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:
15 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,660 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 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #25

Feb 062014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 17,800 miles


On Thursday, Feb 6, 2014 approximately at 2pm on a busy street. I was approaching a stoplight and as I was approaching stop light and attempted to put on brakes to stop. Instead of stopping the car the car sped up and didn't stop until I smashed into him. Car did not stop until collision occurred upon impact. I had no brakes!!!!! I smashed his rear bumper and cracked his license plate window. On Saturday, Feb 8th 2014 I took car into Hyundai dealer they insisted nothing was wrong with vehicle. I was asked if by Hyundai dealer if street was icy and the streets were completely dry. I called insurance reported incident, and with this collision there was $1300 damage to his vehicle. Luckily there was no injury this time.

- Harwood Heights, IL, USA

problem #24

Mar 112014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 18,200 miles
On March 11, 2014 approximately at 3:30 pm I went to my car in an underground garage. I entered the car, put my seat belt on, and put the car in reverse. Then when putting car in drive, the steering wouldn't move and without acceleration the car took foot was on the brake when the car took off. At that time, I tried to brake and had no steering or brakes. When that happened with the car accelerating, I had no brakes or steering. I crashed into my husbands car that was parked in spot next to me. I smashed his rear right panel. The car was going at such a speed my husband's car was pushed a couple of feet over. If his car was not there, I would have crashed into the cement wall. As for my car, I smashed the left front fender, head light and lower panel on the front of the car. The car immediately went dead. I immediately called my insurance company and proceeded to call Hyundai. I had vehicle towed to the auto body shop for repairs caused by accident. After the body shop repairs were finished, the car was towed to Hyundai. This auto body shop had the car for 2-3 weeks. Hyundai technicians were called in to check. Hyundai's final outcome/decision was that there were no findings and they feel they are not responsible. I was then called to pick the car up the manager. He claimed to have phoned me numerous amount of times, but this is false. I only received one call from him. The car is unsafe to drive since this is the second incident involving the same problem the car was towed from Hyundai back to my residence and parked in the underground garage. I find this completely appalling and very upsetting that this has happened. This is not the response or service I expected to receive from a so called reputable company. This could have resulted in serious injury or fatalities. I feel Hyundai is totally responsible for this situation. They are not taking responsibility for this.

- Harwood Heights, IL, USA

problem #23

Mar 302014


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated while driving approximately 55 mph the active air flap warning light illuminated. The contact mentioned that the engine rpms increased excessively and the vehicle would suddenly accelerated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the active air flap sensor needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 70,000.

- Howell , NJ, USA

problem #22

Feb 252012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles


While entering a parking spot to a diner, the car unintended accelerated crashing into the side of the diner. Minor damage to the side of the diner as I was no more than 3 feet from the bldg. My foot was on the brake pedal when this acceleration occurred without warning. I was entering the parking spot at no more than 5 mph planning to put the car in park and exit for lunch. My leg hit the hood latch and I obtained a nasty cut on my shin. The consumer stated other components were replaced, such as the tires and transmission. The consumer also stated, when she turned the ignition, there was an odor of smoke and rubber burning. Updated 11/16/15.

- Manchester, NJ, USA

problem #21

Jan 282014


  • 50,800 miles
I bought my car in September 2013, it is certified pre-owned and came with the original 100,000 mile/10 year warranty, I purchased the extra electrical warranty. I was driving at about 40 mph and I noticed my transmission wasn't switching gears when I was accelerating and if I took my foot of off the brake the car wanted to stop, my brakes were locking up. There was smoke coming from the front drivers side tire and from the back passenger side tire and a loud noise. I pulled over, shut off the car and waited about 10-15 minutes until the smoking stopped and I turned the car on and began to drive home. I was only about 3 minutes from my home at that time. The transmission was continuing to demonstrate problems and the brakes to make a low rumbling noise. I called Hyundai roadside assistance right away to take my car to the dealership to be evaluated and fixed. I called at 3pm and they did not pick up my car until 9:30 pm. The next day they called me and told me my car was driving fine and they were going to check several other components of the car to confirm everything was in working order. A few hours later I called to get a status update on my vehicle and I was told that they discovered something wrong, they had conducted a test drive for the second time and discovered all of the problems I was initially reporting about the car. The service manager then told me he was not sure of the cause and that he would have to check several other things and I would need a rental car because he did not know how long the repair would take. I got the rental car at about 2 in the afternoon and was called at 5:30 and told me car was ready for pick-up and that they replaced the brake light switch. I went the next morning to pick up my car and drop off my rental at about 10am. I drove the car home and everything seemed to be fine, but at about 3pm had the same problem again.

- Mashpee, MA, USA

problem #20

Jan 242014

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
I had begun to accelerate from a red light. The car in front began to stop again. When I pressed on the brake pedal, it would not go down, was not stopping the car at all. The car continued to accelerate on its own and I hit a van. The airbag went off, but the engine revved up, and the car shot forward again, hitting the other vehicle again. I tried putting the car in neutral and park. Nothing stopped it until I turned the vehicle off completely. I have the 'norm' seatbelt bruising, smashed my knee on the dash, and have whiplash as well.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #19

Dec 012013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 104,400 miles


While driving at 65mph on highway, there was a sudden loss of acceleration. It was as if I had let go of the gas pedal. Of course the pedal was at the same position and did not change. I let go of the pedal and repressed it and noticed that I got my power back. It does this intermittently for the last two code errors appearing on dash or obd reading. Will happen at any given speed. Other issue is the driver side break light will work for a few weeks and then burn out, in which it will leave the remaining center and passenger brake light permanently on while the headlights are turned on. So it appears that I am breaking but I am not. Only temporary fix is to remove the left bulb from its socket.

- La Puente, CA, USA

problem #18

Sep 112013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 44,000 miles
The auto on several, sporadic occasions had an acceleration problem, while sitting still in traffic. While sitting still in traffic, the rpms would start to increase, going to 6000 rpms before I geared it back down and shut the engine off. I took it too the dealer on several occasions, they kept it couple of days each time, they told me, they could find nothing wrong, and go ahead and drive it, if it happened again, bring it back, sending me away in a unsafe vehicle. The last time, date mentioned above, a service technician test drove my car, the acceleration problem occurred, and he totaled out my vehicle. I was not notified until 2 days later that my vehicle had been in a accident. I was told, it happened the night before, I was notified on Sept 13, 2013, that would have the accident occurring on Sept.12,2013, when in fact it occurred on Sept. 11, 2013. I have searched and found on several occasions that this vehicle, did indeed, have acceleration problems, which the dealer had informed me, had never happened before. The vehicle, should have been diagnosed and the problem fixed, the first time, instead of the dealership, sending me away each time in a unsafe vehicle. Very unethical of the dealer, for telling lies about the car, and, the correct date the incident occurred, not notifying me for 2 days, that it occurred, and.not fixing the problem, as should have been expected of them, the first time it occurred, and sending me away each time in a unsafe vehicle.

- Alpharetta , GA, USA

problem #17

Apr 032013


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while sitting at a traffic light, there was an abnormal increase in engine rpms. The contact mentioned that he felt as if the vehicle wanted to lunge forward every time the failure occurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the vehicle was test driven by a technician. The failure recurred while being test driven and the vehicle independently accelerated up an embankment, crashed into a tree and then rolled over. The technician sustained minor injuries and the vehicle was destroyed. A police report was filed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 36,000 and the current mileage was 44,500.

- Apareta, GA, USA

problem #16

Jun 142013


  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated while the vehicle was parked with the engine running the vehicle rolled away on its own and crashed through the garage wall into the kitchen of his home. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 14,000.

- Garland, TX, USA

problem #15

Mar 012013


  • 20,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed, the contact attempted to decelerate but the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The contact had to quickly shift into park in order to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the failure could not be replicated. The failure and current mileages were 20,000. The VIN was not available.

- Summerhill, NJ, USA

problem #14

Nov 262012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 33,838 miles
I was approaching an intersection that had a red light and stopped vehicles. I began to apply the brakes and slow down to under 10 mph. The car would not come to a stop. I had the brake pedal pressed as hard as I could and it did not stop. I did a google search on Hyundai Sonata 2011 brake problems and got 598,000 results. In a brief scan through those results I found 7 other reports of the exact same problem. This demands someone look into this now! I copied those web posting if you want them let me know!

- Mcmurray, PA, USA

problem #13

Jun 232012


  • 15,100 miles
Car will randomly not start after parking it. Depress brake pedal through the floor, press start button, yet it says "press down brake pedal to start". this is the third time in three weeks. The first time I got it started after ~30 minutes. Second time, within ~ 5 - 10 minutes. This third time, I couldn't get it started. Had to call for a ride. Went back next day, tried again unsuccessfully for ~ 30 minutes. Called roadside assistance. They never came. After ~1:45 minutes, I tried one more time and got it to start. Each time, the steering wheel was turned strongly to the left and it felt locked. Each time I was eventually able to yank the steering wheel to the right and was able to get it to release. Felt like the hydraulics kicked in. Then, it would start each time. This didn't happen the first time I messed with the steering wheel....but each time I was able to eventually make it do it. Until then, it had that locked feeling of no hydraulics. Other than this, no brake issues, no steering issues, no lights on dash, etc. One exception, first time coming down a hill, I had the ESC (brake) light come on briefly. Very similar to other reports on this website.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #12

May 082012


  • 23,594 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata hybrid. While driving in reverse approximately 5 mph, the brake pedal was engaged and the vehicle began to accelerate rapidly. The contact crashed into a tree. The vehicle was completely destroyed and towed to a collision center. There were no injuries reported. A police report was not filed of the incident. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 23,594.

- Canfield , OH, USA

problem #11

Mar 252012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated while driving 63 mph the cruise control was engaged. Upon approaching another vehicle he applied the brakes in order to disengage the cruise control but the vehicle accelerated and crashed into the rear end of a vehicle. Upon impact, the air bags did not deploy. No one was injured. The police were contacted and a report was filed. The contact was able to drive the vehicle from the crash site. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic to be repaired; however, no one investigated the cruise control failure. The failure and current mileage was approximately 26,000. Updated 06/05/12

- Fenton, MO, USA

problem #10

Mar 092012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 1,200 miles
I was driving into a parking space in a parking lot and came to a stop when the car suddenly accelerated, jumped a curb which was five inches high and five inches wide, smashed into a fence and came to rest on a scattered pile of bricks. I hurt my knee which hit the dashboard. This injury did not require hospitalization although I was in a state of shock.there was considerable damage to the car which is now in the body shop. It will take three weeks at least to repair the car. In the meantime I am driving a rental car. I believe this could be a case of unintended sudden acceleration caused by an electronic malfunction. I think this accident needs to be investigated thoroughly.

- Sewickley, PA, USA

problem #9

Dec 182011


  • 16,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata hybrid. The contact was driving 8 mph when the accelerator pedal was depressed and there was a noticeable delay before the vehicle would respond. The failure recurred twice.the vehicle was taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 16,000 and the current mileage was 20,000.

- Haslett, MI, USA

problem #8

Jan 202012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 15,990 miles
Add on to ODI # 10440320 I was driving and twice when I tried to stop to make a turn the engine kept overriding the brake and the car kept lurching ahead. I applied the brake peddle as hard as I could and the car would not stop. When I released the break peddle, the car started acting normal again. By this time I was way over the center line of the road and if there had been another car at the intersection I would have certainty hit them. This is the second and third time this has happened with this car and I believe it should be taken off the road before someone get killed. If I was pulling up behind another car at a stop sign and this happened I would rear end the car in front. If I was stopping at a pedestrian crossing and this happened I could run someone over and kill them.

- Brodhead, WI, USA

problem #7

Dec 172011


  • 6,300 miles
After having 3 of 5 recall fixes performed, battery charging system warning light and sounds activated. Car lost power at low revs. Required giving full throttle to enable gas engine to kick in and gain enough speed to safely stay with traffic. After pulling over and turning engine off/on, problem seemed to resolve itself. Happened again in highway traffic while entering exit ramp resulting in a dangerous loss of power. Returned vehicle to dealership for repair. Dealership assured me that they knew what the issue was and that it would be repaired. 2 days later issue happened 3 times. Each time on the highway at approx. 65mph with nowhere safe to conveniently pull over.

- Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #6

Dec 162011

Sonata 4-cyl

  • miles
I was pulling into parking space, had my foot on the brake, car was almost completely stopped, all of a sudden the car accelerated, traveled approximately 8 feet, the brake didn't stop the car. I hit the brick wall of a busy convenience gas station store, thankfully no one was coming out the door at the time. My first thought was the floor mat had interfered with the gas pedal, but am sure now that was not the case. When a representative of my insurance company called me, he stated that he heard that I had stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake, this is not true, I am 100 percent sure. My husband was a passenger in the car and after we had calmed done, we discussed what had happened, he stated to me that the car was almost stopped and then just suddenly made a loud roaring sound and accelerated. Our car was towed to a Hyundai repair station and we are waiting to hear how much the damages are. Just the thought of having to drive that car again scares me, it was a very frightening experience, as it happened so fast and I had no control over stopping the car, other than my foot was on the brake and that didn't stop the acceleration. My hope is that this is investigated before any serious injuries or deaths occur.

- Brodhead, WI, USA

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