The Hyundai Sonata is a mid-size car that has been made since 1985. The Sonata is loved by many owners who have not had major problems with it. This is not to say that some people have not experienced frustrating and aggravating issues with their Sonata.
In this article, we will provide information about common problems and issues with the Hyundai Sonata. If there is a recall number, we will tell you how to have your vehicle fixed at no charge to you. We will also offer solutions to the problem so that you can have your Sonata fixed and back on the road very soon.
Sonata has had steering problems, oil consumption issues, engine issues, and suspension issues. The Hyundai Sonata has also had problems with airbags, ABS fire issues, tail light/parking light problems as well as the self-healing paint issue. Other problems are with the accelerator pedal, EGR switch valve problems, and timing belt problems.
There is hope for getting your Sonata problem fixed. Some vehicles have a problem repaired or replaced and don’t have any further problems with their vehicle.
We will tell you about what we found about these issues, along with possible ways to avoid issues with your vehicle. If your Sonata has been recalled, there is no charge for replacing the part because recalls are due to a manufacturer’s mistakes and errors.
Why Is Your Hyundai Sonata Having Problems?
You may not be sure why your Hyundai Sonata is having problems. Cars are complex with many different systems and parts. A professional mechanic will be able to evaluate your Sonata and tell you what is wrong with it. We will tell you everything that we found in this article.
How Reliable is the Hyundai Sonata?
Sonata is a good car that many people love. It gets good gas mileage and it has one of the best interiors in mid-size cars. It is comfortable to drive and to ride in with a good infotainment system. J.D Power rated the Sonata at 80 out of 100.
The repairpal.com website rated the Sonata at 4.0 out of 5.0 for reliability. That rating is 5th out of 24 for midsize cars. It is usually a reliable vehicle that starts and stops when you want it to, and it gets you to your destination most of the time.
Most Common Issues with the Hyundai Sonata
All cars have issues at times, and this includes the Sonata. Here are some of those problems that you may be dealing with:
Steering Issues (Recall Number 1556841)
Steering Issues in the Hyundai Sonata are predominantly in the 2017 model, but Sonata models from 2011-2018 have also experienced some of these issues. Most of these steering problems are shaking of the steering wheel which can make driving very difficult and unsafe.
In 2017 Sonata models and in some 2011-2018 models of this vehicle, the power steering has caused problems. Issues have been complete power steering failure which is a severe safety issue to other difficulties with the power steering.
Here are some possible other causes and symptoms of steering issues in the Sonata:
Tires not aligned or properly balanced are the most common cause of a shaking steering wheel. Worn tires are a sign of improper alignment or balance.
Solution: Have your mechanic or tire shop check your tires to see if they need to be aligned and balanced.
Loose lug nuts – If you have had a tire removed recently and if it was not put back on securely, it could fall off while you are driving.
Solution: Check to see if this tire feels loose and if it is, you will need to tighten it or have someone knowledgeable with tires do it for you.
Do not drive your Sonata until the wheel is tightened.
- Brake issues like a stuck caliper that results in a bad smell when you are not moving in your car. The caliper works with the brake pad to stop your car, but it can make your steering wheel shake if the caliper is stuck.
- Rotors are worn unevenly, especially when you step on the brakes –The rotors should be smooth and even.
Solution: Take your Sonata to your mechanic or to a brake shop to have the brakes fixed.
- Other symptoms may be worn wheel bearings or suspension problems. If your wheel bearings are worn, you will notice a different feel when driving around a corner. Suspension problems can be bad springs, shocks, or other suspension issues.
Solution: Take your car to your mechanic to have the wheel bearings and the car’s suspension checked.
There have been other problems with recalls for the Sonata that will be discussed below.
Oil Consumption Problems (Class Action Suit)
The Hyundai Sonata has issues with oil consumption problems in some models, particularly with 2015, 2016, and 2017, and with some 2018 models.
Here are some of the symptoms of oil consumption problems in the Sonata:
- Needing to put oil in your Sonata far too often
- Oil moves from where it should be to the combustion and exhaust systems and damages them.
- Engine parts wear out quickly and engines need to be rebuilt or replaced.
- Engine loses power during acceleration
- Check Engine Light comes on
- Smoke coming from the exhaust
There are some solutions to this problem that we will now discuss. These are the following:
- Replacing the Sonata engine
- Repairing the engine parts that are affected by oil leaks or by vehicles having low oil levels
The cost to repair this problem is about $5,100 and up.
Engine Issues (Recall Number 15V568000)
Any car can have engine issues including your Sonata. Here are some symptoms of possible engine issues that you may have:
- Smoke coming from engine
- Check Engine warning light comes on
- Engine stops when driving. This could cause serious injury or loss of life.
- Vibrations followed by a sudden loss of power
- Knocking noise when you drive
These are serious and dangerous problems when they occur with your Sonata. Hyundai issued a recall for engine problems in 2020. Here are some solutions for you if your car has not been recalled for engine problems:
- Hyundai issued a recall in 2020 for 2011 and 2012 Sonatas. Hyundai will inspect and fix engine problems and extend the owners’ vehicle warranties to 120,000 miles. If your Sonata has been recalled, make an appointment and take it to your Hyundai dealership. There is no charge for a recall that is due to the error of the manufacturer.
- Hyundai also recalled 2013 and 2014 Sonatas for premature bearing wear. These models had the same problems as 2011 and 2012 Sonatas.
The recall number is 17V22600 for 2013 and 2014 Sonatas relating to premature wear on the bearings in the engines.
There are other engine issues that Sonata owners have experienced. They will be discussed below, along with possible solutions.
Problems related to the Sonata engine may be minor, such as spark plus problems because they need to be replaced or a dirty air filter. Replacing the filter often resolves the problem.
Dirty oil or low oil levels can also cause problems. These issues are often easy to fix by adding oil or having the oil changed.
If your Check Engine light has come on, this could indicate gasket issues. Your mechanic can check the engine sealant and gaskets.
There are other engine problems that you can solve by having your mechanic examine your Sonata.
Suspension Issues (Recall Number 09V124000)
Your Sonata (and even your Hyundai Tucson) may have a suspension issue if it is a model made between 2001 and 2004. There was also a recall on 2009 vehicles that will be discussed below. Here are some symptoms of suspension issues to check for in your vehicle:
- Visible corrosion on the rear springs of your Sonata
- Noise and tire misalignment
- Steering pull
- Return your Sonata to the dealer for repair if you have received a recall. Hyundai will replace the sub-frame free of charge.
- Your mechanic or tire dealer can align your wheels and diagnose the cause of the noise. This should help steering problems as well.
2009 Models with Suspension Issues have been recalled. The Recall Number is 13V354000. The 2009 Sonata has had similar suspension problems to 2001-2004 models.
It will cost up to $1,600 including parts and labor to replace the sub-frame.
Airbag Problems (Recall Numbers 08V568000 and 18V137000)
Many models of Sonatas have had airbag problems, and your vehicle may be included in the models 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2005-2008.
Almost 400,000 Sonata models from 2005-2008 were recalled for faulty airbags. The same number of vehicles (400,000) made in 2011-2013 were recalled for airbag problems.
Here is more information about each of the recalls:
2005-2008 Model Recall Number 08V-161000
- Airbag inflated when vehicles went off-road at very low speeds such as 10 MPH
- Another problem was that airbags did not inflate during higher-speed crashes
- Occupant Classification System (OCS) did not work properly in the front passenger seat. This was due to the light weight of the front passenger.
Hyundai fixed airbags in these vehicles that came in for repair. Call your Hyundai dealer if you have a recall on your 2005-2008 Sonata.
2011-2013 Model (Recall Number 18V137000): Airbags failed during crashes resulting in grave danger to vehicle occupants. This was caused by electrical overstress. The airbags will be repaired at no charge if your vehicle has been recalled.
Steering Problems (Recall Number 10V457000)
Some 2011 Sonatas have been recalled for steering problems. If you have had difficulty with steering issues, check to see if your Sonata has a recall and make an appointment at your dealership.
This recall is related to a loss of control or the inability to steer your vehicle properly.
Hyundai dealers will repair or replace the steering column shaft and update the power steering software free of charge if you have this recall.
Hyundai issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) and they will realign your Sonata for free if you take it back to your dealership.
It costs from $500-$650 to replace the complete steering system.
Tail Light/Parking Light Problems (Recall Number 1109821 and 15V759000)
Over 300,000 Hyundai Sonatas have been recalled due to tail light and parking light issues. Here is some information to help you know which Sonatas models have been recalled:
- Models from 2011-2013 were recalled for rear tail light failure. This light failure was due to part of the light assembly melting. Dealers replaced light components on the rear tail light. Around 466,109 vehicles have been recalled because of this problem. If you have received a recall notice, call your dealer to make an appointment for your rear tail light replacement.
- Some models of 2011 and 2012 Sonatas have been recalled because of a brake light issue. 305,000 are involved in this recall because their brake lights will not turn off. Brake lights stay on even when the vehicle is shifted from Park to Drive and the driver has not touched the brakes.
If you have received a recall notice, the Hyundai dealer will replace your brake pedal stopper pads with a better pad.
The cost to have these pads replaced costs between $150 and $300 per axle, including parts and labor.
ABS Fire Issue (Recall Number 18V026000)
If you own a 2006 Sonata and your ABS light frequently comes on, it is important to have your vehicle checked for an electrical short. This electrical short within the ABS module may result in an engine compartment fire even when the car is turned off.
Symptoms may be your brakes locking up and the ABS light continually coming on. Take your vehicle to your Hyundai dealer to see if you have an electrical short in the ABS module or a brake caliper problem. Almost 90,000 Sonatas have been recalled due to ABS fire issues.
The cost of repairing an ABS electrical short is about $300.
Self-Healing Paint Issue
Some Sonata owners of 5th and 6th generation vehicle models between 2006 and 2014 have had problems with the paint on their cars.
Hyundai advertises self-healing paint as having the capability of healing small scratches. It has not done what it is supposed to do but is causing some models to have paint come off in large sheets.
There was a lawsuit again Hyundai that was dismissed by a California judge in 2017. Hyundai will not fix the paint for Sonata owners but says that self-healing paint is only meant to fix minor damage to the paint, which sometimes peels down to the primer.
Paint repair depends on the extent of damage to the car. It can cost up to $1,500 to have your Sonata repainted.
Accelerator Position Pedal Sensor Problems
All modern vehicles have sensors that control the car and provide a comfortable, smooth ride. The Sonata 2007-2009 models have had some problems with the accelerator position pedal sensor. Here are some symptoms of a problem with the accelerator position pedal:
- Your Check Engine light comes on.
- Your Sonata won’t go faster when you step on the accelerator pedal.
- Low gas mileage
- Your car idles in a rough manner.
Your mechanic can calibrate the pedal for you.
The cost of an accelerator position pedal sensor is around $50-$200 plus about $100 for labor.
EGR Switch Valve Problem (Recall Number 20V746000)
The 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has had some reported problems with rough idling in this model.
The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) is defective and may cause an intermittent rough-running engine with vibration. Here are some solutions to this problem:
Solutions to the EGR Issue:
- If you have received a recall notice for your Sonata’s EGR valve, make an appointment at your dealer to have the valve replaced.
- You can test the valve yourself if you do not have a recall notice. Older model cars have valves and are vacuum-type devices that are present in vehicles up to the late 1990s.
- Newer EGRs are computer-based and use a diagnostic tool to test the EGR.
- If you are not handy at working on cars, have your mechanic test the EGS to see if you have an issue such as a rough idle
Timing Belt Problems
Various models of Sonatas have had timing belt problems. These years included thirteen model years of Hyundai Sonatas. The symptom is a loud noise when starting the car.
Timing belt tensioners have been found to be the problem, and you may need to have your car’s timing belt tensioner replaced.
The cost of replacing the timing belt tensioner is from about $88 to $111.
What Years Did the Hyundai Sonata Have Problems?
All vehicle brands have models that have more problems in some years than they do in others. Here are the details on the 2011-2013 models that have more problems than in other years.
Worst Years for Sonata
2011 Model – This model had more recalls than any other Sonata model for a total of 14 recalls. Some were serious and dangerous such as steering issues that could lead to a loss of control of the vehicle and a possible crash. Another dangerous issue was the Sonata stopping while driving. This could be very dangerous, especially on the highway. This model also had airbag failure.
2012 Model – This year had 7 recalls including seat belt and airbag problems. Detaching of the shift cable can result in the transmission not knowing what your last shift was intended to do. Your Sonata could roll or move, causing injury to others and property. There were also fuel pump outlet leaks and connecting rod bearing failures. There was also a stuck brake switch plunger.
2013 Model – This model had 8 recalls and some of them were serious, involving seat belts and airbags. Others were related to the fuel system or to the engine.
Sonatas also had good years which we will explain:
2002-2005 Models – These years of Sonatas were less problematic than the models explained above. They had fewer recalls, so fewer vehicles were affected. Body and paint problems were present in some years, as well as issues with seat belts and airbags.
2019-2022 Models – The 2019 Sonata is loved for its stylish shape and easy handling. All of these models have great gas mileage at 33 MPH combined rating.
Here are three recent recalls that you may want to check to see if your Sonata is included in them:
22V746000 – Loss of drive power increases the risk of a crash so dealers will inspect and replace transmissions if needed.
21V524000 – The windshield in some 2021 Sonata models may not stay attached to the rest of the vehicle during a crash. Hyundai will fix this problem.
21V524000 – Problems with the fuel system were found in some 2021 Sonatas. A fuel leak increases the risk of fire. Dealers will replace the fuel pipe free of charge.
Check to See Whether Your Vehicle Has an Open Recall
Checking to see if your Sonata has an open recall can be completed online. Simply enter this web address:
Log onto this website and have your VIN number ready to enter. It is a 17-digit number that can be found on the lower left side of your windshield. Enter the VIN number and your vehicle’s make, model, and year.
Your VIN number identifies your particular vehicle, and this website will notify you of any recalls on it
How Is It Compared to Similar Cars?
Here is how the Sonata compares to other cars that are a lot like it in price and design.
Honda Accord – The 10th generation Accord was introduced in 2018. It has slightly more legroom and a larger trunk than earlier models. The Accord also has many safety features including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors.
It is highly rated by owners even though it has had its share of recalls. The starting price for the Accord is $26,520.
Kia Optima – The Kia Optima is a front-wheel drive vehicle with an automated six-speed transmission. The Si model starts at $33,290 and has added legroom and headroom to earlier models. It is a mid-sized sedan with enough rear seat room for someone who is very tall.
Some models include heated seats and wireless mobile phone charging.
Mazda 3 – The Mazda 3 has a 5-star rating for safety and a quiet engine. Safety features include lane-keeping assistance, front and back airbags, and traffic alerts.
The Mazda 3 has a Skyactiv-G engine that combines a hybrid system. The starting price is $36,990.
What Is the Life Expectancy and Mileage?
The life expectancy and mileage you can expect from a Hyundai Sonata is 200,000 to 300,000 miles. It will last between 13 and 15 years, depending on how well you follow the maintenance schedule for your vehicle.
Is It Worth Buying Used?
Yes, the Sonata is well-liked by most owners and it is a reliable vehicle. There is an 11% chance that a repair will be a major one whereas other mid-size vehicles are close a 12% chance of having a major problem.
Buying a Sonata used vehicle makes sense since new cars depreciate thousands of dollars when driven off the lot. That means that you can buy a Sonata that is one or two years old and get your car for much less cost than a brand-new Sonata.
Used Sonatas usually have a long life left in them since they last for so long. Make sure that the maintenance has been followed according to the manufacturer’s suggestions and you can rely on your used Sonata.
What Is Good and Bad About the Car?
Here are some things that are good and bad about the Sonata. We will discuss the good things first:
- The Sonata is fuel-efficient with 23-28 mpg in the city with 33-38 mpg on the highway.
- Great warranty at bumper-to-bumper 60,000 5-year warranty
- Interior is stylish with many features heated front seats, and a driver’s seat that can be adjusted 6 ways.
- The Sonata has a low starting price at $24,950.
- It also has a stylish cabin with many technology features.
Here are the bad things about a Sonata:
- Rear seats are not comfortable according to a survey of 2022 Sonata owners.
- The Sonata’s fuel mileage is low compared with other cars similar to it.
- Owners reported that the Sonata’s ride was not as smooth and comfortable as in comparable cars.
What Do Owners Say About the Car?
Here are some reviews from customers regarding their Sonatas:
“Great car! Got the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Limited. The car is loaded with technology, all the bells and whistles! Like driving a Lexus with all the options at a much lower cost. Beautiful styling inside and out. Drives great!” – Geoff G.: February 10, 2021 Via Edmunds.com
“I bought a Hyundai Sonata sport 2.0T. After it reached 110,000 miles, it had a problem with oil consumption. I have to buy a new engine that is over $9,000. I would never recommend this car.” – Milton: August 24, 2022 Via consumeraffairs.com
“Shout out to the guys at South Point service department. Stopped by without an appointment to get help dislodging my car key out of the transmission. The guys teamed up and got my key out for me in only a few minutes. They were super kind, very knowledgeable, and sensitive to my situation.” – Cheryl: February 1, 2022 Via consumeraffairs.com
Many people drive their Sonatas without any major problems or issues. Unfortunately, there are some models that have had many problems. Often, after the problems are fixed, the vehicle may drive well for many years. The Hyundai Sonata has a lot of positive points and they outweigh the negatives for most drivers.