really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,690 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 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #18

Aug 182014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 169,748 miles
While driving on I-95, the charging system warning light came on followed by a loss of engine power and then engine stopped completely. Was able to safely make it to the road side. Dealer diagnosed a defective valve cover gasket allowed oil to leak which dripped on and into the alternator causing it to fail. Second identical failure on vehicle in two years. V-6, automatic, 2wd. Found manufacturer just issued a recall on veracruz model which shares the same platform for identical symptoms and failures.

- Fort Pierce, FL, USA

problem #17

Jun 252014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 85,209 miles


The dash lights started flashing, the wipers stopped working in the middle of a down pour, the lights went dim. The traction system started detuning the engine. All dash lights on. We find that it is a leaky value cover gasket. Drips on the alternator and causes it to go bad. The service manager said "they are all starting to have this problem and it's $700. If I was the orginal owner Hyundai would replace the gasket, but I would need to pay for the altenator. $600 uhgg!!! now for the fuel guage. Two sensors under the back seat and good as new. $200.

- Otsego, MI, USA

problem #16

Jun 182014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
I was driving approx 30 mph on a straight roadway when all electrical seized. Power steering, brakes, ect....I had to pull over and had my 17 month old son in the vehicle with me. I had to put my emergency lights on and find a safe place to pull over. If this would have happened on a highway, we most likely would have had an accident. This is an urgent safety issue!! we brought our vehicle to our local Hyundai dealership, in which they did not find anything wrong......to be continued!! I smell a recall down the road. Hoping it's before someone gets seriously injured, or worse killed.

- Aiken, SC, USA

problem #15

Apr 052014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 61,700 miles
The Santa Fe gas gauge behaves erratically! as you drive, the fuel indicator needle moves up and down so that you do not know accurately how much fuel remains in the gas tank. The needle may also indicate a very low fuel level by illuminating the "low fuel" warning light on the dashboard as well. The problem appears to be getting worse as drive time goes on as the needle movements increase the longer time the SUV is driven and the volume of fuel decreases in the fuel tank. After a period of time the check engine light will also illuminate to warn of a vehicle engine / drive-train problem. In my case I have reset the check engine manually and after a number of trips the check engine light will reappear. This low fuel warning cycle has been repeated numerous times and may cause a driver to be distracted to see the low fuel warning light, when in fact there may be sufficient fuel in the gas tank. I find that this problem is very disconcerting as you don't know whether you may be running out of gasoline.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #14

Jun 062013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 71,364 miles
I took my vehicle to the dealership to perform two recalls: (1) stop lamp switch and (2) pods recalibration. I was informed the air bag light in the dashboard had come on and stayed on after the recalibration of the pods. I never had an issue with the pods system or an air warning light in the dash prior to the recall. I was told Hyundai would pay to either replace the passenger front seat belt tensioner or the entire seat. They did not allow me to drive my vehicle because they said it was a safety issue and rented me a car for 4 days. Replacing the seat belt tensioner fixed the problem, but less than a year later (4-15-14) the air light has come on and now they tell me that it's the scale in the seat and the entire seat needs to be replaced at a cost to me of $2400+. the service advisor told me that the driver's side air bags were not affected -- only the passenger's and I would be safe to drive the car. The service tech quickly returned the car and we didn't receive any paperwork resulting from the inspection. My husband and I did not elect to replace the seat at this time while we research the issue. However, my husband and I did notice that the pods "off" light turns off when a passenger is in the seat which is confusing since the advisor said the scale isn't working. Now we are left with a 6-year-old car that has an expensive safety issue. We can't sell it to a private party because of the safety issue and the trade-in value has dramatically declined.

- Patterson, CA, USA

problem #13

Feb 182014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles


Car parked in parking lot at my office. No one in vechile. Parked for several hours. Spontaneously burst into flames...apppeared to be electrical box at rear of car for hitch.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #12

Dec 022013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 46,128 miles
The fuel gauge on dash has begun fluctuating wildly even with full tank of gas. No check engine light yet but based on what I have read I am anticipating a problem code coming soon. My research is pointing to the fuel level sensor attached to the fuel pump. However, only the whole assembly appears to be available and as such, it is highly costly to correct. Hyundai should provide a recall for this due to the huge number of people experiencing the same problem. It has also been noted that this has caused vehicles to stall while on the highway creating a hazard to other drivers and myself. When the car ran out of gas, the power steering went out and it became very hard to steer. Please see the following web site for a current list of many other Santa Fe owners having the same problem. www.aboutautomobile.com/complaint/2008/Hyundai/santa+fe/fuel+system.

- Incline Village, NV, USA

problem #11

Aug 092013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 71,550 miles
The sensor for the gas tank went bad, in our opinion, prematurely. Went online to research the issue, and learned that this is a common problem with Santa fes, even those newer than ours. Impact: When the sensor fails, the fuel gauge displays 'empty' no matter what amount of fuel is in the tank, rendering the fuel gauge totally unreliable to the driver. The car could run out of gas anywhere-- for example, on a highway--potentially creating a serious safety hazard to not just the driver but also to other drivers around him. We wonder whether a recall should be issued for this sensor. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Southbury, CT, USA

problem #10

Jan 282013

Santa Fe

  • miles
The fuel gauge on our '08 Hyundai sante fe has recently become erratic. It fluctuates widely (25-50%) over the course of a few minutes with the check engine and low fuel indicators also periodically lighting. It has become so unreliable that we are now relying on the odometer readings to estimate fuel levels. Searching the internet, this appears to be a very common problem with this vehicle and relates to weak pins in the originally installed fuel senders. There are several reports that the apparent problem is fixed in the replacement part (visibly larger pins) which makes me question why the company would not be responsible for replacing a clearly defective part. Our vehicle has approximately 70,000 miles on it.

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #9

Jan 232013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
I turned on the car and noticed that the gas gauge was showing empty and the engine light was on - I had just filled the tank up that morning so I knew I had plenty of gas. The range indicator was just dashes -not numeric as it should be. The gauge then would rise up and the range would change and then it would go down and the range would change - this continually happened. I went to my mechanic and he said to zero out the error and keep an eye on it. The next morning the same thing. Now we are being told that the fuel level sensor is not working and it will cost between 600-700 to fix this! I too have read on many websites that this is an issue that occurs between the 60K - 70K mileage range and the parts guy at healey Hyundai in beacon, NY told me - oh yeah we are getting tons of these complaints, that is why we stock this item! if Hyundai is aware of this issue, why aren't they recalling these vehicles" are they waiting for someone to not be aware of their actual gas gauge and have their car stall out at 55 miles an hour?" come on Hyundai - we are loyal brand buyers and this is our 4th Hyundai (second Santa Fe) don't become like the rest of the car companies and not give a [xxx] - fix your problems and your consumers will stand by you! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

problem #8

Jan 232013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 79,974 miles
Fan keeps going on and off. Dealer said there is a "short in the A/C control head".

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #7

Apr 212011

Santa Fe

  • 59,000 miles
At 59,000 miles left side running lights inop. Sent to dealer they said they adjusted the wiring harness. This stated at 50,000 miles. Worked good for 3 weeks took on a trip put 10,000 miles on it. Now at 70,000.. electrical issues started back up.no taillights left back, touch brake dashboard left turn glows 1/2 brightness.put left turn signal light on works. Touch brake left side blink acts like burned out light. Fill with fuel reads correct most of the time. Went to stop started car back up gauge read empty with light on, stopped for gas 30 miles later put gas in took 1 gal gauge went to 1/2 tank. Let set overnight next day read 3/4. drove the rest of the day. Next day read correct. This happened 2 times already. Do not know if this is related the left side electrical problem.

- Cortland, OH, USA

problem #6

Feb 252009

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 6,820 miles
When trying to park the car, the car does not recognize it is in park, even though the gear shift is in park. Therefore, you cannot turn your car completely off or remove the key from the ignition. The car has been serviced 6 times over the course of 3 years for the same issue.

- Kingwood, TX, USA

problem #5

May 152011

Santa Fe

  • 40,000 miles
I am original owner of a regularly maintained 2008 Hyundai sante fe (45,000 miles). On a Jan 2011 trip from tx to mi the car lost power at night while traveling 70 mph on the interstate highway. The engine light came on, the car was still running, but pressing the gas pedal did nothing, the car coasted to a stop and eventually stalled completely. Maneuvering to the shoulder without power was very risky and scary. Once stopped the car easily restarted only to lose power again 10 miles down the highway. The oil light stayed on between both episodes. We quickly found a hotel for the night. The next morning the engine light was off and the problem didn't resurface until now. In the past three weeks we have lost power five times while driving between 40 mph and 55 mph. The Hyundai service department has had the car for two days and diagnostics is not identifying any problem and so we've been told there is nothing they can do. Another problem is that the computer onboard should be registering a "history" when the engine light comes on, but it isn't. there is no "proof"! the Hyundai repair manager is telling us to return if the problem happens again. I am afraid to drive this car. This is a very dangerous situation and a solution needs to be found before it causes an accident.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #4

Mar 272011

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 35,729 miles
While driving home recently on a 70 mph 4 lane highway at approx 11 pm our 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe suddenly loss power while climbing a small grade. The check engine light, ESC and traction lights all turned on, the engine was still running but we could not maintain speed, I immediately turned on the hazard lights and looked for somewhere to pull off the road unfortunately I was on the inside lane just passing a semi-truck and trailer, there was a guardrail next to the inside lane so I had to wait for the semi to pass before I could merge to the outside lane to pull off to the right, by the time I was able several vehicles came from behind and two vehicle slammed on their brake to avoid hitting our vehicle. I was lucky to not be rear ended and had just enough momentum to get to the shoulder. I noticed that the vehile was not running correctly and shut off the engine. I checked all fluids and made sure that all belts and hoses were in good order, there were no visable issues. I restarted the vehicle and all lights reset except the check engine light. I slowly drove the vehicle to the closest exit and the vehicle did the same as the first time cutting out and losing power but I was off the highway by now and safely in a parking lot. This vehicle we have owned since new and have had all services done at Hyundai dealers according to the manufacture's prescribed maintenance schedules and the vehicle has only 35,700 miles on it. The vehilce was towed to the closest dealer and to my surprise the service department knew about this issue because of 2 tsbs (tsb09-fl-003-2, tsb-10-fl-010)(NHTSA item numbers: 10032793,10034649) that were existing on this vehicle that can cause this failure. I seriously think that this kind of failure should be a recall rather than just a tsb if it is a known issue with the vehicle to prevent possible crashes in the future.

- Wendell, NC, USA

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