Woman says 2013 Elantra suddenly accelerated, crashing into tree

More than a dozen similar complaints found by federal regulators

(WPLG)--Car recalls are in the news often these days, but some drivers number of serious complaints that have not yet turned into recalls is just as disturbing.

"I was scared out of my wits," Harriette Gordon said after her 2013 Hyundai Elantra crashed into a tree.

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Gordon said she had her foot on the brake of her car while she was pulling into a parking spot when all of a sudden the car "flew" over the curb and into a tree.

News 6 looked through pages of complaints pertaining to the 2013 Hyundai Elantra filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and found more than a dozen reports mirroring Gordon's experience.

Here is a snapshot of some of the complaints we uncovered:

File Date: January 4, 2016

"…while attempting to park at approximately 5 mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated without warning."

File Date: December 28, 2015

"My 2013 Hyundai Elantra ran into a Subway restaurant at 12150 S. Cicero, Alsip, IL. I was going into the subway parking lot, my goal was to park, but my car did not stop when I put on my brakes. My car kept going; it drove over the sidewalk, through the scrubs, and hit the building head on."

File Date: January 20, 2015 

"Driver was making a left turn into a parking space on second  floor of parking garage. As the left turn was made, the Elantra GT suddenly accelerated by itself into a wall, hitting a pole and the wall."

File Date: January 17, 2015 

"2013 Hyundai Elantra had an accident due to unintended acceleration. Was pulling onto my parking spot, when the car just accelerated by itself, causing me to crash into my building."

File Date: July 13, 2015

"Pulling into the parking space at work less than 5 mph car accelerated and hit the parking garage wall."

File Date: December 10, 2014

"2013 Hyundai Elantra had an accident due to unintended acceleration."

File Date: September 16, 2014

"While turning into a parking spot my car suddenly jumped and accelerated and slammed into a concrete barrier. The air bag also did not deploy."

File Date: July  25, 2014

"Pulling into a parking space at Walgreens about a foot from a complete stop car suddenly accelerated up over a 6-in curb across a 5-ft sidewalk into a concrete wall of the store."

File Date: October 2, 2013

"…Unintentionally accelerated and crashing into a concrete wall in the parking lot at King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia PA. The car was turning into a parking space and when the gas petal was applied the car accelerated full speed into the wall. This is the second time this has happen to a car that was only 9 weeks old."

File Date: June 17, 2013

"Vehicle sudden acceleration after pressing brakes and trying to park. As I was turning into a parking space (less than 5 mph), in front of a grocery store to park the car, the vehicle suddenly accelerated, hit a lighting pole and completely damaged the front of the car."

According to CarComplaints.com, 2013 is the model year of the Hyundai Elantra with the most overall complaints. The most reported problem for that make/model year is "brakes make grinding noise."
"And it is supposed to be the best car on the market," Gordon said. "Sorry I had that car. That's all I can tell you."
On its website, the NHTSA gave the 2013 Hyundai Elantra four-door four-wheel drive an overall 5-star rating.
"We're not used to seeing any major problems with Hyundai, which makes the early signs of trouble with the 2013 Elantra very surprising in a bad way," CarComplaints.com noted. "It seems there was a bad batch of OEM pads & rotors, but so far Hyundai is not doing a recall. Instead Hyundai issued a TSB, & dealers have been replacing pads &  rotors on a per-complaint basis."
Gordon wants the manufacturer to acknowledge the pattern of complaints and reimburse her the $500 deductible incurred when she had to service the leased car for repairs. She also wants the dealer to put her in a new car for the remainder of her lease.
"I am very leery about driving this car (because) this could happen again," she said.
In a statement, a spokesman for Hyundai said: "The Elantra is a very well designed and safe car. Virtually every government study, including several NHTSA studies, has concluded that these incidents are caused by driver error."