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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
21,380 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments

problem #19

Jul 142014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 48,945 miles


On Monday, July 14, 2014, my wife rode her Santa Fe on a straight road accelerating slightly uphill when the engine stalled. On thurs. Dec. 5, 2013, I had a similar experience, which I reported to you at the time. This is the second time this has happened with this car. Again nobody touched the ignition key which has nothing hanging on it except the alarm and door lock dongle. My wife also suddenly lost power steering and power brakes, and luckily there was no other traffic, which could have caused an accident. She was able to bring the car to a safe stop and then was able to restart the engine and continue her trip. The 2010 car had a full tank of gas and has about 50000 miles on the odometer. It's AWD and has a 6 cyl. Engine. Could this be related to the ignition switch problem that has plagued so many GM cars" needless to say we are worried driving the car because if this incident occurs at high speed, a serious accident could be the result. Do you know of any similar experience? what do you advise" [xxx] parts of this document have been redacted to protect personally identifiable information pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #18

Apr 092013

Santa Fe

  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai sante fe. The contact stated that while driving the vehicle stalled. Additionally, while at a stop light the vehicle would not accelerate when the accelerator pedal was engaged. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who was unable to determine the cause of failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 50,000. The current mileage was 70,000.

- Winona, MN, 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

Nov 182010

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 7,916 miles
After coming to a full stop at an intersection, I accelerated to enter the intersection and turn right. Almost immediately as I pulled into the intersection, the car stalled as though it had died. I continued to press on the accelerator and after 3 to 4 seconds, the car lurched forward, with fuel feed working normally. I took the car to my local dealer where I bought the car for inspection. They took the car in for testing and said they could not find anything wrong. This problem persisted, with the incidents being infrequent. I reported this problem each of the next few times the problem recurred. Each time I asked if others had reported the same problem. Each time I was told there were no such complaints, and that they could not find a reason for my problem. Finally, I left the vehicle at the dealer for several days with the understanding that they would drive the car frequently, trying to duplicate my problem. After several days, they called to say they had experienced the problem as I had reported it, and they had fixed it. I asked what was done, and the agent could/would not specify what the cause was, but they wrote on the invoice that they had reprogrammed tcm with tsb#11-at-011-1. I then again queried about other complaints, and he said that there had been other complaints after all, and this should fix the problem. However, I have since experienced the problem again and fear that an accident is possible. The latest: They are taking my vehicle in this Thursday for a major diagnosis "to try to find the problem"., again.

- Haltom City, TX, USA

problem #14

May 082013

Santa Fe

  • 10,000 miles
I had just pulled into the driveway of a house I own that I rent; I was there to meet my tenants to discuss a couple of repairs that needed to be done in the house. I was slowing the car with my foot on the brake as I approached the end of the driveway by the side door of the house. Then I heard a sudden, extremely loud engine noise that sounded like the engine revving very fast and the car suddenly accelerated. I was propelled forward about 50 feet into the back yard and crashed into some lilac bushes directly ahead of me and into the steep dirt bank behind the bushes, which stopped the car. There is no garage and the driveway ends where the lawn begins. The front end of the car is quite damaged and the vehicle is presently in the dealer's repair garage. On the internet, my son found many reports of incidents of sudden acceleration for the Hyundai Santa Fe for my model year and for other recent years and he suggested I file this report with the NHTSA.

- Council Bluffs, NY, USA

problem #13

May 202010

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles


The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that he attempted to accelerate from a complete stop and there was an abnormal 4 second delay before the vehicle responded. The malfunction recurred sporadically. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnosis, who was unable to generate a trouble code. The dealer performed an unknown repair however, the failure persisted. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 4,000. The consumer stated the vehicle would randomly not respond to throttle pressure when turning from a resting stop. The dealer was unable to retrieve a code description from the vehicles obdii to correct the problem. They dealer replaced the AWD module and performed an update for the vehicles accelerations response

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

problem #12

Sep 152011

Santa Fe

  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while stopped, the vehicle stalled. Additionally, while at a stop and attempting the accelerate, the vehicle surged forward. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 35,000.

- Port Aransas, TX, USA

problem #11

Aug 152010

Santa Fe

  • 25,000 miles
From stop, making left turn, lost all power momentarily, RPM dropped to idle. Pressing accelerator did nothing, finally engine came back and accelerated wildly. Very dangerous.

- Lancaster, TX, USA

problem #10

Dec 022012

Santa Fe

  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while attempting to accelerate uphill, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact engaged the emergency brake, shifted out of drive and then back into drive. As the contact applied the accelerator pedal, the vehicle lunged forward abnormally. The contact took the vehicle to a dealer however, the dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 25,000.

- Limerick, PA, USA

problem #9

Mar 212011

Santa Fe

  • 24,000 miles


The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving from the complete stop the accelerator pedal was depressed to the floor and there was no response. After several attempts the vehicle accelerated forcefully with the sound of screeching tires. The brake was applied and the vehicle slowed down. The vehicle operated normally moments later. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer four times when each failure occurred. The technician stated the vehicle functioned normally and the vehicle was equipped with a smart pedal system which was a safety feature. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 24,000.

- Hayward, WI, USA

problem #8

Dec 172011

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • miles
Dec 16, 2011 around 9:45am my husband and I had just picked my sister and brother in law up from the airport and had decided on grabbing some breakfast from waffle house. I had come to a complete stop to turn right into the restaurant parking lot; I then drove about 15 feet going maybe 5 mph to come to a complete stop to then turn right to get ready to enter into the parking spot. Once I released my foot from the break (not needing to apply the gas as my parking was maybe 20 feet to my right and the car should accelerate at a low speed on its own) the 2010 Santa Fe took off at an alarming speed I pressed my foot all way back down on the brake but the car did not stop. I then looked down to see if my foot was on the brake it was down to the floor board. The Santa Fe went over the parking spot and into the bushes then stopped itself. Thank god because the road was on the other side of the bushes. I have never experienced a vehicle doing this? I then contacted the service department at Hyundai where I purchased my car and was told that only happens to Toyota that they have never heard of it happening to their vehicles. My husband and I took the car back to the dealership where we E-mailed and reviewed of the photos with mark odat and 2 other managers showing the damage that accrued while going over the cement curb. I don't know if there were any damages under my car, I noticed scratches to the paint and a bent license plate (which I bent back into place). I had brought my Santa Fe up to the dealership back in late August or early September 2011 with a complaint and spoke directly to the service manager jr that twice when I was on my trip from houston, tx to atlanta, ga when using the cruise control once I touched the brake to turn the cruise control off the Santa Fe would accelerate instead of decelerate and that it had a hard time going up hills.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #7

Aug 012011

Santa Fe

  • 20,800 miles
When slowing down for traffic lights, turns or merging into traffic lanes, when the brake is released and the accelerator is pushed, at random times the car hesitates and all power is lost momentarily. The vehicle seems as if it has or is in the process of stalling out. At first, it feels as if all power has been lost and that the vehicle should be steered to the side of the road. However, then the engine suddenly re-engages and the vehicle lunges forward. The engine warning light does not come on, and the engine apparently does not "die, " since there is no requirement for an ignition re-start. The problem happens sporadically (about once or twice a week--but sometimes once or more in the same day). The vehicle starts well, idles well and otherwise performs in an okay fashion. The dealer cannot find anything wrong. The car did not do this for the first 20,000 or so miles. On at least two occasions, this "stalling out" has almost created an accident situation.

- Chenango Bridge, NY, USA

problem #6

Aug 152010

Santa Fe

  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that when the accelerator pedal was engaged it took 3-4 seconds before the vehicle would respond. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer, but the failure occurred intermittently. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The contact was concerned because the vehicle would accelerate when it shouldn't. the failure mileage was 2,000 and the current mileage was 7,500.

- Cyprus, TX, USA

problem #5

Jun 122011

Santa Fe

  • 18,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 mph, the accelerator pedal was depressed and the vehicle hesitated before accelerating excessively. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they were unable to diagnose the failure. The failure occurred on six different occasions. The manufacturer had not been notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 18,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Stamford, TX, USA

problem #4

Sep 122010

Santa Fe

  • 3,200 miles
Experienced a sudden jerking of Santa Fe 2010. During the past month or so, this problem had occurred few times while driving at a low speed during the warm up period. Car was brought in the Hyundai service department and is being investigated and repaired.

- Elk Grove Village, IL, USA

problem #3

Nov 052010

Santa Fe

  • 90,000 miles
2001 Hyundai Santa Fe lurches when gear is put to drive, or when driving at low or high speeds where it is worst (feeling that we just got rear ended). Started about 3 months ago. This happened before, about 3 to 4 years ago, and was diagnosed and have replaced the input/output speed control by the dealership. This seems to be a rampant problem that needs to be addressed soon because it is big safety issue.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #2

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 #1

Jun 082010

Santa Fe

  • 5,200 miles
On Tuesday, June 8, 2010 I was on a busy interstate highway with fast moving traffic and my car lost all power while traveling at 70 mph. Fortunately, I was able to barely glide the sante fe to the shoulder and stop without incident. Follow up: 3 pm visited Hyundai service center and was told that it was not a throttle problem. They are in contact with ca service to determine cause of problem. Friday, 6-11-10 after complete testing of all circuits, Hyundai declares no source of problem. Auto was picked up at 4:30 pm Hyundai assistant service manager: Bob wood Hyundai case # 3982284 the specifics are: "SUV was purchased 8/09 and currently has 5200 miles. ?cruise control was on but not engaged. ?gas tank indicator on one-half. "with my foot on gas pedal the initial instinct was that the engine had lost all power. Opressing harder on gas pedal had no reaction. Othere was an opening in traffic and with the SUV forward inertia I was able to just reach the road shoulder. Oobserved that red indicators were on (battery, oil) ?reset transmission selector to park, turned off key. Ofirst restart-nothing happened osecond restart SUV started and I did not turn off until reaching home. Obviously, this is a serious life threatening situation that needs to be researched thoroughly and corrected.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

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