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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 1
Average Mileage:
24,805 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.

2005 Hyundai Santa Fe engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

May 162016

Santa Fe

  • 19,900 miles


On May 16, 2016 I was driving my 2005 Hyundai on a city street and it started to surge and I had to put my foot on the brake to slow it down but it wouldn't stop. Luckily I was close to home and was able to get it in the driveway but the unfortunate part is it didn't stop until it hit my house. It was a very terrifying experience. I don't think I'm going to feel comfortable driving it again.

- Niceville, FL, USA

problem #30

Nov 032015

Santa Fe

  • 75,000 miles
The passenger air bag light remains constantly when the engine is started until it is turned off. The cruise control doesn't turn on at all and the fuse is good.

- Waianae, HI, USA

problem #29

Jan 062015

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
While waiting for the traffic light to change to green, my car was stopped, with my foot on the brake.. my car learched forward. I could feel the engine accelerate. By the time I got the car under control, I hit the car that was in front of me. The trunk was damaged, no damage to my car. Since owning this car I have experienced this acceleration before. I have discussed this with the dealer, the discussing ends up with the dealer suggesting that I was pressing the gas pedal and not the brake. I told the dealer that when this occurs pressing the brake pedal does nothing. The shift must be moved to neutral the foot taken off the brake. Every time I discuss this problem with the dealer he says show him what happens, the problem I can not recreate the problem. The occurrence of the problem is random and cannot be created. At first I thought that I was the only one with this problem, but as I read the complaints I am not alone. Hyundai has got to look into this problem.

- Norristown, PA, USA

problem #28

Jun 032014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


After a rain when I start the vehicle and start driving it is fine until I reach 20mph. Then it acts like it is not receiving any power. It will not speed up no matter how I press on the accelerator. I notice that if I put it in manual and go from 1st to 2nd it will straighten out and drive fine. But, if I put it back into automatic drive at a stop sign it will do the same thing stalling out at 20 mph. If I drive it far enough with out stopping it will eventually straighten itself out. I am worried about pulling out in traffic because of this. We have done a tune up on it and it did not help.

- Rock Falls, IL, USA

problem #27

Feb 192013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
My moms Santa Fe has sped out of control several times in the last three months. The last incident caused injuries because the air bag failed to deploy. The first incident was in a parking lot where the car had unintended acceleration and crashed into several cars. Second incident was on the road where car sped up and she turned it off. The third was backing out of a shopping center parking lot where the car rapidly accelerated in reverse hitting a car and then tried to put in neutral but went into drive instead. She hit a post and the front end wrapped around the post but air bag did not deploy causing injury. State farm and many attorneys won't touch this case because of the costs involved to sue such a large corporation.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #26

Oct 252012

Santa Fe

  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while sitting at a traffic light, the vehicle accelerated independently. The contact shifted the vehicle into park and the vehicle stopped. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 30,000.

- Prince Fredrick, MD, USA

problem #25

Jul 302012

Santa Fe

  • miles


My mother died in a vehicle accident with no other vehicles involved. Her Santa Fe went through a "T" intersection without stopping crossing highway, went airborne over hillside and struck a tree. Severed spine, chest trauma and shattered ankle. There are no skids marks at the scene airbags were deploy but when" steering column is crushed in and steering wheel was bent inward. The road she was on is a residential side street. There is a 100 feet downgrade but straight as you approach the stop sign. The "T" intersection is a two lane not well traveled road. She drove this road many times before. What makes a vehicle travel at a high rate of speed in a 100 feet straight away, go through a stop sign get airborne after crossing highway? acceleration sticking? why is there so much damage to steering column if airbag went off? could the accelerator get stuck and my mother panic and tried to stop car by stepping on brakes making a panic decision, not knowing to take vehicle out of gear or turning vehicle off" was there enough time. I lost my mother and after reading all the problems, I think these and all Hyundai vehicles should be looked at!

- North Versailles, PA, USA

problem #24

Feb 012012

Santa Fe

  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the vehicle would accelerate at any time without warning. The vehicle would also loose power while sitting at a complete stop. The dealer attempted to diagnose the defect numerous times, but was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 57,000 and the current mileage was 57,010.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #23

Nov 072011

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Sudden unintended acceleration. While driving my vehicle, the car "lurches" forward and the engine "reves" up. I've had it to the mechanic numerous times and they can not seem to find a reason for this to be happening. It is a very scary situation. I have 2 small children and have become fearful when driving my car. This happens on the highway as well as regular street roads. I've seen many forums on line with the same complaints from other Hyundai owners. I really hope that someone looks into these complaints.

- Oakland Park, FL, USA

problem #22

Feb 212011

Santa Fe

  • 34,000 miles
2005 Hyundai Santa Fe accelerates suddenly causing dangerous situations has happened over a period of time since buying the vehicle in 2005 getting worse to an every day point now have had it to the dealership 5 times now going again tomorrow each time it cannot be duplicated by the dealership.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #21

Oct 202010

Santa Fe

  • 22,400 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. While stopped with the vehicle in park, the engine began to exhibit an unusually large increase in rpms. The contact applied slight pressure to the accelerator pedal and the engine resumed normal operation. The failure recurred the following day while stopped, with pressure being applied to the brake pedal. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed and was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 22,400.

- Holliston, MA, USA

problem #20

May 092010

Santa Fe

  • 56,000 miles
Throttle sensor for 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe.

- Black Diamond, WA, USA

problem #19

Jul 282010

Santa Fe

  • 108,000 miles
Engine races when started when engine is cold (first time started every day.). while driving, car will suddenly accelerate. Dealership reprogrammed transmission settings per a tsb, engine still races when started and the surging has gotten worse. Surging occurs at speeds from 15 to 65 mph.

- Castleton, NY, USA

problem #18

Apr 092009

Santa Fe

  • 15,000 miles
Sudden unintended acceleration in a Hyundai Santa Fe causing a major accident at our house with extensive damage to vehicle and property, and some personal injury. The vehicle had previously been reported as having over-revved on occasion, but the dealer had been unable to replicate the fault, and this had not occurred for some time. On this occasion the engine stuck in maximum revs, even in neutral, and an independent engineer attributed this to faulty cable positioning, although it is not know whether that caused the original sua or just the sticking. The airbag failed to inflate despite major impact. Hyundai have been singularly unhelpful and denied knowledge of this sort of thing occurring before, which is clearly untrue. Unfortunately we are not, and the incident was not, in the us, but we have been asked to report this to you by others in the us affected by the same problem, because of Hyundai's disinterest.

- Swellendam, 00, USA

problem #17

Aug 192006

Santa Fe

  • 8,600 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving at high or low speeds, the vehicle will suddenly surge forward without warning. The failure also occurred while the vehicle was in reverse. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 8,600.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #16

Jun 102007

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving less than 20 mph, the vehicle accelerated when the brake pedal was depressed. The failure occurred intermittently while slowing down and attempting to brake. The contact thought that he may have been depressing both the accelerator and brake pedals simultaneously, but this was not the case. The failure began to occur more frequently. While slowing down to come to a stop, the vehicle jolted forward and accelerated loudly. The failure mileage was 20,000 and current mileage was 31,000. Updated 12/11/08 the consumer stated when the transmission was in drive, his foot was off the gas pedal the vehicle moved slowly. Once he depressed the brake pedal to stop, the engine surged. Updated 12/11/08.

- Bellingham, WA, USA

problem #15

Apr 012008

Santa Fe 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
When accelerating from a stop, this vehicle hesitates and then lurches forward with extreme uncontrolled acceleration. On wet or slippery pavement this vehicle is completely unsafe. I have read NHTSA web site and can see complaint after complaint on this vehicle, yet no recalls issued by NHTSA. Not sure why we are wasting my time, but at least when I am killed in this vehicle my wife will be able to now include nhsta in the lawsuit as you, the governing body, have now been officially informed of a safety defect!

- Waterford, WI, USA

problem #14

Dec 022007

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
Gas pedal is to sensitive. Wheels spin when you excellerate at a slow speed. I have taken it to columbia hyundia 2 times and there isent anything they can do to fix it. I live in Ohio and we get lots of snow im afraid im going to loose control of the vehicle on the ice or have some rearend me. There is no way to take off from a stopped position and not have the wheels spin and the vehicle to fishtail. You have to let off the gas then excelerate again to get this to stop.

- Maineville, OH, USA

problem #13

Oct 302007

Santa Fe 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,500 miles
Sudden engine acceleration when parking. This is the second time this happened. My wife was parking the car and when she put her foot on the brake (note, she is a very experienced driver and was not accidentally pushing the accelerator, also nothing on the floor was touching it.) the engine started to accelerate to full throttle, she jammed on the brake and throw it into park at which point the engine raced full speed until she turned off the key. It was ok after restarting, this is the 2nd time within a month. Very dangerous condition.

- Brigantine, NJ, USA

problem #12

Feb 212007

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I am the owner of a 2005 Santa Fe w/a 3.5L engine. I've recently taken my vehicle in to have some warranty items taken care of. I asked that my car also be fixed in regards to an acceleration concern. For example: 1. while departing from a stopped position, the car will violently jerk your head back. This occurs while barely touching the accelerator. 2. when the car is in motion I can feel it surging forward and back. I have had several people drive the car to make sure it wasn't me, and they all experienced the same results. When the service manager at a Hyundai dealership drove the car, he at first said he didn't feel anything. Then, after further complaint by me, he admitted that, "well, there was a little bit of surge, but that's just because it's the type of engine". I asked what could be done about it and he told me, "nothing, that's just the way it is. They've had several complaints and now they don't use that engine anymore." I said it felt like it was getting worse over time and he said, "it probably is, but there is still nothing they can do about it". Hyundai was apparently aware that there is a concern of safety with this engine since they no longer use the engine and are manufacturing their Santa Fe's with an improved, safer engine. I am at the point where I no longer feel as if I am driving a safe vehicle and I am getting tired of people asking me why my car jerks forward. (the car snaps your head back and I do not want to be held accountable if someone gets hurt.) there are numerous complaints to the NHTSA and I do not want to be killed or kill someone on the road because my car concerns were not addressed by the appropriate administration of Hyundai. If the NHTSA has yet to formally force Hyundai into fixing this issue, I am requesting that now is the time to do so. Hyundai's lack of interest in the safety of their customers and the general public is unacceptable.

- Allen, TX, USA

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