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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,388 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.

2008 Hyundai Santa Fe electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

Jun 152016

Santa Fe

  • 110,000 miles


My mother purchased a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe, AWD 2.7L V6 model brand new in 2009. Her fuel gauge failed at around 110,000 miles approx. I noticed other people complaining about the same I thought I'd mention that her fuel gauge also quit working! she took it in to get fixed, and I believe it was a pretty costly job! maybe with everybody putting their heads together, this issue can get more attention and possibly lead to a recall. Thanks!

- Canonsburg, PA, USA

problem #37

Aug 262016

Santa Fe

  • 135,542 miles
ESC light illuminates. Car looses power while driving, and stalls.

- St.Ann, MO, USA

problem #36

Jun 182016

Santa Fe

  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving 60 mph, the brakes failed to disengage after the brake pedal was depressed and a burning odor was noticed. The anti-lock braking system and the electronic stability control warning light illuminated. The contact pulled over to the side of the road and noticed smoke coming from all four tires. The contact left the vehicle idling for awhile and the smoke stopped. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the hydraulic and electrical control units failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 110,000.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #35

Mar 082016

Santa Fe

  • 54,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the speedometer failed to function properly and would display 0 when driving over 50 mph. The check engine warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 54,000. Updated 05/10/16

- Harleysville, PA, USA

problem #34

Dec 152015

Santa Fe

  • 134,000 miles
When driving and you hit the breaks, the vehicle attempts to stall, or if you use the high or low breams the radio shuts off and the gps turns on or you loses it all, while on high way way if you use your high or low beams the engine starts to stall then keeps going causing the vehicle behind you have to break quickly to avoid hitting you as you loose all power for a matter of seconds this happen while moving or parked, I mhave installed two new alternators in the past three weeks and the problem coniinues

- Billerica, MA, USA

problem #33

Feb 102016

Santa Fe

  • 120,002 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving 45 mph, the passenger side seat became excessively hot. The passenger observed that the seat was on fire. A fire report was not filed. The contact extinguished the fire. The passenger sustained burn injuries to her hands and buttocks but did not receive medical attention. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 120,002.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #32

Nov 012015

Santa Fe

  • 78,000 miles


2008 Hyundai Santa Fe, 78K miles. Fuel gage reading starting bouncing around. Showed half full on a freshly filled tank. Eventually check engine light came on. Error code P0464 (fuel level sensor 'a' electrical circuit was intermittent for a predetermined period of time.). fuel sensors required replacement. An inaccurate fuel reading is a safety concern, just like any other issue that can lead to unexpected vehicle shutdown. The numerous reports on the web concerning the failure of the fuel sensors in the 2008 Santa Fe suggests strongly that a recall is warranted.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #31

Jul 202015

Santa Fe

  • 95,000 miles
When the gas tank is less than half full, the fuel gauge displays tank as nearly empty and the amber low fuel light appears. The check engine warning light also comes on. The fuel gauge swings back up to nearly half full, drops down to 1/4 full, then drops down to almost empty, then swing back to half full. About 3 months after this problem started, the fuel gauge remains near empty with the amber low fuel light lit. When I fill up the gas tank, the fuel gauge is once again accurate until the tank goes below 1/2 full. However, the check engine light remains on at all times and can only be cleared by a mechanic. I've had my mechanic clear it twice. This is a fuel sensor issue with the two senders in the gas tank. I was going to have this repaired by having the fuel pump assembly replaced but found out it would cost $1000. I can't afford that so I'm stuck. I'm going to have to reset the odometer every time I fill up and make sure I fill up the tank every 300 miles. I've done my research and this is a known, widespread issue with the 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe vehicles. I saw many complaints about this issue filed on the nhsta so this Agency is well aware of the issue but has chosen not to recall the Santa Fe for the 2008 model year. I don't understand this: This is a safety issue as well as a gross design and manufacturing problem with this vehicle. We bought this vehicle used with no knowledge of this. The fuel gauge started behaving erratically a little over a year after we bought it in May 2014, which would be around late July 2015. He first sign of a problem occurred after I filled the gas tank in late July 2015. That was the first time the check engine light came on even though the gas tank was full. I had my mechanic clear it. This same thing happened about 6 weeks later. After that the erratic fuel gauge behavior I described started occurring.

- Port Orchard, WA, USA

problem #30

Sep 162015

Santa Fe

  • 115,000 miles
Fuel gauge has been faulty and check engine light would turn on and off after replacing what I thought was a bad battery one month ago. One week ago while driving, all lights on dashboard came on (battery, check engine, ABS, ESC...), engine started to rev, electrical and power steering failed, and car had to be turned off in the middle of the road and towed home. This has happened twice while driving now. Issue is from a failing/failed alternator caused by oil leak from front valve cover. This problem is identical to issues with '06-'12 veracruz, recall #121.

- Bloomington, IN, USA

problem #29

Jul 022015

Santa Fe

  • 101,356 miles
I lost power steering and power brakes while stopped at a stop sign going up a very steep grade. I was unable to shift into park so that I could turn my car off. I had to lay on the brake with all my weight to keep from rolling backwards into cars behind me. There were no warning lights. After a minute, which felt like much longer, I was able to shift to park and turn my car off and back on. The second time I lost all power, was a couple months later. I was going about 40 mph on a curvy hilly road. I was unable to steer, accelerate, decelerate, or apply the brakes. There were cars behind me and I was terrified I would end up off the road or heading into oncoming traffic. The vehicle finally came to a stop when it didn't have enough momentum to make it up a hill. I was able to shift into park and turn the car off and back on. Both times my infant was in the car with me. Thank goodness both of us were unharmed, because we could have very easily been hurt or hurt others. I was in a several thousand pound vehicle which was out of control. I had it towed to the dealership the next day as I refused to drive it. They didn't seem to think it was a big deal and said I needed a new alternator. Luckily, I had purchased an extended warranty which covered the alternator replacement.

- Hixson, TN, USA

problem #28

Nov 272013

Santa Fe

  • 75,000 miles


Front valve cover gasket keep leaking oil on to the alternator causing the alternator to go out. The second time it happen the core of the alternator burned.I have replace the alternator 3 times and valve cover gasket twice. Hyundai have a recall on the veracruz for this some issues but will not recall the Santa Fe for this issues.

- Burleson, TX, USA

problem #27

Aug 012014

Santa Fe

  • 98,000 miles
Safety issue: Failure of the fuel sending unit permanently turns on the "check engine light" which denies the use of the "check engine light" for other serious conditions. Many consumers have previously reported the failure of the fuel sending unit. These units cost between $800 to $1200 to fix so most drivers do not fix it and instead use the odometer reading to determine when fuel is needed. Unfortunately, driving with the "check engine light" on at all times prevents the driver from seeing the "check engine light" illuminate when a serious condition exists. Therefore, this is a safety issue. Considering the number of consumer reports already sent to NHTSA regarding failed fuel sending units, Hyundai should immediately issue a safety recall to fix these units.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #26

May 052015

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
My gas gauge stopped working correctly, going up and down but never passing one half a tank and the check engine light remains on all the time. The mechanic said the seats would need to be taken out to get to the sensor, that it was probably bad and would need a new one. I tried to estimate how much gas I had in the tank by using the odometer and resetting at 0 for a gas fillup till I got the car in for service. The tank would kick the gas back at half a tank so I was getting only 8 gallons in. On Tuesday I ran out of gas on a highway going 55, which was dangerous, as there was a truck behind me and he had to swerve into the median to avoid hitting me when my car died. I was towed to the mechanic. The mechanic checked bytaking the seats out and putting in a new sensor. He filled the gas tank up (19.9 gallons) and yet with the new sensor in, the gauge still reads only half a tank and the check engine light is still on. Something else is wrong and I see that many other people have this safety issue with this car and it has not been recalled or resolved effectively. Does someone have to die first" are we sure someone has not already"

- Trinity, FL, USA

problem #25

Mar 032015

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 71,230 miles
I filled up the tank and the gas gauge level read empty. Continued and has been on empty. Sometimes it will rise gradually to correct level. And when you turn off engine then it goes back to empty. I find this to be dangerous because I don't know if the car will stop. I have read many others that have had the same problem. A recall is in order to correct this problem for the safety of all.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #24

Jan 082015

Santa Fe

  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that all the warning lights illuminated and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was not able to be restarted. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that gasket leaked oil into the alternator and the alternator needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 82,000. The VIN was not available.

- Kettering, OH, USA

problem #23

Dec 012014

Santa Fe

  • 75,000 miles
Leaking oil from front valve cover and causing alternator to fail, just like all the other Santa Fe and varacruz.

- Rockwall, TX, USA

problem #22

Nov 262014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
After engine start and while driving any speed the battery light and seatbelt light on the dashboard flashes intermittently. I searched this online and it looks to be an electrical charging issue, namely the alternator is bad. I searched more and found the reason for this is the front valve cover is leaking oil and dripping onto the alternator causing it to malfunction. A recall has been made ( #121) on the 07-12 veracruz for the same issue.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #21

Jul 092014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 74,209 miles
The fuel sensor on my 2008 Santa Fe is malfunctioning and not reporting the actual level of fuel in the tank. It is also causing the empty fuel indicator and the check engine light to stay lit all the time, so not only do I have to manually measure my fuel usage by miles driven, I also have no idea of any potential engine problems since that light/warning system has effectively been rendered useless. Hyundai dealerships are currently offering to fix the problem for about $800 and have the parts readily on hand since the problem is occurring so frequently now. This appears to be a defect with the earlier Santa Fe models and considering the potential consequences of accidentally running out of fuel or having an engine problem and not knowing it until it's too late, a recall should be issued.

- Walled Lake, MI, USA

problem #20

Sep 192012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 48,600 miles
9/19/12 valve cover gasket leaked oil on the alternator resulting in alternator needing to be replaced. 10/2/12 new battery needed due to being worn down from bad alternator. 10/3/14 76,589 miles valve cover gasket leaked oil on the alternator resulting in alternator needing to be replaced again!! new battery needed since could no longer hold a charge. Also multiple times the lumbar switch on driver's seat replaced: 2/3/10, 3/15/11, 9/19/12, 1/19/13, 10/3/14.

- Sanford, FL, USA

problem #19

Sep 092014

Santa Fe

  • 65,271 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated while driving 25 mph, the vehicle started to drive abnormally rough. The contact merged the vehicle to the emergency lane and shut the engine off. After multiple attempts, the vehicle failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for a diagnosis. The technician observed that there was an oil leak from the front cylinder bank valve cover gasket and there was sufficient amount of oil in the alternator. The leak had caused the alternator to damage the charging system and to become inoperable. The vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 65,271.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

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