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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,560 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #33

Jul 192013


  • 39,000 miles


In a parking lot I found my 2011 Sonata with the right tail light assembly completely broken and hanging by the electrical wires. The threaded portion of the assembly had broken off and was still attached to the bolts that hold the assembly to the body of the car. I took the car to the dealership for what I thought would be a warranty repair. I recieved a call from the service representative saying that both tail light assemblies were broken. She believed that someone attempted to steal the asssemblys. She said there is a small mark near one of the lens. This is something I failed to notice after inspecting the vehicle closely. I had them put both lenses on because the car was due for a state inspection. When I picked up the car the service representative showed me the marks she believed were caused by someone attempting to pry the lenses off the vehicle. There are two small hair line scratches on the paint. There was no damage to the tail light assembly with the exception of the broken off bolts. I told the representative that scratches were most likely caused when I attempted to push the tail light assembly back into place. I told her that the force needed to break the four bolts out of the assembly would cause much more damage to the car and than two small hair line scratches on the paint. Anyone attempting to steal a tail light assembly in this manner knows it would render the part unusable. The tail light assemblies were installed improperly at the factory or the part itself is defective. I noticed from the NHTSA website that I am the 14th person to document this problem. My concern is I own two of these cars and if the same thing happens with the second Sonata the tail light assembly could break off and hit a car behind me. This could cause an accident and lead to serious injury or death.

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #32

Jul 192013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 39,000 miles
I took one of my two 2011 Sonatas to a Hyundai dealership in woodbridge Virginia because the right tail lens was completely broken and hanging off the car. The bolts holding the tail lens to the body were still in the body with the plastic thread portion of the lens. I thought it would be warranty because there are no signs of marks on the car that would indicate the force required to break a tail lens. I believe the lens were installed improperly and the stress finally caused the plastic to break. To my surprise I got a call from the service representative saying the left lens was broken as well. She said they believe someone attempted to steal the lens. She said there is a small mark near one of the lens. I did not notice the mark when I took the car in for service. However, if it was so small for me to notice there is no way someone could have attempted to pry off the lens with enough force to beak 4 large bolts without leaving a highly noticeable mark (s) on the car. The marks she is referring could have been from my attempt to push the lens back into the housing so that I could drive it to the dealership. I noticed I am the 14th person to report this to your Agency. My concerns are: 1. I paid over $400 to repair what should have been a warranty repair and 2. I have another 2011 Sonata and I have liability concerns should the second car experience the same issue. If a tail lens weighing a pound or two flies off into a car following me at 50 or 60 miles an hour and the driver behind me reacts he or she could end up getting hurt or killed. Please look into this. I kept all the parts I have pictures of the new lens installed and the old lens that are broken. I will even mail one of the damage ones to you to inspect at my cost.

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #31

Jun 282013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
While driving the car on the highway the back drivers side tail light flew off the car and into traffic. I was able to retrieve the taillight and the plastic holding all 4 bolts in place were broken. I read online and there are several other incidents of this so I feel I needed to report it to prevent any accidents in the future.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #30

Nov 012012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


I looked in my rear view mirror while driving and saw something hanging from car. All of the plastic brackets inside my left rear tail light had broken and my light was hanging on by the wires. Two months later the same thing happened with my right rear tail light - all of the inside brackets broke and it was hanging by the wires. There was no incident either time to trigger this. Both lights were still working but were no longer able to be held.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #29

Feb 152013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
Left driver's side tail light assembly popped out. It appears that the bolt mounts have broken due to a defect. I am also having problems with the trunk releasing without intentionally opening. Several times, I have found the trunk open in the morning or when I return to the car after work, or shopping. Hyundai service says that I accidentally push the release button somehow. This is not the case as I purposely place the key fob where it cannot be activated and still have that problem. Also, the low-beam headlights are not sufficient. The only cast a beam about 50 feet in front of the vehicle with a distinct line of light about 5 feet above the road. While this is not a problem on straight roads, it is a hazard when driving on hilly roads.

- Candor, NY, USA

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problem #28

Feb 022013


  • 64,000 miles
I closed the trunk and the driver side brake light housing unit pulled away from the vehicle. I opened the trunk again to look from inside and noticed the four screws holding the unit in place were totally broken off. The plastic holding the screws to the main housing unit crumbled into little pieces.

- Waxhaw, NC, USA

problem #27

Aug 152012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


I was driving at the freeway speed limit, I did not feel anything when it happened but I know that it happened on the freeway. I pulled over to get some gas, looked back near the gas cap and saw that my driver's side tailight assembly was hanging by the wires onto my bumper. When it fell out, it bounced and placed several dings and chips in the plastic bumper. I noticed that the wheels(cogs) inside the tailight assembly were completely broken off. I had to take the light out and place it in my trunk and drive the rest of the two hundred miles with no left tail light or turn signal. If it had fallen into the middle of the freeway, I am sure there would have been much more to write about and none of it good!

- San Andreas, CA, USA

problem #26

Nov 192012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 38,500 miles
Upon arriving at my destination, I noticed that my driver-side taillight assembly was dangling out of the fender by it's wiring harness. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the posts that the bolts secure into had failed, causing the lamp assembly to fall out of the fender. When I inquired with a Hyundai service and parts associate at a service center, they stated that this was a common problem with my vehicle model and the component was replaced under warranty.

- Studio City, CA, USA

problem #25

Oct 102012


  • 34,450 miles
Left rear taillight assembly fell off, hanging by wiring. Four plastic mounting bosses at mounting studs have broken. Not the result of any impact or crash. I was alerted to it by another driver beside me who beeped. The taillight has no damage other than the failed mounts. Dealer said it will be replaced under warranty.

- Carol Stream, IL, USA

problem #24

Sep 082012


  • 45,000 miles
Many other buyers of this vehicle have complained same issue. Tails lights are falling out on their own without any impact. It seems that plastic studs holding lights in place are cracking off. There are four studs that metal screws are holding light on by. Hyundai is not honoring this as a warranty, this is a dangerous situation because one driver had his light pop out driving on highway.

- Vineland, NJ, USA

problem #23

Aug 292012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles


I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. I had my brake pedal stoplight switch replaced a few days ago by a Hyundai dealer, which was covered under the manufacturer's warranty. However, in doing research on this replacement, I have found that this is a common problem of Hyundai Sonata owners and it would seem that Hyundai has not corrected this issue other then to replace the oem switch when it fails. Based upon what I have read, I therefore expect that this replacement will fail again sometime in the future and probably at an inopportune time. Since it takes only a few moments to replace the switch, some Hyundai owners that have had multiple failures have gone as far as carrying a spare switch in their glove compartment in case the switch fails again and they are either out of warranty or not near a dealer. The safety issue revolves around the failure of this switch which results in the brake lights not being operable and the possibility of other safety systems being affected too, I.e. traction control and ABS. If this switch failure occurs with the vehicle in park, the gearshift lever cannot be moved. If this failure was a "once in a lifetime" failure, it would not be that much of an issue. But again, that does not seem to be the case and research of Hyundai's repair records or statements made by owners of these cars should bare that out. The original oem switch part is #93810-3S000. An alleged update may be part # 93810-3K000 but this part can not be installed in the vehicles having the original part and Hyundai has not made a retro installation possible if this "K" switch is indeed an updated replacement. I feel that Hyundai should address this issue and produce a retro fit for this safety related brake switch since it seems to be a constant issue that needs attention due to the failure of the switch which then causes, at the very least, inoperable brake lights.

- Deltona, FL, USA

problem #22

Aug 262012


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 65 mph the driver side tail light unit detached from the vehicle. The passenger side tail light unit was also loose. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostics. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 38,000.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #21

Aug 182012


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the rear brake light assembly detached from the vehicle. The contact was entering a residential driveway when the failure occurred. The entire light fixture was detached from the vehicle. The contact stated that the manufacturer did provide any assistance or information in regards to a remedy for the failure. The failure and the current mileages were 50,000.

- Port Saint Lucy, FL, USA

problem #20

Jul 232012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
Car will not start! Hyundai replaced the brake switch and now it is happening again. This happens a couple times per week. This will be my second visit to Hyundai. This should be a recall! we could be without necessary transportation.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #19

Aug 102012


  • 70,000 miles
I was driving over the bridge when I heard noises from the rear of my car. The car behind me was honking. When I was able to pull over I saw my taillight was hanging on by wires.

- Chico, CA, USA

problem #18

Aug 062012


  • 4,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 30 mph, the contact noticed poor illumination of the headlights. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics where the technician inspected the vehicle and advised the contact that the headlights were performing as designed. The dealer also advised the contact to activate the fog lights, which should assist with illuminating the roadway. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 4,500.

- Barkhemsted, CT, USA

problem #17

Jul 232012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 32,435 miles
I opened my trunk and the passengers side tail light was broken loose, and only being held in place by the wires. All the bolts that fasten the plastic tail light to the vehicle were broken off. There was no damage or impact to the light or vehicle.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #16

Jul 102012


  • 64,000 miles
After driving down the interstate I pulled up at my hotel to valet my car. When I walked to the back of my car I realized that my driver's side tail light was hanging by the wires. After further inspection I was able to determine that all of the plastic mounting tabs were broken. The dealership indicated they had seen this same problem before, but would not replace mine because the mileage was over 60K. This should be a recall item in my opinion considering brake lights/ tail lights are important to have!

- Greencastle, PA, USA

problem #15

Jun 232012


  • 39,000 miles
For 2nd time in less than a year my Sonata would not start because of the brake limit switch. The internet is full of these problems on this car and Hyundai should be forced to do something about it. The 1st time it happened I was out of town and they wanted to tow it 50 miles in the opposite direction to my home. No offer of a loaner to get me home. Perhaps all Sonata owners should just take their cars in every 6 months to get the switch replaced so we do not end up stranded somewhere with limited help. I guess this problem is not as serious as those reporting sudden acceleration when they push the brake.

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #14

May 222012


  • 33,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the rear driver side brake light separated from the vehicle while driving. The contact believed that the tail light stud was defective and caused the rear tail light to separate from the vehicle. The manufacturer stated that the failure was not a manufacturing defect and denied assistance with the repair. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and the current mileage was 33,000.

- Springfield , NJ, USA

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