Hyundai Santa Fe Maintenance and Repair (2006 and earlier)

drew_drew_ Member Posts: 3,382
Please discuss your Hyundai Sante Fe problems and any possible solutions here. Click here to go to the main Hyundai Sante Fe discussion topic.

Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards


  • roadkill55roadkill55 Member Posts: 25
    I have had my SF since November and all has been great. I have had only a couple of minor problems that were quickly taken care of. And also a concern that has yet to be addressed. I have a GLS FWD model.
    1)When I got it I noticed that the driver side window was somewhat slow to roll up. It suddenly got worse so I took it in and they put in a new window actuator (I think that this is what they called it). It has worked great since.
    2)I took a trip last month. When I got back I noticed a loud chirping sound from the motor. It was the belt. They told me that sometimes a 'glaze' forms on the belt. They cleaned this off and told me that if it does it again that they would replace the belt.
    3)There is an intermittent issue. At very low speed I hear a sound that I cannot describe very well from the left rear end. It is kind of a rubbing sound. But of course it does not do this all of the time and the dealership cannot duplicate the problem and a visual inspection does not indicate anything. They have been very good about it and told me to bring it in as soon as I hear it. Of course the sound only happens when I am unable to get the SF to the dealer for some reason.
  • mrmagoo55mrmagoo55 Member Posts: 16
    I've had GLS FWD since early December. About 2,400 miles on it.
    I've noticed references to my two problems on the Topic Board, but no one really
    goes into detail re repairs to these problems:
    1. Vibration at 57-64 MPH.
    2. Low brake pedal, stops o.k. but you need to apply pressure.

    Please respond with answers/questions re same.

    Thanks much.
  • tincup47tincup47 Member Posts: 1,508
    Having worked at a hyundai dealer in the past, window regulators have been an ongoing problem with all models.
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    1. Vibration at 57-64 MPH:
    Could be the road without a good pavement causes to vibration otherwise could be the engine and the dealer have been aware of this situation on some Santa Fe. Feeling the vibration right away because of the tires use 30psi and 30 psi and we think that Hyundai should use 28psi but we are still waiting for this question to be solve If still happen a lot on vibration then the dealer can replace for a new engine and ready to roll again.

    2. Low Brake Pedal, need to apply pressure:
    I drove the Lexus ES300 and they act exactly the same as the Santa Fe. Most likely is prevent brake from wearing out fast. Any different brake pattern that are different then the Santa Fe will likely have to adjust brake very often. My 1977 AWD RAV4 was an example and I know what you mean. I just press lightly and the brake start already and I thought it was good but I have to bring the car to my best friends to adjust it very often. Santa Fe brake pattern is was good and I have test on the quick brake once and stop immediately at about 30mph (giving me a better distance compare to my 1997 RAV4). Yes! Just apply a little pressure and you will be able to get use to it. I have no problem with my Santa Fe brake pattern and I love the way it suppose to be.

    3. Window Wiper Squeeze:
    Since I first drove my Santa Fe the window wiper was squeezing too. But that was not the problem due to the wiper power switch. The squeeze was cause due to the over-dry part. It just the dry liquid that they use to wash and dry the window. I wash the window and the wipers again and it work find afterward. That time there was a lot of rain here in San Francisco too.
  • jcstokerjcstoker Member Posts: 4
    I have had my GL in the shop 3 times for the same problem. The
    problem was a rough idle/miss. The problem was related to the 2.4L
    motor only. The vehicle was in the shop for 30 days.

    The vehicle kept slipping a couple of teeth on the timing belt jumping
    the base timing out of sync. The Hyundai Corp. was in the process
    of a redesign of the timing belt cover and tensionor for the timing
    belt to prevent it from jumping.

    The Hyundai people say that this problem has occurred to other
    2.4l Santa Fe owners and is not a safety issue but may result in
    some sort of technical recall/improvement notice.

    Has anyone had this same problem or similar and how was it corrected?
    They installed the newly designed replacements and so good.
  • toeouchtoeouch Member Posts: 14
    My GL V6 AWD has had vibrations (particularly felt in steering wheel shaking) at speeds around 60-70 mph from the day I bought it. It was in the shop for weeks - alignments, tire rotations, balances were ineffectual. Finally they thought that the rear-end had to be changed. The main difference afterwards was that the vibration kicked in at around 67 mph rather than 62... Not a great victory. Has anyone overcome this problem?
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    There is a timing belt problem occur on the 4 cylinder and the dealer/manufacture have awared of this problem. They will do their best to solve the problem. Most likely they have to change timing belt....

    I have a V6 Santa Fe "Top of Line" modern but never have the vibration problem. You will feel the vibration because of the road and tires involve. The tires use 30psi and easily feel road crumple on the unbalance road..."you know what I mean".
  • rsharp83rsharp83 Member Posts: 82
    The vibration problem was posted and a fix for it found in the Sante Fe discussion formerly called poor mans lexus. It is a fixable problem. Look back in December or early January for the posts on this topic.
  • toeouchtoeouch Member Posts: 14

    That was a discussion that I initiated! The "resolution" was to have the rear end changed, but as I mentioned, it did not fix the problem, it only changed the speed at which it occurred. If it is otherwise "fixable" I would be happy to know how...
  • pnw1pnw1 Member Posts: 11
    Well, I've noticed my front end seems out of alignment, wind noise in my driver's window, and the wipers seem a bit "odd" I'm having them look at this stuff now, and put on the new new plates, since it will be in the shop 5 days with coatings and all, we'll see if that takes care of the issues but, still love it, and the issues are minor.
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    Seems out of alignment:
    Most car do have it someday! Really just need wheel alignment to solve the problem.

    Wind noise in driver's window:
    I have more wind noise now because of the window visor install but that is really only happen on windy day. Overall when listen to stereo I don't really hear it..

    Wipers seem a little bit odds:
    I have changed it to the double wipers on each side with the size of 20" & 20"! While the OEM wipers is 20" on passenger and 22" on driver..
  • wbdavewbdave Member Posts: 11
    After waiting a very long 4 months for the vehicle of my dreams, black GLS AWD w/ABS+TC, I ran into a problem two weeks after taking ownership. Went out one morning and my SaFe would not start. Contacted the 1-800 number for help. The tow truck guy came out and also tried to start it without success. He towed it to the dealer on a Tuesday morning. Of course after we get to the dealer the mechanic comes out and it starts right up, he drives it into the garage and the next time I see him is a minute later telling me and the service manager that he can not get it started again, this was good news, they didn't think the tow truck mechanic or I was nuts.

    The end of Tuesday still no call from the dealer so I call them. The service manager tells me they just got off the phone with Hyundai west coast who tells them it's a short somewhere that's causing the problem. He goes on to say they'll get right on it Wednesday morning. Wednesday rolls around and it's the afternoon still no call from the dealer. I call them and the service manager tells me it had nothing to do with a short but they called Hyundai west coast again and this time they tell him it's the ECU, the main computer. They are over-nighting a new ECU to the dealer from California. Thursday I get a call to pick up my SaFe, they popped the old chip out, the new one in and all was okay.

    Outside of that problem all has been great, it's a super vehicle!!!!!
  • akimmelakimmel Member Posts: 10
    After one response to my question about the illumination of the drivers door contol switches, I must post again because I get conflicting answers. Should these be lighted? Only my drivers side window switch is lighted. One fellow on another board said all switches there should be lighted including mirror controls. Can someone please compare theirs for me?

  • guyf1guyf1 Member Posts: 50
    Only the driver's window switch is lighted. They are all built that way.
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    Yes! My Santa Fe is the same as you stated.. I guess that's how the Santa Fe is. Basically what I think is that not much people look at it. I don't even look at it at all. When I move my hand on the switches; I pretty much know which it which.
  • akimmelakimmel Member Posts: 10
    I was worried that I had my first problem! All is well and I am still learning about the Santa Fe. Just got my manuals in the mail with my alarm keyfobs. They are selling so fast here they don't have all their paperwork with them at the point of sale! Amazing.

    Hung0820: enjoyed your growing website and info. Did you have to paint your fender flares so they would match the cladding, or did they come the correct color? Also, how do they go on?


  • pvalerypvalery Member Posts: 19
    only 12000 miles on my beautiful safe and my cd player stops working
    I also lost the tweeter cover 2 days after getting the car(back in march) and i'm yet to get the replacement.
    What's up with this hyundai cd player?
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    tweeter cover:
    Call your local dealer and have them order the parts for you. Otherwise, check out from Hyundai Parts

    CD Player:
    Most people replacement it with the aftermarket product. Otherwise you can upgrade to the H290=Cd/Tape/EQ combo stereo from the dealer. "Not" everyone have the cd player problem! However, it does happen on other Santa Fe owners too...
  • nogginbumpnogginbump Member Posts: 1
    First of all, we love our SF 4WD V6, etc. etc., but I have some questions.

    1. How many keys should have come with it? How many alarm system key fobs? I got one of each.

    2. The front left tweeter crackles *sometimes*. Especially when I turn the volume up/down.

    I called the dealer I bought it from and asked why I only got the one key. He said he'd get me another one. I got one--a cheap Wal-Mart copy! I couldn't believe it, but I wasn't sure if I was supposed to get two or not. My old cheapy Toyota pickup even came with two, leaving me somewhat sure that the Hyundai was supposed to as well.

    I also didn't get the roof rack key and a cigarette lighter, but I did get the runaround from the dealership I bought it from. I called Hyundai and they are supposed to be mailing me those items (I forgot to mention the key thing though).

    I will say this. NEVER ever buy anything from McCarthy Hyundai/Nissan/whatever in Blue Springs, MO (suburb of Kansas City). We wanted a V6 4WD Santa Fe so badly that we drove up there from Arkansas to get this one. The funny part is when we stopped to get gas (and directions) from a lady at a gas station in Blue Springs, she warned us about this dealership. She was so adamant, that she wouldn't even give us directions. I like the vehicle, but I somewhat wish I'd listened to her.

    Now about that one key?

  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    There should be 3 keys and 2 alarm fobs. 2 Master keys and 1 key can "not" open storage compartment box but can drive.

    No problem happen on my car at all even loud.
  • bfh1bfh1 Member Posts: 14
    hey, i only got 2 alarms & 2 keys.
  • akimmelakimmel Member Posts: 10
    I got 2 each with mine, but they had to mail them to me since these accessories had not caught up with the car yet. On the lot 3 hours when I bought it. Don't know about a 3rd key. First time I heard that.

  • jericho_avejericho_ave Member Posts: 37
    Hey hung...
    are you sure about this 3rd(valet) key??

    I only got 2 masterkeys/alarms and I was expecting a 3rd one... which does excatly what you mentioned... (drive the car but not open the compartment) when I read the manual it said that the SF comes w/2 keys that opens everything on the car.... so I figured there is no 3rd key... but now your saying there is....
  • peytonroadpeytonroad Member Posts: 27
    I also got 2 keys and 2 alarm fobs - I was planning on copying a key just to have a third-

  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    Yes! I am talking about the valet key! With this key; you can NOT open the glove-storage compartment box. I have to test it later to make sure of this! I am not sure about "regional" provided the valet key! I do for sure have 2 masterkeys/alarms fobs and 1 valet key!!!!!I guess I'll shoot the pictures and posted it in my site later..
  • scottdudescottdude Member Posts: 177
    I'm thinking about buying a Santa Fe. For those of you that had problems where you had to leave the car all day or longer, did the dealer give you a loaner?
  • wxeyewxeye Member Posts: 9
    On my SaFe I have a rattle on the door panel next to the glass on the drivers side. If I apply slight pressure to the door panel under the glass or against the window it stops. Sounds like perhaps a clip or something under the panel and hitting the glass. Any ideas?
  • jericho_avejericho_ave Member Posts: 37
    based on my experience, they do provide a loaner/ rental car if your vehicle will need more than a few days to fix. But you have to check with the dealer first because it may not be offered on some dealers. (i've read a user posting that said he wasn't given one).
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    Where to leave the car:
    Depend on the driver job/duty. From work: I park my car for about 3 hours and then drive to lunch. After lunch another 3 hours I go pick up my wife and then my children and then head home. Some people drive nearly all day because of the delivery job/duty they are in. All depend on what you are doing.

    Dealer give loaner:
    Nearly all dealers are willing to give loaner and most of them are working with the bank/partner. Depend if you are qualify; basically if you have a good decend job then getting a loan is a "piece of cake"

    Check the eye glass on the overhead console; the ashtray; the armrest top & bottom storage bin; the storage at door panel; and tweeters-speakers.
  • pnw1pnw1 Member Posts: 11
    Well, after a week in the shop, with free loaner, Coating where put on, plates, had a detailing and had the drivers window rubber strips replaced, and the wind noise is gone! Had them check the alignment only to find the tires had improper air pressure, anyway, all is solved and I'm happy again!

    On the keys issues, I got two keys and alarm controls, and a key for the luggage rack.. Or, that's what I'm told it is, any confirmations? as I have not used it yet.
  • rbnatorrbnator Member Posts: 14
    Has any one experienced problems with the finish on the cladding? That's the grey part on the sides and the bumpers. Mine seems to be peeling in spots. The vehicle is 4 months new with 5K. Will this be something that would be covered under warrenty? Probably will take it to the dealer next week for first time service.

  • georgia_dawggeorgia_dawg Member Posts: 1
    Hung 0820 - What is your website address?
  • martinique_3martinique_3 Member Posts: 3
    Does the state in which you live have a "lemon law"? In Michigan we have it. The lemon law states: If your car has been in the shop 4 times for the same problem or for 30 days (or more), you may be intitled to a money refund or new vehicle
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    Most likely the dealer is going to drop in some touch up paint for small scratch; if big scratch occur then they are going to replace it with the whole piece or repaint the whole piece.

    My website:
    If you click on my user ID then you will find it:
    My website
  • chytraeuschytraeus Member Posts: 27
    Just saw this on the Edmunds site. The JD Powers study puts Hyundai almost at bottom of the list for quality - beating only Kia, Suzuki and Daewoo (and much worse than both Mazda and Ford, I might add). I'm sure this will stir up some discussions with our Sante Fe listeners out there.

  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    I am not sure about that Quality Report because we are talking about the Santa Fe here! Not sure if that report reflect only on the Santa Fe or on every cars from each manufacture. They put Honda CRV for Mini SUV category which I think it was kind of way off.

    Try to compare the RAV4 versus CRV in this Edmund/Townhall the RAV4 is more satisfy. Try to compare the CRV with the Forester in this Edmund/Townhall the Forester over power the CRV. Remember one things! They never even compare the CRV versus the Santa Fe.

    While Hyundai Santa Fe rated top compact SUV vehicle Satisfaction:
    News Update
  • pro212pro212 Member Posts: 44
    Anyone know the answers? Hung??
    1. So far, only Hung reports a third valet key. I only go two keys and two remotes also on my LX. Anyone but Hung get a valet key (that doesn't open the glove box?
    2. Under my driver's seat, (I'm in the rear seat looking under), I see a long two-three strand wire with a rectangular connection clip. It seems to be some type of connection or accessories connection wire that must have come lose, or maybe for some accessory I don't have??. I can't find where to connect the end clip, and everything else seems to work fine. The right side passenger seat doesn't have this particular wire and clip. I have an LX with ABS/traction control/heated seats/electrodim mirror.
    3. When I shift into park and turn off my Santa Fe ignition key, about 35% of the time it will only turn to the accessories position but won't let me turn to the "off" position and get the key out. Then I have to shift to gear (car not on) and then back to park and it will allow me to turn to the off position and get the key out. It doesn't seem to be a problem if I shut the car off in neutral and then take the key out and shift to "Park" which doesn't seem to be the correct, natural thing to do. Any thoughts on this?
  • guyf1guyf1 Member Posts: 50
    The JD Powers report you are refering to dates from May 15, 2000. It is 1 year old so it is probably reflects quality of 1999 and 2000 model year vehicles.

    The Santa-Fe is obviously not included in those numbers.

    I am sure that the Santa Fe would rate better than that.
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    Two-Three wire Strand:
    There should be 3 wires strand available on each each of the front seats. There are only 2 wires strand that you need to attach to the connection right under the front seats. These 3 wires strand are small, medium, and large. You only need to attach the small and medium strand to the connection hidden right under the seat. One wire is for the Seat Belt and other for the Heated Seat. The other big wire strand seem to be for the Power Seat which "I think" it was not available on the Santa Fe.

    Ignition Key:
    You are NOT suppose to be able to get the key out if the gear is in Neutral. You must get the car to the dealer and have them check Gears. Otherwise thing might even get worser in the future. It is better to check it as soon as possible. That does not sound normal at all.
  • pro212pro212 Member Posts: 44
    Hung, I can't get the key out in neutral, but I CAN turn it all the way to the off position, then put it in park, then take the key out. This seems to be the only "foolproof" way to turn the key to the off position. Otherwise, normally I put the car in park while it is still running, try to turn the key to the off position. It will 30% of the time stop at the accessories position though turn off the motor. Then I have to put the car into neutral and back to park to get the key out. I assume you never had this problem? What about other owners? Thanks pal!!PS I assume the new Santa Fes don't have any special "break-in" oil which should not be removed before the first scheduled oil change? Can you call HyundaiUSA for me as I am overseas now. Thanks again!
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    Ignition Key:
    Yes! You can turn the key to the "Off" Position when the gear is in Neutral. It seems like when you put the gear in "P"=Parking the gear did not sit in the P correctly and therefore you can not get the key out. It sound like the gear did not properly adjust correctly when push into "P". You might need to open and adjust the bolt/screw that adjust the gear to sit properly. Otherwise you can have the dealer to do it. This is a hard thing to do because you have to remove the center armrest console box and the cover of the gear.

    Santa Fe Oil:
    You don't really need to have any special oil type for the "break-in". Basically just use the any of the 5-30sae oil you like and then change it. I have heard that some people even use synthetic oil on their 1st oil change on the Santa Fe and they give back a good feedback. Therefore, it does not really matter what type of engine oil you are using. However, use the best engine oil 5-30sae (the most expensive in the store would be nice).
  • lesteryeonglesteryeong Member Posts: 4
    Hello to all dear owners or soon-to-be-owners of SFs. I will be getting my baby soon in bout two weeks time and I can't wait to out my baby on the net for all of you to see! It's sandstone, comes with bullbar, sidesteps, roof-racks, knuff plates, and check this out, wood grain finishings! Meanwhile, I'm actually looking around for compatible rims and tires for the baby. The baby comes stock with Michelin LTX M/S. You can reach me at [email protected] Thanks!

    With regards

    Lester Yeong
  • hkjanghkjang Member Posts: 12
    I might buy GLS 4wd with option package 15 for
    It's MSRP and the dealer won't go down.
    What do you all think?
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    It is still a good price! I paid nearly almost $1000 above MSRP price but I am still happy. I am sure you can do better if you try to call them back and ask if they want to go lower then you will come back and sign paper work. Otherwise call a few other dealers and see what can they do.
  • gfred57gfred57 Member Posts: 3
    We bought our Santa Fe (GLS 2WD) in January. Love it! My husband drove from Wichita, KS to Houston, TX in March or April. Everything was fine until about 1 week after he got home. Mileage: 3,500 When I approached a stop sign and put the brake on, a loud vibration noise occurred, right through the brake. I could feel it with my other foot on the floorboard. Then just recently, it started in the accelerator. Took it in the first time, they ordered brackets. Took it in this past Tuesday 5/22. They put the brackets on. When I went to pick the SF up, they said it was fixed. I did not get out of the parking lot until the noise reappeared. I went around the block to make sure. Now, they have ordered something that has to do with the Power steering or Power pump or whatever. They test drove other SF's on the lot, did the same thing, but mine was worse. Called Hyundai and told them. Gas mileage on highway - 19, instead of 26 like sticker says. Otherwise, I am happy with the product. Any suggestions as to what might be causing this vibration? Anyone else having this problem?
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    Sorry to hear that you have the brake problem but my Santa Fe reached almost 5k miles and still have no problem. I find that my car even run smoother and faster. ***Please be alert the the tires psi could be 35psi and so please drop it down to 30psi as the Manual suggestion****This will help you do the gas mileage better. The dealer should be able to handle the brake problem for you. I hope everything will go well for you.
  • tincup47tincup47 Member Posts: 1,508
    Although your advise to follow the manufacturer's recommended tire pressures is correct, it will not lead to an increase in fuel mileage. As you lower tire pressures, the rolling resistance of the tire increases and fuel mileage will actually go down slightly.
  • hung0820hung0820 Member Posts: 426
    I am in the process of testing the Psi on my current tires right now! I just recently drop from about 35psi to 30psi. So far I know that the ride is much smoother and I don't feel bumpy ride anymore. So far I see my gas mileage stay about the same. I have to do more test. "I realized that this BF Goodrich tires are good tires and need to do more research"!

    I remembered when I have the RAV4! They use the 16" rims with Bridgestone tires and that was to big for the car while CRV use 15". Anyway, when I lower the psi on the RAV, I get better gas mileage since the Manual said 28" fron and 26" rear. I see lots of people leave it at 32psi but when I tested it. It loose more gas mileage on 32psi compare to follow the Manual.

    ***I just think that the manufacture already have tested with the tires and roughly have a good idea about the tires on their car too***
  • tincup47tincup47 Member Posts: 1,508
    Since I work for an Auto manufacturer I agree that the recommended pressures are best. The manufacturer has tested the pressures and recommend the best compromise between ride and handling and fuel economy. But I also understand the laws of physics as they apply to tires. Any time that there have been trials to increase fuel mileage, the cars have run higher than normal pressures. One of the reasons they do this is it decreases the contact patch which will decrease the rolling resistance. If you look at the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius you will see they run skinny tires. This is to reduce the rolling resistance, which helps mileage and enables smaller engines to accelerate quicker. Acceleration would only improve where traction is not an issue, That is why performance cars use fat tires, they have enough power that traction becomes more important than rolling resistance.
  • tonychrystonychrys Member Posts: 1,310're wasting your time. The laws of physics don't apply in certain folk's world.
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