Notes: The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe apparently has a problem with the engine stalling while driving.

In a 2-page letter to Santa Fe owners from August 2014, Hyundai claims the engine stalling only occurs under a "specific set of operating conditions".

However a class action lawsuit filed around the same time details multiple claims from Sante Fe owners that claim the engine stalling happens at any time, under any conditions.

Although the model year range in the lawsuit is 2010-2012, the stalling complaint trend hasn't shown up in our data for the 2010 model year. Both the 2011 & 2012 Santa Fe model years DO show a significant defect trend of the engine stalling.

Currently we're not rating the 2010 Santa Fe as "bad" or "poor". Just be aware of this potentially serious problem.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,433 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.

2010 Hyundai Santa Fe drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Jan 122011

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 7,800 miles


The vehicle was delivered in 01/2010, shortly after we noticed shuttering in the transmission and hard shifts from 2-3 3rd gear, at 7800 mile we took the car back to there dealer who stated they were unable to recreate. They changed the shift settings of the ECU and was told nothing to be done, the problem continued with multiple visits to the dealer, 2 weeks ago they replaced the transmission with a remanafactured unit, lastnight the new transmission exploded and it felt like a bomb went off under the hood there was transmission fluid everywhere and the and horrible grinding sound was noted. The vehicle was towed back to the dealer for repair and we are still awaiting word. This problem needs to be fixed before someone dies.

- Wetumpka , AL, USA

problem #10

Jul 102011

Santa Fe

  • 11,982 miles
This is a low-mileage Hyundai AWD Santa Fe limited with 19" allow rims. At about 11,500 miles I noticed grease on the inside of the front-left wheel. It was thick and green in color, the grease used to lubricate the axle joint. The centrifugal force from the axle sprayed the grease along the inside of the wheel. I checked the cv boot and axle and it appeared the grease was leaking from the seal between the boot and the axle hub. There was a very slight leakage coming from the right wheel axle as well. This should not happen with a vehicle only a year old. I took it to the Hyundai dealership and they confirmed the leakage on both wheels and ordered two axle seal kits, which will include replacement of the joint. There was no charge for the inspection and there will be no charge for the repair. If this went unnoticed it could cause an axle to overheat and fail. At high speeds this could cause an accident.

- Lansing, KS, USA

problem #9

Jun 262010

Santa Fe

  • 795 miles
The weekend we purchased our 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe limited, V6, while driving in area with moderate grades vehicle had trouble shifting between 1st & 2nd gears, 2nd & 3rd gears. We thought it could be the area we were driving in, so we continued to drive it to see if that was it. It was not. Hard shifting has continued for the complete extent of our ownership commencing at the start. On 12/7/2010, took the vehicle in to be checked, cause: Found transmission jerking. Module assy-auto trans control re, reset adaptive trans values. Recall, P0111, ECM update, performed camp TC7. Bring back if continues after a couple weeks. It did continue, but I am a busy person. On 4/21/2011, returned again stating that vehicle was continuing to shift hard, jerking. Dealer svc states could not duplicate. Vehicle duplicated for me on way home from svc appt. On 6/10/11, returned again for same problem with hard shifting at low speeds, jerking. Cause: Tcm upgrade, re-reset adaptive trans values, after which svc dept said could not duplicate again. Svc mgr states that a new reflash had been issued since they upgraded it last on 12/7/2010. Thru research I find no new upgrade has been released on svc messages/notifications. I believe I've been mislead. I am positive that the vehicle will do this again. Also, intermittently when only cranking the vehicle and before the vehicle is put in gear it will immediately have a feeling of a large "bang or slam" and then lunge forward even though still in park. The vehicle also makes "popping" sounds when in park kind of like small "backfires". I have also asked them to investigate this and did not get a satisfactory response. They state that all of these symptoms are connected to the "new reflash" that has come out since the 12/7/2010 svc appt. It "should" fix it. I say recall it.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #8

Jul 012010

Santa Fe

  • 10,000 miles


The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving approximately 30 mph, the contact stated that the vehicle suddenly stalled without warning. He also noticed that the rpms would increase and decrease without applying pressure to the accelerator pedal. The dealer made four attempts to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer advised the contact that since the computer did not display any error codes then they were unable to diagnose the failure or repair the vehicle. The current mileage was approximately 18,000. The failure mileage was approximately 10,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- New Hide Park, NY, USA

problem #7

Jul 152010

Santa Fe

  • miles
My 2010 Hyundai sante fe gls transmission periodically slips and then clunks into the next highest gear with a force that shakes the car. This force translates into a banging sound. Each incident happened at speeds of 20-25 mph and shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear. I am very concerned about the safety of this car since I don't know when the transmission will finally fail completely. I believe the car should be recalled for this potential safety hazard.

- Nashville, TN, USA

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problem #6

Jan 152011

Santa Fe

  • 2,000 miles
On Saturday, Jan. 15th, I was driving my 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe V6 (4 1/2 months old, < 2000 miles) when I turned a corner onto a busy street, and the car lost all power as if someone had turned of the ignition. Luckily we were not in an accident when we lost power steering and engine power or when we sat in the middle of traffic since the car would not re-start. Roadside assistance was unable to send anyone for almost 40 minutes, so we had to have the police push us to safety. After being towed to the Hyundai dealer for service, the car just started up again. We were told that they could not find the problem since no error code was seen. The technicians updated the ECM to version cman S2 ab8F since it was a recommended general service. No one knew if it would fix the problem. The technicians also mentioned that another customer had the same problem the week before. Hyundai Consumer Affairs was not helpful, but did open a case number. Problem has not re-occured yet although transmission often pops.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #5

Nov 092010

Santa Fe

  • 689 miles


I was accelerating while entering traffic from a side street and the computer for the transmission put the transmission in neutral. I lost power as the engine RPM spiked up. The transmission was still in drive and the transmission did not engage again until I took my foot off the accelerator and then reapplied it. Aside from this problem being a vehicle defect, this situation could have caused an accident. I have taken the vehicle into the dealership twice for this problem since the end of July. The first time I took it in the dealership was able to reproduce the defect but they could not reproduce the defect the second time. Unfortunately this type of failure does not show up in the cars computer. Each time the car was returned to the dealership the transmission software was updated and the car was driven for a period of time as a relearning exercise. Obviously this did not correct the problem and without a failure code in the computer to pinpoint the problem the dealership is unsure which computer or component needs to be corrected. With this defect this vehicle should not be on the road because of the risk of an accident.

- Boulder, CO, USA

problem #4

Sep 222010

Santa Fe

  • 17,700 miles
My husband and I were traveling North from palm coast, fl to slatington, pa. Traveling North on rte I-95, my husband drove about 300 miles and than I drove another 300 miles, stopping to eat and at various rest areas. Just before the Virginia border, we stopped at a rest area and my husband took over driving. He said we should stop for gas and a bit to eat. We went over the state line and got off at exit 4, we exit, stopped at the stop sign, turned right to go into the station and we heard a loud snap. At this point, the only way he could stop the car was to put on the emergency brake there was no control of the car. After being towed to the dealership, we were told that possibly the driveshaft snapped and the transmission also went. The mechanic there said that this is the third one he had seen like that. The next day we were told that in fact that is what had happened. Luckily, we had gotten off when we did, or else we may have been in a major crash on busy rte I-95 or may even had been killed because of no control of the car. This is 2010 car with only 17,700 miles on it. Today, we found out that Hyundai knew of the problem and that the dealers have received a bulletin about this. We were not told of this dangerous defect and now do not know if this has been corrected properly. We are supposed to pick up the car in Virginia by the end of the week. We do have a major concern about this car.

- Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #3

Jul 022010

Santa Fe

  • 150 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The vehicle was parked on a slight incline with the engine running when it began to roll backward. The front passenger side door was open while the failure occurred. The contact ran to catch the vehicle as it independently reached a stop. The front passenger side door struck the contact resulting in serious injuries. She was transported by ambulance to the emergency room for treatment treated. A police report was available. A third party investigator was sent by the manufacturer to inspect the vehicle. The investigator found no failure within the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. In addition, the contact stated that while driving approximately 5 to 10 mph, the vehicle would intermittently surge forward. The vehicle was never taken to be examined for the cause of failure and was not repaired. The failure mileage was 150 and the current mileage was 3,200.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

problem #2

Aug 182010

Santa Fe

  • 677 miles
Report date: 08/26/2010. Purchased Hyundai Santa Fe 08/14/2010. Vehicle has 1190 miles to date. Vehicle has momentarily stalled 5 times - 2 in traffic situation which could have resulted in crash. All stalls have occurred after sitting and idling at traffic lights or turns on both level surface and inclines. When brake is released and accelerator pushed vehicle starts moving sluggishly and then stalls flat for several seconds and then engine re-engages. No warning lights activated. Engine does not die requiring an ignition restart. Immediately took to dealer after stalling on incline 3 times at 677 miles on 08/18/2010. Service tech ran complete computer diagnostic in idle mode in shop and found all systems within technical specifications. Suspect drive-by-wire / computer linkage. Vehicle runs smoothly, downshifts and accelerates on demand normally at all other speeds less than 10 mph. This condition occurs after a stop and after brake is released and accelerator engaged (2 times); when moving slowly and hard acceleration demanded (2 times); or when transmission initially engaged in drive from park mode (2 occasions).

- Valrico, FL, USA

problem #1

Mar 052010

Santa Fe

  • 1,159 miles
Engine hesitation and acceleration, pulling to the right of the road. When braking almost coming to a complete stop. Can hear wheel noise, like tires are going to fall off.

- Bristol, RI, USA

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