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 14 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #84

Feb 132015


  • 63 miles


I purchased the car on 10/22/13 and I have kept the maintenance up on the car. Then on 2/13/15 (not to mention that it was my birthday) as I was driving home from work the car cut off on me. I had the car towed to the dealership where I purchased the car from and was told that the motor was blown up. Now here I was thinking that I kept very good care of my car and that a car with only 63K miles should not have had any engine problems! now here it is almost 3 months later I still have to make car payments on a car that I can not drive.

- Leonardtown, MD, USA

problem #83

May 082015


  • 57,000 miles
Vehicle stopped functioning at 60 mph on an interstate on a Friday night. Had to coast to side of road dodging other cars. Tried to restart vehicle with no luck. Electrical started going haywire. Interior lights started flashing as well as dashboard lights. Smoke was coming from hood of car. Within 20 minutes a road Ranger checked the status of the car and said all fluids looked good. Battery tested good. But was unable to get vehicle to start. Two hours later it was towed to a Hyundai dealership. Was told it appears to be the engine but was told they replaced the starter first because they thought it was that. Finally, told it was the engine and it would need to be replaced. Thankfully it is still under warranty. It's last service was the middle of April. They told me that the steering is possibly going on it. They reported a knocking noise. Nothing has been done to steering as of yet but now that they will have car for up to 3 weeks will probably have them check that too especially after reading many of the complaints on this and other websites.

- Zolfo Spring, FL, USA

problem #82

Apr 152015


  • 114,000 miles
The car was being driven by my son. He said the car started making a funny noise and the check engine light came on. He switched cars with his mother. She could hear a rattle in the engine and made an appointment to have it checked the next day. On the way home, the car completely died. The vehicle was towed in and inspected. The mechanic stated that the engine had thrown a rod and the engine needed to be replaced.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #81

May 052015


  • 76,000 miles


While driving for approx 20mins on hwy at 60mph, the vehicle's engine began to knock, approx 3 mins later a loud exploding sound accompanied with white smoke and loss of power occurred. Oil was changed yesterday because check engine light became illuminated and the oil was checked with no oil registering on the dipstick. Vehicle had to be towed to a local mechanic. When tow truck arrived under the hood inspection noted no oil on top of engine or on underside of hood, new oil filter still in place and snug, oil pan drain bolt still in place. Oil used was 5qts of 5W-20 quaker state per manufacturer's recommendation.

- North Bend, OR, USA

problem #80

Apr 142015


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving at 52 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to a dealer who diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- Pontiac, MI, USA

problem #79

May 012015


  • 83,678 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at 65 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was then towed to the dealer who confirmed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 83,678.

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #78

Feb 182015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles


Car began making a loud noise took it to dealer and they said it was engine failure - would have to replace engine at a cost of $7,000. Towed it to a certified mechanic for second opinion who said - may be able to just repair piston and not entire motor - cost could be up to $3-4000. Vehicle now sitting in our driveway - unusable - can't afford to pay to have it repaired - still paying on loan.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #77

Mar 122014


  • 78,000 miles
I was driving about 40mph and out of nowhere my engine shuts completely off. I have the vehicle towed to the local Hyundai dealer, and they notified me after 78000 miles my engine has seized. I just had a oil change about 30 days prior. After a little research I found this to be a common problem. I am discussed.

- Willingboro , NJ, USA

problem #76

Apr 052015


  • 91,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 2 mph and depressing the brake pedal to stop the vehicle, the engine suddenly shut off and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who indicated that the engine seized, but the cause of the failure was not determined. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 91,000.

- Simi Valley , CA, USA

problem #75

Apr 192015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the air bag light intermittently illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 112,000. Updated 6/8/15 the consumer also stated a month after getting an oil change, the oil was low and she had to add more oil. Updated 06/11/15

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #74

Apr 132015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, my first car I purchase it almost 4 months ago I'll had 2 oil changes including the one the dealer did before I bought it. I was simply driving home & heard a weird noise so I pulled over my battery died and car engine started to smoke I was giving no warning sign or indicator to check my oil or anything. I had my car towed to suntrup Hyundai were I was told my engine was seized and would cost me from 5,000-9,000 for a new or used. How does a well-maintained car go from normal to a total lost" I'll done my research so my question for you is when will you recall this entire car" will indeed be joining the class action lawsuit against Hyundai. I have no warranty & don't even want the car with a new engine. I just want Hyundai to buy the car back it's a serious safety risk I'll stick with american made vehicles.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #73

Jan 142015


  • 96,000 miles
The engine is knocking when I start to drive and the knocking sound has gradually increased. I have to put 1-2qts of additional oil into the car in between scheduled oil changes.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #72

Apr 142015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
I am having problems with my car not wanting to accelerate sometimes, I typically notice this when I am on the freeway going about 60 mph and when I try to go past that it will seem to not want to accelerate and then jerk and then go accelerate faster. Lately I have also notice this when going normal speeds it seems like it wants to stall.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #71

Apr 092015


  • 57,606 miles
Went to take off from a stop sign and noticed I did not have the power it usually does. Drove appr 3 miles, came to a stop light. The oil light came on and the car stalled. Started the vehicle back up, drove appr 3/4 mile to the nearest gas station with flashers on and <20 miles per hour, all the while the car was hesitating and knocking/tapping. I called my husband who came to get me. We checked the oil and it was barely registering oil. We purchased 2 quarts and drove the car appr 2.5-3 miles home. The next day my husband drove it down the road about a mile. It was running very rough with knocking/tapping and hesitation. Then the check engine light came on. He called the Hyundai dealer and had it towed as we were still under warranty. Their diagnosis was no oil, lack of maintenance yet there was no oil leak or burning of oil. Since this is "our fault" according to the dealer, it will not be covered under warranty and we need a new engine at $6,000+. we have done regular maintenance on it since we purchased it Sept 2014 - 2 oil changes in 7 months, the last change being the 1st week of January. My husband does our oil changes (he used to work at Goodyear and has done oil changes since he was a teenager) so we have no receipts from oil purchases at walmart.

- Pittsboro, NC, USA

problem #70

Apr 042015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
I was driving on the highway (295 South towards Washington DC) and when I tried to accelerate, nothing happened. When I examined the dashboard, all of the lights were on. As a precaution, I pulled over to the shoulder. After bringing the car to a stop I noticed a burning smell. After opening the hood I discovered smoke coming from the engine area. I tried to start the car but to no avail. I immediately called roadside assistance and the car was towed back to pohanka Hyundai in capital heights md. After an inspection of the vehicle, the technician discovered no oil was found on the dip stick and the engine had locked up! as I pulled up my last oil change record it showed I received 5 qts of 5W20 synthetic blend oil at 110,641 miles. I told the technician that I never had any leaks or knocking sounds. Also I never had my check engine light illuminate. It amazed me how after 5000 miles no oil was in engine and I had no apparent and visible leaks.

- Odenton, MD, USA

problem #69

Jul 212013


  • 64,000 miles
The cars ignition key does not release from the ignition for up to 6 hours. The ignition cylinder was changed by Hyundai but the problem continued to happen even with the change of the keys and the cylinder. Also, the engine seizes when I took my son and his girlfriend to the airport. Hyundai did not honor the warranty and charged me $3600 for a new engine. Their 10 year warranty is a fraud. I had to pay for the key change which did not work.

- Richmond Hill, GA, USA

problem #68

Oct 302014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
I was making a right turn when the vehicle stopped. I could not restart it and had to have it towed. When the vehicle was inspected I was informed that the engine has seized. There was never any oil or check engine light that came on. The oil was changed when it should be.there was oil in the engine. Since the warranty was up I had to come out of pocket for an engine..

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #67

Mar 302015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 44,487 miles
My wife was driving the car than all of a sudden she thought she heard a muffler sound like a rattling sound. She checked the muffler but the muffler was intact. Than as she was driving the car idled low as if it wanted to die. Than she got out at a parking to investigate the sounds turns out the engine is knocking bad. I call to get vehicle towed to Hyundai. Before they received the vehicle a service employee tried to tell me that the maintenance of the vehicle is determined also by the previous owner and how well he maintained it in order for the warranty to be valid (my vehicle is precertified it has 44487 miles and oil change is due at 44906) and the vehicle will not be looked at for a week. I called another dealership because I knew the employee was lying to me and the other employee at the different dealership assured me that the warranty starts with me and the previous owner has nothing to do with it. So I am waiting to hear back to see what they will do regarding the warranty. I know a knocking engine is a severe matter and the fact they lied to me before looking at the car already seems as if things are to just get worst in regarding with dealing with them.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #66

Mar 202015


  • 120,123 miles
Driving down hwy @65mph. Car lost power. Was able to get to side of road. Car smelled and smoking. Checked oil...2 liters low. Had oil changed 1000 miles ago. No oil light came on. Have been routinely checking my oil because 2 weeks after oil changed had car serviced for brakes and mechanic checked oil and was low. He put oil in. No oil leaks anywhere. Now I have to pay 4500 for another 2011 Hyundai Sonata engine which I really don't want to put it because there is obviously a problem with this engine and replacing with the same I will end up with the same problem.

- Coraopolis, PA, USA

problem #65

Mar 122015

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 56,000 miles
Was driving the car when I noticed some "clicking" noises coming from the engine. I immediately began experiencing severe engine power loss and, as I was on my way home from work and a local Hyundai dealer was nearby, I went there. Upon arrival, I advised the service person of the symptoms I'd experienced. After a call from the dealer the next day, I was advised that Hyundai wanted them (the dealer) to completely tear the engine down to take pictures of the internals to assess the damage. The representative also told me that the oil was extremely low on the dipstick, so low that it didn't even register. Note: The car was next scheduled to receive an oil change at 57,600 miles, and this occurred at 56,000. A few days later, I hear back that "Hyundai" had declined the warranty coverage, so I contacted Hyundai and they stated that the dealership is the one who had in fact denied the warranty coverage, and would be contacting them to understand the reason(s) for the denial. After researching the issues, I've found a lawyer opening a class action lawsuit, as others have reported this same issue. Lawyer: complaints:

- Caledonia, NY, USA

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