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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,509 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #40

Nov 302013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 28,159 miles


Hyundai Sonata 2011 push button start. I am the original owner of the vehicle. Yesterday I went into my car and proceeded to start my car. I had to push the start button three times before it actually started up. This happened twice within 2 hours. 5 days prior my vehicle had been to the Hyundai dealership for the recall on the stop lamp switch. An existing recall (NHTSA campaign number: 13V113000) indicates that for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata the stop lamp switch may not function correctly. They, the dealership, performed the service and replaced the stoplamp switch. As result my car is experiencing intermittent switch point contact with the push-button start. This is crazy.

- Laguna Beach, CA, USA

problem #39

Nov 212013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
Nov. 21, 1013 exterior lighting tail light. I am the original owner of a 2011 Hyundai Sonata (approx 28,000 miles). I walked out to my parked car and noticed that the drivers side rear tail light was hanging by some wires. I had passengers in the car and there was no impact, accident, or anything else to cause the tail light to pop off and hang by some threads. Upon further inspection I could see that the plastic studs were broke and the metal stud was detached or never attached. The following day I took it to the laguna niguel Hyundai dealership that I purchased it from. One the service advisors,346, came out and looked at the tail light..he saw plastic pieces around the screws that were cracked and broken off which caused the tail light to dislodge and fall off. He said that I was fault and he wrote me an estimate for $248. I am obviously not at fault. The dealership taped the tail light onto the body frame. I was very lucky that the tail light did not fall off, I did not cause an accident, it was raining, and that I was not pulled over by the police. I phoned Hyundai to file a case. I received a phone call from the dealership on 11/28/13. I was told to bring the car in so that the service manger, [xxx] could look at the car (very in convenient, the car had been at their dealership 3 days prior for several hours while they serviced 3 more recalls for this vehicle). [xxx] basically did nothing except walk out to the car. He did not take the tape off to inspect the problem. He told me that he had been touch with Hyundai. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Laguna Beach, CA, USA

problem #38

Sep 162012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
In April 2013 I drove from suffern, NY to bridgewater, NJ;I set the alarm and went inside. Twenty minutes later, I went back outside only to discover the taillight on the passenger side hanging out by the wires. Noone was home in area and there were no marks on the car- my alarm never went off a year prior (not sure of the exact date) in a parking lot =when I went into a building to play bingo, the taillight was fine when I returned to the car a few hours later the taillight on the driver side was hanging out (again hanging by the wires) both times I brought my car to Hyundai because I felt it was a defect in the car but they insisted it was vandalism and made me pay approx. $300 to get a new one. There is no way someone could take this taillight out with not one mark on the car and it never caused my alarm to go off. Hyundai insisted because inside the screws were broken to hold it in, that it had to be vandalism and refused to do anything for me=I even called the corporate office. if you do a search of Hyundai Sonata 2011 hanging taillights, lots of sites with complaints.this is a defect in this model of the car and needs to be repaired and is very dangerous, mine fell out while parked but many others fell out while driving at high seeds and could have caused severe accidents.I cant afford to fix the 2nd side and have it taped into place- I should get refunded for what I paid for the first are links to sites with other complaints. please look into this, tons of complaints and not our fault but they are not doing anything about it. It needs to be recalled. Other things wrong with car but this is worst.

- Suffern , NY, USA

problem #37

Oct 312013


  • 32,293 miles


The passenger rear tail light fell out of the housing unit. There was no noise or issue before hand & it wasn't noticed until I came to a complete stop at my destination where I saw it hanging along the side of the car. I pushed it back info the housing unit as firmly as I could and continued into my appointment. Upon leaving, I instinctively lowered my speed to 45-50 mph when I heard a thud about 20 miles from where I first noticed it had fallen out. The total unit had then broke loose from the housing, the wiring came undone & the light fixture crashed into the highway (60 mph speed limit) where the automobile behind me had to swerve to avoid the fixture hitting his vehicle, as it bounced around on the pavement because of the dropping.

- Lavon, TX, USA

problem #36

Oct 152013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 29,715 miles
Complaintant walked out of home to vehicle. Upon approaching vehicle, complaintant noticed that the left rear brake light housing (driver's side) was detached, and sticking out about 1 inch from the vehicle. Complaintant carefully slid the housing back into its cavity, where it stayed. Complaintant then departed. About 3 days later, complaintant noticed that the housing was again detached from the vehicle, and again slid it back into place. Over time, the complaintant repeated returning the housing into the cavity three (3) additional times. When the complaintant was confronted with a 5th event of the housing detaching from the vehicle, complaintant shined a flashlight down into the cavity, and saw that the housing mounting sockets were fractured/shattered, and none of the several mounting studs/bolts were attached. But, the studs/bolts were still attached to the vehicle shell. The only thing holding the housing assembly onto the car, were the wires to the brake light, back-up light, and turn signal light. No surface scratches, nor body damage experienced. After inspecting the defective housing, complaintant surmised that Hyundai tail light housing is made of hard, brittle plastic, which shatters when overly tightened at factory, or due to the vibration of this overly hard riding vehicle. Additionally, complaintant noticed when vehicle was purchased new, that the driver's side tail light was not flush with the rear trunk gate, and was extended outward about 1/4 inch. The light assembly on the right/passenger side was flush with the trunk gate, and has not produced a similar issue, yet. Complaintant secured housing to the vehicle cavity by using duct tape. Complaintant scheduled vehicle repair with Hyundai dealership for tomorrow. Update to follow.

- Garner, NC, USA

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problem #35

Sep 092013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the passenger's side headlamp was lower than the driver's side headlamp, causing the headlights not to provide illumination at a greater distance. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who adjusted the headlamps however, the failure was not corrected. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 19,000...updated 12-26-13 the consumer stated the lights were adjusted as high as possible, which helped the lighting while driving at night.

- Elk Grove , CA, USA

problem #34

Aug 232013


  • 45,000 miles


While driving my 2011 Hyundai Sonata (approx 45,000 miles) down the highway the right rear tail light popped off and was hanging. After looking in the trunk at the inside tail light area, I saw plastic pieces around the screws that were cracked and broken off; thus causing the tail light to pop off and hang. I was very lucky that the tail light did not fall off the car completely and cause an accident. I then dicovered that the left rear tail light studs were beginning to break off too and do the same thing. When I took it to the dealership they claimed the clips broke but it looked forced and would not be covered under warranty. Understand this car was not involved in an accident and I am a stay at home mom who has a garage for the car. I was simplying driving down the road and the tail light popped off. This is a huge safety concern for me and others.

- Feeding Hills, MA, USA

problem #33

Jul 192013


  • 39,000 miles
In a parking lot I found my 2011 Sonata with the right tail light assembly completely broken and hanging by the electrical wires. The threaded portion of the assembly had broken off and was still attached to the bolts that hold the assembly to the body of the car. I took the car to the dealership for what I thought would be a warranty repair. I recieved a call from the service representative saying that both tail light assemblies were broken. She believed that someone attempted to steal the asssemblys. She said there is a small mark near one of the lens. This is something I failed to notice after inspecting the vehicle closely. I had them put both lenses on because the car was due for a state inspection. When I picked up the car the service representative showed me the marks she believed were caused by someone attempting to pry the lenses off the vehicle. There are two small hair line scratches on the paint. There was no damage to the tail light assembly with the exception of the broken off bolts. I told the representative that scratches were most likely caused when I attempted to push the tail light assembly back into place. I told her that the force needed to break the four bolts out of the assembly would cause much more damage to the car and than two small hair line scratches on the paint. Anyone attempting to steal a tail light assembly in this manner knows it would render the part unusable. The tail light assemblies were installed improperly at the factory or the part itself is defective. I noticed from the NHTSA website that I am the 14th person to document this problem. My concern is I own two of these cars and if the same thing happens with the second Sonata the tail light assembly could break off and hit a car behind me. This could cause an accident and lead to serious injury or death.

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #32

Jul 192013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 39,000 miles
I took one of my two 2011 Sonatas to a Hyundai dealership in woodbridge Virginia because the right tail lens was completely broken and hanging off the car. The bolts holding the tail lens to the body were still in the body with the plastic thread portion of the lens. I thought it would be warranty because there are no signs of marks on the car that would indicate the force required to break a tail lens. I believe the lens were installed improperly and the stress finally caused the plastic to break. To my surprise I got a call from the service representative saying the left lens was broken as well. She said they believe someone attempted to steal the lens. She said there is a small mark near one of the lens. I did not notice the mark when I took the car in for service. However, if it was so small for me to notice there is no way someone could have attempted to pry off the lens with enough force to beak 4 large bolts without leaving a highly noticeable mark (s) on the car. The marks she is referring could have been from my attempt to push the lens back into the housing so that I could drive it to the dealership. I noticed I am the 14th person to report this to your Agency. My concerns are: 1. I paid over $400 to repair what should have been a warranty repair and 2. I have another 2011 Sonata and I have liability concerns should the second car experience the same issue. If a tail lens weighing a pound or two flies off into a car following me at 50 or 60 miles an hour and the driver behind me reacts he or she could end up getting hurt or killed. Please look into this. I kept all the parts I have pictures of the new lens installed and the old lens that are broken. I will even mail one of the damage ones to you to inspect at my cost.

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #31

Jun 282013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
While driving the car on the highway the back drivers side tail light flew off the car and into traffic. I was able to retrieve the taillight and the plastic holding all 4 bolts in place were broken. I read online and there are several other incidents of this so I feel I needed to report it to prevent any accidents in the future.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #30

Nov 012012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles


I looked in my rear view mirror while driving and saw something hanging from car. All of the plastic brackets inside my left rear tail light had broken and my light was hanging on by the wires. Two months later the same thing happened with my right rear tail light - all of the inside brackets broke and it was hanging by the wires. There was no incident either time to trigger this. Both lights were still working but were no longer able to be held.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #29

Feb 152013

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
Left driver's side tail light assembly popped out. It appears that the bolt mounts have broken due to a defect. I am also having problems with the trunk releasing without intentionally opening. Several times, I have found the trunk open in the morning or when I return to the car after work, or shopping. Hyundai service says that I accidentally push the release button somehow. This is not the case as I purposely place the key fob where it cannot be activated and still have that problem. Also, the low-beam headlights are not sufficient. The only cast a beam about 50 feet in front of the vehicle with a distinct line of light about 5 feet above the road. While this is not a problem on straight roads, it is a hazard when driving on hilly roads.

- Candor, NY, USA

problem #28

Feb 022013


  • 64,000 miles
I closed the trunk and the driver side brake light housing unit pulled away from the vehicle. I opened the trunk again to look from inside and noticed the four screws holding the unit in place were totally broken off. The plastic holding the screws to the main housing unit crumbled into little pieces.

- Waxhaw, NC, USA

problem #27

Aug 152012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I was driving at the freeway speed limit, I did not feel anything when it happened but I know that it happened on the freeway. I pulled over to get some gas, looked back near the gas cap and saw that my driver's side tailight assembly was hanging by the wires onto my bumper. When it fell out, it bounced and placed several dings and chips in the plastic bumper. I noticed that the wheels(cogs) inside the tailight assembly were completely broken off. I had to take the light out and place it in my trunk and drive the rest of the two hundred miles with no left tail light or turn signal. If it had fallen into the middle of the freeway, I am sure there would have been much more to write about and none of it good!

- San Andreas, CA, USA

problem #26

Nov 192012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 38,500 miles
Upon arriving at my destination, I noticed that my driver-side taillight assembly was dangling out of the fender by it's wiring harness. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the posts that the bolts secure into had failed, causing the lamp assembly to fall out of the fender. When I inquired with a Hyundai service and parts associate at a service center, they stated that this was a common problem with my vehicle model and the component was replaced under warranty.

- Studio City, CA, USA

problem #25

Oct 102012


  • 34,450 miles
Left rear taillight assembly fell off, hanging by wiring. Four plastic mounting bosses at mounting studs have broken. Not the result of any impact or crash. I was alerted to it by another driver beside me who beeped. The taillight has no damage other than the failed mounts. Dealer said it will be replaced under warranty.

- Carol Stream, IL, USA

problem #24

Sep 082012


  • 45,000 miles
Many other buyers of this vehicle have complained same issue. Tails lights are falling out on their own without any impact. It seems that plastic studs holding lights in place are cracking off. There are four studs that metal screws are holding light on by. Hyundai is not honoring this as a warranty, this is a dangerous situation because one driver had his light pop out driving on highway.

- Vineland, NJ, USA

problem #23

Aug 292012

Sonata 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. I had my brake pedal stoplight switch replaced a few days ago by a Hyundai dealer, which was covered under the manufacturer's warranty. However, in doing research on this replacement, I have found that this is a common problem of Hyundai Sonata owners and it would seem that Hyundai has not corrected this issue other then to replace the oem switch when it fails. Based upon what I have read, I therefore expect that this replacement will fail again sometime in the future and probably at an inopportune time. Since it takes only a few moments to replace the switch, some Hyundai owners that have had multiple failures have gone as far as carrying a spare switch in their glove compartment in case the switch fails again and they are either out of warranty or not near a dealer. The safety issue revolves around the failure of this switch which results in the brake lights not being operable and the possibility of other safety systems being affected too, I.e. traction control and ABS. If this switch failure occurs with the vehicle in park, the gearshift lever cannot be moved. If this failure was a "once in a lifetime" failure, it would not be that much of an issue. But again, that does not seem to be the case and research of Hyundai's repair records or statements made by owners of these cars should bare that out. The original oem switch part is #93810-3S000. An alleged update may be part # 93810-3K000 but this part can not be installed in the vehicles having the original part and Hyundai has not made a retro installation possible if this "K" switch is indeed an updated replacement. I feel that Hyundai should address this issue and produce a retro fit for this safety related brake switch since it seems to be a constant issue that needs attention due to the failure of the switch which then causes, at the very least, inoperable brake lights.

- Deltona, FL, USA

problem #22

Aug 262012


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. While driving approximately 65 mph the driver side tail light unit detached from the vehicle. The passenger side tail light unit was also loose. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostics. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 38,000.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #21

Aug 182012


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that the rear brake light assembly detached from the vehicle. The contact was entering a residential driveway when the failure occurred. The entire light fixture was detached from the vehicle. The contact stated that the manufacturer did provide any assistance or information in regards to a remedy for the failure. The failure and the current mileages were 50,000.

- Port Saint Lucy, FL, USA

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