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 2 of 18)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #324

Sep 222016


  • 115,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that an abnormal knocking sound emitted from the vehicle and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 15V568000 (engine), 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic), and 16V190000 (steering) however, the parts for the recall repairs were unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The approximate failure mileage was 115,000. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. Parts distribution disconnect.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #323

Sep 042016


  • 85,284 miles
During my last scheduled vehicle maintenance in April 2016, I explicitly communicated my concerns to the Hyundai dealer about my engine and the fact that the oil light kept coming on when I tried to accelerate and would go off as soon as I took my feet off the accelerator. I just found out through local news and information from online blogs that this was a sign of engine manufacturing problems originating from Hyundai's Alabama engine manufacturing plant. The dealer did not inform me that the engine in my vehicle was being recalled. Instead, I was told via the maintenance report that oil level was low and there were no visible leaks. I have receipts to prove that I adhered to all recommended owner maintenance services and have been diligent enough to service my vehicle according to the service schedule prescribed during vehicle purchase. I have strong reasons to believe Hyundai has not been honest with its customer. This being because, rather than elaborate on the cause and solution to the problem (I.e. Hyundai Sonata 2011-2012 engine recall), information was deliberately withheld from me by Hyundai. I never received a recall notice from the dealer despite purchasing the vehicle from an authorized Hyundai pre-owned vehicle dealer. I'm even more frustrated because this recall was announced in September 2015, 4 months after I purchased my vehicle under warranty and paid extra to have extended warranty coverage added on my vehicle. It's now 7 months after the recall announcement and I still have not received notice of the recall from Hyundai. As of today, 3 weeks after my vehicle stalled on the on-401 highway whilst driving at approx. 100km/hr., I have not heard back from Hyundai. I had to coast my vehicle to the outside shoulder of the busiest highway in North America at 9:00pm. 3 weeks on, I have no vehicle, no repair timeline and no response from Hyundai

- London, On Canada, MI, USA

problem #322

Jul 112016


  • 78,341 miles
The feed line going to the turbocharger leaks oil. This is a ongoing problem for many owners. The oil leaks from a woven plastic/nylon part connected to the metal part of the line. This could cause a fire as the oil leaks to an area where it can contact the hot engine parts. Oil leaks from the line both when the car is in motion and after it is stopped causing a environmental issue.

- Paris, TX, USA

problem #321

Sep 062016


  • 100,450 miles


I was driving on the freeway and my check engine light came on. Then suddenly the engine lost all power and was coming to a stall. I was able to coast over to the side of the freeway, and had to call a tow truck from there.

- Porter Ranch, CA, USA

problem #320

Apr 172014


  • 107,000 miles
At around 107,000 miles the motor on my 20111 Sonata shut off on the 91 East freeway while traveling about 70mph. I was forced to pull off on the hard shoulder of the road and the vehicle had no power steering or power brakes. The motor started back up eventually but was making a loud noise and failed completely shortly after. I replaced the motor in the Sonata with a used motor and repaired the damage to the suspension and tires.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #319

Jul 072014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles
The contact owned a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the engine seized and the vehicle made an abnormal noise. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the metal in the oil pan and the engine assembly needed to be replaced. The contact stated that the vehicle was remedied under NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine); however, the contact was charged for the labor. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The failure mileage was approximately 64,000. Updated 11/07/16

- Richmond Hill, GA, USA

problem #318

Apr 132016


  • 111,000 miles


Takata inflators: Had a car fire from fuel line per fire dept information. I was on the 405 West bound fwy when I started to smell gas and the front hood of the car I noticed black smoke coming out. I got out of the fwy and then parked the car, when someone driving of the opposite direction yelled for me to get out of the car. I turned off the car and ran out to the side walk within a few minutes the car when up in smoke and then it exploded twice. People from the surrounding businesses came out to see if I was alright. The owner of the flower nursery came out and called the fire dept. They arrived and turned out the fire.

- Pico Rivera, CA, USA

problem #317

Jun 232016


  • 67,000 miles
No one can fix my recalls - im scared to drive this car I have a 2 year old need payoff amount to I can buy new car! NHTSA recall number: Opens new window takes away from VIN lookup section> 15V568000 recall date: September 10, 2015 safety risk: Engine failure would result in a vehicle stall, increasing the risk of a crash. Ecall status: Recall incomplete manufacturer notes: Owners may also contact the nat'L highway traffic safety admin vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236(tty 1-800-424-9153), or go to htsa recall number: Opens new window takes away from VIN lookup section> 15V759000 recall date: November 16, 2015 my car almost crashed itself because my vehicle staled in the middle of an intersection. Also - sometimes my blinker links will not switch off for no reason and cars almost hit me because thinking im going to merge! I need out of this car its not safe for my 2 year old to drive with me!!! I am already pre-approved for a loan but this car put me in a hole!!! please help

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #316

Aug 142016


  • 77,000 miles
I have had this 2011 Sonata for just 4 month it has 77.000 miles and since I bought it I have called the dealer several times because the car has a knocking sound coming from what I think is the engine specially at low speed the sound becomes louder and at times the oil pressure light will flash on and off. Dealer said they inspected and can't find anything I am very scared that this is a mayor issue and was also told by the dealer that there are no recalls for that year but it just doesn't make any sense that a car will do that for no reason. I don't know who else to contact, I did buy and extended warranty when I purchased the car. Someone please help.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #315

Dec 142015


  • miles
I bought my Hyundai Sonata gls 2011, in 2010, and since then there have been several recalls on it. I have done my research, and have found that a manufacturer must repair, replace, or supply a new vehicle to the owner when a recall is mandated. I have taken my vehicle to the dealership for each recall, and what they do is inspect the vehicle, and in most cases, tell me my car doesn't apply to the recall as they find nothing wrong. I am disturbed by this because again, everything I have read, everyone I have talked to, etc... tells me that the dealer must do something in order for the recall to be considered complete. I am driving around in a vehicle with things wrong with it, transporting a toddler, and am stuck with finding resolution on my own. How is this fair to the consumer? the manufacturer has all of its money, as my car is paid off, and my car isn't worth anything for trade or resell due to negligence. If I can make a difference by filing a complaint, and possibly save someone's life, I am willing to try everything and anything in my power to do so.

- York, PA, USA

problem #314

Aug 192016


  • 94,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving 20 mph, the vehicle stalled and crashed into a curb. The air bags failed to deploy. There were no injuries. A police report was not filed. After stalling, the contact was unable to restart the vehicle and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence and was not diagnosed or repaired. The VIN was included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 15V568000 (engine) and 15V759000 (brake system, hydraulic), but the contact was never notified. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 94,000.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #313

Aug 012016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the engine seized without warning. The manufacturer was notified. The dealer diagnosed that the engine block failed and the engine assembly needed to be replaced. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine). The failure mileage was not available.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #312

Jan 042016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle made abnormal noises. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The part for the repair was on a national back order for over eight months. The contact was not notified of NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine) and was unable to determine when the vehicle would be repaired. The VIN and failure mileage were not available.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #311

Aug 142016


  • 90,000 miles
While I was driving, so the car was in motion, my speed limit was around 35 mph on a city street, the car made a noise then completely stopped without warning almost causing the vehicle behind me to crash into my rear end. I was in the middle of the road, I panicked turned the ignition off and restarted the car to attempt to pull off the road to safety. The vehicle started up and I pulled back onto the road to make a right turn towards the highway, as I was driving the vehicle stopped again without warning. The people in the car behind me got out of their vehicle to check on me. The man stated, "I can push you off the road, but there is something going on with your engine or perhaps spark plugs or wires and it's not staying connected or firing off a charge, I'm not sure." I thanked the kind stranger and immediately called hyndai customer service. The Hyundai customer service rep informed me about the engine recall notice and contacted the towing company to locate and tow my vehicle to the nearest Hyundai dealership. However, after waiting 1 hour and a half, I called the 800 number that was given to me to reference and they did not have any information on having me towed "free of charge." The Hyundai roadside assistance rep did not have a record that hyndai customer service placed a call to them at all and further more the Hyundai customer service center was now closed. Apparently, on Sunday they close at 3pm. My car is still sitting where it stopped because the Hyundai roadside assistance needs the "approval" and reference number to tow the car on Hyundai for free. Hyundai has basically produced a "lemon" due to the fact that this particular make and model has had "several" dangerous recalls since I purchased the vehicle in March of 2011. They should be deemed unsafe and taken off the roads completely and customers should be given their money back.

- Dolton, IL, USA

problem #310

Mar 242015


  • 88,000 miles
Upon purchasing the car from conicelli Hyundai in conshohocken, pa the very next day I had to take it back to the dealership because the battery died. Two days later I had to take it back again for a grinding sound under the hood. They told me it had an axel issue and that they would replace it. They gave it bck to me about 3 days later I drove it off the lot and right back on for the same sound. They took it again and a few days later called me and assured me that nothing was wrong with the car and that there was nothing more they could do. A few months later my wife was driving the car in mention and it stalled on her in the middle of a busy road. Firemen passing by stopped traffic and helped to get the car to safety until the tow came. Furious aight this I called conicelli Hyundai where I purchased the car and they told me that it was not their problem and that the car was out of warranty. I took it to my mechanic who told me it was a starter issue and replaced the starter for me. Once that was done the car still would not start. After a few days my mechanic called me back to tell me the engine had seized and it would cost me $3,500 to get it fixed. I relayed this back to the dealership and once again they brushed me off. So I went to news stations, filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania attorney general and spoke with several other consumer complaint agencies to have something done. Nothing but a mediation between myself and the dealership was reached and the dealership once again said they were going to do nothing. My wife's safety was at stake in a car that was later recalled for engine problem that was sold to me by this dealership. After fighting with all these people and no solution being reached I decided to let the loan company take the vehicle which in term ended up as a negative on my credit.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #309

Oct 112015


  • miles
I have a recall on my vehicle and have yet to receive any assistance.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #308

Jul 292016


  • 50,000 miles
Recall 15-01-048, recall campaign 132, states on page one 'dealers must perform this recall campaign whenever an affected vehicle is in the shop for any maintenance or repair. ' they key word is 'whenever'. the dealer did the check once only. Whenever means every time that the car is being serviced. And the car has been to the same dealer that I bought the car from several times with no additional checks for the recall. Novchecksvmean that there is not the slightest of preemptive actions that could protect me from serious injury. My car is 6 years old. To be effective 'whenever' must be implemented.

- Reading, MA, USA

problem #307

Aug 042016


  • 53,429 miles
The starter motor contains a plastic lever that engages the starter motor with the engine. This plastic part failed at 53,429 miles. The dealership new immediately what part had failed based upon my description of the problem (can hear starter motor running but it was not engaging with the engine). They knew the cost of the repair off the top of their heads and the parts department had a supply of the part in a drawer at the register. Not sure how often this occurs but it must be quite frequent based upon the dealers familairity with the problem

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #306

Dec 252015


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving 45 mph, the air bag and check engine warning lights illuminated. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was operated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the air bag module failed. The cause of the check engine warning light illuminating was not found. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 24,000.

- Seaford, NY, USA

problem #305

Oct 012015


  • 73,000 miles
A little over a year ago I went to the dealership for an oil change and my steering wheel started to act weird. It seemed loose like someone removed a component. I stated to the dealership what occured and they wanted to charge me $500+ to get it repaired. They stated it wasn't covered under my warranty.. I told them the issue didnt occur until I brought the vehicle in. I am a mother of two infants who could not afford a repair like that. I bought the Hyundai because of its safety features and gas mileage so far everything has been a lie about this vehicle. I hate driving it. There have been nothing but problems since I got this vehicle and I fear the safety of me and my children. The steering wheel is so bad that my entire car rattles and shakes whenever I get on the highway. Now there's another recall on this vehicle for the same issue I told the dealership. I want out of this vehicle and into something safer for my children. They still haven't mailed me the campaign to get my engine checked. This recall was in November 2015. Hyundai just needs to reimburse everyone and take these vehicles off the road. They are lemons.

- Avondale, AZ, USA

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