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:
8 / 16
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,354 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 12 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #124

Sep 082015


  • 76,000 miles


My wife and I bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata on August 28th, 2015 from a dealership, but after driving the vehicle for a period of 10 days, the engine keeps running with knocking noise; a noise which my wife and I were not sure as to which part of the engine it was emanating from. We though maybe it was just a rock and would subside after few drives, but it didn't. on September 25th, 2015, while my wife was driving to the store, the vehicle stalled at a stop sign, but after removing the keys off the ignition and re-cranking the engine, it started running and the knocking noise went off, but the engine light came on afterward. My wife took it to the dealership we bought it from for a check up and repair, but the dealership's maintenance shop was unable to fix the vehicle for the reason that it had not reached 30 days since we bought the vehicle for the warrant that we bought to kick in. This was very frustrating and puzzling for the dealership to act this way to a customer who just bought a vehicle.

- Fort Worth , TX, USA

problem #123

Jun 152012


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at approximately 40 mph, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was unable to restart. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated that the vehicle had no oil and that the engine failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000. The VIN was not available.

- Elkton, MD, USA

problem #122

Sep 142015


  • 68,683 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at 60 mph, the vehicle stalled in the middle of the highway without warning. In addition, the brake light was consistently illuminated, even when the vehicle was parked. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 68,683.

- Pembrooke Pines, FL, USA

problem #121

Aug 102015


  • 84,139 miles


The engine was making a noise, we changed oil as recommended but noise was still prevalent. Car was taken in, engine failure. Engine was replaced with a rebuilt engine. The called it a remanufactured engine and they sent the head out to get assembled. According to the dealer Hyundai does not have band new engines available so they must rebuild the damaged units & send them out or the dealer is told to rebuild. We have no cause the dealer & Hyundai will not tell us the truth. So we have our car back with a remanufactured engine in it not a brand new engine as promised.

- Dewey, AZ, USA

problem #120

Sep 182015


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at 55 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The lights on the instrumental panel illuminated after the failure occurred. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 56,000.

- Winnadow , NC, USA

problem #119

Sep 142015


  • 76,000 miles
My car is a pre-owned car with currently a little over 76,000 miles. I had this car for almost 2 yrs, and my engine has died. I keep up with my oil changes every 3,000 miles. Because I'm the second owner the warranty is up to 60,000 miles. I don't understand why would my engine fall on an 2011 Sonata. Hyundai should look into this issue.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #118

Jun 132013


  • 61,000 miles


My fiance' was driving my car on the highway and it just started to putter and started to make knocking noises and could no longer be driven. He pulled over to the side of the road and we had to have the car towed to the dealer. The dealer told me I needed a new engine (on my relatively new care that I, the original owner had for just over 2 years). They claimed that my engine was dirty and non-lubricated. I kept up with my oil changes and as a matter of fact, just had the oil changed (not by Hyundai) about a week prior to the incident. Since I had the engine replaced with a used engine (about $5500), the car has seized on me three other times. I just found out that because I had a used engine put in by a Hyundai dealership, I am not covered under the 10 yr/100,000 mile warranty. This car has been a total nightmare, repair after repair for which I have to pay out of pocket for. Hyundai has "branded" my car, which is a real crack up considering its a faulty car that they sold me.

- Yeadon , PA, USA

problem #117

Aug 092015


  • 124,000 miles
While driving on a highway in the middle of traffic my 2011 Sonata completely stopped and the engine totally seized up endangering my entire family. There was no unusual engine sound prior to it stopping and no warning whatsoever. We had to coast to the side of the road, avoiding oncoming traffic. This is totally unacceptable as it endangered 5 lives. Thank goodness we were able to get to the side of the road. We are told that the engine would need to be totally replaced at a min. Engine cost of $5800 not including labor or other parts. In estimating costs, probably $8000 or more. It looks like there is a defect in the rotating assembly that causes sudden and catastrophic engine failure. Hyundai is aware of this problem and has done nothing to prevent it. Now I have no car to drive, and must somehow come up with the above costs or rent a car. The car is out of warranty but was well maintained. This is a serious problem and needs immediate attention.

- Perry, MI, USA

problem #116

Sep 022015


  • 85,000 miles
I was traveling in pa. On route 879 and 153, at a rate of about 60 mph merging into traffic, the engine just stopped working, I almost caused an accident trying to get off the road while the merge lane was ending. This vehicle has been regularly maintained. I am being told by the mechanics that I need a whole new engine. The mechanic doesn't see why this should have happened. I understand that other people have had similar experiences, thankful no one was hurt. Opened a case with Hyundai (C8187494). The operator at Hyundai that took my information stated that she new of the lawsuit and that Hyundai was not doing anything. Someone could have been killed any assistance you can give would be appreciated.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #115

Aug 312015


  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving 65 mph, the contact heard an abnormal knocking noise. The vehicle lost power and failed to accelerate. The contact coasted the vehicle home and called the local dealer. The dealer stated that the entire engine would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 97,000.

- Oklahoma City , OK, USA

problem #114

Aug 132015


  • 82,000 miles


Hyundai is going to replace the engine under warrantee, however they only warrantee this brand new long block (engine) for 12 months or 12,000 miles instead of warranting the engine for an original 10 years or 100,000 miles. The problem is can this new engine be trusted since we don't know when the engine was originally built. Hyundai requires that all oil change records be given to dealership.

- Dewey, AZ, USA

problem #113

Aug 162015


  • 131,000 miles
We began hearing some noises from under the hood, and scheduled to take the car in for maintenance and an oil change on Wednesday of the following week (8/18/2015 was our appointment). On 8/17/15 the car started like normal, we got back on the road, and my husband began to accelerate. It accelerated to 15mph, then stopped accelerating. The car had shut off. The lights on the dash came on, the power steering and power brakes ceased to work, and we barely made it off the road. We put it in park, took the key out, waited for a minute, and tried restarting it. It would click once, then nothing. We tried jumping it, nothing. We were told it sounded like the alternator, so had it towed to a nearby aaa shop. The following day (Monday, 8/17/15) we received a call that the engine had seized. And upon calling the dealership we bought the car from, found out that the extended warranty we purchased, had just expired at 109K miles and we were at 130K miles. We asked the aaa and the dealership to call around to get pricing on how much an engine would be. They were shocked to learn that the engine for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is unavailable nationwide, indefinitely. This is unheard of and is what prompted me to search online to check if a seized engine was one of the many problems/recalls/mistakes made with this car, and surprisingly, it was! I truly hope the NHTSA will investigate at the very least! and recall this car!

- Cockeysville, MD, USA

problem #112

Jul 242015


  • 85,500 miles
On a couple of separate incidents, the gear disappear. I was driving on D, the gear was on D, but after several miles the gear disappear. I pulled over to park the car, I put the car on reverse, but the gear was not visible. I turned the car off and turned it back on, I could see the gear then. This has happened a couple of times. A couple of weeks after this happened, the car did not start at all. The car ended up starting after it was towed to the dealership. Apart from this issue I've been at the dealership for several other issues. Starter, axles, the key ignition switch, sensors, etc. It's been very time consuming and expensive.

- Cicero, IL, USA

problem #111

Jul 012015


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, where it was diagnosed that the engine block needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 87,000.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #110

Aug 082015


  • 85,000 miles
48 hours after the dealer replaced two selenodes and wiring harness (stating it could be my driving habits, but would file it under the warranty) - the vehicle starting shifting even harder than it previously had and then suddenly would not go over 25mph and the rpms were 5-6. luckily was able to get vehicle to the dealer (I am the original owner) - and was told it now needs a new transmission. I had zero issues with my vehicle till it hit approximately 75,000 miles. I have filed two other complaints on this website regarding the other two incidents that I've had warranty work done on in the last 3 months. I expect that this vehicle will completely fall apart by the time I hit 100K and there is no longer a warranty. I am very fortunate that I did not have my 3 kids with me this last time.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #109

Jul 172015


  • 80,000 miles
Vehicle starting shifting hard, then while driving approximately 45 mph, the car fell out of gear into "neutral". pulled over. Vehicle ran fine for about a week. Vehicle then continued to shift hard and the check engine light came on. Took to dealer. I am the original owner. Was told it was two selenodes and wiring harness. This repair lasted 48 hours. Was repaired under warranty although they said it could be my driving habits.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #108

Mar 012015


  • 75,000 miles
During routine oil change, was told that I needed a new engine block and it was not covered under warranty. Was told this was due to low oil in the car. After arguing for 2 weeks with dealer that I purchased the vehicle from (I am the original owner) and the only dealer that has ever serviced the vehicle, they replaced the small engine block, under warranty. Took 1 month.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #107

Aug 052015


  • 177,000 miles
My wife was driving to work connecting from route 80 to route 206 then car just cuts off, no lights, no noise just die's out. I had the car towed to dealer and they told us that engine seized, I asked why this would happen because this could have caused an accident and put my wife's life in danger that a car can just shut down with no prior warning lights. Dealer told me I would have to pay to take apart engine to find out exactly what happened to engine even though I maintenance this car approximately every 2 months and the car had highway miles. I looked online and found out other customers had this problem and they say it's a engine defect and Hyundai will not pay to fix.

- East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #106

Jul 262015


  • 115,000 miles
On July 26, 2015 the motor of my 2011 Hyundai Sonata started to make a lot of noice. I was on country roads and tried to make it home and the engine siezed up a few miles later. Had vehicle towed to dealership. Service manager at dealership said that something had "let loose in the motor" causing to holes in the bottom of the motor. He said the motor was seized up and had to be replaced.

- Spring Lake , MI, USA

problem #105

Jul 182015


  • 91,000 miles
Stopped at a red light - middle lane of 3 lanes. When the light turned green I went to accelerate and realized the car had stalled. Car would not restart - repair shop said engine seized - which seems to be a common occurrence. Called one salvage yard that listed 4 in stock - they were all sold. I was stuck in the middle lane of traffic until a police car stopped behind me and turned on his lights. I am not under warranty due to being the 2nd owner (warranty is half - 50,000 miles). I still owe and now I have to pay at least $4000 to have a used engine installed (which appears will have the same problem eventually)....updated 09/28/15

- Frederick, MD, USA

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