Sector reallocation happens on all hard drives. It's never a good sign. I'm even more worried by the fact that it happens in bursts on your case: it sounds to me like the drive is more even more prone to failing. After all, sector reallocation is a security mechanism: it's there to avoid crashes and prevent failure, not cause them.
Could SATA communication issues cause the hard drive to reallocate sectors?
Sector reallocation occurs when a bad sector is detected: Let's take a look at Wikipedia's article on bad sectors:
A bad sector is a sector on a computer's disk drive or flash memory that cannot be used due to permanent damage (or an OS inability to successfully access it), such as physical damage to the disk surface (or sometimes sectors being stuck in a magnetic or digital state that cannot be reversed) or failed flash memory transistors. -Wikipedia
A little vague, but I can assume that it is possible for a communication failure between the hard disk and the system to end up marking a sector as "bad".
Modern hard drives present a consistent interface to the rest of the computer, no matter what data encoding scheme is used internally. [...] That DSP also watches the error rate detected by error detection and correction, and performs bad sector remapping, data collection for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology, and other internal tasks. -Wikipedia
The hard drive's electronics control the movement of the actuator and the rotation of the disk, and perform reads and writes on demand from the disk controller. -Wikipedia
This roughly means that the hard drive's internal functions are not directly accessible by the controller or the operating system, but only managed by the on-disk controller. One can assume that even a faulty controller could be to blame for the issues that you're facing.
The short answer is "probably, but most likely not". If the on-disk controller can't read a command successfully, it shouldn't do actions that could cause excessive wear on the hard disk.
What should I do?
Unfortunately, you can't open a hard drive and fix an internal failure or fix a motherboard controller at home.
- Despite all of the above, there is still no way of knowing how tightly connected the problem of sector reallocation (1) and the problem of the hard disk not being detected (2) are. If we assume that (1) is irrelevant, an idea would be to clean all the metal contacts involved in its connection with the motherboard using pressurized air and alcohol on a cotton swab. Make sure no cotton is left on the board.
- Be careful when transporting the laptop.
CHKDSK (if you're running a Microsoft OS), or
fsck (if not) regularly.
However, you can't truly have an answer until you swap this hard disk for another; and this is what I recommend, especially if you keep important data on it.
If the hard disk is under warranty, you might even be able to RMA it. The bad sector issues might be covered by the manufacturer, so contact them and explain the problem.
If the new hard disk still fails, the problem is almost certainly on the motherboard end, which from my experience, is less likely.