CarComplaints.com 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.

9.2

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$5,150
Average Mileage:
96,400 miles
Total Complaints:
187 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. engine replacement (141 reports)
  2. not sure (33 reports)
  3. junked the car (4 reports)
  4. sold vehicle (4 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 1 of 10)

problem #187

Sep 202019

Sonata GLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

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

Sonata

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

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

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

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

Sonata

  • 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

Sonata

  • 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

Sonata

  • 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

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

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

HYUNDAI WILL NOT HONOR YOUR CLAIM FOR ENGINE REPLACEMENT EXPENSES, CAMPAIGN 132.

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

Sonata

  • 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

problem #172

Jul 112019

Sonata LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

My Hyundai Sonata has had a total of 14 recalls, of which 11 were completed. They told me my engine recall was completed buy my engine still seized while on the highway with my children while raining outside.

- Brittney E., East hartford, CT, US

problem #171

Mar 232019

Sonata

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,600 miles

History of problems with my 2011 Sonata. I have less than $6,000 to pay off and just spent $1000 in new rear and front brakes, battery and oil change. Got an offer from the dealer for $7689 at a special purchase offer event on March 23, 2019. Went by the dealership but didn't speak to anyone because really don't ever want another Hyundai. On the way home after exiting the highway onto a major 6 lane thoroughfare on a Saturday afternoon in front of a major shopping mall, while in a turning lane car just completely shut off. Police had to come to stop traffic and push me over. I was lucky that it was still daylight and the weather was ok although it had snowed earlier in the day. I'm not sure what to expect from dealership (where it was towed) tomorrow The tow operator said he had similar calls with same car. I have taken it in for all the recalls and just want them to give me what they were willing to offer at the event. My wishful thinking is that will come pick me up tomorrow to give me a loaner till it's all figured out with the warranty.

- Carmen V., Albany, NY, US

problem #170

Nov 292018

Sonata 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

I took my car into the dealership on October 22nd 2018 for recall issues. On November 27th 2018 the starter was replaced. I drove the car to work on November 29th 2018, it started making a rattling sound when I was almost to work. On my way home the car's rattling sound started getting louder and louder. I was getting off the highway (Exit for home) when I heard a LOUD "POP" and the car engine died. All the warning lights came on and I coasted the car off the exit ramp. It was about 20*degrees out side and I had to sit on the side of the road until my husband came to pick me up.

We had the car towed to a local mechanic that we trust. He looked it over and told me it would be about $2500 at the lowest end to replace the engine because it had seized up. I don't have that kind of money to repair it and the car is just sitting because I am unsure what to do with it now. I had to borrow family members vehicles for over a month until I could find something I can drive temporarily, until I can afford to get another car payment.

I took the car in for all of the recalls that were mentioned to me and kept up on all the regular maintenance. I feel like they didn't look over the car the last time I took it in, like they said they did. I have been doing some research and have found lawsuits about the engine seizing up.

Feeling FRUSTRATED and not sure what to do from here. Can someone give me some guidance? Will the dealership fix the engine or is there someone that can help me? Or am I at a total loss???

- Megan C., Wakeman, US

problem #169

Nov 132018

Sonata Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

So after going through more than a handful of issues relating to everything everyone else has listed here, my 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.4 lt engine has seized. Now mind you I had the car begin to catch fire on 4/20/18, it had several electrical issues that I was never able to determine what the cause was. I believe it is due to faulty grounding. Every ground point I could find was actually not grounded at all. The made contact for grounds on painted surfaces.

I just received another recall letter the day the engine seized and I found that quite ironic. The company has played this back and forth game between them and the dealership since I began asking for a solution to the problems, the warranty company says its up to dealer and dealer says its up to the warranty people. Well, I must add, I wonder why the inspection for the potential motor failure was done by the company that caused the issue, in my opinion it should have been done by an independent impartial mechanic. How can one expect an honest inspection when it could potentially cost them money. This was an inspection my state mandated prior to any registration paperwork being completed and prior to receiving the stickers for the plate. Of course the inspection concluded that my particular engine was not in fact affected. Well evidently they were wrong. I now understand why the oil cap, the plugs and other burnt parts were discovered during my checks on oil and the other visual oddities I came across. I was consuming oil at one point quite rapidly. It seems that the oil flow wasn't sufficient enough to maintain integrity during the velocity of driving. How appalling it is that Hyundai has gotten away with this BS.

I stopped paying on the car in May of this year, I knew it was just a matter of time before this happened. The car is still under warranty and they have done little to nothing to ensure the safety of the car. I am disgusted with them. My particular car is a total lemon. It has been since the first month of ownership. Now its nothing more than a hunk of metal.

- Diana F., san jose, CA, US

problem #168

Oct 292018

Sonata

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

My 2011 Sonata stalled out on way home from work, no warning what so ever. Has 131,00 miles. Have service records that oil changes have been serviced in timely manner with another dealer. Had it towed to my house and a Certifted ASE mechanic came by and said my motor seized !

Had all the recalls taken care of and now I see this is a problem with other owners :( The recall states it was extended to 120,000 miles and my car is at 131,000.

Do I have a case? I am going to call Hyundai and see what they say.

- Donna P., Spokane, US

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