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 17 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Oct 032013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


I am reporting a second incident that occurred after the date of the first incident I previously reported in my earlier complaint. As noted in my earlier complaint, the car had experienced catastrophic engine failure. I had the car taken for repair to the Hyundai licensed dealer and automotive repair service center operated by Hyundai burlingame (1025 rollins road, burlingame, ca 94010). The repair center explained the engine would have to be completely replaced and so would the fuel intake valve. A new engine and intake valve were installed in the car. On 10/2/2013, the repair work was completed and my spouse picked up the car and returned to our residence. On 10/3/2013, my spouse was driving the repaired car to work during the morning commute on southbound I-280 in the bay area when the car began to make loud clanging noises and violently shake and shudder. My spouse was able to pull of the highway just as the car again experienced catastrophic engine failure and the engine began releasing very heavy dark smoke. As the engine failed, the power to the steering went out and this made the car difficult to maneuver. The car was towed to the nearest authorized Hyundai dealer and service repair center, stevens creek Hyundai (4425 steven creek blvd., santa clara, ca 95051). Stevens creek Hyundai opened the hood of the car and examined the engine. Steven creek Hyundai told my spouse there was a high pressure gasoline leak and gasoline had been spurting on the hot engine and also that there was some sort of catastrophic engine failure.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #15

Sep 202013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
My spouse was driving on interstate 280 southbound in the bay area during the morning commute when an engine rod came loose and punctured a whole in the engine causing catastrophic engine failure. The engine failure led to loss of power to the steering and brakes and the car coasted off the interstate exit ramp and eventually came to a stop after the emergency brake was engaged. The car has consistently received regular maintenance from the local authorized Hyundai dealer and car service provider. There was absolutely no warning before the engine flew apart. This was a very dangerous incident that could have led to the death of the driver, any passengers, and other drivers and passengers of nearby cars.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #14

Aug 062013


  • 42,100 miles
Car would not start when I pressed the brake and start button. Tried several times and nothing. Brake was very hard and after 10 minutes I gave up and drove my truck. This is about the 4th time this has happened. I will take to dealer. From reading the blogs sounds like the brake light switch will have to be replaced.

- Cheltenham, MD, USA

problem #13

Apr 142013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 27,000 miles


On 4/14/2013 and again this morning 05/28/2013, my vehicle fails to start. The engine does turn over so this is not completely dead like other reports. Both last time and this time the situation is the same: 1 take the car for a short drive (~1 mile) 2 park on an incline in my driveway. 3 a few hours later, get in car, push the start and the engine just turns over - does not start. The first time, I tried to start the car until the battery died - I then called Hyundai and they sent a roadside service person. He jumped the car and it started right up. Very frustrating. I assumed it was bad gas and that my tank was very low (red lamp was on for low fuel) also note: Car was on a flat service at this point. So today: I called Hyundai dealer 45 minutes ago, and am waiting on a callback from the service department. Im sure just to have me get roadside assistance again.

- Carrollton, TX, USA

problem #12

Apr 102013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,793 miles
I purchased/ picked up my certified 2011 Hyundai Sonata on 4/4/13. On 4/10 the push start failed. I had to call the Hyundai service department and was walked thru the over ride process to get the car started. Immediately made a service appointment for this issue and took it in on 4/13. On this day it was discovered that there was an issue with the thermostat and they needed to correct it, I authorized it and it was all covered under the warranty. There was no out of pocket expense. I picked my car up that same evening and drove it home and no where else for the rest of the weekend. 4/18 about 22 miles down the highway the engine light comes on. 4/19 took it in, I was told the thermostat part that was installed was obsolete and they had my car for 6 days waiting on the new part and doing installation. I was provided a rental car at $60+ out of pocket cost for insurance. Picked up my car 4/25 and drove it about 175 miles ( it is 126 miles round trip from home to work) and 4/26 the engine light comes on again. I sit here now with no Hyundai because it is at the dealers getting repairs again!!! again!!! opted not to use the rental car service this time as it would cost more than $50 per day out of my own pocket for an uncertained amount of time. Nothing but problems and I havent even made my first car payment yet. And on 4/24 the day before I pick my car up for the second time, a recall was issued for the brake lamps...really Hyundai"?? really??? what makes this car certified? what was the inspection exactly that occured to certify this vehicle?"

- Moreno Valley , CA, USA

problem #11

Apr 212013


  • 18,000 miles
I leased this Hyundai Sonata in 2011 brand new and after 3000 miles began having issues with the car not starting by using the start button. The workaround was to place your foot on the brake and hold down the push button start for 1 minute and the engine would start. This was intermittent. It would happen frequently and then suddenly be better for long periods of time. Finally at 18000 miles went to start the car and everything was dead. It drove ok the day before (not like a car who's battery was bad). The car is being towed to the nearest dealership where I happened to purchase it. In addition to the start issue and the completely dying part (and it was not able to be charged by ordinary means) the car also has a low tire pressure warning that stays on regardless of how much or how little air is in the tire. That remained for 4 months and now seems to be staying off. The car also drifts to the left when driven (it has done this since I purchased it). I had several recalls fixed early on at the dealership, but it did not correct the drifting issue. There is also a rattle in the dash which began at 16,000 miles. The back door handle (behind the driver's seat) handle was stuck in an outward position and the door would not open. It finally opened one day and now the handle is back in place, but a small black piece hangs down from the handle. I have read on the internet several complaints that are the same or similar as all of my issues.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #10

Feb 252013


  • 72,000 miles


I bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata in March of 2010 brand new. I have had problems with the tires had to be replaced after year two, and when they were being replaced they said that the air valve on the tire was corroded when I went to Hyundai to get the part replaced they said that it wasn't corroded it was broke off because there wan't a cap on it and it got wet. So, they said that I had to buy a new one, and they would send it up under the warranty and I would be refunded that did not happen. After that my push start would not start when I pushed it. I would have to push it about three times and then it would finally start. I took it to Hyundai, and had it replaced not under warranty any more is what they told me. So I paid the $287 for it. After I got it home and went into grab something came back out and it did it again. Took it back to gateway Hyundai in richmond to have it fixed and they said it needed a nother starter. I didn't have to pay for the part but I was going to have to pay for the labor. Nope didn't get it fixed. I would just start it three times instead. Then I had to replace the brakes last year 2012 because it wore only on one side, and now the engine blew a rod. They claimed that it was because of not having enough oil in it, but then told me I had a quart to much of oil. Now really does that make any sense? this is absolutely ridiculous. Then they told me I could trade it in for a new Hyundai but would have to put $5000 down on it which is convienantly the amount they quoted me to have my engine fixed because they said it wasn't under warranty because I hadn't kept all my receipts for oil changes for the past three years.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #9

Mar 312013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Brake pedal sensor failure resulted in a car that wouldn't start. The key-less entry depends on the brake pedal being depressed, otherwise the ignition will not turn over. Under normal operation when the driver is trying to start the car, the key must be inside the vehicle, the driver must depress the brake pedal and then press the ignition button. The car normally turns over. In this situation all systems function as if the car does not know the brake peddle is being depressed. The battery has full charge, all accessories function normally, but the ignition will not turn over. Because there is no way to manually start the car, the car is rendered completely useless.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #8

Sep 032012


  • 23,000 miles
I have several complaints regarding this vehicle. I have had this car two years and about two months and have had nothing but problems (purchased brand new) -- I've had to get a new motor (engine caught on fire (electrical/smoking) while driving down the beltway), replaced tire rod, need 4 brand new tires, transmission slipping, and other electrical problems with cooling/heating system (the blower does not work for air pointed in the floor direction), strong smell of gas fumes inside of the vehicle. The gas mileage gauge is inaccurate -- I get no where near the highway nor city miles. The gas meter is not registering. Parts on the electrical system have been randomly replaced. I have had all schedule services on my vehicle as well as extras such as special replacement filters, etc. I have also had problems with the breaking system. I believe I've purchased a complete lemon. The current mileage on the vehicle is 27700 miles. There is no way I should be having this many problems as frequently as I have been having. The car's steering pulls to the left as well. I should not have to replace tires only after two years of driving after putting nitrogen as advised. I've noticed a noise when turning the steering to the left as well as if the left tire rod or axle wants to break -- weird feeling turn the car. The alarm system is failing to lock all of the doors -- only the drivers door. -- dealers solution...purchase a new one "?? really"

- Forestville, MD, USA

problem #7

Jun 132012


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata hybrid. The contact stated that while at a complete stop, warning chimes were heard, warning lights illuminated, and the vehicle stalled. The contact was unsure of which lights illuminated. The contact also stated that while driving 30 mph, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure could not be replicated. The manufacturer was not notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 10,000. The VIN was not available.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #6

Oct 022012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 0 miles


Beginning of October 2012 I kept hearing rattling, clanking noise coming from under the hood. I took the car to a Hyundai dealer where I live October 26, 2012. They checked out the car and told me because the engine light didn't come on, they couldn't find a code to fix the car and to bring the car in when the engine light comes on. I kept driving the car and hearing the same noise. I took it to meineke to get an oil change November 14, 2012. Drove the car approximately 3 weeks and still heard the noise. I took it to another Hyundai dealer. They said the car didn't have any oil and meinke forgot to put the drain plug back in, therefore it messed up the engine, and that's why I heard the noise. I kept telling them, I heard the noise before the oil change. I took it back to meinke and showed them the paper Hyundai gave me, they gave me my money back and apologized. Still hearing the noise, I took it back to the first Hyundai dealer and they said it was engine problems and I had to pay the diagnostic fee because my warranty was voided due to meineke. I refused to pay the fee because my car is under warranty. They wouldn't give me my car back until I paid, we argued back and forth and I called the police and they gave me my car back, but told me not to come back on their property. I then took the car to where I purchased it and same thing. They said to try a gas additive 3 times, if that doesn't work, get an oil consumption test in my area where I live. I need my car fixed and no one will fix it. Hyundai blames meineke and meineke blames Hyundai. They're saying because of no engine light on, they can't see the problems, but one dealer said it was the engine another saying gas problems. Bottom line, if the first Hyundai dealer had kept my car, I wouldn't be going through this. How can I resolve this?

- Center Cross, VA, USA

problem #5

Nov 202012


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle stalled and immediately after the failure, all of the warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was able to be restarted after 10 minutes and was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The contact was advised that the air filters were clogged and needed to be replaced. The air filters were replaced however, the failure recurred one week later. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where they advised that the valves from the fuel tank failed and was the cause of the failure. The valves were repaired however, the failure still recurred. The vehicle was not further repaired. In addition, the contact stated that the fuel level gauge would provide an erroneous reading of empty. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the instrument cluster was repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 38,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Hulio, LA, USA

problem #4

Nov 142012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 30,869 miles
I have had my vehicle in for service 5 times for the same issue, it would not start. The first 3 times a sensor switch was replaced. The fourth time I was told my battery was the issue so I got a new battery. Today was the fifth time and the service dept indicated they could not find anything wrong but they went ahead and replaced the sensor switch again. I am not happy, I feel that I cannot depend on my vehicle. I am planning an out of town trip for thanksgiving and have resorted to renting a vehicle because I am paranoid about being stranded on the road with this issue. I paid alot of money for this vehicle and this just is not right. I am considering trading it in for a vehicle that starts the traditional way (with a key).

- Pelham, AL, USA

problem #3

Oct 212012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Waste gate actuator fails (replaced multiple times under warranty already) leaving the car with almost no power to accelerate or pass, unfortunately this usually appears when you try and cross a road/intersection and what should take 5 or 6 seconds to make a safe crossing takes much longer and it completely unexpected. This failure has now almost ended up in two accidents first when passing a vehicle and second crossing a 2 way stop and almost being T boned in what should have been an easy, safe crossing.

- Na Canada, MI, USA

problem #2

Aug 202012


  • 33,000 miles
Car is not starting with push button start and depressing the brake. It takes several tries for it to finally start. It is intermittent, sometimes starts up right away, other times it doesn't.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #1

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

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