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 16 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #44

Oct 052014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


My 2011 Hyundai Sonata like many of the other complaints on here has had catastrophic engine failure due to a snapped rod. Like many of you I have kept up with the regular maintenance schedule and have been shut down by Hyundai for repair under the 100,000 mile warranty. This problem is a serious public safety concern as it happens while the car is in motion and my question is what will it take for the NHTSA to take action and fully investigate this issue and bring it to recall? with the amount of complaints listed on the NHTSA website for this exact issue it seems like they are waiting for injury or even worse to occur before this issue is taken seriously.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #43

Oct 012014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 46,913 miles
10/1/2014 @ 7:30pm est - while driving home, was at a red light when the car stalled out. Then a loud knocking sound happened. Engine light was on* it is very unsafe for the engine to stall or just randomly shutoff while in traffic. There were no signs or warnings, the vehicle just stalled. Vehicle was not safe to operate. I had the vehicle towed to northtowne Hyundai dealer on sheridan drive, buffalo NY.10/3/2014 @ 2:47pm est - northtowne Hyundai dealer called me said that I need to replace my engine because the piston popped. I said well, my car is well within the warranty, isn't this covered? northtowne Hyundai dealer said that we can't submit your warranty claim with out receipts of your maintenance from 5K miles to present. 10/3 - 10/13/2014 - contacted our 3 local places we like to send our vehicles to for copies of our receipts. With no problem we were able to obtain copies of our last 7 oil changes and general maintenance receipts. 10/14/2014 @ 2:00pm est - my husband gave northtowne Hyundai dealer our receipts and he stated that he will submit our claim to Hyundai. 10/24/2014 @ 8:59am est - "regional" / "corporate" called me and stated "the district manager who would have authorized the repair, had the dealership partially disassemble the engine; take off the cover for inspection, and there's a condition of sludge which is indicative of either the maintenance intervals not being followed; oil change not frequently enough or possibly the quality or grade of the oil used. In either case these is not a manufacture defect, so he has denied warranty coverage." I've also added my complaint to the following:[ ] ** our last oil change was 8/2/2014 at 43K miles ** we had a clean bill of health, no issues were reported or maintenance recommended at that time.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #42

Oct 042014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
I was driving down a 4 laneroadway when the engine stopped. I was able to coast into a gas station and noticed a small amount of smoke coming from the engine. Had it towed to a dealership and 2 days later they told me it was a seized engine and that it was only 1/2 quart low. I filed a claim with my extended warranty service. They sent an inspector out and his finding were it was 2-3 quarts low and cited owner neglect. Warranty service denied the claim. I use royal purple synthetic oil and have used this same oil for the past 15 years in all my vehicles. I had my oil changed in July..approximately 3 months prior.

- Spring , TX, USA

problem #41

Oct 062014


  • 70,000 miles


While at a red light on highway 45 in whistler Alabama car just cut off and would not crank back up, police had to come and stop traffic and push car out of the highway so it wouldn't be an accident because it was near the interstate exits to highway 45.

- Whistler, AL, USA

problem #40

Oct 052014


  • 81,000 miles
I was driving my 2011 Hyundai Sonata on a mountain road 10/4/2014 when it started to make a clicking sound coming from the engine. Before I even had the chance to pull over all of my sensors went of the engine completely died including power brakes and steering. Huge safety concern as I was driving on a winding mountain road. Dealership is telling me I have to replace my engine and because I'm the second owner the 100,000 mile warranty doesn't apply to me. This vehicle needs to be recalled for this huge manufacturing and overly dangerous flaw.

- Albuquerque , NM, USA

problem #39

Oct 052014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I was driving down the highway and the car stalled. I coasted into an empty parking lot and turned it off. When I tried to restart it, I heard one click and then nothing. There was no evidence that anything was wrong, no warning lights, no weird noises, nothing. I had the car towed the following morning and was told by the repair shop that the engine seized up. I faithfully have my oil changed and there was no indication that the oil was low.

- Pemberton, NJ, USA

problem #38

Oct 012014


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving 70 mph, the vehicle stalled and smoke appeared from the front of the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to a dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 130,000.

- Middleburg Heights, OH, USA

problem #37

Aug 312013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 60,845 miles
I purchased my vehicle in April 2012. Car has been serviced only by brandon Hyundai service center. Last service was done on 7/25/2014. On August 31st my car cut off while driving. Car was towed to brandon Hyundai. On Sept 5, I received a call from service dept saying diagnosis found the engine was locked up. They couldn't tell me why because it had oil and no leaks. It would have to broken down to find out why engine locked up which would cost me $500-$600. Also, a used engine would cost me $6200. On 9/15/14, I called Hyundai customer service at 12:27pm and spoke to esperanze. I explained to her my situation. She advised me to call back with id# and speak to a case manager. At 12:29pm, I called back and spoke to case mgr mariatta. She stated she could do nothing for me and referred me back to the dealership to have diagnosis done. I explained to her that I didn't have $600 to pay for diagnosis. Case#6878995. She stated that maybe dealership could help me with some arrangements since warranty recently expired and told me to have a good day. I am currently driving a loaner car. I need Hyundai to take responsibility and please get my car repaired or another car. Thanks so much!

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #36

Aug 232013


  • 50,000 miles
In the winter once, car wouldn't start and it took a few minutes to get it started. I brought it in and they said it was fine. In April it started making a terrible noise while idling and accelerating. I took it to the dealer and they changed the oil and the noise went away for a couple months. Noise came back and the engine light came on. Now they are stating there is sludge in the engine and unless I have proof of all my oil changes they are not going to honor my warranty. I have changed the oil every 3500-6,000 miles religiously. I am not sure how the engine fails at 50,000. I purchased this car specifically for the warranty and now they are backing out.

- Hanover Park, IL, USA

problem #35

Aug 052014


  • 82,250 miles
Oil changed 1-1.5 months ago. On 8/5/14 while driving home the car started having a ticking noise coming from the motor and the oil light quickly flashed but then went away. Made a right turn and there was a squealing noise followed by a loud boom. Car then began to have a clunk coming from the motor and would stutter like it was trying to stall out. Checked the oil and there was not much in the motor. No oil leaks. Car is parked at the same place all the time while at work and home, no oil marks left where car is parked. 2 quarts of brand new oil put into car (car was not driven after this happened-brought oil to the low oil mark on the dip stick) the next day and car was towed to faulkner Hyundai (paxton St, harrisburg pa). Car was received at dealership by 9:30 am on 8/7/14 but was never looked at until the following day. Received call from dealership stating the noise was from coming from the bottom part of the motor and questioned when my last oil change was stating "there was very little oil in the car and it was very dirty." First red flag considering that was brand new oil. Hyundai is now trying to not cover this under the warranty. This issue seems to be common on this vehicle from all the research I have done and should probably be recalled. Hyundai customer service is a joke as well as their vehicles. And their "America's best warranty" is a gimmick to get people to buy these polished pieces of crap and more than likely will not be honored. Still waiting to hear from Hyundai on a quote for the repairs and if the warranty will cover it.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #34

Jul 282014


  • 56,000 miles


My 2011 Sonata just stopped one day, with no warning. No lights came on, I call roadside assistance, key Hyundai in milford, ct took 3 days to get back to me, and told me that my engine seized due to lack of oil. I had oil in my car, they said that sludge is in the engine because I did not keep my regular schedule oil change with them. I check my oil! but why didn't the car alert me" why didn't the oil light come one and tell me something was wrong" factory warranty will not cover the car even though I shown proof of doing oil change else where. I bought this car with 5 miles, how can a new car engine just seize!

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

problem #33

Jul 282014


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The dealer stated that a bad batch of oil was placed in the vehicle and that a new engine was needed. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 64,000...updated 08-26-14 the consumer stated the issue has been resolved. Updated 09/2/2014

- Sulpher, LA, USA

problem #32

May 012014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • miles
I'm hearing crackling noises from the engine bay, I suspected it was the turbo. But after researching and checking forums many people are hearing the same noise.

- Garden City, GA, USA

problem #31

Jun 152014


  • 70,435 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving at approximate 40mph, the vehicle started to make a loud knocking sound and immediatelly the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was able to be restart it and the check engine light illuminated on the control panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the oil needed to be changed. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 70,435.

- Nash , TX, USA

problem #30

May 252014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
I started the car and it shook some and check engine light came on. I checked oil and it was 2.5 quarts low. Filled the car with oil. Drove it to the shop to have a oil change done on it. The shop changed the oil and I drove the car home. As I was driving it home the car started sputtering and clattering. The car stalled. Towed to shop where mechanic immediately checked oil. It was full of oil. The mechanic changed the sensors. After changing the sensors the check engine light went off but the motor is still knocking. The mechanic confirmed the engine has been seized. The engine needs to be replaced. I have read on the internet that the 2011 engine is known to have major problems.

- Crosby, TX, USA

problem #29

May 022012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
On 5 occasions my car has temporarily stalled/lost power for an instant, always at freeway speed within 10 miles of my home. The sensation is as if the car had run into something heavy on the pavement. It violently pitched my wife and I forward and I expect that we would have hit the dash had we not been wearing seatbelts. After exiting the freeway in all cases, the car had barely enough acceleration to drive more than 25 mph for the couple of miles to the dealer. The dealer claims that they cannot repair a problem which they cannot duplicate. I understand this but find it difficult to believe that Hyundai has never heard of this issue before. I strongly feel that my vehicle is unsafe and needs to be repaired under the manufacturer's warranty. I am only 30,000 miles into a 100,000 mile warranty.

- Sellersburg, IN, USA

problem #28

Jan 142014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
While driving on the grand central parkway going 50 mph the car suddenly lost all power and stalled. The engine had seized due to loss of oil. There had been no oil warning light. Car had been serviced regularly since purchase. Car was towed to dealer. Dealer informed us that short block needed to be replaced & work was done. We have tried to find an oil warning light on the a instrument cluster and have had no luck so we are not confident this won't happen again, creating another unsafe situation the car did not feel right while we drove it. At one point, about a month or so later, it stalled out. We called Hyundai for a tow but the car eventually started. A week later the car overheated and we brought it to a service station & checked the coolant. It was low & so we added coolant. We also checked the oil & found it down by one quart. (this was about 2 thousand miles after the short block was replaced). Car continued to overheat in traffic. We took the car to Hyundai for service where they discovered that the fan was not working. We asked if it was normal for the car to stall while on the road if it overheats, & we're told yes it was normal. We consider this to be a serious issue with this car. We have filed a complaint and received an incident number but have not received any response from corporate. We do not feel safe in this car or transporting our grandchildren or anyone else. Please contact us a.S.a.P. thank you for your quick reply to our concerns.

- Manhasset, NY, USA

problem #27

Feb 072014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle failed to restart and was towed to an authorized dealer for diagnosis. The technician informed the contact that the engine seized and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was scheduled to have the engine replaced when it became available. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 46,405. Updated 04/04/14 the consumer stated after driving less than half of a mile the vehicle's engine shut down without warning. The dealer advised that the engine locked up due to excessive heat. The dealer would not offer any assistance. The vehicle was eventually repaired. Updated 04/14/2014

- Clute, TX, USA

problem #26

Jan 242014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
I was driving my 2011 Sonata on I-95 North in md near baltimore. I was in stop and go traffic at 8:20am, when with out any warning, my car shut off. I looked down and all the lights on my dash were on. I coasted to the left shoulder and I tried to restart it and it wouldn't. I waited for 30- 40 minutes in rush hour traffic on the left shoulder of 95 for someone to come and jump start my car. It started immediately when it was jumped, with no problems, with no lights on the dashboard indicating any problems. I was about 1/4 mile from work. Once back in traffic, my car turned off a second time. Again, I was able to get it started with a jump with no problem. When it started the second time we heard a clunking noise and drove it 3 blocks to my office. No dash warning lights came on. I contacted my dealer, annapolis Hyundai and they said I would have to have it towed in. I contacted Hyundai's road side service and they towed it at no cost to me. I was asked for receipts and service information immediately before my car was looked at. After 6 days and continual calls, they advised I would need a new engine. As my car is only 3 years old and the engine is under the 100,000 mile warranty( it has approx. 64,000 miles on it), they advised they would have to send documents in to Hyundai and they would have to approve. My car has been there for 16 days and I have been refused a loaner car until Hyundai honors the 100,000 mile warranty. My car had originally been scheduled for service on 1/27 as I was having problems with the car not starting on at least 3 occasions and it needed to be jumped started(with 2 times by geico). During this time, there was never any indication there was a problem as no warning lights came on my car. This car is unsafe and should have a recall on the engine. A car should never stop running while it is in drive especially in traffic.

- Crofton, MD, USA

problem #25

Mar 192013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 76,364 miles
2011 Sonata turbo purchased brand new by a family member maintained and garage kept. In March of 2013 and with 76,364 miles on the car I experienced what Hyundai categorized as a catastrophic engine failure. There was no indication of any problem, no warning lights, the engine spun a rod bearing and threw a piston rod through the block. The vehicle was towed to a dealership, assessed and determined that the engine would require replacement. During the repairs, a long block engine was put in the vehicle and when cranked at the dealership, vibrated so bad that they determined the replacement engine was not functional. A 3rd engine was placed in the car and at 85,960 miles on July 29, 2013 the 3rd engine did the same thing as the first engine, no warning lights, no indication anything was wrong, spun a rod bearing and threw the same location cylinder piston rod threw the block and in this catastrophic engine failure, the car caught on fire. Fortunately it did put itself out. Vehicle was towed to a different Hyundai dealership, assessed and determined an engine replacement was required. Hyundai is still unable to determine the cause for both catastrophic engine failures. 24 hours after the vehicle was returned w/ replacement motor, my garage floor and driveway were covered in motor oil. I was told by the dealership to fill the oil level and drive the car in for assessment. It was determined that the oil sending unit tube was not properly threaded into the engine block, causing the leak. The dealership said the engine came from the factory that way although they did make the repair. Now the car is out of warranty (surpassing the 100,000 miles) and I am left wondering how long this engine will last and how much a replacement will cost me. After consulting an attorney Hyundai is only willing to settle this for about $1500 (not including legal fees).

- Hamilton, TX, USA

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