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When opening a door, one expects to grab the handle and pull without the risk of injury. If you own a 2002 or 2003 Hyundai Sonata with chrome handles, you may not have that luxury, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a result, Hyundai is recalling 91,000 Sonatas because the chrome plating on the upper edge of the interior handle may wear, "causing cracking or separation between the chrome plating on the inboard and outboard surfaces of the handle." NHTSA says the sharp edge can cause "laceration injuries to anyone using the door handle." Ouch.

Sonata owners can take their vehicle to any Hyundai dealership to have their handles repaired free of charge beginning in June. To find out if your car is eligible for the repair, call 1-800-633-5151. Hit the jump to view the official press release.

[Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]

PRESS RELEASE:

Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s): HYUNDAI / SONATA 2002-2003

Manufacturer: HYUNDAI-KIA AMERICA TECHNICAL CENTER INC
Mfr's Report Date: MAY 15, 2009

NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 09V171000
PE08071
NHTSA Action Number: PE08071
Component: LATCHES/LOCKS/LINKAGES:DOORS:LATCH
Potential Number of Units Affected: 91202

Summary:
HYUNDAI IS RECALLING 91,202 MY 2002-2003 HYUNDAI SONATA VEHICLES. REPEATED USE OF THE INTERIOR DOOR HANDLE MAY CAUSE WEAR OF THE CHROME PLATE. IF THE TOP EDGE OF THE HANDLE HAS VERY THIN CHROME PLATING, THAT PORTION OF THE PLATING MAY WEAR AWAY MORE EASILY THAN MORE THICKLY PLATED AREAS AS THE DOOR HANDLE IS USED. THE WORN CHROME PLATING ON THE UPPER EDGE OF THE HANDLE MAY RESULT IN A CRACK OR SEPARATION BETWEEN THE CHROME PLATING ON THE INBOARD AND OUTBOARD SURFACES OF THE HANDLE, WHICH MAY FORM A SHARP EDGE.

Consequence:

THIS MAY INFLICT LACERATION INJURIES TO ANYONE USING THE DOOR HANDLE.

Remedy:

DEALERS WILL REPAIR THE CHROME PLATED INTERIOR DOOR HANDLE FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING JUNE 2009. OWNERS MAY CONTACT HYUNDAI CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE CENTER AT 1-800-633-5151.

Notes:

HYUNDAI RECALL NO. 093. OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV .


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      According to NHTSA's site, an investigation was opened in mid-Dec. last year based on five customer complaints. The investigation shows still open, so looks like Hyundai decided on a recall voluntarily.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wanted to poke fun at Hyundai, but cracking chrome is a lot less serious than a brake that won't work quite right...like Mitsubishi's cover up.
      head_nubatron
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not just limited to Sonatas. My daughter's 2010 Elantra has the same problem on three out of four handles (with the fourth headed that way as well). Way I found out was that I was the one who suffered the laceration (and yes, I bled like a stuck pig) when opening the front passenger door. NEVER seen this kind of problem with our Chevy, Toyota, or Ford vehicles that we have owned over the past twenty years. To add insult to (literally) injury, the dealer then said we "needed" a front tire alignment (okay, maybe) and wanted $120 to rotate the tires (Discount Tires, here I come). Seems to me like Hyundai is still in the cheapo stage like the Japanese car makers were when they first hit our shores. Sticking with a domestic from this point on (our Ford Fusion Hybrid works like a charm).
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think that's what was meant by "sharp handling"...
      • 5 Years Ago
      How the heck does the chrome plating crack so that it can seriously cut your hands? Isn't it just a thin layer of basically chrome-colored paint? At worst you'd think it'd just wear off, but cut people?!?
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, it's not just paint. Usually, it's a coat of aluminum over the plastic. It could be chrome over nickel. Regardless, it's a thin film of metal that will be sharp and it will peel off in sheets or large pieces. It won't just flake off like paint.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I belive this only applies to he V6 GLS/LX, he 4 bangers did no have any chrome touches. I owned an 03 wih the chrome and never had a problem with the handles or anything else. I now own an 07 Santa Fe(bought new) and it has been trouble free as well. The Sonata was a good car, bu the Santa Fe is in a different category. It's terrific.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ROFL GTFO!
        • 5 Years Ago
        OUCH!
        • 5 Years Ago
        When you fake chrome plastic, if there's the tiniest imperfection in the surface, it will eventually lead to a crack in the chrome finish which will tend to curl up under repeated heating and cooling, leading to a very sharp edge.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's one sharp Hyundai you got there buddy!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow. On the one hand, it's kind of a stupid recall. On the other, it's good that Hyundai is owning up to every little thing that could possibly go wrong even in the older (read: less reliable) cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hyundai isn't the only one to have this issue. I had the same problem on our 95 Accord. I replaced it myself although it did run a bit high on the cost of the part. Still though I would rather have the chrome handles the the plastic sprayed handles.

      • 5 Years Ago
      my '99 honda CR-V has the exact same problem, actually... the chrome on the inside doorhandles starts to separate from the structure of the handle and, well... I have medical tape wrapped around the door handles now to avoid lacerations...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ha..
      They had an issue with the door handles in 2001-2003 (likely a supplier issue), just take a look any of the Santa Fe's built between then. The paint faded horribly.. still a good reliable SUV though.
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