Hyundai Elantra N Owner Says He’s Forced to Sell Car After State Pulls Registration Over Stock Exhaust Noise

The car is apparently trapped in legal limbo after California suspended its registration over the exhaust noise, and the owner says Hyundai isn’t helping.

byPeter Holderith| UPDATED Oct 13, 2022 12:08 PM
Hyundai Elantra N Owner Says He’s Forced to Sell Car After State Pulls Registration Over Stock Exhaust Noise
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Last week, we reported on the story of a bone stock Hyundai Elantra N failing inspection in California. The failure was the result of a fix-it ticket issued by a police officer. After being pulled over, the owner was told the car was too loud. It had to be fixed and re-inspected and its registration was suspended until that was done. Fast forward to the inspection date and the state inspector said that, in sport mode, the car still made too much noise. Now the owner, who has been posting updates to his situation on Reddit, has run out of options and plans to sell the vehicle.

For its part, Hyundai says it has tried to help. In a statement to The Drive, a representative for the automaker said that it is aware of the problem and is working with the Elantra N owner to make it right. That's not what's going on according to the Reddit posts, though. Under the username OkCandidate103, the owner has stated Hyundai is "not taking this seriously." According to him, "nothing has been done besides tossing my case around person to person." The video below reportedly contains a dashcam recording of the traffic stop where the owner's registration was suspended.

The troubling part of this is that a stock Hyundai Elantra N should, of course, pass any state inspection. The test must be done in the vehicle's default normal drive mode, however, which was allegedly not done in the case of the California test, despite this being explicitly specified in the relevant standard, SAE J1492. Any mode that "can remain enabled through a power on/off cycle," can be used for the test. The Elantra N cannot be started in sport or "N" mode, its loudest setting.

The resulting failed test has put the owner in a very California sort of predicament. He can re-test his vehicle, sure, but he needs to offer proof that it has been repaired. The vehicle has not been modified, though, so he cannot prove it was fixed because nothing has changed. After allegedly speaking with attorneys, the owner seems to wisely be avoiding the labyrinthical workings of the Golden State's government. He wants to just appeal the initial ticket he got and ditch the car. "I will most likely end up selling the car to Carvana at a huge loss just to get this case over with," he writes in the Reddit post.

We have reached out to the owner for further comment, but we have yet to hear back as of publishing. We also reached out to Hyundai and haven't yet heard back. As some have pointed out, it's likely possible to fight the inspection judgment seeing as the test was allegedly performed wrong. That can be a very long and troublesome process, though. Selling the car to somebody like Carvana is likely an easier way to put a quick end to the whole situation, and the loss may not be as steep as the owner assumes.

Moral of the story? I'm not sure if there is one.

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