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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Sep 082016

Santa Fe

  • 71,000 miles


In 2011, 1000 miles had to replace transmission through dealer same problem as listed below. Now 2016 having to replace another transmission. Loud clunking noise when you let up on gas or when you would initially put in reverse. When in park it constantly would be stuck in park and could not shift had to call towing twice for that problem. Which never could be found. Now again replacing transmission.. car came to dead stop while driving down street when the transmission locked up sounded like bottom dropped out of car and metal dragging on metal car stopped sharply and would not move.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #30

Jul 022016

Santa Fe

  • 78,000 miles
Only 80000 orig miles. Have to finance & pay for a new transmission. Put it in drive it bangs now starting to do it when putting it in reverse. Cost $3000 to fix dealership said there is no recall on it. I know if others are experiencing this same problem. Heard now they are offering $2000 to owners now because of a stalling problem something with the alternator being overheated lose everything even if your driving on the interstate at 65-70 mph. Really !!!. feel like we are driving a death trap very frustrating to spend so much on a used vehicle that we thought we could trust. Wish someone would help to get this resolved.

- Altoona, PA, USA

problem #29

Aug 072016

Santa Fe

  • 180,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. While slowing down to a stop from 25 mph, a knocking sound emitted from the engine. In addition, the gear shifter failed to go into the drive and reverse position and the engine felt as if it had detached from the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the axle, transmission strip, power train, and drive shaft failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V261000 (power train). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 180,000.

- Covington, LA, USA

problem #28

Jul 282016

Santa Fe

  • 84,999 miles


The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. When the vehicle was shifted from park to drive, there was a hesitation and the vehicle accelerated independently. The vehicle was taken to two independent mechanics to be diagnosed. The mechanics were unable to duplicate the failure or produce a fault code for the failure. The contact stated that the failure recurred several times. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V261000 (power train). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 84,999. Updated 09/23/16

- Altoona, PA, USA

problem #27

Jul 182016

Santa Fe

  • 77,883 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving 25 mph, the front passenger side of the vehicle vibrated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the intermediate shaft needed to be replaced. The part was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V261000 (power train). The failure mileage was 77,883.

- Pickerington, OH, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #26

Feb 292016

Santa Fe

  • 200 miles
Purchased new a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe, SE. The problem that occurs randomly every few days is when accelerating slowly at around 20-30 mph and the transmission slips out of 2nd gear effectively putting the transmission in neutral for about 1 second, and then will hard shift into 3rd gear making a loud bang noise. It can feel as though I was rear ended. This problem has been occurring since new and has been taken to the dealer multiple times where there the problem could not be replicated. This is the same complaint as with about 10% of the 140 or so complaints on the NHTSA site for this year and model. There are at least 2 and possibly more tsb's that appear to address this problem (tsb-10-at-006, 12-at-012, 12-at-009-2). I will attempt to address the problem again with the dealer asking him to review these specific tsb's. after so many complaints about a very specific problem to a vital drivetrain component, it is time for Hyundai to take ownership of this problem and fix it! the consumer should not have to go through so much hassle for a widely known issue. How many more people have this problem and don't take the time to report it?

- Los Alamos, NM, USA

problem #25

Jan 102011

Santa Fe

  • miles


Purchased vehicle brand new: Transmission shifts violently when cold also misses gears when up/down shifting. I brought the vehicle back to the dealer multiple times starting when it only had 3,000 miles. I was told there was nothing wrong with vehicle. Took the vehicle to a different dealership, they indicated a software update need to be done to address the shifting problem. Update was completed, results were the same. Transmission still shifts violently. Don't know what else to do "?"

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #24

Sep 302015

Santa Fe

  • 145,000 miles
Drive axle broke, causing loss of power to front wheels. I had come to a stop at a rural highway junction, and the vehicle would not move. The vehicle will roll away in park if emergency brake is not applied.

- Elsberry, MO, USA

problem #23

Aug 102015

Santa Fe

  • 52,300 miles
Purchased 2010 Santa Fe, 52,200 miles for wife. After a couple of days, she said car was rough on occasion on way to work. I drove car to find out what she meant. Turning left out of driveway car jumped while shifting, good no car was coming from other direction. I noted that during first 5 miles or so when first run from cold start, shifting between 1st, 2nd, 3rd gears that there were occasional rough shifts. There seems to be hesitation and then abrubt shift. This happens when up and downshifting between gears. On a few occaions, it is extremely hard and feels like car has been rear ended. We brought the car to Hyundai and service department confirmed the problem. They charged us almost $150 for 2 software updates. Then after paying for this service, Hyundai told us that it did not fix the problem. It would cost us another aproximately $2,800 since the transmission would have to be replaced. Just a few months out of 5/60 warranty, inside 100,000 mile 7 year, but first owner only, warranty. I cannot imagine the nerve to charge someone for a software update on a known transmission problem and say sorry you have to pay us more to realy fix our design problem. Unfortunately I did not join a Hyundai forum that this common problem is talked about till after the purchase. And to think Hyundai advertises their great and worthless warranty.

- New City, NY, USA

problem #22

May 312015

Santa Fe

  • 58,210 miles
Turned car on, there was a bang (as if getting rear ended). Put car in reverse- car does not show being in gear. Start backing up, there is another loud shift, car slows down, and then goes in reverse. Put car in park, turn off, restart, car starts normally and gets into gear. Happened two more times in same week. Last time huge crash sound as if getting rear ended really hard.

- Truckee, CA, USA

problem #21

Jan 152015

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles


On January 15 2015 while traveling through Florida from Texas. Driving a Hyundai Santa Fe 2010 owned for 3 years. Exiting from highway via service road. Stopped at stop sign. Proceeded to make a left hand turn across 4 lanes. Engine makes a whizzing noise and stops in middle of the first lane. Tried to switch gears into reverse, park or neutral. Hyundai would not move. Got out of car and pushed it back to stop sign. Tractor trailer came up behind us and stopped he could not get by. Driver offered assistance to push the auto aside. Sat in car for several hours until tow truck arrived. Brought to nearest Hyundai dealer. Auto has less than 84,00 miles, it is just shy 20,000 of the 60,000/ five year power train warranty. Discovered the car has three recalls ("campaigns") against it. Campaign #102 specifically pertains to the drive-shaft component and could result in a transmission problem, in which case it obliviously did. However according to the dealership service department, Hyundai regional manager and Hyundai customer service the defect product did not cause the problem. At this point we are stranded and "held captive". rebuilt " tranny " with 85K existing mileage, 12/12 warranty, cost to Hyundai customer $2400. This does not include tow, rental of car to drive home or shipping of repaired car. Hyundai buyers beware.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #20

Dec 012014

Santa Fe

  • 60,570 miles
Yesterday while decelerating at about 30 mph and coming to a stop sign, the car completely shut off. The check engine light illuminated. The car was restarted and continued to operate normally. The car check engine light did not illuminate again. I took to my dealer today (next am) due to my concern. I contacted Hyundai and asked to extend my warranty and mentioned my car had similar problem description mentioned in the online 929 Hyundai campaign. The dealer said no code history or code is showing and nothing can be done but to wait and see if problem reappears. I am concerned that this car if again completely shuts off while in operation could become more of a fatal result. Would like Hyundai to extend the online 929 campaign to my vehicle which is same year and model or some other way to check this problem thanks

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #19

Sep 272014

Santa Fe

  • 101,300 miles
My transmission blew up, no warning no indication when I called the dealer and gave them my VIN number they said there was no recall on my truck on the trans the only recall is on the reverse light, so where do I go from hear.

- Tomsriver , NJ, USA

problem #18

May 102014

Santa Fe

  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while traveling approximately 30 mph, there was a loud noise coming from the front of the vehicle. The contact approached a stop sign and attempted to accelerate but the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 11V261000 (power train). The approximate failure mileage was 77,000.

- Ottawa, KS, USA

problem #17

May 012013

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • miles
Event has occurred on 2 occasions. First event: While backing up in a parking lot, with no foot on the brake, and very slight force on gas pedal, the car surged much more than typical with such a light contact with the gas pedal. The car accelerated backward suddenly, until the brake was applied shortly thereafter. Second event: While pulling into a parking spot at very low speed. The same event occurred, but this time while in forward drive. With no foot on the brake, and very slight force on gas pedal, the car surged much more than typical with such a light contact with the gas pedal. The car accelerated forward suddenly, until the brake was applied shortly thereafter.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #16

Apr 162014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
Since purchased new in 2011, vehicle has stalled, losing power without warning in 6 separate incidents. Road surfaces were level and speeds ranged from 0-50 mph. During each malfunction, speed decreased to 0 mph or did not accelerate if already at 0 mph. Loss of speed is accompanied by presence of engine, battery, and oil indicator lights. I am able to shift from drive to park mode, completely turn off engine, and restart ignition. Vehicle appears to operate normally after each incident until next one occurs. All but two incidents occurred intermittently months apart on metropolitan interstate highways with heavy traffic conditions. Two most recent incidents occurred on same day within minutes of each other. Every time vehicle was taken to authorized dealer for evaluation, typically within hour of incident, technicians have been unable to duplicate problem or diagnose malfunction. Consequently, vehicle has not been repaired. According to 4 authorized dealers and Hyundai Consumer Affairs, trouble code is necessary to repair malfunction. Two authorized dealers have evaluated vehicle without diagnosing malfunction. Neither has been able to duplicate problem or find trouble code, despite maintaining possession of vehicle for days. Based on my history of complaints about same safety concern, however, techline advised authorized dealer to replace electric throttle control motor: Procedure done in October 2013, yet stalling/loss of power occurred again--twice--in April 2014. Sporadically recurring malfunction remains unresolved. I have two separate cases filed with Hyundai Consumer Affairs. Vehicle is under warranty, up-to-date on maintenance, and has accumulated relatively low mileage to date at approximately 37,000 miles.*/16/2014**stalled/lost power twice, 2-3 minutes between incidents. Towed to authorized dealer; currently awaiting instructions from techline.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #15

Oct 012013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 29,000 miles
When operating the vehicle during colder temperatures after start up the transmission "sticks" in a low gear and ultimately releases and thrusts forward with a loud bang. This happens constantly and I have brought it to the dealer who has stated there is no problem. This is a hazard and may cause potential loss of control.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #14

Oct 152010

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while stopped with the gear in reverse, the vehicle would not accelerate. The contact had to place the vehicle in neutral and back into reverse in order for the vehicle to reverse without failure. The contact noticed an abnormal sound when switching gears. The vehicle also stalled when being driven at low speeds. The failure was recurring. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis three times however, the technicians were unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 2,000.

- Descanso, CA, USA

problem #13

Aug 252010

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The automatic transmission slips (goes into neutral) when shifting between first and second gear under light acceleration. The engine rpms raise during the slip and the transmission slams into second gear.

- Vail, AZ, USA

problem #12

Jun 242010

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • miles
The car will go into neutral gear all on its own and then slip back into gear lunging the car forward. Occupants of the car will get a whiplash effect. The car is usually in 2nd or third gear when it no longer has power. This can be very very dangerous in a merging type of driving situation. The driver is counting on the car to bring them into traffic, maintaining a certain speed and control. All of a sudden when the car is not responding. It is a very frightening situation. Followed by the lurching of the car. It feels as if the car has just been hit in rear. The problem happens once or twice a month, for over a year now. There are thousands of complaints on line on many many web sites. Everyone says the same thing. They bring it to the dealer, and the dealer usually can not replicate the problem. In some cases the dealer has test driven the car and has felt the problem and has replaced the transmission, only to have the new transmission do the same thing. Usually though, the dealer and or Hyundai get around this problem by saying that even though they have heard of this as being an issue, they will not do anything about it until the dealer experiences the problem or sees that the computer registers it in the cars computer system. But that is part of the problem. No check light comes on, nothing registers. So, all of these unsafe cars are out there. A situation waiting to cause an accident. We had a friend's car behind us when we lost power, and they said they almost ended up rear ending us. It's not a safe car. Hyundai said "they can not do anything for us even though they know there is an issue. That more people have to complain". they need to do a recall. It is my hope that you all can take some action. I do not want to sell this car or trade it in, it would be putting someone else's life on the line. Hyundai is brushing us all off.

- West Hartford , CT, USA

Read the next 11 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?