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:
3 / 8
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,032 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 10 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

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 #17

Apr 262011


  • 43,450 miles
2011 Hyundai Sonata failed to start. I tried several times and the key light was lit on the dash panel. Tried several times and press brake pedal was screaming at me as I pressed the darn thing. Tried the key bob in the slot in the storage area and same result. Got out of the car and closed and locked the doors. Back in and tried again with the same results. Called my next customer and told them I would be late as my car would not start. Finally after 20 minutes I was able to get the car started with the bob in the storage area. Went straight to the dealer -they have never heard of this happening.

- Grottoes, VA, USA

problem #16

Apr 132011


  • 13,685 miles
2011 Sonata SE. Will not start. Warning light indicates key not present or press brake to start. When pressing brake, pedal is "stiff". tried emergency key reset procedure per owner's manual. No luck. Wait 30 minutes, heard relay in dash click, and car returned to normal operation. 3rd time occurred. Noticed I had pulled into parking space by truning hard right prior to shut off. Also, my wife had opened the passenger door and climbed in prior to the driver's door being opened (possible alarm system problem?) no warning. Dealer is stumped. Many others have same exact issue. Suspect either computer or sensor problem. Other possible cause, issue with the alarm system when teh passenger door is opened while car is locked. Car waits until after a time reset to initialize the relay again.... milage 13,600.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #15

Feb 012011


  • 2,700 miles


My new Hyundai Sonata SE 2011 fail to start or to turn off ( I have to restart the car in order to do it). Besides that once in a while the transmission indicator does not show any letter on (R or D or P or N).again, I have to restart the car then it goes on normally.when driving the transmission downshifts abnormally.

- North Miami, FL, USA

problem #14

Mar 092011


  • 90 miles
Picked up new Sonata gl with 58km on it now has 96km interior lights flicker and click on and of brightly. Head lights also flash at same time. Car is under 3 hours old. Already called dealer and there first thing in the am.

- Newmarket, 00, USA

problem #13

Jan 152011


  • 4,400 miles
My car was warming up in the driveway. It was running for about 5 minutes. I went outside and it was on fire. The flames were coming from underneath the hood. There is only one recall for this and it was mechanical related to the steeering column. The fire was a difinitive smell of electrical burning. The car was a total loss.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #12

Dec 152010


  • 5,200 miles


The driver owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The vehicle was equipped with a key fob in which the vehicle was supposed to shut off once the key fob was within a specified distance away from the vehicle. The vehicle would intermittently remain in the on position when the key fob was beyond the allotted distance from the vehicle which forced the driver to manually turn the vehicle off. He vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 5,200 and the current mileage was unknown.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #11

Dec 252010


  • 200 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle would fail to start intermittently in cold temperatures, a problem that would occur since the vehicle was purchased. The vehicle was taken to the dealer yet the failure was unable to be duplicated. A diagnostic test was performed but did not generate any failure codes. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure recurred. The contact would have to receive a jump in order for the vehicle to start. The failure mileage was 200 and the current mileage was 958.

- Bellerose, NY, USA

problem #10

Jan 252011


  • 8,000 miles
For the third time I have gotten in my 2011 Hyundai Sonata SE and it will not start (push to start). The screen will either say the key is not in the vehicle or it will say press brake pedal to start (the key is certainly in the vehicle, how else did I get in with it locked). After repeatedly getting in and out of the car, locking and unlocking pressing the break pads, trying everything and then some for about a half hour the vehicle still will not start. This is the fourth Hyundai I have purchased, second brand new and I have never had problems like this before but this is ridiculous. I've taken it to the dealer and they say they have never heard of this happening even though I have found numerous complaints for it online (what sources are they using, google turns up plenty of information). This is the third time I have been stranded in a dark, potentially dangerous area unable to start my brand new car that has already had a recall. I expect more than this.I will drop it off at the dealership again and after that I am going to invoke the lemon law. One recall is bad enough I would at least like to be able to start my vehicle. The battery is fine both in the car and the remote. At 8,000 I should not have any issues!

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #9

Nov 012010


  • 700 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the horn was not loud. The contact stated that the manufacturer did not install a dual horn which could cause an accident beause another drive might not hear the horn. The current and failure mileages were 700.

- Gibsonia , PA, USA

problem #8

Mar 092010


  • 200 miles


I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The horn is a real safety hazard. You can hardly hear it inside the car, and in traffic, other cars can not hear it with all the road noise.

- North Olmsted, OH, USA

problem #7

Oct 152010


  • 8,000 miles
My 2011 Hyundai Sonata has been failing to start over the past 2 days. The problem is inconsistent, it at times takes 5 minutes to start and at others it takes 20 minutes before the car turns on. After several attempts to start the car, a display message appears near the odometer stating that you must press brake to turn vehicle on (this model uses a push start button). The problem is that the brake pedal locks in place and cannot be pressed down.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #6

Sep 182010


  • 10,100 miles
Over the past 3 days I have been unable to depress the brake pedal and start my car with the electronic starting system. The problem is intermittent and the time frame varied from 2 minutes to 15 minutes before the car would start.I called my dealer to make a service appointment ant the service department commented they never heard of this before but I see other complaints online. Besides the danger of being stuck somewhere I am concerned that the braked may not work for stopping or a fire if it is electrical.

- South Setauket, NY, USA

problem #5

Apr 082010


  • 340 miles
To the person who had starting problems with the 2011, I agree. Mine has been in the dealer's shop over eight times with the same "intermittent" problems that they can't solve. Won't start, or delays starting with the new electronic start button. Left me in a dangerous situation in a parking lot 30 miles from home.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #4

Aug 302010


  • 7,000 miles
My 2011 Sonata has 7600 miles on it. The problem began around 5000 miles, but has gotten progressively worse. Upon trying to turn the car off, the engine shuts off, but the key is stuck in the accesory position. I can restart the car and drive, but I can't get the key out. It just stays either in the accesory or the on position. I've had to unhook my battery to keep it from dying because I can't get the key out. At first, I could just move the gearshift out of park and back into park, and that would usually unlock the key. As time went by, the problem went from happening once a week, to once a day, to nearly every single time I drive the car. Also, once it started happening more frequently, I couldn't troubleshoot to get the key out. I would just have to wait, sometimes up to two hours, and try again. Eventually, the key would just pop right out as if nothing had been wrong in the first place. Very frustrating and time consuming. The car is currently at the dealership getting a new ignition. We'll see how it works.

- Urbandale, IA, USA

problem #3

May 182010


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2011 Hyundai Sonata gls automatic transmission. Problem with ignition key. The key will not go past acc to the lock position to allow the key to be removed. Followed directions in manual to push the key in at acc position, but the lock mechanism does not move. Happens every other day. Have restart the car and move it and try the process again to get key to move into its proper position (lock) to remove key. This has happened to both myself and my wife. Taking car to dealership. Impossible security situation as cannot leave key in vehicle.

- Singer Island, FL, USA

problem #2

Apr 262010


  • 2,018 miles
2011 Hyundai Sonata SE 16 days old, 2018 miles: Car has an "intermittent starting problem". it has left my wife stranded at work 3 times, two of those times in a deserted parking lot after hours, once at the dealer when I was called to pick it up. It has now been out of service for 18.5 days since April 26, 2010. It has been taken to the dealer four times since April 26, 2010 and remains there at this time. Dealer has confirmed battery is always at full charge, they have changed both starter system relays, replaced the starter, checked transmission neutral position sensors. Safety issue: Leaving a female driver in an unsafe and unprotected situation. Due to the non starting issue.

- Clovis, CA, USA

problem #1

Mar 202010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 23 miles
2011 Hyundai Sonata gls automatic transmission. Insert key to start engine. When I want to turn off engine, the key will not go past acc. I push in the key and try to turn key into the lock position, it will not go into the lock position. I have to fiddle around with the release switch, and shifter on the shifter arm. Eventually I can get the key out. The engine does shut off, but can't leave car, because it can be started again. I can't leave the car because the car can be started without me being there. This failure happens almost every time I try to turn off the car. I brought the car back to king Hyundai fl, twice, without them fixing the problem. I am now waiting for them to replace some parts to the shifter arm. If that does not work, I will invoke the lemon law.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

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