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 6 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #98

Aug 052013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles


While driving to work my instrument panel and gauges started flashing, my speedometer and RPM odometer would "jump" from 0 RPM and 0 mph to 2500 RPM and 70 mph "bouncing" between those readings. There had been a recall on the stop lamp so I took my car in to get this replaced explaining what my car as doing. The Hyundai dealer "confirmed" that this issue was the cause. After having the stop lamp replaced it did not do it again for a few months. On 10/29/2013, 10/30/2013 and 11/01/2013 it began to do the exact same thing. When I took it back in they ran a diagnostic costing me $100 dollars, which they then "informed" me that it was the instrument cluster. So I spent $1377 to replace it (of course I was 2,000 miles outside of the warranty at this point as my husband did not think it necessary to get the extended one when we purchased it), I finally got my car back on Wednesday 11/13/2013 and it seemed fine until today 11/17/2013 when it started doing it again. Not only did I have to deal with a complete lack of professionalism from the dealership but my car is still not fixed.

- Red Lion, PA, USA

problem #97

Oct 152013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 29,715 miles
Complaintant walked out of home to vehicle. Upon approaching vehicle, complaintant noticed that the left rear brake light housing (driver's side) was detached, and sticking out about 1 inch from the vehicle. Complaintant carefully slid the housing back into its cavity, where it stayed. Complaintant then departed. About 3 days later, complaintant noticed that the housing was again detached from the vehicle, and again slid it back into place. Over time, the complaintant repeated returning the housing into the cavity three (3) additional times. When the complaintant was confronted with a 5th event of the housing detaching from the vehicle, complaintant shined a flashlight down into the cavity, and saw that the housing mounting sockets were fractured/shattered, and none of the several mounting studs/bolts were attached. But, the studs/bolts were still attached to the vehicle shell. The only thing holding the housing assembly onto the car, were the wires to the brake light, back-up light, and turn signal light. No surface scratches, nor body damage experienced. After inspecting the defective housing, complaintant surmised that Hyundai tail light housing is made of hard, brittle plastic, which shatters when overly tightened at factory, or due to the vibration of this overly hard riding vehicle. Additionally, complaintant noticed when vehicle was purchased new, that the driver's side tail light was not flush with the rear trunk gate, and was extended outward about 1/4 inch. The light assembly on the right/passenger side was flush with the trunk gate, and has not produced a similar issue, yet. Complaintant secured housing to the vehicle cavity by using duct tape. Complaintant scheduled vehicle repair with Hyundai dealership for tomorrow. Update to follow.

- Garner, NC, USA

problem #96

Sep 232013


  • miles
Last night, I was told, I had left a dome light on. After several attempts trying to get it off. Thought I had it off, locked car all lights were off when I left it. Come out this morning to head to work and it would not start. This is not my first incident. If I leave the keys in the car it kills it" I use to do this with my BMW and no problems at all. Why does it suck the life out of my battery? this morning, tho I dont understand. I had all the lights off, ,,I thought. Do not know what drained it. Is the battery a cheap battery? do I need to change it out? its just a 2011, thought should last longer. Any other issues with dead battery"

- Rexburg, ID, USA

problem #95

Aug 052013


  • 22,000 miles


While traveling, the car suddenly stop in traffic. We had to move to a safe point. Car eventually was towed to the nearest dealer. They pinpointed the problem as the fuel pump. Told us no gas in the car, not so, gas was nearly full. Called and told us car was ready to be picked up. Went to dealer, told to put gas in car. Notice fuel guage not working and full panel was blinking. Droved about 1/2 mile to closest gas station, got gas, headed back to get rental car at dealer, car suddenly stopped again. This has been going on for nearly a monthly. Finally had car towed to another dealer, and behold, this time, said, it was an eletrical problem and wanted $2600 to repair, said not covered by warranty. Manufacturer got involved and agreed to repair at their expenses. Talked with another owner of same model and year, she too is experiencing sudden stops. Major safety problems, and it needs to be recalled, and this time making sure that some kind of compensation for rental is included in the recall.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #94

Aug 302013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 26,300 miles
Started engine in order to pull out of parking space. All red lights on dashboard lit up, ac failed to start blowing cold air, "park (P)" lit although gear was in "drive (D)" mode. Immediately turned engine off. Repeated procedure for two more times. Eventually ac kicked in, "D" lit up and all but air bag light went off. Passengers seat belt light kept and keeps flashing continuously and driver's side air bag light stays on. Called dealer from where vehicle was purchased and was told repair should fall under warranty and any dealer can take care of my issue. Stopped by at dealership close to home and was told that diagnostic test needs to be performed to determine if this repair will fall under warranty. Second dealership requested that I leave the car with them an entire day for diagnostic tests, which will cost me about $90 (+) in order to determine if this is a warranty issue or not.

- Sinking Spring, PA, USA

problem #93

Aug 012012


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start after pressing the push-to-start button. The contact took the vehicle to a dealer who stated that they could not find a defect with the ignition. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 20,000.

- Oxford, NC, USA

problem #92

Jul 262013


  • 53,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign number 13V113000 (exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic). After the repairs, the vehicle would sporadically fail to start. The vehicle was not further repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 53,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Corinth, VT, USA

problem #91

Aug 262011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 10,174 miles
The constant recurring problem is my car will not start. I have been stranded several times and have each one documented. I also have problems with the steering wheel locking and the brakes are unable to press. I have contacted an attorney regarding the lemon law and she has notified the Hyundai motor America. My car is currently in the repair shop again and this has gone on for the 2 1/2 years I have owned it. There are over 598,000 complaints against this model of car and the problems are very serious and can cause deadly accidents. My car will not click out of the cruise control feature so I cannot use that feature. The brake lights do not always work and I have been stopped by cars behind me to tell me I have no lights and they almost hit me. What does it take to get this model of car recalled before many deaths occur. The internet has this problem documented and a recall was issued to replace that switch. I have taken my car in to have the brake light sensor replaced twice and it still occurs. I have to continue to pay payments on this car while I drive a rental car. I basically do not have a safe car to drive so I can't go anywhere in fear of being stranded. Can you please look into this and safe lives before it is too late?

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #90

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 #89

Jul 152013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
My car comes with a TPMS system to monitor the air pressure in each tire. Intermittently the warning light indicating there is a problem with one of the tires comes on. A check with a pressure gauge of each tire always indicates a false alarm. Talking with other Sonata owners I have anecdotal evidence that I'm not the only one with this problem. When bringing the car back to the dealer they say they can't fix it because there's no issue when the car is at their garage. This can be a dangerous problem for a number of reasons - 1. the false alarm is distracting, at highway speeds this can cause the operator to think they should pull over in a dangerous environment to avoid having a bigger problem. 2. after it happens a couple of times the operator might ignore a real problem. Yet the manufacturer refuses to address the problem.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #88

Jan 012013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles


An existing recall (NHTSA campaign number: 13V113000) indicates that for 2011 Hyundai Sonata the stop lamp switch may not function correctly. The recall notice states that: "during the affected models' production periods, some vehicles were equipped with stop lamp switch assemblies that may experience intermittent switch point contact. This condition could potentially result in intermittent operation of the push-button start feature, intermittent ability to remove the vehicle's shifter from the park position, illumination of the ┐ESC┐Ł (electronic stability control) indicator lamp in the instrument cluster, intermittent interference with operation of the cruise control feature, or intermittent operation of the stop lamps." All of these symptoms have been observed in my vehicle, yet this VIN is not covered in the recall notice.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #87

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 #86

Apr 102013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,793 miles
I purchased/ picked up my certified 2011 Hyundai Sonata on 4/4/13. On 4/10 the push start failed. I had to call the Hyundai service department and was walked thru the over ride process to get the car started. Immediately made a service appointment for this issue and took it in on 4/13. On this day it was discovered that there was an issue with the thermostat and they needed to correct it, I authorized it and it was all covered under the warranty. There was no out of pocket expense. I picked my car up that same evening and drove it home and no where else for the rest of the weekend. 4/18 about 22 miles down the highway the engine light comes on. 4/19 took it in, I was told the thermostat part that was installed was obsolete and they had my car for 6 days waiting on the new part and doing installation. I was provided a rental car at $60+ out of pocket cost for insurance. Picked up my car 4/25 and drove it about 175 miles ( it is 126 miles round trip from home to work) and 4/26 the engine light comes on again. I sit here now with no Hyundai because it is at the dealers getting repairs again!!! again!!! opted not to use the rental car service this time as it would cost more than $50 per day out of my own pocket for an uncertained amount of time. Nothing but problems and I havent even made my first car payment yet. And on 4/24 the day before I pick my car up for the second time, a recall was issued for the brake lamps...really Hyundai"?? really??? what makes this car certified? what was the inspection exactly that occured to certify this vehicle?"

- Moreno Valley , CA, USA

problem #85

Feb 252013


  • 72,000 miles
I bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata in March of 2010 brand new. I have had problems with the tires had to be replaced after year two, and when they were being replaced they said that the air valve on the tire was corroded when I went to Hyundai to get the part replaced they said that it wasn't corroded it was broke off because there wan't a cap on it and it got wet. So, they said that I had to buy a new one, and they would send it up under the warranty and I would be refunded that did not happen. After that my push start would not start when I pushed it. I would have to push it about three times and then it would finally start. I took it to Hyundai, and had it replaced not under warranty any more is what they told me. So I paid the $287 for it. After I got it home and went into grab something came back out and it did it again. Took it back to gateway Hyundai in richmond to have it fixed and they said it needed a nother starter. I didn't have to pay for the part but I was going to have to pay for the labor. Nope didn't get it fixed. I would just start it three times instead. Then I had to replace the brakes last year 2012 because it wore only on one side, and now the engine blew a rod. They claimed that it was because of not having enough oil in it, but then told me I had a quart to much of oil. Now really does that make any sense? this is absolutely ridiculous. Then they told me I could trade it in for a new Hyundai but would have to put $5000 down on it which is convienantly the amount they quoted me to have my engine fixed because they said it wasn't under warranty because I hadn't kept all my receipts for oil changes for the past three years.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #84

Apr 172013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 34,300 miles
This vehicle is equipped with proximity key system. The vehicle would not start even with the key in the vehicle, we tired to use both keys, the vehicle would not recognize either key. Lights illuminated in the dash, engine light and oil light (car not running) other lights lit in gear shifter and still no connection. We could not open the trunk there is no key slot and the key fob trunk button would not unlock trunk. Car was towed to the nearest dealer. Note: This is the second time our vehicle experienced this problem. January 2013 same problem where we needed a tow to the dealership. Same problem 4 months apart.

- Huntington , NY, USA

problem #83

Apr 082013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,869 miles
The push to start button does not recognize the key fob while depressing the break pedal. The vehicle is totally disabled. I was unable to bypass the push button system. The vehicle had to be towed to the dealership under warranty. Apparently, this is a major problem for 2011 Sonata' far, the Hyundai Corp. Has not responded to numerous owner complaints. The dealerships just replace what they believe is a faulty brake/ignition switch, even though some vehicles have had the switches replaced more than once. I've been unable to locate any recall information as of yet.

- Palm Bay , FL, USA

problem #82

Mar 312013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Brake pedal sensor failure resulted in a car that wouldn't start. The key-less entry depends on the brake pedal being depressed, otherwise the ignition will not turn over. Under normal operation when the driver is trying to start the car, the key must be inside the vehicle, the driver must depress the brake pedal and then press the ignition button. The car normally turns over. In this situation all systems function as if the car does not know the brake peddle is being depressed. The battery has full charge, all accessories function normally, but the ignition will not turn over. Because there is no way to manually start the car, the car is rendered completely useless.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #81

Sep 032012


  • 23,000 miles
I have several complaints regarding this vehicle. I have had this car two years and about two months and have had nothing but problems (purchased brand new) -- I've had to get a new motor (engine caught on fire (electrical/smoking) while driving down the beltway), replaced tire rod, need 4 brand new tires, transmission slipping, and other electrical problems with cooling/heating system (the blower does not work for air pointed in the floor direction), strong smell of gas fumes inside of the vehicle. The gas mileage gauge is inaccurate -- I get no where near the highway nor city miles. The gas meter is not registering. Parts on the electrical system have been randomly replaced. I have had all schedule services on my vehicle as well as extras such as special replacement filters, etc. I have also had problems with the breaking system. I believe I've purchased a complete lemon. The current mileage on the vehicle is 27700 miles. There is no way I should be having this many problems as frequently as I have been having. The car's steering pulls to the left as well. I should not have to replace tires only after two years of driving after putting nitrogen as advised. I've noticed a noise when turning the steering to the left as well as if the left tire rod or axle wants to break -- weird feeling turn the car. The alarm system is failing to lock all of the doors -- only the drivers door. -- dealers solution...purchase a new one "?? really"

- Forestville, MD, USA

problem #80

Aug 152012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I was driving at the freeway speed limit, I did not feel anything when it happened but I know that it happened on the freeway. I pulled over to get some gas, looked back near the gas cap and saw that my driver's side tailight assembly was hanging by the wires onto my bumper. When it fell out, it bounced and placed several dings and chips in the plastic bumper. I noticed that the wheels(cogs) inside the tailight assembly were completely broken off. I had to take the light out and place it in my trunk and drive the rest of the two hundred miles with no left tail light or turn signal. If it had fallen into the middle of the freeway, I am sure there would have been much more to write about and none of it good!

- San Andreas, CA, USA

problem #79

Dec 022012


  • 36,100 miles
Try to start vehicle, depress brake and push ignition switch. Vehicle does not recognize keyfob being in car. This has happened a total of three times in the one week I have owned the car. After multiple attempts car will respond. But on one occasion did not start for over 4 hours. Eventually had to get a jump and car started.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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