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 7 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #69

Jul 232012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles


Car will not start! Hyundai replaced the brake switch and now it is happening again. This happens a couple times per week. This will be my second visit to Hyundai. This should be a recall! we could be without necessary transportation.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #68

Jun 012011


  • 19,000 miles
The engine failed to start. When you press on the start pedal, it locks up and does not recognize the key fob in the vehicle. The dealer said the brake switch needed to be replaced. This happened in June 2011 and now again in July 2012. It looks as if I will have to take it in every year for the same problem. The ESC electronic stability control light comes on also during this issue perhaps the 2 go hand in hand. This is totally unacceptable after I paid 25K for this vehicle. No more Hyundai for me at least not in my lifetime!!

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #67

Jun 292012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 10,120 miles
After having the vehicle idle for approximately 40 minute with my family inside the vehicle, the left front side caught on fire. Damaged to the left side fog light, engine area. Vehicle was taken to Hyundai services station in New York (bronx services station), and them the nightmare started. After 14 days and multiple calls / visits to the services station, I was not giving a reason for the incident. All Hyundai did for me was waste my time and effort, they do not back that so call bumper to bumper warranty. Ps huyndai veh engineer that look at my car was a joke, all he did was look at the car and stated "its missing something".he also refused to id himself... corporate office would not give any solution except for my to go thru my insurance.....dont bother complaining just go to the media with your issues.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #66

Jul 012011


  • 15,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that he started the vehicle and the tire pressure monitoring light and air bag light both illuminated. The air conditioner also would not function. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnosis and transmission software was installed into the vehicle. Shortly after the repair, the failures began to occur again. The vehicle was taken to the dealer again for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the engine control module was replaced. After the repair, the traction control light illuminated. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 15,000 and the current mileage was 33,000.

- Dover, NH, USA

problem #65

Jul 092012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 28,212 miles
3X the driver window button is inoperable. Would turn off car and then it would again work. The worst issue is this: Started up car this morning 7-9-12 (this is the 3rd occurrence) and the doors do not lock, then I put it in reverse and it goes about 2 feet and it applies the brakes. I noticed each time the gear console does not light up. The car actually does not go into gear. Each time I have turned off the ignition and restarted it and it works fine. It's going to the shop for the 30K check up and this will be brought up. The drivers window has been brought up and the dealer has said there was no problem. Wrong. There is when it doesn't work. I had one of these in 2001 and it too had electrical issues. My neighbor just sold their 05 Sonata due to electrical issues.

- Winchester, KY, USA

problem #64

Jul 062012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 18,346 miles
Car won't start.

- Columbia, IL, USA

problem #63

Aug 292011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 8,226 miles


Car would not start.. dealer replaced brake switch.

- Columbia, IL, USA

problem #62

Jun 262012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 29,850 miles
While going down the hill, the car dash board suddenly pop up the message check charging system with a loud noise. After get off on the first Ram, turn the car off then on again the message go away, able to run again without any warning. For the seat belt, the one on the driver side sometime it's hard to pull out specially in the morning. It's also worn out after 5000 mile.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #61

Jun 232012


  • 15,100 miles
Car will randomly not start after parking it. Depress brake pedal through the floor, press start button, yet it says "press down brake pedal to start". this is the third time in three weeks. The first time I got it started after ~30 minutes. Second time, within ~ 5 - 10 minutes. This third time, I couldn't get it started. Had to call for a ride. Went back next day, tried again unsuccessfully for ~ 30 minutes. Called roadside assistance. They never came. After ~1:45 minutes, I tried one more time and got it to start. Each time, the steering wheel was turned strongly to the left and it felt locked. Each time I was eventually able to yank the steering wheel to the right and was able to get it to release. Felt like the hydraulics kicked in. Then, it would start each time. This didn't happen the first time I messed with the steering wheel....but each time I was able to eventually make it do it. Until then, it had that locked feeling of no hydraulics. Other than this, no brake issues, no steering issues, no lights on dash, etc. One exception, first time coming down a hill, I had the ESC (brake) light come on briefly. Very similar to other reports on this website.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #60

Jun 202012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
This is the second time that we have been unable to start our 2011 Hyundai Sonata SE. The first incident occured less than 1 year ago and was determined by our local hyudnai dealer to be a faulty brake lamp switch. The part was replaced and we were told that this has been a problem with other 2011 Sonatas, which is why the part is in stock. The new part was not supposed to cause the same problem to reoccur-but it has! the vehicle is at the dealer as I file this complaint and the brake lamp switch is again at fault. I have found numerous complaints on line by other owners that had and are having the exact same problem. This seem to be a widespread defect and needs to be addressed immediately! this is my wife's car and we are very concerned with her safety and the vehicle's questionable reliability!

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #59

May 302012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles


The key gets stuck in the ignition after turning off the car and won't come out. The car is in park, but the key won't turn completely off or come out.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #58

May 132012


  • 15,000 miles
Driving at 40 mph and lost power. Car came to stop in middle of road and "check charging system" warning light came on. Tried several times and finally restarted. Continued about a block then it happened again. Got it started, drove a little further and it happened again. Got the car home and called Hyundai service to have car towed to dealer.

- Redmond, WA, USA

problem #57

Dec 132011


  • 12,000 miles
The engine failed to start. When you press on the start pedal, it would "lock" up and not recognize the automatic key in the vehicle. Took it to a dealer who said the brake switch needed replacing. Now, at the end of April, again, it is happening. It is going in again this week for the same situation. Also at the same time the ESC electronic stability control light goes on randomly and stays on until the engine is restarted. I used the override procedure someone else mentioned to get the car going -- depress and hold the brake pedal for 30 seconds. Even once the engine started, the gear shift remained stuck in park and took awhile to take it out of this position. When I was idling in park today, the same thing happened which told me the situation was getting worse.

- Coopersburg, PA, USA

problem #56

Jan 012012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
The 2011 Sonata is unable to start by pressing down on both the brake pedal and start button. I had this problem for over 3 months. This failure happens about 1-2 times a week. Once failed to start, the brake pedal locked up while the dashboard display still says "press down brake pedal to start." With repeated tries to start the car, it sometimes started after 5-10 minutes, but sometimes it took over 1 hours to start the engine. Hyundai dealership said they cannot help because the problem cannot be reproduced when they service the car. It is a rather new car but very unreliable.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #55

Mar 042012


  • 3,900 miles
From: subject: Re: Hyundai Sonata 2011 date: Tue, 6 Mar 2012 18:01:34 -0700 dear javier rivera: Thank you for contacting Hyundai motor America. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you, but we apologize for the circumstances that prompted your contact. We would like to refer you to your servicing dealership for the diagnosis of your battery concern prior to any decisions being made about a buyback situation. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you but we need additional information regarding your situation to review your case further. Once you have contacted your dealership for the repair details, please contact us with the dealership contact information that includes who is working with you and what they are offering to do to address your concerns. We have documented your comments. Your case number 4751061 can be referenced if we can provide further assistance. Thank you for contacting Hyundai motor America. To: sent: Mon, 05 Mar 2012 20:55:27 -0700 subject: Hyundai Sonata 2011 to whom it may concern, I am the owner of a Hyundai Sonata hybrid 2011. I recently bought the car in November 2011. I was very excited of buying my first hybrid and the significant savings in gas. I have been happy with the car, although I have realized that the savings in gas were good in the beginning, but have dramatically decrease lately. I thought it was our driving and had not paid too much attention to this until yesterday when the following incident occurred. Yesterday, Sunday March 4, 2012, around 9:00 am on our way to church with the entire family, while my son, 15 years old with a learners permit. Out of the blue the car jerked, stalled and completely lost power on southwest parkway. My son, an inexperience driver, totally panic and almost crashed into a passing car. The car was towed to the dealer, round rock Hyundai in tx. Today the dealer was unable to give additional

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #54

Mar 262011


  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the air bag warning light was illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised him that the air bag sensor needed to be reprogrammed. The vehicle was repaired for the sensor. After leaving the dealer, the light illuminated again. In addition, the vehicle refused to start on one occasion and the contact noticed smoke coming from the engine. The vehicle was later towed to the dealer where they advised him that the ground cable was defective and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired for the ground cable. The contact also stated that the front driver side window was open and could not be closed. The window failure was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 14,000.

- East Jewett, NY, USA

problem #53

Feb 092012


  • 15,000 miles
I have the same problem with the brake switch car won't start with push button start on my SE. I jumped the car got it started took it to the dealer they could not find out what was wrong with it. It happened again I called the dealership to take it back again and the service advisor I have delt with for 6 years was there she told me they have been replacing these switches and if it happens again just hold down the push button start for 30 seconds and it will over ride the switch and start. Well she was right it happened this morning I put my foot on the brake and held in the push button and it started after about 20 seconds. I take it in tomorrow to have the switch replaced.

- Bethel Park, PA, USA

problem #52

Jan 202012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 15,990 miles
Add on to ODI # 10440320 I was driving and twice when I tried to stop to make a turn the engine kept overriding the brake and the car kept lurching ahead. I applied the brake peddle as hard as I could and the car would not stop. When I released the break peddle, the car started acting normal again. By this time I was way over the center line of the road and if there had been another car at the intersection I would have certainty hit them. This is the second and third time this has happened with this car and I believe it should be taken off the road before someone get killed. If I was pulling up behind another car at a stop sign and this happened I would rear end the car in front. If I was stopping at a pedestrian crossing and this happened I could run someone over and kill them.

- Brodhead, WI, USA

problem #51

Dec 172011


  • 6,300 miles
After having 3 of 5 recall fixes performed, battery charging system warning light and sounds activated. Car lost power at low revs. Required giving full throttle to enable gas engine to kick in and gain enough speed to safely stay with traffic. After pulling over and turning engine off/on, problem seemed to resolve itself. Happened again in highway traffic while entering exit ramp resulting in a dangerous loss of power. Returned vehicle to dealership for repair. Dealership assured me that they knew what the issue was and that it would be repaired. 2 days later issue happened 3 times. Each time on the highway at approx. 65mph with nowhere safe to conveniently pull over.

- Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #50

Dec 222011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 17,000 miles
I have experienced this problem 3 times, my 2011 Hyundai Sonata limited failed to start. I like many others had my foot on the brake and hit the start button as I usually do and nothing happened but the dashboard indicator kept reading "press on brake pedal and push button to start" I repeatedly tried over and over. After 15-20 failed attempts I pulled out my manual, no work around. I then called the dealer, who told me to stomp on the brake hard. I did and after three cycles it started.

- Leesburg, VA, USA

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