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 1 of 17)

problem #336

Nov 142016


  • miles


The contact owned a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While the vehicle was at the dealer for routine maintenance and an oil change, the technician stated that the vehicle needed three recall repairs for NHTSA campaign numbers: 16V190000 (steering), 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic), and 15V568000 (engine). Shortly after the dealer's repairs, smoke emitted under the hood near the front passenger side of the vehicle while driving 60 mph. The contact was able to coast the vehicle off the road and the fire department extinguished the flames. The fire department filed an incident report. The vehicle was towed to a yard and then to the contact's residence. The vehicle was not diagnosed by a dealer and the manufacturer to determine what caused the failure. The contact was waiting on a response from the manufacturer. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure mileage was not available.

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #335

Nov 122016


  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 50 mph, the engine hesitated, the steering wheel seized, and the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact mentioned that the engine failed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that there was metal deposits in the engine that caused a knocking noise and the engine to fail. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine), 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic), and 16V190000 (steering). The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 109,000.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #334

Sep 012016


  • 60,000 miles
Engine knock/ping gets louder with increasing speeds, car is part of engine recall but dealer states my engine is fine, absolutely no reason given to me why I have an engine knock. It sounds like 2 glass bottles clanging together. I am afraid my engine is going to fail, even though dealer states it is "fine"

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #333

Oct 262016


  • 5,500 miles


Our 2011 Hyundai Sonata gls 2.4 engine caught fire as my wife was returning home from taking our son to school. My wife smelled gasoline and then it burst into flames. This was the second replacement engine covered under warranty and had less than 6000 miles on it. Hyundai mall of Georgia has performed all warranty service work on this vehicle. After the second engine and many other warranty repairs tried to envoke the lemon law but was denied by hyundia case #9412898.

- Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #332

Oct 252016


  • 159,000 miles
On 10/25/2017, I was stopped in traffic in left hand turn lane waiting for the light to turn green. When light change I started to move forward and felt a shutter in the car. I stopped the car before making the left to enter into the intersection and all of the dash board lights came on, there was a small amount of smoke came out from under the hood and the engine was dead. Tried to restart the engine to no effect. If I did not stop at the car I would have stalled while making a left in the middle of a four lane road (the intersection of rt 1 & southampton rd) I had the car towed to my mechanic who informed me that the engine locked up and the starter was melted.

- Telford, PA, USA

problem #331

Oct 192016


  • 107,000 miles
The engine just died while crossing the rfk bridge, nyc. I noticed as the car was slowing down and I pressed on the accelerator to gain speed. Nothing happened and the instrument panel was lit up with warnings. I then put it on neutral and lightly pressed on the breaks to start the engine again, nothing happened. I subsequently lost power steering and breaks. After the initial stop in a dangerous position, I was able to roll the car to a nearby construction site (off ramp to harlem river drive shoulder) behind some traffic barrels but scraped up against the concrete barrier as the car lost power steering and breaks and was hard to maneuver. I tried starting the engine again but it would not. I also opened the hood and saw smoke coming from underneath the hood. I had the car towed to a nearby dealership. I have included the service intake form in the attachments.

- Tuckahoe, NY, USA

problem #330

Oct 012016


  • 80,000 miles


Crusie control brake lights parking steering engine all records I have with the dealership show the major problems ive have and its yet to be fixed along with the many recalls on this vehicle

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #329

Oct 132016


  • 86,000 miles
Purchased Hyundai Sonata May 22, 2016 engine was failing Hyundai is fixing it now. Had metal parts in my oil. Knocking sound. It stalled while I was driving it on the street. Hyundai said it could be up to four months to fix the car. I am now driving a rental car and paying carmax for my Hyundai.

- San Juan Capistrano, CA, USA

problem #328

Oct 012016


  • 166,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. Without warning, the vehicle stalled and was unable to be driven. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine). The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 166,000.

- Gallatin, TN, USA

problem #327

Oct 012016


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine failed and needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- Golftown, NH, USA

problem #326

Sep 302016


  • 72,500 miles


9/30/2016 - while driving home from work (20-25 miles) heard a knocking in the engine while on the road and expressway. Took my car to jiffy lube because it was time for an oil change and had them check the engine and noise. They advised that the engine is bad and will need to be repaired or replaced. The miles from my last oil change was approximately 3200 miles. Took my car two blocks down the road to midas and another mechanic confirmed the engine needs to be replaced. I have taken care of the car with regular oil changes, upkeep and car maintenance. On 1/11/2016 my 2011 Hyundai Sonata engine was taken in for the recall campaign 132 at the Hyundai repair location. In June, I took my car in for service at Firestone auto care because my engine light had came on and they performed an engine analysis and found my oxygen sensor was bad on 6/04/2016 and they replaced that. I cannot drive the vehicle because the engine is on its last leg, cannot accelerate because the car is not responding as it should and I fear I am risking my life as well as others on the road. The difference between driving from 9/29 to 9/30 is night and day I do not understand how an engine gives out with no warning.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #325

Apr 042015


  • 115,000 miles
Engine died

- Odenton, MD, USA

problem #324

Sep 222016


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that an abnormal knocking sound emitted from the vehicle and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 15V568000 (engine), 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic), and 16V190000 (steering) however, the parts for the recall repairs were unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The approximate failure mileage was 115,000. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. Parts distribution disconnect.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #323

Sep 042016


  • 85,284 miles
During my last scheduled vehicle maintenance in April 2016, I explicitly communicated my concerns to the Hyundai dealer about my engine and the fact that the oil light kept coming on when I tried to accelerate and would go off as soon as I took my feet off the accelerator. I just found out through local news and information from online blogs that this was a sign of engine manufacturing problems originating from Hyundai's Alabama engine manufacturing plant. The dealer did not inform me that the engine in my vehicle was being recalled. Instead, I was told via the maintenance report that oil level was low and there were no visible leaks. I have receipts to prove that I adhered to all recommended owner maintenance services and have been diligent enough to service my vehicle according to the service schedule prescribed during vehicle purchase. I have strong reasons to believe Hyundai has not been honest with its customer. This being because, rather than elaborate on the cause and solution to the problem (I.e. Hyundai Sonata 2011-2012 engine recall), information was deliberately withheld from me by Hyundai. I never received a recall notice from the dealer despite purchasing the vehicle from an authorized Hyundai pre-owned vehicle dealer. I'm even more frustrated because this recall was announced in September 2015, 4 months after I purchased my vehicle under warranty and paid extra to have extended warranty coverage added on my vehicle. It's now 7 months after the recall announcement and I still have not received notice of the recall from Hyundai. As of today, 3 weeks after my vehicle stalled on the on-401 highway whilst driving at approx. 100km/hr., I have not heard back from Hyundai. I had to coast my vehicle to the outside shoulder of the busiest highway in North America at 9:00pm. 3 weeks on, I have no vehicle, no repair timeline and no response from Hyundai

- London, On Canada, MI, USA

problem #322

Jul 112016


  • 78,341 miles
The feed line going to the turbocharger leaks oil. This is a ongoing problem for many owners. The oil leaks from a woven plastic/nylon part connected to the metal part of the line. This could cause a fire as the oil leaks to an area where it can contact the hot engine parts. Oil leaks from the line both when the car is in motion and after it is stopped causing a environmental issue.

- Paris, TX, USA

problem #321

Sep 062016


  • 100,450 miles
I was driving on the freeway and my check engine light came on. Then suddenly the engine lost all power and was coming to a stall. I was able to coast over to the side of the freeway, and had to call a tow truck from there.

- Porter Ranch, CA, USA

problem #320

Apr 172014


  • 107,000 miles
At around 107,000 miles the motor on my 20111 Sonata shut off on the 91 East freeway while traveling about 70mph. I was forced to pull off on the hard shoulder of the road and the vehicle had no power steering or power brakes. The motor started back up eventually but was making a loud noise and failed completely shortly after. I replaced the motor in the Sonata with a used motor and repaired the damage to the suspension and tires.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #319

Jul 072014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles
The contact owned a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the engine seized and the vehicle made an abnormal noise. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the metal in the oil pan and the engine assembly needed to be replaced. The contact stated that the vehicle was remedied under NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine); however, the contact was charged for the labor. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The failure mileage was approximately 64,000. Updated 11/07/16

- Richmond Hill, GA, USA

problem #318

Apr 132016


  • 111,000 miles
Takata inflators: Had a car fire from fuel line per fire dept information. I was on the 405 West bound fwy when I started to smell gas and the front hood of the car I noticed black smoke coming out. I got out of the fwy and then parked the car, when someone driving of the opposite direction yelled for me to get out of the car. I turned off the car and ran out to the side walk within a few minutes the car when up in smoke and then it exploded twice. People from the surrounding businesses came out to see if I was alright. The owner of the flower nursery came out and called the fire dept. They arrived and turned out the fire.

- Pico Rivera, CA, USA

problem #317

Jun 232016


  • 67,000 miles
No one can fix my recalls - im scared to drive this car I have a 2 year old need payoff amount to I can buy new car! NHTSA recall number: Opens new window takes away from VIN lookup section> 15V568000 recall date: September 10, 2015 safety risk: Engine failure would result in a vehicle stall, increasing the risk of a crash. Ecall status: Recall incomplete manufacturer notes: Owners may also contact the nat'L highway traffic safety admin vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236(tty 1-800-424-9153), or go to htsa recall number: Opens new window takes away from VIN lookup section> 15V759000 recall date: November 16, 2015 my car almost crashed itself because my vehicle staled in the middle of an intersection. Also - sometimes my blinker links will not switch off for no reason and cars almost hit me because thinking im going to merge! I need out of this car its not safe for my 2 year old to drive with me!!! I am already pre-approved for a loan but this car put me in a hole!!! please help

- Gainesville, FL, USA

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