Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2011 Sonata has a seriously defective engine that seizes without warning. It was awarded the dubious honor of being the first CarTalk / CarComplaints Turd of the Week in late September 2015.

A class action lawsuit was filed in May 2015 against Hyundai that claims the 2.4L Sonata engine is defective. More info here.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,500 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2011 Hyundai Sonata electrical problems

electrical problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 2 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #169

Apr 272016


  • 101,000 miles


While driving 45mph I experience my steering wheel shaking and it leaves the vehicle hard to control and it pulls to the right. I then started to experience my car not starting after sitting for not even 5 minutes and this has been occurring for 2 days. I took my car to the local dealership and was advised that I needed to replace the starter lever and steering coupler. Both of these are common defects of this model and has been recalled in the past. I called Hyundai today and was told that I am now responsible for the cost of the repairs regardless of what happened in the past. The repairs are going to cost me a little over $600 when the parts are plastic and wouldn't cost more than $20. A complaint has been filed with the BBB as well...this is a major safety issue on this vehicle and the manufacture needs to do a better job at building these parts.

- Lithia Springs, GA, USA

problem #168

Nov 122015


  • miles
To start with the airbag light on the drivers side will not go off even though the vehicle has never been in an accident. Additionally none of the steering wheel controls will work at all. I have looked online and these seem to be a rampant problem with the 2011 model.

- Wahiawa, HI, USA

problem #167

Apr 112016


  • 55,000 miles
When I place my car in park the car is, telling me to shift to park but I'm already in park. My car will turn off but my navigation screen stays on. Also the engine push to start/stop light won't turn off. In addition I am unable to use my favorite to lock the doors because it thinks my keys are still in the vehicle so I have to manually lock it. The car seems to stall occasionally and I have to gas it to pick up speeds and I've only had the car for two months.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #166

Sep 012015


  • miles


The airbag light comes on when the car is crunk and will not go off. Has been on for months. No car accidents either.

- Deland, FL, USA

problem #165

Mar 312016


  • 68,500 miles
ECM computer failed. Nothing will work. Not only undrivable, it is unstartable! had to be towed from our driveway. (many systems on this car have failed previously!!) cannot get local dealer to repair it. No one seems to know what to do. Hyundais are a joke!!

- Bastrop, TX, USA

problem #164

Mar 142016


  • 8 miles
Hand brake light doesn't stay on. If the hand brake is applied the dashboard doesn't indicate that it's on. The car still drives and driver unaware that the hand brake is on applies brake causing severe sharing and loosing control of car. The car was driven on street for 8 miles with hand brake on.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #163

Mar 162016


  • 87,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start without warning. The contact stated that the vehicle was able to start after an hour of attempting. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 87,000.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #162

Mar 012016


  • 105,500 miles
When attempting to start the car yesterday normally, the car did not start. After reading the owners manual I discovered how to insert the smart key into a slot within the center arm rest compartment and the car starts normally. However the car cannot be locked or unlocked with the smart key anymore. The car was in the garage on the day of failure. Also when moving in reverse, and turning the steering wheel, there are clumping sounds from underneath the vehicle and that's getting louder. Unfortunately we owner's do not get any type of resolutions on these issues. Hyundai needs to step up and rectify these concerns. Ooh they got their money already....

- San Tan Valley, AZ, USA

problem #161

Feb 202016


  • 100,000 miles
Car will not start when I hit the start button. Sometimes it will and sometimes it takes 4 or 5 times to start. Car makes an electrical rattle like noise but doesn't turn over. Also, when I try to shut the car off, my display will tell me to shift to park and the radio will stay on. I've had the car in for the shift lever cable recall but I believe there is more to this. The car is doing the same thing before and after the recall fix. I commute 200 miles to work so the miles I post will be high.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #160

Dec 012015


  • 80,000 miles
Takata recall brake lamp staying on when turn lights on. Clicking noise under the hood. Car stalling

- Sherman, TX, USA

problem #159

Oct 022015


  • miles


Cant get light to work, have replace bulbs a few times, and have take it to an advance auto place where they have told me it's a problem with the electric work and engine not the bulb. The bulbs were fine and not burnt out. Have been having issues since last October 1st was only one head light now as of this weekend its both.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #158

Jan 182016


  • 153,815 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While the vehicle was being serviced according to NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine), the technician informed the contact that the recall was not able to be serviced. The malfunction indicator lamp and the mileage control circuit needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 153,815. Updated 03/16/16

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #157

Dec 112015


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owned a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle caught fire without warning. The vehicle was smoking and erupted into flames shortly thereafter. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 102,000.

- Havre De Grace, MD, USA

problem #156

Oct 032015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
October 3rd 2015, I was driving on highway 78 West. I was in the vehicle with my 3 year old daughter. I was driving in a 2 way lane that was under construction. All off a sudden without any warning my vehicle started to decelerate on the highway. I immediately had no control and my speed was decreasing fast. I was in the left lane and in matter of 4-7 minutes my car engine was shutting down on the highway. I was almost hit by multiple trucks who continued to fly by my vehicle on the highway as I tried to find some where in enough time to bear off. Putting me and my 3 year old daughter in immediate danger. Needless to say I was terrified. I was finally able to pull off into the right lane and pull my vehicle into the shoulder of the highway. Since I was in an area that was under construction on this highway the shoulder space was very limited. I could feel the trucks pass my car and I was scared for my life and my daughter?S life. I had an immediate panic attack and thought my daughter and myself was going to die. This has caused a great deal of hardship on myself and my daughter. We have been without our vehicle since this incident. Hyundai in lebanon, pa has had my vehicle since 10/3/15 and continue to give me the run around. They say they ordered a new engine, but it has not shipped to the dealer yet. This incident has created a tremendous hardship for me and my family. I continue to be at a disadvantage as I am driving a rented vehicle. Meanwhile I continue to pay for a car I have not driven for over 3 months. Your immediate assistance would be appreciated. This issue I am having with my vehicle is due to a recall campaign 132. This recall was due to the engine malfunction that Hyundai is aware of. My vehicle stalled while in motion on the highway, putting my life and my 3 year old daughter's life at risk.

- Jonestown, PA, USA

problem #155

Dec 292015


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the exterior lighting, alarm system, front passenger side headlight, and lower brake lights failed. The alarm system activated randomly. The contact received a notification for NHTSA campaign number: 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic) and stated that the vehicle experienced the brake light failures listed in the consequence section of the notice. The vehicle was repaired, but the issue spread to other lighting and electrical components. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 73,000.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #154

Dec 232015


  • 78,000 miles
Dashboard warning signs started blinking (wrench, battery, etc) while I was driving the car on a city 4-lane highway (route 1 in baltimore) at a speed of 30-50 mph. After starting and stopping my car, a Sonata hybrid, several times, eventually I lost all power to the car such that the brakes and steering would not work. At this point I was only going ~10 mph. Luckily I was at the mall at this point and the car came to a stop on its own. The car would not start and the door locks and fob did not work. I then had it towed to the dealer. They replaced an electrical board of some type and then were able to drive it but also noted all of the dashboard alarms going off. Their current working diagnosis is that there is a problem with the connection to the electric battery causing high resistance. It is still under repair at the dealer. I am worried that this could happen again.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #153

Dec 212015


  • 78,000 miles
Tinging sound comes and goes while driving, erratic shifting multiple gears, oil light comes on with moderate acceleration, there is a recall on this but I do not have the number. Recall on engine. II have been to the dealer who claims they are not able to replicate but will not allow me to drive with them.

- Spring Hill, FL, USA

problem #152

Dec 202015


  • 78,000 miles
Tinging metal sound while driving. Immediately after start it dies, oil light comes on moderate acceleration, shifts erratic and hard in multiple gears

- Spring Hill, FL, USA

problem #151

Dec 132015


  • miles
I am having trouble starting and completely shutting my car down. When I hit the button to start it I get a rattle noise and the the engine doesn't turn over. When I try to shut it off the display in the car will tell me to shift to park when already in park and the radio will not shut off. I have to re-start the car and move the shift lever from park to drive and back to get it to shut down. This goes on several times some days. Also when I'm driving in automatic, the car will suddenly go into manual first gear and I will have to shift over to manual and back to auto to put it in drive. I had a recall for shift lever problems before but I think there is more to the problem then what they are fixing. This car seems to have many electrical problems. My HVAC also has quit working while driving and had to shut the car down before it would work again.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #150

Dec 122015


  • 65,000 miles
I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata with approximately 65,000 miles. In 2015 the steering wheel locked twice while on but parked. The ESC and power steering indicators were on. After a while the issues spontaneously resolved in these instances and the vehicle able to be driven. In October 2015 the power steering locked up while driving the vehicle on a city street (speed <40mph). I was unable to turn the steering wheel and navigate resulting in several near misses with street parked vehicles before being able to stop the vehicle. Car towed to the dealership where they stated that they drove the vehicle around and "recalibrated it." Two months later while again traveling on city streets (<40mph) the steering wheel began to shake violently and I was unable to steer, again almost resulting in a significant crash. During this incident the same ecs and power steering indicators lit up. Unable to steer I was forced to stop and turn off my vehicle in the middle of a busy road. However, once the vehicle was turned off the steering wheel continued to shake violently until someone who came to assist me shut off the car battery. The car was towed to the dealership where upon showing them video the service manager stated he had never seen this occur in his 20 years of employment. The car is scheduled to be assessed on Monday. Internet searches show other videos of this make/model with the same violently shaking wheel and reports of accident close-calls. My specific car was part of an earlier recall (campaign 097) related to power steering that was reportedly fixed at that time, therefore this car clearly has known problems in this domain. I will never get back in this vehicle and will likely lose money on a trade in. There are clearly significant safety issues with this vehicle that have not been resolved by the earlier recall. Video link: Https://

- Hyde Park, MA, USA

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