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2011 Hyundai Sonata engine problems: engine seized

Engine Seized

2011 Hyundai Sonata (Page 2 of 8)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Hyundai dealer. Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague 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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
92,200 miles
Total Complaints:
158 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. engine replacement (122 reports)
  2. not sure (27 reports)
  3. sold vehicle (4 reports)
  4. junked the car (2 reports)
  5. replace lower half of engine (2 reports)
  6. engine replaced (1 reports)
2011 Hyundai Sonata engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 2 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #138

May 192017

Sonata ES 2.0t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,500 miles


Traveling highway speed in the left lane when the engine seized and all of the dash lights came on. It was tricky, but I was lucky to maneuver over to the right lane and coast into a rest stop. Waited almost two hours for a tow to the dealer.

These cars are dropping like flies, the dealership complained about the volume. It's mostly 2.4L engines having this problem, but mine is the 2.0L Turbo, and the "event" required replacement of my engine, turbo, AND starter. Thankfully, Hyundai covered it all under warranty, including the rental car.

But this is not the kind of problem you should have to deal with when you have a 6-year-old modern car with only 86,000 miles! Do yourself a favor and just avoid Hyundai's.

I was lucky, the repairs "only" took three weeks because the 2.0 engines are not as "backed up" with repairs as the 2.4's - otherwise it may have taken months - but overall it's the same engine with the same problem and it's only a matter of time before it happens to yours.

- Keith F., Chambersburg, US

problem #137

May 172017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Received engine recall notice months ago - took my car to my local dealer to have the test. They said it passed test and I didn't need to have the new engine.

Fast forward to last night, May 17, 2017, and driving home from work all my dash lights came on and my engine seized. Had it towed to dealer...waiting to hear the bad news. I'm hoping against all odds that I'll now qualify for the engine replacement.

Update from Jun 8, 2017: The day after dropping my car off at the dealer, they had the ok from Hyundai for the new engine. They put me in a rental and said it'd be about 2.5 months til I heard from them again. So, almost a month in now. I'll update as progress is made.

- Tina K., York, PA, US

problem #136

May 302017

Sonata Limited 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 154,000 miles

I am in the same boat. Went in a few months ago. They looked at the engine and said OK. Yesterday, it seized up in the middle of traffic. Kind police officer helped me push it to a safe place. Towed at my expense to dealer. Still waiting to hear if Hyundai will stand behind this car and replace the defective engine. Called service manager - crickets. I don't think that the dealer has much say in this. If they want $5K for a new engine that is much more than the present value of the car.

Update from Jun 1, 2017: So Hyundai is REFUSING to stand behind its car in any way. Dealer cost for new engine is $6300 plus tax, plus extra parts that might be needed. So my car is a brick. Dealer mentioned that it was just under 5000 miles since last oil change, but my manual says 7500 miles not 3000 miles!

The dealer made a mercy-trade-in offer (I think that the dealer is pretty much in good faith here) of $1500. I sent a NASTY letter to Hyundai, clearly telling them that I intend to bring lawsuit for fraud, and perhaps a contempt-of-court action in the class action. They intentionally designed the "evaluation" to NOT detect latent engine problems, in the hope that the car would outlast the 120,000 mile threshold before blowing up in the users' faces.

If they want to avoid a long nasty court fight (which I will fight as a primary mission in life), they can replace the engine or throw that $6300 plus tax into the deal on a new car (NOT a Sonata I guarantee you!!)

- John T., New Lenox, IL, US

problem #135

Jul 302016

Sonata SE Turbo 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,700 miles


I can be added to the list of saps who have been bitten by the Hyundai Sonata engine failures. I brought my car into the dealer a couple months ago for the engine recall campaign and was sent on my way with a no problem yet message. Now two days ago my engine just seized up while driving. Hyundai has not yet given me the verdict on whether it will be covered under the warranty but they are already hinting about oil change records. This of course as we can see from the plethora of post on line is the game being played by Hyundai to escape major repair costs that is clear they are responsible for. Meanwhile rental car bill is already piling up and have no word yet on outcome. Fingers crossed Hyundai steps up and warranties repairs.

- Bill S., Oceanside, USA

problem #134

Apr 262017

Sonata ES 2.4L 4c

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,088 miles

Car died on hwy in fast moving traffic on a two lane section of road with minimal shoulder, a Jersey barrier down the center line, and water on both sides during rush hour. Fortunately, I was able to coast to the narrow shoulder and wait for a tow. We thought it was battery or electrical, but was informed after inspection that engine had seized.

Called Hyundai and they had me tow it to a dealer (at my expense) and they will have it inspected to see if anything can be done since the enhanced warranty for this is for 10 years (made that) and 120k (missed it). Don't know how this will turn out, but given what I have seen about this problem, I hope they will do something at their cost to correct this. We were lucky that no one was hurt and that no one hit us while we were waiting for rescue.

- Karen E., Healdsburg, US

problem #133

Aug 022016

Sonata Limites 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I received a mailer stating there was a recall on the engine of my car. I took it in for the check up and Hyundai told me it was fine. Three months later my engine stalled and started making noises that sounded like metal hitting metal. I was going 75mph and almost didn't make it off the road to safety. The engine repair was determined to be associated with the recall so it was fixed for free, however it took them 2 months to fix it. Now I have another issue that could have been addressed when they had my car for 2 months but because they did not Hyundai is now trying to charge me for a repair that they could have done for free when they had my car.

- Chandra R., Richmond, VA, US

problem #132

Apr 242017

Sonata Limited 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


In March 2017, my 16 year-old son was driving my Sonata at 65 mph, when the engine stopped and all the dash lights came on. He was able to get to the side of the highway safely, and we had the car towed to a mechanic. He diagnosed that the battery needed replaced for $200 and also did a recommended tune up due to the mileage, but also, by the way, there was no oil in the car! I had just had the oil changed about 1 month before. Mechanic added two quarts, and I drove straight to the oil change business to have them check it and top it off.

On April 25, 2017, I suddenly noticed a knocking in the engine that increased as I depressed the gas pedal. Decided to take it in on next day after work, but on the way to work, in the parking garage, the engine suddenly quit, and all the dash lights came on. Would not restart or even turn over. Upon opening the hood, I could smell a hot electrical smell, and see a little smoke. Had the car towed back to the same mechanic, who said that the engine had seized, and couldn't even be manually turned over! He recommended engine replacement at a cost of $4000-6000, which is more than KBB says the car is worth!

Called local dealer, who mentioned there had been a warranty extension to 120K miles due to metal shavings in the engine, but that he did not expect Hyundai to cover mine as it was at 140K miles. Hyundai USA said I should tow it to the dealer at my expense, pay the diagnostic fee, and the dealer service would tear it down and see what caused the failure. Dealer service said the diagnostic fee would be $500, due to the amount of work required, and then that didn't include putting the engine back together if Hyundai didn't cover it! In my talks with Hyundai USA, they also mentioned something about not getting my oil changed at the dealer all the time, and that could play into their decision to cover the problem.

I have not done anything further as of yet. Just sitting with a worthless car at the mechanic!

- Janelle J., Amarillo, TX, US

problem #131

Apr 132017

Sonata GLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

With no prior warning at all I was driving the car when all of the dash lights lit up and the car immediately stalled. I was told the engine seized. Thank goodness I wasn't on a highway or I would have been killed. I took my car in for a recall about 6 months ago for metal particles in the engine. The shop said there were particles in my engine but they cleaned them out.

- Chris C., Middletown, US

problem #130

Mar 012017

Sonata LS Junk

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

perfectly, Car ran off the road after the engine seized. Call AAA to have it towed to Bruns Hyundai. After the service writer investigated the problem he came back to us and said due to the miles being over 120K the company wouldn't do or offer anything. They said they had it in at 111K miles for the recall and perform a "sound check" and it passed. Let me tell you I have been dealing with bearings and oil for 40 years. Aluminum is the worst metal to select for high rpm wearing parts. If it is not designed or lubricated perfectly it will not last.

Bottom line Hyundai knows they have a bad product and told my to stick it up my ass. Bad Company bad decision!

- tdinder, Maple Shade, US

problem #129

Mar 062017

Sonata Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,436 miles

My car was at the dealer less than 2weeks before the engine seized.

- Kathy R., Levittown, NY, US

problem #128

Feb 102017

Sonata GLS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,854 miles


Driving to the movie theater in my 2011 Sonata 2.4 GLS, 113k miles, traveling through 40mph and accelerating on an access road and the engine quit. There were no warning signs, it just stopped. I coasted into a parking lot and tried to restart. It wouldn't turn, so I tried jumping it - no luck. Bought/installed a battery from a Walmart that was near the parking lot - no luck. So, I thought it was the starter and had it towed to the nearby Autotire Repair Shop. After some investigation, they called me and stated the engine had seized. Awesome. After doing some research on line, I found out it's a common problem, necessitating a class action settlement.

I called the Hyundai Customer Care line and they towed it to the Hyundai Dealer in St Charles, MO. So far, I'm in for $180 for the two tows, $165 for the diagnostic check, and $671 for the rental car. Have my lawyer at the ready if Hyundai tries to weasel out of their obligation to fix this known defect. More to follow

- shelbycobra, Chesterfield, MO, USA

problem #127

Nov 212015

Sonata GLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

Multiple problems with the car, primary problem is the engine has stopped. Began to make different sounds, sort of like roaring and clicking, it quit, thought it was the battery, but wasn't so tried to drive it and barely got home and began to drive up driveway and car make an awful sound below the steering column sort of at the lower part of the motor. I was afraid to try to start it, it was just awful sound. Let it set there, did not have money to have it checked. Tried to start car months later (had heart surgery during those months so it set there) The motor would not ever turn over. Called Hyundai dealer for help, they said to have it towed to them, they would not pay for towing said it was probably not their fault and probably past warranty, had 76,000 miles. Dealer says I needed a battery $150. said OK but did not think so. In the mean time I received a letter from Hyundai about a recall on the engine and six other recalls. Then they said they needed to do another test due to the engine light before they could check to see if the motor was bad. It would cost $500. I said no I could not pay it but they should do it anyway to check the motor. At this time they still want $300 before they will even check the motor. My daughter is trying to help me so I will call Hyundai headquarters tomorrow to see if they will call the Dealer to let them know they must honor the recalls. HELP I hate to deal with Service manager and will speak with Owner next and Hyundai. Tired of not having a car for a year and he said if it is the motor they have more than 30 other cars waiting for an engine now. I must have a loaner or rental car now. Can't take this, my heart is not that strong to go thru all this.

- klynch, Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #126

Dec 292016

Sonata SE/LTD 2.0t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

I have loved this car despite a history of bringing it back to dealerships for turbo repairs. The turbo power simply cut off while in motion a number of times. Eventually, the dealership in Shrewsbury, NJ, had to do some major engine work (cylinder related?) and I had to fight with them over rental car reimbursement but eventually won that fight. It happened again about 2 years ago down here in Myrtle Beach but the repair was not an expensive one by a local garage. Again, it was turbo related.

But on Dec 29, 2016, the car completely broke down on a rural highway in NC. Dashboard warning lights came on and the engine lost full power. Able to coast it to an intersection, I was able to pull of the highway without accident. Opened the hood and observed smoke and electrical smell. Was towed to a local garage. Rented a car and went home. 3 days later, the mechanic called to tell me the engine had seized.

Luckily, I have USAA insurance and they covered the towing fee from Chadbourn NC to Myrtle Beach SC to the Myrtle Beach Hyundai dealership on Jan 3, 2017. It is there now and I am waiting to hear the extent of the problem and whether or not this will be covered by warranty.

Note: I just had the car to this dealership on Dec 16, 2016 to have all the recall inspections. One of those was a reported problem with metal shavings in the engine blocks of this model! Apparently, the Sonata pass/fail test did not find I had the metal shaving problem. But we will see!

Any other Sonata owners have a similar problem and are you now in that class action suit?

- ncamera, North Myrtle Beach, SC, US

problem #125

Feb 282015

Sonata 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I had to replace my engine--the dealer wanted $9,000 so I got a used one for $6,900.00 -- the issue also involved the fact that NO alert or maintenance light ever came on regarding need for oil during the life of the car--I would just take it in every 3-4,000 miles --I had the documentation regarding oil changes but since 3 of them were not done at the dealership they dismissed their responsibility--I ended up getting rid of the car in July2015 and will NEVER buy a Hyundai again

- ginsbers, Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #124

Dec 162016

Sonata Limited 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Just bought this car in June of this year, it had 72,000 miles on it. Now at just under 90, with 88,000, the engine blew. My wife was driving to work, and out of nowhere it started knocking and sounding super rough. Now this is out of the blue. There were no symptoms of a problem at all. I just changed the oil in the car not more than 3 weeks ago, and all was fine. I thought maybe it was a bad plug or coil pack, but my mechanic just called and said the engine is trashed. I hope Hyundai will cover this under the lawsuit warranty, because I don't have any money to fix it. I have been laid off since May.

- Andre C., Johnston, RI, USA

problem #123

Aug 292016

Sonata SE 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

It's been giving problems of axle since 14 thousand miles or less . then 47 thousand engine stopped. They don't want to pay for the towing because it wasn't their fault. I didn't have the towing number for them handy at the moment of incident but it wasn't my fault. the car is a lemon car . had changed axles like four times.

- Nitza Q., Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #122

Oct 102014

Sonata XSL 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,500 miles

First issue 1 week after owning my New 2011 Sonata the Alternator blew. Dealer in New Port Richie Fl towed car and gave me a loaner car. No complaints about this dealer service only the quality of the car. After about 1 year similar problem engine disabled called dealer for tow. Again got a loaner car from dealer. They replaced the starter. at 99,500 miles later the engine seized. Dealer honored the warranty and replaced the engine at no charge but no loaner car this time. So, while I praise the Newport Richie FL Hyundai dealers service, I feel today's Far east 4 cyl engines are Crap. Bring back the 1990's Toyota 4runner 6 or 4 cyl engine, that never broke. Traded Hyundai in on 2012 Dealer certified used Honda Crosstour.

Update from Mar 27, 2017: I forgot, that at around 50k miles the Fuel pump went. and again required towing.

This is NOT covered under the Dealer Warranty. It cost me $650.00 for a stinking Fuel pump. Use to be a $25.00 item that was the size of a package of cigarettes, now the size the a shoe box.

- stevedonato, Hernando Beach, FL, USA

problem #121

Sep 062016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,450 miles

I was driving on the freeway at approximately 65 MPH when my check engine light came on. Very shortly after, the engine began loosing power. I was able to coast to the side of the road, as the engine completely seized. Would not restart. Had to call for a tow.

- Malcolm T., Porter Ranch, CA, USA

problem #120

Aug 122016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

On August 12, 2016 riding down a residential road at around 9:00pm at night my car shut off lost pressure and stop. The car behind me stopped and pushed it out of the middle of the road. On that Tuesday August 16, 2016 I had it towed to Hyundai Dealership in Columbus, GA. It took them over a week to tell me my engine seized. They then told me i need to provide history of oil changes to make sure i kept up maintenance, just so happened I hadn't even had my car for a year so i had all of my oil changes history submit that paperwork 2 weeks later they denied me said they need more proof from the other owner of the vehicle for the car. Had to get a claim # for corp to get a case # go the run around for 3 more weeks without a rental. finally on Sept 14th they said my engine is under recall defect and they are approving repairs its Sept 27th i qualify for a loaner car still no loaner car they said it hasn't updated in the system yet that my car is approved for repairs,so still sitting here without car waiting.

- lambga, Columbus, GA, US

problem #119

Sep 122013

Sonata SE 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

Had a 2011 Sonata SE, Black on Black. The week of October 8, 2013 Driving home from work the motor made a metallic sound, like gas ping. The car eventually died and had to be towed to the dealership. The dealership determined the motor blew. Since I didn't expect any problems because the car was fairly new I didn't do all maintenance at the dealer. I had oil changes done at other places. I didn't keep all the receipts because I didn't expect a problem. It came to bite me in the rear.

Since I couldn't prove the oil changes and I needed a car I sold it to the dealer at a lost. I bought a 2013 Sonata GLS and this time had most of maintenance like oil changes done at dealer ship. Well lightening struck a 2nd time. I was returning home and was near the house when the motor again made that sound. Yes the motor died. Again had this car towed to dealer. Got a loaner, and they replaced the motor. The original motor had 85,000 miles on it. This time I got a new motor along with a loaner. It took approx 5 days to get the car back. The new motor appears to be running normally although the tac rpms seem to be out of sync with the motor. Could just be me. We'll see.

I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER HYUNDAI...I would like to know if I still have any legal position on this since I sold car back to dealer. Will look in to it.

- gmdsr, Highstown, NJ, USA

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