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 13 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #96

Jun 152015


  • 109,100 miles


My engine seized which seems to be a known problem. I have maintained the vehicle very well....updated 07/30/15

- Ormond Beach, FL, USA

problem #95

May 182015


  • 80,000 miles
While driving the steering column began making a strande grinding type of noise. This is heard whenever the steering wheel is turned at any speed. The vehicle feels like there is no power steering. I have been told that the coupling, the steering gear system was bad and the entire steering column needs to be changed. This is a safety issue. The dealer wants $1400. This is ludicrous! the coupling is only $8-10. What is really going on with Hyundai? I just recently had to replace the engine because it just shut down when making a turn. The engine had seized. This is also an issue with 2011 Sonata!!!!

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #94

Jun 032015


  • 41,567 miles
On 6/3/15, we were driving on the highway when car suddenly lost power. Thankfully, we were in the right lane and my husband was able to get off on to shoulder. Towed into Hyundai who stated engine had seized.told by dot if we were in far lane we would have been dead and the shoulder we were on was actually a lane that was in use from 7 to 10 a.M and it was 10:15. To not be responsible for $10,000 bill we traded care in for another Hyundai model. Sonata was 3 years 10 months old and mileage was 41567.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #93

May 302015


  • 138,000 miles


2.0 turbo engine. Driving on highway, vehicle stalled without flashing any warning lights. Pulled to the side of the highway and checked all fluids, none were below minimum level. Had car towed to dealer on the same day, dealer called me two days later to say that engine is seized and it will be $8900 to replace the engine.

- Worcester, MA, USA

problem #92

May 252015


  • 144,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the engine seized. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 144,000.

- Abingdon, MD, USA

problem #91

May 152015


  • 91,000 miles
Driving down the interstate I heard and felt a faint puddering. I looked down and my oil light was on. I was able to immediately exit. As I was going on the off ramp the check engine light came on. I was able to barely pull into a park and ride. 20 minutes later oil was everywhere. The car never overheated, and there was a trail of oil from the road to my car. Since I had taken it to the get the oil changed just on the 5th of may, just 10 days earlier. I had the car towed to that facility. The piston internally slammed through the engine punching a hole in the engine wall, and leaking oil from the engine. The engine did not cease. Pieces and parts of bolts and side wall were found by the mechanic.

- Erie , CO, USA

problem #90

Nov 242014


  • 120,000 miles


While driving home the car just stopped and shut off. Before shutting off it was like the car lost all power. What I mean is that the even though the gas pedal was pressed the car would not move. I had to leave my car on side of a very dark and dangerous road. The next day I went to retrieve my car. I saw oil spots on the ground where I had pulled off the road and under the hood. Again, my car would not start, so I had to tow it home. I called tuscaloosa Hyundai and they told me that since my car was past the mileage warranty that the cost would be on me and that I would need a new motor. I informed the mechanic about the complaints on the 2011 model and I was having the same issues before my car stopped. John told me that, I just cant believe everything that I read. I'm very unsatisfied with his comment. He told me that I would just need a new engine. I can not afford this. I know that I have taken care of my car and for Hyundai to sat this is my fault is garbage. They know that they have messed up and are refusing to fix this problem. There is a class action lawsuit against Hyundai for premature engine failure. I just dont know what else to do. I have been without my car for 6 months now and I haven't gotten any where. I still have a car note and insurance.

- Brent, AL, USA

problem #89

May 192015


  • 60,000 miles
Was driving home with my 11 year old daughter during rush hour when the car just died in the middle of the road. Couldn't start it up, then it starting to smell like fire and a lot of smoke was coming out of the engine. Had to jump out of car and get it towed to dealer. This was after a similar incident happened a week before on my way to work where the car just stalled out and stopped in the middle of the road. Brought it into Hyundai dealer and they said I had a "sludge" problem. They ran a diagnostics test, but nothing came back. Told me to take to a reputable car repair place and get the oil changed because they didn't want to be liable. When I took it to Firestone, the guy there told me it wasn't a sludge problem and the oil wasn't as bad as Hyundai made it out to be. He changed the oil there, then a week later the engine died again in the middle of the main road and started smoking. I looked it up and saw numerous other similar complaints about the same exact thing happening to other people with 2011 Sonatas. They are trying to tell me it's my fault and will probably not be covered and will cost me about $6,000 to fix the engine. If so many other people have the same issue, then it is not my fault, it should be a recall (a dangerous life threatening one) from Hyundai as the car can just stop in the middle of the highway! my daughter refuses to get in the car again. Waiting to hear what they say, but I should not have to pay for a faulty engine problem that Hyundai is aware of.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

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

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