really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,786 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.

2004 Hyundai Santa Fe drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments

problem #9

Dec 262015

Santa Fe

  • miles


The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving at 55 mph, the gear shifter failed and the vehicle accelerated. The contact had to keep her foot on the brake pedal in order to avoid crashing. The check engine light illuminated. The contact coasted the vehicle over to the side of the road, turned off, and restarted the engine. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN and failure mileage were unknown. Updated 02/12/16

- Flora, IL, USA

problem #8

Jun 202015

Santa Fe

  • 3,300 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. While parked in the driveway, the vehicle rolled backwards. The vehicle knocked the contact down and rolled over her knees. There were no warning indicators illuminated. The contact sustained injuries that required medical attention. No police report was filed. The vehicle restarted and was towed to a dealer, who stated that the emergency brake should have been engaged. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 3,300...updated 09/03/15

- Leawood, KS, USA

problem #7

Jan 192015

Santa Fe

  • 155,000 miles
As I approached a stop light and my car began to slow, it didn't shift all the way into first gear. While stopped at the light, it remained at a high RPM while the brake was pressed. When the light changed, and the gas pedal was pressed, my car "kicked" down into first and immediately back in to second. A few days later while at a stop light, my car died. After a few minutes, it started back up. After bringing it to the dealer (it had died on my three times at this point) to have it serviced, I was told that they could not find anything wrong with the vehicle. They were able to "feel" the shifting issues when stopping but they couldn't tell me what was wrong with it. Since I've had my vehicle back from the shop, it has been having high idle surges where the resting idle RPM is at 2000, in addition, when the vehicle is in neutral it acts as if something is pushing the gas pedal while my foot is on the brake going back and forth between 800 and 2000 RPM. When the vehicle is in drive and my foot is on the brake, it also feels like my vehicle wants to get up and go (again like something is pushing on the gas pedal). I have taken my vehicle to two different places and both places can't pinpoint what is wrong with my vehicle. It's starting to become a safety concern. What if whatever is going on with my vehicle overrides the brake system and I end up hurting someone?

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #6

Sep 062014

Santa Fe

  • 135,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle vibrated and the contact heard a popping noise. The contact crashed the vehicle into a telephone pole. A police report was filed. The contact sustained injuries to the neck, chest, and back that required medical attention. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to an impound lot. The approximate failure mileage was 135,000.

- Lacona, NY, USA

problem #5

Jun 152014

Santa Fe

  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while in reverse, the vehicle accelerated erroneously. The contact stated that the failure occurred while shifting into drive. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000.

- Cincinatti, OH, USA

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problem #4

May 212014

Santa Fe

  • 88,770 miles
My oil changing place thought I had a power steering fluid leak, so I took it to the dealer to check. The real problem was the front right axle boot was leaking badly (covered by the power train warranty), but they found that the right and left control arm bushings had collapsed and the sensors were frozen in place. After they fixed these, the mechanic took it for a test drive, and during the test drive, the right front coil snapped. I am told that I must now replace both left and right front coils and have the car re-aligned. The coils should be on recall, as obviously there is a defect in the manufacturing.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #3

Mar 272014

Santa Fe

  • 72,000 miles


Dear NHTSA - my Santa Fe had a malfunction at 65 mph that causes the car to abruptly slow down and run in only third gear. This is a huge distraction to the driver and could easily cause an accident. The codes are P0121 and P0733 which have to do with a throttle/accelerator position sensor and a third gear ratio mismatch. I believe the way this works is the accelerator position sensor sends a signal to the electronic throttle system module which activates an ets motor on the throttle body which opens/closes the throttle butterfly damper based on a computed error signal. Upon researching this on Hyundai forums it was very apparent that this malfunction is very common and very dangerous. I searched the current recalls and this is not one of the two recalls I could find for this vehicle. But in 50% of the cases I read about it appeared that either the accelerator sensor or throttle sensor is a common failure. I really think this should be investigated. There are also some other items that can cause these sensors to see this mismatch and give the engine/transmission the fault code which causes the car to either go into "limp" mode or single gear mode. Although both are at different speeds it basically limits the car to a maximum RPM and causes it to either run in one gear or not shift above a gear, for example 3rd gear into overdrive. This seems to be a common fault that is extremely dangerous when running at or near highway speeds due to the unexpected nature of the event and the speed change and noise it can cause thus surprising the driver which may cause them to stop or pull over unexpectedly. Other malfunctions that can cause this are mass air flow sensor, fuel injector O-ring faulty and leaky intake manifolds among others. This serious issue that should be investigated and redesigned or repaired on these vehicles.

- Sioux City , IA, USA

problem #2

Jan 142012

Santa Fe

  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving at any speed, the vehicle would lose power and become inoperable. The vehicle was taken to the dealer four times for the same failure and the dealer stated that no failures were found, offering no further assistance. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 53,000 and the current mileage was 54,800.

- Bethlehem , PA, USA

problem #1

Jun 012004

Santa Fe

  • miles
Problems with 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe drive train. When the vehicle was warmed up and the consumer attempted to shift gears, the vehicle jerked and when the vehicle was transitioned from park to drive the vehicle stuttered as if it lost power. After the vehicle was up and running, the problem went away. The dealer informed the consumer the problem was the transmission controller. The consumer asked if the transmission controller board could be replaced and the dealer replied that they could not just throw parts into the vehicle in hopes that would make it right since the problem could not be duplicated when the vehicle was test driven.

- Hammond, IN, USA

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