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 1 of 5)

problem #85

Feb 212012


  • 26,995 miles


Purchased vehicle new 11/1/10 and have had intermittent problem ('the problem") which I have reported to local dealers and brought to their shops and just recently realized this problem had been identified exactly as ts-12-at-018: "after vehicle is shifted to park, the button or ignition key button is turned off, the accessory power remains on." Chronology - 2/21/12; 26,995 miles, lia of hartford - shift knob replacement (still had the problem afterward); 10/21/14, 74,730 mi, lia, eclip on shifter (still had the problem afterward); 2/10/16; 94,814 mi key of manchester, (recalls: Engine shavings, brake pedal stopper, front right inside door handle) - they were unable to replicate the problem so no repair made; 11/29/16, 107,014 mi - key manch, they identified noted tsb associated with the problem even stating car manufacture date in range for the problem - but after asking, manufacturer won't cover cost or even portion - and I had to pay diagnosis charge of $62.50 (which they said they reduced by 50% - and also recommended replacing my timing belt, but I believe car has a chain which doesn't need to be replaced). I have had at least 10 repairs done to my car that were covered by the manufacturer, including one for a tsb after the 60,000 mile warranty expired (the eclip). In addition, I have paid for repairs that I think should have been covered (a new starter due to a known problem with an internal plastic lever, and replacement of the inside driver door handle - noting the replacement of the inside passenger door handle was paid for 2 years later). My request - repair this ongoing problem which has been intermittent and requires me to repeatedly turn the car back on, move the shift lever out of park, until I can completely shut the vehicle off. The problem may be a safe issue, since I hear a load click when it finally does go into park and I can turn off car.

- South Windsor, CT, USA

problem #84

Oct 292016


  • miles
I brought my car in for this recall and now months later the airbag light indicates a problem. I was told that seat would need to be replaced for $1200. This car has been nothing but problems

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #83

Dec 012015


  • miles
Car makes a loud clicking noise in the steering column when going over 60 mph and when slowing down. When parked, there is also clicking noises when turning the steering wheel. When in reverse, it makes a clicking noise when turning. Gas gauge doesn't work. It now will run out of gas when there are "60 miles" left until empty. The cruise control button will not work. You have to keep pressing it to come on. Also, the button to see trip miles, trip a, trip B etc, does not work on the 1st try. It takes many pushes to get the screen to change.

- Norman, OK, USA

problem #82

Apr 172014


  • 107,000 miles


At around 107,000 miles the motor on my 20111 Sonata shut off on the 91 East freeway while traveling about 70mph. I was forced to pull off on the hard shoulder of the road and the vehicle had no power steering or power brakes. The motor started back up eventually but was making a loud noise and failed completely shortly after. I replaced the motor in the Sonata with a used motor and repaired the damage to the suspension and tires.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #81

Aug 192016


  • 4 miles
When starting and moving into a drive gear from park, or while at a stop in drive, the vehicle will suddenly lose its drive letter display and will feel like the transmission is not engaged. This is still occurring after the dealership inspected the vehicle for this issue. This issue has occurred repeatedly. After the vehicle is turned off then on, the drive letter display reappears with the drive letter that I moved the transmission shifter to. When the transmission is moved to reverse, the drive letter disappears again. Sometimes this happens 3 or 4 times immediately in a row. It has also happened while in drive at a stop and has required that I turn off the engine then turn it on again to see the drive letters.

- Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA

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problem #80

Jul 212016


  • 79,667 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving 35 mph, the transmission did not engage and the vehicle hesitated upon accelerating. The engine warning light illuminated. The dealer diagnosed that the harness failed. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure persisted. The dealer diagnosed that the switch inhibitor failed and needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 79,667.

- Paradise, CA, USA

problem #79

Jul 312016


  • 80,000 miles


Immediately after starting the car the transmission gear indicator letters in the dashboard were blank and the shifter gears letters were not illuminated. A temporary remedy was to shut off the engine and restart the car. This problem is erratic and cannot be reproduced at will.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #78

Jun 172016


  • 49,000 miles
Electronic gear shifter sensor would not always work so it wouldn't always shift or would jerk.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #77

Jul 162016


  • 80,335 miles
When vehicle was moving it felt like went into a coast but RPM did not increase speed slowed.. gas peddle was pushed in nothing happened when peddle was released and then pushed all functions resumed

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #76

Jun 292016


  • 113,000 miles
Car losses power in the highway under 55 miles per hour. When starting from stop or yield it does not take acceleration and almost dies. Almost got in acccident several times as the car doesnt want take gas. More like a suden stop in a trafic.. airbag light is on for more than a year. Brake lights dont work and is not the bulbs. This is becoming almost everyday problem and dealer dont have solution to the problem but I was told it is a known problem for this model. Pls do something about it.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #75

Apr 012016


  • 88,605 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the gear shifter was defective. The contact was unable to shift the gear out of reverse or into drive. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 88,605.

- Lyman, SC, USA

problem #74

May 262016


  • 75,100 miles
Gear shift display on dash board goes blank after shifting from one gear to the next desired gear (I.e. car is in reverse and put into drive, D appears than disappears) or while trying to shift (I.e. car is in park or neutral and shift car into drive and the display goes blank without D appearing first). After the display goes blank, the car feels as though it is going to stall and check engine light appears. Putting the car into park and turning the car off and then back on does not fix the issue right away. After waiting a few minutes with the car off and turning it back on fixes the issue with the gear shift display temporarily but check engine icon remains illuminated.

- Coatesville, PA, USA

problem #73

Jan 132016


  • 48,000 miles
Vehicle in motion randomly turns on check engine light for a second, will hesitate and then suddenly surge as if trying to catch up. Transmission seems to be the main issue.

- Garland, TX, USA

problem #72

Feb 292016


  • 58,000 miles
II had a recall on several things on my car. Took the car back to dealer I bought it from had the recall stiff done and two week later my starter went out. I informed them there was also a recall for the starter and they argue me down that it was not. Well several people I know with the same type of car year, make and model and they received an notice but when they took it in the recall was found. I had to get my car towed and pay for the repairs in the amount of $575 at for they were trying to charge me over $700. I should not have had to pay for a recall and now trying to find how to file a claim for a refund. My car stop on the street in front of my place of employment I got a jump it made it home and died again on the street call aaa and had it towed to dealer.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #71

Feb 012016


  • miles
My steering wheel has become increasingly loose and shaky over the past months when driving or stationary. There is a very distinct (and getting worse over time) "clicking" or "knocking" sound when I back up and turn my wheel either way. I was told by my mechanic that something is wrong with my steering gear box/shaft sector and possibly some of my axles. He told me this was dangerous, and that the recall campaign number 097 should cover me. However, I was told by Hyundai that my specific car does not fall under this recall, even though I my car has the exact symptoms of the recall. I was also told that because of recent recalls, my warranty would be extended. However, Hyundai has now told me that my warranty extension only covers the sole engine, and not the axles though they are part of and covered by the initial engine warranty. Hyundai has told me there are "kits" to fix these problems, but I have to pay over $1000 for the kits to fix, even though these were faulty parts by Hyundai. The Hyundai service manager I spoke with told me flat out that my car had faulty parts, but that the kits could fix them. I asked him whose fault it was that they were faulty, and he said that all car companies deal with this and it wasn't because of my driving. But even still so, I have to be the one to pay for Hyundai's faulty parts and non-existent recall help. I'm beyond frustrated after reading so many reviews and forums online of people with the exact same car symptoms as mine who are unfortunately also not covered by the recall. If I cannot get a better response and answer from this, I will be contacting the main lawyer who others have also contacted about this and filing an official lawsuit. I expected way better from Hyundai and am disgusted and disappointed at the lack of service, truthfulness, and integrity from this company at this point.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #70

Jan 222016


  • 68,500 miles
After taking my 2011 Hyundai Sonata in for engine recall my steering wheel is now making noise and it moves to the left on its own now. Also my right axle is leaking grease and the car has about 69,000 miles on it. I bought it new.Hyundai dealer said the noise is coming from a coupling and would cost $270. They also said it was not part of the recall for steering column intermediate shaft which I took the car in for when that recall came out.I dont know what they do or if they do anything when they supposedly look at your car due to a recall. My car was doing great when I took it in for the recalls until the last time. Also when I took my car in for engine recall my oil dipstick was yellow. But now I have an orange oil dipstick. Back to the part about the steering noise it makes noise sitting still and moving and sometimes it gets louder if the road is not as smooth.also how do they know it is the coupling and not something else such as what the recall was for when they just listened to my car and not inspect it to be sure. The coupling should have been included in the recall and if not it needs to be recalled.this sounds dangerous. The noise also gets louder when I turn the wheel while driving. Sometimes it sound like the car is rattling and sometimes sounds like a shock absorber starting to go bad.

- Florence, AL, USA

problem #69

Jul 182013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact received notifications of NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V434000 (power train), 15V568000 (engine), and 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic). The parts to do the recall repairs were unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The manufacturer was not aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure. Parts distribution disconnect.

- Concord, CA, USA

problem #68

Dec 212015


  • 78,000 miles
Tinging sound comes and goes while driving, erratic shifting multiple gears, oil light comes on with moderate acceleration, there is a recall on this but I do not have the number. Recall on engine. II have been to the dealer who claims they are not able to replicate but will not allow me to drive with them.

- Spring Hill, FL, USA

problem #67

Dec 202015


  • 78,000 miles
Tinging metal sound while driving. Immediately after start it dies, oil light comes on moderate acceleration, shifts erratic and hard in multiple gears

- Spring Hill, FL, USA

problem #66

Nov 122015


  • 36,300 miles
Recently purchased a vehicle. Didn't get a proper test drive. Turns out the car has major defects especially in the steering. We figured out that this vehicle had defects while in motion on a city street

- Frisco, TX, USA

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