2002 Sonata - Hubcaps piercing Tire Valves

Discussion in 'Hyundai Sonata' started by Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. This is a rather strange problem. Recently brought car to Sears for 4 new
    tires. About one week, later found drivers side front flat, leaking out of
    valve stem. Installed donut and brought car back to Sears for a tire
    remount. A few days later, same thing on same tire.

    After the second time I noticed that the Hub Cap was putting quite a bit of
    pressure on the valve stem, after re-installing the hub cap and driving a
    few miles. Seems that the hub caps are turning on the rims, and piercing
    the tire valve stems. I removed the hubcap from that wheel.

    After incurring one more pierced stem on a different wheel, I removed all
    the hub caps from the car.

    Anyone ever heard of this ???????? Not sure whether I should bring the car
    to the dealer for this, as it seems to be a huge safety issue if it is
    happening to others who have changed tires. Perhaps the wheel weights were
    different from the factory????? . Any opinions on this?
    Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 21, 2004
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  2. I haven't heard of reports of this elsewhere. Could it be that the
    mechanic at Sears damage the hubcap attachment mechanisms? I can't see
    how else they could rotate on the wheels.

    Also, it could be that they're just mounted wrong. In many cases, there
    is only one cutout in the hubcap that will work properly with the valve.
    If you look a the back side of the hubcap, there should be a section of
    the retaining hoop with a jog in it to clear the valve. That must be
    installed over the valve. If the cutout is not properly positioned
    relative to the jog in the hoop, the hoop can be slid around until it
    aligns correctly.

    If either of these is the problem, Sears should cover the cost of the
    Brian Nystrom, Sep 21, 2004
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  3. The hub cap is being positioned with the valve stem aligned within the
    cutout valve. The problem is the hub cap shifting position, an applying
    pressure on the valve stem, while the car is moving..

    I doubt they are being installed incorrectly. I replaced the front brake
    pads on the car last year and had no problem.

    Something changed with the new tires. I suspect that maybe the old wheel
    balancing weights might have been a different shape and prevented the hub
    caps from shifting position.

    I was just curious if the problem was wide spread.


    Michael Abbaticchio
    MVP for Exchange Server
    Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 21, 2004
  4. Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 22, 2004
  5. Interesting. It doesn't sound like it's widespread, so your dealer may
    not have heard of it. You might be best off to contact Hyundai directly.
    Brian Nystrom, Sep 22, 2004
  6. Yea... I am going to try Hyundai. Thanks..


    Michael Abbaticchio
    MVP for Exchange Server
    Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 22, 2004
  7. Did some additional research to find several others with this problem. The
    problem is actually caused by the edge of the hubcap making slight contact
    with the bulge at the bottom of the tire. As the tire spins, the bulge
    moves and drags the hubcap in the direction of the wheel rotation. Seems
    that there are some slight variations from brand to brand in tire width.
    Anyway you look at this I think that the manufacturer should have assumed
    people will change tire brands and made the hubcaps more forgiving or at
    least used the type that screws into the wheel studs. This is a potential
    safety issue. After calling Hyundai Consumer Affairs and receiving no
    sympathy, I filed a complaint with the DOT... http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/
    against Hyundai, and intend to do the same against B.F. Goodrich. I hope
    that this will at least get the problem looked at, as I suspect without a
    neutral party, this thing will escalate into a blame game, which I do not
    care to be the center of. If the model tire Sears installed has a known
    issue than perhaps Sears is at fault, but I can't seem to find any
    advisories against Goodrich tires on a 2002 Sonata. Hyundai has admintted
    awareness of one other case but faulted the tire, but than stated that it is
    OK to switch brand for replacement tires. At this point I am mostly
    interested in preventing other Sonata owners from getting injured or killed.
    Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 23, 2004
  8. Interesting. That certainly makes sense.
    Have you been able to determine if this is a problem with all Sonata
    hubcaps or just the style used on your model year and trim level?
    Perhaps you could even get your dealer or Hyundai to cover the cost of
    different hubcaps.

    Are the hubcaps metal or plastic? If they're the former, Perhaps they
    could be carefully reshaped to increase clearance. If the latter,
    perhaps a small amount of material could be removed the the area that's
    contacting the tires.
    I agree. It should be made known to other Sonata owners.
    This seems like the wrong approach to me and probably one that will lead
    nowhere. You can't blame either manufacturer for the fact that specific
    models of their products (car and tire) are incompatible due to the use
    of a third product (hubcap). The car works fine with its OEM tires,
    which is all that Hyundai is legally responsible for. They should do
    more in order to keep customers happy, but that's an option, not a legal
    requirement. Frankly, I'm surprised that they're not being more
    accommodating, as I had a very good experience dealing with them in the
    past on a far more expensive issue.
    Have you checked your tire pressure? Increasing it will reduce bulging
    and may solve the problem. I don't know what the recommended factory
    pressure is for a Sonata, but their recommendation for the Elantra is
    way too low, particularly for the front tires. They recommend 30psi all
    around, which is ridiculous in a FWD car where the front tires carry
    most of the weight. I run mine at 36 front/32 rear and the difference in
    handling is dramatic. Since the problem is occurring with only the front
    tires (correct?), increasing the pressure may well solve it, in addition
    to making your car handle better.

    A simple solution that will definitely work is to change to alloy
    wheels, but of course, that's costly. You could also purchase
    aftermarket hubcaps.

    Personally, I would not let Hyundai off the hook. While it's unlikely
    that they would pay for any damaged tires, you should be able to press
    them to replace the hubcaps with ones that don't have this problem.
    Brian Nystrom, Sep 23, 2004
  9. Looks like the style used in previous models pre-2002, may have screwed into
    the wheel studs. Not positive on this yet, but they are defintiely visually
    The hubcaps are plastic, but the rention mechanism is made of metal. The
    design of the hubcap causes the hubcap edges to be psotioned beyond the rim
    edges, and hence make contact with the tires. They should put a smooth
    metal collar or pice of vinyl or rubber around the jagged plastiv edge that
    may potentially contact the tire valve stem.
    That is what this is all about at this point. I would hate to read about a
    recall after someone gets hurt or worse.
    I hope you are wrong here. If the car requires a certain brand of tires, it
    should state that on the sticker inside the door panel. All it specifies is
    205/60/R15 which is what Sears sold me. Hyundai consumer affairs was
    downright defensive rather than accomodating. Maintained that it is my
    problem since the tire brand was changed.

    I think my tires are inflated 32PSI. The thing with tire pressure is it
    varies with temperature. My front wheels get really hot on that car, and I
    would imagine the pressure getting close to 36psi when the tires are hot.
    If you are at 36psi cold, you might want to rethink that strategy.
    I probably eventually will spring for alooy rims. However, just solving the
    problem for myself does not seem right, as there may be lots of others who
    are not computer savy who have run into this problem and just shrugged it
    off, and there is always the possibilitity of an accident caused by this.

    A set of better designed hubcaps would make me a happy. A design change and
    a consumer notice, would make me even more happy. I intend to run with this
    as far as I can. Hyundai must understand that they are not going to shut me
    up by throwing free stuff my way. They have to come clean, assuming they
    want my future business. Maybe they don't :)
    Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 23, 2004
  10. That sounds like an avenue that's worth investigating.
    Perhaps they could simply be reduced in diameter a bit. It should be
    pretty simple to do.
    That would be nothing but a Band-Aid and wouldn't solve the underlying
    problem. It makes much more sense to simply switch to different hubcaps
    that don't suffer from this problem.
    I seriously doubt that there will ever be a recall, as the issue is not
    present on cars with OEM tires. Recalls are for factory defects and
    there is nothing defective here. There's a difference between a defect
    and an incompatibility with aftermarket parts.
    There is no way a manufacturer can be required - or expected - to test a
    vehicle with every brand and model of tire in a given size. That's
    simply unreasonable. How do you know that the tires aren't designed
    outside industry standard specifications for a 205/60-R15 size? Perhaps
    you should be chasing the tire manufacturer instead of Hyundai? See what
    I'm getting at?
    It's not a problem. The tires are rated at 44 PSI max and were inflated
    to 48 PSI (shipping pressure) when I received the car. I'm sure yours
    are rated in that same range.
    Good luck.
    Brian Nystrom, Sep 24, 2004
  11. Agreed. Only problem is... Who will test the new hubcaps on the highway ;)
    Point is really, if someone just reads this thread here and it helps them
    determine they should stick with the same brand tires, I have acomplished
    something. I really thing wheels and brakes are two things that should not
    be taken lightly by any party even remotely involved.
    Actually BF-Goodrich called me the next day after I sent an email asking
    about the situation. They seem very interested in getting to the bottom of
    thie issue. They have formally sent me a letter to bring to Sears,
    requesting Sears inspect the car, tires and hubcaps and report back to them
    the findings. I think that is a step in the right direction. They seemed a
    lot more concerned than Hyunda was.
    Yes mine are rated at 44PSI Max. So you are saying inflating them byind the
    max allowable pressure is OK? The door sticker on my car states 32 PSI, and
    that was what Sears inflated them to. You probably are getting better gas
    milage at higher pressures, but you really think the car handles better? My
    experience with overinflated tires in the past has been uneven wear, harsher
    ride, and hyper sensitive steering and pulling to the grade of the road.
    Yea Thanks.... If I made any significant progress in the near future I will
    post here to let the world, or at least the usenet world know.
    Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 25, 2004
  12. I don't think that anyone is taking anything lightly, there are just
    limits to what can be expected. As I said before, I wouldn't give up on
    Hyundai and would push them for new hubcaps that don't have the problem.
    I'm not surprised, given all the lawsuits we've seen recently regarding
    No, there's no need to go that high, and I don't recommend it. It is
    safe. but it will probably result in the center of the tread wearing out
    Absolutely! One of the reasons that manufacturers specify equal
    front/rear pressures is to make sure that the car understeers strongly
    under all driving conditions and provides a pillowy ride, which they
    consider to be safer and more desirable for "Joe Average Driver".
    They're not concerned with the fact that equal pressures result in
    uneven wear on the front tires (the edges wear out faster). If you read
    tire manufacturer's web sites, they explain that tire pressures should
    ideally be set based on the weight the tires support and the amount of
    sidewall deflection. In a FWD car where the front tires bear ~60% of the
    car's weight, they should be inflated to higher pressures than the rears.
    I'm not talking about "overinflating" anything. Hyundai provides a
    "recommended" tire pressure, based on criteria of their choosing. That
    doesn't mean that is the optimum pressure for best handling or even
    tread wear.

    Tire pressure is a simple thing to test, so why not see for yourself?
    Try bumping your front tires up to 36 PSI and see what effect it has on
    handling and the hubcap problem. It won't do any harm and you may find
    it quite illuminating. If you don't like the results, you can always
    drop the pressure back.
    Brian Nystrom, Sep 25, 2004
  13. Thanks for the info. This is all news to me.. I will try bumping up the
    front a little and see how the car handles, but the those hubcaps are off
    for good. The problem wasn't specific to any tire. The rear tires have the
    same problem, but to a lesser degree. The front tires are the ones that
    kept going flat, but the stem on one of the rears did get a nick from the
    hubcap pressure. Even if the tire pressure solved the problem, I wouldn't
    want to risk losing a little pressure and the hubcap creating a rapid
    deflation as a result.

    Maybe I will spring for some alloys, if I decide to keep the car for the
    long haul.


    Michael Abbaticchio
    MVP for Exchange Server
    Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 25, 2004
  14. Michael Abbaticchio

    Jon W. Guest

    Overinflating steel belted tires is a proven disaster waiting to
    happen. The pressure could cause the tire to explode, with the steel
    belts actually ripping the tires to shreds. The bad part of this is
    that it usually happens at highway speeds after the tires have heated
    up. Please never overinflate the tires beyond what is stamped on the
    tires as the max PSI.

    Jon W., Sep 25, 2004
  15. That sounds like a sensible approach.
    Brian Nystrom, Sep 26, 2004
  16. First off, I NEVER advocated overinflating tires. My recommendations are
    well below the maximum pressure that the tires are rated for.

    Secondly, tires are tested to pressures well in excess of their posted
    pressure rating, so the scenario you portrayed is highly unlikely. It
    would take severe overinflation to cause it. Tires are routinely
    overinflated to prevent wheel damage when the car is strapped down for
    shipping and it's quite likely that many are driven that way initially
    (my EGT had 48 psi in the tires when I picked it up). If overinflation
    was a serious problem, there would be a lot of failures.

    Third, there are FAR more tire failures from underinflation than from
    overinflation. Low pressure causes more tire deflection, which causes
    more internal friction until the tire fails due to excessive heat
    buildup. I've witnessed this on tractor trailers where one tire has gone
    flat and begins to smoke, then ultimately disintegrates. Underinflation
    was the cause of the huge Ford/Firestone problem years ago.

    Forth, your tires will never gain pressure, other than a small increase
    when they warm up (typically 2-4 psi). However, pressure loss is quite
    common and is a much more serious problem. A substantial percentage of
    accidents are the result of people never checking their tire pressure
    and not catching underinflated tires, which ultimately cause control
    problems and/or blowouts.

    Check your tire pressure, people!
    Brian Nystrom, Sep 26, 2004
  17. When I said oveinflated, I meant beyond what is stamped on the door jamb
    label. Not what is stamped on the tire. That would be plain stupid.


    Michael Abbaticchio
    MVP for Exchange Server
    Michael Abbaticchio, Sep 26, 2004
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