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 1 of 4)

problem #61

Apr 182016

Santa Fe

  • 70,000 miles


The contact owned a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. While driving approximately 20 mph, the contact was alerted of flames under the vehicle as black smoke poured from the engine. The contact crashed into a pole. The air bags deployed. The contact received bruises on the face and chest and experienced trouble breathing. Medical attention was received. A police report was filed. The fire department extinguished the fire. The manufacturer was notified. The vehicle was towed and destroyed. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Shelton, CT, USA

problem #60

Apr 152016

Santa Fe

  • 128,000 miles
Well maintained engine with 128,000 miles failed catastrophically without warning at highway speed. Oil pressure, RPM and temperature gauges did not indicate a problem. Piston apparently shattered and blew through the bottom of the engine.

- Crescent, PA, USA

problem #59

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 #58

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 #57

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 #56

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 #55

Oct 162014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 15,960 miles


Driving down the street and without warning the car just died. I didn't know what was going on as no lights appeared but the steering was very difficult and I realized the car just stopped running for no reason. It was very alarming since I was in the middle of the road driving. Not stopped or turning. Luckily there were no cars behind me but had I been on a busier road or going at a higher speed, it could have been extremely dangerous and even more so for an inexperienced driver. I am very concerned about the safety of this car now.

- Morrisville, NC, USA

problem #54

Sep 212014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 24,870 miles
On two separate occasions, my 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe stalled, for no apparent reason, causing loss of steering, wheel control, and brakes. On the first occasion, I was driving through a mall parking lot. While making a left turn and attempting to drive down a row of parking spots, my car stalled and I was unable to turn the steering wheel, brake or guide the vehicle. On the second occasion, I was turning left down the street to my home. Again, without warning, the car stalled, various light eliminated on the dash, and I lost complete control of the vehicle. I had no advanced warning and the car otherwise seemed to be running normally.

- Brea, CA, USA

problem #53

Aug 122013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
First time the incident happened I was driving about 20 mph, and as I made a left turn the car died completely. No control of steering and had to brake very hard to get the car to stop. Put it in park and car started right up again. Luckily no other cars were around me. It happened again about 1 month later after making a left turn again. Took the car to the Hyundai service dealer and he replaced the throttle body and cleaned all the grounds. The car ran great for about 6 months and about 3 months ago I was driving on a freeway off ramp going about 25 mph and the car completely died again. I put the car in neutral and turned ignition on and it started right up. One more incident occurred, 2 weeks ago, while slowing to a stop sign the car died again. I even changed to a higher grade gas. But I am still having the same problem. I feel unsafe and insecure driving this vehicle. I don't think Hyundai can figure out how to solve this problem with these Santa Fe's. we will be taking the car back to the Hyundai service center again next week.

- San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #52

Sep 022012

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
We experience a feeling of loss of power and almost stalls while trying to make left or right hand turns from a complete stop. It has happened since we purchased car in 2012 but so intermediately that we would just try and explain it away (we came up with oh - we are traveling in the mountains, got bad gas, weather hot, weather cold, maybe I imagined it) but when I almost got hit in the side took it in to dealer again. They have had it 4 times for the same trouble and until the last visit could not duplicate it - dealer in June 2014 kept car many days and then I received a call from service manager who asked if I braked left footed - well yes I do as my husband does. He said they could duplicate the problem only when they left footed braked and their solution was to not do that. I asked some more questions, basically why that would make a difference since we have always done it. He said since the Toyota problems the sensors in cars are more sensitive? I told him there are over 80 complaints with the ODI for same problem in 2012 Santa Fe - he said oh that is a different problem - I read all of them - trouble sounds the same to me. We researched this car before buying - nothing in their advertisements, paperwork or on the net said left footed braking will cause your car to stall - we would not have purchased it however, I am not even positive that is the problem. I did also open a complaint with Hyundai - they denied a claim of a lemon car and said to just to stop braking left footed. The letter said they drove it 200 miles with no duplication of trouble which is not what the service manager told me - they were able to duplicate it. We now have a car I will not drive because it is dangerous and who would buy it since we would have to disclose this hesitation problem. Just rec. Letter from lawyer asking us to call him - have not yet.

- Moorpark, CA, USA

problem #51

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 #50

May 102014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was able to restart the vehicle after the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 5,000 and the current mileage was 6,520. Updated 09/02/14

- Garden City, NY, USA

problem #49

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 #48

Jun 152014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 72,917 miles
My family has a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. We started experiencing problems with the vehicle stalling while driving in 2013. The car stalled multiple times on city streets and once on the highway. When the car stalls, the driver loses power steering and brakes. It is a very dangerous situation. After the third time the car stalled we took it in for service in April of 2013 to the local Hyundai dealership. The technician ran a complete diagnostic and said he could not find anything wrong with the vehicle. We refused to take the car at that time and insisted on more testing. They did find a problem. They replaced/repaired the etc-actuator and gasket-throttle body. The car ran fine until last week when it started the same problems again. It has stalled four times in the last week. The latest stall happened today when my girlfriend was driving the car at around 30 mph. It also stalled last night when I was driving it home at about 25 mph. I was able to get to the side of the road and put the car in park. I turned the key and it started right up again. When it stalled on me, I lost power steering and power brakes. The time of the incident was 9:48pm and the mileage on the car was 72,917. It was very scary. We are taking car to Hyundai dealership today for repairs. We do not want to drive this car anymore. It is unsafe and a hazard.

- Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #47

Jun 052014

Santa Fe

  • 24,741 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while traveling 60 mph, the vehicle stalled as all indicators lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the ECM carburetor was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was repaired but the failure has recurred several times. The failure and current mileage was 24,741.

- Norton, MA, USA

problem #46

Jun 082014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 10,628 miles
Vehicle driven shopping center (approximately 15 mi.) upon leaving vehicle stalled going approximately 15 mph. Steering cut out and difficult, but was able to get to the side of the road. Was able to restart vehicle after approximately 3 minutes. Gas was purchased approximately 1 week prior and vehicle ran fine. Will take to the dealer, but based on other reports I do not expect them to find any problems.

- Manorville, NY, USA

problem #45

May 242014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 12,250 miles
This is the second incident. The first was in September 2013. Both times I was traveling at 15 mph when the car engine stalled and I lost steering power and braking power. I was able to pull over to side of road and put car in park it then restarted. Engine warning light came on both times. I call Hyundai customer service and was told to have car towed to closest dealer which is over 60 miles from me. They are not sure if I will be reimbursed for towing fees this far.

- Edgartown, MA, USA

problem #44

Dec 122012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 18,982 miles
Driving aprox 20 mph, with no warning engine shuts down, unable to steer. Second time was driving at 40 mph. This has happened three times. Dealer cannot find or reproduce problem.

- Ludlow, MA, USA

problem #43

Apr 242014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 26,400 miles
Engine light comes on. Has happened three consecutive days. Within initial 10-minutes of driving, car bucked/surged and engine light appears. Car would not accelerate in one instance. Pressing gas pedal had no effect. Could only coast to dealership maintaining whatever speed I had by having the car in drive and idling. Very unsafe to be unable to accelerate. Hyundai dealer 'fixed' problem by doing a software update. In no case would it seem plausible that the software is coded to disable the acceleration. The software update did not make the issue go away. Following day, the car bucked/surged again and the light came on. Car now left at dealership again for the third time.

- River Edge, NJ, USA

problem #42

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

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