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:
40,974 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #10

Jun 062011


  • 25,000 miles


Unable to shift the car into drive from park. While stopped at a red lift the car failed to accelerate when pressing on the gas. Had to place the car in park and turn it off. When car was started again it failed to be placed into drive. Had to keep restarting car to get it to shift into gear. ESC light comes on when this happens and safety on even after able to shift into park. ESC does not work properly when this occurs. Car does not handle properly while on ice, snow or wet ground.

- Terryville, CT, USA

problem #9

Aug 312011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 1,604 miles
Loss of power, car shuts down, 'check charging system' alarm/chime with alarm symbols on dash display for battery, check engine and wrench icons. Have to pull off the highway somehow (in midst of heavy traffic) to shut car completely off and restart. On third incident (one day after second), car would not restart for 10 minutes and check engine icon remained lit. Every incident has been while traveling at high rate of speed in commuter highway traffic. Very frightening and dangerous experience for driver and safety hazard to others when it occurs.

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #8

Aug 182011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 27,800 miles
"ESC" light activated intermittently over past four days. Suddenly brake switch failed, resulting in brake lights failing completely. Unable to start the vehicle (since that requires brake pedal to be pressed, and brake switch failure means car doesn't know pedal is depressed), and unable to switch gears at all for same reason. This failure has occurred on two separate Hyundai Sonatas I have owned (a 2006 and now a 2011) more than a dozen times. The most recent time was in this vehicle, 28 days ago. This failure is known by Hyundai, but still requires a time and money investment to fix, I have lost hundreds of hours of my time to fix this problem which has never been mitigated. I had to pay out of pocket for the first several brake switch replacements, they have since been covered by the dealer. Hyundai says they have developed a new brake switch which was supposed to last longer, but the failures persist.

- Maricopa, AZ, USA

problem #7

Aug 092011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles


ESC light came on in perfect dry conditions and then the car was unable to be put into gear. Turned car on and off a few times and it stopped and I was able to get it into gear.

- Atmore, AL, USA

problem #6

Jul 282011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
The "ESC" indicator light (not the "ESC off" light) frequently comes on and stays on. If you stop the vehicle and put it in park while this is occurring, the gear shifter will not work. You can not put the car in gear. Once you turn off the car and restart it, the light goes off. However, after 10-15 miles the light comes back on and stays on again. Dealer ran computer check and found no codes but the problem continues. I've had the car 2 days.

- West Monroe, LA, USA

problem #5

Nov 222010


  • 10 miles
I have a turbo limited Sonata. It has a severe left pull. If I am driving on a flat surface and let go of the steering wheel, I would be off the road to the left in about 5-6 seconds. If I am accelerating, I would be off the road within 1-2 seconds. It is a real problem. My dealership does not have the specs to fix the issue. I called the next closest dealer and they also do not have a fix. I am constantly assured that Hyundai is working on the issue, but lets face it, it has been over six months. I have lost faith that they are working on a fix. The newly sold 2011 Sonata limited turbos are being sold with the 17" wheels, not the 18" wheels I have. Therefore, it looks as though they are trying to change it to fix the problem. But what about those of us with the 18" wheels" do we have to wait until someone dies before this gets fixed" that is not acceptable to me. There are already over 165 complaints and I hope more are added daily. I am a repeat Hyundai Sonata buyer and very discouraged with the quality of safety in this car. Please investigate the problem and force a recall!

- Independence, MO, USA

problem #4

Apr 252011


  • 5,700 miles


Engine stalled at highway cruising speed without any warning. The engine lost most of its power. Check engine and ESC (traction control) light were on. Restart the engine appeared to resolve the lost power problem but check engine light were still on. This happened twice within three weeks while driving on a busy highway and was quite dangerous. Dealer was able to reproduce the problem and replaced the electric throttle control module.

- Brighton, MA, USA

problem #3

Mar 172011


  • 0 miles
2011 Hyundai - dragging to both sides, mainly to the right, steering is rocking from side to side, car feels like its going be blown of the road, steering is twisted even when wheel is perfectly straight, extremely difficult to keep in to the left.

- Port St Lucie, FL, USA

problem #2

Feb 112011


  • 3,000 miles
Vibration in steering, grinding noise in transaxe, low tire pressure (by dealer), refusal to perform 3,750 mile maintince secdule (dealer refused).

- Mcadoo, PA, USA

problem #1

Oct 192010


  • 11,000 miles
This incident occurred with a 2011 Hyundai Sonata limited: 6 months of perfect operation and approx. 11000 miles. Violent shaking of steering wheel and steering column after acceleration onto an on ramp. Immediate and entire failure of steering with violent and extremely loud shaking and vibrating of steering wheel. Shaking continued even after ignition shut off. Occurred for 20+ minutes. Disabled only by disconnecting battery. Blisters on hand from hanging on to steering wheel. Nothing could be done to steer, operate, or control vehicle. This incident occurred without warning and within seconds. Towed to dealership. Kept for 3 days. Could not replicate. Steering column recall performed with steering software update, ESC reflashed, reprogrammed eps. Hyundai was excellent in their response - both dealership and Hyundai usa. Hyundai usa engineers and tech's were involved with resolving the problem. This was a frightening and dangerous incident and possibly life threatening. Whether repair attempt will resolve only time will tell.

- Andover, MN, USA

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