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:
No data
Average Mileage:
39,300 miles
Total Complaints:
25 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (23 reports)
  2. replace engine (1 reports)
  3. throttle body replacement (1 reports)
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #25

Aug 032021

Santa Fe 2.4L Fi Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


I was going with my seven year old son and all of sudden car stopped in the middle of the road. There was no accident but I'm not sure what is the issue.

A horrible experience.

Update from Mar 2, 2022: I faced the issue last Year August 2021 and then changed the battery immediately just to be on safer side. In November 2 recalls were fixed by Hyundai.

Again I face the same issue yesterday, its big headache all of sudden why it is giving trouble. I am up to date with maintenance and car is used in regular condition.

- Sunil K., Glendale, CA, US

problem #24

Mar 192019

Santa Fe RAS V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

This is similar to hundreds of other complaints I have seen on the internet about this car. Kind of dangerous and don't understand why there is not a fix for it.

- John L., Norwalk, US

problem #23

May 282018

Santa Fe GLS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

I was driving on an Oklahoma Turnpike with my two children, ages 16 and 13. I was going about 65mph when the engine died and steering locked up. It left my car facing left into the center median. By the Grace of God only, did we not endure death or life changing injuries. Traffic had to swerve and stop to avoid us. Thankful for OHP officer Rohr, for traveling not far behind. With him and others they were able to push us off the turnpike.

This car has been checked regularly, with oil changes, and engine look overs. How did this happen? It has to be something faulty on Hyundai. I travel back and forth across country for treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Now, I no longer have transportation or the means to fix a faulty engine estimated at $8500 to replace.

- kelim, Tulsa, US

problem #22

Jan 282018

Santa Fe Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles


I have had this problem ever since I had this 2012 Santa Fe 2.4 engine, it hesitate while coming out of turns or just when riding and when I accelerate it seems like it want to cut off. And it also does it at high rate of speed between 60-80. On January 28,2018 it did it really bad on the Highway. When this first happened and many other times, it has happened I took it in to the dealer and they told me every time that they could not find anything wrong. Because it did not have any lights on so there was no codes in the system. They would drive it and it would not repeat. I took it in on 1/31/2018 for a oil change and mentioned it to the service manger and he told me that this is the first time he has heard of this. I told him that I know other people has complained about this same problem because I was there when someone else was complaining about the same thing. I have always had this problem but no lights come on and stay on, so I continue to drive it, some times it want do it for months. Then some times it happens for a few days. I guess nothing will happen until many people are hurt or die. The worst thing is that I love my Santa Fe but when its time for me to get another vehicle I don't think I will get another Hyundai. They will never admit that this is a world wide problem and make a recall and make repairs to say they fixed it.

- Daniel E., Hammond, US

problem #21

Nov 012016

Santa Fe 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,770 miles

Many web pages dedicated to Sante Fe stalling issues. Millenium Hyundai service manager never heard of it. May be a class action suit!!!

- Anthony D., Floral Park, US

problem #20

May 282017

Santa Fe Limited 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles

Yesterday we were turning onto Hwy 101 (Lombard Street) in San Francisco. We were making a right hand turn onto 101 from Steiner Street. The power steering went out, the engine shut down and I lost the brakes. I had to shove the car into Park to restart the engine. Yesterday the traffic on Lombard was very busy on the holiday weekend. Instead of proceeding to our planned destination we drove home as we are now afraid to drive the car. We will call Hyundai tomorrow for servicing. This was a horrific experience. We no longer feel safe driving this car which otherwise we love.

- Eilert N M., San Francisco, US

problem #19

Feb 062017

Santa Fe 4 cyls

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,164 miles


Bought the Santa Fe from a dealer in Miami with appx 49000 miles on the clock. The car drove like a dream, good on gas. Just what i was looking for. The sales man assures me it has another 50000 miles left on the drive train, so I have nothing to worry about..Oil change every 6500 miles with full synthetic oil. On February 6 2017 my wife drove the car to work. At about 3:15pm I got a panic call from my wife. The car has stopped " stalled " on the road. Will not start, keys stuck in the ignition switch.

So I had the car towed to the Hyundai dealer and the bad news is it needs a new engine. How the hell can that be that it needs a new engine. How come the Hyundai dealer didn't tell me about a engine recall when I took it in for service. Does any one knows if the newly installed engines will have the same issues or was there a fix? Hyundai you suck!!!

- Patrick S., FT Lauderdale, FL, US

problem #18

Aug 122016

Santa Fe V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Our Santa Fe starting stalling out while driving out of the blue. It's happened at least 10 times and seems to occur the most when coming to a stop. It's extremely dangerous to have this happen while driving and thankfully didn't cause any accidents. It started making a loud noise, we took it to our mechanic and now the engine is completely seized and needs to be replaced. I would never recommend this vehicle.

- Brittany D., Rochester, NY, US

problem #17

Aug 202015

Santa Fe GLS 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,311 miles

Through local bank NCB, I leased my brand new Hyundai Santa Fe SUV on installment basis from Hyundai Al-Majdouie showroom in Al-Khobar KSA around October of 2012.

After a couple of months (December 2012), I did experience the first engine stalling while decelerating towards a red traffic signal on my way to office (ZERO RPM, ZERO SPEED indications). I placed my SUV stick in PARK, re-started the engine and shifted to DRIVE and off I went.

It did not happen again from that time on until middle of last year, so I simply ignored and did not report the incident to the car dealer.

Around July of 2014, my family and I were in Qatar for holidays. The engine stalling incident re-occurred one time during decelerating towards a red traffic light. I placed my SUV stick in PARK, re-started the engine and shifted to DRIVE and off we proceeded with our trip.

The latest engine stalling incident (third on my experience with my SUV) happened just last Thursday at around 4PM (20th August 2015) when I was approaching and decelerating towards a red traffic light on my way back to the office. The car did re-started after I placed my SUV stick in PARK, re-started the engine and shifted to DRIVE.

This time, however, I am considering to lodge a formal complaint. It seems that I am not the only one suffering from this engine stalling issue which, although intermittent, makes my car unreliable and unsafe on the road, especially that I am driving with my family around the Kingdom on a daily basis, to/from Bahrain on a weekly basis and at times to Qatar on annual basis, for the last 15 years (this 2012 Santa Fe is my third car).

- Jojo S., Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

problem #16

Feb 182015

Santa Fe 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I have a 2012 Santa Fe that stalls on the freeway at speeds of 60-80mph. This has happened at least every couple of weeks since I bought this POS car back in March 2013. I've taken it in numerous times. Of course, they cannot replicate the error.

Reading through other complaints, it looks like I'm not alone. In my case, it usually occurs when I'm merging onto the freeway at a high speed. All of a sudden, I'm not longer able to accelerate despite having my foot on the accelerator, my RPMs drop to ZERO and I decelerate rapidly. If I am able to safely pull over, I'm able to turn off and restart the engine and move along. The other day, this happened to me and as soon as I accelerated (after pulling off to restart my car once!), it happened AGAIN!

This prompted my 4th or 5th visit to my dealer and I will not take this car home until they fix it. I actually have video of me driving on the freeway with NO RPMs and while keeping my foot pressed all the way down on the accelerator, got the car back up to 70 with ZERO RPMs. How the hell does that happen? Dealer thinks I'm nuts. I've contacted Hyundai now and received a case number, but haven't had anyone in their safety department call me back yet. Holding out hope.....

- Jody B., Gilbert, AZ, US

problem #15

Oct 162014

Santa Fe Limitd V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,926 miles


I was driving down the street when my car just died. I noticed it was hard to turn the wheel and had no clue because no lights or indicators came on to alert me to the issue. Thankfully no one was directly behind me so I could stop the car and put it in park. It started back up and within a few weeks, the car is just dead now.

I read several other complaints and it sounds like an ongoing issue and one that could be extremely dangerous.

- Catherine C., Morrisville, NC, US

problem #14

Sep 122012

Santa Fe Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles

I really liked this car until it started to stall while driving. It happened 4 times and the dealer could not get it fixed.This created a very unsafe situation and I just wanted out. I would never sell the car privateer as it would have been unethical to do so. Hyundai headquarters was dreadful to deal with and would not take responsibility for making a defective car. Don't buy this car.

- pgentile, Stamford, CT, US

problem #13

May 242013

Santa Fe Limited 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

This car is a lemon. It suddenly loses power at any speed between 40-80 miles per hour. Dealer has replaced the throttle body three times, supposedly they claim its a "software" update that's needed. It is a gas hog, worse than my v-8 Chevy Tahoe. It is totally unreliable.

- Oscar M., PLantation, FL, US

problem #12

May 252014

Santa Fe V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,125 miles

Today was the second time that my engine stopped while I was driving. Last happened 7 months ago. Fortunately I was only driving both times around 25 miles and hour and was able to pull over. Put car in park and it started again.

Having read that this seems to be a chronic problem with this car, but doesn't seem like anyone has been able to find out what the fix is.

- v.l.h., Edgartown, MA, US

problem #11

Jul 102014

Santa Fe Sport

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,447 miles

While driving at a normal speed the engine just died. Imagine having cars behind you while this happens! When we called the dealer to report this issue and book a service appointment, the service agent asked if we drove a Santa Fe! Obviously they know of the problem. Will see tomorrow morning what happens.

Stay tuned...

- boudread, Moncton, NB, canada

problem #10

Jul 102014

Santa Fe Sport

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,447 miles

While driving at a normal speed the engine just died. Imagine having cars behind you while this happens! When we called the dealer to report this issue and book a service appointment, the service agent asked if we drove a Santa Fe! Obviously they know of the problem. Will see tomorrow morning what happens.

Stay tuned...

Update from Jul 15, 2014: Was told that 3 updates were needed to the engine control module (ECM). Will see if this helps...

- boudread, Moncton, NB, canada

problem #9

May 212014

Santa Fe SE 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,455 miles

Car stalled while going downhill and making a slow left hand turn. Been to the dealer twice with this issue but nothing shows up on their codes. Throttle body was replaced on the car before we bought it so that doesn't appear to be a solution in our case.

- John S., Lawrence, KS, US

problem #8

Nov 272013

Santa Fe Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,450 miles

As I am driving my car the engine suddenly stops without warning. There is no indication that anything is wrong, no sudden sounds or vibration, and no warning lights on the dashboard. This problem has occurred 3 times within six weeks. The first time I didn't give the problem much thought, the second time it happened I brought my car in for service. The service technician ran a full diagnostic check on the car but could not determine the problem. I was advised to call them the next time that the problem reoccurred and give them exact details of the incident. If possible they wanted me to leave the car in gear so that they could gather more data.

On 11/18/13 the engine dies again (but restarts easily) back to the dealer, more tests, and still no answers. I am very disgusted and do not feel safe driving in my car much less putting anyone else at risk. Has anyone had a similar problem that has been resolved???

- Allison M., Glen Rock, NJ, US

problem #7

Oct 022013

Santa Fe GLS AWD V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,750 miles

Car will stall occasionally. Engine does not die, but you try to accelerate and nothing happens. Happens once every 3-4 weeks. Engine light does not come on. Engine rpm does not increase. Release accelerator and push again, car will then go. NEVER pull out in front of someone as you never know when this will occur. Is very dangerous issue. Under warranty, but useless. Dealer says can not replicate (that's a shock-it only happens once every few weeks) and computer shows nothing so they won't do anything.

- kadaldk, Chandler, AZ, US

problem #6

Apr 152013

Santa Fe LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

The car has simply died in the middle of the road, 2 times. 1st time (26k miles) on a 2 lane highway with a lot of traffic going about 40mph coasting on a slight downhill. Fortunately, I was able to pull to the side without incident, despite loss of steering and power brakes. Second time, (51k miles) slowing down to turn into my driveway. stalled during my turn, losing the steering I missed hitting my mailbox by inches.

Both times I took into Hyundai service & they could not replicate the problem. The 1st time, they replaced wires that were connected to battery? I don't know why, it is not a starting problem. Any suggestions?

- Cathy P., Fremont, CA, US

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