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:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
25,344 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments

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

Jul 142014

Santa Fe

  • 32,000 miles
While driving at freeway speed, car shut down unexpectedly, and restarted. During interim 20 seconds, attempted to pull vehicle to left shoulder as I was driving in far left lane. I felt "engine drop" or a feeling whereas the car no longer felt powered, cue that the engine had went off. Power steering went manual along with other power assist devices like power steering. On dirt shoulder of freeway attempting with manual brakes and steering to bring vehicle off roadway. Vehicle restarted during maneuver. Still moving at safe speed attempted to merge back onto the freeway, having not yet decelerated enough yet to continue to pull over....clear and dry conditions in North la county. This vehicle however has always had "overly responsive" or "very tight" steering, for lack of better terminology. I leased the vehicle and did not fully realize, until some time passed, what this 'steering characteristic' would mean in the future, in an event requiring accurate and responsive steering combined with the ability to maintain control. The sudden engine power resuming, combined with, what this writer would describe as "tight steering" to begin with, made the vehicle roll. The vehicle, with what felt like a "high center of gravity" always felt like it would roll if one were to have to move quickly to avoid something in the road for example. I did not realize this feature during my test drive. Being a lessee I was obligated to keep the vehicle for 3 years. The vehicle rolled several times while crossing 3 lanes of an occupied northbound highway 14. A sudden jolt resulted in a fracture of L1 vertebrae. During roll, jack became undone from where it was factory mounted underneath lift up cover, and had never been removed. Flailing around in the vehicle now was this heavy scissor jack bouncing around in the vehicle compartment with me. I am glad to be alive.

- Lancaster, CA, USA

problem #15

Mar 192015

Santa Fe

  • 68,523 miles
While driving A/C turned itself on, would not turn off with the off button, had to select head/foot airflow button to get system to turn off. Second incident on March 30th A/C would not turn off while vehicle was in park prior to engine shut off, had to select several different settings before A/C would shut off. Third incident today again A/C turned itself on and would not turn off prior to engine shut off - had to again select several different settings to turn off A/C.

- Titusville, FL, USA

problem #14

Feb 142015

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • miles


Vehicle inexplicably lurched ahead when foot on brake, went over a curb, through some grass and into and over a fire hydrant. Was unable to stop/control the vehicle, . vehicle is currently undriveable and at the body shop for repairs.

- Carrollton, TX, USA

problem #13

Feb 042015

Santa Fe

  • 9,200 miles
On 2/4/15, my 2012 Santa Fe had an unexpected sudden acceleration, resulting in extensive damage to the vehicle and me, the driver. I had backed into my parking space at work facing a busy road and while re-positioning vehicle, going from reverse to drive, with my foot on the brake, the car propelled forward, going through a 4 foot snow bank and into a stone wall. The driver air bag deployed and hit me direct in center chest. All of this occurred in about 2 seconds and I had my foot down hard on the brake and was attempting to put my left foot on the emergency brake. It was a miracle that I did not hit a pedestrian or other vehicle, which when I later processed this, was the most frightening part.. after googling this complaint, I was stunned to see how many people have had similar incidents.

- Lynnfield, MA, USA

problem #12

Nov 162014

Santa Fe

  • 69,500 miles
Whether the vehicle is running idle or driving at any speed, the ac is manually turned off within 30 to 60 seconds the ac will turn on by itself. This is an electrical issue that could cause a fire, property damage, a crash, or fatality and should be address by the manufacture.

- Harmony, FL, USA

problem #11

Nov 132014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 43,000 miles


Was making left hand turn, car just died, no warning and no lights came on. Coasted to stop and car started right up[. another time leaving parking lot car started was runing fine then lost speed, couldn't go over 25 mph took car to Hyundai shop and they ckeck car and they did all the checks and repairs and said car should be ok. Ticket #[xxx]. also called Hyundai company and reported the incident to them, , case #[xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Youngsville, LA, USA

problem #10

Dec 032012

Santa Fe

  • 8,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving various speeds, the vehicle would suddenly shut off without warning. The contact was able to restart the engine and the vehicle would resume normal operation. The failure occurred on multiple occasions and the vehicle was taken to the dealer several times. The technician was unable to duplicate the failure and no repairs were performed. The vehicle continued to experience the failure. The manufacturer was notified, but no solution was offered. The failure mileage was 8,000.

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #9

Jul 162014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 44,332 miles
When making a right hand turn at slow speed the cars stalls out. Today 7/16 is the 3rd time this has happened. The same event happened twice in the same week about 6 months ago then not again. This sounds too similar to the problems w/ GM cars.

- Colts Neck, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jun 252014

Santa Fe

  • 40,000 miles
After driving to work (approximately 27 minutes at speeds up to 70+) I pulled into my work parking lot like I have down thousands of times before. I proceeded to make a right turn and all power failed on vehicle. The radio display went dead and the car stopped mid turn. It was almost like when your power goes out at home during a storm. I tried shift the car to see if it would want to start back up but it didn't let the key go all the way to the right like you would to normally crank a vehicle. The panel illuminated all icons and lights (similar to a power outage). I tried to start the car a few more times when finally it turned over and I pulled to the nearest parking space. I immediately called the dealership and explain what happened. I had roadside tow it to the dealership (sport durst). After having the vehicle all day, I arrived there slightly before 5pm to discuss what was found. They proceeded to show me a print out of the computer reading where it had no "codes" present. I was then told if they don't have a code, they don't know where to look for the issue. I then explained that I was lucky this time that I was not in traffic or that another car wasn't behind me or that it wasn't at night in an unsafe area but as a car owner why am I expected to roll the dice with my safety?? why can't they do what it takes to get to the bottom of the issue. I don't like being at any dealership wasting my evening haggling with them more then they do. Therefore I have no reason to make it up. The service manager tried to explain that his hands were tied and that for the warranty to be used to check all potential issues (without any "codes") I would have to be responsible for the bill unless they find something which I feel is unfair when the car is 2 years old with 40,000 miles. I was then told when it happens next time... record it...

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #7

Feb 022013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 8,000 miles


On Feb. 2, 2013 after pulling out after a stop light the car ran normally for a very short time and then all power left. It would go only in idle speed. After turning the car off and then restarting it the car would run normally for a while and then do the same thing. A throttle body was replaced. On, Jan. 28, 2014 the same thing happened again. Another throttle body was installed. The service department at the Hyundai dealership nor Hyundai could tell us why this throttle body was defective nor could they guarantee that it wouldn't happen again. We could not feel save driving it down an interstate or in heavy traffic and have the car just basically stop with no warning.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #6

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 #5

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 #4

Jan 202013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
This is the fourth time since the purchase in April, 2012. The engine just shuts off while driving normally at a low speed. The dealer shop obviously could not find any issues. I cannot understand why this type of highly dangerous problem is not being addressed by NHTSA urgently. I see that there are other complaints of this nature reported. I cannot believe that I have to risk our family lives to prove that there is a serious fault with this vehicle!

- Lansdale, PA, USA

problem #3

Nov 012012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
At 2 times in the last few months the car engine has suddenly stopped while driving slowly on level ground. Lost power steering and power brakes. Car restarted immediately. So far dealership unable to reproduce or help with problem.

- Nacogloches, TX, USA

problem #2

Oct 312012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 2,600 miles
Vehicle stalled as turning into driveway of shopping complex. The steering wheel froze as I was trying to turn left. In the dashboard, no lights on except "malfunction indicator" light was lit. Restarted car and drove on, the "malfunction light" got turned off, came home and then called dealer. Drove to dealer but they could not diagnose the issue since the light was not on and so no code can be found. Car is less than 3 months old and not even 3000 miles on the car. I feel this car is not safe unless Hyundai takes care of the problem. Not diagnosing and addressing the issue makes me concerned. If car stalls while driving then that is very dangerous as it can cause an accident such as car hitting from behind. I am very much concern with such a problem for car as new as mine.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 262012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 2,700 miles
While driving I smelled electrical smoke, parked car shut off engine, opened hood and found an electrical motor of sorts on fire.

- Somerville, MA, USA

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