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 9 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Aug 152011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles


Hyundai Sonata hybrid stops loses power comes to complete stop - while driving down the road at about 40 mph car lost power and came to complete stop. I had to completely shut off the car and restart it before it would move again.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #28

Jun 012011


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, all of the lamps on the instrument panel illuminated, the air conditioner system failed, and the engine began to lose power. The contact also stated that once the vehicle was shut off and restarted, it functioned as normal. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 3,000 and the current mileage was 4,400. The failure recurred at 4,400 miles, traveling at 45 mph. Car at dealership now, I am told the problem is a component that determines if car is in engine or electric mode. Part is on order- svc mgr. Did not know name of part. Updated 10/06/2011

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #27

Aug 072011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 2,539 miles
My 2011 Hyundai Sonata hybrid "check charging system" lamp illuminated with chime alarm activation while driving, causing loss of engine power. Hybrid battery charge level was at 1/2, which is where it normally is. I pressed on gas pedal and got no response, and vehicle came to a stop as if I applied the parking brake. I placed vehicle in park, shut off engine and re-started it and it ran normally. This is the second time it happened in the past 4 weeks or so. On a Hyundai forum website, there is at least 1 other customer which has had the same problem with their hybrid as myself. It is very dangerous situation if you are on the highway and you are forced to stop while in flow of traffic.

- Westtown, NY, USA

problem #26

Jul 072011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 2,217 miles


Engine can easily become hydro-locked in heavy rain and road splash back from other vehicles due to the design of the direct air intake of the Sonata hybrid. With its design, it does not have any water baffles to prevent water from entering the air filter and once it enters the air filter box, there are no drain holes for it to drain out. This forces the water through the engine as that is the only way for it to get out of the filter box. When the engine stalled, no electronic control warning lights were illuminated and the car remained in the ┐ready┐ state. This could lead to damage of the hev system and battery pack. Per the technician servicing the car, they stated that the hev warning light only illuminated when the hev battery reaches 15% charge (the point at which they have to replace it), this contradicts with the owner's manual as well as counteracts the purpose of a warning lamp. Due to the nature of the design where the computer controls when the engine start/stops, the engine can damage itself before preventative action can be taken. For example, when the engine stalls due to water ingestion through the air filter and the oxygen sensor determines it cannot compensate, the engine will stall, but before the situation can be rectified, the computer attempted to restart the engine causing it to become hydro-locked. With my experience, I am convinced that the design of the car is flawed and is unreliable to drive in a heavy rain scenario which leaves it unusable several times a year. I have owned several hybrids in the past (2001 and 2005 Toyota prius) that I operated through the same conditions as your vehicle and I did not experience any problems with them. Additionally, with the Toyota, when the engine stalls against the computer's control (e.g.: running out of fuel), the hev and engine warning light both illuminated and the ┐ready┐ light was de-illuminated.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #25

Jul 202011


  • 9,000 miles
Wife activated the horn to get my attention. It sounded one short beep and went dead. Has not worked since. Horn can hardly be heard standing next the car let alone trying to get someone's attention inside a vehicle with the windows rolled up and the radio on. The other person would never hear it. Hyundai should replace these horns with something that can be heard in an emergency situation and not sound like a horn on a toy scooter. There are hundreds of complaints about the sound or failure of these horns on the internet forums.

- Charlton, MA, USA

problem #24

Jul 142011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • miles
I have owned my 2011 Hyundai Sonata for one year. On July 15, 2011, I went to start the car and I could not depress the brake or start the car. The acc stuff would come on but no ignition to the motor. I tried and tried to start it and ended up calling the dealership. I was told to "kick" the brake pedal "hard" several times; which I did. I finally got it started and drove it to the dealership. I was told "brake light switch" replaced. Left the dealership and drove to my office and when I went to tried to start the car to leave the car would not start, but this time I had to call roadside assistance for the car to be towed back to dealership. Dealership told me they replaced brake light switch again. Now the traction control light comes on and my brake lights are not working. When I did get it to start the car would not go into any gear; it just was locked in park. Well, yesterday, July 20, 2011 the car had to be towed again because of all the same problems. So, the car has been back to the dealership three times within the past five days; two of which the car was towed. I am very concerned about my safety because I believe the brakes have something to do with the air bags not to mention the unknown electrical issues.

- Evans, GA, USA

problem #23

Sep 152010

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles


I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. I purchased the car in August of 2010. About a month after owning the vehicle, the engine light came on. When I took it to the dealer, they recorded the code and then said it was the ac. I was asked to wait 15 seconds before turning the ac on after starting car. So I did that. About a week or so later, the light comes on again. Take it back twice after this, they record the code and then the switch is replaced. I maintain my car with all maintenance requested and I drive it on the highway. I had the tire light come on a few months later - was told it was the temperature. That eventually went off. Next was the engine light yet again. This time it occurred after I took the car in on June 17th for an oil change. They told me a recall was on the transmission and they did the recall update. Immediately after this update, the car drove terribly. Very loud, very rough. About a week after this update, the car breaks down in the parking lot. It has done this now about 5 or 6 times since June (today is July 20th). I take it to the dealer and told I need the engine light on in order to repair. The light needs to come on two or three times before Hyundai will replace. The engine light sometimes comes on, sometimes does not, but it is guaranteed to break down. It is most definitely the transmission as it will stall and then hesitate. The lights on the gear shaft go away completely and the dash lights go away so you have no idea if you are in park, reverse, etc. Last time my engine light came on, it went back off that night. The problem continues and Hyundai can't seem to fix. I read online from a general search on this car that this is a resounding issue across the board with others as well. I am frustrated and something should be done. I called corporate and got nowhere. I continue to get the runaround. They should be investigated before someone dies from their transmission issue/lack of concern for the safety and wellbeing of their drivers.

- Portland, TN, USA

problem #22

Jul 182011


  • 3,200 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, she applied pressure to the horn but it would not sound. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostics or repair. The approximate failure mileage was 3,200.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #21

May 272011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
I initially unlock the vehicle by either depressing the unlock button on the key fob or pressing the unlock button on the outside door handle. Once unlocked, I entered the vehicle and attach the seat belt. I place the key fob on the dashboard, depress the brake pedal and press the engine start button. The electrical system will cycle through acc and on mode but the car will not start. A check of the battery system show that the car battery is at full power. This problem occurs intermittently. The only reliable solution for starting the car is to depress the brake pedal and depress the engine start button for a minimum of 10 seconds. I've placed the key fob in several locations in the car (dashboard, cup holder, smart key holder) with no repeatable success. After a visit to a dealership, they cannot find a problem. However, a search on the internet shows several there owners experiencing the same problem.

- Malden, MA, USA

problem #20

Jun 282011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 17,472 miles
My 2011 Sonata has failed to start 3 times this past month. The brake will not depress and it appears that it doesn't recognize that I have the key. It has a push button start and the key does not go in the ignition. After a few hours it starts. I have been stranded in the dark and this made it a safety issue on a personal basis.

- Oak Hill, WV, USA

problem #19

May 012011


  • 19,000 miles


One morning when getting ready to go to work, I tried to start my 2011 Sonata. I pressed on the brake, which was very hard, pushed the button but the vehicle would not start. The lights, radio and air conditioner would all come on but the engine would not start. The car was in park and the gear shift could not be moved. I attempted multiple times for the next 10 minutes to start the vehicle but was unable. My husband tried putting jumper cables on the battery to see if that was the problem but it did not start. I waited about 5 minutes and tried again but the vehicle still would not start. Finally after almost 20 minutes, the brake pedal was easy to push on and the vehicle started. It caused me to be late to work but I did not have another occurrence until about a week later when I had been driving for some time and stopped for about 30 minutes. I got back in the car and once again the brake was very hard and the vehicle would not start. After multiple times over the next 10 minutes, it finally started.

- Santa Fe, TX, USA

problem #18

Apr 252011


  • 5,700 miles
Engine stalled at highway cruising speed without any warning. The engine lost most of its power. Check engine and ESC (traction control) light were on. Restart the engine appeared to resolve the lost power problem but check engine light were still on. This happened twice within three weeks while driving on a busy highway and was quite dangerous. Dealer was able to reproduce the problem and replaced the electric throttle control module.

- Brighton, MA, USA

problem #17

Apr 262011


  • 43,450 miles
2011 Hyundai Sonata failed to start. I tried several times and the key light was lit on the dash panel. Tried several times and press brake pedal was screaming at me as I pressed the darn thing. Tried the key bob in the slot in the storage area and same result. Got out of the car and closed and locked the doors. Back in and tried again with the same results. Called my next customer and told them I would be late as my car would not start. Finally after 20 minutes I was able to get the car started with the bob in the storage area. Went straight to the dealer -they have never heard of this happening.

- Grottoes, VA, USA

problem #16

Apr 132011


  • 13,685 miles
2011 Sonata SE. Will not start. Warning light indicates key not present or press brake to start. When pressing brake, pedal is "stiff". tried emergency key reset procedure per owner's manual. No luck. Wait 30 minutes, heard relay in dash click, and car returned to normal operation. 3rd time occurred. Noticed I had pulled into parking space by truning hard right prior to shut off. Also, my wife had opened the passenger door and climbed in prior to the driver's door being opened (possible alarm system problem?) no warning. Dealer is stumped. Many others have same exact issue. Suspect either computer or sensor problem. Other possible cause, issue with the alarm system when teh passenger door is opened while car is locked. Car waits until after a time reset to initialize the relay again.... milage 13,600.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #15

Feb 012011


  • 2,700 miles
My new Hyundai Sonata SE 2011 fail to start or to turn off ( I have to restart the car in order to do it). Besides that once in a while the transmission indicator does not show any letter on (R or D or P or N).again, I have to restart the car then it goes on normally.when driving the transmission downshifts abnormally.

- North Miami, FL, USA

problem #14

Mar 092011


  • 90 miles
Picked up new Sonata gl with 58km on it now has 96km interior lights flicker and click on and of brightly. Head lights also flash at same time. Car is under 3 hours old. Already called dealer and there first thing in the am.

- Newmarket, 00, USA

problem #13

Jan 152011


  • 4,400 miles
My car was warming up in the driveway. It was running for about 5 minutes. I went outside and it was on fire. The flames were coming from underneath the hood. There is only one recall for this and it was mechanical related to the steeering column. The fire was a difinitive smell of electrical burning. The car was a total loss.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #12

Dec 152010


  • 5,200 miles
The driver owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The vehicle was equipped with a key fob in which the vehicle was supposed to shut off once the key fob was within a specified distance away from the vehicle. The vehicle would intermittently remain in the on position when the key fob was beyond the allotted distance from the vehicle which forced the driver to manually turn the vehicle off. He vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 5,200 and the current mileage was unknown.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #11

Dec 252010


  • 200 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle would fail to start intermittently in cold temperatures, a problem that would occur since the vehicle was purchased. The vehicle was taken to the dealer yet the failure was unable to be duplicated. A diagnostic test was performed but did not generate any failure codes. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure recurred. The contact would have to receive a jump in order for the vehicle to start. The failure mileage was 200 and the current mileage was 958.

- Bellerose, NY, USA

problem #10

Jan 252011


  • 8,000 miles
For the third time I have gotten in my 2011 Hyundai Sonata SE and it will not start (push to start). The screen will either say the key is not in the vehicle or it will say press brake pedal to start (the key is certainly in the vehicle, how else did I get in with it locked). After repeatedly getting in and out of the car, locking and unlocking pressing the break pads, trying everything and then some for about a half hour the vehicle still will not start. This is the fourth Hyundai I have purchased, second brand new and I have never had problems like this before but this is ridiculous. I've taken it to the dealer and they say they have never heard of this happening even though I have found numerous complaints for it online (what sources are they using, google turns up plenty of information). This is the third time I have been stranded in a dark, potentially dangerous area unable to start my brand new car that has already had a recall. I expect more than this.I will drop it off at the dealership again and after that I am going to invoke the lemon law. One recall is bad enough I would at least like to be able to start my vehicle. The battery is fine both in the car and the remote. At 8,000 I should not have any issues!

- Orlando, FL, USA

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