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 3 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #158

Jan 182016


  • 153,815 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While the vehicle was being serviced according to NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine), the technician informed the contact that the recall was not able to be serviced. The malfunction indicator lamp and the mileage control circuit needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 153,815. Updated 03/16/16

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #157

Dec 112015


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owned a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle caught fire without warning. The vehicle was smoking and erupted into flames shortly thereafter. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 102,000.

- Havre De Grace, MD, USA

problem #156

Oct 032015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
October 3rd 2015, I was driving on highway 78 West. I was in the vehicle with my 3 year old daughter. I was driving in a 2 way lane that was under construction. All off a sudden without any warning my vehicle started to decelerate on the highway. I immediately had no control and my speed was decreasing fast. I was in the left lane and in matter of 4-7 minutes my car engine was shutting down on the highway. I was almost hit by multiple trucks who continued to fly by my vehicle on the highway as I tried to find some where in enough time to bear off. Putting me and my 3 year old daughter in immediate danger. Needless to say I was terrified. I was finally able to pull off into the right lane and pull my vehicle into the shoulder of the highway. Since I was in an area that was under construction on this highway the shoulder space was very limited. I could feel the trucks pass my car and I was scared for my life and my daughter?S life. I had an immediate panic attack and thought my daughter and myself was going to die. This has caused a great deal of hardship on myself and my daughter. We have been without our vehicle since this incident. Hyundai in lebanon, pa has had my vehicle since 10/3/15 and continue to give me the run around. They say they ordered a new engine, but it has not shipped to the dealer yet. This incident has created a tremendous hardship for me and my family. I continue to be at a disadvantage as I am driving a rented vehicle. Meanwhile I continue to pay for a car I have not driven for over 3 months. Your immediate assistance would be appreciated. This issue I am having with my vehicle is due to a recall campaign 132. This recall was due to the engine malfunction that Hyundai is aware of. My vehicle stalled while in motion on the highway, putting my life and my 3 year old daughter's life at risk.

- Jonestown, PA, USA

problem #155

Dec 292015


  • 73,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the exterior lighting, alarm system, front passenger side headlight, and lower brake lights failed. The alarm system activated randomly. The contact received a notification for NHTSA campaign number: 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic) and stated that the vehicle experienced the brake light failures listed in the consequence section of the notice. The vehicle was repaired, but the issue spread to other lighting and electrical components. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 73,000.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #154

Dec 232015


  • 78,000 miles
Dashboard warning signs started blinking (wrench, battery, etc) while I was driving the car on a city 4-lane highway (route 1 in baltimore) at a speed of 30-50 mph. After starting and stopping my car, a Sonata hybrid, several times, eventually I lost all power to the car such that the brakes and steering would not work. At this point I was only going ~10 mph. Luckily I was at the mall at this point and the car came to a stop on its own. The car would not start and the door locks and fob did not work. I then had it towed to the dealer. They replaced an electrical board of some type and then were able to drive it but also noted all of the dashboard alarms going off. Their current working diagnosis is that there is a problem with the connection to the electric battery causing high resistance. It is still under repair at the dealer. I am worried that this could happen again.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #153

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 #152

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 #151

Dec 132015


  • miles
I am having trouble starting and completely shutting my car down. When I hit the button to start it I get a rattle noise and the the engine doesn't turn over. When I try to shut it off the display in the car will tell me to shift to park when already in park and the radio will not shut off. I have to re-start the car and move the shift lever from park to drive and back to get it to shut down. This goes on several times some days. Also when I'm driving in automatic, the car will suddenly go into manual first gear and I will have to shift over to manual and back to auto to put it in drive. I had a recall for shift lever problems before but I think there is more to the problem then what they are fixing. This car seems to have many electrical problems. My HVAC also has quit working while driving and had to shut the car down before it would work again.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #150

Dec 122015


  • 65,000 miles
I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata with approximately 65,000 miles. In 2015 the steering wheel locked twice while on but parked. The ESC and power steering indicators were on. After a while the issues spontaneously resolved in these instances and the vehicle able to be driven. In October 2015 the power steering locked up while driving the vehicle on a city street (speed <40mph). I was unable to turn the steering wheel and navigate resulting in several near misses with street parked vehicles before being able to stop the vehicle. Car towed to the dealership where they stated that they drove the vehicle around and "recalibrated it." Two months later while again traveling on city streets (<40mph) the steering wheel began to shake violently and I was unable to steer, again almost resulting in a significant crash. During this incident the same ecs and power steering indicators lit up. Unable to steer I was forced to stop and turn off my vehicle in the middle of a busy road. However, once the vehicle was turned off the steering wheel continued to shake violently until someone who came to assist me shut off the car battery. The car was towed to the dealership where upon showing them video the service manager stated he had never seen this occur in his 20 years of employment. The car is scheduled to be assessed on Monday. Internet searches show other videos of this make/model with the same violently shaking wheel and reports of accident close-calls. My specific car was part of an earlier recall (campaign 097) related to power steering that was reportedly fixed at that time, therefore this car clearly has known problems in this domain. I will never get back in this vehicle and will likely lose money on a trade in. There are clearly significant safety issues with this vehicle that have not been resolved by the earlier recall. Video link: Https://

- Hyde Park, MA, USA

problem #149

Nov 292015


  • 45,100 miles
I have owned this car for 4 1/2 years and it is my everyday vehicle. I entered the vehicle and started it like any other day and proceeded to drive to my destination. As I was traveling, acceleration felt normal. I went through an intersection, making a left hand turn and continuing on. Upon coming to the next intersection, the light turned red so I came to a complete stop. As I did, I looked across the dashboard and noticed suddenly every possible indication signal was lit. As the light turned green I attempted to use the gas pedal to start driving forward only to find that the gas pedal had suddenly gone stiff and it was clear that the engine was off. I was forced to put the car into park, return the key to its starting position and restart the car entirely. I then continued on my way but very cautiously leery after this episode. I continued on for another couple of miles and as I saw traffic ahead of me I began to slowly engage the parking break to start decelerating slowly and all of a sudden the engine stalled and cut off again, this time while the car was still traveling! I desperately used all of my strength to press on the again stiff break pedal while finally thinking to use my other foot to attempt to engage the emergency break as the car was still in motion and cars were coming to a complete stop just ahead of me! Hyundai has stated recently that there is a known recall involving similar malfunctions but tells me that it is not "finalized" and the "vehicle is completely drivable while they work on this" and I was advised I would have to pay out of pocket to even have the inspection done at this time.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #148

Nov 132015


  • 102,000 miles


Tail light assembly is melting around the connector for the brake light bulb. The connector and bulb get so hot that surrounding plastic and connector plastic melt causing the brake light to fail and making replacement impossible. Hyundai replaced two melted brake light assemblies on the passenger side and one brake light assembly on the drivers side in less than 4 years. Now the driver side brake light assembly is melting again. This is a fire hazard and a safety hazard because the brake light stops working when the connector melts. Hyundai replaced two assemblies under warranty. I paid $250 for one brake light assembly and now Hyundai wants to charge me $250 for the fourth brake light assembly. This should be recalled by NHTSA. Googling the Hyundai 2011 brake like assembly list many other people with the same issue. This is a manufacturing defect that is causing a safety hazard for 2011 Hyundai drivers and other drivers that encounter cars with the failing brake light assembly.

- Haymarket, VA, USA

problem #147

Nov 142015


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 55 mph with the cruise control activated, the vehicle independently decelerated. The contact depressed the accelerator pedal, but the vehicle failed to accelerate. The failure recurred twice. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was undetermined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000.

- Stratford, CT, USA

problem #146

Oct 012015


  • 63,000 miles
When making left turn signal, it triggered the headlight shut off along with interior lighting for the screens shutting off, all of the lighting went back on after a very short of period of time.

- Lake Zurich, IL, USA

problem #145

Oct 312015


  • miles
Horn has been replaced three times in the last year and a half and has gone out again. Also airbag indicator light on dash board is lit, Hyundai states faulty indicator light and no safety issue. The horn and the airbag are all located in the same place, there has to be an issue.

- Punta Gorda, FL, USA

problem #144

Jun 232014


  • 51,174 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact mentioned that the push button start failed to work and that the dealer replaced the starter once before the contact owned the vehicle. When the failure was experienced, the contact had the starter replaced by a repair shop but the failure continued. The push button start randomly failed to work. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The VIN was included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine), but had not received notification of the recall. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 51,174. Parts distribution disconnect.

- Fernandina Beach, FL, USA

problem #143

Oct 262015


  • 45,000 miles
Car would not start. Towed. Starter lever failed. This is known issue as stated by tow driver, Hyundai rep, and hundreds of owners complaining of this exact issue on internet. Occurred just out of warranty.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #142

Nov 192014


  • 45,627 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While the vehicle was parked, the contact heard an abnormal noise that was progressing randomly. The fuel gauge also displayed an incorrect reading and the interior lighting did not illuminate when the door was opened. The contact mentioned that there was an internal short within the radio and that it intermittently worked. In addition, while at a stop light, the vehicle had a strong hesitation as if it would stall. The dealer was notified and could not replicate or diagnose the failures. The contact later received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 15V568000 (engine) and 14V434000 (power train). The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The approximate failure mileage was 45,627.

- Bayonne, NJ, USA

problem #141

Oct 302015


  • 45,000 miles
While driving at 45-50 mph, on highway, experienced catastrophic engine failure and other significant component failures, resulting in a very dangerous situation for driver, passengers, surrounding traffic, noises, smoke caution lights loss of power and control. Immediate evasive action had to be taking to avoid injury or loss of life. Once at rest, vehicle continued to smoke immensely. Low mileage, very disturbing and concerned for others driving these ticking bombs! Hyundai needs to address this issue with more strength and direction.

- Kittanning, PA, USA

problem #140

Oct 222015


  • 81,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving at 65 mph, the instrument panel lights flickered. In addition, the steering wheel made an abnormal noise and seized then the vehicle stalled. The contact coasted to the side of the road after three hours the vehicle was able to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed but the diagnosis was unavailable. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 81,000.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #139

Oct 152015


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving at 60 mph, there was a loud abnormal noise. The failure only occurred when driving at high speeds. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- Conroe, TX, USA

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