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 1 of 18)

problem #344

Jan 052017


  • 46,000 miles


On Thursday 1/5/17, upon starting my vehicle, my engine light was illuminated. Today, I had a diagnostic test done and was told the turbo component was not working. My vehicle has approximately 46,000 miles. I read online and this has happened to others with the same mileage. Is there another recall?

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #343

Jan 062017


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving 25 mph and making a left turn, the rpms increased independently and the vehicle lunged forward without warning. In addition, once the vehicle was placed in park, the rpms continued to increase and then decreased. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Doylestown, PA, USA

problem #342

Dec 292016


  • 103,000 miles
Dec 29,2016 vehicle engine completely broke down while driving 55 mph on rural highway. All lights came on at once and I was able to steer it to an intersection and pull over. Towed to local garage. Initially diagnosed as burnt out starter, however, once replaced the engine would not turn over. It was seized. The vehicle was towed to myrtle beach Hyundai on Jan 3rd where it will be tested. I believe this is related to the Hyundai recall regarding defective engines with metal shavings although I had just had the recall tests done at the dealership on Dec 16th. I have had a series of issues with the turbo ever since I bought this new car with service records at dealerships in burlington, nc as well as in shrewsbury, NJ and N. myrtle beach. All receipts are in the vehicle right now at the dealership but I can upload at a future time.

- North Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #341

May 082016


  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was serviced per NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine), but the remedy failed to repair the vehicle. The contact mentioned that the check engine warning indicator remained illuminated, the brackets were missing from the engine assembly, and the engine sensors did not work. After the recall repair, the manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 78,000.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #340

Aug 172016


  • 38,000 miles
I unfortunatley have the sonora with the engine recall which to me is asking why Hyundai just isn't replacing engines regardless of failure? there is no resale in a car with this open other issue I need to have addressed is my steering was upgraded and approximatley a month or so after I heard a clunking noise in the driveway when I turn the steering wheel from side to side, I called my dealer ( Hyundai 112 in medford, N.Y ) and it was almost scripted, I was told it's a bushing or something he said and it's not part of the recall. I have to pay for this. If you check online you will see it's a major failure, why it would be such a flimsy plastic gear in steering " I hope you can remedy this as a recall. My car had no noise until the steering was quote upgraded by Hyundai, again plastic piece in a steering motor"

- Stony Brook, NY, USA

problem #339

Oct 082016


  • miles
On 8/17/15, my vehicle with 59,792 miles, stalled several times while driving on a highway. I was able to restart the vehicle, but could not drive above 20 mph. This lasted for about 15 miles then my vehicle drove normally. I took my vehicle to my local Hyundai dealership and they couldn't determine what caused this issue. On 9/28/15, my vehicle with 60,256 miles, stalled again while driving almost causing an accident. I couldn't get my vehicle started again and the engine was smoking. I had the car towed to the same local Hyundai dealer. The dealer replaced the engine (re manufactured assy-sub R) under warranty as per NHTSA campaign #V-568, because it was seized. See attached invoice. On 9/12/16, my vehicle with 68,993 miles, failed to start after a 10 mile drive. The starter engaged, but couldn't turn the engine. After several attempts, the engine began smoking and the starter would no longer engage the engine. My vehicle was towed to the same local dealership. I was informed that the starter was bad and it needed replacement. See attached invoice. They also performed recall #132, inspect engine. My complaints about the engine locking up causing the starter to go bad were dismissed by the dealer. On 10/8/16, I performed an oil change on my vehicle with 69,252 miles. This is the second oil change since the re manufactured engine was installed. I have always done my own oil change using mobil 1 oil and usually a closed type drain pan. This time I used an open style drain pan. After performing the oil change, I drained the used oil and discovered numerous pieces of metal in the bottom of the pan. See photo. I took the used oil, drain pan, filter to the same local dealer. The service writer took a report and called me several days later. She said that Hyundai would not replace my engine at this time. Recently, my valves/lifters have started to tick loudly at times.

- Miller Place, NY, USA

problem #338

Dec 022016


  • 70,000 miles


My engine is going to freeze it has no power and the transmission is slipping. It only has 74,000 miles on it. I spent all of my money on that car and it has a salvage title, so I cant sell it ortrade it in. I took it to the dealer for the recall and they said it didnt fall under that recall so I took it to a different dealer they said the same thing!, I want my car fixed!!!!! im a single mother and im homeless at the moment so I really need my car!!!!

- Waterford, CA, USA

problem #337

Nov 232016


  • 86,000 miles
Car stalled and engine shut down while trying to cross over a 4 lane highway came within 5 feet of a major collision with 2 approaching vehicles there is also another issue with the steering column. Hyundai chose to use a plastic bushing in the steering column that has completely failed at 65000 miles. The dealerships, 2 separate ones, state that this is not covered by the multiple other recalls with the steering. The bushing is hard plastic, about the size of a nickel and costs 2.00 at the dealership. But they want $300 labor to install

- Madison, AL, USA

problem #336

Nov 142016


  • miles
The contact owned a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While the vehicle was at the dealer for routine maintenance and an oil change, the technician stated that the vehicle needed three recall repairs for NHTSA campaign numbers: 16V190000 (steering), 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic), and 15V568000 (engine). Shortly after the dealer's repairs, smoke emitted under the hood near the front passenger side of the vehicle while driving 60 mph. The contact was able to coast the vehicle off the road and the fire department extinguished the flames. The fire department filed an incident report. The vehicle was towed to a yard and then to the contact's residence. The vehicle was not diagnosed by a dealer and the manufacturer to determine what caused the failure. The contact was waiting on a response from the manufacturer. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure mileage was not available.

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #335

Nov 122016


  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 50 mph, the engine hesitated, the steering wheel seized, and the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact mentioned that the engine failed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that there was metal deposits in the engine that caused a knocking noise and the engine to fail. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine), 15V759000 (service brakes, hydraulic), and 16V190000 (steering). The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 109,000.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #334

Sep 012016


  • 60,000 miles


Engine knock/ping gets louder with increasing speeds, car is part of engine recall but dealer states my engine is fine, absolutely no reason given to me why I have an engine knock. It sounds like 2 glass bottles clanging together. I am afraid my engine is going to fail, even though dealer states it is "fine"

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #333

Oct 262016


  • 5,500 miles
Our 2011 Hyundai Sonata gls 2.4 engine caught fire as my wife was returning home from taking our son to school. My wife smelled gasoline and then it burst into flames. This was the second replacement engine covered under warranty and had less than 6000 miles on it. Hyundai mall of Georgia has performed all warranty service work on this vehicle. After the second engine and many other warranty repairs tried to envoke the lemon law but was denied by hyundia case #9412898.

- Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #332

Oct 252016


  • 159,000 miles
On 10/25/2017, I was stopped in traffic in left hand turn lane waiting for the light to turn green. When light change I started to move forward and felt a shutter in the car. I stopped the car before making the left to enter into the intersection and all of the dash board lights came on, there was a small amount of smoke came out from under the hood and the engine was dead. Tried to restart the engine to no effect. If I did not stop at the car I would have stalled while making a left in the middle of a four lane road (the intersection of rt 1 & southampton rd) I had the car towed to my mechanic who informed me that the engine locked up and the starter was melted.

- Telford, PA, USA

problem #331

Oct 192016


  • 107,000 miles
The engine just died while crossing the rfk bridge, nyc. I noticed as the car was slowing down and I pressed on the accelerator to gain speed. Nothing happened and the instrument panel was lit up with warnings. I then put it on neutral and lightly pressed on the breaks to start the engine again, nothing happened. I subsequently lost power steering and breaks. After the initial stop in a dangerous position, I was able to roll the car to a nearby construction site (off ramp to harlem river drive shoulder) behind some traffic barrels but scraped up against the concrete barrier as the car lost power steering and breaks and was hard to maneuver. I tried starting the engine again but it would not. I also opened the hood and saw smoke coming from underneath the hood. I had the car towed to a nearby dealership. I have included the service intake form in the attachments.

- Tuckahoe, NY, USA

problem #330

Oct 012016


  • 80,000 miles
Crusie control brake lights parking steering engine all records I have with the dealership show the major problems ive have and its yet to be fixed along with the many recalls on this vehicle

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #329

Oct 132016


  • 86,000 miles
Purchased Hyundai Sonata May 22, 2016 engine was failing Hyundai is fixing it now. Had metal parts in my oil. Knocking sound. It stalled while I was driving it on the street. Hyundai said it could be up to four months to fix the car. I am now driving a rental car and paying carmax for my Hyundai.

- San Juan Capistrano, CA, USA

problem #328

Oct 012016


  • 166,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. Without warning, the vehicle stalled and was unable to be driven. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V568000 (engine). The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 166,000.

- Gallatin, TN, USA

problem #327

Oct 012016


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine failed and needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- Golftown, NH, USA

problem #326

Sep 302016


  • 72,500 miles
9/30/2016 - while driving home from work (20-25 miles) heard a knocking in the engine while on the road and expressway. Took my car to jiffy lube because it was time for an oil change and had them check the engine and noise. They advised that the engine is bad and will need to be repaired or replaced. The miles from my last oil change was approximately 3200 miles. Took my car two blocks down the road to midas and another mechanic confirmed the engine needs to be replaced. I have taken care of the car with regular oil changes, upkeep and car maintenance. On 1/11/2016 my 2011 Hyundai Sonata engine was taken in for the recall campaign 132 at the Hyundai repair location. In June, I took my car in for service at Firestone auto care because my engine light had came on and they performed an engine analysis and found my oxygen sensor was bad on 6/04/2016 and they replaced that. I cannot drive the vehicle because the engine is on its last leg, cannot accelerate because the car is not responding as it should and I fear I am risking my life as well as others on the road. The difference between driving from 9/29 to 9/30 is night and day I do not understand how an engine gives out with no warning.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #325

Apr 042015


  • 115,000 miles
Engine died

- Odenton, MD, USA

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