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 1 of 2)

problem #35

Jun 262016

Santa Fe

  • 51,000 miles


Accelerating away from stop light, accelerator pedal detached from firewall. The vehicle was 15-20 ft. Into a five lane intersection. The vehicle idled through the intersection safely into a parking lot. Fortunately this happened at 0610 on 26 June 2016 when traffic was lite.

- Greenwood, IN, USA

problem #34

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 #33

Dec 262015

Santa Fe

  • 24,000 miles
I was turning into a parking lot doing about 5mph when the vehicle suddenly accelerated to a high rate of speed, took me over a cement barrier, a curb, went airborne, landed in a bush which it tore in half and took with me, across the sidewalk and spun in the middle of a busy intersection before the tire blew off the rim and I got it to stop. It was towed to the dealership where it has been for one month as Hyundai dragged their heels until I got angry and emailed them. Two days after I emailed them I got the following leaving me with the repairs as well as paying for the rental for a month. Thank you for your recent correspondence. We have thoroughly reviewed your comments and regret the circumstances you have experienced. We have reviewed the materials provided and inspected your Santa Fe. The entire acceleration system, including the pedals and throttle, the brake system, and the transmission were thoroughly reviewed and checked. We were unable to find any malfunctions or defects that would have resulted in the condition you claim caused your accident.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #32

Apr 282015

Santa Fe

  • 35,587 miles


Today April 28, 2015, my mother, daughter and I were coming home from running an errand, when we came to are house we pulled up and went in reverse to pull into the drive way like normal so we can park the car in the garage. When we pulled in we were going just 5mph. Then suddenly when my mom was pushing the brake the stop and put the car into park. The car out of no where lurched and crashed into are washer, water heater, and caused the back windshield to shatter. An we have had this car for 3 years and its always the same routine, so were very shook up on how this could happen. Even though this happened at a resident im filing this since it could happen anywhere to another car.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #31

Feb 202015

Santa Fe

  • 26,967 miles
February 20,2015 about 7:30 in the evening as I was going up a grade towards a red light, my car surged forward when I was braking. I applied more pressure but the car did not stop until I threw it into park and had hit the car in front of me. I called 911 to report the accident. The car in front had some gate crack. My car had cracked plastic under the bumper and marks on the plastic part of the bumper.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #30

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 #29

May 012013

Santa Fe

  • miles


Submission from congressman thompson on behalf of constituent re 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe defects. The consumer stated on two separate occasions, the vehicle behaved as if, it were in neutral, although the gear shift was in drive and the check engine light illuminated. The consumer was able to find a dealer, where they applied an approved update to the computer board. The vehicle performed as designed for the next 500 miles. The consumer experienced four similar failures, while driving on the parkway. The consumer went to another dealer, and they replaced the throttle. The consumer has since driven 1,000 miles, with no problem.

- Union City, PA, USA

problem #28

Apr 292014

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated while driving approximately 45 mph, the engine stalled with the illumination of the warning indicator. The vehicle was merged to the side of the road. Upon restarting, the vehicle resumed normally. The failure recurred two times and the vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer each time. The computerized system went into the limp mode which caused the throttle body sensor to fail. The vehicle was repaired on the two separate occasions. The manufacturer was not notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 38,000. Updated 08-20-14 updated 09/3/2014

- Plainfield, MA, USA

problem #27

Jun 012014

Santa Fe

  • 65,000 miles
I was turning right into a parking space, applied the brakes and the vehicle surged/accelerated. It went over a curb and hit another vehicle. When it stopped I looked down and my foot was indeed on the brakes, to the floor. A similar thing happened twice before. I was turning onto another street and the car felt like it surged. Fortunately both times there was no one in the other lane or in front of me.

- Germantown, MD, USA

problem #26

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 #25

Dec 152013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 23,000 miles


Please investigate the Hyundai line of cars. I was driving this car that I owned. I had just driven 140 miles, and I was on city streets making my way to the inlaws. I stopped at a stop sign and as I accelerated and proceeded to make a right turn on to another city street, the engine completely died. I noticed it when my power steering locked up, I had no brakes and I was headed right toward a home's front door. I was able to stop the car when it hit the curb dead on. I then put the car in to park and turned the car back on and it fired up right away. I really believe that Hyundai has the same problem as GM. There was nothing wrong with the car after that and I could not duplicate the incident. I traded the car in a few days later because I refuse to drive it. If you google the problem, I was able to trace it back at least 11 years. How can you trust a car that where the engine will just turn off sporadically. Dealership claims "they've never heard of such a thing..." lies. The know about it, they just haven't done anything about it. I seriously think there needs to be an investigation in to this vehicle. I saw stories of peoples Hyundai dying on the freeway. They could have been killed. One lady said that she was told next time it happens to leave the car as is and they will tow it and check it out. They towed it after it died and nothing. That's what leads to me believe that in this vehicle, the key can also become disengaged while driving. Similar if not exactly to the problems with the GM. I beg of you to investigate!!!

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #24

Feb 022013

Santa Fe 6-cyl

  • 8,000 miles
On Feb. 2, 2013 after pulling out after a stop light the car ran normally for a very short time and then all power left. It would go only in idle speed. After turning the car off and then restarting it the car would run normally for a while and then do the same thing. A throttle body was replaced. On, Jan. 28, 2014 the same thing happened again. Another throttle body was installed. The service department at the Hyundai dealership nor Hyundai could tell us why this throttle body was defective nor could they guarantee that it wouldn't happen again. We could not feel save driving it down an interstate or in heavy traffic and have the car just basically stop with no warning.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #23

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 #22

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 #21

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 #20

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 #19

Sep 092013

Santa Fe

  • 22,706 miles
We started the vehicle and the check engine light came on. We then checked the manual and it stated there might be an emissions problem so we checked to make sure the gas cap was tight. We started it again, but the light came on again. We backed up the car, but it would barely move. We called the dealership to have it towed and checked. The dealer called us the next day and said someone cut the wires above the accelerator pedal. That claim was suspicious because the vehicle is locked inside the garage and our house has a security system and a large dog. We also had 6 family member staying with us. Opening the garage door would have woke someone up. Also, the vehicles outside the garage were unlocked and untouched. After reading some complaints on here, I see there is an ongoing issue that may have been covered up by the dealership by cutting the wires. The location of the wires would have been extremely difficult to get to inside my garage. They also were cut and not chewed based on the pictures that were taken by the dealership for my insurance company.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #18

Aug 192013

Santa Fe

  • 16,000 miles
This is the third time this has happened but by far, the most significant. This incident occurred 9/8/13 - driving down nys interstate and was passing another vehicle when the car began to lose power. I was traveling at 70 mph and before I knew it was down to 35. I immediately pulled over onto the median, turned the car off and re-started it. (this is what I was told to do on 8/19/13 during the first incident). Prior to that, I put on my emergency flashers, waved my hand frantically out the window for the cars behind me to get over, as there was nothing I could do. After restarting my car I ultimately removed myself from the highway and took the back road home. Needless to say, I an quite anxious to get back on the highway and drive my vehicle. I called the dealership again and they told me to bring it in for a software upgrade. I asked if in fact they could just put in a new throttle actuator and they said it cost between $600-$1,000. Apparently this condition causing accidents or even possible injuries still does not warrant the new equipment.

- Liverpool, NY, USA

problem #17

May 152013

Santa Fe

  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the engine rpms increased excessively as the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The contact mentioned that the failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was unable to be replicated. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 12,000 and the current mileage was 16,000.

- North Aurora, IL, USA

problem #16

Jul 132013

Santa Fe

  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The contact stated the vehicle suddenly accelerated after she made a right turn. The failure caused the contact to crash into another vehicle. No one was injured. The contact had to continue to applying the brakes in order to stop the vehicle after it crashed into the other vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and it was not determined whether or not the vehicle was destroyed. A police report was filed. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 22,000.

- Turner Falls, MA, USA

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