really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
91,950 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (8 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Owner Comments

problem #10

Mar 202020

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 154,834 miles


Got an oil change in February, when the tech pulled me to the back to show my car had been leaking oil, as you could see the spray on the pan. It was less than 2 weeks later, the oil light starting came on/off while driving. Had the guy at auto store check my oil the dipstick - it came out with sludge on it and it was 4 quarts low. It's now March 20 and my light came on again, this time 3 quarts low. On my way home from work the next day oil light started flashing again. Tried to take off from a stop light and my car struggled to get to 40 mph. I let off the gas and pressed down again and the car started to accelerate like normal. Then while driving at a consistent speed it started to struggle to stay moving. I decided to drive it straight to the dealer that replaced my engine Feb 2019.

Dealer calls me today, the did a new oil change, changed filter, and then test drove my car. Thinking it could be a sensor, they drove it for 30 minutes and the oil light would only flash when car was coming to or at a stop, not while car was moving. Sensor is good - the engine needs to be replaced. Decided to not fix since its not under a warranty. Any car that would be going to need a 3rd engine in 2 1/2 years is a joke and not worth fixing! Car has been nothing but problems. Still owe $6k on this car too. Perfect time, when the world is going insane and people are getting laid off and now I need a new car while still paying off a lemon. Just what a single mom of 2 needs right now. Thanks Hyundai - you never disappoint!

- Mandy W., Waldorf, MD, US

problem #9

Feb 182019

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Check engine light kept flashing and car wouldn't accelerate over 40. Check engine light would go off and car would drive normal. Again I would be driving check engine light would come on and the car would start to feel like it was hesitating to go. Took it to the dealer 4 times over a 2 month time frame and they kept telling me nothing was wrong and the check engine codes didn't show anything. I took it to a different dealer and the engine actually locked up while the tech was driving my car from the parking lot to the garage, but the warranty would only cover up to 8k to replace engine, so a used engine was put in my car.

- Mandy W., Waldorf, MD, US

problem #8

Oct 252015

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,818 miles

This was written to Hyundai October 2015. I spoke to them today hoping it was covered and I could get back the cost of the used engine I had to put in my 4 year old car. No luck. So i'm trying again to see if anyone else had any luck.

October 25, 2015 -- Recently I noticed that my car was making a rattling noise under the hood. Being it was a Sunday and i was on the way to work I could not get it looked at.

Monday night while travelling home at a speed over 100km/hr my car began to slow down. I was not able to accelerate. I safely pulled the car off to the shoulder. Shortly afterwhich the entire car began to fail. All lights turned off. The centre console lights and signals started flickering and it was making an odd repetitive beeping sound. The vehicle was dead and was towed to a mechanics shop.

I discovered that there has been a Recall for 2011/2012 Sonata's issued September 25, 2015:

On certain vehicles, the engine crankshaft may have not have been properly machined to remove metallic debris during manufacturing. If the debris is not completely removed from the crankshaft’s oil passages, it can be forced into the connecting rod oiling passages restricting oil flow to the bearings, increasing the potential of premature bearing wear. If the vehicle continues to be driven with a worn connecting rod bearing, the bearing could fail, which could cause an engine stall while the vehicle is in motion, resulting in loss of motive power which, in conjunction with traffic and road conditions, and the driver's reactions, could increase the risk of a crash causing injury and/or property damage. A worn connecting rod bearing could also result in the illumination of the oil pressure lamp in the instrument cluster. Correction: Dealers will inspect, and if necessary, replace the engine assembly. Hyundai will also increase the warranty for the engine sub-assembly (short block) to 10 years/200,000 kilometers for both original and subsequent owners of 2011 and 2012 Sonatas.

This is exactly what occurred to my vehicle.

Upon speaking to Hyundai they say that my Hybrid is not including although it's a Sonata but a different model. The recall doesn't classify different models just Sonata's and although it's a Hybrid the 'crankshaft' would be the same, just powered by electric and gas.

Has anyone else had this issue.

After arguing with them for months, I had to pay for a used engine for my car by hyundai.

- Neil R., camb, ON, Canada

problem #7

Jun 242017

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,527 miles


Returning from Kansas City to St. Joseph, Missouri, moved into passing lane to pass semi that was having issues, started to accelerate when the car lost all power and acceleration except for the Hybrid Battery which had enough power for me to safely get over to the right shoulder out of the way.

Car hazard lights worked until tow arrived, he shut down the hazard lights to trailer the car. When we arrived at the dealership that has handled all my warranty and recall issues since purchasing the car, he couldn't get the car to unlock. I remembered the key in the keyless fob and we were able to get in but even then the hazard lights wouldn't work.

Today, the service tech called to tell me there isn't enough charge on the hybrid battery to even start the car and since they can't start the car, they can't connect the diagnostics to find out what the trouble codes are. They currently have a call into Hyundai Star center to get more technical support.

I'm not sure if this is the same issue being reported but like others, I received the notice that the car MAY be under recall for the engine issue - had the dealer check on this while I had the car in for an oil change and they declared it ok at that time. Apparently mine has failed sooner than others if it's the same issue.

I will update this complaint as we get more information.

- Diana M., Saint Joseph, US

problem #6

Apr 102017

Sonata Hybrid LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,919 miles

click to see larger images

engine failure engine failure engine failure engine failure engine failure engine failure

Hyundai failure April 10 2017

I had complete engine failure with the radiator cap blown off at 76,919 miles. Dealership has refused coverage stating that they think I did not have coolant in the car. I did do the coolant change and inspection at 65,000 miles and topped off all fluids at 76,000 miles. The first sign I had of a problem that night was a "check Brake" light and "ready light flashing and making noise after 3 hours on a highway at 65 mph. This light alternated with a "check charging system" light. When the warning lights and sounds started, I was unable to drive the vehicle and immediately pulled over. There was little to no power. I had the car towed to Coggins’ Hyundai in Deland, FL for repair. I took a photo of the dash warnings after pulling over and prior to towing. As it turned out, the radiator cap blew off whole engine needed replacing. I noticed online that other 2011 Sonata’s the engine was recalled. Maybe they need to add more VIN numbers and hybrids to the list.

I told Coggin’s Hyundai I had had this peculiar problem with the "Check Brake" light for about a year. The first time I had it towed in but Hyundai did not find anything wrong, as once the car is turned off, it resets and worked fine. The dealership told me if I was to discover the problem I had to bring it in with the light flashing. It was a catch 22 because I could not drive in at idle speed to 10 mph with the “check Brake” and “Ready” lights blinking and beeping, and if I turned it off and back on there was no sign of trouble. I asked the dealer several times what to do, and they said they couldn't do anything. I have also seen other complaints about the "check charging system" lights, even when the car is brand new.

The dealership says the warranty people declined coverage because the dealership’s mechanic guessed I must have not had coolant in the car. They reference a hole in tubing and the blown radiator cap as evidence. However, I took a photo of my dash at 76,499 miles and at 76919 miles (just after pulling over before being towed), as I wanted to document the signals I was getting. On both of these the coolant light doesn't read “hot”. Plus, I had done scheduled maintenance and topped off all liquids.

Over the years my car has had many things wrong with it the dealership could not explain, and this is just one more of them. Many people had problems with the ""check charging system" light right from the beginning. My car is totaled, and its not my fault. The dealership would not provide me with the photo evidence of their diagnosis. They want to charge me for their diagnosis. They would not let me speak to the district manager, or record a call with the service manager. They do not care that I tell them the coolant light reads normal temperature and that I flushed coolant 10,000 miles ago. I believe if there were holes in the tubing they occurred in the same time as the radiator cap blew. I was never notified of any problem with these systems for recall, but many people are finding shavings in the engine causing it to blow, or similar problems with the charging system. The estimate for the engine is $9900 and the estimate for the battery is about $5000. The warranty does not want to cover it.

- Natalie N., Miami Beach, US

problem #5

May 232016

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I was driving my 2011 Sonata Hybrid down a interstate at 75 miles an hour when it stopped accelerating/working. I had my 3 year old daughter in the car with me at the time. I had to swerve to avoid an accident and was able to find a safe spot to park. I waited for 1/5 hours for a tow truck to come. After dropping my car off with the Hyundai dealership I was told my engine seized and I would need a new one for $9,000. This is completely ridiculous. My car has $75,000 and I am the second owner. The recall right now does not include hybrid/Korean made models of the 2011 Sonata, so Hyundai states they will not pay for any repairs. I am perusing legal action in the hopes to have this problem identified. My daughter and I could have been killed, and many other owners are at risk.

- Gayla W., Haughton, LA, US

problem #4

Nov 012015

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


Unbelievable....do not ever buy a Hyundai. They do not take responsibility for anything. 1st owner gets 100K warranty but second owner gets 60K. Known recall on all 2.0/2.4L gas engines but not on the hybrid motor. Oil is contaminated with machine filings from crankshaft. My car has the same issues. What car manufacturer doesn't stand behind the drivetrain. I will never buy another Hyundai again.

- Brian W., Rapid City, SD, US

problem #3

May 172012

Sonata Hybrid Limited 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This 2011 Sonata Hyundai hybrid has been in the shop 20 plus times. Oil leaks which ended up blowing the motor a few days ago. Hyundai said they would install a new motor and lied. They put in a rebuilt motor.

This car has major issues with hesitation and a jerking feel and timing chain has no power while turning into traffic.


- Penny I., Midlothian, IL, US

problem #2

Jun 052015

Sonata Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

My review sounds identical to the rest about the 2011 Hyundai Sonata engine failures. This is my husband's car and he does all the oil changes. Now Hyundai is saying that even though our engine should be replaced under the manufacturers warranty, we have neglected the car. There is supposedly "sludge in the engine" and "flakes of metal in the oil" because he hadn't changed the oil or the filter.

Our story sounds the same as everyone else on here, making me firmly aware that this problem was doomed to happen no matter how many oil changes, vehicle tune ups, or fluid top offs this car would have had. Hyundai really has their dealers programed to do anything they can to not honor a warranty. I just wish we had better records, that part is totally our fault!

- jnp3211, Ellicott City, MD, US

problem #1

Aug 142014

Sonata Hybrid Limited 2,4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Same problem as the rest of you. Driving 30 mph at a cruise, big bang and engine quit. No lights, no warning, oil was full but mostly leaked out on the ground after the loss. Vehicle had 105000 highway miles on it. I am second owner, bought car in 2011 with 3000 miles on it from a Toyota dealer was told car had 100,000 mile warranty. Hyundai told me after the loss that warranty is 60,000 and I was 45,000 out of warranty this they would not offer and goodwill or extended warranty.

I actually contract with extended warranty insurance companies to perform inspections for them at shops. Due to this I get to hear a lot of industry insider information and have been told by numerous techs that this engine problem is well known and they replace engines frequently. I know of a number of dealers that actually stock engines in their parts department due to the frequency of engine replacements. I have also been told that this problem also affects the Kia Optima.

The problem is known to Hyundai techs and though I have never been told of a single reason for the loss, I have heard on several occasions that it is a design flaw in the engine and that Hyundai redesigned the engine starting in January of 2013. I encourage everyone with this car to talk to others, talk to their shops and check in with the class action suit being developed on these cars.

I was told by Hyundai to see if a dealer would work with me to help defray some of the expense, however I had been to every Hyundai dealer in the metro area during the time the car was under warranty and two of them asked me to not bring it back due to all of the problems with it even in those early days and their lack of training from Hyundai. My car had all of the normal recalls and campaigns as well as acceleration and braking problems which could never be diagnosed or repaired by the dealers.

Hyundai rushed these cars into the market and left us to be the beta testers to find all of the flaws, but did not stand behind us to fix those flaws. The sludge problem with these engines is another well known event that has far more to do with the engine design and less with the maintenance. I spoke with a regional rep at a dealership one day and they both denied knowing anything about this problem, but when I went to the parts department I found they had an engine in stock in their parts room.

Most all cars have built in weak spots, but usually they are minor annoyances and small cost, but complete engines at low miles is far abocve any reasonable expectation and Hyundai should be held responsible for all repairs on these cars

- ditto222, Portland, OR, US

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