When the Hyundai Kona EV came into the market in 2018, I knew I wanted it. However, I waited to see the teething problems before going for the 2020 model. My car has been running well, and I’ve been happy with it, until recently when it refused to start, even after charging it overnight.
You can fix a Hyundai Kona electric that’s not starting when you find the cause, often because of a faulty battery. Check if the lights on your dashboard are functional, and note if the car jerks—but fails to start. Fixes include jump-starting your 12V battery, cleaning eroded terminals, and fastening the battery.
The Hyundai Kona EV has not had the rosiest entry into the EV market, with several battery issues and recalls. However, you can still diagnose and fix your car if it fails to start. I’ll discuss some of the causes and the steps to take to fix the problems.
1. Check if Your Kona Has a Weak 12V Battery
A weakened battery is one of the primary reasons the Hyundai Kona EV doesn’t start. The Kona EV has two batteries. A high voltage 64kWh battery or 39.2kWh battery, delivering 204 PS (150kW), and 136 PS (100kW), respectively.
The high-voltage battery works with a 12V auxiliary battery. The high-voltage battery charges the 12V battery, which is responsible for powering accessories and security. It also powers Kona’s engine control unit (ECU) and the electric motor on start-up.
When the Kona electric fails to start, the 12-volt battery will likely be the issue. I had the experience when my car didn’t start—the culprit was an unlocked door, which caused the interior lights to remain on, draining the battery.
According to WheelsJoint, symptoms of a weak Kona electric battery are: “flickering dashboard lights and/or rapid clicking noise when you try to start the engines.”
You can confirm the status of the 12V battery in the Hyundai Kona EV using a multimeter. Ensure you set the multimeter to the battery’s voltage range before the test.
The normal range is 12V – 13V. If it is lower, then the battery is either weak or faulty. If it is higher, you need a specialist to check it out because it is a sign of a bigger problem, such as a defective battery.
The Foxwell NT301 plus OBD2 Battery Tester (available on Amazon.com) is a handy tool for days when your EV refuses to start. It is a 2-in-1 code reader that also tests the status of a 12V battery. It tests charging systems and cranking issues.
It gives accurate results that are easy to interpret. It has an in-built DTC library, with auto code reader support and maintenance guidance for multiple fault codes.
2. Jump Start the Kona’s 12V Battery
If the multimeter tester shows that the 12V battery is too low to start your Kona Electric car, you should consider jump-starting it. The process of jump-starting an EV is not any different from that of a combustion engine car.
- Use jumper cables and a working battery from another car or a battery booster.
- Link the red jumper to the positive terminal of the 12V battery on your Kona EV.
- Connect the other red jumper to the positive terminal on the working battery.
- Place the black jumper on the negative terminal of the donor battery.
- The other black cable goes to the bare metal on the Kona.
- Run the donor car, and when the 12V battery on your Kona EV charges, attempt to start your vehicle. If it starts successfully, remove the cables. Remember to do it following the reverse order, beginning with the black on the bare metal, and ending with the red on the 12 V battery.
This video gives a step-by-step guide to jump-start the 12V auxiliary battery in the Kona EV.
3. Inspect the Kona’s Battery for Signs of Corrosion
Fluid leaks and corrosion are common in cars, including Evs. The battery fluid and other fluids can cause corrosion. If not cleaned, the issue will affect the functions and longevity of your Kona EV battery.
Corrosion on the battery terminals interferes with current flow, causing your Kona EV to fail to start correctly.
Lift the battery cover and check for white or silvery deposits at the battery terminals. It would help if you inspected for cracks or other damage that may have resulted from corroded parts.
4. Clean the Kona’s Corroded Battery Parts
It instantly neutralizes and removes battery corrosion. It also serves as an acid detector, which warns you of possible battery corrosion. The cleaner will turn pink upon contact with acid at the terminals. It also improves the performance of electrical connections, including cranking ability.
5. Check the Kona’s High Voltage Battery
It is also possible that the EV battery on your Hyundai Kona is dead. The Hyundai battery lasts 3 – 5 years. However, EV batteries degrade faster when exposed to the following:
- Extreme temperatures.
- Too many charge cycles.
You may also be dealing with a dead battery If your car is not starting. If the main battery is dead or faulty, it will not charge the 12V auxiliary battery.
Regular checks will tell you how fast the electric battery is degrading. A mechanic should check the battery and confirm if you need a replacement.
6. Confirm the Status of the Kona Starter Motor
Your Kona may also fail to start if the starter motor is faulty. Most starter motors have an average life of 150,000 miles (241,402 km). If you run your car more, the starter motor will naturally have a shorter life.
You are dealing with a faulty starter if you hear a clicking sound when you attempt to start your Kona. However, you can only be sure of it if you confirm that the battery is in good condition.
If you confirm the starter motor is the problem, you should replace it.
7. Replace the Kona Electric Key Fob Battery
A weakened fob key battery is also a possible reason your Kona fails to start. These fob key issues are common—when using a Kona that only has the start/stop button without the key option.
If this is the problem, you’ll need to replace the battery. Most Hyundai key fobs use the CR2032 battery.
When replacing the batteries on your key fob, ensure you take a photo of the battery before removing it. This way, you place the new one correctly.
After replacing the battery, you’ll need to reprogram it to your car.
- Get into your Kona EV and lock the doors.
- Turn your ignition to the ‘ACC’ position.
- Hold the “unlock” or “open” button on your car key fob. Your car’s lights will flash to confirm the process was successful.
However, you can only reprogram the key fob if technicians programmed the fob with the car. If not, you’ll need to visit the Hyundai service center.
Ensure you confirm that the key fob is working. If not, you probably need to check the battery’s position.
8. Use the Hyundai Kona’s Digital Key To Start Your Car
The other alternative to the key fob is the Hyundai digital key, which you can use to open and start your Kona Electric vehicle.
The Hyundai digital key app is only available on Google Play Store. The digital key app is not an option if you have an iPhone.
To set it up, you need the following:
- An android Smartphone with a system version of 7.0
- You need Bluetooth 4.0 or the later versions
- Near Field Communication
- A MyHyundai account. This service will help you enroll and link Hyundai Digital Key services with your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
If you have all the above details, you are ready to download the Hyundai Digital Key App and follow the prompts. The 4-digit pin you’ll use on the app should be similar to your MyHyundai account.
Unfortunately, to use the digital key, it must be registered and paired with your phone beforehand. It may not be helpful if your car fails to start and you have not linked the digital key to your vehicle.
If you’ve paired the digital key and your Kona EV, you can use the app to open and start your Hyundai Kona EV.
- Hold your smartphone against the driver or passenger door to open it.
- Once inside, ensure your phone is close to the wireless charger before pressing the start button.
9. Check the Engine for Signs of Wire Damage
Rodents always find ways to get into the engine. Unless you are looking for them, you may not notice that they have chewed through the wires in the engine, including those that supply power to the starter.
If there are wires with rodent bites, you should replace those. Ask your mechanic to check the engine to confirm if you have a rodent problem. Unfortunately, you may have little control over rodent bites.
Regular engine checks will ensure you catch the rodents before they cause extensive damage.
You can also use the Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent Spray (available on Amazon.com). Its pleasant mint smell repels rodents and discourages them from nesting and chewing on wires in your car. Spray it on your engine and hidden areas underneath your vehicle. You can also use it in the car’s interior.
10. Check Your Hyundai Kona’s Engine for Failure
One of the significant causes of engine failure in EVs is overheating. The problem is less common in EVs than in gas-powered engines. However, the battery pack, climate control systems, and electric motors in EVs generate heat, which causes the engine to overheat.
The average temperature of most electric vehicles is 195°F – 220°F (95.5°C – 104°C). When the temperature rises above 220°F (104°C), your Kona EV will overheat, and it is likely to cause motor damage.
The impact of overheating in EVs includes the following:
- Degrading of the high voltage battery.
- Damage to the electric motors.
- Fluid leakages.
- Motor failure, including issues with starting the car
Unfortunately, engine failure from overheating results in multiple parts being affected simultaneously.
Potential engine failure is the reason you should have periodic checks. You can address these issues early, saving thousands of dollars in repairs. If your car is not starting, you need to consider the possibility of engine failure having a ripple effect on the car’s functions.
You must constantly monitor your Kona’s temperature to be conscious of moments when the engine is at risk of overheating.
It would help if you also control factors that lead to overheating.
- Avoid parking your car out in the sun for long hours.
- Monitor your charging pattern. You should avoid charging your EV multiple times a day.
- Avoid driving at top speed for hours without breaks.
- Take breaks when driving long distances to give the motor a chance to cool.
- It’s best to keep track of your car during the charge cycle—so it doesn’t overcharge. This process degrades your battery, making it vulnerable to overheating.
- Rapid charging is excellent because you don’t have to spend hours at the charging station. The downside is when used too frequently, it damages the battery and causes the car to overheat.
“One of the best electric vehicles (EV) under $50,000 that we’ve tested. It blends an enjoyable driving experience with practicality, and almost all of our praise for the gas-powered Kona holds true for its electric sibling”.Consumer Reports about the Kona Electric
What You Should Know / Relevant Tidbits
What Are the Most Common Problems With the Hyundai Kona Electric?
Common problems with Hyundai Kona Electric include battery issues not detected by the battery management system, overheating, blind spot collision system malfunctioning, and battery fires.
Why Is My Hyundai Kona EV Not Starting?
Your Hyundai Kona EV is probably not starting because of a dead battery or a failed starter. Test the 12V battery to see if it has low voltage. The high-voltage battery may also be out of charge.
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