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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
82,931 miles
Total Complaints:
15 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (12 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
  3. rebuild engine (1 reports)
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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments

problem #15

Nov 172017

Santa Fe 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,160 miles


The engine in my 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe failed - it is the 2.4L engine that has failed in millions of Hyundai cars, all different models and years. There have also been Kia recalls for this engine. My year/model has not YET been recalled although Hyundai is being investigated by the NHTSA for failing to acknowledge this deadly problem. They absolutely refuse (3 times) to own up to this issue and replace the engine.

Their ridiculous reasons are:

1. Out of Warranty - this makes absolutely no sense. The engine is defective, it does not matter how long it took to have a failure because of their known manufacturing problem. If this was a part that wore out after the warranty ended I could see how it they would be able to deny a repair. But this is their manufacturing screw up and they must be held accountable.

2. I purchased the car from a Honda dealer -Also a completely ridiculous excuse. It doesn't matter where or when I purchased the car - they sold deadly engines. These engines seize and can make your car stop at any time - on the freeway going 70 - any time. The service adviser told me I should not even drive it next door because the engine may seize and a rod could be ejected out of the car injuring someone. How are they allowing any of these on the road right now??

3. Not on the recall list - Again that is their issue not mine. They are avoiding replacing all the engines that should be replaced. That is a company with no integrity, moral compass or ethics, and that includes every single person who works for them and denies requests to fix their problems: the corporate customer service, the engineers who deny the request, the dealerships that say there is nothing they can do, the repair people who allow cars with this problem to leave their shop.. Guaranteed none of their family members are driving Hyundai's with 2.4L engines. It's just that old risk assessment thing - they can handle a certain number of deaths and injuries and lawsuits - compared to doing the right thing and incurring the costs associated with making a safe vehicle.

I am planning to join a class action lawsuit or sue on my own, or do whatever it takes to get Hyundai to step up. I am not going away, and I am in contact with many others who have this same issue of Hyundai refusing to replace their deadly engines.We are joining forces to make Hyundai accountable.

- , Sonoma, CA, United States

problem #14

Nov 172017

Santa Fe

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Car likely has bad bearings with a horrible knocking sound. Hyundai dealer recommends replacing the engine. No way is this a problem of maintenance and driving. I see others have had this problem. What can we do to have Hyundai provide a new engine?

- , Sonoma, US

problem #13

Jul 172017

Santa Fe GLS 2.4L I4 175hp 169ft. Lbs

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,432 miles

Same problem and I am being treated the same. I was informed by Hyundai of Cary, NC that my vehicle was not covered in the same aspects as they told you, your vehicle was not covered. I opted to have the engine replaced at $4400.00 last week but yesterday (08/14/2017), I told them I need a loaner and Matt told me he would contact Transportation Services and get back with me. I was called this morning and told that the engine they had obtained did not meet the specifications to be installed in my vehicle and he felt that they would not be able to obtain a low mileage engine to be installed in the car but the cost would go up to $7000.00. I asked him about the other 4 Sante Fe vehicles, he had informed me that was there for engine failure, also, .....he informed be that they had warranties or extended warranties. He told me they could rebuild the engine, put a high mileage used engine in it but it would not be guaranteed...and the last come pick it up. "Maybe I should not had asked for the loaner!!!!!" I am the second owner of the vehicle but a recall on that engine is a recall on the engine and not the car whether the engine is in a Sonata or Sante Fe. I know I am on my own now to find a engine, a shop to do the work and pay for alternate transportation if I am successful. Just want you to know, Michael, that it has happened to me with the same speech given to me.. "They must be practicing that speech to say to customers in the staff meetings." The above was my response to a member on site but continuing on>>>>I found an engine and now the service rep: Matt cannot give me a price to install it and he is saying it might not fit. WTF, back to American-made cars. Never have I encountered such with any of my vehicles in my life. ARGGGGGH

Update from Aug 19, 2017: UPDATE: On July 17, 2017, AAA Car Care rep. informed me that the problem seemed to be in the engine and sounded like a piston and Hyundai had recalled the engine in that was in my car. He told me he could locate an engine for the car but I could get Hyundai advice. The Hyundai dealership located in Fayetteville, NC was directly across the street from the AAA Car Care Center; so I went over there. They informed me of the same information but for a recalled engine it had to be sent to a Hyundai dealership. I live closer to Cary, NC, so I had my car towed by AAA to Johnson Hyundai on the next day after contacting the Johnson Hyundai dealership. My service consultant was Matthew (Matt) Browning. Matt informed me via phone that my car was #5 on the list for engine failure and they would be getting to it as soon as possible. Matt informed me that the process involved them removing the engines and sending them back to the place that the engines was made and that their had been problems with metal left when the pistons? shaft was made. On their site it was scheduled for service on the 08/09//2017. I went to Johnson Hyundai on 08/09/2017 and Matt informed me again that I was #5. August 11, 2017, Matt called me and informed me that my car was not warranted and did not meet the recall requirements because it had thrown a rod and had nothing to do with the piston which by my knowledge could be the same. He told me he had an engine for the car but it would cost me $4400.00 for them to repair my car and I gave him the OKAY. On August 14, 2017; I called and asked him could I get a loaner and he told me he will send the request to Transportation Services and get back with me. On August 15, Matt called me and informed me that the engine did not work out and the cost would be $7000 to $8000 because their only choice would be to rebuild my engine. I told him to let me find my own engine and I would get back with him. I found an engine online at and called Matt to let him know about it. Matt wanted the VIN number; even though, SWEngines has a 5 year/50,000 mile warranty. I asked Matt; also; how much would it cost me for them to install an engine that I purchases myself and he could not give me a price. He told me he had to physically see the engine, first. I felt Matt was giving me the runaround and found another company to install the engine. On Thursday, I went to Johnson Hyundai of Cary to get my vehicle towed to the other company which the tow was not covered so I had to pay $300. Matt told me that rebuilding my engine in comparison to replacing it would be the better option and would be better for me. Matt; also, informed me that the other 4 vehicles with engine failure had warranties or extended warranties. The tower had to go to another lot to retrieve my vehicle and I noticed that they had not did anything to it and makes me believe they drove it with the noise rattling in the engine to the other lot.

Update from Sep 14, 2017: Their slogans: Hope makes every Hyundai better, A thoughtful kid of car company, doing good things, together. Well, I was hoping that it was better but it has turned into a horror story for me since July 2017. I have been praying and being hopeful that I could get my Sante Fe's 2.4L engine replaced because of engine failure especially with Hyundai’s Assurance’s pledge to exceptional customer service and owner satisfaction. Hyundai’s vehicles advertises that they have America’s best warranty. Hyundai made a promise to humanity for the creation of a prosperous future and by them not standing behind my Sante Fe which is their product is not very prosperous to me and I am part of humanity. I; even, contacted Hyun Jeong-Eun; Hyundai CEO and Chairwoman of Hyundai Group. She forwarded me to Hyundai Motor America.

My horrible ordeal began on July 18, 2017 on my way to my appointment at the Fayetteville Veterans Hospital While driving I started hearing a rattling sound that got louder when I pressed the gas pedal. I parked my car as soon as possible which was at the WalMart parking lot and called AAA. The AAA technician made me aware that there was a recall on the engine that was in my vehicle but it had to be checked by a Hyundai technician. The AAA technician; also, offered their services to replace and install the engine but the best warranty was only for 12 months. I decided to have the vehicle towed from AAA of Fayetteville to Johnson Hyundai of Cary, NC which was closer to my residence. There was a Hyundai dealer across the street from AAA, though. It sat in Johnson Hyundai dealer lot for almost month because as M. Browning informed me: I was fifth on the list for engine failure. About August 9, 2017, M. Browning called to inform me I was the second owner and the 10 year warranty did not transfer to second owners and the recall was for the Sonato not the Sante Fe, and he could replace the engine for $4000.00 I told him to go ahead and replace the engine. My vehicle just turned 5 years old and the year is not over yet. I called Johnson Hyundai that I needed courtesy transportation about August 11, 2017transportation to make it to my medical appointments. M. Browning called me about August 16, 2017 and told me that the engine he had for $4000 was not available and they could rebuild the engine for $8000. I told M. Browning I could not afford that and I would have to take my vehicle somewhere else I called AAA Car Care Center and was quoted a engine installation charge of $1500.00. AAA said my towing was not covered for that type of event so I had to pay AAA $300 to tow it back to AAA Fayetteville on August 21, 2017. I found an engine on the site and had it shipped to AAA Car Care Center in Fayetteville, NC. It took about two weeks for AAA CCC to receive the engine. AAA Car Car Center called me on September 14, 2017 and informed me the engine was installed but the engine’s internal oil pump will not hold pressure. ("Hyundai hoping to be better.") (I am having an emotional breakdown.} Back and forth, back and forth calling AAA CCC and SWEngines. SWEngines informed me they are sending another engine, finally, hope that one is good Hopefully. AAA cost was $1500 and; now, AAA cost has gone to $1921 and might have to pay storage fees waiting on another engine to come in. ……………………and the horrible ordeal continues because Hyundai “hope makes every Hyundai better”. I will be talking to God about this on a continuous basis.

Wouldn't it be great if "hope made every Hyundai better" because I would not be having these problems. Wouldn't it be better if Hyundai just made their cars better "mechanically, functionally, and reliability". Could they just stand behind their products? My 2012 Sante Fe has the same problem as the engines as the Sonato that was recalled and they will not replaced it free. Why, you ask? Hyundai is "hoping" that you will not know about their unreliable 2.4L is the same engine. They are putting the bad engines in other cars because they do recalls on the car not the parts it is made of. The trick around the recall.

- , Angier, US

problem #12

May 272017

Santa Fe Limited 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles


My wife and I purchased a previously owned 2012 Hyundai Santa fe with 54k miles on it. According to the Carfax the vehicle had been taken care of and well maintained for the most part by Hyundai Dealerships. On the 2-week mark of owning this piece of crap the engine blew. While on the Interstate and with NO warning whatsoever the engine started making a loud banging noise then shut down leaving us stranded on the side of the highway.

The car was towed to my local Hyundai Dealership for diagnosis. They determined the engine was destroyed and metal fragments were found in the oil pan. The Service Manager then informed me that the 10-year 100k mile powertrain warranty that Hyundai is known for is only valid for the original owner of the vehicle. And the subsequent owner warranty is only given a 5-year 60k mile warranty. So my miles were within warranty, but conveniently for Hyundai the 5 year mark was over 4 months before I took ownership of the vehicle. So, after one month of owning this oversized piece of crap Hyundai, and two weeks since the engine blew up I am in a battle with Hyundai to stand behind their piece of crap Santa fe.

Now here's the kicker: After much frustration going back and forth with Hyundai Customer Care (a joke all in itself) and my local Service Manager I decided to do some research to see if anyone else has had a similar issue. LOW AND BEHOLD, on the very day my engine blew Hyundai was forced to issue a recall on over a HALF MILLION Hyundai Santa fe and Sonata vehicles for possible engine failure due to a faulty engine manufacturing process that leaves metal fragments in the engine that will cause the engine to prematurely wear out. And of course, conveniently Hyundai says my engine is not part of that recall so they are doing NOTHING for me. any IDIOT can see that this is related.

Engines today that are well maintained do NOT blow at 54k miles. The service manager as well as Hyundai need to stand behind their vehicle and make this right. DO NOT BUY HYUNDAI FOR YOUR OWN PIECE OF MIND!

- , Coraopolis, PA, US

problem #11

May 032017

Santa Fe

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,888 miles

This is like the 5th or 6th time this has occurred. I come out, and my engine is dead. The alarm and horn won't work, and my stations have all been erased. The engine won't start initially. Most of the time, I can coax it to turn on. The engine sounds like it is going to die when I slow down to turn though. I've had it towed to the dealership once when it refused to start after a half hour. They acted surprised when I said there were engine/electrical issues with my car. I barely drive. I work 5 miles from my home and average less than 3000 miles per year. My last car lasted me 14 years. This is unacceptable!

- , Los Angeles, CA, US

problem #10

Apr 062017

Santa Fe Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

While driving I heard a really loud knocking noise suddenly and then my engine just shut off. After having the vehicle towed to Hyundai, I was told that I needed an engine replacement. I am 15,000 miles out of warranty, but because of the recalls for the SAME engines in other cars, they tried to work with me. (just an aside, Hyundai extended the factory warranties to 120,000 miles in the Sonatas because of the issues, but not the Santa Fes). However, their deal was to split the cost of the replacement 50/50 with me and told me that it would cost $9000 (totaling $4500 out of my pocket). After looking at pictures that were taken of the top end, which is extremely clean with no sludge build up or debris (yes, I get regular oil changes because I drive so much), I fail to see how it is possible for the lower end to have malfunctioned and be full of metal debris. Clearly this is a manufacturing issue that is the same as in the Sonatas. This is extremely dangerous. I am lucky I was able to pull to the side of the road without consequence. Hyundai needs to add ALL theta II 2.0 and 2.4 L engines to their recall list.

- , Houston, US

problem #9

Jan 282017

Santa Fe

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles


Engine failure on a vehicle with less than 70k miles :(

- , San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #8

Apr 042016

Santa Fe G 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,800 miles

In April 2016, car died while I was driving on the freeway in a construction zone. After towing to an auto shop, diagnosis couldn't be found. Tried to get another diagnosis a few weeks later - failure could not be duplicated. Thereafter, engine started knocking loudly, still no diagnosis in ensuing months. Finally took it to Borman Hyundai in Las Cruces after calling to complain to Hyundai Customer Service. After 2 long trips to the shop in Las Cruces, they diagnosed metal shavings in the engine, and engine failure. Engine failed completely in December 2016, and car is not drivable. Hyundai will not replace engine (I am second owner, and out of warranty). I contend that this engine failure is identical or nearly identical to the problem for the Sonata built around the same time with the same engine - and Hyundai issued a recall for 470,000 of them. This type of engine failure is a hazard to both drivers and passengers and could result in serious injury or death. And Hyundai needs to replace this faulty engine whether is in warranty or not. If a manufacturer is willing to warrant an engine for 100,000 and ten years, the engine should not fail.

- , Silver City, NM, USA

problem #7

Oct 152016

Santa Fe Limited 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

tried to start it to go to lunch starter just clicked. took keys out and tried again started right up went to lunch it stared on way back pulled into work shut off engine lights go out tach drops to 0 still hear loud grinding noise try to restart nothing no clicks no starter engagement get out open hood sound coming from under engine. run into work to get wrench to disconnect battery took maybe a minute. got back to car noise stopped now smoke coming from engine compartment. got battery un hooked smoke stops got underneath it could not touch starter to hot, got it towed dealer called this afternoon said its not the starter the engine is seized and will need new engine anyone else had this happen???

- , Cuincinnati, OH, USA

problem #6

Sep 192016

Santa Fe 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,287 miles

On Monday, Sept 19, 2016, while driving on the highway, my 2012 Hyundai, Santa Fe's engine suddenly made a loud noise and then stopped. No warning lights, just a very loud noise and then nothing. I had it towed to the Hyundai dealer who had been servicing my car and was told that since I bought the car used and I didn't buy it from them, I would have to pay to have the engine replaced.The dealership said a new engine would cost 5500 but Hyundai Corporate would take off 2300, and the dealership would take off 300 leaving me with about 3200 to pay. I explored the internet and found that Hyundai recalled the Sonata engines because of engine failures. And then I found that my Santa Fe has the same engine as all of the Sonatas, so why not recall them, too? I am 65 yrs old, retired and not working and I thought this would be the last car I would own in my life. I do not have the money to replace this engine and I am in debt with my husband's nursing home costs.He passed in 2014 but his bills are still with me.I received a very nasty phone call from a woman who did not identify herself, just asked me if I was Evelyn and when I answered yes, she started yelling that I was not going to get an engine. I was stunned at her tone and when I tried to speak she interrupted constantly and just kept yelling you are not getting a new engine! I ended the call by telling her this call was going no where and I said good-bye. I want to know what happened to Hyundai's America's Best Warranty? I was told that this warranty went to the 1st owner? What? Why doesn't it follow the car? I am told that the connecting rod bearing failed in my engine and that may have destroyed the crankshaft and/or other parts. I had nothing to do with this destruction of my engine. I maintained this car according to the manufacture's suggestions and I am disgusted that Hyundai is not helping me more with this problem. At the present time I do not have any car to get anywhere because of this issue! If you have any ideas for me I would appreciate them. Thank you !

- , Tunkhannock, PA, USA

problem #5

May 182016

Santa Fe 4D SUV AWD 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


We feel that we had a car dumped on us with failure related to the engine for this model, as well as class action suit filed for this model and two prior year models. We were told that there were no records on this car. The dealer we purchased the car from was the same owner of the Hyundai dealer across the street.

We are seniors in our 80's, had paid cash for the car, couldn't wait to see if parts could be found to rebuild the engine. We had to bite the bullet and purchase another used car.

Update from Jun 1, 2016: A correction on the cost to rebuilt a engine is estimated at $13,000, not the lesser amount previously stated.

Also, I am angry that any car with complaints every year for the same problems is allowed to continue selling their defective product in the United States...or anywhere.

U.S. trade contracts need to cut irresponsible companies from doing business in the U.S. Or just not enter trade agreements that cheat the American consumers.

- , Fallon, NV, USA

problem #4

Apr 152016

Santa Fe GLS 2.4L 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

Vehicle was well maintained, serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. Total catastrophic failure occurred without warning. Tachometer, Oil pressure gauge and temperature all indicated normal conditions. Mechanic indicated that the piston shattered and blew through the bottom of the engine.

Update from Apr 17, 2016: Vehicle was traveling at highway speed up a fairly steep hill foe an interstate.(5% - I68 in WV)

Update from May 11, 2016: After waiting 26 days for an engine that was ordered (and paid for), I was advised that they no longer make the engine. The only option now is a salvage engine... for a 2012!! I wonder what they do for vehicles still under warranty? If you are thiking about buying a Hyundai, run, don't walk, in another direction!

- , Crescent, PA, USA

problem #3

Apr 152016

Santa Fe Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,900 miles

Driving to work on the freeway. Engine started knocking. Turned around to head for home and the knocking got louder and check engine light came on. Saw smoke in rear view mirror and took exit ramp. Major slapping noise coming from engine. Engine died on freeway over pass and I coasted into gas station. Found 2 holes in the bottom of the block with the bottom of a connecting rod hanging out of the holes. Had all of the suggested service done at the dealership at the right time. This should not have happened. See there is a recall for the Theta II engine in Sonatas but not the Santa Fe. SAME ENGINE-WHY NOT??

- , Clear Lake, MN, USA

problem #2

Jun 012015

Santa Fe 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,500 miles

The problem started when turning off a interstate onto a city street, my santa fe shut off. I braked the car to a panic stop, after a few minutes the car restarted. I drove the car home but it didn't run just right , and the engine was making a clicking sound. So the next day I took it to the dealer to have them check it out. They called me that afternoon and said no problem or engine codes were found . When I went to the dealer that afternoon I ask if they had driven my car and they said yes it ran fine. With that I left the service department to find the manager of the dealer to have him listen to my car, it was his day off. I took the car home that evening , car making even more noise, started the return trip to the dealer the next morning ,about 5 miles. I drove about 3 miles before it threw a rod. I called Hyundai's 800 # and the first thing they asked did my car shut off--I said no it blew up. My belief is the noise in the engine after in shut off was a valve and it broke and hit a piston. I still don't believe the dealer ever drove my car.

- , Richmond, KY, USA

problem #1

Mar 232015

Santa Fe

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

My car was making a banging noise which sounded like the transmission when it was switching gears. We contacted the dealership who stated, "if no lights were coming on the dashboard it couldn't be the transmission." They gave us an appointment to have it looked at a week later. 4 days later the car made the same banging noise and then multiple sounds. The motor now needs to be replaced, the service department told us there are 3 motors ahead of me and won't be in for at least 3 weeks. We won't know if there is also a transmission problem until the new motor is in. I have the gold extended warranty and they will only approve a car for 5 days. My wife will be without a car for at least a month and we will be making payments on a car we don't have!

- , Bernardston, MA, USA

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