really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
85,300 miles
Total Complaints:
44 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (34 reports)
  2. not sure (9 reports)
  3. trade car (1 reports)
2012 Hyundai Sonata engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2012 Hyundai Sonata:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2012 Hyundai Sonata Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #44

Aug 302020

Sonata 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles


Engine started making noises.Took it to a garage close to my house and when they went to restart the car the engine seized up. They checked the oil it was bone dry. It was only three months since my last oil change. There were no leaks no smoke coming out when starting up.Oil light never came on. Took it to a Hyundai dealer and there replacing the engine with a rebuilt one under a class action suite and recall. If you own a car like this beware and take it to the dealer before something bad happens. My car has 106,000 miles on it. The extended warranty is for 10 years 120,000 miles. Get it fixed!!!

- George M., Stow, OH, US

problem #43

Jan 082019

Sonata GLS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,456 miles

I only had the car 10 months and the engine goes out with out any warnings.

- chinadiamond20fc, Victorville, US

problem #42

Mar 142019

Sonata LS 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I have had the Sonata since 2015 and had regular maintenance. Never had a problem out of it until yesterday...I was considering trading into a newer year and drove to a dealer. We were there aprox 2 hours before they looked at it for appraisal, after some time a representative came to us and said there was a problem with our car so they had pulled it into the garage. Well the verdict was the engine was locked up. There was never a warning light, no funny engine sounds, nothing! It hadn't been running but a few minutes. So here I am without a car and the dealer took no responsibility for it locking up. What now?

- Victoria H., Leesburg, US

problem #41

May 082018

Sonata Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


I kept reading the reviews and just sat back and waited until it happened to me. It was a beautiful morning. I was on my way to work doing about 80 on the highway when it sounded like a chain broke on my bike. I looked at my gauges and noticed my RPMs going wild and I lost power. The oil light was faintly flickering—a telling sign of what was about to happen. I made my way over to the berm and watched as the car died in front of me. Major shaking and stuttering. All my dash lights came on and she was done for.

I called my insurance company for a tow. They took it to the Hyundai dealer I typically go to. They put me up in a rental car and it took about 10 days to get my car back—much faster than I had anticipated. When the Theta II engine recall first came out I went straight to the dealership to have my engine checked and it passed with no issues. Don’t be fooled by that silly little test because it will happen to you. I take excellent care of this car. I’m almost at 100k miles now and I drive about 20k a year for work.

I now wait until it allegedly goes ablaze according to these latest complaints. Hyundai needs to take action. This damn car is so underwatee no one wants to take them and I owe way more than it’s worth. I am basically stuck with a POS waiting for the next thing to happen.

- sandrew, Stow, OH, US

problem #40

Sep 112018

Sonata Limited 2.4L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,313 miles

My Sonata passed the recall a couple of years ago, in fall 2017, I began to notice that it was burning oil more than usual. Then, towards the end of the winter, the engine began to make a lot of noise. I had it serviced by Hyundai in the early spring, at which time I thought I might be dealing with a defective engine despite it having passed the recall. I was assured that it only needed a minor repair, which was performed under warranty (I can't remember what exactly they fixed.) The noise issue was better so I was satisfied.

In August when I went for an oil change, my mechanic warned me that it was still burning oil, but I didn't know what to make of that since I had only recently had it checked out at the dealership.

Then, with no warning, on September 11, the engine seized. No warning light ever lit up, it just stalled while stopped at a red light. It has been 3 weeks and I finally received word today that Hyundai will cover the engine replacement. Initially, they had refused to cover it, but after it came to light that they had based their decision on incomplete service records, they changed their decision. It will be about 3 more weeks until I get my car back.

- Patricia B., Ottawa, ON, Canada

problem #39

Jun 282018

Sonata GLS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,360 miles

This car began idling oddly when I stopped at light. when I accelerated onto onramp of interstate the vehicle sounded rather loud. Again it had odd idle at another light. A mile and a half from home, the car engine went silent. I did not notice at first due to my music however immediately noticed as I was going up hill that I felt no power. What I saw on the dash board was zero RPM's, fuel meter was full as I had just filled her up, and there was no warning lights.

I let the car coast and turned off to adjacent neighborhood street. I began to attempt to start the vehicle up and notice the battery, oil, and check engine light was illuminated. The vehicle made a starting attempt sound but quickly stopped. Afterwards each attempt to start lead to zero sounds from the starter as if the engine was preventing the starter from turning or starter was not engaging. However battery had spark and all instrumentation inside illuminated and operated properly. Even with parents jumping off car, the car would not start.

I was stranded for two hours before a tow company could come which cost me 80 USD. I called Hyundai the next day and was informed the vehicle had some sort of engine issue(today). I am not sure what to do since I completely depended on a product to get me from work and home in order to provide for my family.

I have had other issues with this vehicle to include the starter, alternator, and battery failing all within a three week period. Also the shark antennae just popping off while I was driving on the interstate. I am strongly feeling that Hyundai is a bad product. I rather have a Ford. But thinking of possibly getting a Subaru if I can afford it.. Never again shall I get one these Korean cars.

- bamahatesonata, Mobile, US

problem #38

Jun 242018

Sonata Limited 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,905 miles


click to see larger images

engine seized engine seized engine seized engine seized

This review is in regards to the engine seizure of my 2012 Hyundai Sonata Limited and its prognosis. In this review, I will go over the following:

i. Pre-Issue > Vehicle's History ii. Peri-Issue > Vehicle's Engine Seizure iii. Post-Issue > Vehicle's Prognosis

PRE-ISSUE [VEHICLE HISTORY] I purchased this vehicle in 2016 from the original owner at 77,000mi (124,000km). The vehicle by anecdote & physical service records of the owner depicted it did not need anything other than regular maintenance (oil changes, tune ups, tires, brakes, etc) in his ownership. He provided all service records from the original purchase agreement to the date of sale (2012-2016) to confirm its orderly and meticulous maintenance. In my ownership, the car was driven conservatively and well-maintained with on-time oil changes and regular maintenance. I never came across any issues while driving over the past 2 years till 102,000mi (164,000km).

I have loved driving my black on black Sonata everyday I've had it with its semi-luxury features like heated/leather seats and beautiful pano roof (many compliments). I even convinced my dad, who'd hated anything Hyundai, to purchase the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe brand new after my praise and approval. We're now a Hyundai family and in fact, I was looking to purchase a new sonata for myself this month. Then it all changed on the morning of a nice summer day (June 24th, 2018) when I heard sporadic knocking noises when completely rotating the steering wheel. I thought nothing serious of the issue though decided I should contact the dealership the following Monday.

PERI(during)-ISSUE [ENGINE SEIZURE] The same day (June 24th) the spontaneous noise introduced itself, is when the $7,000+ issue that 6000 other collective complaints on this website mention. I had just exited the highway in pickering around 11pm and all of a sudden, all the lights on the dashboard flashed, heard a noise from the hood, and the vehicle started to slow down. As I was on active lanes with cars behind me, I pressed the accelerator pedal but realized it was not picking up speed. With quick thinking, I luckily found a small parking lot to pull into and engage in further introspection. I turned the car off, gave it a few minutes, put my foot on the brake and pressed the push-button start. All I heard was a quick jolt as if something was going to happen but nothing. It couldn't be the starter, because I installed a starter a year prior. It also couldn't be the battery because I installed a brand new battery few months prior. I still flagged down a car and had them boost my car. The car still did not start. It couldn't be the alternator where in that case, I wouldn't have lost acceleration when driving. I did a quick search online (carcomplaints.com) and understood what had happened, my engine had seized.

POST-ISSUE [PROGNOSIS] That night, I had the vehicle towed to my house (pictured) and then the next morning to the Hyundai Dealership (pictured). Fortunately, the dealership I frequent, Gyro Hyundai, is one of the best in Toronto and is situated around a high-income/great neighbourhood. I chose this dealership as I had performed 2 recalls there in the past, one being the engine recall (OEM Reference # 51CA21; R0101). After leaving it over night, they followed up with an inspection report to confirm that the engine was seized. The service manager at Gyro Hyundai, was very nice and accommodating. He went over the situation and requested I bring all my service records. I gathered every service record from 2012 to present (July 2018) and delivered the records today (July 3rd).

After they confirm the source of seizure as the engine recall, they will send an application to Hyundai Canada/HQ for an engine replacement. If the application is successful, they will replace it free of charge and provide a rental vehicle while its being serviced. I will update this forum with Gyro Hyundai's response this Friday (July 6th, 2018).

Post Note: I was fond of Hyundai's up until this incident. In fact, I was looking to purchase another Sonata exactly before this took place. If Hyundai will take care of this issue, I will greatly re-consider following through with my initial inclination on purchasing a newer Hyundai.

Update from Sep 5, 2018: Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 Loaner was approved for pickup on July 19th. Application for Engine replacement approved July 27th. Parts arrived early August. Received news today, September 4th, 2018, that my car was ready for pickup. The engine and gaskets were replaced; confirmed upon pickup and inspection. The vehicle seems to be back in normal functioning order. Thank you to the team at Gyro Hyundai for facilitating the procedure.

- Adam S., Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #37

Jul 022018

Sonata V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

Prior to getting on the freeway yesterday, I heard some clicking and knocking noise but no warning lights so I thought I could make it home. I was about 30 miles from home. I was on the freeway for 5 minutes and warning lights came on and my car stalled in a very dangerous spot. I coasted to the shoulder and car completely stopped. I called 911 and they showed up within 5 minutes and stopped the traffic while a metro tow truck got me off the freeway. I WAS TERRIFIED, to say the least. Car was towed by AAA to my mechanic. I received a call from my mechanic about three hours later and he told me that my motor seized and had to be replaced. He said that this is very common with Hyundai Sonata's and he has diagnosed over 20 Hyundai's with this problem. Now on to the next step....contact the dealership.

- Joyce S., Chino, CA, US

problem #36

Oct 172017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,348 miles

My 2012 Hyundai Sonata engine seized while I was driving on 10/17/2017. I was not certain of the engine seizing at the time. Therefore I, pushed the vehicle off the road to the nearest repair shop in the area. On 10/18/2017 got call about the engine seized from Steel city Repair shop in Myrtle Beach SC. My car sat at the location for 2 weeks of me investigating All 2012 Hyundai Sonata Complaints from customers. On 10/30/2017, I contacted the local Hyundai dealership in which at that time I was informed of the Engine Recall. Paid for diagnosis at Steel city $127.00 and paid Gause towing $80 to tow car to dealership.

On 11/2/2017 got a call from Dealership of the seized engine and how they were going to request approval to fix under the Hyundai engine campaign. Needless to say, the engine was installed on 11/16/2017 and now the starter and battery are bad. Apparently the starter will be replaced but the battery is now my responsibility.



- Katrina M., Myrtle Beach, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #35

Aug 072017

Sonata GLS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 154,750 miles

click to see larger images

engine seized

Got the recall notice and it passed the inspection at 124000 miles. Engine started knocking at 154750 miles. Out of warranty so its my problem even though 1.4 million vehicles have been recalled for this problem.

- Phil T., Hemet, CA, US

problem #34

Aug 012017

Sonata GLS 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,254 miles


I was driving my vehicle 45 MPH with my 3 children in the car and the oil pressure light flashed once and then all dash board lights came on and the car completely died and shut off. The vehicle now will not work at all. I was stranded for 2 hours with my children in the hot car until help was available.

- Ada J., Carmel, US

problem #33

Jul 222017

Sonata 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

I was driving home from a trip to the mountains with 4 children in the car with me. The highway became bumper to bumper I decided to get off at an exit. I started to cut over to go up ramp. The car died as I accelerated. I coasted up the ramp, stopping less than half way up the ramp. I was very shaken, thinking what could have happened had the car died in all the traffic.

The car is at the dealer. Pictures have been sent to Hyundai. We are waiting to hear if it is covered by the court ordered extended warranty.

- Jan P., Aurora, US

problem #32

Jul 242017

Sonata ES 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Dealer doesn't know if hyundai will replace engine or not. I had car in to have engine checked under recall and was told everything was good.

- Dorian A., Bisbee, US

problem #31

Sep 302016

Sonata LTD 2.0t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles



- Alan M., Morganville, NJ, US

problem #30

Jan 182017

Sonata GLS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,000 miles

I bought this car brand new from Ed Voyles Hyundai in Atlanta. I've had issues with the tracking in my steering since day one.

My engine seized with the similar descriptions. While accelerating for interstate speed, the engine revved, lights blinked, and the engine stopped. Thankfully I was at the end of the on ramp and could stop safely.

Of course the engine showed now sign of oil, but I did not have any warning lights, low oil lights, or any warning at all.

Get this...my father-in-law's 2012 Hyundai Sonata seized up today. Same description, same outcome.

Ok...Class Action coming!

- Kerry J., Biloxi, MS, US

problem #29

Jul 242016

Sonata Limited 2,4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

I have a 2012 Hyundai Sonata 2012 2.4l turbo engine and i have driven it every day back and forth to work and never got a check engine light or oil light come on. On Sunday after my brother changed the brakes and took it out for a test drive, without any warning the engine just shut off and it is now a great hassle because I am not sure how I will be getting back and forth to work and most likely will have to get another car.

- neilny, Bronx, NY, US

problem #28

Oct 292016

Sonata Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

I have a 2012 Hyundai Sonata 2.0 T . Bought this car NEW. driving to Dr. this morning car cuts off on Freeway. OMG... there was a semi behind me. I lost steering controls. I finally got to side of road thinking this cant be real. its 8:30am. car will not start back up. all lights come on . but no start. IM LUCKY TO BE ALIVE THIS WAS VERY BAD. cars were coming by so fast i couldn't get out of car to raise hood. Police finally showed up and i tried to jump it nothing. Tow truck came tried to jump it and NOTHING. engine would not turn over. I am at disbelief. 37k MILESand my car DIED on freeway. I have never experienced anything like this before in my 30yrs of driving. no indication. JUST STOPPED... IF you have a Sonata please get rid of it because Its a death TRAP. just waiting to happen..I have never been so terrified in my life. Needless to say missed my Dr APPt. probably good thing My blood pressure was off the Chain i'm sure. Had car towed to dealer. Rick Case Honda in Euclid OHIO... waiting on them to Diagnose. after reading reviews HYUNDAI needs to give everyone their money back for these piece of Scrap Iron and Closed their Doors. I will up date later.

Update from Nov 3, 2016: Dealer Called to confirm the engine is LOCKED. they will be replacing Free of charge. I really don want that POS. cant wait to get it back Never buying Hyundai of any kind again.

- Marcy M., Cleveland, OH, US

problem #27

Oct 262016

Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan 2.4L I4 198hp 184ft. Lbs

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,200 miles

I think Hyundai should offer a their full bumper to bumper an any and all items covered in the first year for 10 years / 150000 mi to everyone affected. It is not enough to just extend the drive train after replacing the motor.

- fox9397, New York, NY, US

problem #26

Aug 182016

Sonata Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

I drive 45 minutes to work every day on a open highway between Fort Collins, CO and Cheyenne, WY. The engine could have seized at 80 MPH on the highway and I could have been standed at night on the major highways of Denver. I feel very lucky that instead it died just as I exited the freeway and about a block from the local Cheyenne Hyundai dealership.

Turns out that the engine seized and the starter melted and I had to have Hyundai tow it to the dealership. However, for other reasons I am very much in need of a car and the dealership has only said "your engine could be part of the recall" and said there was a lot of paperwork to fill out and the engines are on back order as they are tied to your VIN number. They said they would see what they could do and did list in the paperwork that I need a rental car. This happened Thursday morning and it is now Monday morning and I know nothing about the car. I have no idea when I may get the car back. A week? Two weeks? A month? When might I get approval for a rental car? There are a lot of answers I don't have and I'm not happy.

- sforand, Fort Collins, CO, US

problem #25

May 152016

Sonata SE 2.0L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

I have had my 2012 Sonata 2.0L Turbo engine for 3 years now. I have kept up with all my oil changes and necessary maintenance. My last oil change was February 19, 2016. On May 16, 2016 my nephew graduated from college with his Bachelor of Arts, I am so proud of him. I digress, the morning of I went to start my car and I noticed the check engine light on which, I thought was weird. So when I started driving to the graduation I kept hearing a purring noise which was concerning. I made it to the graduation which is probably about 10 to 15 miles from my home. On the way back we started to hear a loud knocking along with that purring sound, the car also started to lose power, I was struggling to go up a small incline, which really started to scare me. I drove about another half mile down the road when the car really started stalling out and put putting luckily I was coming up on a gas station and I Pulled in. Once parked the car just shut off and it would not start again. Now I was highly irritated to put it nicely. I open the hood, and check the oil, the dip stick was bone dry. This was most surprising to me because the low oil light never once came on so I was naturally perplexed. Now I don't know much about cars but I know to keep up with oil changes, and I know that my motor sounding like the 4th of July was not a good sign and that knocking sound coupled with the stalling out and loss of power may have meant the engine was shot. The gas station attendant came over to help, I purchased 4 quarts of oil and we put it in the car. The car still did not start. Finally it started and when it did the check engine light was no longer on...hmmmm I thought. the car was purring and the knocking noise was quitter I was about 2 miles from home but I was too scared to brave it, I got a tow home, when the car was placed in my driveway, it thought let me start it and see what happens, I started it and it sounded like gun shots or something, Needless to say I was heartbroken and lost. I cried and thought and cried and thought what the hell happened to my car. How could this happen I kept up with my maintenance. I just could not fathom how this could happen so suddenly with no real warning. I started to Google which is what I do when I need answers, I was super surprise and equally angry to see that there has been a recall for this very problem. I have owned this car for 3 years, and never once did I get a notice about this. I went to Hyundai website and put my Vin number in to see my car was affected by this recall as well as 3 others. I took off the next day to call the corporate headquarters and arrange for my car to be towed to the dealer. Corporate was very nice I spoke to Matt, they opened the claim for me and instructed me to contact the closet dealership. when I gave my Vin number to Matt he said Mr. _ I said, no that is not me, well now I see why I was not contacted about the recall, but seriously what kind of practice is that?? We could have been killed in that car. I contacted the dealership set up for the car to be taken in. My own insurance company provided the tow for me. by 5/18/16 I still did not hear anything so I called the dealer. They stated they didn't have any info ion the car so they didn't look at it yet, by now I am turning red, as when I called Monday I gave all my information at that point, so I already feel like they are giving me the run around. They claim they would get back to me by the end of the day which was yesterday, I still have not heard from them, so on my break today I will contact them to se what is up. Meanwhile I am trying to find rides back and forth to work, while they act like they had no idea about whose car this was or why it was there. I will update this if I can as necessary to inform people of the outcome.

Update from Jul 15, 2016: So, the dealership did contact me the following week and they stated they would start working on the recall problem, they did set me up in a rental car. Its been since May 20th or so since they had my car, and I have not heard any news on when I am getting it back. I will keep everyone updated if anything changes.

- Malinda V., Upper Darby, PA, US

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?