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:
5 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,336 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #45

Aug 252014


  • 83,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds or reversing, the vehicle would jerk and the instrument panel would not display the correct gear position. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission switch needed to be replaced. The contact mentioned that the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V434000 (power train). The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 83,000.

- Chicago , IL, USA

problem #44

May 152013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 58,230 miles
The gear shift got stuck and move out of park.brake lights does not work when pressing break peddle, which resently accured, that is to it brake lights.also four months ago I begin to have problems with my brakes.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #43

Aug 082014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
I went to place the car in reverse and noticed that the gear shifter said R but the dash board had a 0. the vehicle went into drive placed on the brakes placed the vehicle in park. The display on the dash still showed 0. I shut off the motor and re-started the motor and the dash indicated that the car was in park. I then went on line and saw there was a recall just issued for this. I have not received a recall notice from Hyundai.

- Baldwin , NY, USA

problem #42

Aug 012014


  • 53,252 miles


I was backing my car out of a parking space when the car abruptly stopped (as if I had hit something) jerking the car and causing the car to stall / engine to die. I noticed the dashboard lights went blank and then a few lights came on; but the lights for the letters on the gear shift was blank. The car was able to be placed in park and after several minutes the car started and I was able to drive home. I noticed a similar complaint from July 16,2011. From sugarloaf, pa. This is almost word for word exactly what happened to my car!

- Yukon, OK, USA

problem #41

Jul 142014


  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the shift lever seized intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 74,000.

- Lindley, NY, USA

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problem #40

Jul 262014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 91,735 miles
I was driving my wife's car home from work and stopped by a gas station for a drink. I came back to the car and started it up. As I was engaging in gear, I noticed the shift indicator on the instrument panel and the shifter was missing. I put the car back in park, killed the motor and restarted. It reappeared, but briefly. As I put it in drive, I felt a violent jerking motion from the gearbox; then the dreaded check engine light reared its ugly head. I drove to the nearest auto parts store to have a guy pull the code(s) for me. It was a failing PCM (powertrain control module) that was giving me drivetrain issues. In regards to electrical, whenever my wife (or anyone else) ride in the passenger side, the interior lights turn on whenever I make hard left turns. Interesting :-/.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #39

Jul 182014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 49,444 miles


Pulling out of a parking space, I put the vehicle in reverse and it felt like it was in neutral as I stepped on the gas the vehicle did not move. I tried putting it in drive and back to reverse but nothing happened. I turned off the car and restarted. The car went into reverse this time but when I put the gear in drive the vehicle banged into gear an jolted ahead. The vehicle felt like it wasn't shifting up to the light about 1/4 mile away. When the light turned green the vehicle felt like it was in neutral again and while I was at a complete stop I put the car in park and then to drive. It banged into drive and jolted ahead again. The same scenario happened again happened the next day as I was coming out of the driveway.

- Matthews, NC, USA

problem #38

Jun 272014


  • 59,431 miles
Incident details: On Friday, June 27th, around 7:15 a.M., I was in my car with my 18 month old son getting ready to leave my garage. I put my car in reverse; however, I noticed the gear readout on the dashboard was non-functional. I looked down at the gear shift and the indicator light was also non-functional. I decided I should run into the house and get my husband to have him look at the car. I put the car back into park, took my foot off the brake, and turned to tell my son I would be right back. I opened the door and started step out of the car. I felt the car jerk violently and then it started to roll backwards. I was knocked off my feet and dragged down my driveway until my car hit my neighbor's tree (approx.. 70? from where the car started inside the garage), where it stopped. The event caught the attention of my neighbor who ran over to my house to alert my husband. He ran out to the car, which was rested against the tree. He attempted to put the car in "park", however the gear selector was in its absolute forward position. He then pulled the gear selector back into the drive position (gear indicators still non-functional) and the car made an audible "snap? and lurched forward. My husband drove the car approx. 20" where he parked it. My husband, made a phone call to the gurnee, il Hyundai dealership, they advised him to call the Hyundai customer care number (1-800-633-5151). He was connected with a case manager by the name of merrieta. She took notes of the incident and advised him to have the car sent to the nearest Hyundai dealership for an investigation. The car was picked up by tow truck June 27th around 11am and delivered to the gurnee Hyundai dealership.

- Round Lake, IL, USA

problem #37

Dec 232011


  • 23,000 miles
When I put car in drive and start to drive off it comes completely out of gear, I then have to power off car and then restart and it may work or I may have same issue a few times before it goes in gear. This has cause my car to stall, jerk when it does go in gear, steering wheel shakes when driving, and check engine light has come on. Separate issue is the front bumper is poorly made if you barely tap anything when parking the clamps break and bumper starts to come apart.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #36

Jun 042014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 75,203 miles
The car was parked. Started and backed up I proceeded forward at 10-15 mph in a parking lot and the car just died would not start I had plenty of power lights etc but it would not turn over. Had to have the car towed. A car only four years old should not have a safety issue like this. This is a safety issue biz if we had rode in the car for 10 minutes and it stalled we would have been on a very dangerous section of a highway that would most certainly ended with an accident and even a worse scenario. For you to have no warning a signal or a bell but for it to just shut off. I have enjoyed the car for the most part but between a oil sensor going a few year ago and the car died the same way in the middle of an intersection and the car going dead again in the course of the vehicle moving I seriously would not recommend or consider buying a Sonata again I hope this note has some effect on fixing this problem before fatalities occur. (now I also have a huge repair bill for a problem that so obviously a faulty part.

- Morton, PA, USA

problem #35

May 022012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


On 5 occasions my car has temporarily stalled/lost power for an instant, always at freeway speed within 10 miles of my home. The sensation is as if the car had run into something heavy on the pavement. It violently pitched my wife and I forward and I expect that we would have hit the dash had we not been wearing seatbelts. After exiting the freeway in all cases, the car had barely enough acceleration to drive more than 25 mph for the couple of miles to the dealer. The dealer claims that they cannot repair a problem which they cannot duplicate. I understand this but find it difficult to believe that Hyundai has never heard of this issue before. I strongly feel that my vehicle is unsafe and needs to be repaired under the manufacturer's warranty. I am only 30,000 miles into a 100,000 mile warranty.

- Sellersburg, IN, USA

problem #34

Feb 252012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
While entering a parking spot to a diner, the car unintended accelerated crashing into the side of the diner. Minor damage to the side of the diner as I was no more than 3 feet from the bldg. My foot was on the brake pedal when this acceleration occurred without warning. I was entering the parking spot at no more than 5 mph planning to put the car in park and exit for lunch. My leg hit the hood latch and I obtained a nasty cut on my shin. The consumer stated other components were replaced, such as the tires and transmission. The consumer also stated, when she turned the ignition, there was an odor of smoke and rubber burning. Updated 11/16/15.

- Manchester, NJ, USA

problem #33

Nov 152012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Manual transmission is extremely jerky. Transmission smells really bad after every drive. After clutch is released there is a blip causing a delay in acceleration, making the car very unpredictable. Stalls almost every time going into first gear from a stoplight. Car has stalled at intersection multiple times. New manual drivers are unable to drive this car because it is so dangerous. Driver is 15 year veteran of manual transmission cars.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #32

Nov 132013


  • 41,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the transmission caused the vehicle to jerk and exhibit a loud banging noise when driving various speeds. The dealer performed a diagnostic and stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and advised that the transmission could be replaced under warranty with a refurbish transmission. The transmission was not replaced. The failure and current mileage was 41,500.

- Freemont , CA, USA

problem #31

Apr 152010


  • 500 miles
The car randomly stalled at traffic lights for about ten times now throughout my 3.5 years' ownership. I bought my car in March 2010. Within one month, the engine stalled when braking to a full stop at traffic light. The dealer couldn't reproduce the problem. One month later, my car cut off again while sitting at traffic light. Another one or two months later, it happened the third time. The dealer kept my towed car for two weeks but had no clue. From then on, I just gave up. One day, when it sat at traffic light, the car shook a little like someone hit me. The other day, this hit-like shake happened again while at traffic light. This time, the car even shook several times during driving after leaving that traffic light, with the check engine light blinking in accordance with the shake. On the following day, my car finally stalled again at a traffic light. Except the first one, all other occurrences happened while the car sat at traffic light and I stepped on the brake pedal. After I restarted the car, it could run smoothly for at least one month. Given the occurrence frequency, the chance to reproduce the problem at dealership is almost zero. And they refused to lend me their computer that I could hook up to the car to record driving data. I had also contacted Hyundai customer affairs. All they can do was just send me to the dealer and close the ticket. Recently, the car stalled again during a low-speed driving. The car lost driving power completely with check engine light on. I was completely shocked and hurriedly stepped the brake, switched the gear to park, and restarted the car. Fortunately, no car was around. This is really terrifying and I am really disappointed and embarrassed.

- Mc Lean, VA, USA

problem #30

Sep 162013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The transmission temperature sensor (and/or associated wireless harness) failed. We had this happen to two 2011 Hyundai Sonatas in a 4-week span (this one a 6-cylinder, the other a 4-cylinder with 15,500 miles on it). That caught our attention, prompted us to report it. This one mimicked a hesitate & surge. The other one did that, then became undrivable. Dealers replaced under warranty in both cases.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #29

Sep 152013


  • 38,900 miles
My car was just serviced for excessive noise occurring when I would make turns as if the car could not grip the road. I brought the car to the deal as was told the alignment must be off, only to find that there was a recall that I was never told of. The dealer replaced the lower control arms on the car and a new alignment part their "TP3 recall" but when driving home the car did not make noises when making the turns on the on/off ramps but rather when driving straight and/or when changing lanes. Dealer due to being a Sunday and service department being closed as me to call them back. This will be the 3rd time I have had to bring the car in for the same issue with each time the steering column being loose and a natural pull to the driver side.

- Wallingford, CT, USA

problem #28

Jun 032013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 25,956 miles
The key will not come out of the ignition. Replaced shifter assembly then replaced lock cylinder. Today, 7/21/13 I have the same problem.

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #27

Apr 112013


  • 33,500 miles
When driving to work I had just gotten on highway when I felt a thud and transmission jerked. I first thought that I hit something on the road but hadn't. I noticed my speed was reduced to 55mph and the RPM, S increased to 3500 from the previous 2000 RPM.I had had this problem twice now and read online that by pulling over to a stop and shut off the ignition will reset the transmission electrical controls.I without doing this the trans. Will remain in whats called limp gear(4th) and will remain in that gear at all speeds untill you shut off the ignition and it will then reset hopefully.I am scheduled to have the dealer look into this and hopefully can come up with a fix, as this is the 2nd time I will have the vehicle in for the same problem.the only bad thing about diagonalizing this problem has been the fact that no check engine code light is on the dash and I was told the first time that without this and the fact that by driving it and duplicate the occurrence they don't know what to fix.

- Le Sueur, MN, USA

problem #26

Nov 152011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving approximately 65 mph, the vehicle began to decelerate suddenly. The failure occurred at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000.

- Lenoir City, TN, USA

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