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:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
11,734 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 1 of 2)

problem #21

Aug 012016

Sonata 4-cyl

  • miles


2011 Hyundai Sonata. Consumer writes in regards to electronic power steering recall notice issues, brake light switch repairs, tail light assembly problems and steering coupler/column replacements. The consumer stated there were loud noises coming from the vehicle and the steering wheel would shake, when the braking. Also, the brake light began stay on which caused problem during highway driving.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #20

Dec 032015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 17,200 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While starting the engine, a loud noise emitted from under the hood and smoke released from the exhaust system. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 17,200. Updated 02/19/16 the consumer also stated there was a recall on the brakes. Update 02/22/16.

- Lake Wylie, SC, USA

problem #19

Nov 302013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 28,159 miles
Hyundai Sonata 2011 push button start. I am the original owner of the vehicle. Yesterday I went into my car and proceeded to start my car. I had to push the start button three times before it actually started up. This happened twice within 2 hours. 5 days prior my vehicle had been to the Hyundai dealership for the recall on the stop lamp switch. An existing recall (NHTSA campaign number: 13V113000) indicates that for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata the stop lamp switch may not function correctly. They, the dealership, performed the service and replaced the stoplamp switch. As result my car is experiencing intermittent switch point contact with the push-button start. This is crazy.

- Laguna Beach, CA, USA

problem #18

Aug 012013


  • miles


2011 Hyundai Sonata. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle brake malfunction. The consumer stated approximately 15 times during the 24 months his wife owned the leased vehicle, when she applied the brakes, mostly at low speeds and once in reverse, she experienced a firm pedal resistance, but no functional braking for several seconds.

- Milford, PA, USA

problem #17

Oct 132012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
Difficulty depressing brake pedal in order to start engine...third replaced brake switch other two times.

- South Setauket, NY, USA

problem #16

Nov 162011


  • 7,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, she engaged the brakes but the vehicle did not stop. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and offered no assistance because the dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 7,500 and the current mileage was 8,500.

- Salem , NH, USA

problem #15

Jan 012012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles


The 2011 Sonata is unable to start by pressing down on both the brake pedal and start button. I had this problem for over 3 months. This failure happens about 1-2 times a week. Once failed to start, the brake pedal locked up while the dashboard display still says "press down brake pedal to start." With repeated tries to start the car, it sometimes started after 5-10 minutes, but sometimes it took over 1 hours to start the engine. Hyundai dealership said they cannot help because the problem cannot be reproduced when they service the car. It is a rather new car but very unreliable.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #14

Mar 012012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 28,003 miles
In the last month of March 2012, when driving in town or on the highway, my ESC light will come on for no reason in perfect weather conditions and then when I stop somewhere e.g. to let my child out in the school line, I will put my car in park, if this is an occasion that my ESC light has come on it will not let me take my car out of park, unless I turn the car on and off several times, also when the ESC light comes on there is a pretty big delay in my brakes and accelerations. I am worried about my children's safety while in my car because I am not sure if one day it may cause a serious accident but I have searched every where and can not find a recall on this.

- Alba, TX, USA

problem #13

Feb 012012


  • 6,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that when driving in rainy weather and applying the brakes, the brake would exhibit a loud, grinding noise. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who test drove the vehicle and was able to recreate the failure. The dealer advised the contact that the noise was normal and that all brakes on new vehicles would exhibit the noise. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 6,500 and the current mileage was 6,560.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #12

Jan 202012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 15,990 miles
Add on to ODI # 10440320 I was driving and twice when I tried to stop to make a turn the engine kept overriding the brake and the car kept lurching ahead. I applied the brake peddle as hard as I could and the car would not stop. When I released the break peddle, the car started acting normal again. By this time I was way over the center line of the road and if there had been another car at the intersection I would have certainty hit them. This is the second and third time this has happened with this car and I believe it should be taken off the road before someone get killed. If I was pulling up behind another car at a stop sign and this happened I would rear end the car in front. If I was stopping at a pedestrian crossing and this happened I could run someone over and kill them.

- Brodhead, WI, USA

problem #11

Dec 162011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • miles


I was pulling into parking space, had my foot on the brake, car was almost completely stopped, all of a sudden the car accelerated, traveled approximately 8 feet, the brake didn't stop the car. I hit the brick wall of a busy convenience gas station store, thankfully no one was coming out the door at the time. My first thought was the floor mat had interfered with the gas pedal, but am sure now that was not the case. When a representative of my insurance company called me, he stated that he heard that I had stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake, this is not true, I am 100 percent sure. My husband was a passenger in the car and after we had calmed done, we discussed what had happened, he stated to me that the car was almost stopped and then just suddenly made a loud roaring sound and accelerated. Our car was towed to a Hyundai repair station and we are waiting to hear how much the damages are. Just the thought of having to drive that car again scares me, it was a very frightening experience, as it happened so fast and I had no control over stopping the car, other than my foot was on the brake and that didn't stop the acceleration. My hope is that this is investigated before any serious injuries or deaths occur.

- Brodhead, WI, USA

problem #10

Oct 142011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 20,656 miles
While driving 65 mph on a state highway during rush hour with the cruise control on, the steering wheel/car suddenly starting shaking extremely violently and it was all I could do to maintain control long enough to pull over and stop/inspect the vehicle. It was remarkable an accident did not occur and if my child, a new driver, had been behind the wheel, I am certain an accident would have occurred. The electric power steering (eps) and electronic stability control (ESC) warning lights came on and power steering no longer worked. The sensation I experienced was very much like that described in NHTSA campaign id no. 10V426000. I took the car to the dealership and they ultimately concluded that the problem was a brake switch which caused power steering to stop working. The dealership replaced the brake switch, concluding that my 2011 Hyundai Sonata, manufactured on 3/11/11, was not subject to the recall involving steering column intermediate shaft universal joint connections. I am currently driving the car, although I do so reluctantly, particularly with family members in the vehicle. While I do not know if these situations are related, on 9/11/11 my car had to be towed to the dealership because the starter would not recognize the brake was depressed. At that time a brake light switch was replaced. I have been in contact with Hyundai Consumer Affairs and the dealership's service manager, but remain concerned about my vehicle and this situation happening to other drivers who may not be as lucky as I was. I remain hopeful Hyundai will be aggressive and proactive in this process, but it scared and concerned me enough I felt it was necessary to pursue this situation with a regulatory body.

- Dublin, OH, USA

problem #9

Sep 062011


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the push to start button switch failed. When depressing the brakes and trying to place the vehicle into gear, the vehicle would not move. The failure recurred on an intermittent basis. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they advised him that the brake switch failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired for the brake switch. The failure mileage was approximately 24,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Fayetteville, AR, USA

problem #8

Jul 012010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While merging into another lane, the contact stated that the brakes were depressed and failed to engage. The contact pulled the emergency brake in order to stop the vehicle. The trunk would also open inadvertently. The dealer repaired the failure by replacing the master cylinder and module for the braking system and also advised the contact to open the trunk manually. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and filed a report. The failure mileage was 12,500 and the current mileage was 14,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Plainsfield, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jul 242011


  • 9,900 miles
Tonight I was rear ended by a woman in an SUV, who's brakes did not work in her durango, she said. There were no skid marks indicating an attempted stop. Her impact on my vehicle was severe. Police officer guessed she was going 40 mph when she hit my car. My car was shoved forward into the car in front of mine, that car then hit the car in front of it. There were 3 cars, mine last in line, sitting at a red light. We were all stopped. Then there was a 4th car that hit mine from behind. The matter im reporting is that the airbags in my Hyundai Sonata SE 2011 car did not deploy when I then hit the car in front of me. The impact was great enough to cause that car to then hit another car and that caused a crack in the radiator of the car in front of mine. Also, after I hit that car in front of me, I then bounced back about 10 feet. More evidence of impact. Why no airbags? I did not see very much damage to the front of my car nor the back of the car that was directly in front of mine, while the back of my car was bad enough that I expect to be told it is not repairable.. im reporting just in case you receive any other reports indicating there is something faulty concerning airbags in the Hyundai. I know airbags are not to deploy in rear end collision but since I then hit another car frontally, I would think the airbags would deploy. My husband was in the passenger, front seat and in order to brace himself, he put his hand up at the windshield. The glass was broken in an area the size of a cantaloupe from the impact against his hand. Im thinking the impact must have been moderate to severe. On the up side, my Sonata took that hit and sustained the damage to the outside and up into the air at the trunk rather than into the cab of the car. My father and son were in the backseat and were not killed, I think because the car is a good, safe vehicle in a crash.

- Merriam, KS, USA

problem #6

Mar 312011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 4,137 miles
Failed components: Brakes & shift gear the brake pedal is not working most of the time when shifting the gear from park to drive mode (followed by reverse mode) I need to press the brake pedal very hard up to several times to shift the gear. I brought the vehicle to the dealer and it works fine for two days. It started happening after two first services to the vehicle by dealer. I brought the vehicle again to dealer after 1 week and explained the problem again. They did some troubleshooting again, they told me that they didn't identify the problem this time. I spoke with Hyundai customer support and they directed me to another dealer and asked me to document the problem. I took the vehicle to another dealer and they told me that this is a common issue and suggested that I unlock the "shift lock" in case of emergencies! I told them that shift lock is only useful in case of emergencies. But the brake pedal is not releasing the gear most of the time which is not acceptable. There is no answer from the dealer. Trying to contact Hyundai official support but nothing heard back from them at (after 2 weeks.) status update 02/23/12

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #5

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 #4

Jan 282011


  • 14,000 miles
Coming out of side street, going about 5-10 mph. Depressed brake to stop/slowdown and car (2011 Hyundai Sonata purchased in February 2010) just kept on going into intersection and up the road. Kept pressing pedal all the way to floor and car still kept going until it glided to a stopped. Traveled about 100-150 feet with no brakes and had use horn a few times to warn other drivers. After this I moved again and brakes worked fine. Very scary... went out into a very, very busy street. Fortunately I hit no one and no other cars hit me. Will call dealer to report it and ask for further advice. Perhaps ice, snow, sand, etc. Got into pads/cylinders and temporarily seized the brakes? don't have VIN with me will report it later.

- Norwell, MA, USA

problem #3

Dec 272010


  • 1,547 miles
2011 Sonata 2.0T. No braking pressure when cold, slow to stop until car warms up, noise is heard from what sounds like the ABS pump or power brake assist pump. Took to a dealer and was told the noise is a strut tower bar and motorworld group in wilkes-barre refuses to look any father on this issue unless I pay to have the tower bar removed and rechecked. I have 1500 miles on the car and dealer is refusing to correctly diagnose issues unless I pay for it. This is a 2011 Sonata 2.0T SE. The sound is definitely not the tower bar as I can remake the sound on other cars after using brakes very hard. These brakes are very soft and the noise is easy heard and sounds like a pump and a vibration in the pedal.

- Mcadoo, PA, USA

problem #2

Oct 132010


  • 4,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the steering wheel suddenly locked up which caused her to collide into two wooden posts and signs in a grassy area. The brakes would not engage when the contact attempted to stop the vehicle; a hole in the ground stopped the vehicle. The contact also noticed that the seat belt did not tighten to secure her during the incident. There were no injuries. A police report was filed. The contact stated that she previously had the vehicle into the dealer for recall 10V426000 (steering:gear box:shaft sector) on October 8, 2010. The vehicle was at the dealer at the time of the complaint. The manufacturer had not been notified. The current and failure mileages were approximately 4,000.

- Warwick, NY, USA

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