My Hyundai Sonata won't start, everything comes on when the key is turned but no starting action occurs. Sometimes you can get it to start by rotating the key in a circular motion but not lately.


Asked by Mar 05, 2013 at 07:24 AM about the 2006 Hyundai Sonata

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Car won't start and no noise but everything else comes on.  Been to a mechanic who did a lot of work but it did not change the fact that the car sometimes won't start.  Any ideas?

26 Answers


It sounds like the contacts at the end of the ignition are not closing. They could be dirty. They could be worn. They usually send a signal to a relay. That relay may be bad or have a bad connection. -- You need a schematic, a meter and a knowledge of electrical circuitry to trace the signal through the wires.

29 out of 29 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

Also if/when you get this fixed, if you have 20 keys, a flashlight and a charm on your key ring I recommend you lighten it up. I have had several experiences from ignition switches being ruined that way

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Ron Mayers

Is there a switch on the clutch pedal if so could it be that

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2011 Sonata with a key ignition. I have had problems with the car starting for 18 months. First the Hyundai mechanics told me it was because the tires were not perfectly straight. Hah. Now the light does not turn on to indicate it is in park and until I jiggle the shift until the light does come on it will not start. Was in the shop for a week the first of July and worked for 2 weeks and now in the shop again.

22 out of 22 people think this is helpful.

My 2009 Sonata has been "perfect" with no issues. I took it in to remedy to the two recall issues today (brake switch and crossbar); tune up (spark plugs and fuel injector cleaner); and coolant flush. After 3rd start going leaving dealership, making a stop on the way home, and one more start to go back out for dinner, there were no issues. I brag on m car all the time. I love it. When leaving the restaurant, my car wouldn't start, not even turn over but I did have lights on the dash. Car was in park but we moved it in and out of gear several times while trying to start ( my husband said it had been acting up for about a week and shifting and going back to park allowed it to start.) Called service manager and he told me to check battery connections and voltage even though Hyundai had just performed their several point inspection. The car did eventually start before I had to call AAA. Started fine several more times this evening but I'm untrusting now. I don't want to get stranded, especially this time of year. I'm willing to look into the key ignition idea and welcome any others. Where do I start looking at the contacts? Will I need to remove part of the dash or can I crawl up under it?

38 out of 38 people think this is helpful.
Sean Pang

I'm having similar issues on a 2006 Sonata GLS 3.3L. Took it to the dealer who's mechanic said it was the ignition switch. They wanted $350 to for a $25 switch and 5-10 minutes labor. I changed it out. No change. The car starts consistently if I turn the key and put it in neutral so I'm not worried that I'll get stranded. This also tells me that it is not a battery or starter issue. I believe it has something to do with the shifter contacting the Parked position sensor. That's next. Here is the website for the ignition switch if you want to try it. It is a common cause for this type of issue if your car doesn't start in Neutral as well.

18 out of 18 people think this is helpful.

Also have the 2006 V6 and when the car was around 5 years old, I had the same problem. You turn the key and nothing except the radio and lights but no cranking. It happened every few months. It has been getting worse now. The car is now 8 years old and it happens almost every day. The circuit involves the security system and park/neutral sensors besides the starter, relays, fuses, etc. No one has figured it out and I usually keep it running for short errands. Some of the tricks I have tried are cycling the door locks, trying to start in neutral, and if not then back to park. Up until today, it was totally random if it starts. I had been reading up on similar issues with newer models with the push button start. That problem seems to trace to a bad or misaligned sensor on the brake. It would need to be pressed all the way down to start. Using the same idea on my 2006 thinking the brake petal could be related, I would hold down the brake petal. It has started even time in the last day. A small sample but I hope I am onto something. Previously, I just waited and tried different keys and prayed.

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.

I am having the same issue with my 2009 Azera. First we would make sure the tires were straight(doesn't matter anymore), then we would start in neutral (doesn't work any longer), I will try cycling the door locks. This is clearly a Hyundai defect.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Ultimately, this turned out to be my starter. It finally wouldn't start one day when I was 1.5 miles from the dealer. I had it towed and they were able to take care of it for me right there and then (at about a $400 price tag). At least it's done and I don't have to fear being stranded any longer. I still love my 2009 Hyundai Sonata.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Have a 2011 Sonata. Have had no issues with the car until a week ago. Car wouldn't start when key was turned - no clicking, partial cranking etc. Lights on dashboard, radio, headlights all worked. Left car at restaurant. Came back next day and started right up. Took it to Sears to have battery tested - it tested fine. No issues for three days then same thing again. Tried starting next morning with no luck. Used Hyundai towing service to get car to the dealer, where, of course, the problem went away. They fixed a few minor recall issues and I drove the car home Saturday. Sunday evening problem is back. Monday morning car starts no problem. This is not going to be fun. Have owned numerous Hondas and a VW and never been left stranded like this. Rapidly losing faith in the 1st Hyundai we've bought.

52 out of 52 people think this is helpful.
Elizabeth Bush

My car is currently having some of the same issues we just got it serviced in Georgia (500$ deductible)) for our trip to Chicago with our 3kids now the darn car wont start then it does. Auto zone says the battery is good so now we are stuckalmost 800 miles and 13 hours away from home :(

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

need help with this one, I have a 2009 sonata, the brakes seem to be slipping when car is cold, does not do it rest of day, took it too dealer, they said rear brakes where bad, so had them fixed, it did it again this morning and now is fine, and ideas as what it could be, both front and rear brakes are brand new????

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

After a LOT of forum searching, Google searching, and just talking to Hyundai technicians, the starters on Sonatas are a sore point. For what it's worth, we have a 2011 model. Sometimes it would start, then it just wouldn't. Ran like a champ otherwise. What was originally diagnosed as a weak battery was debunked when I asked them to test the battery in front of me and it put out EXACTLY the cold-cranking amps advertised on the label. When I asked them to diagnose again, they told us it was plug or fuel related. Rather than pay an hourly rate for something that takes 20 minutes, I went home and pulled the coils and plugs...and they looked brand new. Checked the gap and it was in spec. The fuel filter was replaced after the last oil service, so that wasn't worth exploring. After two days of intermittent issues I dropped the car at a different dealership and they diagnosed the starter (armature) as a failure in a half-hour. Covered it under warranty, and was told it was between $500-$700 usually. Technicians there told me its one of the most common jobs they do.

20 out of 20 people think this is helpful.

I have a question i have a 2011 hundyai sonata an have had no problems i pull up to gas station an put gas in it an then get in to crank it and it wont start what could be the problem?

23 out of 23 people think this is helpful.
Don Griffith

Sorry folks but most are wrong if the start is intermittent. The battery in the key is weak. Buy a 2032 battery from Amazon or local and check YouTube for how to replace it. Just went through the same and a new battery for your key will fix it all.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

My father has a 2011 Sonata (uses key) Drove it to Colorado 2 this summer. He drove about 120 miles to St. Louis last Wed. parked car. Had to get back home on Friday, got in the car at 9:am dead. Jumped would start, but take cables off would die. Towed to a local repair shop, friend new the mechanic. Replaced Alternator and battery, $700+. Car is under warranty. Trying to work with Hyundai Warranty, emergency repair. Picked up on Sat. made it back home. Took car to local Hyundai dealer, as radio does not work now. They need to "reset something" about 15 min. Came out after 45 min., car would not start. They would check next day. Still would not start. They would have to put in another alternator, and we would have to pay for this one, too, as it is not the original alternator. I said hold all the presses. We are going to call the other repair shop and see if they still have the original alternator. And there is still no guarantee that this will fix the problem. If I find out that this could just the the key issued above, I will talk my dad into trading in for another car asap. He can not afford to keep paying for something that is under warranty.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2009 sonata when I start it makes a buzzing noise we check the battery it was good atl it was good check my starter they said it was good what should I do

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

Another Hyundai owner we know just ran into the same issue as us. His starter was also replaced under warranty, and the starter armature was the failure point, it's REALLY common. Turns out Hyundai has a TSB specifically for the 2.4 models to address the lever replacement. The mechanic told him at one point they were replacing 6-7 starters a week because the starter lever is plastic. The problem is that the replacement Hyundai issued for the TSB is plastic as well, and due to the replacement isn't likely to fail again until after the warranty expires. Why they would use a plastic part again, after the OEM equipment fails SO much is an enigma to me, but then I realized that's why Hyundai is less expensive than it's rivals because they're willing to spend the labor to replace a cheap part rather than build it right the first time. Another issue that'll leave you stranded in these cars is the brake switch. It's a part that tells the car the brake is engaged. The car won't start unless it detects the brake. They replaced it on his car, because they know it's one of three issues these cars are known for. The plastic starter lever, the brake switch, and a faulty transmission position sensor. If any one of those three components is worn/fails, you'll get the intermittent issues until it gives up the ghost.

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.

I have a Sonata 2006 v6 3.3 with the same issue, some time wont start?? battery and started are ok?? the brake switch was replaced by a recall, afew years, the plastic started lever if is broken it wont work until replace?? the brake switch should work if I press the brake pedal,the transmition position sensor may need ajustment, anybody know how to ajust it?? thank you for you help

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Michelle Grimaldi

I have a 2012 sonata and it won't start .battery is OK my husband thinks is the starter .I bought a new car thinking i wouldnt have mechanic issues so soon so much for that

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I was an electrical designer for 30+ years. My Sonata has a starting problem that appears very similar to ones shown. In analyzing my problem I had a battery charger that would give me battery voltage. I found two things about the problem. 1) I could sometimes get the vehicle to start by running the shifter up and down. I believe this may have reduced voltage drop on old connections allowing the voltage to the final transistor to be high enough to engage the starter solenoid. 2) I found that when I allowed the voltage on the battery to go from abour 12.4 volts to 12.6-7 volts that it would allow the relay to close and the starter would spin without a problem. Both of these solutions suggested an old transistor that had degraded or contacts that have degraded making the voltage to the solenoid to be marginal and not allow it to start. I wish I had a schematic and I could probably find the offending module.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Carol Almgren

My 2006 6cyl 3.3 Sonata has been having starting issues for about a year or so...everyone that has looked at it or has worked on it has changed out the Fuel Pump/Filter...this allows the car to start straight away for awhile but ultimately resumes the same pattern of not starting - SO IRRITATING!! I am going to take some of the suggestions I have read here to my mechanic to steer him in a different direction. Thanks

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2011 Hyundai Sonata with a Push Start Ignition and from time to time it will not start in Park position. All the lights and radio work, so I figure it isn't the battery. I put it in Neutral and for some reason it starts right up, as it should when it's in Park! Then sometimes it starts up normally? I have been doing this temporarily until I can get it looked at and have the funds to take care of the problem. Maybe someone can tell me why this works?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2011 Hyundai sonata and I love it. But I have experienced several issues since I've owned it. First I had a brake issue. The right brake light would stay lit even when I was not pressing the brakes. I had that fixed and soon after I had problems with that same light not working. I thought that it was a bad bulb but it started back working again. And then not again. And then working again ugh. Recently I've been having problems with it starting up. I noticed it did it one a month ago and more often now. All the lights come on but it doesn't start. I'm thinking is the starter like everyone else has said. If I wiggle the gear shift and hold the key it cranks right up!


I have a 2012 Sonata with push button start. It has been having the intermittent start problem for about 6 month. I also had an issue with the cooling fan not stopping an running down the battery so I decided to take it in. They replaced the relay for the cooling fan but said I would have to replace my engine room junction block and wiring harness to fix the starter problem. Price tag was $4523. I got it started and left without doing any other repairs. After a few weeks of the same issue I decided to look at some of it myself. I opened up the junction block and starting pulling relays and when I got to the IG1 relay it was very hot. I swapped it with the IG2 relay (same voltage/amps) and then my A/C panel would not work but it started every time. Looks like I just need a $10 relay switch. A little common sense just saved me $4513.

Chuck Robinson

I fixed this problem, thanx to NICGAL35. Your AAA guy is awesome. I stuck the key into the door and locked then unlocked it a few times. When I removed the key from the door I noticed that the key looked cleaner. My theory is that the oil/dirt/lint/contamination that gets deposited in the groove of the sonatas key is the culprit here. This would explain the intermittentcy of the problem. The other thing is that, if the contamination was on the key, (and can be scrapped off by the door lock cylinder) then some of the debris is likely to be inside of the ignition cylinder, as well. I've yet to address that possibility. Just FYI many HYUNDAI dealerships are probably aware of this issue. I would venture that they have been cleaning the ignition with graphite oil spray, and charging people for what ever part that the customer assumed was causing the problem. Then viola! The mechanic says, "Guess what customer! You were right! When I changed your starter(or any other part), your car started right up!" It only costed $300 Thanx for the simple fix NICGAL35

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