10 Common Hyundai Santa Fe Problems (Recalls & Reviews)

When deciding whether the Hyundai Sante Fe should be your next SUV, it’s easy to find all the specs focusing on all the positives. While all those things are good to know, it’s also good to know what problems you might run into.

The most common problems and issues with Santa Fe are hesitant acceleration, engine stalls, and shuddering when the transmission shifts. Airbag, fuel gauge, and service brake-related problems are also very common in these SUVs. In addition, the paint peeling away is common among almost all Hyundai vehicles, including the Santa Fe.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at common problems, what causes them, and how challenging they may be to fix. We’ll also look at the good things to help you decide if the good outweighs the bad. By the end, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on buying the Santa Fe.

Several problems are common for the Santa Fe. Some can be a bit intimidating, while others are just minor frustrations. Major issues in this vehicle relate to the engine, transmission, brakes, and airbags.

Minor issues include problems such as the wireless charger in newer models overheating and muffled rear speakers in some models.

Common Problems With The Hyundai Santa Fe

1. Hesitation

Many Santa Fe owners have started feeling hesitation when trying to accelerate as soon as 1,050 miles. For many, this happens when they try to accelerate slowly more than when they are pressing the gas normally.

When pressing the gas pedal, you’ll notice that it takes several seconds for the car to respond. This usually happens when something throws off the air/fuel ratio.


If your check engine light is on, you should scan to see if you get a code that could explain why this is happening. If the problem is one of your O2 sensors, chances are you’ll get a code.

A new sensor will cost between $60 and $200. So with labor included, you could pay between $300 and $350.

You should also make sure that your air filter, throttle body, and MAF (mass air flow) sensor are clean. These things could cause or contribute to the problem if they’re dirty.

2. Engine Problems

While hesitation isn’t usually an engine problem, the Hyundai Santa Fe does have a few common engine problems. These issues were the most common in the 2012-2014 models and the 2017.

The most common problem with these engines is that they either stall or fail altogether. An issue with the crankshaft can cause both of these problems.

Engine failure is most common in 2012 and 2013 models. Many owners have reported having engine failure as low as 80,000 miles.

Many have mentioned being in heavy traffic when the engine stalls and the safety concerns of this issue. Furthermore, a class action lawsuit was filed in 2014 because of engine failure.


You should check with your local dealer and ensure your car has no open recalls. Certain recalls may cover these issues depending on the model of your vehicle.

If your engine is stalling, there’s a good chance it’s related to your crankshaft sensor. Having this sensor replaced will be between $170 and $230.

However, once your engine has failed, the best option is to replace it. Depending on your location and model, this will could cost anywhere from $3000 to 5000. In some cases, you can have the engine rebuilt, but if you cannot do it yourself, labor costs will run about the same as a new engine.

Hyundai released a service bulletin regarding the crankshaft but has yet to issue any bulletins or recalls regarding engine failure.

3. Service Brakes Issues

On the other hand, there have been recalls pertaining to the service brakes on the Santa Fe.

Santa Fe owners have reported 664 problems regarding the service brakes to carproblemzoo.com. Some said that the ABS light would remain lit constantly, and the brakes were not stopping their car effectively.

Most of these issues relate to the ABS. The most pressing reason for the recall was that an error with the ABS System could cause the car to catch on fire.

This led to the recall of 2016–2018 Santa Fe’s and 2017–2018 Santa Fe Sports. This also included the 2019 Santa Fe XL.


If your vehicle was one of the models included in the recall and you have yet to have the repair done, you should get in touch with your local dealer and have the repairs scheduled.

Unfortunately, mini Santa Fe owners owning models not included in recalls reported having similar issues. If this is the case, you will have to replace the ABS module out of pocket. This module will cost around $206 for the part and approximately $95 for labor.

4. Overheating Wireless Phone Charger

While there have yet to be any reports of fire, many owners of the newer Santa Fe models are concerned about the wireless charger overheating in their cars.

Newer Santa Fe does have a wireless phone charger in them, and many owners have reported that it gets extremely hot. Some have even mentioned that the charger got so hot that it threw their phone into protective mode.


The first thing you should do to solve this problem is to ensure that there is nothing between your phone and your charger. This includes your phone case. Some phone cases that may have metal in them can cause this type of charger to get hot.

If you cannot figure out why your charger is overheating and fix it, you may want to consider a wired charger instead.

5. Rain Pooling on Windshield

Another issue that may not be very concerning to some but can cause some frustration is the issue that some 2018 Santa Fe owners have reported where the rain pools on their windshields.

A few Santa Fe owners have mentioned that the driver-side windshield wiper does not reach all the way and allows water to pull up within their view while driving.

While this isn’t a bother to some, others have a hard time seeing while driving in the rain, which could create a safety issue.

Unfortunately, there is little to be done to fix this issue. However, adding Rain-X to your windshield could improve your visibility slightly.

6. Windshield Cracking

Numerous complaints have also been about how easily Santa Fe’s windshield cracks. Some owners report that their windshields would crack after being hit by small pebbles that shouldn’t have created any damage. Others have mentioned cracks that appeared for no reason.

Some believe this is possible because the frames of affected cars are not built to flex with the road. If the vehicle doesn’t “move with the road,” so to speak, it can apply pressure to the windshield and create stress cracks.


For now, the only solution is to replace the windshield if it becomes necessary. Depending on the model of your car and technology, such as rain-sensing wipers, it could cost up to $1600 to replace. However, on average, it costs between $700 and $900.

7. Quiet Speakers

Another problem that several Santa Fe have voiced complaints about is quiet or muffled speakers. This problem is most common in 2008-2011 models, but some 2013 and 2017 models also have this problem.

In addition, most of them report that the problem is primarily with the back speakers. With this problem, there’s likely little to no base because of how the system works in most cars.


Before fixing the problem, you’ll first need to pinpoint precisely which speakers are causing the problem. You can do this by adjusting the setting on your radio to only one speaker at a time while you have music playing.

Once you pinpoint the problem, you’ll need to inspect the speaker for signs of visual damage.

If it is only one speaker causing the problem, replacing that speaker could fix it. If it’s more than one, it’s more likely an issue with the radio or the wiring.

8. Stuttering Transmission

You’re also likely to run into shifting issues with your transmission. Many owners have complained that their transmission shudders or jerks when shifting. In many cases, this happens when their car is shifting from first to second gear.

Others have mentioned their RPMs reaching high numbers before the shift actually occurs. In one statement, the owner notes that the RPMs hit 5000 while traveling at average highway speeds.


If you have this problem, you should first check your transmission fluid. If your transmission fluid is low, it could easily cause this problem. In some cases, you may need to change the fluid completely.

It could also be a bad shift solenoid. Most times, a bad solenoid will throw the check engine light, and your reader will give you a code that lets you know exactly which one needs replacing.

The solenoid will cost around $80. If you have a mechanic do the replacement, labor could be between $95 and $130.

9. Paint Coming Off

The paint peeling costs owners money in more than one way. Since Hyundai has offered no solution, many have opted to repaint their cars at their own cost. Others have noted how much the peeling paint decreases the resale or trade-in value of the vehicle.

This problem is relevant to many Hyundai vehicles. Many believe that it is because the self-healing paint used to paint the car is defective or that it was an error in how it was applied.


Since Hyundai isn’t offering to do anything about the issue, which the standard warranty doesn’t include, the only option is to have it repainted.

The most affordable paint jobs that still offer good quality can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3500.

10. Air Bag Issues

While Hyundai has been reluctant to compensate for the paint, safety concerns can’t be ignored. They have issued several recalls for the Santa Fe related to the airbags. Recalled models include the 2007-2009, 2012, and 2013 models.

These were issued for reasons that include some airbags not deploying in a crash and others that deployed unexpectedly. In addition, they issued one of these because the passenger side seat sensor had a defect that would not allow it to detect lighter-weight people in the passenger seat.


It’s always a good idea to ensure there are no open recalls for your vehicle, especially regarding airbags.

If you notice that your airbag light is on or if you have a recalled model, you should contact your local dealer to have your car inspected. If you have an airbag-related issue included in a recall, they will repair it free of charge.

11. Gauge and Fuel Level Sensor Malfunction

In addition, many Hyundai Santa Fe owners have complained that their fuel gauge was either inaccurate or not working. This problem is often accompanied by the check engine light when it occurs. However, this doesn’t always happen.

This issue usually occurs because the fuel-sending unit has gone bad. When this happens, it will not send accurate information to your gas gauge. The most common symptom is if your gas gauge sticks at empty, full, or half a tank.

This can be extremely frustrating because there’s no way to know how much gas you actually have in your tank. This has left many owners stranded because of running out of gas because they did not know they were running low.


To fix this, you will likely need to replace the fuel-sending sensor under the passenger seat. The new sensor will cost between $88 and $90. Labor will cost somewhere between $100 and $130.

Once you replace this part, it’s best to replace the fuel sender on the other side, located underneath the driver’s seat. This part will likely cost between $80 and $100. Labor calls average around $125.

Models with Problems and Recall Numbers

To help you compare the reliability among the different years, you can compare the PPMY index in this table. This information results from carproblemzoo.com’s analysis of the number of problems reported per thousand vehicles per year.

With this figure, the lower the number, the higher the reliability.

Year ModelPPMY Index

Below are some of the most recent recall numbers for the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Recall NumberYears IncludedReason
22V7460002021-2022A faulty fail-safe mode can cause a total loss of power.
22V1970002022The oil supply to the turbocharger may leak and cause oil to leak into the engine compartment.
21V524000turbocharged 2021-2022Possible fuel leak between the fuel pump and rail.
22V0560002016-2019 (Only specific models)ABS module could cause electrical short that leads to fire
21V00M0002020-2021The windshield may detach in a crash
21V3080002021Certain fuel line leaks could result in a fire
21V3030002015-2013Brake fluid may leak into the ABS module and cause electrical short

To see more recalls relevant to your car, look your specific model up on the NHTSA’s website.

Check to See Whether Your Vehicle Has an Open Recall

To see if there are any open recalls for your vehicle, you can go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

In the search bar, enter your van Or select to search for your vehicle by using the make, model, and year. Once you hit search, you’ll see a list of all open recalls relevant to your Santa Fe.

Why Should You Buy the Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Santa Fe does have its downsides, like any other car. However, it has many things that make the Santa Fe a reliable and trustworthy car.

Good Fuel Economy

Present times make fuel economy a crucial thing to look at when shopping for a new car. Luckily, the Santa Fe has a record of having excellent fuel economy throughout many of its models.

Those equipped with regular engines tend to average around 28 MPG on the highway and 25 MPG for city mileage. The Hybrid options average approximately 36 MPG city and 31 highway.

So, if you’re looking for a car with good fuel economy, the Santa Fe has you covered. In addition, if you’re looking for options, you even have choices regarding the powertrain.

Powertrain and Price Options

If you’re buying a Santa Fe, you can also choose your ideal powertrain

  • 2.5L 4-cylinder offering 191 horsepower
  • 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivering 277 horsepower
  • 1.6L 4-cylinder and two electric motors offering 266 horsepower (Hybrid)
  • 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder with a 12.4 kWh battery offering 260 horsepower and 31 electric-only driving miles.

In addition, the price range is wide enough to find something that fits your budget easily. For example, new cars start at around $28,500 and go up slightly above $40,000.

Stylish and Comfortable

There’s also no need to worry about not having enough space for passengers, groceries, or your luggage. When passengers are traveling with you, the passenger and second row are comfortable and offer plenty of room for moving around. Adults can even sit comfortably in the back seat.

The cargo space is also very spacious, considering what SUV cargo areas generally are. To make it even better, if you need more cargo space, the back seats will lay flat to allow for that.

You can also choose from several stylish exteriors when looking at other models. From sleek to rugged, you’re sure to find an option that aligns with your taste.


Many newer models come equipped with modern technology, including a touchscreen infotainment system. This system comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Bluetooth connection is an option as well.

The newer models also feature a built-in wireless charger that makes it easy to charge your phone on the go, even if you’re not the best at remembering your charging cord.

Safety Features

You can also find any advanced safety features in your models. Some of the most convenient include forward and reverse crash detection and automatic emergency braking. The combination of these things allows the car to detect something in its path and automatically brake for the driver to help avoid a crash.

Many also include lane-keeping assist and lane departure warnings. These things warn you when you’re leaving your lane, and make minor corrections to the steering to help you avoid leaving your lane and colliding with another car.

Is it Worth Buying?

All-in-all, it’s worth buying the Santa Fe, especially the new 2023 Santa Fe.

The new model comes with choices between the SEL and XRT trims, with pricing starting at $28,200 and going up to $43,750. In addition, the new model comes with several optional extras, including an all-wheel drive option.

The new model is far from lacking in features. Apple Play and Google CarPlay come standard in this model. In addition, you can use a digital key to unlock your car with your phone.

Some options even have a feature that allows you to use your key fob to park your car after you get out of it. This comes in handy for parallel parking. Additionally, when you’re inside the vehicle, you don’t have to worry about blind spots thanks to the camera-based monitoring of blind spots.

All the features, good fuel economy, and engine options make it hard not to buy the 2023 Santa Fe. However, it’s not suitable for off-road environments and doesn’t have the third row. If you need either of these things, you’ll probably want to consider other options.

What do Owners Say (Reviews)

The Hyundai Santa Fe is one of the best SUVs on the market. It looks cool. It gets great gas mileage, and it is very reliable. The Hyundai Santa Fe is loaded with tech and it is also loaded with a lot of features, and if you are looking to buy a new vehicle you should seriously consider the Hyundai brand

2023 Owner Cars.Com

I bought one, loved it, sold it, missed it and was sad, so I bought another one exactly the same, am happy again. Awesome mid-size SUV. Good in all kinds of weather and haven’t had a single issue with it. Do your oil changes as you should and keep up your basic maintenance and she will be a reliable vehicle well over 250,000 kms!

2016 Owner From Cars.Com

I bought this vehicle because I had rented one in Colorado, was going up the million dollar hwy towards Telluride when I had to pass an RV pulling a vehicle doing about 40. Floored the Sante Fe and had hit 85 when I finished passing. Altitude was approx 11000 ft on an uphill grade. Was impressive. I have had the vehicle for over 4 years, no mechanical or electronic problems. Very reliable.

2010 Owner From Cars.Com

Pros and Cons

The Hyundai Santa Fe has many good things to offer, but there can also be a few downsides. So, here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of the Santa Fe.

The pros of the Santa Fe include:

  • 4 different choices for the powertrain.
  • They have excellent fuel economy, especially on the highway.
  • They’re comfortable and have plenty of back seat and cargo space.
  • They are reliable and long-lasting cars if they’re taken care of properly.

The cons of the Santa Fe include:

  • No third-row seating.
  • The console area feels cluttered in some models.
  • The brakes are softer than some other vehicles, so it takes some getting used to.

You should also consider how long the Santa Fe will last after you buy it. Especially if you’re buying a used Santa Fe, it’s essential to know if what you’ll spend is worth the time you’ll be able to use it without needing significant repairs.

Life Expectancy of Santa Fe

The average life expectancy of a Santa Fe is between 150,000 miles and 250,000 miles. Where the Santa Fe falls in this range is dependent on several variables.

The most important part of a Santa Fe reaching 250,000 miles or more is that routine maintenance is regularly maintained. This includes things like oil changes, spark plug changes, and other fuel fluid levels remaining at the right level.

Other things play a role as well. For example, the durability of the car’s design could increase or decrease the life span. In addition, whether the vehicle has been driven aggressively could also have an impact.

What is the Resale Price of Hyundai Santa Fe?

The resale value of a Honda Santa Fe will vary based on certain factors, such as the car’s mileage and physical condition. However, if you plan to sell your used Santa Fe, it’s best to go ahead and resell it within the first five years.

This is because, after five years, the value may be less than half of the original price that you paid for it. After three years, you can expect to get around 1/3 of the actual price.


With the common problems of the Santa Fe being mostly specific to certain year models, it is much easier to choose one that will be more reliable. If you select one of the options with the least risk of issues and keep up with the maintenance, it could easily make it over 250,000 miles.

The Santa Fe is a good option if you’re looking for a comfortable, reliable, and spacious SUV. With the number of different options, there’s no doubt you can find the price range you’re hoping for and most of the features.