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:
96,400 miles
Total Complaints:
192 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. engine replacement (148 reports)
  2. not sure (33 reports)
  3. junked the car (4 reports)
  4. sold vehicle (4 reports)
  5. replace lower half of engine (3 reports)
2011 Hyundai Sonata engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 1 of 10)

problem #192

Feb 012022

Sonata SE 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,700 miles


Knowing early on about the Hyundai Theta engine issue, I changed the oil and filter religiously every 5,000 miles. It didn't matter, the #1 rod bearing still failed.

The 2011 Sonata holds the All-Time Record for the most recalls - 14 recalls when I last counted.

- M D., Richmond Va, US

problem #191

Aug 192023

Sonata Limited 2.4L Inline-4 Gdi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,594 miles


The engine seized at about 120,000 kms (~75k miles) in Aug 2023. This happened on a Toronto freeway (ON-410 North). I lost all engine power and electronics (including power steering and braking) on the freeway at about 115 kmph (~70 mph). Only the battery was functional so the check engine light and check oil lights lit up the gauge cluster like a Christmas tree. A slight burning smell filled the cabin almost immediately.

Fortunately there wasn't much traffic on the freeway so we could pull over to the shoulder using the cars momentum. It was quite hard to do this given that the brakes and steering did not have electronic power. Since my family was with me in the car, it was quite an unnerving experience to say the least, but I'm grateful to have had enough driving experience to keep my calm, slot the gear in neutral, switch on the hazard lamps, and maneuver safely without causing an accident.

After being stranded for 2 hours on the side of the road, I got my car towed to the Hyundai dealership that I go to regularly. Two days later, I was told the engine piston connecting rods had seized permanently.


There was a class-action lawsuit against Hyundai for this particular engine and Hyundai (and Kia) agreed to replace these engine for free for all plaintiffs, as long as engine oil changes were done as per recommendations. The engine was replaced for free about 2-3 weeks later. Hyundai gave me a loaner in the meantime. It took some time for the new engine to break in (about 5,000 kms). I also got the transmission memory reset and got a throttle body re-learn done.

If this has happened to you, please ensure you do your research on the class action law suit for this particular engine, and gather all your oil change receipts (for evidence that you've done your part). Some dealerships might not be transparent with you and might get your car for scrap, only to re-sell it for a lot higher with a new engine replaced for free by Hyundai.

If you do get a new engine (hopefully replaced for free), I'd highly recommend taking it easy for a while. Avoid hard accelerations or speeding. Get a transmission and throttle body reset done. Change engine oil more frequently (about every 4k to 5k kms or 4 months, whichever is sooner). Change the transmission fluid sooner than recommended (every 60k kms or less). This should take your car up to 300k+ kms (~200k miles) with only wear-related maintenance (like tires, shocks, brakes, etc.) depending on your car's age and driving habits.

The new engine is a bit louder but feels a lot more responsive and confident after it breaks in. Do keep an eye on the transmission though. They are generally reliable but it might need a little care while adjusting to the new engine.

Hope this helped.

- Shiva K., Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #190

Jun 062023

Sonata LX

  • CVT transmission
  • 82,341 miles

Car engine seized at 82421 miles. Hyundai hedging on repair under extended warranty.

- Jean C., Pima, AZ, US

problem #189

Jun 062023

Sonata LX

  • CVT transmission
  • 87,337 miles


Engine seized. Silver Rock and Carvana refused warranty. Don't buy!

- Jean C., Pima, AZ, US

problem #188

Nov 142022

Sonata Limited 2.0t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

This car was burning oil at a rapid rate and never gave off any indication if the oil was ever low. The mechanic we took the car to checked out the lights and sensors and couldn't find anything wrong with them but the oil was low and the engine seized without any warning. I will never by another Hyundai again after this experience. It's back to Honda's and Toyota's for us.

- Joshua G., Columbus, OH, US

problem #187

Sep 202019

Sonata GLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

After bring my Sonata GLS in for multiple recalls, I found out about the shoddy engine block preparation in Korea and metal shavings in the oil journals. Well, I got a close up of the problem when, going downhill, it started knocking really bad and then stopped. Had it towed to dealership. They tried to squirm out of the engine replacement but evidently others had sacrificed their time and effort to force Hyundai to own up to their stupidness. Engine block only replaced; other parts alternator, belts, pulley, power steering, etc. were taken off the blown engine! Piece of junk!!!! My wife want to buy one of their SUV's and I said "are you nuts?". Korean JUNK!!!!

- George J., Lake Forest, US

problem #186

Mar 122022

Sonata LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


I purchased this used-certified with around 26,000 in 2011, and except for all of the recalls (there were a bunch) and a few warranty issues that were covered 100%, this car has been a dream to own and drive - loved it everyday all day ... until ... the engine seized up on me at 12:30am on my way home from a late-night, 2.5 hour drive to a basketball game. We exited the highway and as soon as I got to the end of the exit ramp, stopped, and hit the gas to go another 5 miles home, we lost power. I was able to go about 15mph and got it to my buddies house where I parked it, and he let me take his car to my home that night.

Went back the next day to check it out and see if it was only temporary - check-engine light and low-oil light was on so I checked the oil and it was full - had just gotten it changed a few weeks earlier. Tried to start it and it took 3x to get it going and was able to go only 10mph to get it to my local mechanic. Left it overnight and the next day he called me and said they got it started, but only got it about 1/4 mile down the road and it crapped out on them and shut off. I had to have it towed back to his shop and then that's when I went online to find all the horror stories on this cars engine.

I made arrangements to have it towed to my local Hyundai dealer where I got all the recall/warranty work done on it over the 10+ years of ownership and they said it's probably seized up - give us your service records and we'll get to work with Hyundai Motors to see if we can get it covered under the extended warranty they might offer, thanks in no small part to the NHTSA and the work they put into identify the safety risks on that car and engine. It's been two weeks and I'm still waiting - not a happy camper! I'll post an update as soon as I know something ...

- David T., Crawfordsville, IN, US

problem #185

Nov 232019

Sonata ES 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

My daughter's 2011 Hyundai Sonata has been at Suburban Hyundai in Troy, Michigan, since the end of November 2019.

The Service Manager of Suburban Hyundai which informed us at that time there were ten recalls for this particular vehicle. After the Vehicle Identification Number were ran, the Service Manager stated that this particular vehicle was manufactured in Canada and approval was needed from Canada to repair the vehicle. My daughter has been contacting the dealer everyday and I have been contacting the dealer twice weekly, only to be told they have not heard anything from Canada or the Michigan Dealer Representative to authorize the repair.

My daughter and my new born grandson have been carless, since the vehicle has been at the dealer and have received no assistance from the dealer. My first job at Ford Motor Company was at Ford Parts Service Division as a Customer Service Representative. I handled, and resolved, customer complaints with the sale and service of their vehicles. Ford cares about how the customer is treated and goes beyond the customer expectations to keep them satisfied.

Hyundai has to be ranked as the worst company in the world in customer satisfaction.

- Erikka H., Auburn Hills, US

problem #184

Jul 292020


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Car stalled out going 35-40mph. Once I pulled over and checked the oil it was BONE DRY. Excessive oil was burned and I was not overdue for an oil change. No warning lights ever came on until it shut off. Towed to dealer that I bought it from and they told me the engine seized. There was no oil leak. They are waiting on confirmation to replace under the extended warranty. They want all receipts of past services to prove that I take care of the car. I am hopeful but I also seem to have the worst luck! So fingers crossed.

We bought the car with low mileage (16,000 miles)... I didn't think I was going to have these sorts of issues with this car, especially with regular maintenance. Next time I will doing my RESEARCH before buying. Learned my lesson. The complaints on this make and model are ridiculous, wish I would have seen them with I bought it used in 2017.

Update from Aug 25, 2020: Extended warranty covered a new engine! Took about a week for them to replace and made sure fuel lines were set up correctly. I did not want a subsequent recall for that! fingers crossed that that is the only issue. Pretty sure we will be trading in ASAP!!

- Amber S., Lockport, NY, US

problem #183

Aug 052020

Sonata Limited 2.0t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles

A beautiful car. Still looked fresh off the showroom floor. Just had a complete air conditioner system replace about 4 months ago and have never had an engine issue. Without warning and 2 hrs 45 minutes into a 3 hr road trip the engine temperature begin to rise above normal. Within 8 miles all instrument cluster lights began flashing, the car started losing power and surging then the engine stopped. The temperature, while elevated, never gave a temperature warning. The car was taken to two different mechanic shops, both proclaiming the engine had seized and the fix would be engine replacement at $6025.00 (all parts and labor included).

Since the trade value is less than the cost of engine repair we will likely sell it for salvage. If anyone can direct me to a way for relief from Hyundai I would be grateful. I helped my daughter purchase her 2017 Sonata Limited 2.0t, but you can rest assured our family has purchased our last Hyundai product. I was raised General Motors and the 2011 Sonata was my first non-GM vehicle of my life. Total disgust.

- David K., Hockley, US

problem #182

Dec 212017

Sonata GLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,879 miles


Engine seized while I was driving 65mph in the middle of I-15 in San Diego, California. Definitely dangerous. I could have not only died along with my toddler, but we could have caused a major crash!! Of course, because of the recall, I didn't have to come out of pocket for the repairs, but that traumatizing event scarred not only me, but my daughter as well!

Hyundai should have bitten the bullet and instead of repairing what is probably going to be a recurring issue, but they should have requested EACH and EVERY year affected Sonatas back, and reissued new vehicles to owners. To be clear, my vehicle was inspected by a Hyundai dealer not long before the event. My Sonata "passed" the test.

- Crystal A., Gulfport, MS, US

problem #181

May 012021

Sonata GLS 1,3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I live in Arizona, I was driving, and all of a sudden I could not depress my brakes or gas. Then all of my dash lights turn on at the same time. My mechanic told me my engine seized.

- Tomtombeast5 1., Fountain Hills, AZ, US

problem #180

Jan 152020


  • Automatic transmission
  • 212,000 miles

This was the third engine failure for this vehicle and the last. I am not going to go through this again and will slowly drive the vehicle to an auto wrecking site and give it to them.

Same problem as the previous two times, a knocking noise with no warning and the car is ready to throw a rod again. I have had it and only decided to complain when I started checking into the issue and discovered that it was an ongoing and fairly frequent issue with this particular vehicle.

I will never drive another Sonata or Hyundai for that matter as it has cost me thousands of dollars to replace the engine twice and I just won't do it a third time.

So excited about buying this vehicle and so disappointed in the durability. It also had problems with cooling system a couple times (unrelated to the engine failure) and the steering issue and more recall notices than I can remember.

- hawksj, Oak View, US

problem #179

Jun 152018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 162,000 miles

This was the second engine replacement on this vehicle. It was replaced at 99k miles and again at 162 k miles. I would guess the engine had close to 100 k miles on it when it went bad but it may have been less. It was a used engine with about 30k miles on it.

Same problem as the first time it happened, knocking and then throws a rod with no warning at all.

Other than an engine that doesn't work very well, the car was okay.

I called the manufacturer the first time the engine failed just shy of 99k miles but was never offered any assistance in fixing the problem. Maybe it was because there were so many recalls on the vehicle over the years that they couldn't keep up with the engine failure issues as well.

- hawksj, Oak View, US

problem #178

Oct 172015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

The engine started knocking without warning, drove it to a dealer in the area and it cost $100 to diagnose the problem as a rod thrown and total engine replacement necessary. The estimate was nearly $8,000 and was not covered under the 100k warranty because I bought it as a used car.

I had the engine replaced at a third party location because it was less costly.

- hawksj, Oak View, US

problem #177

Mar 052020

Sonata Limited 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles

I was entering an on ramp onto a highway and had pressed the accelerator down pretty hard to get up the short on ramp, well, right before the top of the on ramp, my car completely stopped. No noise, no warning, no nothing. I was like WTF?!. My car has 143,000 miles and so I expect issues to happen but never this. I noticed very high RPM on my tachometer.

Well anyway, I called roadside through my insurance, had it towed to a place that works on foreign cars. They say my engine is seized and that they can't even hand crank it. OOF. So now my car is at the Hyundai Dealership where I bought it from. Thankfully, they seem concerned about the issue as I have had it serviced there a fair amount. I am hoping that I will be able to have it fixed even though it is over the high warranty miles by 10k+. They are inspecting it today 3.7.2020 and I'll hear back from them soon on how to proceed. I don't want to pay 4k for a new engine...

I'll update this post when I find out more :)

- Patrick M., La Crosse, WI, US

problem #176

Feb 132020

Sonata GLS 2.4L 2359 Cc L4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Was accelerating when the engine seized up. No prior indications of engine issues during regular maintenance.

- nighthawkblue, Smyrna, US

problem #175

Sep 062019

Sonata Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

My son had his 2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited in for recall regarding motor issues on 2.4 liter, mileage was 100,390 on 02/26/2019. Vehicle allegedly passed Hyundai’s inspections regarding motor issues. On 09/06/2019 while driving at approximately 50 mph the vehicle seemed to slow down. my son pressed on the accelerator with no response warning light then came on and vehicle shut off. Luckily he was able to get it off the road safely.

On 09/07/2019 the local dealership was contacted regarding what happened and the vehicle was towed to the dealership. While speaking to the dealership, they explained there would be a 99 dollar diagnostic fee and possibly up too 400 dollar charge to determine the issue. The person was very nice when I questioned how my son could be charged for Hyundai’s product problem and was told I could contact Hyundai to dispute the cost if the dealership charged it. I am awaiting the results of what they find but think it’s a blown engine.

After researching documents on NHTSA website I am wondering why the warning system was not offered and installed on the vehicle?? I also have to question if Hyundai was taking the chance to satisfy the recall just add the 20,000 warranty hoping the motors didn’t blow up in that time period. I will update when the dealership calls back with a diagnosis. I wonder if the higher ups at Hyundai have considered the damage they are doing to themselves and also their dealerships regarding potential returning costumers?

I will never buy a Kia again which Hyundai has part ownership in and will wait until the dealership calls regarding the diagnosis on the Hyundai before I pass judgement. After reading all the complaints regarding Hyundai and Kia, I feel their warranty is fraudulent and they are doing everything to deny responsibility that their products are defective.

Update from Sep 9, 2019: Got a call from the dealership. Engine is seized. Waiting on call back after they submit to Hyundai. I think Hyundai is trying to pull a fast one on NHSTA... warranty vehicles to 120000 miles. I again think they were looking at dollars and taking a chance that the motor wouldn’t fail. The irritation is the motor shut off without warning while driving down the road. Luckily my son was not injured! Still waiting on a call back what Hyundai is going to do. I still can’t believe NHTSA would allow the manufacturer to charge a consumer for warranty.

Update from Sep 16, 2019: I can say Hyundai and Massey Hyundai in Hagerstown MD have stepped up too the plate and corrected the wrong on the motor. The vehicle was done in two days. I will definitely recommend Hyundai now but not Kia who are still evasive regarding motor issues.

- Terry H., Clear Spring, US

problem #174

Mar 192019

Sonata LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,044 miles


Campaign 132 resulted from a successful class action suit where Hyundai admitted fault for engine failures for 2011 Hyundai Sonatas. My daughter’s 2011 Hyundai Sonata had a total engine failure in March 2019 at approximately 129,000 miles. We were issued a Hyundai case number, #15847818, submitted all requested invoices for a claim in excess of $5,000, in a timely manner, and were informed that we would need a vehicle inspection per Hyundai recall 132 procedure, RCMN-15V568-2234. This Hyundai procedure explicitly states that the inspection will be at no cost to the claimant. Local authorized Hyundai dealer refuses to contact Hyundai Client Care Specialist for authorization to proceed; Hyundai Client Care Specialist refuses to contact Hyundai dealer with authorization to proceed. Hyundai Client Care Specialist refuses to return my calls or email correspondence.

- Larry Y., Savannah, GA, US

problem #173

Jul 052019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

I hesitated to do this because I just completed the required Oil Consumption Test on July 5th, but here’s the deal. This car was a gift from my parents in 2017-18 time frame and had approximately 100K miles (well within the extended warranty period that Hyundai issued for 2011 Sonata engine failures) - they decided not to trade it or sell when they bought their new vehicle (incidentally not Hyundai).. It was taken several times to our local downtown Hyundai dealership for inspections, recalls, updates, etc. before and after transfer of ownership. The engine problem was known by Service Department, as they recommended and performed several remedies ($$$) to troubleshoot and try to eliminate excessive oil burning (on average, 2-3 Quarts by 1,500 miles). The Oil Consumption Test was finally suggested and initiated by the Service Dept., either under or just shortly over the 120K mile warranty period. My parents put maybe 50-100 miles a 7 day week on average... I drive 350+ miles M-F for commute. There is no doubt this engine will fail soon, and that is exactly what the service dept has told me several times over the duration of the consumption test. I followed up just as Hyundai Corporate instructed. It’s been just over a week, I will be waiting for news soon. I meet all the criteria for engine replacement. More to come...

Update from Sep 19, 2019: UPDATE: After several weeks and GETTING A HYUNDAI CASE NUMBER AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS REPRESENTATIVE PRACTICALLY ON SPEED DIAL, my wife and I were able to leave our vehicle with the local dealership this morning. They supplied us with a rental car indefinitely while they conduct tests and ultimately replace the engine. Word of advice: Do Not Give Up. Don’t Give In. Fight For Replacement.

- Derek W., Canton, OH, US

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