The 6 Most Common Sonata Problems

We've pulled together a list of the problems Sonata owners.

  1. Rodents Chew Hyundai's Soy Wiring

    The wiring in cars used to be coated in a petroleum-based plastic, but recently automakers, including Hyundai, have switched to a soy-based material. The soy is biodegradable and helps keep plastic out of the landfill (yay!). Unfortunately …

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  2. Seat Belts Detatch During Crash

    Cars these days have airbags, sensors, crumple zones, tempered glass, and other safety features. But the OG, and arguably the most important, safety feature is the seat belt. Only trouble is, Hyundai's seem to be detatching from the body of…

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  3. Blue Link Standard Feature?

    Messages that self-destruct and dastardly extortion – it all sounds like the plot to Mission Impossible, right? But it’s actually the story of Hyundai’s Blue Link systems. Pay up, or it’ll blow up ... or at least shut off.

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  4. Hyundai Theta II Engine Knocking, Seizing, and Sludge

    The Theta II is a gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine that is well known for a lot of things and none of them are good. Bearing failure, metal debris riding on contaminated oil, piston ring defects, siezing, knocking, crying.

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  5. Panoramic Sunroof Explodes

    Hyundai refuses to acknowledge that their sunroofs have been exploding under normal driving conditions, but they’re offering plenty of coverage to owners if (or when) it happens thanks to a 2019 lawsuit settlement.

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  6. Hyundai's Self-Peeling Paint

    Hyundai’s self-healing paint is advertised to heal minor scratches using a chemical compound called scratch recovery clear. However, owners content over time that same compound allows the paint to come off in large sheets.

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What Sonata Owners Complain About

Sometimes it helps just to tally up the complaints and see where the biggest stacks are. Use this information to learn about troublespots or to run for the hills.

Worst Topics

Worst Years

Sonata Generations

The Sonata has 7 generations, each with their own issues. Using the same PainRank™ system we've determined that you're better off avoiding the 6th generation (2011–2014).

  1. 8th Generation Sonata

    Years
    2020–2020
    Reliability
    N/A
    PainRank
    N/A
    Complaints
    0
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Sonata
  2. 7th Generation Sonata

    Years
    2015–2019
    Reliability
    45th of 50
    PainRank
    18.44
    Complaints
    277
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Sonata
  3. 6th Generation Sonata

    Years
    2011–2014
    Reliability
    50th of 50
    PainRank
    68.11
    Complaints
    1312
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Sonata
  4. 5th Generation Sonata

    Years
    2006–2010
    Reliability
    47th of 50
    PainRank
    19.96
    Complaints
    384
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Sonata
  5. 4th Generation Sonata

    Years
    2000–2005
    Reliability
    30th of 50
    PainRank
    4.97
    Complaints
    111
    Continue
  6. 3rd Generation Sonata

    Years
    1995–1999
    Reliability
    15th of 50
    PainRank
    1.31
    Complaints
    11
    Continue
  7. 2nd Generation Sonata

    Years
    1989–1994
    Reliability
    8th of 50
    PainRank
    0.44
    Complaints
    4
    Continue

Sonata Key Numbers

  1. 2,100 complaints

    Running tally of owner grievances filed to CarComplaints.com.

  2. 606 service bulletins

    Documenting the process of troubleshooting common problems.

  3. 56 recall campaigns

    Time-sensitive, free repairs for widespread safety problems.

Recent Sonata News

There's a lot of news out there, but not all of it matters. We try to boil down it to the most important bits about things that actually help you with your car problem. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. Tagged
    #investigation
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    More than 1,300 Hyundai vehicles have burst into flames, now the government wants to know why. It’s about time.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was petitioned to look into these non-collision fires last June. The fires are responsible for 26 injuries in Hyundai vehicles and over 100 if you include Kia. The investigation will focus on the Theta II engine, but the NHTSA plans on looking into tail lights and other potential combustion sources as well.

  2. Tagged
    #recall
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Hyundai is recalling nearly 100,000 engines with fuel tubes that were misaligned, improperly tightened, or otherwise damaged during installation.

    This lets gas can spray out onto hot surfaces and is the **perfect recipe for engine fires. It gets worse.

    This was supposed to be Hyundai’s opportunity to right the wrongs of their gasoline direct injection engines with massive oil flow problems. Those engines were notorious for knocking, seizing, and were eventually recalled in multiple campaigns. These were the replacements and now because of an installation snafu they’re catching on fire.…

  3. Tagged
    #investigation
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    What are the odds that your car will set itself on fire without ever being involved in a collision?

    Much higher than you’d think, especially if you’re one of these 3 million Hyundai and Kia owners.

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) has put together a list of vehicles that they say should be taken off the road until a pending government investigation ends with a comprehensive recall.

    CAS says Kia and Hyundai have done nothing but provide empty statements about working directly with vehicle owners who report fires. In addition, both automakers seem to be waiting for NHTSA to conclude its investigation to determine if additional actions should be taken.

  4. Tagged
    #investigation
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Apparently Hyundai’s latest seat belt recall did enough to satisfy the government, who announced they’re closing their recall.

    NHTSA continued the investigation after the first recall because safety regulators believed a better fix should be applied by dealers. Regulators were concerned about how the connectors were built to be removed from the pretensioners when working on the cars. But the connectors could release in a crash if they weren't properly reconnected during maintenance.

    The second recall added a label to the connector with graphics and instructions how to properly lock the connector if someone works on the car. No word on if that label said for the love of everything, don’t forget to put this thing back to together.

  5. Tagged
    #recall
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Back in March, Hyundai recalled 978,000 cars to inspect and fix seat belt linkages and the pretensioner.

    Now those vehicles have been recalled again for the same problems.

    Although the condition of a partially latched anchor pretensioner was fixed through the recall campaign, the condition could potentially happen again if the anchor pretensioner was intentionally disconnected and then improperly reconnected by consumers or repair facilities.

    After the first recall Hyundai and their supplier talked with NHTSA about possible problems from the recall repairs.

  6. Tagged
    #lawsuit
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Hyundai’s “smart trunk” is supposed to open all the way without using keys or pushing any buttons.

    However, a lawsuit alleges that while the trunk unlatches, it never really works as advertised.

    Hyundai has marketed the Smart Trunk as a feature that automatically opens the trunk fully, or at least enough for a person to put large items into the trunk. But according to the lawsuit, the trunks are defective because they fail to open more than a few inches, or sometimes not more than a small crack.

    I never saw the appeal in this feature, especially given its $950-$1,900 price.

  7. Tagged
    #lawsuit
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    A peeling paint lawsuit has fallen apart after a judge’s recent dismissal.

    The judge said this dismissal is with prejudice because the plaintiffs keep repeating the same allegations that were already dismissed.

    In other words, the plaintiffs had their chance and blew it. The original lawsuit alleged that Hyundai’s paint falls apart as the polymers break down and make the paint susceptible to peeling and flaking.

  8. Tagged
    #lawsuit
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Hyundai is being sued for using soy-based wire insulation that attracts rabbits, mice, squirrels and other creatures.

    The Hyundai lawsuit alleges the automaker denies there is a problem by using the soy-based wiring and since no defect exists, any replacement parts will also consist of soy products.

    The soy-based materials are more biodegradable and generally cost less than their plastic counterparts.…

  9. Tagged
    #recall
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Hyundai is recalling 161,000 cars for issues with parking brake switch issues.

    According to Hyundai, the warning light used to indicate when the parking brake is applied may not illuminate due to corrosion of the parking brake switch. This could cause a driver to possibly leave the parking brake engaged while trying to drive the car.

    The affected cars are from the 2015 and 2016 model years.

  10. Tagged
    #lawsuit
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    A pe

    ling paint lawsuit has been dismissed by a California district judge. Whether Hyundai knew the paint was defective was a question because the automaker said third-party websites talked about the problems, but customers weren't complaining directly to Hyundai. In other words, if customers don't complain directly to Hyundai, no one can prove the automaker had prior knowledge of alleged problems.

    This is a terrible argument. Third party websites, like CarComplaints.com, are not only useful for venting. Complaint data is collected, compiled, and shared to other owners who might be having the same problem. Seeing how many others are facing a similar issue can be a catalyst for action.…

  11. Tagged
    #recall
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Federal investigators are taking a look at Hyundai’s handling of Theta II engine recalls to make sure there’s no funny business going on.

    NHTSA says it took action to "investigate both the timeliness and scope of Hyundai's Theta II engine recalls, and Hyundai's compliance with reporting requirements.

    Timely and compliant? Not if you ask this lawsuit. Or this former Hyundai engineer. To date, nearly 1.7 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been recalled.

  12. Tagged
    #recall
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    572,000 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles are being recalled because the Theta II engines can seize at any moment.

    Hyundai says machining errors occurred when the engines were built and those errors can cause the engine bearings to wear out early. Those prematurely worn bearings will cause the engine to lock up, something a dealer will need to fix by replacing the engine short block.

    Hyundai admits that two errors made during manufacturing are responsible for this problem.…

  13. Tagged
    #recall
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Nearly 978,000 Hyundai Sonata and Sonata Hybrid cars have been recalled to fix seat belts that have been detaching from their anchor pretensioners.

    Hyundai and the seat belt supplier inspected the vehicle and the supplier recovered the parts in December 2016. Both companies started internal investigations, but neither has been able to determine what is causing the seat belt failures … The automaker says to ensure the safety of consumers, the recall will include 2011-2014 Sonata and 2011-2015 Sonata Hybrid cars.

    The recall, which covers most of the 6th generation Sonata and Sonata Hybrid, follows an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened earlier this year.

  14. Tagged
    #investigation
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    The government says they can’t find evidence of a safety defect with the electronic parking brake in the 2016 Sonata. They’ve closed their investigation.

    Safety regulators knew that Hyundai had issued a technical service bulletin to dealers in May 2016 about problems with the electronic parking brake systems and NHTSA wanted to know if the proposed repairs did indeed fix the cars.

    The optional electronic parking brake uses an electric motor to push the rear brake pads against the rotors. The brake is supposed to disengage when the transmission is shifted into gear with the ignition on.

    Owners report that the brakes aren’t getting enough clearance after disengaging, causing premature wear and – in at least one case – a fire.

  15. Tagged
    #investigation
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    The feds are investigating why front passenger seat belts are detaching from their pretensioner during crashes involving the 2013 Sonata.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into possible problems with the front passenger seat belts in 2013 Hyundai Sonata cars after two reports were filed concerning seat belts that failed.

    Multiple people have been injured in crashes, as you might imagine.

  16. Tagged
    #lawsuit
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    A Theta II engine settlement for Mendoza v. Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd., et al. has been approved by the court.

    A Hyundai Sonata class-action lawsuit will receive final approval after U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said she sees no problem with the settlement terms and believes the agreement is excellent for Sonata owners.

    Hyundai was accused of concealing defects with their Theta II GDI engines, and the settlement helps owners of the 2011-2014 Sonata with either the 2L or 2.4L variant.…

  17. Tagged
    #lawsuit
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Hyundai motion to dismiss a panoramic sunroof lawsuit has been denied.

    The 2015 lawsuit says the sunroof glass can explode without warning. The judge previously threw out some claims concerning unfair profit but allowed fraud claims to continue. Hyundai then asked the judge to whittle down the lawsuit even more by throwing out claims based on unjust enrichment, a request denied by the court.

    Hyundai also argued claims of an owner who said the vehicle was unmerchantable within the warranty period should be tossed, but the judge denied the request.

    Hyundai has had problems with sunroofs dating back to a 2012 investigation for the Veloster.

  18. Tagged
    #lawsuit
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    A class-action lawsuit accuses Hyundai of failing to meet industry standards with their paint in the 2006-2016 Santa Fe, Sonata, and Elantra.

    The plaintiffs say the self-healing process won't work if the scratch is deeper than a surface scratch, such as a chip in the paint caused by a rock flying off the road and hitting the car. Further, there is a concern that if the self-healing process does not occur, the scratch or chip may cause further breakdown of the paint’s molecular structure, in essence triggering the technology to operate in reverse.

    Hyundai’s “self-healing” paint is advertised to heal minor scratches. A chemical compound called scratch recovery clear contains a polymer which, when exposed to ultraviolet light, becomes molten and fills gaps in paint.

    That sounds great, but the plaintiffs claim that long-term exposure to ultraviolet light eventually breaks the polymers down, turning the paint into an ever-molten state that allows it to peel off in sheets.

  19. Tagged
    #recall
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Hyundai is recalling 470k 2011-2012 Sonatas with 2.0L or 2.4L Theta II engines for knocking, stalling, and potential engine fires.

    The “gasoline direct” engines are the first batch to come from Hyundai’s new engine factory in Alabama. If they keep this up, it might be their last too.

    Hyundai says 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.”…

  20. Tagged
    #lawsuit
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Contaminated oil is carrying metal shavings on a not-so-joyful ride through the Theta II engine leading to knocks, stalls, and eventual failures according to a recent class-action filed by a Sonata owner in California.

    [The plaintiff]_ brought [her] Sonata to a dealership and was told a piston had blown out. Mendoza asked for her car to be repaired under warranty, but the dealership refused to make the repairs. However, the dealer said the engine could be replaced for $4,500. Mendoza said no and took the Sonata to a mechanic and had the engine replaced at a cost of $3,000.

    The plaintiff says she followed Hyundai’s recommended maintenance intervals and there was no reason her engine should have seized, you know other than the whole “doomed from the start” theory.…

  21. Tagged
    #lawsuit
    Posted on
    Source
    carcomplaints.com

    Hyundai is being sued for permanently disabling Blue Link systems if a subscription has been inactive for more than one year.

    The plaintiff claims on or about January 7, 2015, Hyundai notified owners of its Blue Link vehicles whose Blue Link subscriptions had been inactive for more than one year. Hyundai told owners, “If you do not reactivate your Blue Link services by January 28, 2015, your current Blue Link system in your vehicle will be permanently disabled.

    Except, permanent didn’t mean forever if you’re willing to pony up the cash. The Blue Link handbook mentioned that disconnected services could be easily restored for a “nominal reconnection fee.” They just didn’t say what it was.…

What Owners Say About Their Sonata

My driver door handle broke this time. Extremely frustrated. I was carrying several things and literally used my pinky finger to open the door, the door swung open but I heard that horrible snap. I now have three broken handles and have to either leave my window rolled down to open it from the inside or crawl in from the rear passenger side door, though there's apparently a pretty good chance that's going to break too.

This is something that needs to be addressed. There is no way to operate a vehicle if you can not even get inside and this has been happening too often with 2010 Hyundai Sonata. I will not purchase another one of these vehicles again.

Hyundai Theta II Engine Knocking, Seizing, and Sludge

This was the third engine failure for this vehicle and the last. I am not going to go through this again and will slowly drive the vehicle to an auto wrecking site and give it to them.