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 17 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Nov 282013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 30,350 miles


On thanksgiving evening November 28, 2013 @ 7:30 pm, my 2011 Hyundai Sonata that I purchased new, caught fire on I 95 while driving it. The car has only 30,350 miles and is properly maintained and garage kept. The vehicle had the oil and filter replaced 5 days earlier and there are no signs of any fluids leaking in the garage. There were no warning lights that came on and the temperature gauge read as normal until just before the engine shut off (then all the dash lights came on) and we pulled over onto the shoulder of a busy highway at night. I raised the hood, smoke poured out and I could see small flames under the engine. Minutes later the flames were 20 feet high and the entire car burned until fire trucks and police arrived on the scene. The vehicle is a total loss.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #23

Feb 082012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,500 miles
I bought my 2011 Hyundai Sonata back in February 2012 from enterprise car sales and ever since I bought it I been hearing a knocking sound in the front end of my car while im driving from maybe 10mph to 40mph. But on the highway when I reach speeds over 50mph I don't hear anything. I have taken it to the dealer numerous of times I have had certified mechanics check it and they told me it could be one of the motor mounts but the dealer never wanted to change it they kept telling me the car was fine. Now its going to be a year later and my car has that same knocking sound in the front but now its extremely loud. I can feel the knocking through the steering too so now I don't know what to do.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #22

Dec 042013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 66,000 miles
I am reporting a third incident that occurred after the date of the earlier two incidents I previously reported in my earlier complaints. After the previous incident, Hyundai burlingame (1025 rollins road, burlingame, ca 94010), installed a new engine and installed a new fuel intake valve. On October 19, 2013, the second repair work was completed and I picked up the car. On December 4, 2013, I was driving the car on us 101, northbound traveling approximately 70 mph when the car began to make loud clanging noises and violently shake and shudder and the engine light came on. I was able to pull off the highway just as the car again experienced a catastrophic engine failure. As the engine failed, the power to the steering went out and this made the car difficult to maneuver. The car was towed to Hyundai burlingam and is awaiting repair.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #21

Nov 242013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles


No oil in the engine. No indication of oil leakage. No low oil pressure or low oil light indicating there was a problem with low oil. The Hyundai dealership has told me I need a new engine. The was no indication that there was a problem with the car until the car suddenly stopped functioning. This is a problem with this automobile. I've seen the same type of complaints on the internet. The Hyundai Sonata should be recalled to fix the malfunctioning warning system indicating that there is a problem with low oil pressure or low oil level.

- Pipersville, PA, USA

problem #20

Nov 092013


  • 52,400 miles
The car would not start, battery is three weeks old. The car was brought in to the dealership by tow and was repaired and returned to me on 11/11/2013. I was told at the time that it wasn't the starter, it was the starter lever. The evening of 11/11/2013 the car wouldn't start on the first try, but did after the second. On 11/12/13 the car failed to start until the fourth try. I called and the dealer said to bring it back in, I did on the morning of 11/13/13, in preparing to leave for the dealership from my work location the car again failed to start three times and finally started on the fourth try. No car in my family has ever had a starter issue like this in a car that is less then three years old.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #19

Oct 212013


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The technician stated the engine would have to be replaced due to oil sludge. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 44,000.

- Alta Loma, CA, USA

problem #18

Oct 122011


  • 36,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while accelerating from a stop, the vehicle stalled. The contact took the vehicle to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The dealer replaced the throttle, which did not remedy the stalling failure and the contact took the vehicle back to the dealer. The dealer replaced the fuel system and tightened the oil pan however, the repair also did not remedy the failure. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer a third time however, the dealer could not detect a code regarding the stalling failure and stated that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. The contact called the manufacturer, who sent a technician from the regional office but the technician also could not determine a defect after driving the vehicle for 14 miles. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was 36,000.

- Berkley Heights, NJ, USA

problem #17

Sep 112013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
The auto on several, sporadic occasions had an acceleration problem, while sitting still in traffic. While sitting still in traffic, the rpms would start to increase, going to 6000 rpms before I geared it back down and shut the engine off. I took it too the dealer on several occasions, they kept it couple of days each time, they told me, they could find nothing wrong, and go ahead and drive it, if it happened again, bring it back, sending me away in a unsafe vehicle. The last time, date mentioned above, a service technician test drove my car, the acceleration problem occurred, and he totaled out my vehicle. I was not notified until 2 days later that my vehicle had been in a accident. I was told, it happened the night before, I was notified on Sept 13, 2013, that would have the accident occurring on Sept.12,2013, when in fact it occurred on Sept. 11, 2013. I have searched and found on several occasions that this vehicle, did indeed, have acceleration problems, which the dealer had informed me, had never happened before. The vehicle, should have been diagnosed and the problem fixed, the first time, instead of the dealership, sending me away each time in a unsafe vehicle. Very unethical of the dealer, for telling lies about the car, and, the correct date the incident occurred, not notifying me for 2 days, that it occurred, and.not fixing the problem, as should have been expected of them, the first time it occurred, and sending me away each time in a unsafe vehicle.

- Alpharetta , GA, USA

problem #16

Oct 032013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I am reporting a second incident that occurred after the date of the first incident I previously reported in my earlier complaint. As noted in my earlier complaint, the car had experienced catastrophic engine failure. I had the car taken for repair to the Hyundai licensed dealer and automotive repair service center operated by Hyundai burlingame (1025 rollins road, burlingame, ca 94010). The repair center explained the engine would have to be completely replaced and so would the fuel intake valve. A new engine and intake valve were installed in the car. On 10/2/2013, the repair work was completed and my spouse picked up the car and returned to our residence. On 10/3/2013, my spouse was driving the repaired car to work during the morning commute on southbound I-280 in the bay area when the car began to make loud clanging noises and violently shake and shudder. My spouse was able to pull of the highway just as the car again experienced catastrophic engine failure and the engine began releasing very heavy dark smoke. As the engine failed, the power to the steering went out and this made the car difficult to maneuver. The car was towed to the nearest authorized Hyundai dealer and service repair center, stevens creek Hyundai (4425 steven creek blvd., santa clara, ca 95051). Stevens creek Hyundai opened the hood of the car and examined the engine. Steven creek Hyundai told my spouse there was a high pressure gasoline leak and gasoline had been spurting on the hot engine and also that there was some sort of catastrophic engine failure.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #15

Sep 202013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
My spouse was driving on interstate 280 southbound in the bay area during the morning commute when an engine rod came loose and punctured a whole in the engine causing catastrophic engine failure. The engine failure led to loss of power to the steering and brakes and the car coasted off the interstate exit ramp and eventually came to a stop after the emergency brake was engaged. The car has consistently received regular maintenance from the local authorized Hyundai dealer and car service provider. There was absolutely no warning before the engine flew apart. This was a very dangerous incident that could have led to the death of the driver, any passengers, and other drivers and passengers of nearby cars.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #14

Aug 062013


  • 42,100 miles


Car would not start when I pressed the brake and start button. Tried several times and nothing. Brake was very hard and after 10 minutes I gave up and drove my truck. This is about the 4th time this has happened. I will take to dealer. From reading the blogs sounds like the brake light switch will have to be replaced.

- Cheltenham, MD, USA

problem #13

Apr 142013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 27,000 miles
On 4/14/2013 and again this morning 05/28/2013, my vehicle fails to start. The engine does turn over so this is not completely dead like other reports. Both last time and this time the situation is the same: 1 take the car for a short drive (~1 mile) 2 park on an incline in my driveway. 3 a few hours later, get in car, push the start and the engine just turns over - does not start. The first time, I tried to start the car until the battery died - I then called Hyundai and they sent a roadside service person. He jumped the car and it started right up. Very frustrating. I assumed it was bad gas and that my tank was very low (red lamp was on for low fuel) also note: Car was on a flat service at this point. So today: I called Hyundai dealer 45 minutes ago, and am waiting on a callback from the service department. Im sure just to have me get roadside assistance again.

- Carrollton, TX, USA

problem #12

Apr 102013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,793 miles
I purchased/ picked up my certified 2011 Hyundai Sonata on 4/4/13. On 4/10 the push start failed. I had to call the Hyundai service department and was walked thru the over ride process to get the car started. Immediately made a service appointment for this issue and took it in on 4/13. On this day it was discovered that there was an issue with the thermostat and they needed to correct it, I authorized it and it was all covered under the warranty. There was no out of pocket expense. I picked my car up that same evening and drove it home and no where else for the rest of the weekend. 4/18 about 22 miles down the highway the engine light comes on. 4/19 took it in, I was told the thermostat part that was installed was obsolete and they had my car for 6 days waiting on the new part and doing installation. I was provided a rental car at $60+ out of pocket cost for insurance. Picked up my car 4/25 and drove it about 175 miles ( it is 126 miles round trip from home to work) and 4/26 the engine light comes on again. I sit here now with no Hyundai because it is at the dealers getting repairs again!!! again!!! opted not to use the rental car service this time as it would cost more than $50 per day out of my own pocket for an uncertained amount of time. Nothing but problems and I havent even made my first car payment yet. And on 4/24 the day before I pick my car up for the second time, a recall was issued for the brake lamps...really Hyundai"?? really??? what makes this car certified? what was the inspection exactly that occured to certify this vehicle?"

- Moreno Valley , CA, USA

problem #11

Apr 212013


  • 18,000 miles
I leased this Hyundai Sonata in 2011 brand new and after 3000 miles began having issues with the car not starting by using the start button. The workaround was to place your foot on the brake and hold down the push button start for 1 minute and the engine would start. This was intermittent. It would happen frequently and then suddenly be better for long periods of time. Finally at 18000 miles went to start the car and everything was dead. It drove ok the day before (not like a car who's battery was bad). The car is being towed to the nearest dealership where I happened to purchase it. In addition to the start issue and the completely dying part (and it was not able to be charged by ordinary means) the car also has a low tire pressure warning that stays on regardless of how much or how little air is in the tire. That remained for 4 months and now seems to be staying off. The car also drifts to the left when driven (it has done this since I purchased it). I had several recalls fixed early on at the dealership, but it did not correct the drifting issue. There is also a rattle in the dash which began at 16,000 miles. The back door handle (behind the driver's seat) handle was stuck in an outward position and the door would not open. It finally opened one day and now the handle is back in place, but a small black piece hangs down from the handle. I have read on the internet several complaints that are the same or similar as all of my issues.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #10

Feb 252013


  • 72,000 miles
I bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata in March of 2010 brand new. I have had problems with the tires had to be replaced after year two, and when they were being replaced they said that the air valve on the tire was corroded when I went to Hyundai to get the part replaced they said that it wasn't corroded it was broke off because there wan't a cap on it and it got wet. So, they said that I had to buy a new one, and they would send it up under the warranty and I would be refunded that did not happen. After that my push start would not start when I pushed it. I would have to push it about three times and then it would finally start. I took it to Hyundai, and had it replaced not under warranty any more is what they told me. So I paid the $287 for it. After I got it home and went into grab something came back out and it did it again. Took it back to gateway Hyundai in richmond to have it fixed and they said it needed a nother starter. I didn't have to pay for the part but I was going to have to pay for the labor. Nope didn't get it fixed. I would just start it three times instead. Then I had to replace the brakes last year 2012 because it wore only on one side, and now the engine blew a rod. They claimed that it was because of not having enough oil in it, but then told me I had a quart to much of oil. Now really does that make any sense? this is absolutely ridiculous. Then they told me I could trade it in for a new Hyundai but would have to put $5000 down on it which is convienantly the amount they quoted me to have my engine fixed because they said it wasn't under warranty because I hadn't kept all my receipts for oil changes for the past three years.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #9

Mar 312013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Brake pedal sensor failure resulted in a car that wouldn't start. The key-less entry depends on the brake pedal being depressed, otherwise the ignition will not turn over. Under normal operation when the driver is trying to start the car, the key must be inside the vehicle, the driver must depress the brake pedal and then press the ignition button. The car normally turns over. In this situation all systems function as if the car does not know the brake peddle is being depressed. The battery has full charge, all accessories function normally, but the ignition will not turn over. Because there is no way to manually start the car, the car is rendered completely useless.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #8

Sep 032012


  • 23,000 miles
I have several complaints regarding this vehicle. I have had this car two years and about two months and have had nothing but problems (purchased brand new) -- I've had to get a new motor (engine caught on fire (electrical/smoking) while driving down the beltway), replaced tire rod, need 4 brand new tires, transmission slipping, and other electrical problems with cooling/heating system (the blower does not work for air pointed in the floor direction), strong smell of gas fumes inside of the vehicle. The gas mileage gauge is inaccurate -- I get no where near the highway nor city miles. The gas meter is not registering. Parts on the electrical system have been randomly replaced. I have had all schedule services on my vehicle as well as extras such as special replacement filters, etc. I have also had problems with the breaking system. I believe I've purchased a complete lemon. The current mileage on the vehicle is 27700 miles. There is no way I should be having this many problems as frequently as I have been having. The car's steering pulls to the left as well. I should not have to replace tires only after two years of driving after putting nitrogen as advised. I've noticed a noise when turning the steering to the left as well as if the left tire rod or axle wants to break -- weird feeling turn the car. The alarm system is failing to lock all of the doors -- only the drivers door. -- dealers solution...purchase a new one "?? really"

- Forestville, MD, USA

problem #7

Jun 132012


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata hybrid. The contact stated that while at a complete stop, warning chimes were heard, warning lights illuminated, and the vehicle stalled. The contact was unsure of which lights illuminated. The contact also stated that while driving 30 mph, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure could not be replicated. The manufacturer was not notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 10,000. The VIN was not available.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #6

Oct 022012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Beginning of October 2012 I kept hearing rattling, clanking noise coming from under the hood. I took the car to a Hyundai dealer where I live October 26, 2012. They checked out the car and told me because the engine light didn't come on, they couldn't find a code to fix the car and to bring the car in when the engine light comes on. I kept driving the car and hearing the same noise. I took it to meineke to get an oil change November 14, 2012. Drove the car approximately 3 weeks and still heard the noise. I took it to another Hyundai dealer. They said the car didn't have any oil and meinke forgot to put the drain plug back in, therefore it messed up the engine, and that's why I heard the noise. I kept telling them, I heard the noise before the oil change. I took it back to meinke and showed them the paper Hyundai gave me, they gave me my money back and apologized. Still hearing the noise, I took it back to the first Hyundai dealer and they said it was engine problems and I had to pay the diagnostic fee because my warranty was voided due to meineke. I refused to pay the fee because my car is under warranty. They wouldn't give me my car back until I paid, we argued back and forth and I called the police and they gave me my car back, but told me not to come back on their property. I then took the car to where I purchased it and same thing. They said to try a gas additive 3 times, if that doesn't work, get an oil consumption test in my area where I live. I need my car fixed and no one will fix it. Hyundai blames meineke and meineke blames Hyundai. They're saying because of no engine light on, they can't see the problems, but one dealer said it was the engine another saying gas problems. Bottom line, if the first Hyundai dealer had kept my car, I wouldn't be going through this. How can I resolve this?

- Center Cross, VA, USA

problem #5

Nov 202012


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle stalled and immediately after the failure, all of the warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was able to be restarted after 10 minutes and was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The contact was advised that the air filters were clogged and needed to be replaced. The air filters were replaced however, the failure recurred one week later. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where they advised that the valves from the fuel tank failed and was the cause of the failure. The valves were repaired however, the failure still recurred. The vehicle was not further repaired. In addition, the contact stated that the fuel level gauge would provide an erroneous reading of empty. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the instrument cluster was repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 38,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Hulio, LA, USA

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