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 9 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

Sep 062011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles


Upon pulling out from a stop sign the engine stalled, after coasting to a stop and placing in park I tried to restart engine. All lights went off and motor did not turn. Attempted again, same thing then passenger compartment filled with smoke. Fire dept arrived and determined somewhere in dash a component had fried.they then disconnected battery. Vehicle was towed to dealer, per dealer engine locked up and they have to disassemble dash to determine what had fried.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #37

Sep 062011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 2,440 miles
When pulling out of a parking lot from a stop the service light came on and the car's ready light started flashing. The car lost almost all power while I was in the center of the road. Other cars were able to avoid me, but they could have easily ran into me. Shutting the car off and restarting it restored normal operations.

- Burnsville, MN, USA

problem #36

Sep 022011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 23,500 miles
Have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata limited and yesterday when attempting to start the car the push button start failed. I had my foot on the brake and hit the button as I always do and nothing. The dashboard kept reading "press on brake pedal and push button to start" I repeatedly tried over and over. After 15-20 failed attempts I waited a few minutes as I looked up the roadside assistance number. After finding the number I tried "one last time" and the luckily the car started. I drove home parked it and this morning went out and the car starts. I have scheduled an appointment at the dealership later in the week and hope they get this fixed. From what I read online a lot of people are having the same problem and the "attempted dealer fixes" have not completely solved the problem. Hyundai needs to figure it out and make this right. How can anyone feel comfortable driving this car with the thought they can be stranded at anytime.

- Monroe, NC, USA

problem #35

Sep 012011


  • 7,093 miles


Sonata hybrid. Driving on the freeway at 60 mph on cruise control. Exit ramp with cruise control off and car gliding to stop light in ev mode. Stopped at red light for 3-5 seconds. Then pushed the accelerator... the car lost power, would not move, instrument panel lights flashed, audible ding warning sounded. Display screen showed "check charging system" then screen showed to put car in park. I then placed car in park and pushed the ignition button and car had power to drive off the street and out of the flow of traffic. I then looked over the car, no warning lights or sounds. I test drove it in a parking lot to make sure it would not stop again. Conditions at time of event: Blue driving mode, gas tank level at 1/2, hybrid battery charge at 1/2 radio on, headlights on, air conditioner off, and the outside temp. About 77F. I'm not sure which component failed. Electrical, engine or the hybrid power control unit.

- Morrow, OH, USA

problem #34

Jul 072011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 1,600 miles
2011 Hyundai Sonata limited with push button start. Purchased the car in May 2011. At 1600 miles, the car would not start. Brake will not depress in order to start car. Dealership replaced brake light sensor part #93810-3S000. At 3200 miles, the same problem occurred. Dealership will not acknowledge that there is a problem, since they can not replicate the problem.. this is an obvious recurring issue which Hyundai needs to recognize and find a definite repair. Most consumers do not have the free time to wait numerous hours for service help while attempting to start a new car that should start without flaw. Do not purchase a new Hyundai Sonata. It may look like a luxury car - remember, looks are deceiving.

- West Seneca, NY, USA

problem #33

Aug 022011


  • 17,500 miles
2011 Sonata limited with smart key fob has failed to start a minimum of 7 times in the last 60 appears that sometimes the car does not recognize the smart key and this doesn't change if the smart key is inserted into the center console smart key holder. The batteries have been replaced in the key fob and this does not resolve the problem. When attempting to start the car the computer simply states to depress the brake pedal and push the start button, which I've been doing. The brake pedal often feels hard as a rock almost like it's locked.the normal diagnostic lights and fuel guage does operate but the car doesn't start. I've waited as long as 1/2 hour attempting and re-attempting to start the vehicle. After it starts, the car may work perfectly fine for the next few trips until the problem reappears. This is a worrisome occurence since there is no way to override the smart key fob by inserting an actual key to start the vehicle. Drivers may become stuck at any time.

- North Potomac, MD, USA

problem #32

Aug 272011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 34,102 miles


The car does not start. I enter the vehicle, put on my seatbelt, then depress the brake and the ignition button. The console will state "press brake to start engine". my foot is very firmly placed on the brake. This occurred intermittently but now occurs 50% of the time.

- Rolesville, NC, USA

problem #31

Aug 192011


  • 5,000 miles
2011 Sonata push button engine start problems with the vehicle starting when pressure is applied to the brake and the button is pressed. Nothing happens. Reattempted 3 time nothing, 4th time started. Took to dealer they replaced the brake stop switch worked fine for 2 days following then samething happened several time in the following two days. Have not taken back to dealer yet, need to as "new" car is not reliable. Never know when it is going to stop starting and how long it will be before it will start again.

- Sayreville, NJ, USA

problem #30

Apr 012011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
I have a 2011 Sonata limited. Earlier this year I began having a starting issue where the car would say "apply brake pedal to start" even though my foot was firmly planted on the brake. Took the car in and they couldn't duplicate so I just kept on working around it. In June, it got worse so I took it back, spoke to the service manager at the dealership and they ordered a brake switch and new push button ignition on June 20th or thereabouts. The parts finally arrived on August took that long apparently. I dropped the car off that morning and went back that afternoon around 5. I was informed that they had replaced the brake switch and push button but when they went to test drive, they lost steering control and the eps and traction control system had failed. They took a part off a new Sonata in their lot and put it on my car but that did not correct the problem. After 2 days of troubleshooting they managed to correct that issue but as soon as they did, the ABS light came on and it stated the ABS system had failed too. I am now waiting on a part for the ABS as of 8/22. None of these systems had issues prior to the drop off date. This concerns me that there may be a serious problem with the electrical system. We will see when they replace the ABS module if something else goes wrong.

- Victoria, TX, USA

problem #29

Aug 152011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Hyundai Sonata hybrid stops loses power comes to complete stop - while driving down the road at about 40 mph car lost power and came to complete stop. I had to completely shut off the car and restart it before it would move again.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #28

Jun 012011


  • 3,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, all of the lamps on the instrument panel illuminated, the air conditioner system failed, and the engine began to lose power. The contact also stated that once the vehicle was shut off and restarted, it functioned as normal. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 3,000 and the current mileage was 4,400. The failure recurred at 4,400 miles, traveling at 45 mph. Car at dealership now, I am told the problem is a component that determines if car is in engine or electric mode. Part is on order- svc mgr. Did not know name of part. Updated 10/06/2011

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #27

Aug 072011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 2,539 miles
My 2011 Hyundai Sonata hybrid "check charging system" lamp illuminated with chime alarm activation while driving, causing loss of engine power. Hybrid battery charge level was at 1/2, which is where it normally is. I pressed on gas pedal and got no response, and vehicle came to a stop as if I applied the parking brake. I placed vehicle in park, shut off engine and re-started it and it ran normally. This is the second time it happened in the past 4 weeks or so. On a Hyundai forum website, there is at least 1 other customer which has had the same problem with their hybrid as myself. It is very dangerous situation if you are on the highway and you are forced to stop while in flow of traffic.

- Westtown, NY, USA

problem #26

Jul 072011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 2,217 miles
Engine can easily become hydro-locked in heavy rain and road splash back from other vehicles due to the design of the direct air intake of the Sonata hybrid. With its design, it does not have any water baffles to prevent water from entering the air filter and once it enters the air filter box, there are no drain holes for it to drain out. This forces the water through the engine as that is the only way for it to get out of the filter box. When the engine stalled, no electronic control warning lights were illuminated and the car remained in the ┐ready┐ state. This could lead to damage of the hev system and battery pack. Per the technician servicing the car, they stated that the hev warning light only illuminated when the hev battery reaches 15% charge (the point at which they have to replace it), this contradicts with the owner's manual as well as counteracts the purpose of a warning lamp. Due to the nature of the design where the computer controls when the engine start/stops, the engine can damage itself before preventative action can be taken. For example, when the engine stalls due to water ingestion through the air filter and the oxygen sensor determines it cannot compensate, the engine will stall, but before the situation can be rectified, the computer attempted to restart the engine causing it to become hydro-locked. With my experience, I am convinced that the design of the car is flawed and is unreliable to drive in a heavy rain scenario which leaves it unusable several times a year. I have owned several hybrids in the past (2001 and 2005 Toyota prius) that I operated through the same conditions as your vehicle and I did not experience any problems with them. Additionally, with the Toyota, when the engine stalls against the computer's control (e.g.: running out of fuel), the hev and engine warning light both illuminated and the ┐ready┐ light was de-illuminated.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #25

Jul 202011


  • 9,000 miles
Wife activated the horn to get my attention. It sounded one short beep and went dead. Has not worked since. Horn can hardly be heard standing next the car let alone trying to get someone's attention inside a vehicle with the windows rolled up and the radio on. The other person would never hear it. Hyundai should replace these horns with something that can be heard in an emergency situation and not sound like a horn on a toy scooter. There are hundreds of complaints about the sound or failure of these horns on the internet forums.

- Charlton, MA, USA

problem #24

Jul 142011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • miles
I have owned my 2011 Hyundai Sonata for one year. On July 15, 2011, I went to start the car and I could not depress the brake or start the car. The acc stuff would come on but no ignition to the motor. I tried and tried to start it and ended up calling the dealership. I was told to "kick" the brake pedal "hard" several times; which I did. I finally got it started and drove it to the dealership. I was told "brake light switch" replaced. Left the dealership and drove to my office and when I went to tried to start the car to leave the car would not start, but this time I had to call roadside assistance for the car to be towed back to dealership. Dealership told me they replaced brake light switch again. Now the traction control light comes on and my brake lights are not working. When I did get it to start the car would not go into any gear; it just was locked in park. Well, yesterday, July 20, 2011 the car had to be towed again because of all the same problems. So, the car has been back to the dealership three times within the past five days; two of which the car was towed. I am very concerned about my safety because I believe the brakes have something to do with the air bags not to mention the unknown electrical issues.

- Evans, GA, USA

problem #23

Sep 152010

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. I purchased the car in August of 2010. About a month after owning the vehicle, the engine light came on. When I took it to the dealer, they recorded the code and then said it was the ac. I was asked to wait 15 seconds before turning the ac on after starting car. So I did that. About a week or so later, the light comes on again. Take it back twice after this, they record the code and then the switch is replaced. I maintain my car with all maintenance requested and I drive it on the highway. I had the tire light come on a few months later - was told it was the temperature. That eventually went off. Next was the engine light yet again. This time it occurred after I took the car in on June 17th for an oil change. They told me a recall was on the transmission and they did the recall update. Immediately after this update, the car drove terribly. Very loud, very rough. About a week after this update, the car breaks down in the parking lot. It has done this now about 5 or 6 times since June (today is July 20th). I take it to the dealer and told I need the engine light on in order to repair. The light needs to come on two or three times before Hyundai will replace. The engine light sometimes comes on, sometimes does not, but it is guaranteed to break down. It is most definitely the transmission as it will stall and then hesitate. The lights on the gear shaft go away completely and the dash lights go away so you have no idea if you are in park, reverse, etc. Last time my engine light came on, it went back off that night. The problem continues and Hyundai can't seem to fix. I read online from a general search on this car that this is a resounding issue across the board with others as well. I am frustrated and something should be done. I called corporate and got nowhere. I continue to get the runaround. They should be investigated before someone dies from their transmission issue/lack of concern for the safety and wellbeing of their drivers.

- Portland, TN, USA

problem #22

Jul 182011


  • 3,200 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, she applied pressure to the horn but it would not sound. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostics or repair. The approximate failure mileage was 3,200.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #21

May 272011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
I initially unlock the vehicle by either depressing the unlock button on the key fob or pressing the unlock button on the outside door handle. Once unlocked, I entered the vehicle and attach the seat belt. I place the key fob on the dashboard, depress the brake pedal and press the engine start button. The electrical system will cycle through acc and on mode but the car will not start. A check of the battery system show that the car battery is at full power. This problem occurs intermittently. The only reliable solution for starting the car is to depress the brake pedal and depress the engine start button for a minimum of 10 seconds. I've placed the key fob in several locations in the car (dashboard, cup holder, smart key holder) with no repeatable success. After a visit to a dealership, they cannot find a problem. However, a search on the internet shows several there owners experiencing the same problem.

- Malden, MA, USA

problem #20

Jun 282011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 17,472 miles
My 2011 Sonata has failed to start 3 times this past month. The brake will not depress and it appears that it doesn't recognize that I have the key. It has a push button start and the key does not go in the ignition. After a few hours it starts. I have been stranded in the dark and this made it a safety issue on a personal basis.

- Oak Hill, WV, USA

problem #19

May 012011


  • 19,000 miles
One morning when getting ready to go to work, I tried to start my 2011 Sonata. I pressed on the brake, which was very hard, pushed the button but the vehicle would not start. The lights, radio and air conditioner would all come on but the engine would not start. The car was in park and the gear shift could not be moved. I attempted multiple times for the next 10 minutes to start the vehicle but was unable. My husband tried putting jumper cables on the battery to see if that was the problem but it did not start. I waited about 5 minutes and tried again but the vehicle still would not start. Finally after almost 20 minutes, the brake pedal was easy to push on and the vehicle started. It caused me to be late to work but I did not have another occurrence until about a week later when I had been driving for some time and stopped for about 30 minutes. I got back in the car and once again the brake was very hard and the vehicle would not start. After multiple times over the next 10 minutes, it finally started.

- Santa Fe, TX, USA

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