pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
89,800 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (9 reports)
  2. replaced with brand new transmission (1 reports)
2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Owner Comments

problem #10

Jun 042021

Sonata Hybrid Limited 2.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,206 miles


The car is still at Hyundai Dealer after 17 weeks - and I've been without a car.

Hyundai Canada accepted to replace the motor because the hybrid system has a warranty until 160,000 km

They replaced the motor with a motor that looks OLDER than the defective motor. They said that the relay had to be replaced = 2000$ They said that the battery had to be replaced = 175$ They said the several wires had to be replaced = ??? The total bill is 2900$ + AND they told me that the transmission needed to be replaced???

I refused to drive the car out of the dealer. There is loud grinding noise coming from the motor.

Very disappointed.

- G M., Winnipeg, MB, Canada

problem #9

Jul 252019

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Here's the poop, my daughter (a college student) was driving her car for a couple days at the beach prior to starting her senior year in college. Her car started knocking, she called me and while I was talking to her the hybrid system failure alarm went off. She parked her vehicle and had it towed to Lee Hyundai in Goldsboro, N.C. They diagnosed engine failure with an estimate of between $6200 and $8000 to replace the engine with a used engine.

There is currently a recall concerning the 2.4 liter engine manufactured by Hyundai that is used in their Sonatas, but "not my engine." And today I find out that several executives at Hyundai have been arrested in Korea concerning cover-ups concerning possible flaws in the manufacture of their engines.

All I want is for Hyundai to step up and admit that this engine was defective. Either way, I'm buying my daughter ANOTHER car less than 2 years after I bought this one. FYI, I went over the car with a fine tooth comb the day prior to her leaving and there was nothing externally wrong, fluids were fine, tires looked good, etc. I've contacted

Hyundai corporate, but have only gotten a "thanks for the email" automated reply. This is my first and last Hyundai that I will ever own.

Bottom line is DON'T BUY HYUNDAI!!!

- Jeff R., Siler City, NC, US

problem #8

May 252018

Sonata Hybrid 4DR Sedan FWD A6 2.4L Gas/Electric Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,800 miles

I bought a 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid from CarMax in Norcross, GA 2 years ago. It has been a great car for the time I've had it, BUT...the last couple of days when I have put the car in REVERSE it starts to roll, and then all of a sudden it feels like the engine seizes and jumps backwards. Same thing happens when I put it in DRIVE. Tried to drive it and it is good at a low speed only.

Pulled back into my parking spot and had AAA come tow it Jim Ellis Hyundai dealership in Chamblee, GA. After searching the Internet and finding these posts about the engine, it seems like there are a lot of other 2012 Hyundai Sonata owners who are experiencing the same problem with their engine.

I did see that the basic Hyundai warranty is 5 year/60,000 miles. Since I am right under 60,000 miles I am hoping that they will fix it in the warranty, but I am no clue. Will update once I hear back from the dealership.

Update from May 30, 2018: I got the car towed to the Jim Ellis Hyundai Atlanta dealership at night. They called me the next morning and told me that my transmission was completely shot. They called Hyundai corporate and got approval to put in a new transmission for FREE under the extended warranty. They had 1 transmission in stock at the dealership and got it done for me in one day! They were really great and helped me with everything flawlessly. The notes from the dealership stated that the cause was "metal found in the transmission"...this is consistent with the recalls and other complaints. I only have 58,800 miles on it, but now it runs like a brand new car...better than the day I bought it. Incredible.

- nickgubi, Atlanta, US

problem #7

Apr 012017

Sonata Hybrid 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles


I was approx. 2.5 hours from my house when my car started making a whipping sound. At first, I thought I may be dragging something. Then all of a sudden it just warned me to turn the car off. I pulled over and sat for a few minutes. I then started the car again and it shut itself right off. I sent it to a local shop who eventually said they couldn't fix it and it would need to go to a dealership. A few days later, the dealership gave me the bad news. They quoted me close to 8k to fix the engine. USAA did a quote for me close to 5k. I have yet to fix it as I cant afford to pay 5k on a car that's barely worth 8k and I owe 12k. I just reached 100k miles so the warrant doesn't apply (though it seems that Hyundai doesn't stick to their end of the warranty anyways). I find it hard to believe that all these 2012 Hyundai Sonatas are having engine recalls, yet the Hybrid doesn't get a recall. However, when I call to see if they have the engine I have to say its a gas engine as that's what USAA quoted me at. So if we have a gas engine then why don't we fall under this umbrella?

- , Omaha, NE, US

problem #6

Aug 082017

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,800 miles

Our Sonata Hybrid gave us no warning of this problem. We were driving through a shopping mall parking lot, running on electric power when the siren went off and got a message of Hybrid System Failure. We parked at the nearest stall and waited a few minutes with power off. We tried to restart after a while and got the same alarm immediately. The dealer received the car in a flatbed, looked at it and announced the gasoline engine had failed, had seized up. That dealer is the one that had done oil changes in it, and had done one recently. The diagnostic was that the electric system was attempting to charge by running the gasoline engine, the I4 2.4L Theta II and, unable to turn it, sounded the alarm. This car is five years old and about 104,000 miles, the repair bill estimate is $4,000, which includes 16.0 hours of labor for the engine changeover.

- Ben P., Springville, US

problem #5

Aug 012017

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,000 miles

The dealership said there was a recall on these engines, but not mine. Funny... I'm having the exact same problems as the cars on the recall. Now I have to buy an engine. Not funny.

- driver70, Menifee, US

problem #4

May 122016

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


We were leasing the 2012 Sonata Hybrid and the lease was up in July so we were planning to trade it in and lease a new one then. My stepmom died unexpectedly on Mother's Day so we had to drive from Colorado to Missouri for the funeral. We took the Sonata since it was the most reliable vehicle (ha) AND we were only at 45,000 miles so we were way under the mileage allotment on our lease. A few days after we got there the engine started making a funny noise when we went to get dinner. We parked it immediately and called Hyundai the next morning to have it towed to the nearest dealership, which was Suntrup Hyundai in St. Louis.

We were rather busy with the funeral and had transportation available so I didn't worry about it too much. My assumption was I would pay for a repair, or if it was bad enough it would be covered under warranty. After all, it was less than 4 years old with only 45,000 miles on it and we had kept it maintained, knowing it was a lease.

Much to my surprise not only had it blown the engine but they MADE US PAY FOR AN ENGINE REPLACEMENT before we could turn it in on the lease. We offered them maintenance records but Hyundai made the decision to deny the claim before they ever got the records. I called them to ask how to fax them in and they told me "Don't bother. We have already made our decision." I finally convinced them to at least let me fax the maintenance records in and I gave them my mechanics phone number. To their credit they examine they did call him, then they denied it again.

The reason they did not cover it under the warranty was they claimed we had not properly maintained the vehicle. Despite the records and the conversation with my mechanic. Oddly enough my mechanic had previously voiced some concerns to us a few times about the oil consumption - but the oil light never came on and there were no obvious issues so we didn't think too much about it. Until the engine seized.

We were told we had to pay for a new engine as we had to turn in a running vehicle at the end of the lease. We fought it as long as we could, with multiple people in the Hyundai Corporation. Since our car was being held at the dealership ultimately the choice became pay for the engine, buy the car, or ruin our credit. We paid for the engine. It cost us $7,000. Then we had to buy out on the lease for another $790.00.

When our car was towed to Suntrup Hyundai we were assigned to Service Technician Tim McCarthy, who helped us through the entire procedure. Tim was the only bright spot in the entire process. He was kind, patient, helpful, understanding and thoughtful. While we were trying to get this taken care of Tim let me know he had another 2012 Sonata Hybrid that was towed in a few months earlier that only had 24,000 miles on it and her engine had done the same thing. Hyundai made her pay for the engine replacement as well. Are you kidding me with this?? Even if she never changed the oil should an engine blow at 24,000 miles EVER? For any reason? To add insult to injury she had 2 mechanics in her family. Do you really think her brothers would not help her keep that car maintained?

Once this happened to me I started researching my car online and there was complaint after complaint on my car. Wouldn't you know the 2012 Sonata Hybrid had the most complaints? Great.

The first site that came up was www.carcomplaints.com which reports 11 engine failures in 2012 Sonata Hybrids. The stories are all similar to mine - Odd oil consumption noted but no real issues to report and with no oil light or check engine lights coming on ever. None of my warning lights came on ever, even when it was being towed. Shouldn't a warning light have come on at some point if I were having oil issues?

The same site had a post by David A. Wood from Recalls in regards to a recall for Sonatas and Accents. On September 25, 2015, Hyundai issued this statement in association with the recall. "Manufacturing problems could have left metallic debris around the engine crankshaft and cause problems with oil flow. The pieces of metal could interfere with the oil flow through the connecting rod bearings and damage the connecting rod." Could this be the original issue causing the oil issues we have had? Hyundai maintains we did not properly maintain the oil, which we know we did. Therefore the only conclusion I can draw at this point is that this appears to be Hyundai's solution to not having to pay for defective or inferior materials or workmanship on their vehicles. It simply shifts the liability to the consumer. Nice.

Hyundaiproblems.com reports the 2012 Sonata Hybrid as the worst Sonata Hybrid from 2011-2016. The most common issues noted on that site was Sonata engine failure. This is starting to sound familiar at this point. How can Hyundai continue to say there are no issues with this make, model and year?

According to reference.com: Each year and model of Hyundai is very different, but looking at its mid-priced, mid-size family sedan option, the Sonata, there are issues that have been reported consistently over the years, and several of these have resulted in factory recalls. One example of this is from between 2011 and 2014, when the engine seizing was the most common complaint, according to carcomplaints.com.

These complaints go on and on. How can Hyundai continue to ignore these obvious issues and hold the consumer accountable?

The sad thing is I have owned Hyundai's for over 20 years and I will now never own another one. What good is a 100,000-mile warranty if you don't cover the defects? And these are defects. Why not give consumers a lifetime, transferable warranty? It sounds much better than a 100,000-mile warranty AND since Hyundai apparently doesn't pay for their defects it's all good. They won't lose any money, really.

Well, actually they will. As I said, I will never buy a Hyundai again, despite the fact that we were a Hyundai family for years. So I went out the day after they told me we had to pay for the engine and we got 3 new cars: A 2016 Jeep Renegade for me, a 2016 Dodge Dart for my husband, and a 2016 Jeep Cherokee for my daughter-in-law, all in the same day. Then my son got a 2016 Honda 3 days later. Hyundai had no idea we were all in the market for a car when they did this to me so they did lose 4 sales now and countless sales later.

The only thing I can say at this point is buyer beware. As I previously said I have owned Hyundai's for over 20 years, both new and used, and my son's first car was a Hyundai Sonata. Now none of us will ever own another one again and I would strongly advise anyone considering buying a Sonata Hybrid to keep looking. Otherwise, you need to keep a detailed journal of all maintenance, any issues, no matter how slight, note if there are no warning lights or too many warning lights, and get all of your maintenance done at a dealership. That way you MIGHT have a shot at getting any defects on your car fixed.

Otherwise, you could find the money you were saving for months to get new windows in your home suddenly just gone. That's where I got the money to pay for that engine. Now I get to start saving all over again and I get to go through another Colorado winter with bad windows. If I didn't have Rheumatoid Arthritis it wouldn't be such a big deal but the cold weather makes me hurt more and I was looking forward to not being in so much pain this winter. Thank you, Hyundai. I hope it was worth it.

Update from Oct 18, 2018: I'm just wondering if there will be a class action lawsuit on this issue? Why did Hyundai settle the lawsuit for the 2012 Hyundai Sonata and NOT include the hybrid Sonata? What gives?

- Ruby D., Westminster, CO, US

problem #3

Apr 202016

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,585 miles

Purchased the 2012 Hyundai Sonanta Hybrid pre-owned vehicle May 17, 2014 with 17128 miles on it. This is the history of the ‘check engine’ lights:

05/26/14 – mileage 54114 – Said the evap purge valve was leaking.

11/13/15 – mileage 63071 – Said there was a past code for a misfire and was no longer active

12/02/15 – mileage 64087 – Said the spark plugs have carbon build up.

04/20/16 – mileage 71585 – The check engine light came on while driving, engine made loud noises – had towed to Hyundai – engine needs to be replaced

Update from Mar 17, 2017: The engine had seized. Hyundai in our town of Fresno, CA said they would have nothing to do with it because we did not do the services there (even though we had a history of all services completed through the Carmax dealership where the car was purchased). Hyundai corporate said they would do nothing because the class-action lawsuit did not cover the hybrid we purchased. Eventually, Carmax stepped up and we negotiated a solution that allowed us to receive a rebuilt engine so we have a car that works now. I have nothing but good things to say about Carmax and would never purchase anywhere else again. The Hyundai was out for almost 6 weeks being repaired. No problems since.

- sandkweldon, Fresno, CA, US

problem #2

Sep 252015

Sonata Hybrid 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

I bought the car new from Lee Hyundai of Goldsboro NC. I had this dealership service the vehicle (oil change +) every month at the dealership for the first 80K. On several occasions I had to return the car to the dealership because the dipstick indicated severe over filling (4.8 qts.) The oil on the dip stick was over one inch above the full mark.

The dealership service manager apologized took the car back and I assume let some oil out. We checked the level afterwards and a couple of times they needed to let more out. The next 40,000 miles was done at a local car service center. They had the same issue with over filling that I had to watch out for as well. I have the oil changed every month as I drive the car about 4000 miles a month. On the way home from work (9/24/15) about 50 miles into my commute the engine started clicking/ticking. Later the clicking became louder so I drove it to the dealership.

NO WARNING LIGHTS EVER CAME ON THE DASH until the next morning 9/25 at the dealership when I met with the service manager. This car should not have failed because it was very maintained. Hyundai is not offering any relief as they have stated, "the car is not in the current recall campaign and the car has excessive mileage." I have been quoted $5800 for a used engine swap from a wrecked vehicle. Who in their right mind would think that's a smart viable option?

I was also told that the cost of a long block repair would be around $10 grand and the dealership would eat the most of the cost and do it for $3500. Really? The average cost for this type repair is $3200 to $4000 depending on the make and model of car so they're not eating anything. Hyundai has a problem that they don't want to own up to and fix. They want to blame it on a machine in an American factory but the truth is most of these issues boil down to human error somewhere.

I'm betting that there is a problem with the "dipstick" or the "dipstick sleeve." If it is a bad dipstick or dipstick sleeve then all of these car engines never stood a chance and Hyundai should have to pay for their incompetence not the consumer.

Update from Jan 28, 2016: Lee Hyundai of Goldsboro stepped up to the plate and assisted with the cost of the repair, provided a loaner, and warranted the repair 12/12. Final out of pocket cost $2500. Unfortunately Hyundai USA rejected to assist in any way. I recommend this dealership and their staff because of their willingness to cover part of the cost of the repair and their customer service through the process.

- svfowler56, Pink Hill, NC, US

problem #1

Dec 152014

Sonata Hybrid ES 5 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,500 miles

Was driving vehicle on Friday and heard a light knocking noise. I waited until Monday so I could bring the car into the dealer because it is still under full warranty. When I drove the car I could feel the loss of power but I was able to make it to the dealer. The first thing service did was pull the dip stick,and he told me there was not a drop of oil on my dipstick. I told them that not one warning light ever came on, no check engine, no check oil, how was I supposed to know there was an issue with the oil? I had had the oil changed about 2,000 miles prior to this and the oil change place did not express any issues.

For the last few months I was driving the car, no warning signs ever came on. When my tires are low of air a warning light comes on, when my windshield fluid was low a warning light came on, but for this, nothing. The dealership said they have to investigate the problem. About 1 week later I got a call saying that Hyundai would not cover my claim because it was my fault that regular maintenance was not carried out. I told them I did regular oil changes and was able to produce the receipt from 2,000 miles ago. They told me Hyundai made the decision and gave me a case #. I called Hyundai and explained what had happened and I was told that their office neither accepts or denies claims and that these decisions are made by the management of the dealership.

This is about my 7th leased car I have owned,and I never had an issue with any of these leases within the warranty period. The other vehicle I drive has 165,000 miles on it and it has been well maintained like all my vehicles and has never had a problem. If I heard a knock in my engine and a check engine light had come on I would have had my car towed to the dealership as not to cause any further damage. I never had that opportunity,and I have free towing.

- Eric S., Highland Mills, NY, US

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