Hyundai Kia Metal shaving in Oil

Hyundai Kia Metal shaving in Oil (Theta II Engine)

Many Hyundai and Kia cars equipped with Theta II (2.0 L turbo and 2.4L) engines may notice metal shavings in their engine oil. This article will provide details about this problem. Check if your oil has metal shavings and what to do if you find them.

Engine failures are reported to occur as early as 30,000 miles. These symptoms affect US vehicles and maybe a common problem experienced by Kia / Hyundai owners worldwide. If you have this problem, please use the comments section to let us know.

Kia and Hyundai engines equipped with the Theta II engine may show premature rod bearing failure. Once the bearings fail, the metal debris will contaminate the engine oil.

Contaminated oil with metal shavings does further damage to the internal engine parts. As the oil circulates through the engine, it can cause excessive wear and damage to other engine areas, such as lifters, clog oil galleries, and restrict oil circulation.


  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Engine knocking
  • Oil light comes on
  • Engine Rattle
  • Catastrophic engine failure

If you catch this problem early enough, you may slow down the failure, but eventually, a new engine or complete engine rebuild will be required.

What to do

If you have found metal shavings in your oil and your Kia or Hyundai is still under warranty, you may be able to get your dealer to fix your car free of charge. Kia and Hyundai have issued a recall of over 1 million vehicles. Remember that you will need to prove that you have performed regular oil changes and that the oil level was not low at the time of failure.

Affected models

Kia/Hyundai vehicles with either 2-liter or 2.4-liter gasoline engines have been identified with this problem. The U.S. engines were made at Hyundai’s engine plant in Alabama. The list of vehicles to be recalled in the U.S. includes:

  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport SUVs, 2013 – 2014
  • Hyundai Sonata midsize cars, 2013 – 2014
  • Kia Optima midsize cars, 2011 – 2014
  • Kia Sportage SUVs, 2011 – 2013
  • Kia Sorento SUVs, 2012 – 2014

This may be a limited list. Our members worldwide report also experiencing this problem in other countries.

How to check

check engine oil

  1. Get an oil change.
  2. Drive your vehicle for 200 miles.
  3. Check the oil by pulling the dipstick. The dipstick handle will be red or yellow. 
  4. Place oil on a white cloth and check to see if there are any visible metal shavings.
  5. You could also send your oil to a lab to perform oil analysis.

The bigger problem is that once the crankshaft bearings fail, the metal shavings can block the oil passages and cause catastrophic engine failures.

Excessive rod bearing and crankshaft wear can cause poor engine lubrification.


As clearances in the bearings and crankshaft increase, your engine oil pressure drops. To correct this problem, you can install a high-volume oil pump.

You can’t eliminate factory defects, but there are a couple of things you can do to make your Hyundai / Kia engine last longer.

  • If you recently noticed metal shavings in your engine oil, perform a couple of oil changes right away. Do the second oil change after 50 miles.
  • In the future, perform oil changes more frequently. Your Kia and Hyundai dealer recommends 7500-mile oil changes. Our recommendation would be to complete an oil change every 3000 miles.
  • Use heavier-weight oil allowed for your engine. For the Theta II engine, you can use oil with a viscosity of up to 5W40 motor oil.


CTV News station covered Hyundai/Kia engine failure class-action lawsuit. That coverage can be watched in the following video clip.

In 2015, the model years 2011 to 2012 Sonatas were recalled over the chance of engine failure from limited oil flow to the bearings. Similar wear has been found in seized Kia engines. The affected Hyundai engines were assembled in the U.S. Complete details on this lawsuit can be found here.

Proposed Settlement

Warranty Extension: Hyundai is extending the Powertrain Warranty for Class Vehicles. The extension of the warranty will cover the engine short block assembly consisting of the engine block, crankshaft and bearings, connecting rods and bearings, and pistons for 10 years and 120,000 miles (whichever comes first) from the original sale or lease of the vehicle. The 10-year / 120,000-mile extension of the warranty continues even if the vehicle is sold.

Recall Update

On March 31, 2017, Kia recalled many vehicles equipped with 2.0 and 2.4 L engines.

If your Hyundai or Kia is part of the recall, contact your dealer to get your engine replaced for free.


Kia will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the engine assembly and replace the engine if necessary. The recall began in June 2017. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia’s number for this recall is SC147.

Recall details on

This issue is typically discovered during an oil change. This article covers the common problems, symptoms, and troubleshooting tips related to the metal shavings in the oil of Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

Theta/Theta-II Engine – 2.0L (1998cc)

(G4KA, G4KD, G4KF, G4KH)

  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T, turbo GDI engine
  • Hyundai Genesis Coupe Port Injected 2.0 Turbocharged (2010-)
  • Hyundai Sonata GDI 2.0 Turbocharged (2011-)
  • Kia Rondo (2007-)
  • Kia Forte 2.0 (2009-2013)
  • Kia Optima GDI 2.0 Turbocharged (2011-)
  • Kia Sportage GDI 2.0 Turbocharged (2011-)
  • Kia Sorento GDI 2.0 Turbocharged (2016-)
  • Hyundai ix35 MPI 2.0 (2010-)
  • Hyundai Santa Fe (Sport Models) GDI 2.0 Turbocharged (2013-)

Theta/Theta-II Engine – 2.4L (2359cc)

(G4KC, G4KE, G4KG, G4KJ)

  • Hyundai Sonata (2006-2010)
  • Hyundai Sonata GDI (2011-)
  • Hyundai Sonata (2011-) (Middle East)
  • Hyundai Tucson (2010-)
  • Hyundai Santa Fe (2010-)
  • Kia Optima (2006-2010)
  • Kia Optima GDI (2011-)
  • Kia Rondo (2007-)
  • Kia Cadenza GDI (2011-)
  • Kia Sportage (2011-)
  • Kia Sorento (2011-)
  • Kia Forte (2010-2013)

We hope you find the Hyundai Kia Metal shaving in Oil (Theta II Engine) guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your Hyundai and Kia.

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One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    In your write up you mentioned that one of the ways to manage the problem is to “install a high pressure oil pump”. However you failed to give an example of one that is compatible and will work. Can you let me know ?