiburon vehicles because road salt may result in internal corrosion and thinning of the steel in the front lower control arms. The corrosion may progress to the point where the lower control arm's upper and lower panels become perforated. A perforated front lower control arm may fracture between its ball joint attachment and the forward and rearward pivot attachments to the chassis. This could affect the driver's control over the tire and wheel assembly, increasing the risk of a crash.

In this recall, dealers will inspect the front lower control arms for corrosion damage. If specified levels of internal corrosion damage are found, the front lower control arms will be replaced with new front lower control arms incorporating additional holes in the upper and lower panels. If the front lower control arms do not require replacement, the dealer will add drainage holes to the front lower control arms and treat them with rust-proofing materials, all free of charge.

Further, Hyundai is recalling 85,036 MY 2001-2003 Santa Fe vehicles because road salt corrosion may result in internal corrosion of the rear trailing arms. This could lead to thinning or perforation of the rear trailing arm steel. Over time, drivers may begin to notice slight to moderate changes in vehicle operation. These changes include a lowering of vehicle height, which can lead to tire misalignment and steering pull. Creaking sounds can also signal there's a problem. If the corrosion is allowed to progress, the rear trailing arm may fracture while driving.

The deformation and loss of structural rigidity of the rear trailing arm may increase the risk of a vehicle crash, NHTSA said.

Dealers will inspect the rear trailing arms for internal corrosion damage and make all necessary replacement and treatment procedures free of charge.

The vehicles involved in the recalls were originally sold in, or are currently registered in, the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Also included is the District of Columbia.

Vehicle owners can reach Hyundai at (800) 633-5151.

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