Hyundai Santa Fe Problems

Updated April 17, 2017

The Santa Fe is Hyundai's midsize SUV, designed by the Korean car manufacturer specifically for the United States market. It is placed in a class of vehicles referred to as crossover SUVs--possessing the style and function of the SUV, while providing a more sporty ride. Introduced in 2001, it is currently in its second generation as of 2007.


A recurring problem of Hyundai Santa Fe is with the transmission. Some 2001 and 2002 vehicles might suffer from poor gearbox shifts. This could happen when either the "drive" or the "sport" mode is selected, thus requiring a replacement of the switch in the console shifter housing. In other cases, there could be harsh shifts from "park" to "reverse," thus requiring a new transmission control module. In some 2007 vehicles, the shifter interlock module may fail, resulting in the ability to shift the car out of "park."


Engine noise and stalling can afflict some 2001 and 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe models, depending on what type of engine the vehicle has. Some vehicles with the 2.4-litre four-cylinder engines might produce too much noise from the hydraulic lash adjusters. Concerned drivers can have them replaced with quieter adjusters with larger oil holes. Some Santa Fes with the 2.7-litre V6 engine may stall or fail to restart when idling for extended periods of time with the A/C running. The problem can be resolved with reprogramming the engine control module and/or oxygen sensor replacement.

Engine misfire is a common problem for 2007 vehicle, a condition that can be fixed with replacement of the oxygen sensors.


On some 2001 vehicles with V6 engines, the crankshaft-position sensor might fail. The part can be replaced free of charge.


On some 2001 Santa Fes with an automatic transmission, a clamp holding the battery cable may wear through the lower radiator hose. The clamp can be replaced with a plastic cable tie.


A short in a wiring harness under the hood of some 2007 Santa Fes may cause the airbag light to illuminate, thus indicating that the airbags may not deploy in the event of a car crash. A new wire harness can be provided to rectify the problem.

Front Wheels

Some 2007 vehicles may experience a snapping noise from the front wheels when the gearbox is shifted from "drive" to "reverse," then back to "drive." This is due to excessive clearance behind the front hubs. To rectify the problem, shims would need to be introduced to adjust the clearance.

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About the Author

Based in the D.C. area, Andy Joseph works full-time as a data analyst and technical writer. He has been writing articles about technology, health, politics, music, culture and automobiles since 2007. His work has appeared in The Express, Congressional Report and Road & Track. He has a master's degree in journalism and technology management.