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:
8 / 16
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,478 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 12 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #116

Sep 022015


  • 85,000 miles


I was traveling in pa. On route 879 and 153, at a rate of about 60 mph merging into traffic, the engine just stopped working, I almost caused an accident trying to get off the road while the merge lane was ending. This vehicle has been regularly maintained. I am being told by the mechanics that I need a whole new engine. The mechanic doesn't see why this should have happened. I understand that other people have had similar experiences, thankful no one was hurt. Opened a case with Hyundai (C8187494). The operator at Hyundai that took my information stated that she new of the lawsuit and that Hyundai was not doing anything. Someone could have been killed any assistance you can give would be appreciated.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #115

Aug 312015


  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving 65 mph, the contact heard an abnormal knocking noise. The vehicle lost power and failed to accelerate. The contact coasted the vehicle home and called the local dealer. The dealer stated that the entire engine would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 97,000.

- Oklahoma City , OK, USA

problem #114

Aug 132015


  • 82,000 miles
Hyundai is going to replace the engine under warrantee, however they only warrantee this brand new long block (engine) for 12 months or 12,000 miles instead of warranting the engine for an original 10 years or 100,000 miles. The problem is can this new engine be trusted since we don't know when the engine was originally built. Hyundai requires that all oil change records be given to dealership.

- Dewey, AZ, USA

problem #113

Aug 162015


  • 131,000 miles


We began hearing some noises from under the hood, and scheduled to take the car in for maintenance and an oil change on Wednesday of the following week (8/18/2015 was our appointment). On 8/17/15 the car started like normal, we got back on the road, and my husband began to accelerate. It accelerated to 15mph, then stopped accelerating. The car had shut off. The lights on the dash came on, the power steering and power brakes ceased to work, and we barely made it off the road. We put it in park, took the key out, waited for a minute, and tried restarting it. It would click once, then nothing. We tried jumping it, nothing. We were told it sounded like the alternator, so had it towed to a nearby aaa shop. The following day (Monday, 8/17/15) we received a call that the engine had seized. And upon calling the dealership we bought the car from, found out that the extended warranty we purchased, had just expired at 109K miles and we were at 130K miles. We asked the aaa and the dealership to call around to get pricing on how much an engine would be. They were shocked to learn that the engine for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is unavailable nationwide, indefinitely. This is unheard of and is what prompted me to search online to check if a seized engine was one of the many problems/recalls/mistakes made with this car, and surprisingly, it was! I truly hope the NHTSA will investigate at the very least! and recall this car!

- Cockeysville, MD, USA

problem #112

Jul 242015


  • 85,500 miles
On a couple of separate incidents, the gear disappear. I was driving on D, the gear was on D, but after several miles the gear disappear. I pulled over to park the car, I put the car on reverse, but the gear was not visible. I turned the car off and turned it back on, I could see the gear then. This has happened a couple of times. A couple of weeks after this happened, the car did not start at all. The car ended up starting after it was towed to the dealership. Apart from this issue I've been at the dealership for several other issues. Starter, axles, the key ignition switch, sensors, etc. It's been very time consuming and expensive.

- Cicero, IL, USA

problem #111

Jul 012015


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, where it was diagnosed that the engine block needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 87,000.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #110

Aug 082015


  • 85,000 miles


48 hours after the dealer replaced two selenodes and wiring harness (stating it could be my driving habits, but would file it under the warranty) - the vehicle starting shifting even harder than it previously had and then suddenly would not go over 25mph and the rpms were 5-6. luckily was able to get vehicle to the dealer (I am the original owner) - and was told it now needs a new transmission. I had zero issues with my vehicle till it hit approximately 75,000 miles. I have filed two other complaints on this website regarding the other two incidents that I've had warranty work done on in the last 3 months. I expect that this vehicle will completely fall apart by the time I hit 100K and there is no longer a warranty. I am very fortunate that I did not have my 3 kids with me this last time.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #109

Jul 172015


  • 80,000 miles
Vehicle starting shifting hard, then while driving approximately 45 mph, the car fell out of gear into "neutral". pulled over. Vehicle ran fine for about a week. Vehicle then continued to shift hard and the check engine light came on. Took to dealer. I am the original owner. Was told it was two selenodes and wiring harness. This repair lasted 48 hours. Was repaired under warranty although they said it could be my driving habits.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #108

Mar 012015


  • 75,000 miles
During routine oil change, was told that I needed a new engine block and it was not covered under warranty. Was told this was due to low oil in the car. After arguing for 2 weeks with dealer that I purchased the vehicle from (I am the original owner) and the only dealer that has ever serviced the vehicle, they replaced the small engine block, under warranty. Took 1 month.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #107

Aug 052015


  • 177,000 miles
My wife was driving to work connecting from route 80 to route 206 then car just cuts off, no lights, no noise just die's out. I had the car towed to dealer and they told us that engine seized, I asked why this would happen because this could have caused an accident and put my wife's life in danger that a car can just shut down with no prior warning lights. Dealer told me I would have to pay to take apart engine to find out exactly what happened to engine even though I maintenance this car approximately every 2 months and the car had highway miles. I looked online and found out other customers had this problem and they say it's a engine defect and Hyundai will not pay to fix.

- East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #106

Jul 262015


  • 115,000 miles


On July 26, 2015 the motor of my 2011 Hyundai Sonata started to make a lot of noice. I was on country roads and tried to make it home and the engine siezed up a few miles later. Had vehicle towed to dealership. Service manager at dealership said that something had "let loose in the motor" causing to holes in the bottom of the motor. He said the motor was seized up and had to be replaced.

- Spring Lake , MI, USA

problem #105

Jul 182015


  • 91,000 miles
Stopped at a red light - middle lane of 3 lanes. When the light turned green I went to accelerate and realized the car had stalled. Car would not restart - repair shop said engine seized - which seems to be a common occurrence. Called one salvage yard that listed 4 in stock - they were all sold. I was stuck in the middle lane of traffic until a police car stopped behind me and turned on his lights. I am not under warranty due to being the 2nd owner (warranty is half - 50,000 miles). I still owe and now I have to pay at least $4000 to have a used engine installed (which appears will have the same problem eventually)....updated 09/28/15

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #104

Jul 192015


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at 20 mph, the engine seized and the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The contact was informed that the engine would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 130,000. The VIN was not available.

- Wrightstown, PA, USA

problem #103

Jul 132015


  • 60,484 miles
My father in law who is a mechanic changed my oil on Sunday. My husband and I have one car so I left vehicle home so it could get changed. Monday 7/14/15 I drove car to work which is 10 mins from home. I drove car home from work car was fine. When my husband drove the car back from the store and he said that he went to accelerate the car did nothing. There was no warning lights or anything. My husband had to coast all the way into driveway. In October of 2014 I had the starter replaced by the dealer under warrantee and 6 recalls taken care of. During that time they had broken the whole frame of the car and I was with rental for a week and a half. So at this time I thought that the starter went again. I had to wait until Friday to take the car to the shop since I was 484 miles over warranty and had to pay for diagnostic. Left car at dealership at 8:30am. They had not gotten back to me until Monday 20, 2015. The called to tell me that it was the starter which would not be covered and oh yeah you're engine has seized, and oh yeah you're car has been leaking oil profusely. I explained that the car had not been leaking the entire time it had been sitting in my garage nor did it leak on the tow truck. And then I asked how can an engine seize at 60000 miles. They want to charge me 8000 for starter and remoded engine and 6000 for new engine and starter. I am not replacing engine with another failed engine. I am going to seek advice from lawyer. Thank heavens my husband was not driving on major highway when engine cut out. Completely ridiculous. Had salesman told me about these issues when I bought the car in March of 2014, I would not have purchase the car. I think it is a lack of ethics.

- Dover, DE, USA

problem #102

Jul 112015


  • 62,400 miles
7/7/2015 malfunctioning warning light came on around 6 pm while in the middle of driving. 7/8/2015 malfunctioning warning light turned off itself. 7/9/2015 dealership diagnosis stated needed a new oil flow valve and strongly recommended oil change occur simultaneously even though oil change was not due for another 2 mo / 2500 mi. All work completed same day at a cost of $379.33 excluding tax. 7/10/2015 vehicle would not start. Had aaa towed to dealership. Dealership diagnosed bad starter lever. Replaced starter lever same day for total cost of $239.09. 7/11/2015 drove 0.5 miles from home. While driving on a busy road, a "pop" sound occurred, engine seized, all lights on dash came on, no control of vehicle, engine was smoking. Aaa towed to dealership.

- Bristol, PA, USA

problem #101

Jul 052015


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle stalled and all the warning indicators illuminated. The contact had to maneuver to the road to a complete stop. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the engine seized and was unable to determine why the failure occurred. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000. The VIN was not available.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #100

Jul 082015


  • 79,500 miles
I was on my way home from work and accelerating from a stop at a traffic light when the car seized and initially appeared to lose power. No indicator lights came on prior to the incident occurring and there were no other indicators of any problems such as smoke, a smell, or any leaks on the ground when driving or parked. After pulling the car over and opening the hood everything appeared to be fine. We were unable to diagnose the problem and had it towed to a local repair shop. The next day the repair shop called and stated there appeared to be some sort of unknown damage to the engine which caused it to completely drain of oil. Oil covered the entire area of the engine compartment underneath the casing. The mechanics at the shop were unable to get the engine to turn at all. The vehicle just had a full service at the dealership on 4/24/2015 including: Oil & filter change, fuel induction service, replace engine air filter, replace cabin air filter, rotate tires, check brakes, check exhaust, suspension, belts, and hoses, top off all fluids, and multi-point inspection. At that time the car was noted in perfect working condition and no issues were annotated. The estimated cost to repair the engine is between $9,000 and $10,000, but the repair shop hasn't fully assessed the damage to the rest of the vehicle. From what I understand this should be under the extended powertrain warranty, but I'm currently going through the claims process to try and resolve this. A quick search brings up a multitude of similar cases for Hyundai Sonatas referring to catastrophic engine failure with near identical circumstances to what I experienced.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #99

Jun 132015


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 15 mph, the contact accelerated to 30 mph to avoid an oncoming vehicle. The engine stalled without warning. The vehicle was coasted to the side of the road and towed to a local mechanic, where it was diagnosed that the rod bearings seized. The vehicle was under warranty and was subsequently towed to a Hyundai dealer. The dealer diagnosed sludge in the engine. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 92,000.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #98

Jun 132015


  • 92,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at approximately 15 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the rod bearings seized. The vehicle was later towed to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the engine was filled with sludge and needed to be cleaned. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 92,500.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #97

Jun 232015


  • 109,500 miles
In the evening of the 22nd the traction control light came on and would not go away when I pressed the button also the car would have a long lag between pressing or releasing the accelerator and the car responding. The next morning when I began driving again the traction control light did not come up but when I began to accelerate and got to 20mph the car suddenly stopped accerating and the engine went idle until I released my foot from the pedle and reapplied it when it would go again with no additional issues. This pattern repeated itself each time the car dropped below 20 mph.

- Clemmons , NC, USA

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