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 1 of 10)

problem #198

Jan 042017


  • 70,000 miles


When driving at night with the lights on, when I turn the turn signal on, the headlights turn off, come back on, and flicker on and off, as well as the interior lights. This is an ongoing issue not something has happened just once. It's extremely dangerous as they may just go out completely and somebody could crash into the front of me or not see that I'm trying to turn there's also been numerous reports of this on blogs and such forth.

- Gotha, FL, USA

problem #197

Jan 052017


  • 46,000 miles
On Thursday 1/5/17, upon starting my vehicle, my engine light was illuminated. Today, I had a diagnostic test done and was told the turbo component was not working. My vehicle has approximately 46,000 miles. I read online and this has happened to others with the same mileage. Is there another recall?

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #196

Dec 192016


  • 86,000 miles
I was driving and all lights began flashing on dashboard, steering wheel jerked and I lost power steering, was able to pull off road into a parking lot, turned the car off and it would not start back up.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #195

Sep 012016


  • 56,000 miles


Headlights flicker and/or switch from low to high beams when using turn signal. The turn signal stalk contains the on/off/auto switch for the headlights as well as the high/low beam selection. This problem has happened several times when turning on the blinker or even when the turn stalk returns to off after completing the turn. It appears to be a short or bad contact in the turn signal and seems to only happen when the turn stalk is actually being moved or manipulated. This causes the headlights to flash or blink on the high beams and when they momentarily go to the off position the dash lights go to full intensity (just like during the day when the lights are off).

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #194

Nov 102016


  • miles
I have taken my car into Hyundai 3 times for the same repair on the steering column. I have clicking and chunking in the steering wheel and now my key will not release. I was told this time by Hyundai that it would cost me $150 for diagnostic and thousands if it isnt a related issue. This car is a lemon, and im stuck with it.

- Coolidge, AZ, USA

problem #193

Jan 102011


  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. After turning off the vehicle, the key could not be removed from the ignition switch. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the starter motor was replaced, but the failure continued. In addition, the front driver side seat belt malfunctioned and would not remain locked, and the headlights and brake light would shut off while driving. The cause of the failures was not diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 12,000.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #192

Oct 182010


  • 77,786 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the air bag warning indicator remained illuminated. The dealer was notified and provided no specific diagnosis. In addition, the contact heard an abnormal noise, the key was difficult to turn in the ignition, the low beams shorted, and the dealer replaced the housing for the brake lights. There were additional repairs due to the multiple failures. The manufacturer was notified of the failures and provided no solution. The VIN was also included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 16V190000 (steering), 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic), and 15V568000 (engine). The approximate failure mileage was 77,786.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #191

Oct 262016


  • 5,500 miles
Our 2011 Hyundai Sonata gls 2.4 engine caught fire as my wife was returning home from taking our son to school. My wife smelled gasoline and then it burst into flames. This was the second replacement engine covered under warranty and had less than 6000 miles on it. Hyundai mall of Georgia has performed all warranty service work on this vehicle. After the second engine and many other warranty repairs tried to envoke the lemon law but was denied by hyundia case #9412898.

- Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #190

Aug 242016


  • 89,500 miles
Airbag light on dash board turned on few months ago, the car has never involved in any kind of accident. It is 2011 Sonata and has never been in an accident. The dash board light turned on few months ago after 5 1/2 years of owning the car. I took to the dealer and they ask for $160 for diagnostic and that amount will apply to the cost of fixing the problem if I decides to go ahead of fixing the airbag lighting problem, the dealer gave a rough estimate between $900 to $1200 to fix this airbag issues. They also said the the airbag only warranty for 6 years or 60,000 miles. I though the airbag should be 10 years and 100,000 miles as Hyundai always advertised that. I searched on the web and there are a recall on airbag for elantra but not Sonata. It is definitely a manufacture defected because this is the original airbag and the car has never been in any kind of accident as I mentioned above. I seemed like the 10/100,000 warranty is just for advertisement purpose and they are not really stand behind their product or quality. Btw - I exchanged some email with Hyundai corporation but it did not go anywhere.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #189

Sep 152014


  • 64,981 miles
Over the five years the car will stall in parking lot.will have it towed to dealer.this happen two times this year. They could not find problem. Could not use battery to start, battery checked it was fine, starter fine, alternator made me feel uneasy if it stalled on road.they checked engine said it was fine.not happy with this.the last at my kroger it stopped.towed to repair shop near home same result, could not find problem.each time when car sat overnight for repair the problem went away and car started ok by dealer.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #188

Apr 232016


  • miles


About 5 months again I notice that I can not leave my light switch in auto mode because after locking my doors and engaging the alarm I would always get a knock on the door in the middle of the night with my neighbors letting me know that I left my lights on. I did not leave then on because they go off after I hit the alarm but apparently they are coming back on by themselves. I see other people has had the same problem. I don't understand Hyundai at all how many complaints do they need to realize that they made a huge mistake manufacturing these vechicles. I will never by anything thing Hyundai makes again.

- Louisville, GA, USA

problem #187

Sep 152016


  • 70,000 miles
Periodically the car unlocks all doors at startup (push button) and you can't manually lock them. Also there have been times that you could not lock the car after exiting when this occurred. The only work around I found is to "reboot" the car. The technicians have run various tests and did not come up with a cause or a solution. This is very unsafe for anyone with small children. This has been an issue with this vehicle since I bought it in July 2010. The last date this occurred was on 9/15/2016. I just entered all the issues with this car, including this safety issue related occurrence on

- Eldersburg, MD, USA

problem #186

Sep 102016


  • 88,000 miles
Airbag indicator light is on, seen on instrument cluster panel. Dealership diagnostic determined the issue is a faulty clock spring. Car has not been in any accidents. Car receives routine maintenance.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #185

Aug 012016


  • 58,000 miles
Takata recall issues with steering after recall-steering coupler issues with seatbelt lamp after recall-clockspring issues with lighting-interior malfunstions issues with turbo feed line issues with A/C lines leaking

- West Warwick, RI, USA

problem #184

Jul 312016


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While the vehicle was stopped in traffic, the engine stalled and all the warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was not able to restart. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the alternator and starter failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was taken to another dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 45,000. The VIN was not available.

- Brockton, MA, USA

problem #183

Jul 062016


  • 77,000 miles
I am having continuous problems with this vehicle. I have some recalls and I am now currently experiencing issues with the electrical circuit with the steering wheel.where the horn and the light is not working.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #182

Oct 222014


  • 84,703 miles
My car would have trouble starting, I would turn on the car but the engine wouldn't start, the lights and radio would turn on and nothing. After the starter being installed on 10/22/2014 the car was fine but then it happened again this year and had the starter replaced again. Then it happened later again and finally had the neutral safety start inhibitor switch replaced. My airbag light turns on and now I have to replace the clockspring. I have other issues with this car like for example my front drive axels being deformed which causes a rattling nose when I turn while driving. I would hear clicking noses on the steering column and had the steering coupling replaced. So far as of 8/12/2016 I have had 15 recalls and I have one to do next week. I'm driving a death trap.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #181

Aug 082016


  • 71,469 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that after the vehicle was shut off, the push to start failed to operate. As a result, the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 71,469.

- Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #180

Jun 202016


  • miles
My 2011 Sonata all of the sudden shut down around 1 months ago. I took it to the Hyundai dealership they were not able to turn it on. They kept on changing parts but unable to make it turn on. Im very stressed out I have ti make payments on a car that wont turn on.

- East Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #179

Jul 142016


  • 89,592 miles
I have had this car a little over a year now. It has made the same noise since I've had it. I've been to the huynda dealer many times. They don't understand what's wrong. When your car is between 2000 RPM and 3000 rpms or steadily at 2000 it makes a continuous raddle noise coming from the engine and continues until you take your foot off the accelerator. You want to know my opinion about the damn car? anyone who owns one should be given a new one. Because the car is a piece of crap. Now I also saw a complaint about someone having to replace the coupler. I have documentation that shows I paid the Hyundai to replace my steering coupler. It was over 300 dollars. When your driving down the road the steering is hard to control and the wheel makes a clicking noise. So I took it in and they coupler needed to be replaced. I want reimbursement and you guys should implement another recall about replacing everyone's coupler. You guys should make Hyundai give everyone a new car who has gone through al the mess we have.

- Pelham, AL, USA

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