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 6 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #89

Jul 152013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles


My car comes with a TPMS system to monitor the air pressure in each tire. Intermittently the warning light indicating there is a problem with one of the tires comes on. A check with a pressure gauge of each tire always indicates a false alarm. Talking with other Sonata owners I have anecdotal evidence that I'm not the only one with this problem. When bringing the car back to the dealer they say they can't fix it because there's no issue when the car is at their garage. This can be a dangerous problem for a number of reasons - 1. the false alarm is distracting, at highway speeds this can cause the operator to think they should pull over in a dangerous environment to avoid having a bigger problem. 2. after it happens a couple of times the operator might ignore a real problem. Yet the manufacturer refuses to address the problem.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #88

Jan 012013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
An existing recall (NHTSA campaign number: 13V113000) indicates that for 2011 Hyundai Sonata the stop lamp switch may not function correctly. The recall notice states that: "during the affected models' production periods, some vehicles were equipped with stop lamp switch assemblies that may experience intermittent switch point contact. This condition could potentially result in intermittent operation of the push-button start feature, intermittent ability to remove the vehicle's shifter from the park position, illumination of the ┐ESC┐Ł (electronic stability control) indicator lamp in the instrument cluster, intermittent interference with operation of the cruise control feature, or intermittent operation of the stop lamps." All of these symptoms have been observed in my vehicle, yet this VIN is not covered in the recall notice.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #87

Apr 112013


  • 33,500 miles
When driving to work I had just gotten on highway when I felt a thud and transmission jerked. I first thought that I hit something on the road but hadn't. I noticed my speed was reduced to 55mph and the RPM, S increased to 3500 from the previous 2000 RPM.I had had this problem twice now and read online that by pulling over to a stop and shut off the ignition will reset the transmission electrical controls.I without doing this the trans. Will remain in whats called limp gear(4th) and will remain in that gear at all speeds untill you shut off the ignition and it will then reset hopefully.I am scheduled to have the dealer look into this and hopefully can come up with a fix, as this is the 2nd time I will have the vehicle in for the same problem.the only bad thing about diagonalizing this problem has been the fact that no check engine code light is on the dash and I was told the first time that without this and the fact that by driving it and duplicate the occurrence they don't know what to fix.

- Le Sueur, MN, USA

problem #86

Apr 102013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,793 miles


I purchased/ picked up my certified 2011 Hyundai Sonata on 4/4/13. On 4/10 the push start failed. I had to call the Hyundai service department and was walked thru the over ride process to get the car started. Immediately made a service appointment for this issue and took it in on 4/13. On this day it was discovered that there was an issue with the thermostat and they needed to correct it, I authorized it and it was all covered under the warranty. There was no out of pocket expense. I picked my car up that same evening and drove it home and no where else for the rest of the weekend. 4/18 about 22 miles down the highway the engine light comes on. 4/19 took it in, I was told the thermostat part that was installed was obsolete and they had my car for 6 days waiting on the new part and doing installation. I was provided a rental car at $60+ out of pocket cost for insurance. Picked up my car 4/25 and drove it about 175 miles ( it is 126 miles round trip from home to work) and 4/26 the engine light comes on again. I sit here now with no Hyundai because it is at the dealers getting repairs again!!! again!!! opted not to use the rental car service this time as it would cost more than $50 per day out of my own pocket for an uncertained amount of time. Nothing but problems and I havent even made my first car payment yet. And on 4/24 the day before I pick my car up for the second time, a recall was issued for the brake lamps...really Hyundai"?? really??? what makes this car certified? what was the inspection exactly that occured to certify this vehicle?"

- Moreno Valley , CA, USA

problem #85

Feb 252013


  • 72,000 miles
I bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata in March of 2010 brand new. I have had problems with the tires had to be replaced after year two, and when they were being replaced they said that the air valve on the tire was corroded when I went to Hyundai to get the part replaced they said that it wasn't corroded it was broke off because there wan't a cap on it and it got wet. So, they said that I had to buy a new one, and they would send it up under the warranty and I would be refunded that did not happen. After that my push start would not start when I pushed it. I would have to push it about three times and then it would finally start. I took it to Hyundai, and had it replaced not under warranty any more is what they told me. So I paid the $287 for it. After I got it home and went into grab something came back out and it did it again. Took it back to gateway Hyundai in richmond to have it fixed and they said it needed a nother starter. I didn't have to pay for the part but I was going to have to pay for the labor. Nope didn't get it fixed. I would just start it three times instead. Then I had to replace the brakes last year 2012 because it wore only on one side, and now the engine blew a rod. They claimed that it was because of not having enough oil in it, but then told me I had a quart to much of oil. Now really does that make any sense? this is absolutely ridiculous. Then they told me I could trade it in for a new Hyundai but would have to put $5000 down on it which is convienantly the amount they quoted me to have my engine fixed because they said it wasn't under warranty because I hadn't kept all my receipts for oil changes for the past three years.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #84

Apr 172013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 34,300 miles
This vehicle is equipped with proximity key system. The vehicle would not start even with the key in the vehicle, we tired to use both keys, the vehicle would not recognize either key. Lights illuminated in the dash, engine light and oil light (car not running) other lights lit in gear shifter and still no connection. We could not open the trunk there is no key slot and the key fob trunk button would not unlock trunk. Car was towed to the nearest dealer. Note: This is the second time our vehicle experienced this problem. January 2013 same problem where we needed a tow to the dealership. Same problem 4 months apart.

- Huntington , NY, USA

problem #83

Apr 082013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,869 miles


The push to start button does not recognize the key fob while depressing the break pedal. The vehicle is totally disabled. I was unable to bypass the push button system. The vehicle had to be towed to the dealership under warranty. Apparently, this is a major problem for 2011 Sonata' far, the Hyundai Corp. Has not responded to numerous owner complaints. The dealerships just replace what they believe is a faulty brake/ignition switch, even though some vehicles have had the switches replaced more than once. I've been unable to locate any recall information as of yet.

- Palm Bay , FL, USA

problem #82

Mar 312013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Brake pedal sensor failure resulted in a car that wouldn't start. The key-less entry depends on the brake pedal being depressed, otherwise the ignition will not turn over. Under normal operation when the driver is trying to start the car, the key must be inside the vehicle, the driver must depress the brake pedal and then press the ignition button. The car normally turns over. In this situation all systems function as if the car does not know the brake peddle is being depressed. The battery has full charge, all accessories function normally, but the ignition will not turn over. Because there is no way to manually start the car, the car is rendered completely useless.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #81

Sep 032012


  • 23,000 miles
I have several complaints regarding this vehicle. I have had this car two years and about two months and have had nothing but problems (purchased brand new) -- I've had to get a new motor (engine caught on fire (electrical/smoking) while driving down the beltway), replaced tire rod, need 4 brand new tires, transmission slipping, and other electrical problems with cooling/heating system (the blower does not work for air pointed in the floor direction), strong smell of gas fumes inside of the vehicle. The gas mileage gauge is inaccurate -- I get no where near the highway nor city miles. The gas meter is not registering. Parts on the electrical system have been randomly replaced. I have had all schedule services on my vehicle as well as extras such as special replacement filters, etc. I have also had problems with the breaking system. I believe I've purchased a complete lemon. The current mileage on the vehicle is 27700 miles. There is no way I should be having this many problems as frequently as I have been having. The car's steering pulls to the left as well. I should not have to replace tires only after two years of driving after putting nitrogen as advised. I've noticed a noise when turning the steering to the left as well as if the left tire rod or axle wants to break -- weird feeling turn the car. The alarm system is failing to lock all of the doors -- only the drivers door. -- dealers solution...purchase a new one "?? really"

- Forestville, MD, USA

problem #80

Aug 152012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I was driving at the freeway speed limit, I did not feel anything when it happened but I know that it happened on the freeway. I pulled over to get some gas, looked back near the gas cap and saw that my driver's side tailight assembly was hanging by the wires onto my bumper. When it fell out, it bounced and placed several dings and chips in the plastic bumper. I noticed that the wheels(cogs) inside the tailight assembly were completely broken off. I had to take the light out and place it in my trunk and drive the rest of the two hundred miles with no left tail light or turn signal. If it had fallen into the middle of the freeway, I am sure there would have been much more to write about and none of it good!

- San Andreas, CA, USA

problem #79

Dec 022012


  • 36,100 miles


Try to start vehicle, depress brake and push ignition switch. Vehicle does not recognize keyfob being in car. This has happened a total of three times in the one week I have owned the car. After multiple attempts car will respond. But on one occasion did not start for over 4 hours. Eventually had to get a jump and car started.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #78

Nov 262012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,838 miles
I was approaching an intersection that had a red light and stopped vehicles. I began to apply the brakes and slow down to under 10 mph. The car would not come to a stop. I had the brake pedal pressed as hard as I could and it did not stop. I did a google search on Hyundai Sonata 2011 brake problems and got 598,000 results. In a brief scan through those results I found 7 other reports of the exact same problem. This demands someone look into this now! I copied those web posting if you want them let me know!

- Mcmurray, PA, USA

problem #77

Dec 012010

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
I have had recurring problems with the keyless ignition. The car frequently does not start or will not turn off. I have had it repaired three times. I believe that there is a design defect. The service department at the dealership told me it is with all 2011 Hyundai Sonatas and I should just get a new car. I am filing a complaint with BBB autoline (call 800-633-5151) and my state consumer protection department in the state attorney general's office. I am also thinking of taking them to court (my family member is an attorney). If anyone else has this problem, please file complaints everywhere you can. Start by opening a case with Hyundai (call 800-633-5151). Then file a complaint with the BBB. Then file a complaint here and with your state consumer protection Agency. Just because it is not causing injury does not mean it does not merit a recall of the vehicle.

- Beachwood , OH, USA

problem #76

Dec 152010


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while parked, she pressed the key less ignition button to start the vehicle but the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated the sensor switch would have to be replaced. After the repair the failure continued intermittently. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer two more times for the replacement of the sensor switch. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 3,000.

- Beachwood, OH, USA

problem #75

Nov 142012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 30,869 miles
I have had my vehicle in for service 5 times for the same issue, it would not start. The first 3 times a sensor switch was replaced. The fourth time I was told my battery was the issue so I got a new battery. Today was the fifth time and the service dept indicated they could not find anything wrong but they went ahead and replaced the sensor switch again. I am not happy, I feel that I cannot depend on my vehicle. I am planning an out of town trip for thanksgiving and have resorted to renting a vehicle because I am paranoid about being stranded on the road with this issue. I paid alot of money for this vehicle and this just is not right. I am considering trading it in for a vehicle that starts the traditional way (with a key).

- Pelham, AL, USA

problem #74

Oct 132012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
Difficulty depressing brake pedal in order to start engine...third replaced brake switch other two times.

- South Setauket, NY, USA

problem #73

Oct 012012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 31,500 miles
Elec stability control lite on after starting car. Failed to start one time. Dealer investigated. Found part # 93810-3S000 (switch assm stop lamp) defective. Replaced switch. I checked the internet for this part number and found a significant number of failures of this switch. This switch can fail at anytime, causing loss of power and other symptoms. I sent this same message to Hyundai consumers affairs. This switch must be marginally functional for it's purpose due the number of failures noted on the internet. Hopefully, Hyundai will take action on this switch. Thanks in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

- Goodyear, AE, USA

problem #72

Sep 292011


  • 31,000 miles
This is the third time that I have gone to start the car and it failed to start because of a defective brake pedal sensor. The sensor has been replaced twice now. The second incident did not leave any codes for the dealership to find a problem due to the battery being disconnected. This appears to be a known problem for this model.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #71

Sep 082011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 25,734 miles
My skid light warning light kept coming on. They said a brake lamp switch was pulling a fault code, so they replaced it. Nine months later my skid light warning was randomly coming on again. They ran a test again saying it was a faulty brake lamp switch again. Before I could get it in for repairs the transmission range sensor malfunction on Aug 14 2012. Picked up my car again and the skid traction warning light came on again. I took it in again this time the tcs light was on and the shifter was not releasing.they tested the brake switch circuit and found no power to the brake switch. They replaced the fuse box and harness cable. I have called three different dealerships service departments and they all say there is a problem with the brake lamp switch causing the tcs warning light to come on. If it is effecting other cars there most be a national problem and should be a recall before there is a fatality. I have had this car for 2 years now and had it in for electrical problems over eight times.

- Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #70

Aug 262012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 18,047 miles
Vehicle engine was shut off in a construction zone, waiting for line to move. Engine (push button start) would not engage, thus causing major traffic issues. Everything done according to manual trying to get starter to engage. Engine starter finally engaged after setting for sometime. This is the third occurrence of this same problem. Suspect linkage between brake sensor and start button. Could be a serious safety issue.

- Hood River, OR, USA

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