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 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #13

Feb 092012


  • 15,000 miles


I have the same problem with the brake switch car won't start with push button start on my SE. I jumped the car got it started took it to the dealer they could not find out what was wrong with it. It happened again I called the dealership to take it back again and the service advisor I have delt with for 6 years was there she told me they have been replacing these switches and if it happens again just hold down the push button start for 30 seconds and it will over ride the switch and start. Well she was right it happened this morning I put my foot on the brake and held in the push button and it started after about 20 seconds. I take it in tomorrow to have the switch replaced.

- Bethel Park, PA, USA

problem #12

Feb 142012


  • 54,000 miles
When I arrived at work today I noticed the drivers side rear tail light assembly was loose. Upon further inspection I noticed that the plastic clips that hold the assembly in place were broken. I've contacted the dealer and have gotten the run around about what caused the issue. I haven't been involved in any type of accident and there is no visible damage to the exterior of the car. Currently, still trying to get it fixed but the dealer doesn't seem to be any help.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #11

Nov 252011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 24,600 miles
I was pulling out of a driveway and heard a clunk. The next day I noticed the left tail light assembly had fallen out. It was still held on by it's wires. There is no damage to the exterior of my car or to the lens of the assembly. The interior retaining nuts had all been broke. Hyundai will not give me any answers how this has happened.

- Villisca, IA, USA

problem #10

Nov 272011


  • miles


While walking up to my wife's 2011 Hyundai Sonata in a parking lot, we noticed that the passenger side tail light was dislodged from the body of the car. The electrical wires were still attached to the tail light, but there was no damage to the back of the car or the tail light itself. However, we did see the four bolt holders that attach the tail light to the body of the car had ruptured and broke apart. Within an hour we took the car to our local Hyundai dealer and they said they had never seen a defect like this. They insisted that this must have been due to an impact, even though there was no evidence of damage to the tail light, the back of the car or any signs of vandalism. Since they felt it was due to an impact (not covered by the warranty), we had to pay nearly $300 for the tail light to be replaced. Later that day, I noticed the driver side tail light was becoming loose to the touch as well. The next day my wife called the corporate line for Hyundai to report this tail light defect and report the dealership we went to as well. Within 2 days the dealership called us back and said this is definitely some kind of defect and it should have been covered by our warranty. They refunded our money and also replaced the driver side tail light at no charge. Every Sonata should have their tail lights checked and recalled (at no charge) if these defective bolt holders continue to be found as brittle and flimsy as ours were. Thankfully the tail light did not fall off our car while we were driving or it would have become a serious road hazard. Please bring this to the attention of all Sonata owners immediately.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #9

Nov 012011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • miles
I purchased a 2011 Hyundai Sonata and it is a very nice car except that there is a very real and significant safety issue with respect to the visibility provided by the low beam headlights. I have noticed that a number of other people have expressed their concern about this as well because it makes the car very challenging to drive safely at night. When you are driving the car at night and have the headlights on low beam as you look through the windshield there is a very distinct boundary about midway up the windshield and everything above that boundary line is completely dark. It not only significantly reduces the distance that you typically should be able to see in front of you but it is also extremely disconcerting because even the slightest bump causes the line and your visibility to be bouncing up and down. The other night I nearly hit a person walking along the road even though I was only driving 35 miles per hour because I was almost on top of them before they were visible in the headlights. I have been driving for many years and that has never been an issue with any other car that I have owned.

- Mansfiield, MA, USA

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problem #8

Mar 202011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
Unable to see objects in the road at night when using low [normal] beams for headlights. Hit "road gators" 2 times causing damage to car both times. No other cars were involved. Now I drive around with my high beams on. Have no more "road gators."

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #7

Jul 162011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • miles


Have owned this 2011 Hyundai Sonata for about three weeks now. For the first time, I operated the car at night. I was not aware of an obvious and consequential defect with the headlight low beam aiming on this automobile. With headlights on after dark, there is a sharp boundary between headlight illumination on the lower area and darkness above. On all but level roadway, this hazardous defect is apparent. Many roads where I live in Pennsylvania are twisting and hilly. Traversing those roads with this Sonata using the low beam headlights is unnerving and dangerous. When the front of the car dips into even a slight downgrade, road ahead is illuminated to about 40 feet in front of car. Line of sight through windshield has at least half the view above unlit. Seems that the view zone brightly illuminated below, the eyes try to compensate for contrast. Consequently, the top half seen through the windshield appears to be in complete blackness. Aside from the impaired road illumination, while driving on curving roads, there is an annoying hypnotic effect caused. Due to the harsh light and dark contrast, I find it confusing to navigate between the painted lines due to the low beam problem. Last night while on the way home over one of the winding roads, I nearly hit a deer. The animal was standing in the road but I could not see it. Because of the low beam headlights on my Sonata, I nearly crashed. Fortunately, the deer jumped out of the way in the last seconds directly in front of the car. To me, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata low-beam headlight problem is a difficult situation. Until there is a solution, for my own protection, I now drive on those roads with the high beams, at night, all the time. I ask that you please investigate this issue as it is a serious and very dangerous situation to life and safety.

- Tannersville, PA, USA

problem #6

Jun 112011


  • 600 miles
When headlights are on low beam, you can definitely see a horizontal line. I noticed this when driving on backroads. At some points I cannot see more than a few feet in front of my vehicle. Very dangerous especially if there was something or someone in the road ahead. No visibility at all. I turned on my lights in my garage and you could definitely see the flat line on the garage wall. I don't feel safe driving at night especially on backroads which I have to do often.

- Winder, GA, USA

problem #5

Jun 182011


  • miles
I have a new 2011 Sonata. I been having every problem you can imagine with my car. This time it's my left tail light, it was literally hanging on because of my trunk. I looked inside where the light use to be attached and all the plastic crumbled apart. I called Hyundai about it and they said they had a new tail light to replace mine with and when I got there found out it was broken, so they took a tail light off another Sonata and put it on mine until they order another one. My original tail light scratched and craved the paint on my car in and around that area. It could have easily caused an accident if I had not been so cautious driving after seeing it hanging on by my trunk. One of the service guys told me this was the 4th time he seen this!

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #4

Mar 082011


  • 362 miles
The low beam headlights on the 2011 Hyundai Sonata cast a horizontal shadow approx 100ft in front of the car on level pavement. Everything above this line is completely unilluminated. When you travel up and down hills and minor road grade imperfections, this black shadow comes down and completely blocks headlight illumination to just a few feet in front of the car. This is extremely dangerous and disconcerting when driving at night. It is a fundamental design flaw in the headlight system of this car, and Hyundai should re-design the headlights on a re-call before someone is killed because of this.

- Valley City, OH, USA

problem #3

Feb 042011


  • 4,600 miles


I just purchased a 2011 Sonata turbo and am experiencing strong gas smell inside car when going at slow speeds. I also notice it pulling to the left. Cannot tell the difference between high and low beam with the headlights.

- Rock Island, IL, USA

problem #2

Nov 012010


  • 0 miles
I have a 2011 Sonata. I am very happy with it except for the headlights. When on lowbeam there is a definite horizontal line just a few feet off the ground. Anything above that line is not illuminated by any light. When approaching a small hill or while driving in the mountains, your visibility is way too short - just a few feet in front of the car. In other words, there is no "splash" of dimmer light above this horizontal line - there is no light at all! (I have a photo that I would like to send.) I have taken it to the dealer (Hyundai of greer) and they claim the lights are properly adjusted. If this is so, then you have a design defect. This is a real safety hazard that needs to be addressed. I await your reply.

- Landrum, SC, USA

problem #1

Nov 102010


  • 100 miles
High beams on the car are just another standard headlight bulb. The aiming is higher to create a perception of getter visibility. High beams are not effective at lighting dark country roads. Dealer notified on 11/15/10 and they said they agree with my assessment, but there is no remedy from Hyundai. Waiting on a reply from Hyundai.

- Plainsboro, NJ, USA

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