Hyundai 2.0 Engine Problems – 6 Worst 2.0 Theta Problems!

Hyundai 2.0 Engine Problems – 6 Worst 2.0 Theta Problems!

January 15, 2024 0 By CarGuy

Are you looking to purchase a Hyundai with the Theta II engine and want to learn more about the Hyundai 2.0 engine problems? If that’s correct, look no further because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover on this topic.

Doing good and thorough research is always a good idea when it comes to purchasing a used vehicle. You need to find a good and reliable car as your daily and not end up in a money pit full of problems. That’s why we are here to help you out with your pursuit and make sure that you are properly informed.

So, what are we going to cover? First, we will take a look at the specs of the 2.0 Theta engine and the applications in which you can find this engine. Then, we shall cover the important Hyundai 2.0 engine problems and we will also give this engine a reliability score. So, let’s dive into it.

Hyundai 2.0 Engine Specs

The Theta engine is a family of engines varying from 1.8 to 2.4L. This Theta engine was developed under the Global Engine Alliance. An initiative between Chrysler Mitsubishi, and Hyundai. Although this initiative fell apart, manufacturers still built the engines.

All of these Theta engines share a lot with each other besides the displacement. For this article, we are interested in the 2.0L version of the Theta engine produced from 2004 to the present day.

The 2.0L is an inline-4 engine that is built on an aluminum block and has a DOHC head with 4 valves per cylinder.

This engine also implements some advanced technologies such as variable valve timing, direct injection, and turbocharging.

The specs of the Hyundai 2.0 Theta engine are the following:

  • Configuration: inline-4
  • Displacement: 2.0L
  • Bore: 86 mm
  • Stroke: 97 mm
  • Block & Head Material: Aluminum
  • Head Design: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Compression Ratio: 10.5:1 non turbo, 9.5:1 – 10.0:1 turbo GDI
  • Aspiration: Naturally aspirated or turbocharged
  • Fuel Injection: Port (MPI) or direct injection (GDI)
  • Horsepower: 142 – 252 hp
  • Torque: 138 – 260 lb-ft (187 – 353 N-m)
  • Hyundai 2.0 Engine Applications

Hyundai 2.0 Theta Applications

Now let’s take a look at the applications of the Hyundai 2.0 Theta engine and see which models have this engine, as well as the different variations of the 2.0 Theta

Hyundai 2.0 Theta I (G4KA)

  • 2004 – 2007 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2005 – 2007 Kia Optima
  • 2006 – 2013 Kia Rondo/Carens
  • Hyundai 2.0 Theta II (G4KD) MPI (Port Injected)
  • 2007 – 2014 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2009 – 2015 Hyundai Tucson/ix35
  • 2008 – 2012 Kia Optima/K5
  • 2008 – 2012 Kia Forte
  • 2010 – 2013 Kia Sportage

Hyundai 2.0 Theta II (G4KJ) GDI (Direct Injected)

  • 2009 – 2019 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2012 – 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2011 – 2019 Hyundai Grandeur
  • 2015 – 2020 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2010 – 2019 Kia Optima
  • 2010 – 2021 Kia Sportage
  • 2011 – 2019 Kia Cadenza
  • 2016 – 2021 Kia KX7
  • 2014 – 2020 Kia Sorento

Hyundai 2.0 Theta II (G4KF) MPI FR Turbo

  • 2009 – 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Hyundai 2.0 Theta II (G4KH) GDI Turbo

  • 2009 – 2019 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2021 – 2023 Hyundai Kona N
  • 2018 – Present Hyundai i30 N
  • 2021 – Present Hyundai Elantra N
  • 2018 – 2022 Hyundai Veloster N
  • 2012 – 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2011 – 2019 Kia Optima
  • 2016 – 2021 Kia KX7
  • 2015 – 2020 Kia Sorento
  • 2011 – 2021 Kia Sportage

Hyundai 2.0 Theta II (G4KL) GDI FR Turbo (For RWD models)

  • 2017 – 2023 Genesis G70
  • 2017 – 2020 Genesis G80
  • 2017 – 2023 Kia Stinger

Hyundai 2.0 Theta II (G4KK) HEV (Hybrid)

  • 2013 – 2022 Hyundai Grandeur/Azera
  • 2013 – 2021 Kia Cadenza/K7

Hyundai 2.0 Engine Problems

Now let’s list the common problems with the Hyundai 2.0 Theta engine.

  1. Carbon Buildup
  2. Rod Bearing Failure
  3. Overheating
  4. Oil Consumption
  5. Oil Leaks
  6. Engine Failure

We listed the common problems with the Hyundai 2.0 engine. Now let’s take a look a these problems in depth.

This is very recommended for you as an owner because you want to be properly informed on how serious these problems are and how often they occur. Once we clear these problems, we will give this engine a reliability score.

1. Carbon Buildup

The first problem on our list is the issue with carbon buildup that occurs on these 2.0 Theta engines.

What is worth noting is that this problem occurs on engines that are equipped with direct injection. In other words, it does not appear to be a problem on MPI port-injected engines.

This is the case because the GDI direct-injected engine uses special high-pressure injectors that are placed on top of the cylinder.

Fuel is not injected through the intake ports as in MPI engines. This causes the intake valves not to be cleaned since there is no fuel to wash them out.

So, consequently, fumes that are full of carbon start to accumulate on the valves and create a crust layer.

This layer once it creates a good foundation starts to accumulate and is harder than a rock. The only way to clean the valves is by using special chemical solutions or by using a method known as walnut blasting.

With this method, walnut shells are blasted in the intake ports and these shells destroy the carbon layer. Cleaning the valve in the process.

This should be done every 60,000 to 80,000 miles in order to avoid problems with the valves.

2. Rod Bearing Failure

Another very common problem with these engines is rod bearing failure. This problem could lead to rod knock and also could potentially seize the engine.

Whenever you have rod bearing failure, the engine is simply destined for a rebuild or scrap because fixing it in many cases is not feasible.

This problem on these 2.0 Theta engines occurs because of poor lubrication. Deposits enter the oil passageways and prevent oil from flowing properly.

Consequently, this allows the engine to wear a lot in a short amount of time. In many cases, this problem is worsened because of poor maintenance by the owner and irregular oil changes.

However, Hyundai has acknowledged that this is a factory defect and spared more than 2 billion dollars to fix these problems in Kia and Hyundai models with the Theta engines

This problem was caused because of a manufacturing defect in the crankshaft. Metal shavings during the manufacturing process were left in the oil passageways. Thus, preventing oil from flowing properly.

Leading to rod bearing failure and engine failure in the process.

3. Overheating

Another problem with the 2.0 Theta engine is overheating. So, why is this the case, why does this engine overheat often?

Well, this is the case because oil is not flowing well. Besides lubricating the engine, oil also dissipates heat out of it.

So, having poor oil flow will result in hot spots around the engine that will lead to overheating and high engine wear.

Now let’s move on to the next Hyundai 2.0 engine problems.

4. Oil Consumption

Oil consumption is another very famous Hyundai problem. This problem is common on many Hyundai engines besides the Theta.

These engines are serious oil consumers, especially whenever they hit 100,000 miles. Some of them even before this milestone.

And many people are unaware of this. They drive their car for 15,000 miles and they go to a service center to flush their oil.

The technician flushes the oil and there are 1 or two quarts missing, sometimes even more, and the remaining oil is very thick in consistency.

All this is because of oil consumption. And on top of that, this oil consumption will wear the engine even more because there will be oil starvation. Oil will not lubricate the engine internals properly. Leading to engine failure in the process.

So, if you own a Hyundai, make sure that you regularly top off the engine oil and prevent more problems from occurring.

5. Oil Leaks

Oil leaks are also common on the Hyundai 2.0 engine. These oil leaks can come from various parts of the engine.

There can be leaks from the valve cover, which are most common. But there can be also leaks from the oil pan and oil drain bolt. Which is another common problem with these Theta engines.

Other places where these engines can leak oil include the front and rear main seals. But these leaks happen less often.

Now let’s move on to the next Hyundai 2.0 engine problems.

6. Engine Failure

The last problem on our list of problems with the Hyundai 2.0 engine is engine failure. These engines are destined to fail.

The problem with the lubrication along with the oil consumption does not allow these engines to have a long lifespan.

So, eventually after 150,000 miles they will seize and you will have to replace them. That’s why you should avoid higher mileage cars with the 2.0 Theta engine. This is the same case with the 2.4 as well that we previously covered.

Hyundai 2.0 Engine Reliability

The reliability of the Hyundai 2.0 engine is poor. These engines tend to have very poor reliability score and they do not last for a really long time.

This is why you should avoid these engines, especially if they are near 100,000 miles or higher. Since they are a ticking time bomb. You never know when they will completely fail.

Then you need to find replacements and this can cost a lot of money. So, as used cars, they are not some of the best you can get for your money. Unless you want to do an engine replacement.

Hyundai 2.0 Engine Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of this engine is between 120,000 and 150,000 miles. There can be some exceptions where engines last for 200,000 miles but these are rarer situations.


In this article, we covered quite a lot when it comes to the Hyundai 2.0 engine. First, we covered the specs and the applications of the 2.0 Theta engine.

In the second part, we discussed the common Hyundai 2.0 engine problems and we learned more about its reliability.

Overall, this is one of the worst engines that you can get that will for sure not going to last for a very long time. So, if you are looking for a long-term solution, this engine is not for you.


What Are The Common Theta 2.0 engine problems?

This engine has a problem with rod bearing failure. Oil passageways in the crankshaft are blocked because of factory defects and rod bearings do not lubricate well. Resulting in the rod bearing failure and rod knock. These engines are also known for serious oil consumption and because of these issues, they don’t last for a very long time.

Is the Hyundai Theta 2.0 engine reliable?

This engine is not a good purchase if you want to get it used. The more miles, the more unreliable these engines are. They suffer from oil consumption and also from rod bearing wear that can lead to rod bearing failure and engine failure in the process.

So, we would not recommend you buy a used one, especially not at miles above 100,000. Since the average lifespan of these engines is 150,000 miles.

If you want to read more about the Theta engine, you can check our article on the 2.4 version of this engine.