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:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,154 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #41

Jul 102013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 10,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated while driving approximately 10 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle was coasted to the side of the road. The vehicle restarted on the first attempt and operated normally. The failure recurred on a separate occasion. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they were unable to duplicate the problem. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 10,000. Updated 05/28/14

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #40

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 #39

Mar 202014

Santa Fe

  • 40,089 miles
During the past 6 months, our vehicle has stalled three times. The most recent incident occurred while we were exiting the freeway. The vehicle just stalled and we almost lost total control of the car ( very scary). The following day, we took the car to the local Hyundai dealer and their service department replaced the throttle body and cleaned all the grounds in the engine compartment. We hope this was an isolated incident and their repair solves the problem.

- San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #38

Apr 112013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 17,000 miles


My 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe has lost power twice while driving. The first time this occurred was on April 11, 2013. It happened again on March 1, 2014. Both times the vehicle shut off while driving at a slow speed. The first time was on a roadway, the second time was in a parking lot. I have read of similar experiences on the internet. I have notified the dealer and Hyundai customer service of both incidents. Hyundai has advised there is nothing they can really do unless they are able to duplicate the issue.

- Yoe, PA, USA

problem #37

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 #36

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 #35

Sep 012013

Santa Fe

  • 18,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning while driving at various speeds. The malfunction indicator light illuminated after the failure occurred. The contact was able to restart the engine. The failure was experienced several times. The dealer replaced the throttle body however the failure was not corrected and the engine continued to stall without warning. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 18,000 and the current mileage was 22,000.

- Hinsdale, MA, USA

problem #34

Nov 302011

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
My car does not ever stop when I try to stop. I can be stopped on an incline and the car will roll out in the main road and will not go in oncoming traffic. Then all at once it will take off at a fast speed and I have almost been hit many times by oncoming traffic. I have had my car in the dealer several times and they say they cant find the problem with the car. My car has 28,000 miles on it now, this problem has been occurring since the car was new. The problem is happening more often now. It is very dangerous for my family to drive. I need your help. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Landrum, SC, USA

problem #33

Apr 222013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 14,095 miles
Vehicle picked up after inspection at dealer and driven approx. 1 mile when vehicle experienced sudden loss of power. Took back to dealer, miller Hyundai, and they advised nothing wrong. Then on 11/11/13 same thing occurred. Miller Hyundai advised they completed an ECM upgrade. Left dealer lot and drove approx. 1/2 mile and same thing occurred. Miller Hyundai then replace the throttle body on 11/14/13. On 12/19/13 the same thing occurred, sudden lost of power. This is the 4th time in 8 months that this has occurred.

- Vestal, NY, USA

problem #32

Apr 152013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
Driving on a 2 lane highway about 40mph & the car just stalled. Lost power steering & brakes & was almost hit from behind. I was able to pull over without incident. Second time, I was turning into my driveway & vehicle stalled again. I was unable to complete turn because of loss of power steering & came within inches of hitting my mailbox. Both times I took the vehicle into the Hyundai dealer & was told that they could not replicate the problem & the car was driving fine. I will be following up with Hyundai complaints department.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #31

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 #30

Sep 122013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 26,750 miles
1st incident occurred while driving approximately 20 mph in morning rush hour traffic. The rpms dropped to idle and the engine malfunction light came on. The accelerator would not respond to increase speed or rpms. I rolled to the shoulder of the road and turned off the car. When I re-started it, the engine malfunction light was still on but I was able to drive off the road and to the dealer. Same thing happened two additional times on my way to the dealer. Dealer advised that a computer update was needed. I was told the repair was made. Next morning I drove approximately 5 miles and the same issue happened, except this time I was traveling 55 mph. Re-started the car and was able to drive back to the dealer. I am now being told that the throttle body is being replaced as per instructions from Hyundai and that I was not the only person having this repeat problem.

- Riverdale, NJ, USA

problem #29

Jul 022012

Santa Fe

  • 4,700 miles
Engine died when slowing down - coming to a stop or making turns approximately 8 times since the time of purchase. First time was when coming down an incline to a stop sign. The next time happened when making a turn around a corner on a residential street. Since that first time, service dealer checked for recalls, but there were none., it randomly happens, normally when slowing down from traveling speeds of 45 mi/hr or slower. I have been doing more highway driving and I am starting to get scared that this could be a real safety issue. The next time I brought this up to the dealer, May 2013, the service dealer check computer for codes but didn't find any. Now, when I brought in for maintenance in August 2013, same thing, mentioned it had died 2 times since May 2013, all in similar situations and randomly/computer checked and no codes.. today, September 7, 2013. It just happened again and this time as I was making a right hand turn from a busy street (45 miles/hr when it died- no power steering. Good thing I was able to come to a stop before crossing the median into oncoming traffic and no one was right behind me. I was able to restart the engine and drove very cautiously home! plan on bringing it in and leaving it with the dealer asap.

- Elk Grove Village, IL, USA

problem #28

Sep 012013

Santa Fe

  • 19,200 miles
Had just left the house and was a few blocks down the road when check engine light came on and engine lost acceleration power. Engine had idle speed and was able to make it back home under idle speed. Turned engine off and when I restarted the engine it seemed to have regained acceleration and drove around the block with a little more power but check engine light is still on. This is the 2nd time in the last two months for the same problem. Taking it to the dealer when they open tomorrow, but last occurence they stated carbon build up on the injectors as the problem. Wife is now scared to drive the car as this problem creates a dangerous driving situation if it happens during heavy traffic.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #27

Aug 252013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 22,392 miles
I was stopped in heavy traffic and suddenly the engine raced to maximum and the car lurched forward. Fortunately, I had left enough space back from the vehicle in front of me to avoid an accident. I had to put both feet on the brake and attempted to shut off the engine to stop the engine from racing.

- Southwick, MA, USA

problem #26

Jul 162013

Santa Fe

  • 18,900 miles
While driving on the highway, the car sputtered and then lost the ability to accelerate. The car did not shut down, but the check engine light was on. I was able to pull the car to the side of the road without incident. The car, even after being shut down and re-started, would not gain the ability to accelerate, so the vehicle was towed to the dealer. The dealer stated the car needed a software update, which was performed. Two days after picking the vehicle up from the dealer, the same circumstances occurred. This time, however, after turning off the vehicle and re-starting, the car was drivable, however the check engine light remained illuminated. Heading back to the dealership tonite. As I do all highway driving, and this is a clearly unsafe situation.

- Shrewsbury , PA, USA

problem #25

Jul 072013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 13,400 miles
1) historical details / event: When I bought the car (August, 2012) I noticed the occasional sticking of the throttle and when pressing the break the car would seem to want to accelerate - this would happen once every three months: The dealer said they couldn't find anything. 2) recent event: On 07/07 while driving at 45mph the car immediately started slowing down to less then 10mph and the check-engine-light came on. After pulling over and sitting for a while the car would go up to 30mph - 40mph: Over that and it would occur again. Per the dealer - drove it to them. On the way - this slow down occurred multiple times between 30-40mph, once while slowing / breaking - the car immediately accelerated (RPM over 2500) and I almost had a major accident. Dealer diagnosed it as a known issue related to tsb: 13 fl 002 (throttle body bore carbon fouling / P2106/P2110 limphome mode / P0638 throttle actuator control range and that the break issue was due to excessive break booster air causing the throttle assembly to lock open. Dealer claimed issue was known but not seen often and never repeated. Had car all day to fix (finished: 07/08). Asked dealer about other tsbs in the database and was told none of them applied or were applicable. 3) recent event: On 07/08 after leaving the dealer, got 9 miles of driving when it occurred again after making a 25mph right turn and accelerating to 40mph [almost was read-ended by a truck]. dealer now closed for the evening. Will be contacting dealer first thing on 07/09 and demanding fix and/or replacement - as this is now multiple times with the dealer denying the severity of this.

- Skokie, IL, USA

problem #24

Mar 232012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
The engine stalled while driving. I was driving at a low speed and making a right-hand turn, and the engine shut off. The check engine light illuminated. I lost power steering and wound up on the opposite side of the road; fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic or it could have been an even more dangerous situation. I was able to restart the car and continue driving. The dealership did not see a diagnostic code recorded. They were also not able to recreate the problem. No repairs were made. This incident happened again at approximately 9,000 miles, and most recently at 24,184 miles. In all cases the scenario is similar: Driving at a low speed, either turning or on a curvy road. The vehicle has restarted without incident, but the complete loss of power steering and braking makes this an incredibly dangerous defect. The dealership was unable to find a diagnostic code for the most recent incident.

- South Orange, NJ, USA

problem #23

Jun 032013

Santa Fe

  • 31,000 miles
Thankfully I was not on the highway... was traveling about 40mph and the check engine light came on. So I did what appears everyone else has done - pulled over shut the car off for a few minutes was able to restart the car with power to the accelerator (light was still on). Made it to work - called the dealership to bring the car in that afternoon. Of course the light goes off on my way there. The dealer runs diagnostics to tell me that the computer just needed an update... wth"?? an update causes me the ability to accelerate??"

- O'fallon, IL, USA

problem #22

May 172013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 11,098 miles
When going up a hill the engine lost power and had no throttle response, I got it off the road and parked and shut off the engine, waited a few min. And restarted the engine and drove home with out any more power loss but the check engine light was on and engine was surging, took it to the dealer on 5-21-13 for repair, left dealer and drove home, on 5-23-13 the check engine light came back on with power loss and no throttle again, shut off and restarted and had throttle response and power but engine light is on, now today 5-24-13 the same thing happened, check engine light came on and no throttle, I called dealer and now have an appointment for Tuesday due to the holiday, if this would happen in traffic there could be an accident and someone could get hurt. This will happen anytime when the check engine light is on, and the dealer states its ok to drive.

- Paxinos, PA, USA

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