Some owners have reported premature wear from the factory-installed brake components. Here’s some more reading. Inspect the brakes, or have a mechanic inspect the brakes, confirming that the seller isn’t trying to pass off a worn set of pads and rotors. Note that a squishy brake pedal, squealing or scraping sounds, or sluggish brake performance are all signs that the brakes on the Accent you’re considering need some attention.

Tires should also be inspected for signs of excessive wear.

Note that tire and brake wear is affected by numerous attributes, including driving habits, locale, and adherence to maintenance requirements. A mechanic should also inspect the Accent’s suspension components, especially if you detect any excessive bouncing, rebounding or softness on a test drive. Though inconclusive, some owners have reported replacement of factory shock absorbers at relatively low miles.

Have a technician scan the Accent’s Engine Control Module (ECM) for trouble codes, whether or not a Check Engine light is illuminated. In some cases, a past code is stored in the computer, and could provide a clue to a problem with the engine, or one of its sensors. Some owners have reported Code p0326, for instance, which can result from a problem with an engine knock sensor.

Other checks should include confirming proper operation of all power window switches, and checking the clutch on manual-equipped models for signs of slippage and wear, perhaps by applying the parking brake, selecting second gear, and slowly releasing the clutch pedal over the span of about 20 seconds. If the vehicle fails to stall as the clutch is released, the clutch may need to be replaced. A manual transmission that often grinds or bites back at you while shifting is another trouble sign.

Check the air conditioner system as well, confirming that it pumps cool air into the cabin in quick order once activated. Any unwelcome noises, lugging of the engine, or poor A/C performance should be investigated. Though largely inconclusive, some owners have reported A/C system performance issues that were actually caused by an overdue cabin air filter change, which is part of regular maintenance.

One final note: as the Accent runs a Direct Injection (DI) engine, valve gunk may become an issue over time. Owners of other models with DI engines from across most manufactures have reported issues to varying degrees. In checks of the usual sources, Accent doesn’t seem to be suffering from these issues, though owners are advised to ensure they stick to oil change intervals and use top-quality fuel at all fill ups, which may reduce or eliminate valve gunk buildup indirectly. Further, if any telltale signs of valve gunk are noted (poor performance, Check Engine lights referencing a misfire code), be sure to have the problem documented by your local Hyundai service centre, which can speed warranty claims, if required.

The Verdict: With a headlight bulb upgrade and a quick check-over by a technician, a used Accent from this generation should provide shoppers with affordable access to a comfortable, roomy and upscale compact car that’s noted for great fuel efficiency and value.

Just one recall.

Crash Test Scores:
IIHS
NHTSA

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