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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,798 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.

2003 Hyundai Santa Fe electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Mar 182015

Santa Fe

  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving at 55 mph and attempting to roll up the front driver side window, the window failed to roll up and curved. The contact heard a grinding noise from the window. In addition, the door opened independently and the contact was unable to close the door. The contact had to hold onto the door from the outside in order to keep the door closed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the actuator in the door needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 150,000.

- Moor Park, CA, USA

problem #22

Jan 012014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. While fueling the vehicle, the fuel would independently stop before the tank was full. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The mechanic was unable to determine the cause of the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 130,000. Updated 4/20/15

- Miami , FL, USA

problem #21

Jun 052013

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
The car looses power but comes rite back..sometimes stalls while in traffic but starts rite up..going on interstate lost power tact dropped to O all power lost came back on its own also cd player will come on by itself I think it may be something electrical I have read online many of the same problems with the sante fe of that fix what is the deal with that no fix something is up with that lots of complaints online that I have read to many of the same problem Hyundai must know what is wrong but don't want to fix it to costly for the bad for the consumer!!!

- Seabrook, NH, USA

problem #20

Mar 032014

Santa Fe

  • miles


2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. Consumer writes in regards to electrical problems and engine compartment fire. The consumer stated while driving, the engine began to overheat.

- Benton, AR, USA

problem #19

May 032014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 197,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that when ignition key was removed, the engine would not shut off. The gear was in park but the vehicle continued to slowly move forward. The vehicle was taken to the independent mechanic, who stated that the ignition pin controller needed to be replaced to repair the vehicle. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 197,000. Updated 7/7/14 updated 07/14/2014

- Port Orange, FL, USA

problem #18

Nov 072013

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 139,000 miles
I was driving down the road going about 40 to 45 miles an hour on a busy road. I had my grandchildren in the car with me. The car all of a sudden shut off on me. Thank god I had enough momentum to pull over on the side of the road. I couldn't get the car to start so I sat there with them praying I wouldn't get hit. After a while it started up again and I went maybe two feet and it died again. I was able to roll into an empty garage and I called my husband. There was an auto zone near by so he got a machine which said what was wrong. It said it was the crankshaft sensor. My car is now being fixed at a Hyundai dealer. I went on line for recalls and I found one that said there was a recall on them but not for my vehicle. If it was on one vehicle year why wouldn't my year be covered. My family could have been killed because of the vehicle stopping all of a sudden on a main rd. Like I was on. We have kept up with all the recalls that they send us.

- Northford, CT, USA

problem #17

May 212013

Santa Fe

  • 112,000 miles


2003 Hyundai sante fe gls - drove through a 2 inch deep puddle. Lost power steering, battery light and brake light flashed then a rubber burning smell started. Drove the car for two additional days after the repair shop couldn't find anything. Then driving home from work, airbag light turned on, brake light turned on battery light turned on, all analog instruments failed, tach failed, braking became inconsistent and engine started missing. I drove directly to repair shop, as I made my final turn into the repair shop the power steering failed then the car shutoff. Early report from mechanic is a failed alternator - my third one in the last year. I think I have a larger electrical problem with the car, fans fluctuate in speed for the past couple of years and every time it rains I get flashing brake and battery lights. Losing the power steering twice in three days is a little unsettling... ## VIN failed ##

- Vadnais Heights, MN, USA

problem #16

Aug 272010

Santa Fe

  • 121,577 miles
2003 Hyundai Santa Fe gs, fwd, 2.7L automatic - battery light intermittently comes on in wet weather and power steering is lost. Online research shows other owners of the same vehicle have taken their vehicles to the dealer with the same problem and have received no fixes. Losing power steering while driving is a severe safety hazard.

- Arnold, MD, USA

problem #15

Sep 012010

Santa Fe

  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving 5 mph the vehicle stalled and the vehicle lost all electrical power. The contact coasted to the side of the road and called a tow truck. The contact then decided to restart the vehicle and it began to function normally. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who was unable to duplicate the failure. The dealer was not familiar with the failure. The failure had only occurred one time. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 118,000 and the current mileage was 118,002.

- Windsor Locks, CT, USA

problem #14

May 042010

Santa Fe

  • 143,772 miles
Our 2003 Hyundai sante fe will shut off while driving with no warning at all. The tachometer drops to zero then the vehicle will restart and continue going. Sometimes it will completely shut off while driving or at a stoplight and has to be put and park and cranked. The vehicle also bucks while driving at times and the transmission shift hard when putting in reverse at times. Vehicle has been sent to dealership several times and says they cannot fix it without seeing it happen with their computer connected to it. Of course, it never occurs for them. Nothing has been done to resolve this issue. This happens nearly daily over the last year. The vehicle is not safe to be driven.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #13

Apr 282003

Santa Fe

  • 55,000 miles


One day in 2003 while driving down the interstate, my 2003 Santa Fe died and then immediately started again, all by itself. It would happen about once a month, suddenly with no warning. Now it occurs almost every time I drive on the highway. It also has occurred at slower speeds. Once at a stoplight, it died but did not start again. Everything shuts down, even steering. Dealer says they can not fix it without seeing it happen. Of course, it never occurs for them.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #12

Jun 182008

Santa Fe

  • 28,995 miles
I own 2003 Hyundai sante fe on June 2008 it started stalling, hestitating on the highway it started jerking and engine light came on pulled to side it shut off would not start until hours later, took to dealer diagnostic showed crankshaft, belt timing plugs, total cost was $1219.84 stated was not warranty, I had them repair, last couple months, same thing again, but I notice that the jerking and stalling happens after a rainy/humid day the jerking and stalling happen more, was told spark plugs needed to be replace again, still the same problem. I will contact Hyundai America and also the BBB about this, I think there should be a recall and taken care of, the stalling while driving can cause an accident which 2 times it almost happen with me. I can not afford to pay this again. Doing research this is happening to lots of 2003, but this has happen prior to 2001 & 2002. I hope to get something resolved.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #11

Nov 282007

Santa Fe

  • 50,000 miles
I owned a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe and the heated seat electrical unit failed to shut off and the interior of the car caught on fire (leather seats, dashboard, roof of the car, etc). The car had to be totaled with only 50,000 miles on it and Hyundai said there was nothing that they could do about it. I went through my insurance company and filed a total loss and my $25,000 car was settled for $11,000.

- Oakdale, NY, USA

problem #10

Sep 142007

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
Our 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe has had over 25 instances of engine stalling and power loss. We have the documentation that it was brought it to the attention of a Hyundai dealership 4 times and over a 50,000 miles and a 2-1/2 year span. Each time it is taken in, the dealer cannot resolve it as they state they require an error code or first hand experience to begin to troubleshoot. I have contacted hundai America and am in the process of faxing over all documentation and NHTSA complaints that mirror the problem we are having. This is becoming an enormous safety hazard and I would like to have NHTSA to investigate Hyundai on this issue.

- Redondo Beach , CA, USA

problem #9

Jul 212007

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
Our 2003 sante fe will shut off while driving down interstate with no warning at all. The tach drops to zero then the vehicle will restart and continue going. The vehicle also bucks while driving at times and the transmission shift hard when putting in reverse at times. Vehicle has been sent to dealership several times with multiple issues. Dealership thinks its a electrical problem but states vehicle will have to be taken to different dealership and we would be responsible for a rental car and the repair bill. We purchased the car in November of 2006 and within 45 days of the purchase we started to have problems with the vehicle. Sante fe had 54,000 miles when the first problem started and now has 64,000 which they state the vehicle is out of warranty because we are the second owners. Nothing has been done to resolve this issue. The vehicle is not safe to be driven on highways because of the shutting off and bucking incident's.

- Cumberland, MD, USA

problem #8

Jul 022007

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I own a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe and have experienced multiple instances where the engine stalls while I am driving, but will come back on after a short period of time. We have returned the car to the dealer three times and they said they could not find nothing wrong, and would have to see the incident in the process of happening before they could make a definite diagnosis. Today while driving to work my husband heard on the radio that Chrysler and Jeep vehicles were just recalled for this same problem! I really would appreciate any help in getting my Hyundai dealer to see that this same problem is happening to my vehicle.

- Bluefield, VA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012005

Santa Fe 4-cyl Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,999 miles
- the contact stated that 2 years ago he started having stalling problems with the 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe.S while driving at 55 mph or about 15-25 mph the vehicle will stall. He stated that the dealership had the vehicle on numerous occasions, and they could not find anything wrong with the vehicle. The dealership informed him that unless the check engine light turned onthey would not be able to do diagnostic testing to see what could be wrong with the vehicle. The dealership informed him that he may have to take the vehicle back to the dealership where he purchased it. The contact filed a complaint with the manufacturer and was given a case#, will submit with the hard copy. Also, he has contacted the BBB and filed a complaint. The usual driver was too afraid to drive the vehicle now because of the stalling problems. He stated that when the vehicle lost power everything in the vehicle shut down and the steering locked. The failure mileage was 19999, and the current was 61480. The vehicle stalled 101 times azs of 02/23/2007.

- Lynnhaven, FL, USA

problem #6

Jul 182005

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
Contact states vehicle quit while driving down the highway at 70 mph. It restarted.. in 6-05-05 the dealer changed the computer assembly, and added scan tool operation and changed the relay assembly. The problem recurred. He noticed this happening at approximately. 25,000 miles. At one time the check engine light came on, but it went out the next day. The dealer talked to the manufacturer.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #5

Dec 102003

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,019 miles
While driving at any speed vehicle stalled. Driver was not able to restart vehicle, and had it towed to the dealer for inspection. Mechanic determined that the crankshaft position sensor needed to be replaced, and replace it. However, the problem recurred, and the vehicle was taken back to the dealer for inspection. Then, mechanic replaced the engine compartment relay, fuel sensor assembly, and the computer module. Consumer stated there has been 6 incidents/failures that are causing serious concerns with starting and stalling. It became more frequent and started happening while driving Santa Fe on roads and highway. Consumer have confidence in the vehicle and fear of it stalling in the center lane where there is little options except getting hit and possible getting seriously injured.

- Manchester, CT, USA

problem #4

Nov 052004

Santa Fe 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles
On November 5, 2004 at approx 7:30 pm our 2003 Santa Fe with only approx 14,000 miles suddenly "died" in the middle of the road. All of the vehicle warning lights came on, the heater and radio began making strange noises, the headlamps failed, and the vehicle engine stopped running and would not start, leaving the vehicle in the middle of the road, stranding me and my pregnant wife, with no lights or flashers in the middle of the road on a cold night. Hyunadai roadside service contractor cross country motorclub claimed that it would take over 3 hours to get the vehicle towed, so finally 9 after nearly 2 hours) county police towed the vehicle as a traffic hazard to fairfax Hyundai.

- Burke, VA, USA

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