Last week, we reported that a Californian Hyundai Elantra N driver was ticketed for his car’s loud exhaust, despite the fact that it’s the stock unit fitted from the factory. The driver captured the incident on his dashcam and originally posted it to Reddit before it went viral. After a nightmarish couple of weeks battling with Hyundai and the Californian law enforcement, the owner has announced that he will probably have to sell the car at a huge loss as the car has been declared illegal to drive on public roads.
The Elantra N’s owner took to Reddit to explain that the Californian state inspector deemed the car too loud for public roads in “Sport” mode, let alone the even louder “N” mode. As a result, the car had its legal registration withdrawn, so it’s no longer legal to drive on public roads despite being completely stock. The driver claims that Hyundai has been of little support throughout the fiasco, and with the car unable to pass the state inspection, there are few options remaining other than to sell the car at a huge loss.
In the original dashcam footage, the police officer stops the driver and tells him he’ll have to spend $7000 (around £6100) to put the car right, and that he should sue the dealership that sold him the car for the fees. California is famous for having some of the strictest regulations on cars in the USA. The state’s noise limit on vehicles weighing less than 2721kg (6000lb) is 95dB.
The police officer that stopped the driver in the video immediately approaches the driver with an aggressive tone and asks him what year his Elantra N is. The officer then asks why the car appears to be ‘backfiring’ with loud pops and bangs and whether the car is in track mode.
The driver responds that the car is in track mode, but fully stock, even offering to let the police officer take a look under the bonnet. The officer dismisses this and escalates the situation, saying that the car’s registration will be suspended until he sends the car back to the factory to have it looked at which will cost around $4000 (around £3500). The police officer then states that the car will have to go back to the state ref (a Californian body that regulates car modifications) for another check to make sure it’s been ‘fixed’ and that the driver will have to spend around $7000 (around £6100) in total.
The big mistake that the driver made was admitting to the police officer that he had the car in track mode, which the police officer claims is illegal to use on public roads. When the driver states he wasn’t told this by the dealer, the police officer says he should sue them to claim back the $7000 he’s about to fork out to make his car road legal.
The driver states that his Elantra N originally passed the state ref inspection for the most part, but when the car was tested in ‘Sport’ mode, the exhaust emitted 98dB and failed, despite the fact this isn’t the default setting.
The whole thing seems like a bureaucratic nightmare – there’s nothing the driver can do to revert the car back to stock when it already is, and the car has had its legal registration withdrawn by the officials in California for failing the loudness test. We contacted Hyundai USA for a comment on the situation and were awaiting a response at the time of publication.
Next up, check out We’ve Got A Hyundai i20 N For The Rest Of The Year