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.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
5,447 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments

problem #9

Sep 162011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 2,146 miles


Was pulling on to a road and the engine did not engage, the hybrid system",green ready" light began blinking and the yellow service " with the wrench " engine light also came on. I could only get it up to 3 to 5 mphs and the echo gage was up to red pegged out, , we pulled out on a county road that has a speed limit of 45, a van had to stop, because we pulled out in front of him, I had no doubt the vehicle would go, but it did not. We had just drove up a hill that always requires engine, grade steep, stopped and pulled out. Nearly causing an accident. We pulled off road and tried again driving in electrical only mode light blinking we pulled back over and restarted car and everything was fine. It's a dangerous problem that needs to be addressed, when I push the peddle it should go!!!

- Benton, AR, USA

problem #8

Sep 122011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 12,290 miles
I am the owner of a 2011 Hyundai Sonata limited. Within the last 2 days it has not started 4 times. The message screen within the car says "press brake to start". it will not allow me to depress the brake peddle at all, to have the engine start. Many dash system lights go on, but the car will not start. The electrical system definitely has an issue. I looked on the internet to see if others have experienced the same problem.. I am still in shock!!!! hundreds from all over the usa have had the same problem and from what I read nothing has been done to correct this problem. I drive 100 miles to work and I must have a reliable car. Here is a beautiful looking car sitting in our garage not able to start!!! this is really a problem. Please register this complaint and hopefully Hyundai is doing something to help us poor folks that bought these cars.

- Philomath, OR, USA

problem #7

Aug 282011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 6,600 miles
Started with 'check engine' light. Dealer telling us there are no issues driving this car because there are no current resolution for this 'engine light'. then 'check charging system' light with the car shutting down at the middle of the road. Had to get it tolled to local dealership.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #6

Jul 142011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • miles


I have owned my 2011 Hyundai Sonata for one year. On July 15, 2011, I went to start the car and I could not depress the brake or start the car. The acc stuff would come on but no ignition to the motor. I tried and tried to start it and ended up calling the dealership. I was told to "kick" the brake pedal "hard" several times; which I did. I finally got it started and drove it to the dealership. I was told "brake light switch" replaced. Left the dealership and drove to my office and when I went to tried to start the car to leave the car would not start, but this time I had to call roadside assistance for the car to be towed back to dealership. Dealership told me they replaced brake light switch again. Now the traction control light comes on and my brake lights are not working. When I did get it to start the car would not go into any gear; it just was locked in park. Well, yesterday, July 20, 2011 the car had to be towed again because of all the same problems. So, the car has been back to the dealership three times within the past five days; two of which the car was towed. I am very concerned about my safety because I believe the brakes have something to do with the air bags not to mention the unknown electrical issues.

- Evans, GA, USA

problem #5

Sep 152010

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. I purchased the car in August of 2010. About a month after owning the vehicle, the engine light came on. When I took it to the dealer, they recorded the code and then said it was the ac. I was asked to wait 15 seconds before turning the ac on after starting car. So I did that. About a week or so later, the light comes on again. Take it back twice after this, they record the code and then the switch is replaced. I maintain my car with all maintenance requested and I drive it on the highway. I had the tire light come on a few months later - was told it was the temperature. That eventually went off. Next was the engine light yet again. This time it occurred after I took the car in on June 17th for an oil change. They told me a recall was on the transmission and they did the recall update. Immediately after this update, the car drove terribly. Very loud, very rough. About a week after this update, the car breaks down in the parking lot. It has done this now about 5 or 6 times since June (today is July 20th). I take it to the dealer and told I need the engine light on in order to repair. The light needs to come on two or three times before Hyundai will replace. The engine light sometimes comes on, sometimes does not, but it is guaranteed to break down. It is most definitely the transmission as it will stall and then hesitate. The lights on the gear shaft go away completely and the dash lights go away so you have no idea if you are in park, reverse, etc. Last time my engine light came on, it went back off that night. The problem continues and Hyundai can't seem to fix. I read online from a general search on this car that this is a resounding issue across the board with others as well. I am frustrated and something should be done. I called corporate and got nowhere. I continue to get the runaround. They should be investigated before someone dies from their transmission issue/lack of concern for the safety and wellbeing of their drivers.

- Portland, TN, USA

problem #4

Sep 032010


  • 100 miles
Since the day I purchased 2011 Sonata...I had/have burning smell coming from engine compartment (air open to outside). Told the dealer about it and pointed to them that the drive belt has unusual wear. They check it and compared with other Sonatas with same mileage and found no unusual wear. I am ex Toyota tech. With ase certs. I have now 20K on my Sonata and they still did not correct the problem.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #3

Nov 242010


  • 64 miles


Took delivery of a new Sonata limited turbo 2.0 on the 24th of November. Check engine light appeared same day. Purchasing dealership reset the check engine light, said nothing to worry about. Light reappeared on the drive home. 2 days later, engine stalled. After being towed to the dealership, they discovered an exhaust valve melted/cracked and damaged the combustion chamber. Brand new engine ordered and replaced.

- Mequon, WI, USA

problem #2

Oct 152010


  • 5,600 miles
Our 2011 Hyundai Sonata purchased 30 April 2010 could not be started on 4 occasions since date of purchase (keyless, pushbutton). Fortunately, the events occurred either in the garage or on a parking lot. After "muscling" the steering column left-right and/or playing with the shift lever, the car started after some time. The brake pedal was hard in all cases.

- Crofton, MD, USA

problem #1

Apr 172010


  • 220 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving at approximately 55 mph, the contact noticed that the brakes pulsated and made a grinding noise when she attempted to slow down. The vehicle then suddenly stalled. The contact was able to restart the vehicle but five minutes, the engine stalled again. The same failure occurred on two different occasions. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealership but the dealer was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The current mileage was 470. The failure mileage was 220.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

Not what you are looking for?