Notes: The 2012 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 to owners in 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,099 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.

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments

problem #19

Jun 262016

Santa Fe

  • 3,000 miles


Since purchase (new), the vehicle has intermittently exhibited a issue with its transmission. When cold (originally in the winter months but now in the warmer months as well), backing the car up and placing it in drive causes a ¿hard drop or lock into forward gear after the vehicle has started moving. This has been reported to the dealer and inspection of the computer memory shows no issues. The problem is increasing infrequency and regularity.

- Greenwood, IN, USA

problem #18

Jan 212016

Santa Fe

  • 71,348 miles
All events occurred while vehicle was stationary.began to have a intermittent no start condition around the third week of January 2016. Theta 2.4 engine #165130 would not turn over. A jump start with 2nd vehicle battery supply and jumper cables were needed for engine to run.tested the battery voltage output on Santa Fe with engine cold $12.65 and engine running $13.96 to $14.02 range all starting and charging components were operating in normal conditions and no check engine or battery indicators illuminating. No signs of engine malfunction was evident. On 01/29/2016 after having two more no starts went ahead and replaced the battery with brand new one. Engine would crank but not start.tested voltage on battery, alternator, starter, ignition and fuel pump relays. Had spark on all coils and fuel. Air filter was new. Felt confident there was no need to check compression as there were no mechanical signs present. At certain times some engine components due wear out so I had a mechanic inspect the engine and asked him to replace the crankshaft sensor. Engine would not turnover after several attempts and he could not determine the cause. On 01/30/2016 connected my obd2 and got a total of 11 codes, P0445,261,267,270,264,448. Five out of first eleven were displayed twice except P0448.I had the car towed to a Hyundai authorized service dept on 02/02/2016 the service adviser at frank Hyundai advised me his mechanic performed a compression and leak down test and informed me engine had low compression in 3 out of 4 cylinders with active codes P0223 P0445 and cylinders was said to be blowing air up towards valve cover.I was told they suspected piston rings or cylinder head was cause of engine failure.had car towed home. After finding blown fuse I was able to start car but shut it down immediately from loud noise coming from valve train rotating assembly.unknown symptoms.

- Imperial Beach, CA, USA

problem #17

Sep 262015

Santa Fe

  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while attempting to park, the vehicle stalled with no warning. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 51,000.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #16

Jan 232015

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 56,500 miles


While stopped at a red light on an incline, vehicle did not move when gas pedal was pressed. It felt like the car had stalled out but the RPM's were still between 1 and 2. when I pressed harder on the gas the car lurched forward. This has happened several times and is now happening more often, not always on an incline or when temperature or engine is cold. Taking to dealer for repair but told if they can't duplicate they can't do anything about it. I have only owned this car 4 months and want to get rid of it because I'm afraid to drive it now. Not sure if its a problem with the transmission or fuel system but something is definitely not right. Hope it happens for the dealer so it can be fixed.

- Quakertown, PA, USA

problem #15

Jul 112014

Santa Fe

  • 22,650 miles
Highway driving at 55mph, complete and total loss of drive train and engine power, check engine light illuminates. No throttle capability. Engine reduces to idling speed, but transmission stays engaged. Vehicle slows down and driver pulls off road. All electronics appear to work. Gas pedal has no interaction with engine throttle. Required tow off highway to Hyundai dealer. Hyundai dealer repaired problem with computer revision update. Tsb unknown.

- Commack, NY, USA

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problem #14

Jul 082014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 34,100 miles
While backing out of a parking space the car slowed down and then stopped on its own, I pressed the gas and nothing happened, I then shifted to forward and the transmission slammed into gear violently, but appeared to function normally. I did notice afterward that the "eco" indicator did not work while driving at any speed. I later stopped and restarted the engine and it appeared to function normally and the "eco" light came back on. I previously have had problems with sudden acceleration when stopped and the dealer has not found any problems or made any repairs.

- Southwick, MA, USA

problem #13

Nov 122012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 7,000 miles


First time at a traffic light waiting to make a left turn off a major roadway. Power shut off, engine and battery light went on. Unable to put gear shift in park. After a minute was able to turn the engine off and then re-start car. Made a complaint to the dealership. A few months after it happened again. This time on the highway. Took it straight into the dealership. They kept it for a couple of days. Diagnosis a loose connection. Again same scenario a couple of months after. Was told they couldn't find anything wrong it. Again - a few months after same thing. This time the battery was changed. Again it happened. This past 2 weeks it has been occurring more often. Took it in and was told they upgraded the system. Exactly 5 days after while making a right turn on a one-way street, the power went off. I barely avoided an accident. By sheer force I was able to avoid running right into another vehicle which was park by steering the car into the opposite direction. What was most upsetting there was a child in the car with me. This is a lease vehicle and I can't get out of the contract.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #12

Mar 292013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 19,697 miles
Our 2012 Hyundai sante fe has suddenly lost power on three occasions. The first two times we were driving at highway speeds, lost power and managed to get to the side of the road without being hit from behind. The dealer initially did an ECM upgrade and after the second incident replaced the throttle body assembly. A year later (March 2014) the same thing happened while driving about 15 mph. Unlike the previous episodes, there was no code and the dealership couldn't replicate the problem. They told me to take the car but I refused because it was such a safety problem. After two weeks with the car they replaced the throttle body assembly again. I am concerned that this is going to happen again and tried to work with the dealer to replace the car but without luck. I've seen on the internet that this problem is common with this particular car and can't understand why there isn't a recall. Many people experienced the same scenario as I did and also believe the next time they could be killed.

- Bloomington, MN, USA

problem #11

Dec 192013

Santa Fe

  • miles
The vehicle shut itself off when driving locally and on high way. The dealership could not even make a diagnosis. Hyundai headquarters refused to investigate it.

- Wynnewood, PA, USA

problem #10

Feb 052014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 21,000 miles
This is my latest issue with my 2012 Santa Fe (the previous being a bad transfer case which made it sputter, a bad 4WD coupling assembly which made it clunk while turning & a bad transmission range shaft which caused it to not start occasionally) now just turns off while driving. Happened twice in the past few weeks. The first time, 2/5/14, I was turning across 2 lanes of cross traffic around 20 mph and it just turned off and drifted! at first I didn't even realize what happened... thank goodness I wasn't hit by oncoming traffic! on 2/22/14 it happened again as we were driving down a hill coming to a stop! fortunately the brakes still worked but again it just turned off with no warning... both times there was sufficient gas in the vehicle and it started right back up. It is going to the shop this week, but I really feel like I got a lemon of a vehicle! I owned 3 other Hyundai previously and never any problem and now it is constant!!! I don't want this vehicle as I do not feel safe in it at all but the dealership says that there's no way to get out of this lease!

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #9

Jan 312014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 12,800 miles


I was on a freeway on ramp that goes downhill and involves a curve to the right. About halfway down the on ramp my engine stalled. I had to turn my wheel as far right as I could to avoid going off embankment and could not accelerate to try to move away from the edge of the embankment or attain a safe speed to merge onto freeway. My oil light and malfunction light both came on. I was able to get to the side of the road and turn car off. When I turned it back on all indicator lights were off and car drove fine. I was informed by dealership there has been a recent software fix for this that has to do with the throttle.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #8

Jan 092013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • miles
Car has stalled while driving three times, all at low speeds. 3/4 tank of gas, no less. Car also won't start at times unless you move shift lever. Car is under warranty and dealer keeps saying nothing wrong. Not starting is very minor. Car stalling in traffic is a major safety issue.

- West Jordan, UT, USA

problem #7

May 022013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 29,827 miles
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe had complete power loss on interstate while moving at 65mph in the left most lane. Engine shuttered, check engine light came on and engine power went to idle RPM. There was no throttle responce and steering became heavy. Managed to cross two lanes and get the vehicle to the shoulder. Shut vehicle off and restarted it. Check engine light stayed on and engine appeared to function normally. Accelerated from shoulder into traffic. Drove for 1/4 mile and incident again repeated itself as described above. Fearing for my safety, I parked the vehicle and had it towed to dealer whom I purchased vehicle from. I called (on 5-2-13) the dealer and told them what was happening. The next morning (5-3-12) I called them at 9am to find status of repair. They stated it was already repaired. They stated it is related to the trottle position sensor. They stated they were well aware of the problem. They stated they were having many of the same issues with this type of vehilce. They stated there was a tsb on the problem. Does someone have to be injured or killed before a manufacture has the obligation to correct a known problem that repeats itself" look at all the other reports and complaints! I have a wife and 2 children that ride in this vehicle. What now"

- Weatogue, CT, USA

problem #6

Jan 272013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 9,805 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving at 65 mph, the vehicle lost acceleration power and did not accelerate over 30 mph. The engine had to be shut off for the vehicle to regain acceleration. The dealer replaced the throttle body and the computer system was updated. Less than two weeks later, the failure recurred. The vehicle was returned to the dealer and the throttle body was again replaced and the contact was awaiting the results of more testing. The manufacturer was notified and advised her to take the vehicle to a different dealer. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure was 9,805 according to the invoice, the check engine light illuminated several times, and each time the vehicle was taken to the dealer. Updated 02/27/13

- Fitchburg, MA, USA

problem #5

Dec 242012

Santa Fe

  • 16,800 miles
As I was driving vehicle lost all power on a highway very dangerous situation. Again this has happened a second time now with 17000 miles. Dealership said computer update the first time now throttle body I don't think there is an answer very dangerous.

- Mount Kisco , NY, USA

problem #4

Jan 042013

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 6,300 miles
In stop and go traffic, I took my foot off the brake to coast towards the car in front of me. This pattern had been going on for several miles. I was not touching the accelerator and in fact, my foot was not on the brake either, and the car suddenly accelerated full throttle. I had just a couple of seconds to try to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of me. I swerved to the right, towards the shoulder, but I hit the truck in front of me. I was braking the entire time, but it was not enough to stop the sudden unintended acceleration. My left bumper hit his truck on the right hand side of his bumper. My radiator was damaged and leaked all the fluid out onto the highway. The car was not drivable because of the radiator.

- Hudson Oaks, TX, USA

problem #3

Dec 312012

Santa Fe

  • 15,415 miles
The car was parked on a sloping driveway. The keys were removed from the ignition and the car was shifted to park. A 2 year old child alone in the car managed to shift from park to neutral without the key being in the ignition or applying any brake pressure. The car then rolled down the driveway and into traffic. By sheer luck and adrenaline, I managed to run after the car, get the door open, dive in, and stop the car by depressing the brake pedal with my hand before an accident occurred. After this event, I was able to reproduce the shift-from-park-to-neutral-without-key-or-brake behavior 100% of the time. This is extremely dangerous.... my kid could have been hurt or worse. This car should be recalled.

- Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 252012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 3,323 miles
I pulled into a parking lot, in front of a bakery, and stopped to allow a car to leave a parking spot. I then proceeded to pull into the vacant parking spot and when I applied the brakes, the vehicle sounded like it was actually gunning into a higher gear, and as I was pushing harder down on the brake with my right foot the vehicle jumped the sidewalk in front of the bakery. I proceeded to apply both my feet to the brakes in hopes that the vehicle would stop, and it did. Thankfully no one was injured and the vehicle stopped before entering the bakery window. I called the dealership and arranged for them to tow it to their mechanics department.

- Elma, NY, USA

problem #1

Oct 252010

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 1,320 miles
Driver was pulling into a parking space when Santa Fe suddenly surged or lunged forward and to the right causing car to jump over a concrete bumper and into another car parked at a 90-degree angle. After the accident investigation was cleared driver proceeded to the local dealership. Enroute the Santa Fe would not shift out of low gear. Dealer claimed the events could not be duplicated.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

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