really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,558 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Aug 012011

Santa Fe

  • 30,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the passenger side air bag warning lamp illuminated, indicating that the air bag was turned off while the seat was occupied. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the passenger side air bag sensor needed to be re-calibrated to the lowest weight limit. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 12V354000 (air bags:frontal:sensor/control module). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 30,000 and the current mileage was 41,000.

- Boulder, CO, USA

problem #15

Apr 252012

Santa Fe

  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the passenger side air bag off warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that they had to recalibrate the air bag. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and advised the contact that the vehicle was not covered under NHTSA campaign id number: 12V354000 (air bags: Frontal:sensor/control module). The failure mileage was 13,000 and the current mileage was 56,000.

- Davenport , FL, USA

problem #14

Nov 062008

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 200 miles
This problem is true of our 2007 and 2008 Santa Fe's and has existed since we purchased the cars. I have finally come to the conclusion that this is a safety issue for not only my wife but also many other people who are of slight build. It is a problem that is easily correctable by the manufacturer. I have created case#[xxx] with Hyundai America --they have responded that they will pass along the information to engineering --but they have noted that I will not be contacted by Hyundai regarding deposition of the issue. The problem -- my wife weighs about 95 lbs. She frequently does not activate the air bag system on the passenger side of the vehicle. She is essentially unprotected in case of an accident. She just doesn't weigh enough to reliably activate the air bag system. Hyundai spends quite a few pages in their manual to cover themselves legally. They comment that if all else fails just sit in the back seat. I would imagine few husbands and wives opt for this solution. Most consumers probably haven't read the manual, ignore the off sign or don't know what it means, or don't care and risk the safety of their passenger. This is a safety issue to the general public. The sensor in the passenger seat should activate the air bag system for say anyone over 66 lbs. I believe another manufacturer has recently done so. It is stupid that I have waited this long to complain -- but I kept thinking their would eventually be a recall and I normally just don't complain about things. Hyundai could make an alternate sensor available to those who needed it. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Evergreen, CO, USA

problem #13

Oct 022010

Santa Fe

  • 45,391 miles


On our 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe limited with 45,391 miles, VIN # [xxx], the check engine light started coming on when it was about 1 year old. It has now come on approximately 10 times.the dealer always says it's the gas cap. We have tightened the gas cap varying degrees and it does not matter how tight it is. The check engine light continues to come on. They claim to have replaced the gas cap 3 times out of 10 trips. Whether that is true or not, I don't know. Additionally, the red "air bag" warning light came on about a week ago and will not go off. I understand Hyundai has a history of airbag problems and would like to know if you can force them to fix this problem as well as the check engine light. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Germantown, TN, USA

problem #12

Aug 212008

Santa Fe

  • 300 miles
In my 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe the front passenger air bag does not work properly. It intermittently works when my daughter and I (115 & 120 lbs) sit in the seat. I can sit perfectly still and it will be engaged, and then it will disengage, and then engage, again or visa versa. It has been to the dealer to be repaired 4 times, but they say they cannot reproduce. They just hook it up to a computer and say it works as designed. Humble Hyundai service manager even told me to sit in the back seat (I'm 51 years old). I am afraid if we are in an accident that the airbags will not deploy. I have notified Hyundai Consumer Affairs and Hyundai pr as well. Does someone have to be killed in an accident for NHTSA and Hyundai to issue a recall" I have been given weights of 30, 80, 150, 115 and 120 lbs to activate the airbag sensor by humble Hyundai. Also given 35, 45, 150, 130, 135, 145, 40, 100 & 105 lbs by service departments of other dealerships. Also talked to Consumer Affairs about this, why can't Hyundai tell anyone what the actual weight to activate is" there was a safety recall issued for sonatas for this exact problem why can't one be issued for Santa fes. There are 48 complaints listed on www.aboutautomobile.com/complaint/2008/Hyundai/santa+fe and they all say they were filed with NHTSA. The initial problem began on 8/21/08 with 300 miles on odometer and continues to be a problem until today 10/19/09 with almost 18000 miles on the car. The speed I am driving is not a function of the problem as it happens at varying speeds.

- Kingwood, TX, USA

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problem #11

Mar 012009

Santa Fe

  • 10 miles
Since I bought my 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe and pulled it off the lot the passenger side airbag does not register me. I am 5'3" 105 lbs. Rarely does it ever work and if it does its only for a minute. Took to dealership and they state there is nothing they can do about it. Lady stated she has heard complaint numerous time and Hyundai wont do anything about it. They tell you to restart the car and sit with perfect posture. This still does not work and even if it does move an inch and it turns back off. I feel very unsafe in the passenger side and I have read numerous complaints about this from other consumers. Its like Hyundai is waiting for someone to die before they do anything about it!

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #10

Sep 162008

Santa Fe

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving at an unknown speed, the passenger side air bag light would illuminate, even when the passenger seat was occupied. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The current mileage was 8,391 and failure mileage was 2,000. Updated 08/04/09. Updated 08/06/09.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #9

Apr 122009

Santa Fe

  • miles
My husband and I just purchased this 2008 Santa Fe gls (used with 10,000 miles) about two weeks ago. We noticed this issue two days later. The passenger airbag will not turn on when I, a 120 lb, 5' 7", 31 year old adult female sit in the seat. I took it in to the Hyundai service center and was simply told that I was not heavy enough to activate the seat so there was nothing I could do. I was also told that it is set to activate for anyone over 110 lbs. I am definitely heavier than that. This seems to me to be a safety issue which should be resolved quickly as I have read of many other customers with similar issues.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #8

Dec 102008

Santa Fe

  • 12,000 miles
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe - passenger side front airbag light indicates that the airbag is not working when a passenger, who weighs around 170 lbs is in the seat. I have brought this car to two different dealerships for repair, on four separate occasions. The first time, they couldn't recreate the issue, I left the dealership, the problem happened again within 10 minutes. I took pictures and video of the passenger in the seat with the "air bag off" light illuminated. Brought it back the next day, they replaced a weight sensor. Issue was still happening, brought it back the third time and was told they couldn't recreate the issue. Again, I drove off the lot, and the issue happened again. Called Hyundai customer service, and was told to bring it in again. This time I brought it to another dealership, and today was told that they couldn't recreate the issue, but they will try again tomorrow. One of the main reasons I bought this car was safety. I will not ride with a passenger in the front seat, because, chances are that the airbag will not work or will not work properly. Hyundai needs to address this as there are many many complaints online from Santa Fe owners.

- Rockaway, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jan 292009

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,756 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai sonata. The contact noticed that the passenger side front air bag does not detect her weight. She weighs roughly 102 lbs. Secondly, she noticed that the air bag warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel, which signified that the air bag was inoperative. The failure could cause the front passenger side air bag not to deploy and injure the occupant. The technician confirmed the failure; however, they could not provide a remedy. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was excluded from NHTSA campaign id number 08V161000 (air bags); therefore, they could not offer any recourse. The failure and current mileages were 1,756. Updated 4/14/09 updated 04/17/09.

- Wexford, PA, USA

problem #6

Nov 012008

Santa Fe

  • 2,800 miles


Airbag indicator lights come on to show airbags are not functioning. 2008 Santa Fe was returned to dealer to correct the problem. Dealer reset computer code for airbag sensors. Worked for a couple weeks, then lights came back on. Returned to dealer to check again. Dealer said the airbag sensor built into the passenger seat was defective. The dealer substituted a seat from another vehicle and the problem disappeared. The dealer called a Hyundai engineer in California and was told all airbags were not operable when light was on. Dealer now has car waiting for delivery of a replacement passenger seat. Dealer claims he has seen this problem once before.

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #5

Jan 012009

Santa Fe

  • 50 miles
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe passenger airbag works sporadically at best. Passenger weighs around 120 pounds and the light goes on and off leading me to believe that the airbag would not work effectively in an accident. Have taken to the dealer twice now and they were unable to replicate the problem. It appears that the sonota has been recalled for a very similar issue. This has occurred the at 50 miles vehicle currently has 600 miles.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #4

May 032008

Santa Fe

  • miles
Passenger side air bag disengages frequently with adult in seat. Dealership says it is functioning as it is supposed to...... not acceptable. This is not a safe situation.

- Wichita Falls, TX, USA

problem #3

May 242008

Santa Fe

  • 300 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the vehicle has been at the dealer for two months because the air bag light and door locks were not working properly. The dealer is currently stating that they have to rewire the entire vehicle. The vehicle has not yet been to the repair shop for the air bag light to be repaired. The part was ordered, but it did not remedy the failure. The doors have been repaired unsuccessfully approximately six times. The failure mileage was 300 and current mileage was 3,000.

- Tesarkana, TX, USA

problem #2

Sep 192008

Santa Fe

  • 45 miles
My 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe has a defect in the passenger side air bag sensor. When my wife sits in the passenger seat of the car the "pass airbag off" light comes on which indicates that in the event of a collision her airbag will not deploy. She weighs 145 pounds, but if I get in the passenger seat then the light goes out, I weigh 210 pounds. There is obviously a problem with the weight sensor. This is a serious safety issue, I have heard from many other owners of similar vehicles complain of the same problem. The dealer refuses to acknowledge the problem, although a recall for a similar problem in the Hyundai sonata was issued. Please before someone loses their life because of this, have Hyundai issue a recall. Thank you.

- East Northport, NY, USA

problem #1

Apr 132008

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 240 miles
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe - passenger side airbag sensor malfunction with airbag warning light on @ 250 miles - less than 24 hrs after purchase. Dealer cleared code - problem recurred later same evening - now problem is intermittent. Seems as if the 2007 model issue has carried over to the 208 model. Not happy - bad start for what is marketed as a safe car - what good is 8 airbags if they will not deploy when needed.

- Wynne, AR, USA

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