2012 Hyundai Sonata engine problems: engine failure

Engine Failure

2012 Hyundai Sonata

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Hyundai dealer.

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
82,650 miles
Total Complaints:
13 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
  2. replace engine (4 reports)
2012 Hyundai Sonata engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments

problem #13

Mar 062019

Sonata Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles


Hyundai is aware of this problem and is going to replace my engine. We were absolutely blessed not to have an accident, as I had just come back from driving about 50 miles and was on a side road a couple of miles from my home. Was able to get the car to the side of the road and not have an accident. The car started smoking and it smelled like we were having an electrical fire. Dealership has indicated the issue is the one that was the recall. I had the car checked previously when I first got the recall information (few years ago) and the dealership indicated the problem was not occurring (yet).

Just thought I'd add my story to the list. Waiting for authorization from Hyundai. They will give me a loaner car and said it would be 3-6 weeks as they are having problems finding engines.

- M P., Fort Pierce, US

problem #12

Oct 272018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Driving 55mph 2 way highway with children. Car decelarates and stalls. Engine smokes and dies. Engine recall. Hyundai products should be banned. These vehicles are UNSAFE!!

- sonata12, Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #11

Sep 012018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I'm sick of Hyundai. They lack professionalism and expect you to pay for their faults and suffer while they fail to fix the initial issue. I'm so very overwhelmed. Now they refuse to fix the current issue. Why would a new replaced engine fail YET AGAIN? They expect me to pay about 4400.00 to fix. Something is just not right Hyundai. Customer service case reps yell and scream at you too.. there is no true escalation contact. Lives can very well be lost due to these issues. Do not buy. Please.

- Morgan D., Rosedale, NY, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #10

Jul 312018

Sonata GLS Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles


Engine just stopped working. I change the oil every 3K miles. I take the car in for any recall and suggested maintenance. The result was the engine threw a rod. The dealership has had the vehicle for a week now. I had to show records that I change the oil regularly. They had an inspector come to the dealership to check the car out, that was completed on day three at the dealership. I call the dealership every day and I am told they are waiting on Hyundai to approve the warranty. When my wife and I both purchased cars from the same dealership on the same day they continually talked about the 100K mile warranty. That apparently only applies to the original owner? What does that even mean? You are putting a warranty on the driver and not the car? That makes no sense to me. Anyway, one week later, still nothing. At this point I am assuming Hyundai is trying to find a reason to deny the warranty replacement of the engine even though they know the issue exists.

- Chad W., Lawrence, US

problem #9

Mar 192018

Sonata GL 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,557 miles

A letter to Hyundai:

On the morning of March 19, 2018 while on my way to work, something, presumably a rod bearing, gave out causing our 2012 Hyundai Sonata to decrease operating speed and make terrible metal on metal noises. I was able to drive the car about one mile until I found a safe space to pull off the main road. The moment I stopped the car, the oil light flickered, the engine light came on, and the engine immediately quit running. I had it towed to Broadway Auto Clinic in Menands, NY, where my husband Scott Carlone is the manager. Scott proceeded to order a replacement engine for the Sonata. The engine he ordered is out of a 2013 Sonata. It has 35,000 miles on it and comes with a six-month part warranty.

Prior to installing this motor, Scott decided to call Haddad Hyundai in Pittsfield. He spoke with a woman named “Marissa” in the service department. Marissa told him to bring the car to the dealership before doing any work as there were presently eight other Sonata’s on the lot with a similar problem. Scott spoke of the Sonata having 159,557 miles on it and asked if there was still the potential for something to be covered. She assured him it would be beneficial to have it brought there to be torn down, photos taken and sent out to see if Hyundai would cover anything toward repairs.

Friday, March 23, 2018, the Sonata was towed to Haddad Hyundai. “Bryan,” presumably a service manager, called me to discuss what was going on. I explained to him what the problem was. I was rather irritated by Bryan’s minimization of my concern. My understanding is that engine failure on 2011-2012 Sonatas is fairly common and the majority are happening outside of the extended warranty period. Perhaps what I found most frustrating is that Bryan made it seem that 159,000 was a ton of miles and that I should not be surprised it had suffered significant mechanical failure. In turn, I explained that I have purchased several used vehicles with 150,000 or more miles on them and they have all lasted me well above and beyond the 200,000 miles mark. To me, a vehicle with 159,000 miles on it in this day and age is in its infancy and when well-maintained, as our particular Sonata was, should last at least another 100,000 beyond that point. I expressed to Bryan that Marissa said there were eight other Sonata’s on the lot with a similar issue and that it bothered me he was presenting as if my problem was acceptable considering the car’s mileage and that it was 40,000 miles over the extended factory warranty of 120,000.

Our Sonata was inspected when the recall was issued for engine concern. The inspection was done at Carbone Hyundai in Bennington, VT. The Sonata had just shy of 100,000 miles on the odometer. The car passed. Bryan minimized this as well, saying “well that was what, 80,000 miles ago?” (I did not tell him it had 100,000 on it. He guessed and assumed it was done at approximately 80,000 miles). What disturbs me most about his statement is that there are likely hundreds of Hyundai Sonatas, model year 2012, sitting on lots of small car dealers or even maybe more nationally known ones, with 70,000-90,000 miles on them for sale somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000 that may or may not have already passed the inspection. The average person will take out a loan for a vehicle from three to five years. If a person were to take out a four-year loan on a 2012 Hyundai Sonata costing $9,500 and drives 15,000 miles a year, there is a chance that this car will suffer significant engine failure while the person still owes money on the car, as is my case and the case of many others in America. I fail to understand why this is acceptable or why this is a problem being minimized by Hyundai employees.

As this is corporate America, I hardly expect Hyundai to give back a penny toward repair to those of us who trusted that Hyundai would build a reliable piece of machinery that would outlast the life of a consumer loan. I expect that myself, along with several thousand other Americans will be forced to junk our vehicles or replace our mechanical failures with other mechanical failures waiting to happen. This is impractical for many Americans as we must continue to pay loans on vehicles that are no longer in existence or that are inoperable for many months while funds for the cost of a replacement engine and the labor to install one is saved.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you for your time. If there is nothing Hyundai is willing to do for its customers while knowing full well the responsibility for these engine failures lies in the majority with them I feel Hyundai will be losing many loyal and potential loyal customers. This was my first experience with a foreign manufacturer’s car. I am trying to keep the faith, based on Hyundai’s response to this letter, it will not be my last.

- Tiger C., Hoosick Falls, NY, US

problem #8

Dec 292017

Sonata GLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,100 miles

Car stalled again, towed it back to same dealer who now says it's the battery, but Automobile Club tested the battery and said it was good. Paid to have battery replaced.

- kmills6115km, Corona, US

problem #7

Jun 302017

Sonata GLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,701 miles


We were at the beginning of a week long family vacation, driving from CT to Ohio when my Sonata died on Route 90, entering NY state. We were 134 miles from home with 5 people in the car, luggage and 3 bikes on a rack. This was Friday afternoon before the 4th of July. After 45 minutes on the side of the road, we were towed to a Hyundai dealer, at my request, in Albany NY. It could not be evaluated at 3PM on Friday afternoon but had to be left in Albany. Locating a rental vehicle to transport the number of people and the bikes was difficult, given the holiday weekend. My car has a hitch and I could have moved the bike rack to a vehicle with a hitch but car rental folks don't think that way. They kept telling me that towing is not permitted.

Eventually, our only solution was a large pickup truck. Since it was raining, our first additional expense was at Home Depot in Albany for a tarp, bungee straps and a step stool so that my sister and I could navigate the step up into the vehicle. Since we had reserved cabins and paid entrance fees for a bike ride in Ohio, we rented the truck for the week (cheaper than two one way rentals) and proceeded the 430 miles to our destination.

On Wed, July 5th, I contacted the Hyundai dealer in Albany who informed me that my engine had seized but that it was part of a recall and would be replaced by Hyundai but would take 30 days. At the end of our vacation week, we returned to Albany with the rental truck. The total cost for that was $873. My husband drove the 134 miles from CT to NY to pick us up because the dealer could not give us a loaner to go out of state.

Once I was back at home, I then rented a car locally for the remaining days. On July 18th, we returned to Albany in my husband's vehicle to retrieve my car. On the way home, a check engine light came on. My local dealer evaluated that the following day. I was charged $125 for an ECU update which was supposedly coincidental and not related to the engine replacement. The car has been running fine since then and I now have a five year old vehicle with 900 miles on the engine. I'm not really clear yet on the warranty for the new engine but I believe I have one year.

I have been trying to connect with Hyundai customer service regarding reimbursement for total expenses paid out of pocket. I received a phone call and a message from a woman but have been trying to get back to her for the past week, unsuccessfully. I will submit my receipts but would like to speak to a representative first because I am well over the $25/day rental figure I have heard mentioned.

- Kathy I., Ashford, CT, US

problem #6

Jul 212016

Sonata Limited 2.0t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

I received a recall notice in the mail last year. Finally, in February 2016, Hyundai had a fix for the manufacturer's alleged metal debris that was getting into the engine.

The car was serviced and determined all was well.

Today, June 21, 2016, the car stalled while leaving for work. I restarted the car successfully; however, milliseconds later, the engine shut off. This kept happening every time I restarted the car.

The car had to be towed to the dealership. After a few quotes, ranging from $500 to $1600+, and the Hyundai dealer advising that the oil control valve needed to be replaced -- that "it had an extra hole in it that was not from the manufacturer".

I inquired if it had to do anything with the recent recall (mentioned above). She advised , 'no'. I find it VERY hard to believe that these two incidents or issues are unrelated.

After reading about the MANY Sonata owners that have had engine trouble, I'm afraid to even drive this car anymore.

- Kelly C., Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #5

Apr 052017

Sonata LTD 2.0t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles





- Alan M., Morganville, NJ, US

problem #4

Jun 072016

Sonata LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

My experience was similar to others reported. I was on my way to work, turned off the highway onto a side street and car stalled out, no warning lights in advance. I coasted my vehicle to a safe spot, turned it off and then tried starting it again. It started but each time I went to accelerate it stalled out so I had it towed to the dealer. Also whenever I started it there were no warning lights on then either. Then started to research once I was at work and found this page.

The dealer told me the oil was low and had sludge and I will need to provide receipts of last oil change, mind you there were no oil lights on. My husband changes our oil and I am not sure if we have the last receipts as we had a basement flood that ruined some documents. The dealer is stating that they do not think it is the engine recall issue but I beg to differ.

My vehicle has only 73000 miles on it so I didn't expect to have to buy a new engine, guess I should have bought Toyota! They are changing the oil and then they will go from there. Hopefully I don't have to contact my lawyer over this, if that's the case Hyundai will never get my business again and I will make sure to post as much as I can about it on the internet. It's a shame because otherwise I love my car.

Power to the People!

I will update when I find out more.

Update from Jun 27, 2016: After the dealer changed the oil and says the car was running fine they let me drive it off the lot. I got about .10 of a mile and it did the same thing again!! They made me sign to have a $125 test done because they still didn't think it was the engine. After 2 more days in the shop they finally admitted it was the engine and it would be covered under the recall. The service guy said his manager went to bat for me, WTF! Hyundai replaced my engine and starter(it was fine when I drove it last they must have burned it up testing it). I am happy that Hyundai stood behind their product. I will be changing dealers though, it was dangerous for them to let me drive it like that. Good Luck to you if this happens to you.

- leann_m_olson, Valparaiso, IN, US

problem #3

Nov 152015

Sonata Limited 2.4L 4 cyl C Dohc (Mfi)

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


My car engine locked up on my son while he was driving on South Shore Drive, US41, in Chicago, Ill on a Saturday Nov. 14.2015 after 5pm. I had it towed to one location that was open and then on the weekday to the Roger Dealership. The dealership did not have a loner available to allow me to use while they dealt with my engine problem therefor I used my Care Share Account with Enterprise in order to have transportation. I did not received a loner from the dealership until Nov. 29, 2015.

At first I was informed that the dealership would request my rental bill from the Hyundai Manufacturer once my car was repaired. I turned in my rental documentation after I received the loaner from Roger Dealership. My car with the new engine was returned to me towards the end of January. In February I contacted my dealership about the rental reimbursement but the person who originally handled my recall had left and the new person could not find my request nor receipts therefor I had to resubmit the information. When I did submit my request and receipts to the new person, Frank, I was admonished about the rental car cost and informed that they could have gotten a car with Enterprise at a lower cost, that was never offered at the time I needed a car. I was then informed that he would submit the refund request but doubted the Hyundai manufacture would grant the full amount..

When I recently contacted Frank about the refund his response was that he left a message for me to contact the Hyundai Manufacturer to request the reimbursement. I have been on travel and never received his message where ever he left it. So I am now submitting to Hyundai Manufacturer to be reimbursed for the lost of the use of my car starting 5:30 pm Saturday November 14, 2015 renting with Enterprise Car Share through 5:30pm Monday November 30, 2015 for the total amount of $870.31.

I except your company to take into consideration these factors that were out of my control in order to accommodate the need for transportation: the engine suddenly locking up on busy US 41 at 5:30 pm on a Saturday; immediate need for transportation to work; lack of communication for any other option of transportation while waiting for loaner; Thanksgiving Holiday plans for the family; communicating and submitting documentation to two different people without any closure; the amount of time to get a financial resolution.

Thank you for resolving this financial matter as soon as possible. I can email the Enterprise Car Share invoices to the appropriate personnel for your review.

- Shirley H., Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #2

Sep 132015

Sonata Limited 2.0L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,795 miles

09/13/2015 While driving home from a trip to Ft. Worth Tx.I noticed the check engine lite come on .I pulled off the freeway to the service road and stopped. I shut the motor off, got out and raised the hood. I checked the oil, checked the antifreez bottle and looked under the car. All levels of fluids were correct.

I re-started the car and checked the gauges. All were normal. I drove back on the freeway and the check engine lite came back on. I had this engine lite problem at the end of July 2015 and called the service dept of Absolute Hyundai of Mesquite to see if I needed to have the car towed in. They told me it was all right to drive it in as long as the engine lite was not blinking.

I drove it in and they replaced the valve body harness equipped with oil temperature sensor {transmission}. Having been told a month earlier that I could still drive it if the lite stayed on I continued to drive home. About 5 minutes later the check engine lite started to blink and the motor started miss, knock and slow down to 10 mph. I continued to the next exit in the break down lane at 10mph and got to the service road where the engine died. It would not restart.

I called the Hyundai roadside assistance# to be towed. Ten minutes later we noticed smoke coming from under the hood. We were lucky to get out. I called the fire dept and they put the fire out. But not before the whole front of the car including the front tires, and front 1/3 of both front doors. THE CAR ONLY HAD 34,795 MILES ON IT.

I called Hyundai Motor America in Cal. They sent me a list of documents to send them including pictures which I sent them by certified mail. After numerous phone calls to Hyundai in Cal. I was given a case # and then told the investigation would take 6 to 8 weeks. That was on 10/14/2015. Hyundai has made an offer to settle if I can get the original sales receipts for my personal property. I have already filed a complaint with the NHTSA.

- James C., Kemp, TX, USA

problem #1

Oct 152015

Sonata Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

I purchased this car a few months before my lease was up because I was trending way over my miles. I did my homework prior to and it seemed like a good, reliable car. When I purchased it, the dealership offered me a "warranty for life" through their sister Hyundai property (I went through a Honda dealership). Ever since I took the car of the lot, everyone has been really unhelpful. I never received paperwork for the warranty forever, which after reading reviews makes me nervous because once you have a "unapproved" oil change it voids the warranty. I have had 1 oil change so far with this vehicle. I have called both dealerships and even talked with them face-to-face during my oil change and still nothing.

5 months later and I am pretty happy with the car. I have noticed a couple things that I have just chalked up as "normal" for this car. Higher RPMs, a trippy transmission at times, and feeling like it may stall. All seemed well on Carfax and at the first oil change so I wasn't too worried--however I continuously tried to get that warranty forever activated in the event of "what if."

Now, I get a notice in the mail about a recall (Campaign 132) about possible engine failure. My car is effected (built in Alabama). Do I wait until I receive the final notice of what to do? Or do I try and call the unhelpful people at the dealership again? I assume since they are extending the warranty on the short block that the "warranty forever" isn't necessary, but what other parts of the car can be effected from metal debris in the engine? Could transmission potentially go some day from this (hence the transmission scares I've felt?)

I am just really nervous about this. What rights do I have? I am already underwater on the loan because of the previous lease. I wasn't able to haggle any money down on the price because of what the dealership had in the car so they threw in this "warranty forever" that is not even there.

What do I do?? Sit and wait until something catastrophic happens like Beth D.? Or do I call the dealership before Hyundai has a remedy?

- sandrew, Stow, OH, US

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