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:
10 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
17,506 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 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #15

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 #14

May 222013

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 28,105 miles
Just bought this car two months ago. At random, and when making a left onto a busy street, accelerating from a stop light, there is a hesitation and a very quick shut down when accelerating. It re-engages just in time to prevent a potential crash. I talked to the Hyundai mechanic about this. They test drove it, but since the problem is random, it would make sense that they weren't able to detect it during the test drive. The problem isn't major for now but all it takes is one event to make it so. I was relieved to see other complaints of the same problem on this website.

- Sahuarita, AZ, USA

problem #13

Mar 302013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate from a brief stop. The contact had to disengage the traction control, turn off the vehicle and restart in order to resolve the failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic and the computer was reprogrammed. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no further assistance. The failure mileage was 11,000. The current mileage was 12,243....updated 06-19-13 the consumer stated the failure occurred three times. During each occurrence the vehicle would fail to accelerate, then the vehicle would shut off and the engine light turned on. Updated 06/28/2013

- Sebring , FL, USA

problem #12

Apr 152013

Santa Fe

  • 1,100 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Honda Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the vehicle decelerated rapidly without warning as the check engine warning light illuminated. The failure recurred on three different occasions. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnosis however, the dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was repaired but the problem persisted. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 1,100. The VIN was not available.

- San Antonio , TX, USA

problem #11

Jan 042013

Santa Fe

  • 6,300 miles
In stop and go traffic, I took my foot off the brake to coast towards the car in front of me. This pattern had been going on for several miles. I was not touching the accelerator and in fact, my foot was not on the brake either, and the car suddenly accelerated full throttle. I had just a couple of seconds to try to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of me. I swerved to the right, towards the shoulder, but I hit the truck in front of me. I was braking the entire time, but it was not enough to stop the sudden unintended acceleration. My left bumper hit his truck on the right hand side of his bumper. My radiator was damaged and leaked all the fluid out onto the highway. The car was not drivable because of the radiator.

- Hudson Oaks, TX, USA

problem #10

Oct 132012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
I was at a major interstate interchange, over 6 hours from home when I heard a slight noise and the check engine light came on. The car decelerated, but I was able to pull over to the side of the road. As I put the car in park, I heard the engine suddenly revving, as if I were pressing on the accelerator. Car was towed to the closest Hyundai dealership, where it sat for a week, waiting for repairs because (I was told) the part could not be located anywhere in the U.S. on Monday morning, I called the service department to inquire about my car and I was told it would be fixed by Tuesday afternoon at the latest. On Tuesday, I called to check on the status of my car and was told that they expected the part to be in on the next truck. This scenario was repeated twice more. At the end of the 3rd day, I was told that the part could not be located and that my car would not be repaired.the warranty covers up to 3 days of trip interruption service, so I asked what I was supposed to do to get home for work and how to get back to my car. Hyundai Consumer Affairs told me my situation was a unique case and they set up another case # and told me to keep the rental and file the remainder of the cost to the second case after the trip interruption case was settled. I drove the rental car home and back to the service department again the next Saturday, when my car was finally repaired. I was out over $600, had a botched vacation, lost my trust in the safety of my vehicle and, as the icing on the cake, Hyundai has refused to reimburse me for the second claim. It scares me to know, now, that the throttle position sensor has been a problem since the 2007 model of the Santa Fe, causing unintended acceleration and sudden deceleration, putting innocent people at risk. It also scares me that this company conducts themselves in such a deceptive manner when dealing with vulnerable people.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #9

Nov 152012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 13,366 miles


While driving my 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe (mileage approx. 13366) on the highway in fairly heavy traffic at around 70 mph and applying pressure to the accelerator, suddenly the vehicle failed to accelerate. I heard a little "blip" noise and felt a very slight jerk, kind of like a sudden gear change or something like that, then the car suddenly started decelerating. I barely missed getting rear-ended by another vehicle and managed to coast across two lanes of traffic to the shoulder of the road without getting hit. I stopped the car and turned it off and called the Hyundai dealership and asked them what I should do. I told them the engine malfunction light was on. They indicated that they had never heard of a vehicle doing this before. They said if the malfunction light wasn't blinking, the car was safe to drive and to bring it in at my earliest convenience. On the way home, the deceleration issue happened approximately 3 or 4 more times.this is an incredibly dangerous issue with the vehicle. Took it to a local dealership and the paperwork said they found issue via tsb. They did an ECM upgrade. Vehicle worked just fine for a month and a half and then the exact same problem occurred again. This time I was able to make it home, fortunately without getting into a major accident. Had to stop and start the car about 3 times to get home. Called roadside assistance and had it towed to a different dealership to see if they can find the real problem this time. At this point, I'm not sure if I will ever feel safe driving this vehicle again. How will I know if the issue has really been fixed? this is a very serious, dangerous problem that could potentially lead to a tragic accident. It's hard to believe that there hasn't been a recall issued to fix this problem.

- Anderson, MO, USA

problem #8

Dec 272011

Santa Fe

  • 5,500 miles
While driving on an overpass and turning to the left, I had just applied the brakes and was applying the gas as I had to get onto the interstate. I noticed the car decelerated, I had no braking power and it was very difficult to steer the car so I coasted to the side of the road. I almost got rear ended by several cars behind me. All the lights were on the car but it seemed dead. I turned the key off and put the car in park. While talking to my husband, I turned the car on and it started and off I drove off with no further problems. What's worse is that day I had my two little girls and my mother in the car. I had to continue to driving since we were on our way to an important doctors appointment. I can't imagine if I were on the interstate at 70 miles an hour. When I called to make an appointment with Hyundai service they acted like it has never happened before.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #7

Jan 102012

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while attempting to drive with both the accelerator and break pedal engaged the vehicle lunge forward. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the vehicle was operating up to standards. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 4,000 and the current mileage was 14,000. Updated 12/20/12

- Cookeville , TN, USA

problem #6

Sep 282012

Santa Fe

  • 6,210 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while waiting at a traffic light, the vehicle accelerated independently causing the vehicle to crash into another vehicle. The vehicle was not destroyed and there were not injuries. A police report was filed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who that there was static electricity built up causingthe failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who advised to take the vehicle back to the dealer. The failure mileage was 6,210.

- North Port, FL, USA

problem #5

Sep 142012

Santa Fe

  • 5,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving approximately 3 mph and making a right turn into a parking spot the vehicle lunged forward and suddenly accelerated independently. The vehicle crashed into a bush and went through a fence. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and a complaint was filed. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 5,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #4

Sep 142012

Santa Fe

  • 5,500 miles
My Santa Fe Hyundai 2012 accelerated unintentionally when I was turning into a parking spot. I was making a right turn into the parking spot when it lurched full throttle over two bushes and knocked down a black iron fence and I pressed on the brakes and I was on the side walk. I could have hit a pedestrian! it was very frightening.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #3

Jul 252012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 3,323 miles
I pulled into a parking lot, in front of a bakery, and stopped to allow a car to leave a parking spot. I then proceeded to pull into the vacant parking spot and when I applied the brakes, the vehicle sounded like it was actually gunning into a higher gear, and as I was pushing harder down on the brake with my right foot the vehicle jumped the sidewalk in front of the bakery. I proceeded to apply both my feet to the brakes in hopes that the vehicle would stop, and it did. Thankfully no one was injured and the vehicle stopped before entering the bakery window. I called the dealership and arranged for them to tow it to their mechanics department.

- Elma, NY, USA

problem #2

Mar 052012

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 250 miles
While changing lanes, there was a sudden lack of response while I was pressing on the accelerator. This only lasted a millisecond but was enough that I started to press down to complete the change when throttle response returned. I have had this happen about a dozen times in the 3 months since purchasing this auto.

- Surprise, AZ, USA

problem #1

Oct 252010

Santa Fe 4-cyl

  • 1,320 miles
Driver was pulling into a parking space when Santa Fe suddenly surged or lunged forward and to the right causing car to jump over a concrete bumper and into another car parked at a 90-degree angle. After the accident investigation was cleared driver proceeded to the local dealership. Enroute the Santa Fe would not shift out of low gear. Dealer claimed the events could not be duplicated.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

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