really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,665 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #33

Mar 052016

Santa Fe

  • 125,000 miles


Recently the engine throttle started to rev up and wanting to acceleratewhen I am goin very very slow stuck in traffic or just deiving under 30 mph. I would have to apply the brakes very hard and that wouldn't work so I would have to put it into neutral and wait for the throttle to calm down. I went to my mechanics and they put the computer monitor on my Santa Fe but no codes came up showing any problems. They checked the throttle cable and it was fine. They told me that other Santa Fe owners experienced the same problem.

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #32

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 #31

Nov 282015

Santa Fe

  • 150,000 miles
When I put gas in my car it will not start afterward. First it started only when my car was turned off. When I left my car running it was ok. Now it turns off when my car is running also. The mechanic said, it may be a bad fuel pump, cost $350 to replace, but can't guarantee this will fix the issue. I see I am not the only one with this issue. Why is this not a recall"? I google it and there are so many people with same problem. Also with the car accelerating by itself. I thought I was crazy. I see now that others are having this problem as well. Everyone said I imagined it. Why is this not a recall"

- Mastic Beach, NY, USA

problem #30

Nov 082015

Santa Fe

  • 140,000 miles


The vehicle tries to slow down or accelerate while driving on city streets

- Punta Gorda, FL, USA

problem #29

Nov 192014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 69,500 miles
The vehicle accelerated to a high rate of speed when just touching the gas pedal. The brake must immediately be engaged to slow the car. Once the car is moving the accelerator works. While cruising the engine RPM surges forcing the brakes to be engaged.this is a dangerous situation in traffic. The previous owner said the vehicle has been doing this for years and she just lived with it. It is unsettling to have a vehicle surge whenever it wants.

- Bear, DE, USA

problem #28

May 222014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
After pulling into traffic, I lifted my foot from the accelerator when I reached my desired speed. However, the vehicle continued to accelerate. I applied the brake, and the engine continued to rev for 1 or 2 seconds. There was no accident on this occasion, but it was terrifying, and I had my child in the vehicle.

- Clearwater , FL, USA

problem #27

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 #26

Mar 162014

Santa Fe

  • 174,000 miles
Pulling into parking space when car suddenly accelerated and went up onto a 6 inch sidewalk barrier. Drivers foot was firmly on the brake but car accelerated anyway. Driver put car in neutral to keep from going forward and stop. Very very scary and thankful no one was walking in front of us.

- Moline, IL, USA

problem #25

Nov 202012

Santa Fe

  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph in reverse, the vehicle accelerated to greater speeds. The contact shifted into drive as the vehicle continued to accelerate while the contact was applying the brake. The contact immediately shut the engine off to get the vehicle to stop. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer or an independent mechanic. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were approximately 140,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Cranston, RI, USA

problem #24

Jul 052010

Santa Fe

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that after starting the vehicle, the engine revved up and the vehicle accelerated. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred while in drive or reverse. Also, the contact stated that most times they have been able to stop the vehicle but twice had minor accidents. The vehicle was taken to the dealer four times and each time either there were no codes or they were unable to duplicate the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 133,000.

- Madison Heights, MI, USA

problem #23

Jul 152007

Santa Fe

  • 30,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph in reverse, the vehicle abnormally accelerated. The failure recurred three separate times. As a result of the failure, the contact was involved in a crash while in reverse. There were no injuries and a police report was filed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection but the manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired and the VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 30,000 and the current mileage was 110,000.

- Fairport, NY, USA

problem #22

Nov 072011

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Uninitiated acceleration while driving, trying to stop and idling.

- Wantagh , NY, USA

problem #21

Aug 262011

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 37,230 miles
While sitting in traffic at a local gas station, my 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe surged to the point where I could barely control the vehicle from crashing into the car in front of me. I immediately placed the car in neutral and the engine speed surged to nearly 6000 RPM. I turned the vehicle off. The car was able to be started again without incident. There was no collision, but it was a very scary and uncontrolled manner for the vehicle to be operated in.

- Bayville, NJ, USA

problem #20

Mar 162011

Santa Fe

  • 101,000 miles
2004 Hyundai Santa Fe has sudden acceleration and surging no trouble lights on. Dealership told me the throttle sensor had to be replaced, so we did that. About a month later, same thing happened. Dealership replaced throttle sensor again, at no charge. Said if it happens again we would need a new throttle body. Happened again, so had the throttle body replaced. Happened again and was told it was wiring that had to do with cruise control. Which I never use. Happened again today 3/16/2011. Notified the dealership that I was dropping off tonight in the night drop. I have already paid over $1000 for something that has not been fixed. We will see what happens tomorrow. We maxed out our towing with aaa, so my husband, who works second shift and hour and half away from where we live has to drive it back to the dealership tonight. It started today when he was about 15 minutes away from work. Also this is our only car, and dealership always says their loaner cars are all out. Just wanted this documented and am praying my husband gets back to the dealership ok.

- Torrington, CT, USA

problem #19

Feb 282010

Santa Fe

  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled as soon as it was started. She was able to restart the vehicle the following day yet the vehicle abnormally accelerated with an unusual increase in engine RPM as she depressed the brakes. The vehicle would not stop and she then shifted into neutral and shut the vehicle off. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where a diagnostic test was performed. The failure was located at the throttle body assembly which the contact was advised to have replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 76,000.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #18

Nov 052010

Santa Fe

  • 74,000 miles
I am now afraid to drive my Hyundai sante fe. While driving home from work (about 30 miles from home) my vehicle started accelerating rapidly and surging when I was trying to keep it from lunging forward. I had to use the emergency brake and the brakes to stop it and that still did not stop the acceleration from continuing. I drove it directly to the shop where I wanted to have it fixed. It cost over $500 to have a throttle sensor replaced and now it's doing it again? I had it towed last night because I could not stop it again without almost putting it in a ditch. When it stopped it then started not wanting to go at all. This is a dangerous condition for sure with this vehicle. Since last month when this happened, I have bee reading lots of info from other drivers with the same issue. Hyundai does not want to give me anything for this dangerous repair as they don't want to admit any fault.

- Noblesville, IN, USA

problem #17

Oct 142010

Santa Fe

  • 70,600 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving approximately 5 mph she applied pressure to the brake pedal but the vehicle would not stop until crashing into another vehicle. After crashing, she shifted the vehicle into park. Once the vehicle was in park the engine began to exhibit an abnormal increase in rpms and the engine roared extremely loudly until she removed the key out of the ignition. The police appeared on the scene but no injuries were reported. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where the mechanic was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 70,600.

- Grafton, WI, USA

problem #16

Dec 162005

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving the vehicle at any speed, it accelerated on its own. Occasionally when the vehicle came to a complete stop the vehicle accelerated more rapidly. The contact had to apply extreme pressure to the brakes multiple times in order to stop the vehicle from accelerating. The failure began when the heat or the air conditioner was turned on. The dealer replaced one of the sensors; however, the acceleration continued to occur. The vehicle was taken to another dealer who was also unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 10,000. Updated 05/10/10 updated 05/12/10.

- Greeneville, TN, USA

problem #15

Dec 202004

Santa Fe

  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. Whenever the contact accelerates from a stop, the vehicle surges forward rapidly. He must immediately apply the brakes. The failure has occurred ever since the vehicle was purchased. The vehicle was diagnosed by the dealer several times, but the failure still persists. The speed was unknown. The current mileage was 66,963 and failure mileage was 5,000.

- Belingham, WA, USA

problem #14

Oct 172007

Santa Fe 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,600 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. While idling, the vehicle kept moving almost hitting a pedestrian. The failure occurs intermittently when merging into traffic or at a traffic light. The current and failure mileages were 11,600. The consumer expericed sudden acceleration while her foot was on the brake. Updated 11/06/07.

- Braintree, MA, USA

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