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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe has a problem with the engine stalling while driving. Both our data & the NHTSA's complaint data show a significant defect trend at low mileage.

In a 2-page letter sent August 2014 to Santa Fe owners, Hyundai claims the engine stalling only occurs under a "specific set of operating conditions".

However a class action lawsuit filed around the same time details multiple claims from Sante Fe owners that claim the engine stalling happens at any time, under any conditions.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,341 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.

2011 Hyundai Santa Fe engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Jan 012014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • miles


2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. Consumer writes in regards to while driving vehicle engine shut off and car died. The consumer stated when he slowed down to go around a curve, the vehicle shut off. He could barely get the vehicle to the side of the roadway, because there was no power steering or power brakes. Tech support, recommended replacing the throttle body, since the dealer could not find a problem. However, on March 1, 2014, while driving in a parking lot at 10 mph, the engine shut off again. The power steering and brakes were not operable. He let the vehicle sit for several minutes before re-starting it. The consumer returned to the dealer, and after a thorough examination, they were unable to duplicate the problem.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #22

Apr 022013

Santa Fe

  • 38,800 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or independent mechanic. The manufacture was not notified. The failure mileage was 38,800 and the current mileage was 38,920. Kmj

- Notrhridge, CA, USA

problem #21

Jan 192014

Santa Fe

  • miles
This is a follow up to the complaint I made on 5/13/2013. At that time my vehicle was at the dealership to try to duplicate the problem I had been having which was that my car would randomly stall while making a turn, whether left or right. When this happened the panel would light up like christmas and everything including the brakes would cease to work. I have to coast to a safe location (if possible) to turn off car and then restart it. I have been very fortunate that me or my family have not been hit when this happens. Update to last report: My car stayed at the dealership for 3 weeks however the problem was not duplicated. Their solution (Hyundai usa and my dealership) was to replace the throttle body. Everything was fine until the same problem occured on 1/19/2014. I don't think hyndai usa will be satisfied until there's fatalities unfortunately.

- District Heights, MD, USA

problem #20

Jul 132013

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 44,012 miles


While accelerating from a traffic light, vehicle dropped speed while I accelerated. It coasted along at 1-2 miles an hour. The check engine, antilock brake and 4 wheel drive 'skid' indicators all lit up on the dash board. I had to guide the vehicle to a safe stop by the side of the road after clearing a dangerous intersection. This has occurred four additional times after the dealership assured me this problem had been rectified. It is presently at the dealership after having been towed in for the fifth (5th) time. This car needs to be replaced by the dealer.

- Dix Hills, NY, USA

problem #19

Oct 022013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
While driving at slow speed 10-15 mph and braking the car completely stalled, once while turning left and once while going straight. Loss of power steering and power brakes and narrowly avoiding hitting another vehicle. No check engine light came on and no codes stored.

- Rochester, MN, USA

problem #18

Apr 012013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
My engine has stalled at several occasions beginning around April 2013. The first 2 events happened as I was stopped at a red light. I put my foot on the accelerator and nothing happened I had to restart the car to get it moving again. The car has also stalled twice while I was reversing into a parking spot and once as I was turning a corner I lost control of the steering function in the middle of the street. As recently as October 2013 the car stalled again while stopped at a red light. All of these events happened as I was stopped or moving at a low (less than 10 mph) rate of speed.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #17

Sep 262013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 37,237 miles


9/26/13 - while going up to the next level of a parking structure at a slow speed, the vehicle stalled. Put it into park and restarted it and drove it to a parking spot. Later that day was able to drive it to the dealership; they have had it for 4 days (2 of which were over the weekend). No codes registered in the computer system; they are waiting to hear from a Hyundai tech. According to research online, this is a common (and dangerous) problem with the Santa Fe. Prior to this episode, on 2 other occasions (9/13/13 and 8/3/2012), was driving the vehicle at 70mpg and 50mph respectively and lost power and the ability to keep or increase my speed and had to pull over and get towed to the dealership, both times. This too appears to be common among online forums for Santa Fe's.

- Hartland, WI, USA

problem #16

Aug 152013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 22,300 miles
For the second time this summer the engine has just shut off while driving slowly down hill. This time I barely missed causing an accident and hitting a pedestrian.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #15

Jun 112013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • miles
On June 11, 2013 I was driving my 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. I was in a parking lot and had pulled into a parking place. I was stopped and putting my car into park. As I reach neutral my car accelerated fast...this was more then a lunge forward, it was more like a power surge. My car continued forward at a very fast speed, despite my braking ( there were skid marks) and hit a wall. I ended up with lots of massive bruising and sprained muscles. Plus I was very frightened. There was lots of damage to my car. It was towed to the dealership, where I purchased it. It is sill in their body shop. A few days after the accident I checked the internet to see if anyone else had this problem. There were lots & lots of examples of this, sudden unintended acceleration problem, with the 2011 Santa Fe. I don't see any responses from Hyundai. This problem has to be dealt with.

- Forest Hill, MD, USA

problem #14

Jun 212013

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 40,300 miles
I took it in for service after the engine hesitated and bucked forward Sept, 2012. It had approx. 29,500 miles. Today June 21, 2013 while putting it in reverse, I heard a loud "clunk" and also heard same "clunk" when I changed it from reverse to drive. Engine then proceeded to hesitate and buck all the way home. It is going in for service again (second time) tomorrow. This is very frustrating!!

- Forked River, NJ, USA

problem #13

May 182013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 35,450 miles


Took my car in to Hyundai dealership in concord, ca on approx. March 17th of this year for previous complaints of engine suddenly shutting off while driving. Was told at that time that no error codes were recorded by the car's computer and that Hyundai mechanics could not find any mechanical issues with the vehicle. They then talked to Hyundai engineers and decided that possibly the cars throttle bodies could be a problem and told me they would do a "good will" replacement of this auto part. Since that time, I have driven the car approximately 1K miles without incident, until this past Saturday May 18 2013. I was in stop and go traffic, going at speeds between 5-15 mph. I pushed the brake to do a gradual slow, then went to push the accelerator but there was no power. I looked down to see my dash lights were present, but no engine sound. I slowed the car to a complete stop, turned the ignition off, then turned it on and the engine started right up. Again, as previous, no error messages appeared on my dash. The car has been driven without incident so far 200 miles since this last incident. The dealership has asked me to bring the car in and allow them test drive the car for a day hoping that this intermittent problem will occur for them. It appears to be connected to hitting the brakes, slowing, then attempting to accelerate. All times this so far this has occurred while driving on an incline. The vehicle currently has 35, 500 miles.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #12

Oct 222012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
When accelerating from a stop the vehicle slightly begins to move but no acceleration coming from the engine. This results in a very slow 1-2 mph movement. This has happened on a handful of occasions and is very dangerous. Often when pulling out into a highway when acceleration is needed the vehicle just creeps into traffic. Appears that the engine is just idling without any increase in RPM when the accelerator is depressed. Eventually when pulling off to safe area and stopping with trans in neutral, the engine acts normal with proper acceleration. Shifting into drive will return to the same problem. Problem will eventually slowly dissolve after "playing" with the accelerator when stopped and then shifting into drive to begin acceleration.

- Presque Isle, MI, USA

problem #11

Apr 112013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 9,100 miles
2011 Hyundai Santa Fe V6 limited traveling at a speed of approximately 15 mph, in the process of making a left hand turn the engine experienced a stall condition. Immediately lost the ability to safely control the vehicle, complete loss of the braking system and power steering. Engine light was illuminated. Once the vehicle had coasted to a stop, shifted the vehicle from the drive position to the park position. Turned the ignition to the off position. Immediately turned the ignition to the start position and engine restarted. Engine light indicator in dash panel was no longer illuminated. Took vehicle to dealership to have them locate the root cause. Dealership was unable to determine the root cause. Filed an incident report with Hyundai usa.

- Lebanon, NH, USA

problem #10

Apr 042013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 34,530 miles
Was negotiating a left sided curve on the downhill side of a steep, windy road in a remote area between oakland and moraga, ca when I suddenly lost steering power. I went to hit the brakes and found that my brakes also had no power. I pushed very hard on the brakes and managed to get the vehicle to stop. Had I been unable to stop, my car would've gone directly over a very steep hillside that borders a reservoir. As it was, the rear end of my car was jutted out halfway onto the roadway and only a few yards from a blind curve. This particular spot also has no cell phone coverage. After putting the car in park, I noted that my ignition was still in the "on" position and that all the appropriate dash lights were on, but the engine sound was absent and the tach read zero. I did not notice any error messages on my dash. I turned the car off, then turned the ignition back on. The car started right up with no hesitation. I heard no unusual engine noises or experienced any difficulties with driving the vehicle. I drove to the closest service station approx. 3-4 miles from the incident location. The mechanic did a quick check under the hood, found nothing unusual and suggested I go directly to the Hyundai dealership. I took my car to future Hyundai in concord, ca. They ran diagnostics the next day, then reported that they "could find nothing wrong with the car." I expressed my fear of driving the vehicle based on very rational safety concerns and what I felt had been a close call on my life the day prior. I also told the service person that a quick look online lead me to find several stories similar to mine. I was told I would need to talk with the service manager the next day as he was not available. I then called Hyundai customer service and reported the entire history of this issue. I have been assigned case # [xxx]. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #9

Mar 182013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
This complaint is similar to a complaint I already filed in December 2012 and is a recurring issue. On 3/18/13, was traveling approx 55 mph up a steep hill when the check engine light came on and immediately the gas pedal ceased functioning as well. The engine remained running, however pressing the gas pedal did nothing. This created an extremely dangerous situation as the traffic behind me was not aware my vehicle was slowing down and I had no ability to safely pull over to the side of the road. I brought the car to a stop, turned off the engine, waited a minute, and restarted it. At this point the gas pedal was functioning as expected, but the check engine light remained on. Went to the dealer, however they indicated the fix for the issue (technical service bulletin, #12-fl-004) had been applied after the 12/2012 incident and they found nothing new wrong this time. On 3/22/13, the exact same issue happened twice during one commute to work. The vehicle is currently at the dealer who has no idea why this is happening. This is a major safety issue and from other reports seen online, a recall should be investigated.

- Westminster, MD, USA

problem #8

Feb 062013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 24,242 miles
I backed out of a parking spot and made contact with something which I could not see from my rear view or side view mirrors. Later, when the emergency workers were loading me into the ambulance, I would see that the object was a low, cement pole, which protected a fire hydrant directly behind the parking spot I pulled out of. As I put the vehicle in gear (drive) with my foot on the brake, to pull away from whatever I backed in to, the engine revved and the vehicle accelerated on its own. The vehicle lurched forward (the best way to describe it is the way a pinball bounces off of a bumper on a pinball machine) and continued moving forward, even though my foot was still on the brake pedal. The vehicle drove forward into the parking spot I had started from, over a curb at the front of the parking spot, through a patch of low lying plants and over a wall which is approximately four to five feet in height. My vehicle was airborne and came to rest in the lower level parking lot, striking a parked vehicle. It was only then that the vehicle stopped its forward motion. My arms had been locked on the steering wheel, my right foot on the brake pedal. My left leg absorbed the impact of the crash into the lower level parking lot. I was taken away in an ambulance with a broken leg and severely dislocated ankle. The vehicle has been deemed a total loss by my insurance carrier. I was advised that a claims investigator was sent to the insurance-company-authorized collision shop to where my vehicle was towed. Even though the emergency workers advised on the night of the accident that the car was not in a drivable condition, I was advised by my insurance company that the investigator drove the vehicle in the parking lot of the collision shop and he was not able to replicate the unintended acceleration.

- Lynnwood, WA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012012

Santa Fe

  • miles
The contact owned a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while sitting in park on an incline, the vehicle erroneously shifted out of gear, causing it to roll away. In addition, the vehicle would stall without warning when attempting a turn. The vehicle was restarted and began to function normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be replicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Milton, GA, USA

problem #6

Dec 222012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 21,401 miles
While traveling approx 55 mph, I hit a fairly significant pothole. The check engine light immediately came on and, at the very same instant, the gas pedal ceased to function. The engine remained running, however the gas pedal had no affect - e.g. pressing the gas pedal did nothing. I immediately pulled onto the shoulder and brought the vehicle to a complete stop. The engine continued to idle and, after letting up on the brake, the vehicle moved forward on its own at approx 20 mph, more than expected under normal idle conditions. This condition lasted for approx 5 min until I could pull into a parking lot. I shut the engine off, waited a moment, then restarted it. At this point the gas pedal was functioning as expected, but the check engine light remained on. The vehicle was repaired at the dealer who notified me of an existing technical service bulletin, #12-fl-004, from Hyundai. They also indicated this was a "known issue" relating to the "ECM software."

- Cockeysville, MD, USA

problem #5

Apr 172012

Santa Fe

  • 1,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while sitting at a stop light, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they were unable to determine the cause of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 1,500.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 252012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
After light turned green, I pushed on the pedal and the car did not move for seconds. Car hesitates all the time. Afraid to make left turn from a stopped position because I am not sure if the vehicle will move. Vehicle also hesitates when accelerating to pass slow moving vehicles. Reported issue to dealer and dealer would not acknowledge problem. Read and heard of other Santa Fe acceleration issues.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

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