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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
114,259 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Hyundai Santa Fe engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments

problem #14

Nov 072015

Santa Fe

  • 190,000 miles


My 2002 2.7 Santa Fe reved way up spontaneously tonight. I banged gas pedal repeatedly with foot but did nothing. As I approached stoplight brakes would hardly stop the car; shifted to neutral, rpms went way up and I turned off car. Continued my 1 mile trip home and engine would by itself rev down only to immediately rev way back up. Could smell my brakes burning by the time I got home. What ever is going on here is very dangerous.

- Greenville, NC, USA

problem #13

Aug 012014

Santa Fe

  • 145,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving at 10 mph, the vehicle auto accelerated without engaging the accelerator pedal. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 145,000.

- Sutherland, VA, USA

problem #12

Feb 282014

Santa Fe

  • 196,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated without warning. The contact stated she had to shift into neutral and turn the vehicle on and off in order for the vehicle to work normally. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 196,000 and the current mileage was 197,000.

- Bluefield, WV, USA

problem #11

Sep 122013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


Car turned left onto 30 mph speed limit N. highland ave. Atlanta, car immediately lurched into wot (wide open throttle) executing an unintended acceleration. Standing on the brake with both feet, engaging emergency brake, and finally knocking it out of gear, the car stopped 10 feet in front of an outside patio of beer drinkers sitting at tables at a local bar. No one was hurt, but, it was by pure luck and fast reaction by my son who is deathly afraid of this car now. I personally removed the engine cover to find the cruise control cable had separated where it is staked into it's mounting hardware. The staked end sheath of the cable is pulled out of it's staked housing tube and in some cases may go back into it causing the problem to be intermittent and unrepeatable on request, however, our cable end was unable to reenter it's position resulting in the throttle remaining open. The cable is too short by design leaving it to be on a constant pull until it overcomes the staking and slips out. Jim ellis Hyundai has never heard of this happening before this date. Never, said their parts dept., and service manager. They told me to call Hyundai Corp, or, they would be glad to quote me a cost to repair. Like Hyundai Corp. They went into immediate rear end coverage mode.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #10

Jun 162013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
My 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe LX went full throttle today and stayed there. I was driving along at 30 mph with the gas pedal normally pressed and the car felt like cruise control was turned on. I applied the brakes and the throttle kept climbing, so I pulled over and put it in neutral. The throttle was now fully open at this point so I turned the engine off. With repeated starts, the engine immediately went into full throttle while in neutral. The gas pedal wasn't pressed down or stuck. I've had it towed to an independent shop so they can identify the problem. Tomorrow I should have answers. Very dangerous! first major problem with this car in 11 years and it ends up being life threatening.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #9

Oct 032012

Santa Fe

  • 121,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while traveling 25 mph the vehicle accelerated unexpectantly. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 121,000.

- Montrose, NY, USA

problem #8

Jan 282012

Santa Fe

  • 163,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated with out any warning. The contact mentioned that the driver was able to control the vehicle by shifting gears and engaging the brakes. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop, who diagnosed that the cruise control cable was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileages were 163,000. The VIN was not available.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #7

Dec 082011

Santa Fe

  • 40 miles
I had just dropped off my son to school when the accelerator started to rev up and after dropping him off it continued to do so until I got close to my place of employment when the car started to accelerate more and I had a hard time stopping it I had both feet on the brakes and was pulling the emergency brake at the same time, as I pulled into a parking spot the car would not stop and I went over a parking bumper and turned the car off! it scared the day lights out of me I could have if not killed someone, but severely hurt someone else on the road and not to mention possibly my son....I had my boss check it and the cable throttle came out how I do not know...I have never had this happen before and I looked up to see if others who owned the same make and model and year had the same problem and they did!!

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #6

Jun 282011

Santa Fe

  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated after shifting into drive gear the vehicle suddenly accelerated crashing into a garden and a vehicle. The vehicle was destroyed. There were no injuries. The contact did not notify the manufacturer of the failure. The failure mileage was 96,000.

- Olivette, MO, USA

problem #5

Jan 242011

Santa Fe

  • 101,085 miles
While I stopped at a red light my vehicle stalled which this has occurred several times previously. I turned the car odd and on again and proceeded to turn at the light and the car stalled again in the middle of this busy intersection, I turned it off again and back and began to drive up a small incline. I pressed on the gas pedal and it did not feel as if were speeding up, all of a sudden I began to accelerate and I pressed the brake and it continued to go faster. My destination was coming up, and there was a lot of traffic ahead of me. In fear of speeding up any faster and having a collision with my 5,1 1/2, and 11 month old in the back seat. I turned into a parking lot and put on my emergency brake which caused me to spin out of control and luckily run sideways into a bank of snow. The vehicle continued to accelerate while the car was in park and the emergency brake was on. I turned the key off and the vehicle stopped. My driver side was up on a pile of snow tilted and I had to get all of my babies out of the passenger side door. I don't ever want to put my kids in that car again and they say they never heard of this at the dealership but I have seen plenty of complaints on line. This was the one of the worse feelings I ever had I really just feared for my children and with all the complaints I have read on line about this I think this is a dangerous situation.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #4

Aug 252010

Santa Fe

  • 93,000 miles


On August 25, 2010 I was driving my Hyundai 2002 sante fe when without warning it accelerated to full throttle. I was able to stop it using the brake and emergency brake and turning it off. My mechanic found the cruise control cable had broken and held the throttle wide open. The cable was stretched too tight. I had it removed.

- Clinton, NY, USA

problem #3

Apr 152010

Santa Fe

  • 79,500 miles
My 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe has experienced two throttle position sensor failures within the last 4 months. This causes sudden acceleration and transmission downshifts and up shifts. Fortunately both times occurred on in town streets and I was able to keep control of the vehicle. Could be serious if it occurred while trying to merge into highway traffic.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #2

Feb 262010

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
I drive a 2002 hyundaid Santa Fe (engine 2.7L 6 cyl. This morning I pulled into a parking space and suddenly my car accelerated forward. I hit the brake yanked the emergency brake up and it stopped. I then backed it up since it was way overshot in the space. I called the dealer and they said to bring it in, but explained in great length that Hyundai's have a different throttle control system than Toyota's and bmws. I don't really care that my system is configured differently. The fact that my problem occurred during the Toyota crisis is circumstantial. My problem did occur though. And someone could've been hurt. The first time it happened was about 3 months ago, I was driving on a side road and going fairly slow (about 25 mph) when it all of a sudden accelerated. Since this was the first time, I was disoriented and unsure if I had done something. I hit the brake, pulled over and stopped. Now that it has happened again, I am very clear that it was an unintended sudden acceleration. I checked my floor mat and it is completely flat and secure. I'm having my husband drive it to the dealer. We'll see what they can find.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 222009

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
In July 2009 and again in Dec 2009 I experience "sudden acceleration" in my 2002 Santa Fe with the 2.7 V6 engine. I had about 92,000 miles on the odometer in July and about 95,000 in December. Both times the "sudden acceleration" occurred while I was in "manual mode". some refer to this as "sport mode". I was driving in the mountains on pennsylvannia when these incidences occurred. The first time I was completely stopped in 1st gear. The car started to drifted into the ongoing traffic before I realized that the engine was accelerating. All this time I was pressing on the brake pedal as hard as I could and finally stopped about 10-15 into the oncoming traffic. Luckily, no traffic approached during this incident. It hadn't happened again until I was in the mountains of pa again in Dec 2009 in "manual mode" because of the hilly, icy road conditions at the time. The incident occurred while I was shifting between gears. My wife drives the car almost exclusively but never uses the "manual mode" however, when I drove in these two specific aforementioned incidences I was in "manual mode" on very hilly and windy road conditions. I am presently working with my Hyundai service manager on several potential fixes to the problem. They are taking this seriously but have no definitive fix for the problem as yet.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

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