Hyundai is recalling 188,697 Elantra’s, from the 2007 through 2009 model years, due to the possibility that drink spills and leaks may cause damage to the air bag system.
Some sites are calling this the “spilled coffee recall”. Hyundai says that fluids can seep down through the cup holders if drinks leak or are spilled. The fluids could then damage the electrical connection, located beneath the center console, that goes to the passenger seat weight sensor.
The passenger seat weight sensor is designed to deactivate the front passenger seat’s airbag when occupied by passengers of a certain weight range – normally children or small adults.
The damaged electrical system may interfere with the system and cause the airbag to deploy regardless of the amount of weight in the seat, therefor increasing the risk of injury.
The recall covers Elantras manufactured from July 14, 2006, through November 1, 2008. Elantras brought in under the recall will have a protective cover installed that fits over the electrical connection to protect it from seepage though the cup holder.
Some of these same Elantras, from the years 2007 and 2008, are also subject of a separate, air bag related, recall.
One sensor for the driver’s side airbag is designed to adjust how much pressure is delivered to the bag when the airbag is deployed. When a seat is in the most forward position, it is designed to have less pressure. In some cases the sensor may deliver a unstable signal, causing the airbag to be deployed with too much pressure when the seat is in it’s forward position.