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Hyundai Santa Fe Maintenance and Repair (2006 and earlier)



  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,633
    An asking price is nothing more than the dealer exercising his First Amendment rights. If he's above BOTH Edmunds and Kelley you are definitely paying too much. A dealer, unlike a private party, can sit on a car for a year if he wants. He can also finance and sell the car as "monthly payments" where consumers don't care about the asking price.

    Reliability ratings depend on the size of the test sample and what components they are rating, and how far BACK they are sampling.

    I'd go with Consumer Reports myself. JD Powers are not car people, they are just statisticians. At least Consumer Reports DRIVES the cars.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    I have owned 2 Santa Fe's, a 2002 (2.7 liter V-6 AWD) and a 2003 (3.5 liter V-6 AWD). The worst problem I had was that the 2003 digital clock display failed and randomly blanked out then returned still with the correct time. Clock was replaced under warranty. I didn't accumulate too many miles on either however... about 12,000 0n the 2002 and 10,000 on the 3.5, but a co-worker has a 2001 4 cylinder FWD with about 100K miles and no significant problems. Funny that you should comment on resale value being way over book value..even in the midst of $3.00 gas prices. Some Hyundai detractors on this and the Tucson site LOVE to point out that Hyundai has no resale value as compared to others especially Honda-Toyota. OK you asked about problems. The 2001's, since they were the first models of the Santa Fe sold in the U.S. had a certain amount of problems that involved the crankshaft-position sensor (I believe) and the faulty part was replaced under warranty. There were some other engine related faults( some early block castings for the 2.7 V-6 were too thin at the cylinder water jackets) that were quickly taken care of under warranty too, they replaced these faulty engines and none of those faulty engines are still on the road. I would try to steer clear of 2001's not because of any reliability problems but because Hyundai continually upgraded the cars from year to year adding improvements and generally refining the thing. If I had to pick a year that reflected many of the changes but still is old enough to buy reasonably I would choose 2003. I know you will hear horror stories about these if you check some previous posts but I wouldn't be too quick to believe all you read here. From what I can determine there are no real problems but of course anything can have an isolated failure and I have heard of a sprinkling of the usual automobile failures...things that can happen to anything occasionally. Consumer Reports generally rates them pretty well. Fuel economy is a hot button issue here also, personal experience says a 2.7 V-6 AWD gets about 20-21 MPG highway driven at about 70-72 MPH... same car gets about 16-17 city driving in our smallish city with no real gridlock. The 3.5 liter AWD got about the same or a MPG or two better (21-22) on the highway but about 15-16 city. I believe this was due to having a 5 speed automatic verses a 4 speed on the 2.7 liter. The engine RPM at any given highway speed was much lower with the 5 speed and additionally the greater torque of the 3.5 liter allowed the car to stay in 5th gear more on Pa.'s hills and mountains where the 4 speed car used to downshift to 3rd gear. I believe these are generally reliable and if you have a potential choice evaluated by a mechanic for problems you should do OK. You state that "breakdowns are not acceptable" and while I appreciate your circumstances and I do not state that nothing will ever break on a Santa Fe but it should be no worse than any of the others even the icons of the automotive world...Toyota and Honda.
  • rick42rick42 Posts: 9
    Have a new 2006 Santa Fe (Love it!) and am trying to decide if we should buy an extended service contract before 12,000 miles. Dealer (Jeff Wyler) sells CostGuard Wrap contract. The booklet covers everything, and I do mean everything, but I know how you can get burned on service contracts. Does anyone know anything about CostGuard?

  • shivelytshivelyt Posts: 46
    I have an 01 Santa Fe now coming up to the 60,000 mile mark. The car has the 6year/72,000 mile full warranty, so I intend to keep it as long as possible. Question is what I really need to do at 60K to maintain the warranty and what it should cost. Dealer prescribes a new drive belt at about $135 and a timing belt and water pump at about $600. Why replace a water pump that isn't leaking? He says because the part is low cost but labor later on is expensive. What should I realistically expect to pay for the timing belt? Also, the manual says replace the fuel filter at 60K. What should this cost? Any good advice would be greatly appreciated.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    The reason for the water pump change, even if it isn't leaking, at the 60K mile service is simply because when doing the timing belt change it becomes easily accessible. In other words, if the labor to change just the belt is say $100 (just a random figure for comparison) but the water pump is exposed while removing various components and you don't change it at that time and a week down the road the pump leaks, guess what?!, another $100 labor fee. So, in this the dealer is correct. Additionally, at 60K miles the water pump is within the mileage/time frame where leaking could start. A little story about the timing belt, our 2000 Elantra also requires a timing belt @ 60K but it was around 90K miles before we finally got it changed. I asked to see the old belt when it was removed and when shown it looked absolutely NEW. I even asked if this was the old or new one. I believe the 60K mile change is conservative but unless you are a betting man/woman ( and I would bet it would be OK at even over 100K miles) I would change it at around that time frame just to continue the warranty. If I remember the belt and water pump was around $400 for the Elantra but labor rates are wildly variable. The belt itself was cheap..maybe $40? Fuel filter should be changed at 60K or even before that. I can't recall how much they are but I'd guess around $25 for the part..
  • santaf3santaf3 Posts: 2
    What did you find out about this problem with your Sante Fe? I just took mine in to the shop last night with the exact same behaviors.

  • axis_rollaxis_roll Posts: 11
    The reason you should have the belt changed @60K is because the engine is an "interference" engine. This means that the valves open far enough to hit a piston if the valve timing were to be out of synch. This could happen if the timing belt broke. This could lead to piston/valve damage that could total in the thousands....

    It's just not worth the gamble, IMHO.

    I know because I have a 2005 2.7 V-6 Sante Fe and asked the Head mechanic at my dealer.

    If the engine was non-interference, by not changing the belt on schedule, all you are risking is being stuck when the belt breaks.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    Oh sure, I know about interference and non-interference engines and the damage incurred if an interference engine belt breaks (bent valves, damaged piston tops, cylinder bore scarring etc.). I was simply pointing out that, at least in our case, the belt looked great at even 90K miles....I do recommend timing belt changes at the recommended 60K but you MAY be safe stretching that a few thousand miles hence the "betting man/woman" comment. By the way all Hyundai engines with rubber timing belts are "interference" type engines....2.0 liter 4 cylinder...2.7 liter V-6....3.5 liter the smaller 1.6 liter 4 used on the Accent. The new generation engines used in the Sonata both the 2.4 liter 4 and 3.3 liter V-6,Azera 3.8 liter V-6, and 2007 Santa Fe, 3.3 liter V-6 all have a timing chain.
  • kayrkayr Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Santa Fe, bought new. At 2 years old it started to race when backing out of the garage. Then one day at a red light the accelerator started to race and even with my foot on the brake the car was moving forward. I almost hit the car in front of me before it just stopped. The dealer told me that I had my foot on the accelerator and that is why it happened. I know I did not as all of the pressure I could was on the brake.
    Now I am having a problem with the car lurching and dropping gears. If I go under 15 mph the car with drop a gear, lurch forward, and then pop back in. The other day I was in traffic doing 15 mph and the car jolted so hard it felt like I had hit a wall. The car then went back into regular gear for about 5 seconds and jolted again. My neck is still killing me today from the whiplash. This is the 10th time this has happened and it getting progressively worse. I have taken the car back 3 times so far. They keep telling me that it is the educated accelerator learning the pressure of my foot. This is not true since the car has 17,0000 mile and I am the only one driving it. I have started to keep a log and am going back to the dealership and leaving the car. At this point it is unsafe to drive. I am afraid to make turns for fear this will happen while crossing a lane of traffic and I will be broad sided by the on coming cars. Oh, and they told me that no one else has reported this happening in their cars. Gee I guess it must be me?
  • santaf3santaf3 Posts: 2
    I had a similar problem a couple of weeks ago. It was diagnosed and it seems to be fixed. The dealership said that when the timing belt was changed (nearly 6 months ago) the cruise control cable was mis-positioned and there was tension on it. This made the car think it was in cruise when it wasn't. It raced when in park and neutral and it was difficult to stop while in drive.

    They fixed the cable and then they also had to "re-program" the computer because it had been driven at the high RMPs for a period of time (about 30 miles) and the computer learned that to operated at high RPMs. After the cable was fixed, it was very rough to drive and it seemed to jerk all over the place trying to figure out what gear to be in. The "re-programming" seemed to fix this sub-sequent issue.

    The total cost was about $120 to fix the cable and there was no charge for the "re-programming". The only issue I have is that it was an accute onset of the racing and it didn't coinside with what they said was the source (timing belt change). It is fixed now so I will just see if any other issues recur. Hope this helps. My car is was just over 100K miles, 2001 Sante Fe XL.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    In the famous Audi "unintended acceleration" case a decade or more (now that I think about it more like two decades) ago many people swore that their car just took off without driver input. Several crashed into things...other cars...buildings...garage back walls etc. After nearly driving Audi out of the U.S.A. because of the bad publicity it was determined that there was no problem with the car. I cannot remember exactly what the cause was determined to be, a too close spacing between brake and accelerator pedal I think, but the point of the whole thing was people were accidentally stepping on both pedals at once. I did this myself once revving the engine in park before dropping it into gear and when the car lurched I could not figure out what was happening for a long several seconds. I actually though the loud revving engine was sombody behind me...I could't understand how this could happen till it did, to me. I think we are conditioned to NOT have a racing engine from rest and we think it is sombody else while the car quickly drives forward and our brain is in neutral. That said, I would take the car back, politely explain that you feel it is unsafe and you are leaving it until the transmission antics are explained. There is no "educated accelerator pedal" If I remember correctly there may be a drive by wire throttle system in 2004 but it needs to "learn" nothing. It simply responds to pedal pressure and the electronic module that control this function may be a good place to start fact the up-down shifting transmission at inopportune times may also be linked. You need to be clear that you are afraid to drive the car and will leave it until it is repaired. The fact that you have driven it for 17K miles without this problem should indicate to the service dept that something has clearly failed. As a last resort take it to another dealer if the first won't take you seriously.
  • My 2001 2.7 FWD model santa fe has right around 91000 miles and for the last 4-5000 my gas mileage has dropped from 21-25 to a disgusting 10-13. There are no other problems at all and it still runs as good as ever.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,915
    Something sounds wrong -- maybe your timing belt/chain jumped a tooth and that has thrown your timing off.

    Steve, Host
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    If that were the case it wouldn't run properly nor would it start cleanly. With all the electronic controls on any modern vehicle that keep things running smoothly to drop fuel economy in half without any change in vehicle behavior or operation does not seem possible. If this is true there are certainly some symptoms. Maybe a hole in the fuel tank...or maybe with the high price of fuel sombody else is helping themself to your fuel??
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,633
    I'd suggest sniffing the tail pipe for excess emissions (running too rich) and if that's okay then doing a compression test. Also, if you have an automatic transmission, make sure you haven't lost the overdrive gear.
  • coonkidcoonkid Posts: 2
    My "Little Blue Squid" (2001 Santa Fe 2.7L GLS AWD) used to winsomely flash his lights at me each time I activated the keyless entry for lock/unlock. That stopped suddenly two weeks ago. Keyless entry still works fine. :confuse: The owner's manual suggests that any open door or hatch will deactivate the acknowledgment flash. I have checked all including the hatch window and everything appears water tight. The left/right front and back blinkers work just fine. Any ideas? Also, my digital clock has gone blank in a separate and apparently common failure for these vehicles.
  • cowgirl120cowgirl120 Posts: 1
    I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. I have a 2004 Santa Fe, at about 18K miles the heater started acting really stupid. First, this summer, the air/heat was off and the unit started clicking and the air (heat actually) started blowing on and off all by itself. Thank God my mother-in-law was in the car with me to witness it. Got to the dealer, turned the car off - it was fine. Happened again this winter, this time heat WAS on when it started to click, but was turning OFF on it's own. This last time, I had turned the heat on so that it was lightly blowing on my feet (they were cold) and noticed that it was blowing out of all the vents. Now, I know that some air does come out of the vents regardless of what you set it on, but it was blowing more than that. So I turned it to full blast and it WAS blowing out of every vent, changed the direction - still blowing out of every vent. Went to the dealership and left the car running this time so that they could take a look at it. They tell me it's supposed to be like that. Thank God husband is a mechanic for the dealership that sold the car (he works on Nissans though). At least he knows I'm not crazy!
  • metfan2metfan2 Posts: 1
    You should get your timing belt changed asap I had a sonata and it let go at 62,000 miles.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    If you have the automatic climate control (on LX models)it is possible the head unit is kaput..this is the brains and nervous system for the system. It inputs the desired temperature,(the temp you key in on the display) then based on the ambient, or outside temperature, verses the interior temperature decides if the heat...AC...or some mix is needed. These temperatures are monitored by both inside and outside sensors, I seem to have seen something about faulty sensors on some new Sonata's. So, it is entirely possible one of these sensors has failed and the temps monitored inside or outside is faulty therefore confusing the climate control system.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    Did it badly damage your engine when the belt failed?? What was the result in terms of damage...rebuildable?
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