“My Hyundai i30N Isn’t Making Pops & Bangs From The Exhaust” – Why & How To Fix

The “party piece” of the Hyundai i30N is the popping and banging from the exhaust, particularly when lifting off the throttle, changing gear or downshifting.

But what if your i30N isn’t popping and banging like it used to?

On this page I’ll share some simple solutions for an i30N that doesn’t pop and bang like it should.

Follow these steps in order and you should hopefully get your popping and banging sounds back.

Step 1 – Check For Any Warning Signs

The first thing to do is to ensure there isn’t a check engine light or anything else warning-wise showing on the car.

Like all modern cars, the i30N is heavily ‘protected’ insomuch that electronic systems conspire to prevent you from breaking the car if it’s already got something wrong with it (same reason this car has octane learning to ensure the fuel you provide it is actually up to the task).

If you see any warning signs/icons on the dash, chances are that will be the culprit as the car will be restricting itself … a trip to the dealer is required here.

Step 2 – Examine Fueling History

The Hyundai i30N requires “premium” fuel.

Depending on where you live the way the octane rating is stated may vary slightly … here in New Zealand the manufacturer specification is to fill with a minimum of 95 octane petrol.

If you’ve recently filled your car and the pops and bangs have stopped, consider a couple of scenarios as there is evidence that fuel changes can affect pops and bangs.

  1. Check that you actually used the required grade fuel (or higher)
  2. Check if you changed grade from last time (I have no evidence for this, but potentially a shift from say 95 to 98 or 100 octane could cause an ‘upset’ with the octane learning system that might restrict the pops and bangs)
  3. Make sure the petrol station hasn’t filled its own tanks incorrectly with either the wrong grade of fuel or some crap quality fuel! If you normally fill at one brand of station, e.g. you usually use BP 95 and then have to settle for some discount retailer 95 and that affects the sound, then use the tank up and try your normal brand again. Realistically this is unlikely, but worth considering.
  4. Make sure you aren’t using a lower-than-specified fuel grade.

As harsh as it sounds ,if you can’t afford to fill an i30N on premium fuel, you can’t afford to run one.

Step 2 – Check The Drive Mode

The most likely culprit for an i30N that isn’t sounding like it should is simply that you have the wrong drive mode selected.

In normal and eco modes, the car doesn’t pop and bang much (if at all).

In sport mode, the exhaust volume increases and you get some crackling, but I find not a great deal (I find sport to be a good option for a more “mature” drive in that sense).

To test the exhaust, go into N mode or N custom (see my comment below) and then give the car a good thrashing, basically.

Step 3 – Maximise Exhaust Setting On N Custom And Try Again

On a couple of occasions I’ve found (for no explicable reason other than it being some kind of bug/glitch) that I get more aggressive popping and banging on N Custom with the exhaust sound maxed out via the customisation menu, compared to “normal” N mode … which is too damn harsh for the road anyway.

I believe that by default N Custom doesn’t max out the exhaust volume, so if you haven’t played with that then put the time aside to try.

Step 4 – Drive Differently (i.e. More Aggressively)

If you’ve gone through the steps above, it may just be that your driving style is not conducive to pops and bangs. Even in N/N Custom modes you won’t get a lot of popping and banging if you really “grandma drive” the car.

So get it warmed up, find a quiet stretch of road (being careful to, ahem, not break the speed limit and all that) and then drive the car like it’s meant to be driven and see if that works.

For my i30N, I can always reliably produce pops and bangs in N or N Custom (with max exhaust) by shifting to 2nd gear and accelerating aggressively to around 4500-5000 rpm and then letting quickly off the throttle.

Step 5 – Call The Dealer

If you try all those steps above, it’s probably a trip to the dealer on the cards for you.

The i30N (along with the other N cars in Hyundai’s lineup) are known for occasionally having exhaust valve issues. It’s possible that the exhaust valve has failed and is stuck closed, for example, restricting the volume and popping/banging of the exhaust. You *should* be able to test for this easily by checking in the fundamental noise/tone of the exhaust changes going between modes – the car sounds a lot louder from the outside at least in sport/N than in normal and eco. If you change to one of the sportier modes and the noise doesn’t change at all (at idle) it’s entirely possible the valve has stuck shut.

I’ve seen a few reports of cars having the whole exhaust box replaced under warranty for either excessive rattling in normal/eco modes (or on startup) or due to the pops/bangs not working.

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