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 7 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #78

Nov 262012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,838 miles


I was approaching an intersection that had a red light and stopped vehicles. I began to apply the brakes and slow down to under 10 mph. The car would not come to a stop. I had the brake pedal pressed as hard as I could and it did not stop. I did a google search on Hyundai Sonata 2011 brake problems and got 598,000 results. In a brief scan through those results I found 7 other reports of the exact same problem. This demands someone look into this now! I copied those web posting if you want them let me know!

- Mcmurray, PA, USA

problem #77

Dec 012010

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
I have had recurring problems with the keyless ignition. The car frequently does not start or will not turn off. I have had it repaired three times. I believe that there is a design defect. The service department at the dealership told me it is with all 2011 Hyundai Sonatas and I should just get a new car. I am filing a complaint with BBB autoline (call 800-633-5151) and my state consumer protection department in the state attorney general's office. I am also thinking of taking them to court (my family member is an attorney). If anyone else has this problem, please file complaints everywhere you can. Start by opening a case with Hyundai (call 800-633-5151). Then file a complaint with the BBB. Then file a complaint here and with your state consumer protection Agency. Just because it is not causing injury does not mean it does not merit a recall of the vehicle.

- Beachwood , OH, USA

problem #76

Dec 152010


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while parked, she pressed the key less ignition button to start the vehicle but the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated the sensor switch would have to be replaced. After the repair the failure continued intermittently. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer two more times for the replacement of the sensor switch. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 3,000.

- Beachwood, OH, USA

problem #75

Nov 142012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 30,869 miles


I have had my vehicle in for service 5 times for the same issue, it would not start. The first 3 times a sensor switch was replaced. The fourth time I was told my battery was the issue so I got a new battery. Today was the fifth time and the service dept indicated they could not find anything wrong but they went ahead and replaced the sensor switch again. I am not happy, I feel that I cannot depend on my vehicle. I am planning an out of town trip for thanksgiving and have resorted to renting a vehicle because I am paranoid about being stranded on the road with this issue. I paid alot of money for this vehicle and this just is not right. I am considering trading it in for a vehicle that starts the traditional way (with a key).

- Pelham, AL, USA

problem #74

Oct 132012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
Difficulty depressing brake pedal in order to start engine...third replaced brake switch other two times.

- South Setauket, NY, USA

problem #73

Oct 012012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 31,500 miles
Elec stability control lite on after starting car. Failed to start one time. Dealer investigated. Found part # 93810-3S000 (switch assm stop lamp) defective. Replaced switch. I checked the internet for this part number and found a significant number of failures of this switch. This switch can fail at anytime, causing loss of power and other symptoms. I sent this same message to Hyundai consumers affairs. This switch must be marginally functional for it's purpose due the number of failures noted on the internet. Hopefully, Hyundai will take action on this switch. Thanks in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

- Goodyear, AE, USA

problem #72

Sep 292011


  • 31,000 miles


This is the third time that I have gone to start the car and it failed to start because of a defective brake pedal sensor. The sensor has been replaced twice now. The second incident did not leave any codes for the dealership to find a problem due to the battery being disconnected. This appears to be a known problem for this model.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #71

Sep 082011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 25,734 miles
My skid light warning light kept coming on. They said a brake lamp switch was pulling a fault code, so they replaced it. Nine months later my skid light warning was randomly coming on again. They ran a test again saying it was a faulty brake lamp switch again. Before I could get it in for repairs the transmission range sensor malfunction on Aug 14 2012. Picked up my car again and the skid traction warning light came on again. I took it in again this time the tcs light was on and the shifter was not releasing.they tested the brake switch circuit and found no power to the brake switch. They replaced the fuse box and harness cable. I have called three different dealerships service departments and they all say there is a problem with the brake lamp switch causing the tcs warning light to come on. If it is effecting other cars there most be a national problem and should be a recall before there is a fatality. I have had this car for 2 years now and had it in for electrical problems over eight times.

- Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #70

Aug 262012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 18,047 miles
Vehicle engine was shut off in a construction zone, waiting for line to move. Engine (push button start) would not engage, thus causing major traffic issues. Everything done according to manual trying to get starter to engage. Engine starter finally engaged after setting for sometime. This is the third occurrence of this same problem. Suspect linkage between brake sensor and start button. Could be a serious safety issue.

- Hood River, OR, USA

problem #69

Jul 232012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
Car will not start! Hyundai replaced the brake switch and now it is happening again. This happens a couple times per week. This will be my second visit to Hyundai. This should be a recall! we could be without necessary transportation.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #68

Jun 012011


  • 19,000 miles


The engine failed to start. When you press on the start pedal, it locks up and does not recognize the key fob in the vehicle. The dealer said the brake switch needed to be replaced. This happened in June 2011 and now again in July 2012. It looks as if I will have to take it in every year for the same problem. The ESC electronic stability control light comes on also during this issue perhaps the 2 go hand in hand. This is totally unacceptable after I paid 25K for this vehicle. No more Hyundai for me at least not in my lifetime!!

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #67

Jun 292012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 10,120 miles
After having the vehicle idle for approximately 40 minute with my family inside the vehicle, the left front side caught on fire. Damaged to the left side fog light, engine area. Vehicle was taken to Hyundai services station in New York (bronx services station), and them the nightmare started. After 14 days and multiple calls / visits to the services station, I was not giving a reason for the incident. All Hyundai did for me was waste my time and effort, they do not back that so call bumper to bumper warranty. Ps huyndai veh engineer that look at my car was a joke, all he did was look at the car and stated "its missing something".he also refused to id himself... corporate office would not give any solution except for my to go thru my insurance.....dont bother complaining just go to the media with your issues.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #66

Jul 012011


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that he started the vehicle and the tire pressure monitoring light and air bag light both illuminated. The air conditioner also would not function. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnosis and transmission software was installed into the vehicle. Shortly after the repair, the failures began to occur again. The vehicle was taken to the dealer again for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the engine control module was replaced. After the repair, the traction control light illuminated. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 15,000 and the current mileage was 33,000.

- Dover, NH, USA

problem #65

Jul 092012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 28,212 miles
3X the driver window button is inoperable. Would turn off car and then it would again work. The worst issue is this: Started up car this morning 7-9-12 (this is the 3rd occurrence) and the doors do not lock, then I put it in reverse and it goes about 2 feet and it applies the brakes. I noticed each time the gear console does not light up. The car actually does not go into gear. Each time I have turned off the ignition and restarted it and it works fine. It's going to the shop for the 30K check up and this will be brought up. The drivers window has been brought up and the dealer has said there was no problem. Wrong. There is when it doesn't work. I had one of these in 2001 and it too had electrical issues. My neighbor just sold their 05 Sonata due to electrical issues.

- Winchester, KY, USA

problem #64

Jul 062012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 18,346 miles
Car won't start.

- Columbia, IL, USA

problem #63

Aug 292011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 8,226 miles
Car would not start.. dealer replaced brake switch.

- Columbia, IL, USA

problem #62

Jun 262012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 29,850 miles
While going down the hill, the car dash board suddenly pop up the message check charging system with a loud noise. After get off on the first Ram, turn the car off then on again the message go away, able to run again without any warning. For the seat belt, the one on the driver side sometime it's hard to pull out specially in the morning. It's also worn out after 5000 mile.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #61

Jun 232012


  • 15,100 miles
Car will randomly not start after parking it. Depress brake pedal through the floor, press start button, yet it says "press down brake pedal to start". this is the third time in three weeks. The first time I got it started after ~30 minutes. Second time, within ~ 5 - 10 minutes. This third time, I couldn't get it started. Had to call for a ride. Went back next day, tried again unsuccessfully for ~ 30 minutes. Called roadside assistance. They never came. After ~1:45 minutes, I tried one more time and got it to start. Each time, the steering wheel was turned strongly to the left and it felt locked. Each time I was eventually able to yank the steering wheel to the right and was able to get it to release. Felt like the hydraulics kicked in. Then, it would start each time. This didn't happen the first time I messed with the steering wheel....but each time I was able to eventually make it do it. Until then, it had that locked feeling of no hydraulics. Other than this, no brake issues, no steering issues, no lights on dash, etc. One exception, first time coming down a hill, I had the ESC (brake) light come on briefly. Very similar to other reports on this website.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #60

Jun 202012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
This is the second time that we have been unable to start our 2011 Hyundai Sonata SE. The first incident occured less than 1 year ago and was determined by our local hyudnai dealer to be a faulty brake lamp switch. The part was replaced and we were told that this has been a problem with other 2011 Sonatas, which is why the part is in stock. The new part was not supposed to cause the same problem to reoccur-but it has! the vehicle is at the dealer as I file this complaint and the brake lamp switch is again at fault. I have found numerous complaints on line by other owners that had and are having the exact same problem. This seem to be a widespread defect and needs to be addressed immediately! this is my wife's car and we are very concerned with her safety and the vehicle's questionable reliability!

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #59

May 302012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The key gets stuck in the ignition after turning off the car and won't come out. The car is in park, but the key won't turn completely off or come out.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

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