really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,465 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.

2009 Hyundai Santa Fe engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #39

Oct 012015

Santa Fe

  • 170,000 miles


This has happened multiple times over the past year and has increased in frequency the last 2 months. At random times, in town or on highway with varying speeds, the RPM will jump without me using any more pressure on the gas pedal, which causes the car to accelerate quickly and without warning. Then, the RPM will go back down in the same manner just as quickly.

- Graham, NC, USA

problem #38

May 082015

Santa Fe

  • 21,000 miles
We were exiting a ramp off rt 75 in Florida. Our speed was about 30 mph. Suddenly we loss power steering and braking and acceleration. We coasted to a stop. We turned off the ignition and restarted the car after about 2 minutes...everything returned to normal. It was the second such experience. The first was August 2013. The dealership replaced the throttle sensor at that time. This latest experience is the exact duplicate of the first. I am taking the car to the dealership tomorrow morning.

- Lady Lake, FL, USA

problem #37

Mar 112015

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
RPM jumped without driver increasing pedal pressure, causing sudden unintended acceleration. Dealership unable to identify issue. This is the second occurrence in the last couple months.

- Jarrettsville, MD, USA

problem #36

Feb 142015

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 65,250 miles


I was parking my car in a space at a local store. The car took off. Sudden acceleration. Went forward probably a good 15 feet before I was able to stop. I also had to have both fuel tank sensors replaced. My gas gauge would not register properly. Fluctuated up and down at random moments. Cost me $364.51! seems to be a continuing problem.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #35

Nov 092014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 62,269 miles
Vehicle slowed without warning on freeway at freeway speed, then would not accelerate. Went to idle mode. Before slowdown, had mild surging at speed. Problem was diagnosed at tps or throttle position sensor. Problem with same sensor reported to Hyundai dealership previous, diagnosed as loose connection reported from periodic surging while driving. After recent problem with alternator, which required replacement of part, within one week, tps partially failed. Failure was not diagnosed as Kia dealership (sister company to Hyundai) when underwent first repair. Failure required Hyundai dealership to be told exact problem, whereby they confirmed diagnosis. Part required replacement with software updates. Part problem leading to failure should have been able to be diagnosed under first round of testing, and under first repair a week prior. Parts unpredictable failure is believed to present a significant risk while vehicle is operating.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #34

Oct 252014

Santa Fe

  • 74,938 miles
I entered a limited access highway and began to accelerate to merge into traffic when the car began to accelerate wildly with no control over speed. I tried to brake the car but it kept accelerating. I put car in neutral and engine was over-revving frighteningly so I turned off the ignition.I felt the accelerator pedal come up off the floor and tap the sole of my right foot. At this point I was able to get to the shoulder and put on my 4 way flashers. I estimate my top speed to be about 75 mph during this incident. Fortunately I did not contact any other vehicles or objects. My wife was in the front passenger seat. After a few minutes, I restarted the car and it behaved normally. When I reached home I called the dealer and scheduled an appointment with the service department for the next business day.

- Chesapeake,, VA, USA

problem #33

Sep 202014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles


I was leaving to go to work, my husband walked me out of our house saying goodbye, I was in my driveway, turned my wheel to go around our other car, when all of a sudden the Santa Fe forcefully accelerated (not by me hitting the gas on accident) hitting my husband throwing him to ground (which he is a sturdy guy) an then hitting my other car, it would not stop I had brake pedel down and put on emergency brake on put in reverse and yet nothing just going full force in the back of my other car. I even took my foot off the brake to make sure it was not the gas pedel. It was so scary I did not know if my husband was beening crushed between cars. I was so scared that my kids would come out and get ran over trying to help. I turned off the car (wish I would have thought of that sooner) and finally after pushing my other car at least 5 feet it finally started winding down and making a loud hissing sound. I found my husband lying on the ground thanking god I didnt kill him. I call the police to report what had happend, took pictures of all the damage that the Santa Fe did. We took the Santa Fe back to dealership still under warrenty just purchased 8 months ago only 63,000 miles on it, they said nothing wrong with the car did not want to hear about what happened. Only thing they said was powersteering line crush and whatever damage done from the incident, and tried to charge me $120. So now its at a Hyundai dealership, but seems no one cares what happened. I am very concerned with this problem, where I work I park in a collage campus area with lots of people walking around all the time, I"M at my kids school at lease 8 times a week, what if this happens at the schools? so worried that they will say its okay nothing wrong, ( which already heard that!) but next time might not be so lucky. Need help please!!!!

- Spencer, IN, USA

problem #32

Aug 052014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 57,500 miles
I was attempting to parallel park between two cars and as I was about to cut the wheel to the left to finish the park, my vehicle suddenly accelerated (without my doing) into the car behind me. I had no time to compensate and ultimately crushed the right headlight/frame of the car behind me.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #31

May 252014

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,956 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the accelerator pedal became stuck to the floor and was unable to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that there was carbon build up in the throttle body causing the throttle to stick. The manufacturer was not made aware of problem. The approximate failure mileage was 14,956. Updated 8/12/14

- Lemont, IL, USA

problem #30

Jun 022014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 8,900 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Hyundai sante fe. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated to 90 mph. The contact mentioned that the transmission was able to shift into neutral but the vehicle failed to shut off. Also, the contact stated that he attempted to engage the brakes but the vehicle failed to stop. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 8,900. Updated 09/15/14 updated 1/7/2015

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #29

Apr 292014

Santa Fe

  • 65,000 miles


I had made a left hand turn and went to accelerate and the vehicle kept accelerating and the engine revved up, I tried to push the brake to slow the vehicle down and it would not slow down or stop. The engine revved up and finally after a few moments the gas pedal came unstuck. The car slowed down and I pulled over. Later that day my son drove the vehicle and it happened twice to him when he went to accelerate he said it just kept accelerating and he said he kept hitting the brakes until the care went back to normal. I did take it to the dealership where they said nothing was wrong with my vehicle. I did do a google search and it seems that other owners of the 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe reported the same exact problem.

- Eden, UT, USA

problem #28

Dec 282013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Entered horseshoe casino parking garage and turned into parking level. As I followed Ford Taurus, Hyundai engine changed from normal speed to a roaring acceleration in an instance. I couldn't brake it to a stop and it rammed the rear end of the Taurus. Damage to the sante fe was limited to front bumper damage while the back end of the Taurus was driven forward and torn up. My husband thought the cruise might have gone on; but, he decided the acceleration was too rapid for the cruise. He was in the passenger seat. We drove home without any further trouble.

- Newburgh, IN, USA

problem #27

May 072013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while attempting to accelerate, the accelerator pedal would become stuck and in order to release it, the brakes needed to be engaged simultaneously. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and was diagnosed that the throttle body needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 78,000 and the current mileage was 86,000. Updated 01/07/14

- Niantic, CT, USA

problem #26

Nov 042013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Driving my wife's car around 40 mph and for no reason the car started accelerating to a high rate of speed and I had to lay on the brake but when I took my foot off the brake it again started accelerating at a high rate of speed. I put the car in neutral and the engine was racing very high I shut the car off and started it again and it was back to normal. I am concerned that this will happen again. Talked to Hyundai service and they could not give me an answer.

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #25

Sep 272013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 56,830 miles
Was going about 70 mph around topeka Kansas when the vehicle lurched, then the ESC, engine and chassis lights flashed. Immediately afterwards the car lost all propulsion. Fortunately I was by an off-ramp, but could of gotten in an accident which such a sudden deceleration. Managed to get to an autozone store to check the fault. The fault came up as the throttle position sensor (tps). Managed to get it to the dealership in topeka. They fixed in within 10 minutes, but after completing my trip back to Colorado noticed the car is lurching again in lower speed, in-town traffic...very dangerous!!! will be contacting the dealership in Colorado on Monday morning!! had a similar problem two years ago, took it into the dealership and they said they couldn't find a problem with it. Guess they won't be satisfied until the warranty period ends and someone gets killed.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #24

May 182012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
Driving on highway, ESC light & check engine light illuminated, car lost power. After approximately 2 minutes, car restarted and retained power for approximately one year. This year, the car has duplicated the same problem 4 times within a month, and when foot on brake in drive, the car surges so badly that at times I thought someone had bumped the rear of car. I took to dealer today and they replaced the throttle position sensor under warranty. This was very much a safety concern, would often happen this year when vehicle was slowing, so that making a left turn put me in a dangerous situation.the replacement of the throttle sensor seems to have remedied the problem.

- Yukon, OK, USA

problem #23

Feb 032013

Santa Fe

  • 30,000 miles
I was on a return trip of 5 hours or so each way which I took at about 30,000 miles on the odometer, and noticed a very pronounced drop in power and acceleration capability quite suddenly. It was as if some wiring or hose had come loose under the hood. A few months later, when the problem had not changed at all in over 3000 miles of day-to-day driving, including a daily stint (to work) of maybe 12 miles each way on the freeway which entails accelerating up the on-ramp into the flow of traffic, I still could feel the difference in acceleration and response time while accelerating. When I took the Santa Fe in for a normal oil change, I reported to the dealer these symptoms, and asked to have it checked out. They changed the oil, and checked out the computer readouts for the vehicle, and said there were no problems detected by the computer at that time, but when this type of behavior on the vehicle occurred, it was most often due to the fuel filter being all clogged up, although that still might not be the problem. They quoted me a price of $270 to change the fuel filter, and after I asked if there was any coupon discount for this service ever thru their dealership, the service manager gave me a coupon book for a flat rate off depending upon how much was being paid for. (it amounted to maybe $25 off this service.) they did not have time that day to change it out, so I decided to check out both whether there had been any complaints, service reports, or recalls about this fuel filter, and that is what led me here to make this complaint about both the cost of this replacement and the poor prognosis of it solving the acceleration problem. I am going to check with a repair place I feel confident in about their cost to do this replacement. Hopefully, it will be much less.

- Sunland, CA, USA

problem #22

Mar 262013

Santa Fe

  • 27,430 miles
Upon entering the highway at 55 mph my 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe took off and the gas paddle got stuck for 15 - 20 seconds even though it felt like a life time. I stumped on brake pedal and tried to pumped the brake pedal to no avail. The RPM on my car was registered at 6-7 and the engine was very loud. I got the car to stop by placing the transmission in the neutral position. I called the nearest dealer to my home to make an appointment and they were not able to duplicate the problem. So to them there was no problem with my vehicle. To me and my two daughters this experience is a nightmare and the car is unsafe to drive. Since 2002 I bought 5 Hyundai cars (2002 sonata, 2003 Santa Fe (daughter in law drives), 2004 Santa Fe (son drives), 2004 Santa Fe (daughter drives) and my car 2009 Santa Fe. As you can see from my multiple purchases I loved driving and owning Hyundai Santa Fe's. I am very upset because we could have died! I am even more upset that Hyundai will not stand behind their products and make excuses so they will not have to make repairs. The $$$ must be worth more than peoples lives. The Hyundai dealer in North East philadelphia even had the nerve to blame me because he said not replicate the incident and it was not in the cars computer. Shame on you Hyundai, shame on you dealers. This is the last Hyundai that I will ever own, I will no longer recommend any of your cars to anyone but I will share my story with them. You lost a customer and I will join any class action suit and I will call the tv stations to report this problem. I do not think that anyone should die before you fix the problem - what about you Hyundai? peoples lives or $$$$$. I am planning on replacing the throttle position sensor and getting rid for the car. I do not want another near death experience.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #21

Sep 202009

Santa Fe

  • 11,900 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that when attempting to accelerate, the vehicle would not respond. The vehicle was taken to dealer for diagnostic testing where it was determined that the cause of failure was inconclusive. The vehicle was not repaired. Three years later the contact complained of an abnormal noise from the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to dealer for diagnostic testing who stated that the failure was caused by the rear brakes, which were worn to the screws. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but provided no assistance because the dealer ruled that the failure was caused by normal wear and tear. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure and current mileage was 11,900.

- Wheaton , IL, USA

problem #20

Sep 102012

Santa Fe

  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while attempting to engage the brakes, the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The brakes were applied but the vehicle would not respond. As a result, the contact crashed. The police were present and a police report was filed of the incident. The contact sustained a hematoma and the vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 45,000.

- Graston, WV, USA

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