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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,874 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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

problem #21

May 212015

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • miles


The contact owned a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving at 25 mph, a tractor trailer collided into the driver side of the contacts vehicle. The air bags did not deploy and the seat belt failed to restraint the contact. A police report was filed. The contact sustained severe injuries to his chest and back. Medical attention was required. The vehicle was towed and seemed destroyed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. Updated 03/16/16 updated 03/22/16.

- Ashtabula, OH, USA

problem #20

Dec 212014

Santa Fe

  • 142,017 miles
I ran into a van traveling 30 mph. I totaled the front of my Hyundai sante fe. The van in front of me was at a complete stop. His van hit was pushed into a truck that was stopped in front of him. The air bags never deployed. Why didn't the air bags go off? the fireman at the scene even said they should have.

- West Fargo, ND, USA

problem #19

Nov 162014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
750.00 dollars for part $500 to put it in passenger side dash cant Hyundai take pride and eat this bill safety problems with this big.

- South Plainfield, NJ, USA

problem #18

Dec 052012

Santa Fe

  • 110,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, the air bags deployed without warning. The contact sustained a minor injury to her back. The vehicle was later towed to the dealer for diagnosis where they advised her that the vehicle indicated that it had been involved in a crash. They also advised her that the vehicle could possibly be deemed destroyed. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were approximately 110,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #17

Dec 062006

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 33,154 miles
I own a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe in which the air bag warning light was illuminated starting in December 2006. At which time the air bag "clock spring" was replaced under warranty on 12/6/2006 at 33,154 miles. The second occurrence was in March, 2011. I was told it was the "clock spring" again, which was now not under warranty, and would cost of around $285. This was not replaced due to a suggestion from the dealer's service department mechanic. The indicator was reset and has been off for over a year. The most recent occurrence was in May 2012 (mileage approx. 88,500), the airbag light came on again and now I'm told it needs a new airbag at a cost of around $750!! the indicator was reset and air bag not replaced the light stayed off for approximately 3 months. A search on the internet revealed hundreds of "posts" on this very same problem (most of them on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) website). Hyundai Santa Fe's have had this problem for nearly 10 years! and, to make matters worse, replacing either the clock spring or the airbag apparently does not guarantee that the airbag will deploy, thus causing a very dangerous situation. I also noticed that there was a recall (#103) for the 2007-2008 models. This recall should have included all Santa Fe's not just two years. Apparently, this problem is a manufacturing defect not a normal wear & tear issue.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

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problem #16

Aug 012011

Santa Fe

  • 85,000 miles
The air bag illustration light came on about eight months ago, at first it goes on and off, but finally it stayed on a month after that. When I took it in for a mechanic to run a diagnosis test, he could not find any error code. I asked the dealer if there were any recalls on the airbag, they said no and want to charge me $99 for diagnosis.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #15

Feb 032003

Santa Fe

  • 500 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the air bag warning light was illuminated. The airbag and tension wires were reset numerous times within the last year, but the failure continuously recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repairs to the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 500 and the current mileage was 156,000.

- Kensington, MD, USA

problem #14

Mar 152009

Santa Fe

  • 120,000 miles
The airbag light stays on for no reason it has been on for 8months now and no fuses are blown and now my bright lights wont work when I flip them on the lights shut off.

- Martins Ferry, OH, USA

problem #13

Apr 102010

Santa Fe

  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving at approximately 20 mph, the contact depressed the horn and the air bag warning light illuminated on the dashboard. The dealer advised the clock spring would need to be replaced. The vehicle was left with the dealer where the contact was awaiting repairs. The failure mileage was 110,000 and the current mileage was 115,000.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #12

Jan 042010

Santa Fe

  • 32,263 miles
On January 4, 2010 I had the vehicle battery replaced. After battery installation the airbag warning light came on and remained on. On Jan. 11 I paid $87 to have a diagnostic test which incorrectly indicated that all airbags had been deployed plus a crash was recorded. Mechanic's recommendation was to have SRS control module replaced at an estimated cost of over $400.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #11

Sep 152009

Santa Fe

  • 68,000 miles


Airbag light stays on. This happened 18 months ago and was repaired under warranty. Dealer wants $70 just to diagnose the problem plus repair costs since it is no longer under warranty. No thanks.

- Jenison, MI, USA

problem #10

Aug 282009

Santa Fe

  • 140,000 miles
About 3 months ago, my airbag light came on and was not gone off since. I wondered if this meant I had no airbag function, but now after reading these complaints I know it is not working. This problem combined with the engine that mysteriously and suddenly shuts down while driving on the interstate is not a good combination. I smell trouble.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #9

Aug 012004

Santa Fe

  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. The air bag warning light consistently illuminates on the instrument control panel when the seat was reclined. The error code has been reset over 15 times. Also the driver side seat and air bags were replaced due to a defective horn. None of the repairs have remedied the failure. The failure mileage was 10,000. The current mileage was 116,000.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #8

Jul 172009

Santa Fe

  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle rolled over 4-5 times. None of the air bags deployed. The contact sustained several broken bones and the driver sustained several bruises. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. A police report was filed. The current and failure mileages were 150,000.

- Goodwater, AL, USA

problem #7

Jun 202009

Santa Fe

  • 43,098 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. The dealer informed the contact that a new air bag was needed because the driver's side air bag light remains illuminated. The dealer performed a diagnostic and scan test and stated that the air bag needed to be replaced at the cost of $900. The failure mileage was 43,098.

- Islip, NY, USA

problem #6

Sep 252008

Santa Fe

  • 44,546 miles
The air bag red warning light came on in 9/08. The dealer scanned the system, cleared historic codes, cycled through self test several times. Codes did not reset. Light came back on in 1/09. I will take vehicle back to dealer. My opinion is that safety equipment should be more reliable. When the red light initially came on they couldn't find a problem but I will be charged appx. $600 when they fix the problem.

- Liberty, MO, USA

problem #5

Sep 212006

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
: the contact stated the air bag light illuminated and the vehicle was taken to the dealer on five different occasions. The first two times, the dealer could not find the problem. The other three times, the dealer replaced a wire under the passenger seat, the passenger seat belt harness, and a wire harness clip. The problem still occurred.

- Medford, NY, USA

problem #4

May 122005

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,700 miles
: the contact stated while making a left turn at an intersection the passenger side air bag deployed. The vehicle was traveling less than 20 mph. The air bag light illuminated when the air bag deployed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer however the dealer has not inspected the vehicle pictures have been sent to the manufacturer. No police report was filed.

- Columbia, TN, USA

problem #3

Oct 012004

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
While driving the brakes failed. Upon applying the brakes vehicle continued to coast. However, it happened again, and an accident occurred. Contacted the dealer, and was told there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. It happened a third time which led to another accident, and the air bags did not deploy. Consumer was injured, and the vehicle was totaled.

- Riverside, IL, USA

problem #2

Sep 292003

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 5,980 miles
At 5,980 miles engine started to create engine noise. Dealer said that there's a problem on the vehicle's crankshaft. The consumer began to hear noise in the engine compartment. The dealer replaced many components; crankshaft, transmission, belt tensioner and pulley. None of those repairs corrected the noise. The clock spring failed and caused the horn and cruise control to be inoperative.

- Mercedita, PR, USA

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