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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,325 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 engine problems

engine problem

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

problem #31

Sep 102016

Santa Fe

  • 109,000 miles


My 2008 Santa Fe with 109,000 miles suddenly shut off on me when approaching a stop sign. The stop sign was on a slight turn and I never realized it until I had no power steering and saw all the lights lit on the dash. I put car in park and it restarted with no issues. Later that day I went to start the car and engine made a loud clunk sound and car shook for a second. I decided not to drive it that day. It has been 3 days since the first shut down and so far the car has been running like normal. Called Hyundai and made note of my complaint but didn't seem to know about this issue or so maybe they are not at Liberty to say if they have. They never gave me an answer except to take it to a dealer to see if they can diagnosis the problem. I see recall was put out for the 2010-2012 model years but not for older models.

- Womelsdorf, PA, USA

problem #30

Aug 312016

Santa Fe

  • 102,129 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. While having the vehicle routinely inspected for emissions, the vehicle failed due to a faulty fuel gauge. The check engine indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing, but the details could not be provided. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 102,129.

- Montague, MA, USA

problem #29

May 172015

Santa Fe

  • 141,000 miles
After 141,000 miles the engine threw a rod, I had heard a clicking noise for a while but was assured it was a normal engine sound after taking it to the dealer. I change my oil regularly and have my slips, the engine completely failed while driving. In the last year and a half I am having to replace approximately one low beam headlamp per month.

- Germantown, WI, USA

problem #28

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 #27

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 #26

Jun 102014

Santa Fe

  • 65,000 miles
I also had the fuel sensor go out and had it fixed. And I had to have my alternator replaced twice. Once when it went out and again in 9 months due to recall for a fuel gasket cover default. So I paid the first time out of pocket $700 only to find out it was probably due to the default. Lynda

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #25

Oct 262015

Santa Fe

  • 83,300 miles


While accelerating to get on the highway the vehicle rapidly accelerated without pressing the gas pedal. When this occurred the pedal started going to the floor. Prying up on the pedal with your foot did not have an affect. This has happened twice and the dealer has looked at it twice and has advised that they could not find a problem.

- Grain Valley, MO, USA

problem #24

Sep 242015

Santa Fe

  • 66,000 miles
I exited a toll and proceeded to enter the NJ turnpike, suddenly, the steering became tight. I noticed that the power steering was out, along with the engine. The engine just turned off. Thankfully, no traffic, I proceed to pull to the feeder of the entrance. Put car in park, and the car restarted. I am not sure what happened, and fearful that this could happen, with trucks behind me, unable to pull to the side and risk serious injury. No check engine light warning was indicated. I recently had two knock sensors replaced at the Hyundai dealership.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #23

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 #22

Jul 242015

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 53,900 miles
While I was driving along at approximately 25 mph in my Hyundai santafe the steering became very difficult and there was no throttle response. I stopped the vehicle completely in the middle of the boulevard street and put the vehicle in park and restarted the engine. I was very frightened during the incident that someone was going to run into the back of my car and that the vehicle would stop again before I got home. I refused to drive the vehicle again and followed my husband in another vehicle as he drove the faulty vehicle to the dealer the following day. The tech rep we spoke with at the dealer casually said the throttle positioning sensor was bad and if we wanted it repaired it would cost about $400. I couldn't believe they would let me leave the dealership with this malfunctioning part. The symptoms are the same as the General Motors ignition switch problem. I looked it up online and this seems to be a common problem with the Hyundai santafe. Where is the outrage" where are the recalls? is it going to take many deaths and 10 years to correct this problem like GM ignition switch problem? does somebody have to die before this is taken seriously" Hyundai management refuses to discuss this problem. I sincerely hope I can appeal to your sensibility and force this Korean company to address this dangerous problem.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #21

Aug 072015

Santa Fe

  • 175,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving at 50 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. However, the vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 175,000.

- Starta, NJ, USA

problem #20

Aug 072015

Santa Fe

  • 107,000 miles
My wife indicated that when she got on the ramp to rt. 80, the car completely shut down. She also stated that she almost had an accident since she had no brakes nor power steering. This occurrence has been reported to the national highway safety by a number of owners yet you continue to ignore the problem which could be attributed to oil dripping from the valve cover on to the alternator. I guess you're waiting for some accidents to happen before taking action....maybe a few deaths resulting from a crash. Very proactive!

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #19

Apr 212015

Santa Fe

  • 99,617 miles
My Santa Fe AWD 2008 was bought in June 2009 and now has ~99K mileage. I had four or five similar incidents with my Santa Fe starting on 4/21/15, which led to significant power loss and speed loss of the car on the road. The first time, I was driving on a local road at ~25 mph. Suddenly I felt the car lost the power and began to slow down. I stepped down on the accelerator, but the car could not accelerate (the speed dropped to ~10 mph). I saw 3 system indicator/warning lights on: The ESC off(electronic stability control) and check engine indicators had a steady light and the AWD system warning light was flashing. I pulled off to the side of the road, shut off the car, waited ~1 minute, and then restarted the car. The check engine light stayed on, but the other lights went out. Then I drove the car to continue to my job. The 2nd incident occurred on my way home. The same scenario except that I was driving at ~40 mph at the time. The sudden power loss caused the car speed quickly dropped to ~10 mph and probably led the car behind mine to make a sudden stop to avoid a crash. Again, I pulled off to the side of the road, shut off the engine, and then restarted the car with the check engine light staying on. The other times I was on the cresent city connection (bridge) in the center lane. I had to work my way over two lanes to turn the vehicle off to restart to continue on my way to or from work. After the 5th time, I did some research online and found an article stating that this problem was on the tsb (technical safety bulletin). Maybe someone somewhere should be aware of more than one vehicle having this problem.......

- Gretna , LA, USA

problem #18

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 #17

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 #16

Jul 032015

Santa Fe

  • 20,000 miles
After several hours of normal highway driving, the vehicle experienced a sudden loss of power as the engine computer entered "limp home" mode. Pressing the accelerator had no effect. Diagnosed as throttle position sensor failure. This problem occurred several times, with an engine restart clearing the problem temporarily. While these incidents did not result in a crash, they could easily have, depending on traffic circumstances.

- Perry Hall, MD, USA

problem #15

Jan 132015

Santa Fe

  • 115,000 miles
I was driving to a stop light on a down hill slope with my whole family in the car when all of the sudden my car turned off. All at once my check engine light came on, my battery light came on, and I couldn't get the car to re-start. I turned on the emergency flashers and at the middle of a busy intersection I tried to restart my car but nothing happened. A few moments later I tried again and it started but it wouldn't let me accelerate almost at all (through an intersection!). there was also a clicking sound coming from the front of the car. I pulled into a parking lot, afraid if I was going to be able to drive anywhere, turned the car off, waited about five minutes, restarted it, successfully. I let it idle for a while unsure what else to do. I proceeded to drive home with no other incident. The clicking was off and on the entire drive home but has since gotten quieter.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #14

Jan 152014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • miles
The first time I came out to start my car and looked up, there was smoke coming from under the hood and wouldn't start. I had it towed. I was informed it was the starter. The starter was replaced and approximately 6 months later, I noticed a brushing sound when I started the car. Over time it became more often. I returned the car several times to the independent auto shop. They couldn't find out the noise. In the mean time I took to a dealership and they told me it was the starter and to take it back and have it replaced. I returned to the independent dealer and they replaced, it was still under warranty. At the dealership, I was told it wasn't catching. Two weeks later it started the same brushing sound when I started the car. I made an appointment with a dealership to inspect and in the mean time the car while warming up had a burnt smell. I turned the car off and it would not start. Had it towed. The dealership put the car on a diagnostic check and put a new starter in. My car was held for 5 days. They told me oil had leaked from the starter and that was where the smoke came from and the brunt smell. Within a week the car when started had the brushing sound again. I tried to record the sound and after I started 4 times it started to smoke and wouldn't start. Had to have it towed again. It is now at the dealership waiting for a diagnostic.

- Smyrna, , TN, USA

problem #13

Jan 032012

Santa Fe

  • miles
The gas gauge has not been working for over 2 years and the check engine light is on most of the time but will go off intermittently. We track gas usage with the trip odometer (20 miles per gallon X 17 gal tank=340 miles driven) but fill up around 275 miles driven. But this is not a reliable way to track fuel and it was bound to happen-we ran out of gas-unfortunately on the tollway. Now we want to fix it. We have had estimates ranging from $400-$800 to fix the problem but think that this is a defective part that Hyundai has installed in their vehicles. There should be a recall for safety reasons. The car is only 6 years old. We take care of our cars-regular maintenance and parked in a garage. (also had to replace the throttle sensor after 2 years and both HVAC mode door actuators after 4 years. The window washer fluid recently stopped working).

- Crystal Lake, IL, USA

problem #12

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

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