Hyundai's Soy Wiring Is a Little Too Eco-Friendly

Key Points

  • Hyundai uses a soy-based electrical wire coating that is cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
  • It also tends to attract rodents that love the material for nest building.
  • A soy-based wire insulation lawsuit was filed against Hyundai in 2017.
A hamster holding a record in front of a green Kia Soul, from an advertising campaign.
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The problem is it also grabbed the attention of rodents, who use the chew the material and often use the scraps for nests.

The Soy-Based Lawsuit

Hyundai was sued for using soy-based wire insulation by a group representing 2013-2016 Hyundai Veloster, Accent, Azera, Elantra, Equus, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata and Tuscon owners purchased or leased in California.

The case, Michelle Martinez v. Hyundai Motor America, Inc., argues that when an owner takes their vehicle in for repairs due to the chewed wires, the gnawed materials are replaced with more soy-based materials. A vicious ciricle ensues, and owners can spend thousands of dollars just keeping their cars running.

The plaintiff says rodents chew on numerous parts of Hyundai vehicles, including the hood insulation, battery wiring assembly and harness, filter assembly for the engine, wiring assembly and battery shims.

An Industry Wide Problem

Honda, Toyota, Kia, and Subaru are all facing similar lawsuits.

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Hyundai generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

  1. 4th Generation Accent

    Years
    2011–2017
    Reliability
    34th of 50
    PainRank
    5.78
    Complaints
    119
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Accent
  2. 5th Generation Azera

    Years
    2012–2016
    Reliability
    19th of 50
    PainRank
    2.01
    Complaints
    27
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Azera
  3. 5th Generation Elantra

    Years
    2011–2016
    Reliability
    49th of 50
    PainRank
    45.43
    Complaints
    937
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Elantra
  4. 2nd Generation Genesis Coupe

    Years
    2013–2016
    Reliability
    11th of 50
    PainRank
    0.86
    Complaints
    12
    Continue
  5. 3rd Generation Santa Fe

    Years
    2013–2018
    Reliability
    46th of 50
    PainRank
    19.69
    Complaints
    270
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Santa Fe
  6. 6th Generation Sonata

    Years
    2011–2014
    Reliability
    50th of 50
    PainRank
    68.11
    Complaints
    1312
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Sonata
  7. 7th Generation Sonata

    Years
    2015–2019
    Reliability
    45th of 50
    PainRank
    18.44
    Complaints
    277
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Sonata
  8. 2nd Generation Tucson

    Years
    2010–2015
    Reliability
    41st of 50
    PainRank
    14.64
    Complaints
    198
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Tucson
  9. 3rd Generation Tucson

    Years
    2016–2020
    Reliability
    42nd of 50
    PainRank
    15.27
    Complaints
    345
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Tucson

Further Reading

A timeline of stories related to this problem. We try to boil these stories down to the most important bits so you can quickly see where things stand. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts for your vehicle over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. Hyundai is being sued for using soy-based wire insulation that attracts rabbits, mice, squirrels and other creatures.

    The Hyundai lawsuit alleges the automaker denies there is a problem by using the soy-based wiring and since no defect exists, any replacement parts will also consist of soy products.

    The soy-based materials are more biodegradable and generally cost less than their plastic counterparts.…

    keep reading

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA