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Anyone experience Sudden Unintended Acceleration in a Santa Fe?



  • This is an update on my situation that took place on December 18, 2010. After a week-long inspection and test driving, the dealership could not find anything wrong with my 2009 Santa Fe that would cause the SUA that I experienced. We were scheduled, last Friday, to return the loaner they had given us for the week and pickup my unwanted Santa Fe. After much discussion and insistence, the used car department of the dealership agreed to buy back the vehicle for what we owed on the car. We still loss some money, but I now have the peace of mind that I was hoping for. I wish anyone else out there who is wrestling with this problem, not to give up. The squeaky wheel does get the grease! Good luck!
  • ray147ray147 Posts: 1
    More Sudden Unintended Acceleration angst! I've been going around with my Hyundai dealership regarding my 2009 Santa Fe and getting no where.

    As soon as I mentioned that I opened a case number with the NHTSA I received a call from Hyundai Corporate asking me to drop the car off again which was useless.

    I'm filling out the paper work now and emailing back to the them for investigation.

    The most important thing we can all do is contact the NHTSA and open up case numbers. Also, continue on with Hyundai corporate.

    I had two episodes in the same day. I may actually dump this thing which is sad because we bought it brand new and will take a $8,000.00 bath.
  • We have been having this problem with our 2010 Sante Fe and our daughters are learning to drive on this vehicle and they have experienced this surging as well. I just had the vehicle in last week to have a part replaced for the surging as well as the tie rod. We drove the vehicle on the weekend and it surged twice. I will give this a week and if it continues I will be complaining about it again. At least they didn't say there was nothing wrong or that it was driver error! We have thought about trading this vehicle in but the price has dropped so much in 1 1/2 years that we would lose way too much. Our bath would be more that $8000.00 - so sad!
  • Since you had the surge experience more than once, I would recommend that you insist that the dealership's service department keep the Santa Fe for a minimum of 3 days and have someone drive it consistantly. Insist on a loaner car for the time period. I only experienced one unintended sudden acceleration, but that was more than enough for me. After several months the dealership did agree to take the care in for several to test drive it. Of course, nothing happened so they said there was nothing to repair. But in your case, there's a good chance it would occur while it's in their hands. My husband was very insistant. We finally dealt with the regional sales manager who visits our area once a month. My surge experience happend in late December 2010. It took until March for us to get any satisfaction. I refused to drive the car or even ride in it. We armed ourselves with all of the Internet Blogs to confirm that many other people shared the same experience. They were sympathic but insisted that this condition does happen occasionally in many car model just not Hyundai's. The bottom line was that we made a deal with their preowned department. They paid off the remaining loan amount on the 2009 Santa Fe. Yes, we were out the 16 payments, plus initial downpayment, but I had to have peace of mind. I use my car for transporting people and couldn't perform my job if I was constantly worrying about a possible accident due to SUA. Since you have two teenagers driving your Santa Fe with the understanding that they will often have their friends in the car, do you want to place their lives in jeopardy? I would suggest insisting on the dealership driving your vehicle for several days; print out as many of these Blog discussions as possible; insist on a face-to-face meeting with the Hyundai regional sales manager; and finally, talk to the preowned department about a buy out. Yes, you'll be out a chunk of cash, but you can't put a price tag on the lives of your family. Good luck to you!!
    (P.S. I purchased a preowned 2002 BMW with low mileage and I couldn't be happier!)
  • When slowing down for turns or stop lights, and then the brake is released, and accelerator is pushed, vehicle moves sluggishly and then "stalls" flat for several seconds. There is no requirement for an ignition re-start, since then the engine re-engages and vehicle suddenly lunges forward. This is a sporadic problem (two or three times a week). No engine warning trouble light; dealership claims all diagnostics show nothing. Vehicle performs well otherwise (starts well, idles well, rpm's okay, etc.) Been happening over the last four or five weeks--not the gas, since am on my fourth new tank full--21,000 miles on the six cylinder 2010. Any ideas would be appreiciated, or if you have had similar problems.
  • I have had a similar problem with my 2010 AWD Santa Fe. Was your problem ever resolved, and if so, was there a fix.
  • Thanks to everybody who publish this information, I was almost buying one of this cars for my wife, but now I think I will go and try another options.
    I dont think this people from hyundai are very honest. For me this situation is the same as steal, because their are selling a product that doesn't fit with the regulations, and they dont care if people will died secondary to their mistake.
  • The dealer says everything checks out, but it still "flattens out and lunges" infrequently (about once or twice a week). I have done my own research on this and have determined it might be the throttle position sensor. I have looked into how this sensor works, and "flatten out" spots could occur due to how the resistor wears. I have also found out that some owners have had to have this sensor replaced, when it significantly failed. If it continues, I will have the dealer replace this sensor at my own expense, and then I will have the old part independently tested. If it turns out to be defective, then I will ask for a refund from the dealer. I have also found the exact problem on the National Highway Safety complaint site (ODI number 10352192), and I would like more information about this complaint, but they want $45.00 an hour plus copying expenses just to see if there is more information about this complaint.
  • Have you found any more information on this problem?--mine is "hesitation to surge." Thanks--liz
  • Hi--I noticed that your "posting" was in March 2010--do you still have the vehicle, and has the problem been corrected, gotten worse, etc.? Thanks for any help. Liz
  • Has your problem ever been solved? I am having the same problem with my 2010 Santa Fe. Thanks. Liz
  • I purchased my Santa Fe in Mar. 06. My first experience with the un-intended acceleration happened in Dec. 06. Took it to a Hyundai dealer and they of course couldn't find anything wrong with it. Over the next couple of years it happened approximately three more times. Again took the vehicle to the dealer and once again nothing was found to be wrong with it. Each of the above mentioned instances happened while coming to a complete stop at a stop light or a stop sign. Each time the car was going straight and the acceleration only lasted seconds. But the brakes would not stop the car.
    The last time was two weeks ago. My wife was driving the car in a parking lot. She stopped at a parking lot intersection and it happened and it only happened for a few seconds and then it stopped and she turned right and then once again stopped while someone walked across the road and it happened once again. It only lasted a few seconds. She then turned right to go into a parking space. It once again accelerated but this time the car didn't stop until it hit the car parked in the next parking spot and then it pushed that car into the next parked car. Damage was done to both parked cars and also tore up my bumper and a fog light. Thank goodness no one was walking in front of the car or between the two parked cars.
    The car has now been at the dealership for almost two weeks and they of course say they can't find anything wrong with it.
    Don't know what I am supposed to do now. I am scared to drive the car for fear of it happening again and maybe injuring myself or someone else. This car could very easily surge while at a busy intersection and it could be pushed out into oncoming traffic causing several injuries. Does anyone have any ideas?
  • Upon doing further research, I have found that for my 3.5-6 cyl, 2010 Santa Fe, the throttle position sensor was built into the throttle body. Thus, the entire throttle body (about a $250.00 part plus whatever labor costs that are involved) has to be replaced just to address a throttle position sensor issue. I have also found that my problem could be from a defective pedal position sensor (less expensive) or the engine control module (computer)(expensive). I am still experiencing the problem, and someday hope to have the issue resolved.
  • fwiw2ufwiw2u Posts: 1
    Yup. Yesterday. I was stopped at a red light when I realized that my usually reliable 2002 Santa Fe was trying to accelerate--despite my foot being on the brake. It was also making a loud revving sound. When the light turned green and I took my foot off the brake, the car practically leaped forward. I jammed both feet on the brake and pulled on the steering wheel for more leverage and was able to slow it down, but it was like trying to control a pack of wild horses. I was fortunate to make it through two lights on green but saw that the next light--a long one at a major intersection--had just turned red. So I swerved into a pocket for turning left into a Target parking lot, just barely avoided smashing into the back of the car turning ahead of me, wrestled my car into the lot and turned off the ignition. It didn't lurch to a stop in a very good place, though, so I turned it back on--big mistake. It immediately made that faster-and-faster revving sound and jumped forward, so I turned off the ignition again. I'll skip over the part about helpful strangers and tow operators and actually getting home to the following morning: I called Hyundai's USA headquarters (coincidentally only a few miles away) and told my story to a sympathetic young man named Kevin, who "opened a case" for me and told me to call back after getting a "diagnosis" from the local dealership. A pleasant "repair adviser" there called this afternoon to say the Santa Fe's cruise control cable had broken/was stuck in such a way that the car thought I wanted to go a nice, steady 120 mph or something. He said he wasn't surprised that the part had broken, given the 180,000 miles on the car, but WAS surprised that Hyundai hadn't engineered the cruise control system to default to 40 or 60 mph in this type of event. Furthermore, I have NEVER used the car's cruise control and don't understand why it was apparently engaged. When I called Hyundai HQ back with this information, a not-so-sympathetic woman asked what I expected Hyundai to do about it. Having been quoted a relatively paltry $240 to fix the car, I chose not to push the issue--instead stammering out something about just wanting Hyundai to know about the problem. But now, after finding this forum, I'm angry and will definitely contact the NHTSA. And think about getting a new car--not a Hyundai.
  • I am so glad I found this web site. I have a 2004 Hyndi Santa Fe. Last summer I was in Spokane and I pulled onto a heavy traffic 4 lane. I was going slow because traffic was heavy and the light was red. I approached the light and stepped on the brake and it excellerated. I was horified. I tried putting it in nuetral and then the light changed and I just got on the freeway. I was in shock and wondered if I was crazy and it really was me but I knew it wasn't. I supressed the happening. Months later I was in Helena MT and coasting to a 4 way stop down hill. All 4 stops had cars. The car in front of me was waiting his turn and I stepped on the brake and it excellerated. I hit the car in front of me. I tried everything. I tried neutral and it would not go into neutral. I tried the emergency brake and it would not stop. The car in front of me had just jumped forward and sat there. I hit it a second time before I turned the ignition off. I could not beleive the cars all proceeded on their way as if nothing happened. So I took the car to Missoula (my closest dealership) and told them what had happened. I got a call telling me they could not reproduce the problem and therefore do nothing about it. I said are you telling me Hyndi has had no other reports of such situations? They said no one had. I wrote in detail the two times it had happened. I made them sign it. It has happened two more times but less serious times. Once I felt it and immediately was able to put it in neutral. The 4th time again I put it in neutral. SO now I drive around and everytime I need to brake I either go into neutral or brace myself on the gear shift ready to go into neutral. I realize every time I could kill someone or myself be killed. I can not imagine Hyndi is not concerned about this problem. WHy would they want to have what happened to Toyota? I would think that they would be happy to recall any cars reported with this problem. Blows my mind. If anyone gets a response form Hyndi please let me know.
  • Now comes my experience. As I was backing out in the parking lot at the school where I teach last Saturday, the car suddenly started to accelerate and would not stop. The break did nothing and I didn't stop until my car went half way through the brick wall behind me. I was so shaken at the possibility of what could have happened if it was a normal school day. My 2008 with 25,000 miles on it is now totaled and I am buying a new car. I have been assured that the "problems" have been fixed across the board because of the Toyota incidences. I hope that true, because I loved my Santa Fe and am probably going to buy a 2012. YIKES!
  • Hesitation to surge describes it perfectly for us. At a Christmas party last night old friend showed up in a 2011 Sante Fe like ours. Loves his car as we do but then we talked about the hesitation and surge thing and we both have it. It is pretty scary pulling out in traffic when it happens. At first you think it's not going to go and then it goes like crazy. We have told dealer repeatedly and they say nothing is wrong with it. We are documenting but are running out of patience. It is a very dangerous situation and are about ready to go to NTSB. I really think Hyundai knows something is going on but don't know what to do and don't want the hurt the terrific sales volume they are having.
  • rad18rad18 Posts: 1
    i have the same problem, at first i thought it only happened turning left but it does it at right turns or give it gas starts to go then nothing for two to three seconds.turning left with traffic comming at you is a said cant do anything if no check engine light makes me feel like an accident waiting to happen.
  • I have had the same problem with my 2010 Sante Fe. I didn't have the problem until they reprogramed my car on a recall. I took it back in and they reinstalled the original program and it seemed to solve the problem...for a while. It did it twice in the last six months even with the reprograming. It is a very potentially dangerous situation that I am sure Hyundai is becoming aware but seems not to be addressing. I hope that they find the culprit and offer a remedy before someone gets hurt! I, at first, thought it was only turning left too but found it not to be necessarily so...I, like others, am just at the mercy of us out, Hyundai!!!
  • liz45liz45 Posts: 8
    About four months ago I brought in my 2010 Santa Fe and as usual they could not find anything wrong. The head mechanic said that he did something with the program (I guess just to try anything). The problem has not occurred since then (started at 20,000 miles, now at 24,000 miles). I too brought it in for a recall--maybe at that time they did to my vehicle what they did to yours--and maybe the mechanic then also eventually put the old program back--who knows? It seems everybody is without a clue as to why this happened or happens. Thanks for your feedback.
  • Several times in the past few months my 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe V6 2wd has shown a great surge, usually after starting. the only way I could control this was my slamming non the breaks. It has happened in drive and reverse.
  • A similar incident has happened to me. I own a 2011 Santa Fe V6 2WD and on the 27th January I was coasting into a convenience store applying light breaking pressure coming to a stop. There was sudden uncalled surge in engine revs and the Santa Fe leaped forward and it took maximum brake pressure to limit the forward momentum. Massive braking pressure and shifting from drive to neutral let the car back off the block back to level. Incidentally, one of those concrete was placed in the parking space, to protect the store-front, the Santa Fe climbed the concrete block. Apart from my heart rate leap stressing me, there was substantial damage to the front bumper and power steering.

    Took the car to the dealership they said there were no fault diagnostics. I lost all power steering assist and there was no indication of power steering fluid loss. The service manager said " . . there is nothing that would cause this > ." implying it was my fault. There is no way that I could apply brake and accelerator pressure concurrently.

    Since December 2011 we have been experiencing jumps when the starting the car, gear shift in park and brake pressure applied.
  • I also own a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe V6 2WD. This "sudden unintended accelerator surge" happened to me twice. The first incident happened on December 20,2011. This was my first time using the car that morning. I turned on the engine and let the motor warm up for about a minute. Then I proceeded down the road of my developement at around 15 to 20 miles an hour until I slowed down for a stop sign after driving about a 100 yards. At that time my foot transferred from the gas pedal to the brake pedal and the motor suddenly raced out of control. I was able to slam with all my weight on the brake pedal and shift the gear into neutral and turn off the motor. My wife drove with me and needless to say, we were scared to death. After composing myself, I turned the engine back on and thank God I did not experience the "sudden accelerastionon", so I drove back to my house and called Hyundai Roadside assitance who had my car towed to the Hyunder dealershipn where I bought the car. The Hyundai service department could not find anything wrong with my car and told me I probably put my foot on the accelerator by mistake. I 'm 100 % sure I didnot put my foot on the accelerator. So, reluctantly, I accepted the car back from the service department and ran the car daily until the exact same incident happened leaving my house in the morning again on February 6, 2012. As of this writing the car has been at that Hyundai dealership for a few days. On February 7,2012 he service manager again told me after all their testing they still could not find anything wrong even after this second incident. . I did call Hyundai Corporate offices and they are now investigating the incidents and said they would be in contact with the Hyundai service department. There is definetely some defect in the accelerator that Hyundai cannot find as of this writing.. Very scary situation for me and possibly all 2011 Hyundai Sante car owners. If you ahve a similar experience please let me know.
  • I too have had an issue with sudden acceleration surges with my 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. My engine light finally came on, after taking it to a mechanic several times with the issue, only to have no real reason for the issue to occur. After the check engine light came on (this past Saturday), I took my car to Advanced auto parts to have it checked out. They told me the issue was P0121 which is Throttle Position Sensor/Switch "A" Circuit Range/Performance. I contacted my mechanic who told me it would cost approx. $250 to have the sensor replaced. I'm willing to pay the $250, with fingers crossed that it works, instead of purchasing a new car. If this replacement does not work, I will never buy or recommend a Hyundai to anyone I know. This is a serious issue that Hyundai needs to address before someone seriously gets hurt. I am appauled that they have not taken the proper actions to address this issue before it really gets out of hand. I will let you all know if the replacement of the sensor works.
  • I am so glad I am not the only one. I own a 2005 Santa Fe, that was working just fine until last week. I was pulling onto a busy highway, and all of a sudden the vehicle hesitated quite substantially. I thought because it was so busy the car behind me was going to crash right into my back end. Then I was driving along later that day it was constantly accelerating. When I stopped the car, and had the break on, it was reving really high, and I was afraid to take my foot off the break. The check engine light came on, and because I was working I couldn't get it into a garage right away, so thought I would later that afternoon. After I shut down the vehicle, the check engine light did not come back on...but the problem is still happening almost everyday for a smaller amount of time. I am afraid to drive it anywhere right now, and can't go without it for very long. Please let us know if the sensor you got replaced works out for you!
  • jogataujogatau Posts: 4
    Interesting post, I tought I was alone having this problem until I found this post just now; Thanks everyone for your comments, this is unbelievable.

    I live in Canada and have a SF 2005 - 3.5L AWD which I bought new in 05 which now has 251,000 km on it. I to have had SUA over the years every once in a while and ever since it was new. I noticed that most of the time this happens is when I come to a full stop then start rolling again; slightly depressing the gas pedal; within a fraction of a second; the vehicle blasts off (heads fly backwards) as if I had put the gas pedal to the floor for a second or so; then it quickly resumes back to normal. Will be days sometimes weeks before it does it again and sometime the same day. Its very sporadic with no real patterns as to when it occurs although seams a little more frequent lately. I mostly do highway driving and use the cruise control everyday. I did not have any close call for say although from reading this awesome post, I will keep a close eye on this issue and will order and change the throttle position sensor and inspect the cruise control cable and it's assembly.

    Also, if this can help, way back I had noticed that occasionally when I filled up with gas and then drove off, within a couple hundred feet the motor would kind of die and hesitate dramatically before taking off similar to an SUA; after some reading in other post (way back), some had reported similar issues with other car brands and suggested the following, when filling up with gas, tighten the gas cap all the way until you hear several clicks (as to do with proper venting our pressure balance within the gas tank) which I tried and did not really work; my gas cap needs a key to open it therefore, instead I do the opposite, I tight the gas cap and back it off to hear a few clicks and never had this issue ever since I started doing this (Note that I've also tried leaving the cap loose although did not work; perhaps one could also try another cap). This may or may not be associated with the SUA problem, who knows, I do not have severe SUA, although it still happens from time to time for a fraction or a second or so and goes back to normal immediately after (unlike some post I've read in here and which I deeply sympathize with). Perhaps another thing to try which cost nothing and can't hurt re: gas cap (as mentioned herein); seems like pressure or back pressure within the gas tank needs some kind of balance. Give it try who knows, it may reduce the problem. I do like my Santa Fe, found it hard on gas although, don't think I'll buy another one. Hoping this helps somewhat. I'll look deeper in the SUA and report back if I find some kind of possible cure. In the mean time drive this beast carefully. Thanks

  • stewpopstewpop Posts: 1
    Just wondered if the replacement of the sensor worked. My 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe. It lost complete throttle control and would only idle. Got to the side of the road & turned it off and unhooked the battery cable. This reset the electronics in the car( clock, radio, etc) and with it the throttle sensors. Was able to restart and it drove perfectly. We had been having hesitation issues for a couple of months and now it drives smoothly. Just don't know how long it will last though.
  • mikepenmikepen Posts: 1
    I just had the same issue this afternoon in a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe, this issue has been brought up to the dealer by the owner of the vehilce several times and they have been reluctant to solve the problem. I was scared for the lives of the occupants of the vehicle including a 3year old girl. This is a very serious matter and Hyundai needs to get this resolved.
    I will be contacting local media in Edmonton when I get home to bring this matter to light. It's a matter of safety to not only the occupants of the vehicle but other drivers on the road (or pedestrians for that matter).
    The vehicle accelerated to the floor and and would would not slow down, at first I was braking, but it only slowed the vehicle down a little. We went through an intersection (luckily the light was green) at the point I put the vehicle in neutral and braked to the side of the road. This was not a matter of the floor mat pressing on the gas as that was the first thing I checked, the gas pedal was stuck to the floor and there was nothing I could do about it.
  • susieqrnsusieqrn Posts: 1
    Bought new 2009 Santa Fe V6 3.3L 24 valve engine in July 2010. Vehicle load with heated leather seats, sunroof, and had remote start installed. Loved, loved the car and had absolutely no problems until 3/29/2012. Had a terrible experience that I never want again. While pulling left into a parking space with my foot on the brake and car in drive, in a split second, the car accelerated to full speed jumping a 6" curb and plowing through landscaping coming to a stop less than 2 feet from the building. I had both feet on the brake pushing as hard as I could. Thank God I stopped because of the people inside. My daughter was in the passenger seat. We had just come from a doctor appointment for her where she had staples removed from the front of her neck. I can't imagine what could have happened if we had hit the building and our airbags had opened. Being fearful of driving the car, I had it towed to the dealer. After checking the car over, the sales manager told me nothing was found wrong with the car. He stated the floor mat could have gotten in the way. The mats came with the car and are locked in place. The work order stated the accelerator was checked for sticking. MY FOOT WAS ON THE BRAKE! One mechanic stated "well the accelerator IS close to the brake." Now I have a $27,000 automobile with 8000 miles on it that I refuse to drive. I should also mention that before this happened that several times after turning when I used the accelerator there was a second of hesitation followed by a second of too fast acceleration but evened out right away. I thought nothing of it but now wonder if this was a warning of what was to come.
  • bryancosbryancos Posts: 282
    edited May 2012
    Sorry to hear about your experience. I've been there. Replacing the THROTTLE POSITION SENSOR (at my own expense because the dealer nor Hyundai would take initiative as that might be seen as them acknowledging fault or an issue) fixed our problem after experiencing unintended acceleration three times. But please do not forget to report the problem to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration / NHTSA. Go online at or call the toll free number. See my original post for more info.
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