Notes: The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe has a problem with the engine stalling while driving. Both our data & the NHTSA's complaint data show a significant defect trend at low mileage.

In a 2-page letter sent August 2014 to Santa Fe owners, 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,024 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.

2011 Hyundai Santa Fe drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments

problem #17

Oct 012013

Santa Fe

  • miles


2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle vibration issues. The dealer determined the rear coupler was broken. It was replaced. However, the vibration continued. The consumer returned to the dealer, where they found the front axle was broken and it was replaced. The vibration continued. The dealer believed the center drive train needed to be replaced

- Clinton, CT, USA

problem #16

Jan 022015

Santa Fe

  • 34,000 miles
Whirring sound from drive shaft/transmission note there are similar reports on internet.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #15

Jan 192014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • miles
This is a follow up to the complaint I made on 5/13/2013. At that time my vehicle was at the dealership to try to duplicate the problem I had been having which was that my car would randomly stall while making a turn, whether left or right. When this happened the panel would light up like christmas and everything including the brakes would cease to work. I have to coast to a safe location (if possible) to turn off car and then restart it. I have been very fortunate that me or my family have not been hit when this happens. Update to last report: My car stayed at the dealership for 3 weeks however the problem was not duplicated. Their solution (Hyundai usa and my dealership) was to replace the throttle body. Everything was fine until the same problem occurred on 1/19/2014. I don't think hyndai usa will be satisfied until there's fatalities unfortunately.

- District Heights, MD, USA

problem #14

Jul 132013

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 44,012 miles


While accelerating from a traffic light, vehicle dropped speed while I accelerated. It coasted along at 1-2 miles an hour. The check engine, antilock brake and 4 wheel drive 'skid' indicators all lit up on the dash board. I had to guide the vehicle to a safe stop by the side of the road after clearing a dangerous intersection. This has occurred four additional times after the dealership assured me this problem had been rectified. It is presently at the dealership after having been towed in for the fifth (5th) time. This car needs to be replaced by the dealer.

- Dix Hills, NY, USA

problem #13

May 132013

Santa Fe

  • 31,095 miles
Vehicle has stalled in traffic when driving under 10mph and also when at a standstill at a four way intersection. Took the vehicle to Hyundai dealership 5.13.2013 and a throttle body part was ordered and installed 5.21.2013. Vehicle again stalled twice at low speed and on 10.11.2013 (mileage 37,710) an ECM upgrade was done. Yesterday,10.26.2013, the car stalled again.

- Sonoma, CA, USA

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problem #12

Apr 152013

Santa Fe

  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that on seven occasions, the gear shifter would not move out of drive into reverse or neutral until after several attempts. There was a recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 13V113000 (exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic). The vehicle was included in the recall however, the failure the contact experienced was not mentioned in the recall. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 32,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Waxhaw, NC, USA

problem #11

Oct 222012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


When accelerating from a stop the vehicle slightly begins to move but no acceleration coming from the engine. This results in a very slow 1-2 mph movement. This has happened on a handful of occasions and is very dangerous. Often when pulling out into a highway when acceleration is needed the vehicle just creeps into traffic. Appears that the engine is just idling without any increase in RPM when the accelerator is depressed. Eventually when pulling off to safe area and stopping with trans in neutral, the engine acts normal with proper acceleration. Shifting into drive will return to the same problem. Problem will eventually slowly dissolve after "playing" with the accelerator when stopped and then shifting into drive to begin acceleration.

- Presque Isle, MI, USA

problem #10

Apr 112012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • miles
Since I received my SUV in 2011 I've experienced 3 vehicular cut-offs while driving. The cut-off always occurs during a slow moving turn, whether going left or right. I would start turning or switching lanes in one case and the car will stall. All panel lights would come on, the steering would shut-down so I cant control the vehicle and the brakes shut-down as well. I have to coast to a stop and place in park. This is a very vulnerable situation where I've been at the mercy of oncoming traffic. Thank goodness that my 2 year old daughter wasn't in the vehicle any of the times. The SUV always starts back up after sitting for about a minute. This problem is so random and there are no warning signs, it's just happens. It was suggested that perhaps their could have been air in the gas line, I don't believe this to be true. The first time it happened I had less then a quarter tank of gas, the second about a half tank and the last a full tank. Currently my car is back at the dealership where they're hoping that they can once again duplicate the problem. They've had it for 6 days so far.

- District Heights, MD, USA

problem #9

Apr 112013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 9,100 miles
2011 Hyundai Santa Fe V6 limited traveling at a speed of approximately 15 mph, in the process of making a left hand turn the engine experienced a stall condition. Immediately lost the ability to safely control the vehicle, complete loss of the braking system and power steering. Engine light was illuminated. Once the vehicle had coasted to a stop, shifted the vehicle from the drive position to the park position. Turned the ignition to the off position. Immediately turned the ignition to the start position and engine restarted. Engine light indicator in dash panel was no longer illuminated. Took vehicle to dealership to have them locate the root cause. Dealership was unable to determine the root cause. Filed an incident report with Hyundai usa.

- Lebanon, NH, USA

problem #8

Mar 182013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
This complaint is similar to a complaint I already filed in December 2012 and is a recurring issue. On 3/18/13, was traveling approx 55 mph up a steep hill when the check engine light came on and immediately the gas pedal ceased functioning as well. The engine remained running, however pressing the gas pedal did nothing. This created an extremely dangerous situation as the traffic behind me was not aware my vehicle was slowing down and I had no ability to safely pull over to the side of the road. I brought the car to a stop, turned off the engine, waited a minute, and restarted it. At this point the gas pedal was functioning as expected, but the check engine light remained on. Went to the dealer, however they indicated the fix for the issue (technical service bulletin, #12-fl-004) had been applied after the 12/2012 incident and they found nothing new wrong this time. On 3/22/13, the exact same issue happened twice during one commute to work. The vehicle is currently at the dealer who has no idea why this is happening. This is a major safety issue and from other reports seen online, a recall should be investigated.

- Westminster, MD, USA

problem #7

Feb 062013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 24,242 miles


I backed out of a parking spot and made contact with something which I could not see from my rear view or side view mirrors. Later, when the emergency workers were loading me into the ambulance, I would see that the object was a low, cement pole, which protected a fire hydrant directly behind the parking spot I pulled out of. As I put the vehicle in gear (drive) with my foot on the brake, to pull away from whatever I backed in to, the engine revved and the vehicle accelerated on its own. The vehicle lurched forward (the best way to describe it is the way a pinball bounces off of a bumper on a pinball machine) and continued moving forward, even though my foot was still on the brake pedal. The vehicle drove forward into the parking spot I had started from, over a curb at the front of the parking spot, through a patch of low lying plants and over a wall which is approximately four to five feet in height. My vehicle was airborne and came to rest in the lower level parking lot, striking a parked vehicle. It was only then that the vehicle stopped its forward motion. My arms had been locked on the steering wheel, my right foot on the brake pedal. My left leg absorbed the impact of the crash into the lower level parking lot. I was taken away in an ambulance with a broken leg and severely dislocated ankle. The vehicle has been deemed a total loss by my insurance carrier. I was advised that a claims investigator was sent to the insurance-company-authorized collision shop to where my vehicle was towed. Even though the emergency workers advised on the night of the accident that the car was not in a drivable condition, I was advised by my insurance company that the investigator drove the vehicle in the parking lot of the collision shop and he was not able to replicate the unintended acceleration.

- Lynnwood, WA, USA

problem #6

Jun 012012

Santa Fe

  • miles
The contact owned a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while sitting in park on an incline, the vehicle erroneously shifted out of gear, causing it to roll away. In addition, the vehicle would stall without warning when attempting a turn. The vehicle was restarted and began to function normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be replicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Milton, GA, USA

problem #5

Dec 222012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 21,401 miles
While traveling approx 55 mph, I hit a fairly significant pothole. The check engine light immediately came on and, at the very same instant, the gas pedal ceased to function. The engine remained running, however the gas pedal had no affect - e.g. pressing the gas pedal did nothing. I immediately pulled onto the shoulder and brought the vehicle to a complete stop. The engine continued to idle and, after letting up on the brake, the vehicle moved forward on its own at approx 20 mph, more than expected under normal idle conditions. This condition lasted for approx 5 min until I could pull into a parking lot. I shut the engine off, waited a moment, then restarted it. At this point the gas pedal was functioning as expected, but the check engine light remained on. The vehicle was repaired at the dealer who notified me of an existing technical service bulletin, #12-fl-004, from Hyundai. They also indicated this was a "known issue" relating to the "ECM software."

- Cockeysville, MD, USA

problem #4

Dec 112011

Santa Fe

  • 11,566 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the gear shift locked. As a result, it failed to shift from to other gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and referred the contact to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 11,566.

- Kennett Square, PA, USA

problem #3

May 082012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 13,300 miles
The engine shut down twice while driving it. First shut down on 5/8/2012: After beginning to accelerate for a left turn after being idle at a left turn red light the car's engine lost power before the turn was completed. Power steering went out. Got honked at as cars behind noticed something wrong. Coasted to the side of the road after completing the turn and had to turn the ignition in the off position to turn the engine back on. Second shut down on 8/3/2012: While turning left in a shopping center parking lot the car's engine lost power. Power steering went out. After coming to a stop had to turn the ignition in the off position to turn the engine back on.

- Orange, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 252012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
After light turned green, I pushed on the pedal and the car did not move for seconds. Car hesitates all the time. Afraid to make left turn from a stopped position because I am not sure if the vehicle will move. Vehicle also hesitates when accelerating to pass slow moving vehicles. Reported issue to dealer and dealer would not acknowledge problem. Read and heard of other Santa Fe acceleration issues.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #1

Mar 102012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 7,600 miles
Driving slowly in traffic down a hill my steering wheel, gear shift and brakes locked up. Immediately my generator light came on my dashboard. I managed to pull over and somehow get the car in park. I turned the car off and realized through my manual my generator light was on. I opened the hood and couldn't see anything. When turning the car back on the light went off and everything was fine. That Monday I took the car to my dealership where I bought it and they told me they checked everything. Put the car up to a computer, drove it around, test everything couldn't find anything. I haven't had a problem since but something had to occur for this to happen. I am please with my car otherwise. Just hope this never happens again. It couldn't be weather related because it was neither super warm or super cold it was approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately I was stuck in traffic otherwise if I was driving the speed limit this could have ended up very badly possibly even fatal.

- Aliquippa, PA, USA

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