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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 1
Average Mileage:
25,435 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments

problem #13

Dec 252016

Santa Fe

  • 72,150 miles


2011 Hyundai Santa Fe stalls, loses power, will not accelerate, gives no warning. This could cause a major accident and multiple deaths. This happens suddenly while driving along city streets and highways and while turning.

- South Bend, IN, USA

problem #12

Oct 112016

Santa Fe

  • 25 miles
I purchased this car brand new, and I have been having problems from the beginning. I was told at first that it was a defective automatic starter which was removed, and was never replaced for fear of experiencing such an episode. I would be driving, and suddenly the car will shut off. I would have people honking, and cursing at me for almost causing an accident. Several times I had to swerve to avoid hitting pedestrians when the car stalls. I have taken the car back to the dealership with no avail, because the problem does not happen when they have the car. I only drive the car for short distances for fear of getting stuck on the highway etc. Recently my son borrowed my car and was almost killed on the road when the car stalled with him. Luckily, he was able to steer the vehicle to the side of the road. Needless to say, he refused to drive the car back home for fear of losing his life. I do not want to sell this car knowing the dangers it can cause, and I know that the dealer will not give me much for it at this point. This problem needs to be addressed especially if there were any accidents or deaths involving sante fes. The speed of the vehicle would vary from 10 to 35 miles in the city, sometimes it happened while driving straight, or while turning a corner. It has been the case in any weather with my last incident occurring on 10/11/16.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #11

Jun 042016

Santa Fe

  • 77,000 miles
I noticed my steering wheel had play in it and when braking would severly shake.. took to Hyundai dealer and they stated I needed a coupler and intermediate shaft and bolts to be replaced. My vehicle has roughly 77,000 miles.I had to pay for repair since this was a safety issue. Now there is a recal regarding power steering. I have had this car for over 2 years with nothing but saftey concerns.

- Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #10

Nov 182015

Santa Fe

  • 54,000 miles


While driving at a rate of less than 5-10 mpg in heavy traffic on the 105 West freeway. The car suddenly lost power steering abilities and all power in the vehicle without notification lights or any other strange peculiarities. Both the check engine and oil lights went on. I managed to pull over with whatever residual power remaining as not to impede traffic but it was a terrifying struggle. The gears were also locked and unable to shift. I turned off the ignition and restarted the car. All the lights on the dashboard cleared and there are no diagnostics on the computer that reflect this problem. It is unknown what is causing the issue. Months prior (6 months) I was driving at a higher rate of speed (approx 30 mph) on the same freeway, early morning, and the same problem also happened. This could have caused me to be rear ended badly or worse.

- Hawthorne, CA, USA

problem #9

Feb 042015

Santa Fe

  • 33,000 miles
While operating vehicle at normal speed on the right side of the road, there was another vehicle closer to the middle of the road in opposing traffic on a two lane road. As I swerved a bit to the right in an effort to give the opposing vehicle more room, I went too far to the brim of the road. As I tried to correct it, I lost total control of the steering of the vehicle, causing me to drive straight across the other side of the road and into a tree. The vehicle went head onto into the tree, bounced off, and slid backwards down into a drainage culvert. There was melting snow on the brim of the road, but the road itself had no weather related problems that would cause me to lose control of the vehicle. Upon further inspection of the vehicle, it was noted that the steering was locked, turned to the left at 10:00 position, and both steer tires were pointed straight ahead. The steer tires had less than 1,000 on them.

- Ickesburg, PA, USA

problem #8

Nov 112013

Santa Fe

  • 15,600 miles
I was driving my Hyundai 2011 sante fe at about 30 mph on a city road. Suddenly, I felt that I was cut off, there was no control on brake or the steering wheel (both were too hard to operate). So, all I could do was to drive straight, and I was literally crossing some busy streets (luckily, there were no cars when I was crossing these streets) on red signals, with my blinkers on. Luckily, my co-passenger kept cool and suggested if I could operate my parking brake, and I tried this, and my car slowly came to a complete stop. At this moment, I put my car on park, turned off the engine. When I turned it back on, I drove back to a safe place (in a mile), called road side assistance and got it towed to the nearest Hyundai dealer. The dealer found no major breakdown (!!!) or any inactive log on the car computer (!!!), only replaced a brake light (which was under recall for a couple of months) and declared the car to be 'safe to drive'. it is still very scary to drive the car (it has been about a week now after this incident), but not sure if Hyundai will have an answer to this.

- Beachwood, OH, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Jan 022013

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles
Steering wheel is loose in the steering column, moves as if it loose. I have owned a total of four Santa Fe's. this is the first one that has a loose steering wheel. I have taken it to the dealer twice. They say nothing is wrong. There is something wrong. I am not sure if it is the steering shaft, or a worn out bearing.

- Hurricane, UT, USA

problem #5

Aug 102012

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • miles
Driver lost control of vehicle on highway which resulted in the drivers fatality, previous driver of vehicle indicated something was "odd" with the steering.

- Rocky Hill, Ct, CT, USA

problem #4

Aug 272012

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving 4 mph, the vehicle lost all steering capabilities. There was no tension in the steering wheel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis and he contact was informed that a bolt had become loose from the steering shaft and also a clock spring needed to be replaced. In addition, the vehicle was in need of an alignment. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 33,000 and the current mileages were 34,000...updated 09-28-12 updated 11/19/12 the consumer stated vehicle was stopped but was not operational. Updated 11/20/2012

- St. Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #3

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

problem #2

Jun 262011

Santa Fe

  • 2,900 miles
On May 26th 2011 around 6:20 pm when I drove on a local down hill road which is about 400 yard long, at a speed about 20 mph, my car lost brake and power steering. I supposed to stop at a stop sign and make a left turn. When I pressed my brake pedal, my car can't stop and the pedal was very heavy, and I can't turn the steering wheel either. My car kept going straight. I kept stepping on the brake pedal very hard and my car finally stopped in the middle of street gradually. When I looked, I noticed check engine light and oil light were on. I then turn off my car and rest a while. I then turned my car back on and found check engine light and oil light went off and everything seemed back to normal. Worth to note that it was hot that day about 90 degree and I ride on brake slightly for about 300 yard on that down hill road before this incident happened. I was able to drive slowly back home that day and brought my car to the closest Hyundai dealer at 7:30 am the next morning. However the dealer was not able to reproduce the failure and found nothing. I then contacted Hyundai and Hyundai created a case number and suggested me go to the selling dealer. On June 7th, I brought my car to the selling dealer and they could not reproduce the failure either and asked me to come back to them when it happens again. However, it could be dangerous when my car loses brake again when I am driving. I am wondering if there is any other way to investigate root causes or stress my car to reproduce this issue.

- Winchester, MA, USA

problem #1

Jan 072011

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 1,375 miles
Vehicle pulled hard to the left (the side I wanted to pass on) when passing gear was used. I came very close to hitting the car to my left. The dealers service manager claims this is normal due to torque knuckle steering. (it happened when he drove my SUV and he told me that I would have to get used to it!!! we also tried another SUV and experienced the same problem, please note; the service manager told me that bigger tires would probably solve the problem. When I told him that the SUV is under warranty and that I would not pay for them he dropped the subject). I have tried the maneuver indicated when there is no traffic and it happens more often than not. I am concerned for my safety and the safety of anyone without my quick reflexes. I had noticed this problem several times prior to the passing incident on a straight acceleration, but believed it might be an uneven pavement causing it. )I am not a mechanic, but think there is a correlation between the steering and the drive train that is causing the problem. Updated 02/14/11 the dealer informed the consumer it was a normal characteristic of the vehicle. The consumer also stated the right rear passenger door would not open from the inside. Updated portable 02/25/11

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

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