Who can help me with a broken Hyundai Elantra in Denver, CO, ASAP?
June 10, 2012 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Stuck in Denver, driving across the country. My car (2001 Hyundai Elantra) decided that death was preferable to Oregon. Help! Chain mechanic has no idea what's up. If you live in Denver and have ever used a Hyundai dealership or know a good shop that works on them, help!

The problem:
About 100 miles east of Denver, on I-70 westbound, the car started jerking/stumbling hard and stopped responding to the accelerator. Drifted off onto the side of the road, got towed to Denver. Shop there said it was a faulty relay involved with the fuel injectors, replaced it. I paid them a disgusting fortune, we got 5 miles down the road and the car stopped responding to the accelerator again, on interstate 25. Less jerky, but no response with the pedal pushed all the way down.

Got towed to a Firestone (closest thing open on Saturdays and Sundays). They have been, well, unhelpful, but I'm having them replace the fuel filter.

I'm losing my marbles, I have to be in Oregon for my clinical internship... really soon, really really soon, and now I'm petrified of getting broken down 100 miles from anything again.

No problems with starting, no problems with idling. A sensor gone awry?


Do you know a place that works on Hyundais that could solve this problem, say, Monday?

I'm in a major pickle here, me and my buddy are staying with a classmate's friends tonight, but that isn't a multi-day solution.
posted by circle_b to Travel & Transportation around Denver, CO (7 answers total)
This is a total shot in the dark, but I knew someone who had a very similar-sounding problem when the activated carbon vapor catcher above the fuel tank got clogged, and this caused the fuel tank to become air tight when he put the cap in place.

Then when he drove for awhile, a vacuum would develop in the tank and his somewhat weak fuel pump couldn't pump enough gas against the vacuum. The tipoff was a big rush of air into the tank when he took off the cap after it did the the stalling thing one day.

One cold day, as a matter of fact. Might be too hot in Denver and points east right now for this to be it.
posted by jamjam at 3:16 PM on June 10, 2012

Find a Hyundai dealership. We were in your situation once near Beckley, West Virginia. Local mechanic had no idea what he was doing and charged us an arm and a leg to keep the car while he tried to figure out what was going on. Got it to a dealer on the following Monday and they found and fixed the problem much more quickly and cheaply (the mechanic was trying to replace the alternator; they were able to determine very quickly that it was just a bad sensor, and we were on our way in two hours after dropping off the car).
posted by tully_monster at 3:18 PM on June 10, 2012

...the car started jerking/stumbling hard and stopped responding to the accelerator.

Sounds to me like a bad Mass Air Flow sensor.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:17 PM on June 10, 2012

Take a deep breath, all will be well.

Find a dealer on Monday and they'll figure it out for you.

If you have to be somewhere by Monday, hop a Greyhound tonight or tomorrow and have the chain guy take it to the dealer when they open. You'll may have to make a trip back to pick it up if your friend can't stay with it.

(I had this happen to me on the way to Oregon once, and it actually was the fuel filter/pump. I had a breakdown in Denver in 1983 and lived to tell the tale, too, tho it was the radiator that time. You'll make it through this. It's not like you're in Boise.)
posted by SLC Mom at 4:26 PM on June 10, 2012

Totally had this happen, along with the trip to the chain mechanic who had trouble figuring out what exactly was wrong and fixed a problem that allowed the car to continue working for a couple more days before it died again. Fortunately, I lived in the area and had the time to seek out a specialist mechanic who was able to diagnose the problem correctly. In your case, your best bet is going to be to take it to the dealer, and all will be fine. Whatever went wrong with your car, the dealer mechanic has probably seen it before and knows exactly what went wrong.
posted by deanc at 5:31 PM on June 10, 2012

I live in Denver. These guys are good honest mechanics: Elder Auto, They are located just off Evans by I-25. I've only been to them once with my Nissan but they were fair, and I have a friend who has them work on her cars and her kids cars for almost 20 years. Their website says they work on Hyundai, too. I would at least give them a call before going to the dealer.
posted by fieldtrip at 5:32 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I lived in Denver for a while. The folks at the Greasemonkey on Colfax Ave on the eastern edge of downtown Denver are good people, with a bonus of being really easy to find because Colfax Ave is a main arterial. The exact address is 1010 East Colfax Ave. They were always very fair and conscientious. They always talked me through what repairs they were recommending and why. Also, after I'd moved away, I've occasionally been through Denver and once they figured out a problem with my car in 10 minutes that had confused another shop back East for an entire day. I don't have a Hyundai, but I do have a Subaru, so they're comfortable dealing with cars that aren't just American.

Also get there early: I think they open at 8 am. They take walk-ins as well as appointments, so getting there right when they open will put you at the front of the line. Since a lot of people don't get organized to bring their cars in until 9 am-ish, if it's not a major problem, they can get you taken care of pretty quickly.
posted by colfax at 1:32 AM on June 11, 2012

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