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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. How to 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 do not affect only US vehicles but also may be a common problem experienced by Kia / Hyundai owners worldwide. If you are having this problem, please use the comments section to let us know.

Hyundai Kia Metal shaving in Oil (Theta II Engine)
DIFFICULTY Intermediate



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. Keep in mind 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 the 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 listed. Our members worldwide are reporting that they are experiencing this problem in other countries as well.

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 starts to drop. 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 year 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, free of charge. 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)



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 ?

Check with the dealer. They should give you some recommendations. 

alignment lift

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Paul McKeever

I have a 2017 Sonata. I received a card to bring in my car to have the ECM reflashed. They wouldn't tell me why so I looked it up, it is for the same problem that the 2015 and prior Theta II Engines had. When I changed my oil prior to taking it in there were bits and pieces of bearing material in the oil. And a couple months before that there was smoke coming out of my exhaust when I was getting on the freeway. I told the service writing about the metal bearing shavings in my oil and showed him the photos. He said Hyundai wouldn't replace the engine unless it started to knock badly, smoked badly or failed. Now my intake cam CVVT assembly went out, I think because it got metal shavings inside it and ruined it. All this is a happening at 65,000 miles. Even a 1970 Pinto lasted longer than that. I feel their mistake during manufacturing goes past the 2015 lawsuit. I think the lawsuit ended for 2015 but not the problem. Now all this metal debris is pumping through my engine ruining everything else that Hyundai won't cover with the warranty. I bought this car for reliable transportation, but it smokes and breaks down more than my 30 year old Jeep Cherokee. Sad that I have to rely on my 1990 Jeep Cherokee and worry about my 2017 Sonata like it's a beater car.


I saw metal shavings on my camshaft position sensor. As it was throwing a code to replace. Changed the oil, havent checked for more metal yet. The motor went in limp mode. Had service throw the meter on it comes up in the flow chart to replace engine. Kind of a drastic message. It is a 2016 kia optima 2 liter turbo, 90k miles. I guess i am out of luck.

I would contact the dealer even though your car is out of warranty they may still cover it. 


I have 2011 Hyundai sonata with 127K miles and i see metal shavings during the oil change, but the motor runs fine.

Contact the dealer and let them know. They may have to do a test on your vehicle. 


The reason the bearings are failing is because the person who programmed the computer that controls the machining robot for the engine block, forgot an important part of a process. The programmer forgot to put in a command to wash out metal debris after milling a part of the block in the part of the oiling system. So when these engines were assembled, they had metal milling chunks left in the oil galleys. Once the engine is started that metal is pumped all through the engine. If it weren't for that one mistake, the engines would have been great. Now they are time bombs.

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