2010 Hyundai Santa Fe transmission NHTSA complaints: Power Train:Automatic Transmission

NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2010 Hyundai Santa Fe (Page 1 of 3)

CarComplaints.com 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.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
6,065 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #44

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

problem #43

Aug 252011

Santa Fe

  • 300 miles
Transmission slams into gear, also slips into gear and sometimes moves when in park.

- Bentonville, AR, USA

problem #42

Aug 282011

Santa Fe

  • 33,000 miles
I just purchased a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe today and it seems like the transmission is shifting hard between gears.

- Sidney, MT, USA

problem #41

Aug 122011

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 10,000 miles


My 2010 at Santa Fe started with occasional lurching forward when started, then progressed to harsh shifting, bumping and banging noises from the at. This was episodic, when the car was cold. (see my initial complaint #10379504) since my original complaint, the dealer put in a "data recorder" to try to capture what was happening. Despite 2-3 episodes of this happening while the recorder was on, they were not captured on the unit. They told me there was nothing wrong with the car, yet it continued to get progressively worse. At about 9000 miles, it happened again- the worst episode yet. At that point I was afraid for my safety. I drove the car home and then to the dealer. After the dealer did further testing on the at, they told me there was in fact something wrong with the at, and they put in a new transmission. Within 1000- 2000 miles on the new transmission, in started bumping again when cold, shifting from 1st to 2nd. I took it back to the dealer, but of course they can not duplicate the problem. They said it had a fast idle and adjusted it. They also said I should warm the car up 5-7 minutes prior to driving it each time, since I report this only occurs while it is cold. They say there is nothing wrong with my car, just as they told me earlier, prior to finding out there was a problem with the at. When I left the dealer after telling me this, it bumped twice before I got out of their parking lot, and continues to do so, once even while it was warm. I called Hyundai Consumer Affairs, they parrot back to me everything the dealer tells me, and offer no new suggestions other than to consult my owners manual on conflict resolution.

- Mulino, OR, USA

problem #40

May 302011

Santa Fe

  • 31,000 miles
Started car to back up out of driveway. Car jumped a little. Continued on road and felt little jumping at random. Went slow and tried to brake and accelorate to understand trigger. Turned around after 1.5 mile to head back home. A few yards in the car made loud dropping sound and grinding and scraping and would not accelarate. So loud I thought the bottom came out. People pushed it into parking lot for me. Aaa towed it to dealer. 24 hours later told it was a transmission problem. 24 hours after that told they are replacing with new transmission. Asked if this would trigger any future problems and they claim no.

- Mansfield, MA, USA

problem #39

May 132011

Santa Fe

  • 5,000 miles
The vehicle stops or stalls on shifting from first to second gear. It has just died merging into traffic from a stop sign and I have been forced to roll to the shoulder. It will not always pull up an incline from a stop such as a steeper driveway. I have been successful to "fix' this by shifting into neutral and then back in gear. This problem is well documented in the Hyundai forums on line.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #38

Nov 302010

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,889 miles


The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving approximately 25 mph the contact took her foot off of the accelerator pedal and was coasting. When the contact applied pressure to the accelerator pedal the rpms increased and there was a hard bump and a shutter felt inside the vehicle. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer three times. The transmission adapter was reset, the keep alive memory and adaptive values were cleared, and an ECU update was performed. The failure continued to occur. The contact was taking the vehicle to the dealer a forth time for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 7,889. Updated 5/9/11 the consumer stated there was a harsh shift between 20-30 mph. The consumer stated the vehicle has been to the dealer six times for the same problem and the transmission was replaced twice. Updated 08/17/11.

- Painesville, OH, USA

problem #37

Oct 082010

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
Oct 2010 first incident- with a cold engine in the morning while traveling between 20-40 mph my 2010 6 cyl Hyundai Santa Fe lurched forward with a loud bang as if we were hit from behind. We had 6230 miles on vehicle. Over the next 2 days the same thing happened several times not as severe as the first incident. After checking the internet found many reports of similar incidents. Brought to dealer who denied hearing of this problem, kept overnight, couldn't duplicate problem and reset adaptive learning and reset driving history. Problem started again March 2011 on March 8, 2011 brought to dealer kept overnight, couldn't duplicate problem found transmission fluid low, reset transmission, did an update they said was related to a computer module that was related to the problem. Vehicle had 10,000 miles. Called Hyundai Consumer Affairs and had a case opened to document problem as I may have to go through New York lemon law if they don't fix problem. March 15, 2011 tramsmission problem back again called Hyundai Consumer Affairs and had them reopen case and another appointment scheduled with dealer on March 23, 2011 to test drive with tech and service manager. This will be third attempt to fix transmission problem.

- Mineola, NY, USA

problem #36

Sep 152010

Santa Fe

  • 500 miles
I have a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe limited and within a couple weeks of owning the vehicle noticed transmission problems. At first, I thought it was something that I was doing, but then my husband drove it and said the same thing. Between the speeds of 10-40 mph, the transmission shifts hard between 2nd and 3rd gear and occasionally between 1st and 2nd gear as if it gets stuck. It does it when upshifting and even when downshifting. It happens constantly, when the vehicle is cold, when it's warm, every day. I mentioned it to the dealership when I took it in for an oil change and of course they could not replicate the problem and can't do anything until they can replicate the issue. I guess I'll just keep mentioning it whenever I take it in for service and hope that eventually they will do something about it. It is very frustrating since the vehicle was brand new.

- Toano, VA, USA

problem #35

Sep 012010

Santa Fe

  • 1,500 miles
My 2010 Santa Fe on occasion will lurch forward when started, and makes a thud sound from the transmission when this happens. This started when the car had about 1500 miles on it. Then at about 5000 miles, when starting out it shifts from 1st to 2nd very hard, enough to nearly get a whiplash and feels like I have been hit from behind. I told the mechanic at the dealer and he said he would do the recall which had been ordered for another problem, and maybe that would help. It did not help. It has happened several times since then.

- Mulino, OR, USA

problem #34

Jan 032011

Santa Fe

  • 15,362 miles


I have a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. Sometimes when it shifts from 1st to 2nd it feels like another vehicle has rear-ended me. It happens a lot when the Santa Fe is cold, but it has happened at other times also. It will also hesitate as it goes from one gear to the next. I have had it to the dealer twice (once I left it over night so they would have it when it was cold) and of course it didn't do it for them. When the transmission hesitates the tachometer will go between 3000 and 4000 RPM, and then lurch violently as it becomes "unstuck." Every time I go to the dealership for an oil change or any other work, I mention the transmission problem. The last time I was there the technician said they contacted Hyundai and was told that is normal. That is not normal. I received a questionnaire from Hyundai about my Santa Fe and again mentioned the transmission problem. I never heard from them. I have read other owners have had the same problem and Hyundai will not acknowledge that there is a problem.

- Irwin, PA, USA

problem #33

Dec 282010

Santa Fe

  • 6,900 miles
I have a 2010 Hyundai santafe with 6900 miles. Three times in the last week the vehicle would not shift and then it would slam into gear making a banging sound and would surge forward. It was like being hit from behind. Each incident occurred at speeds of 20-25mph while accelerating. I am very concerned about my safety when driving this vehicle.

- Mooresville, NC, USA

problem #32

Dec 122010

Santa Fe

  • 21,082 miles
I have a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe, gls. While driving it, the transmission broke. I was able to maneuver, and pull over. It did not move at all. It just happened without any warnings or previous problems, noises, etc. It has 21,082 miles / 7months of use.

- Ponce, PR, USA

problem #31

Dec 062010

Santa Fe

  • 5,000 miles
On my 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe, the transmission intermittently slips, then slams into gear with such force that the vehicle lurches forward, and feels like you are being rear-ended. There are numerous other reports of this happening, however Hyundai has not issued a recall for same, and the dealer has been unable to fix the issue.

- Royersford, PA, USA

problem #30

Dec 252010

Santa Fe

  • 15,323 miles
I bought a pre-owned 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe on 12/13/10 with ~14K miles I was driving to phoenix today 12/25/10 and when leaving a stop light there was a clunk and then my transmission went out. After doing research today I have found that 2010 Santa Fe's have issue with their transmission but no recalls have been issued. Me and my 13 year old daughter are now stranded in phoenix until we can get it repaired. Please push for a recall so this stops happening to people and Hyundai corrects this problem once and for all.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #29

Nov 132010

Santa Fe

  • 2,800 miles
Bought our 2010 Santa Fe with 2700 miles (the owners wife had been driving it) on November 11th. Almost immediately I noticed that it banged loudly and lurched somewhat upon going from reverse to drive. It does it at any time of day so it's not limited to cold starts. Brought into dealership where they tested and reset the computer. My service manager seemed to be aware of the obvious problems the transmission is having. Then was told it was my transmission and they ordered a replacement. I asked if it would be new or rebuilt, they said new. Then I was told it was policy to put in rebuilt. It only has 5000 miles on it! after some conversation, they agreed to put a new transmission in it. They still have my vehicle-over a week now and I might not get it back for another week. Still don't have the part.....so we'll see when we get it back.

- Peachtree City, GA, USA

problem #28

Jun 012010

Santa Fe

  • 10 miles
I have a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The transmission slips and I get a hard shift with a loud bang when shifting from 1st to 2nd or 2nd to 3rd. It seems to do this when the transmission is cold but it does it even when warm. I had mine in 3 times for repair with a new transmission on the last repair. The new transmission is the same as the original one. Hyundai knows about this and they knew about when I bought the car. I should have been notified when I was buying the car - not finding out after the fact. The dealer gives me the deer in the headlights look when I complain about this like they have never heard about it before.

- Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #27

Oct 012010

Santa Fe

  • miles
Safety: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe engine seems to race at slow speeds/coasting, then automatic transmission "skips" then "slams" back into gear. Brought back into dealership twice, first was told they had heard of a similar issue but that it was "within tolerance" so it was not fixed, when it happened again and before starting a long trip I took it back and had their senior tech drive it home (to see if cold starting could be a contributor) they "reprogrammed" the transmission and told us it would be in "learning mode" for the next few thousand miles. Problem has happened twice more in heavy traffic. Want to take it back for repair but need some help in telling them what (and obviously from the online forums) how widespread this issue is.

- Mithcellville, MD, USA

problem #26

Jun 182010

Santa Fe

  • 5,630 miles
We purchased 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe almost from the start we notice an occasion she would bang into gear while driving in 30 - 40 mph traffic and stops. After numerous trips to dealer their answer was they couldn't duplicate. The last 2 trips to the dealer I explained if you drive in stop & go traffic moving about 30-40 mph you will feel the bang like you have been rear ended. I was told the cannot test for that period of time they reflash the computer. Then listed it as unable to duplicate and set up N appointment with a factory rep. For December 15,2010 @10:30am. My wife will not currently take her parents for treatments at the medical center because the bang startles here parents and she fears a breakdown. Unacceptable for a car less than one year old.

- Sayville, NY, USA

problem #25

Jul 112010

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving 25 mph, the transmission would throw itself into gear with a hard bang as if it were hit from the rear. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who reset the computer; the banging stopped for a while. The failure occurred again but the dealer could not duplicate the failure. The manufacturer had not been notified. The failure mileage was approximately 3,000 and the current mileage is approximately 10,000. Updated 01/18/11 updated 01/31/11

- Sayville, NY, USA

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