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 / 14
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,226 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 13 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #88

May 132015


  • 109,000 miles


I was on the freeway driving at 65 mph when the engine stalled and shut off. There were no warning lights indicating an issue with the engine. I was informed later by my mechanic that the engine had a catastrophic failure. The brakes failed because the engine was not running. I was lucky and able to coast to the next exit, the stop light was green and I could make it to safe location. Had the engine failed a few minutes earlier I would have been in the fast lane of the freeway trying to make it to the shoulder. Or trying to stop at a light with no brakes.

- Clstskanie, OR, USA

problem #87

Nov 302014


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at approximately 60 mph, the contact merged the vehicle over and noticed that there was an abnormal loud banging noise from the front of the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 73,000.

- Woodbridge , VA, USA

problem #86

May 052015


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle had to be pushed to the side of the road. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who stated that a piston rod was fractured and the only way to correct it would be with a new engine. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for a second opinion, who provided the same diagnosis. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Fuquay Varina, NC, USA

problem #85

Oct 042014


  • 66,000 miles


I purchased the 2011 Sonata certified used, plus I purchased the extended warranty. I was exiting the freeway when the car just died, no sounds, no warning, no check engine lights, nothing. I was able to coast to a gas station and I noticed a little smoke coming from the engine. I had it towed to a dealership and 2 days later they called & told me the engine seized, but the oil was only about half a quart low. The dealership wouldn真T honor the powertrain warranty because they said it's limited to 60K miles (I真M the 2nd owner & my car had 66K miles). I filed a claim with extended warranty service and they sent out an inspector. His finding was it was 2-3 quarts low, there was "sludge and metal bits" in the oil and we'd need a new engine. Because I couldn真T produce the receipt from my last oil change, they cited owner neglect and denied the claim. I used royal purple synthetic oil (and have used this same oil for the past 15 yrs in all my vehicles). I changed my own oil in July, approximately 3 months prior. Note: There was never any oil leaks or stains on the driveway, no low oil/engine light at all. To replace the engine, it was going to cost around $6000. I couldn真T afford that, so I ended up having to get another car. Which sucks because now I am paying 2 car notes, on 2 cars, but I am only able to drive one. I don真T want to mess my credit up by letting it go back, so I真M really trying to hold on to it as long as I can, but I really don真T know when I真M going to have the extra $$ to get a new engine put in.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #84

Feb 132015


  • 63 miles
I purchased the car on 10/22/13 and I have kept the maintenance up on the car. Then on 2/13/15 (not to mention that it was my birthday) as I was driving home from work the car cut off on me. I had the car towed to the dealership where I purchased the car from and was told that the motor was blown up. Now here I was thinking that I kept very good care of my car and that a car with only 63K miles should not have had any engine problems! now here it is almost 3 months later I still have to make car payments on a car that I can not drive.

- Leonardtown, MD, USA

problem #83

May 082015


  • 57,000 miles
Vehicle stopped functioning at 60 mph on an interstate on a Friday night. Had to coast to side of road dodging other cars. Tried to restart vehicle with no luck. Electrical started going haywire. Interior lights started flashing as well as dashboard lights. Smoke was coming from hood of car. Within 20 minutes a road Ranger checked the status of the car and said all fluids looked good. Battery tested good. But was unable to get vehicle to start. Two hours later it was towed to a Hyundai dealership. Was told it appears to be the engine but was told they replaced the starter first because they thought it was that. Finally, told it was the engine and it would need to be replaced. Thankfully it is still under warranty. It's last service was the middle of April. They told me that the steering is possibly going on it. They reported a knocking noise. Nothing has been done to steering as of yet but now that they will have car for up to 3 weeks will probably have them check that too especially after reading many of the complaints on this and other websites.

- Zolfo Spring, FL, USA

problem #82

Apr 152015


  • 114,000 miles


The car was being driven by my son. He said the car started making a funny noise and the check engine light came on. He switched cars with his mother. She could hear a rattle in the engine and made an appointment to have it checked the next day. On the way home, the car completely died. The vehicle was towed in and inspected. The mechanic stated that the engine had thrown a rod and the engine needed to be replaced.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #81

May 052015


  • 76,000 miles
While driving for approx 20mins on hwy at 60mph, the vehicle's engine began to knock, approx 3 mins later a loud exploding sound accompanied with white smoke and loss of power occurred. Oil was changed yesterday because check engine light became illuminated and the oil was checked with no oil registering on the dipstick. Vehicle had to be towed to a local mechanic. When tow truck arrived under the hood inspection noted no oil on top of engine or on underside of hood, new oil filter still in place and snug, oil pan drain bolt still in place. Oil used was 5qts of 5W-20 quaker state per manufacturer's recommendation.

- North Bend, OR, USA

problem #80

Apr 142015


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving at 52 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to a dealer who diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- Pontiac, MI, USA

problem #79

May 012015


  • 83,678 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at 65 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was then towed to the dealer who confirmed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 83,678.

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #78

Feb 182015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles


Car began making a loud noise took it to dealer and they said it was engine failure - would have to replace engine at a cost of $7,000. Towed it to a certified mechanic for second opinion who said - may be able to just repair piston and not entire motor - cost could be up to $3-4000. Vehicle now sitting in our driveway - unusable - can't afford to pay to have it repaired - still paying on loan.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #77

Mar 122014


  • 78,000 miles
I was driving about 40mph and out of nowhere my engine shuts completely off. I have the vehicle towed to the local Hyundai dealer, and they notified me after 78000 miles my engine has seized. I just had a oil change about 30 days prior. After a little research I found this to be a common problem. I am discussed.

- Willingboro , NJ, USA

problem #76

Apr 052015


  • 91,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 2 mph and depressing the brake pedal to stop the vehicle, the engine suddenly shut off and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who indicated that the engine seized, but the cause of the failure was not determined. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 91,000.

- Simi Valley , CA, USA

problem #75

Apr 192015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the air bag light intermittently illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 112,000. Updated 6/8/15 the consumer also stated a month after getting an oil change, the oil was low and she had to add more oil. Updated 06/11/15

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #74

Apr 132015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, my first car I purchase it almost 4 months ago I'll had 2 oil changes including the one the dealer did before I bought it. I was simply driving home & heard a weird noise so I pulled over my battery died and car engine started to smoke I was giving no warning sign or indicator to check my oil or anything. I had my car towed to suntrup Hyundai were I was told my engine was seized and would cost me from 5,000-9,000 for a new or used. How does a well-maintained car go from normal to a total lost" I'll done my research so my question for you is when will you recall this entire car" will indeed be joining the class action lawsuit against Hyundai. I have no warranty & don't even want the car with a new engine. I just want Hyundai to buy the car back it's a serious safety risk I'll stick with american made vehicles.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #73

Jan 142015


  • 96,000 miles
The engine is knocking when I start to drive and the knocking sound has gradually increased. I have to put 1-2qts of additional oil into the car in between scheduled oil changes.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #72

Apr 142015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
I am having problems with my car not wanting to accelerate sometimes, I typically notice this when I am on the freeway going about 60 mph and when I try to go past that it will seem to not want to accelerate and then jerk and then go accelerate faster. Lately I have also notice this when going normal speeds it seems like it wants to stall.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #71

Apr 092015


  • 57,606 miles
Went to take off from a stop sign and noticed I did not have the power it usually does. Drove appr 3 miles, came to a stop light. The oil light came on and the car stalled. Started the vehicle back up, drove appr 3/4 mile to the nearest gas station with flashers on and <20 miles per hour, all the while the car was hesitating and knocking/tapping. I called my husband who came to get me. We checked the oil and it was barely registering oil. We purchased 2 quarts and drove the car appr 2.5-3 miles home. The next day my husband drove it down the road about a mile. It was running very rough with knocking/tapping and hesitation. Then the check engine light came on. He called the Hyundai dealer and had it towed as we were still under warranty. Their diagnosis was no oil, lack of maintenance yet there was no oil leak or burning of oil. Since this is "our fault" according to the dealer, it will not be covered under warranty and we need a new engine at $6,000+. we have done regular maintenance on it since we purchased it Sept 2014 - 2 oil changes in 7 months, the last change being the 1st week of January. My husband does our oil changes (he used to work at Goodyear and has done oil changes since he was a teenager) so we have no receipts from oil purchases at walmart.

- Pittsboro, NC, USA

problem #70

Apr 042015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
I was driving on the highway (295 South towards Washington DC) and when I tried to accelerate, nothing happened. When I examined the dashboard, all of the lights were on. As a precaution, I pulled over to the shoulder. After bringing the car to a stop I noticed a burning smell. After opening the hood I discovered smoke coming from the engine area. I tried to start the car but to no avail. I immediately called roadside assistance and the car was towed back to pohanka Hyundai in capital heights md. After an inspection of the vehicle, the technician discovered no oil was found on the dip stick and the engine had locked up! as I pulled up my last oil change record it showed I received 5 qts of 5W20 synthetic blend oil at 110,641 miles. I told the technician that I never had any leaks or knocking sounds. Also I never had my check engine light illuminate. It amazed me how after 5000 miles no oil was in engine and I had no apparent and visible leaks.

- Odenton, MD, USA

problem #69

Jul 212013


  • 64,000 miles
The cars ignition key does not release from the ignition for up to 6 hours. The ignition cylinder was changed by Hyundai but the problem continued to happen even with the change of the keys and the cylinder. Also, the engine seizes when I took my son and his girlfriend to the airport. Hyundai did not honor the warranty and charged me $3600 for a new engine. Their 10 year warranty is a fraud. I had to pay for the key change which did not work.

- Richmond Hill, GA, USA

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