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Hyundai Santa Fe Maintenance and Repair (2006 and earlier)



  • Thanks for the reply... I'm not impressed with this dealer.. but I'll give them a chance to make things right. So far, they've had the car for two weeks to repaint the bumper and fix some other things - a 'check engine' light, a 'thump' in the left rear while backing up, scratches on interior panels, CD player never worked, etc..
    Their dealer prep consisted of washing the car and putting Armorall on the tires - and that was done poorly. It even had a low tire that I had to call to their attention.
    To their credit, they provided a 2005 Sonata - it's a great car - good quality, good perfomance.
    We now have more miles on our loaner than we have on the car we purchased.
  • timftimf Posts: 3
    I have 5,000 miles on the car and the gas mileage is 16.3 to 16.8 that is 65miles per hr max and sometimes slower. I have talked to the dealership 3 times about this they are saying not to worry when the motor gets broke in after 10,000 miles it will improve. We are not hot rodders with the car. And it is mainly highway usage. any suggestions.
  • skuuterskuuter Posts: 144
    You don't say anything regarding the type of driving you do. Is it primarily city, a mix of city/hwy and if so, what proportion? How many people are usually in the car?

    My wife's 2.7 4WD LX gets at least 18 mpg and usually 21-22 mpg. Most of her mileage is accumulated during her daily commute which is 80% highway and 20% city. She only uses 87 octane and is a somewhat agressive driver. She definitely doesn't [non-permissible content removed]-foot her way around! Now, on a trip, loaded down with four additional people and luggage, mileage drops to 18-19 mpg. But, that's still much better than you're getting.

    I'd tell the dealer that the car is more than broken in by now and that you want it checked out. Could be a malfuntioning Mass Air Sensor or you just need a software upload.
  • timftimf Posts: 3
    skuuter thanks for the reply.I live in northern minnesota. and the highway drive to work is about 95% highway usage.5% in town. I would be happy with 21 or 22 mpg She is the only passenger in the car.I noticed you said the mass air sensor might be malfunctioning. Are you in the service side of repairing or is it something you had happen to yours? This is something I can talk to the dealer about I just would like to know if there has been a problem with the sensor please reply back
  • skuuterskuuter Posts: 144

    I'm a shade tree mechanic only. But I know that the MAF is sometimes the source of problems like this. It basically determines the fuel to air mixture based on air temp and volume. Is your air filter stock? The reason I ask, is because there are instances where people have replaced the OEM filter with a K&N or AirHog and used too much filter oil which contaminates the MAF sensor wires.

    Under your driving circumstances, you have every right to expect 20-22 mpg. Refuse to settle for less than that.
  • gsandgsand Posts: 2
    Well the vibration in my SF started when I drove it home the day I bought it. Brought it back and they did something with the rotors and balanced the front tires. Brought it back the next week and they rebalanced again. This week they test drove it and said that the vibration in the steering wheel (which starts at 30 mph) is normal. They said "you're feeling the road". They lowered my tire pressure to 30 (was at 34). Driving to work the vibration is worse -I can feel the vibration in my legs and my pocketbook on the passenger seat vibrates. I'm at wits end. I don't know what I should do next. The car has just 500 miles on it and has been back 3 times. Does the Lemon Law apply?

  • Has anyone had to have an engine replaced in a 2001 Santa FE? I haven't picked it up from the dealer yet so not entirely sure why it had to be replaced. Just wondering if anyone else had same problem?
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    Have you ever had a problem with the steering wheel shimmy/vibration (also a vibration on the passenger seat)? I've had it back to the dealer 3 times and he's telling me that it's the way it drives and the shimmy is the road I'm feeling. I test drove another SF and that did not happen.

    Any info would be helpful.

  • ugeneugene Posts: 1
    I've had a similar vibration problem with my Santa Fe that is apparently related to the brakes. It started at 30,000 miles with what seemed like the brake engaging itself on the front wheels causing a scraping noise. They couldn't find the problem so they replaced the brake pads, took the rotors etc. apart and re-assembled. 8000 miles later the whole car started shimmying every time I put on the brakes.

    Took it back in, they said I must have been braking excessively (I wasn't) as the front rotors all warped And besides, if you are sitting on the brakes all the time the rear ones will be affected as well.

    4000 miles later the same problem has reappeared. The whole car shimmies whenever you step on the brake, it's bad at low speeds but even worse at high speeds. Couldn't be using the brakes any less unless I stick my foot out the door to slow the car. Lots of brake dust on front rims, none on rear rims. The dealer is refusing to do anything about it because he says he can't find anything wrong.

    The braking power of the vehicle has greatly diminished since the problem has begun again.

    Any ideas anyone? The car is still under warranty so I don't see how the dealer can refuse to attempt to fix the problem.
  • pbmacpbmac Posts: 3
    Start the lemon law process now.. I purchased my SF in Oct of 2003 and the problems started right away with the vibration. Dealership did the same thing.. balance the tires. rotated the tires. turned the rotors all the way around they even did this thing called a radial force balancing. nothing worked. I have the same problems. my vibration/shake starts around 50 and goes now through 65. and i was also told that this is characteristic of the vehicle.. can you imagine.. I have started the Lemon law process against hyundai... I had my vehicle in the shop 8 times for the same problem.. and they do not know how to fix it.. I even had the regional service rep from hyundai drive the vehicle .. he felt the problem but says that that is normal.. I have driven 3 suv's previous to this one and I can tell you that none of them ever had this vibration.. Reading your complaint was like deja

    I have the same exact problems. .. . Let me know if you want more info on the lemon law procedure.. .


  • pbmacpbmac Posts: 3
    Does your car still have the vibration?. See my comments under #825.. I am also having this problem..


  • timftimf Posts: 3
    Updated news I an now getting 13 to 14 miles per gallon the dealer wants 3 gas tank receipts with mileage and then they want to drive it about 120 miles. To check the mileage out on there own. I think for a small 2.7 v-6 engine it should get at least 18 if not better it is about equal to my pickup 4x4 with a 350 v-8 engine it gets 13 to 14. per gallon.
  • I have had the same problem with my audi. The last in a long line of fixes which included 3 wheel balancing, a new wheel and the final change is the tie-rod boot needed replacing.
  • mjvf57mjvf57 Posts: 1
    I want to log in with my recent purchase, a 2004 Santa Fe GLS 3.5L. We just bought it last night, and the first time today I drove it, the check engine light remained on. I happened to be on my way to the dealer to sign the sale papers; the service department said it was the gas cap (as other's have posted) and reset it. However, not 2 hours later, with no one having touched the gas cap, the light is once again staying on. By now the service department was closed until Monday. Not a good start with a new car.
  • fmre4fmre4 Posts: 9
    We've got the digital climate control system on our SF, that also has the "Automatic Feature".

    My problem is that the defroster comes on immediately at startup, which obviously has the compressor running, which is a waste of gas and which puts unnecessary strain on the engine.

    It's a simple matter of pressing the mode button to turn it off. Does anyone else have this problem? Or could it in fact be defaulted to do this?

    When I brought this to the dealers attention, I requested to have them start one up in the lot to see for myself if it's a normal occurance. The dealer didn't think it was and went ahead and replaced the climate system head unit, but the problem still exists. (again, could this be normal?)

    On my next visit, I'll be more assertive for sure, and check out a similar model!

    As I mentioned above, our model has the Automatic Feature. We don't opt to use said feature, as when that's on, the defroster is also on the entire time.

    Other than this issue, we absolutely love the car!
  • skuuterskuuter Posts: 144
    Sounds like they just reset the warning relay. If no one touched the gas cap, then the problem still exists, i.e., loose cap or bad gasket. Another problem could be the check valve in the filler tube getting stuck.


    Gas up and make sure whoever closes the cap gets it to click three or more times, after re-setting the light, of course.
  • tch5ktch5k Posts: 1
    Okay...came to this website by mechanic friend recommendation. I have 14k on my Santa Fe and I'm nervous! My vibration started on the drive home, with 150 miles on the car! Took it back at 5k, they "couldn't duplicate it". Drove it 8 hrs to FL and on the way back, going 75 on the Interstate, was scared many times that the brakes weren't going to stop me! Took it back in, they rotated and aligned it, said the brakes looked fine. Now I'm here and reading all the same problem!! My friend thinks it has to do with the ABS system...I think I'll make a copy of all these posts and take them with me! Any body had it repaired successfully?

    I love the car so it makes me sad to have this feeling that something's just not right with it..
  • Hello,


    I just got into an accident a week in a half ago. I have a 2004 Santa Fe GLS 2.7 v6. When I went to press down on my brake, the brake would not stop my car and my steering wheel locked up. I ended up rear-ended the person. Has anyone experienced that? I think my car stalled before I pushed on the brake, causing the brakes and steering wheel not to work.


    Another problem.. almost everytime I accelerate my car stutters. Sort of jumps a couple times before taking off. This happens each time I'm at a stop sign/light or just starting up my car.


    Thanks for any help you can provide.
  • skuuterskuuter Posts: 144
    I think you are correct in believing the engine stalled before you applied the brakes. That would explain the steering wheel seeming to lock up. You evidently lost power steering and brake boost.


    Have you seen the dealer for this stuttering?
  • Yep..they had to upgrade something.. As for the possible stalling.. the mechanic slammed on the brakes and the car stalled.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    In terms of the stuttering - my wife's Elantra had a similar problem. In her case, it was a faulty throttle position sensor that caused a slight hesitation / stutter when the accelerator was initially depressed.
  • I wanted to purchase my 18 year old daughter a new or used santa fe and am a little curious as to how you compare the santa fe to other suv's....I like the price as it is affordable...does that mean "you get what you pay for?" I really like the style and my daughter loves it and it is affordable, but, I don't want to throw my money down the toilet if the vehicle doesn't hold up or if there are mechanical problems in my future. Can you recommend another sound vehicle, with a good price tag, that is a GOOD vehicle??!! Thanks, terrie1111
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Many people are reluctant to recommend a top heavy vehicle for any new driver, but I'd certainly shop and test drive a Santa Fe if I was in the market for a SUV for myself. Gotta love the warranty.

    Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Teenager's Car


    A Car for Your Teen


    Defensive Driving School for Teenagers


    Steve, Host
  • My sister also has a 2004 Elantra and had the same problems. Her car was stalling too.
  • Thanks for the quick response! Have you heard any negative remarks regarding the Tiburon....I like the way it looks and the gas mileage...Terrie1111
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I don't follow the hatchbacks much (I have enough trouble trying to keep track of the SUVs out there!).


    Take a look in the Hyundai Tiburon discussion for comments and advice.


    Have fun shopping.


    Steve, Host
  • Yes, in June I was driving along fine when the car just died. I had it towed to dealer and they said the engine shafts(?) broke and scarred the engine. I had 65,000 miles on it. The engine was replaced. the catalyic converters were replaced, the busted engine caused them to break. Several other sensors were also replaced. The warranty covered everything but the tuneup and spark plugs and wires. around $700.00. I now have about 9,000 miles on the new engine and it is running fine.
  • cjb2486cjb2486 Posts: 26
    When we bought our 2004 Santa Fe, it was also with my 18 year old daughter in mind. So far it's a year old and have had no problems with it in 12,000 miles and my daughter loves driving it. As far as how it compares, we shopped around a lot and compared the Santa Fe to the Escape and RAV4. The Santa Fe seemed to give a lot more for the money and felt more secure. Also we previously had a '97 Honda CR-V, which had much less power and got worse gas mileage than the Hyundai. The best indication of how we like the Hyundai compared to the CRV is that in 3 years we only put 20,000 miles on the Honda, while we're putting 1,000 miles a month on the Hyundai.

    As far as problems go, you're in the "Santa Fe Problem" forum so it looks like every car has problems. I know of 2 other people that have a Santa Fe. One is 2 years old with about 20,000 miles and the other is only 1 year old with over 50,000 miles. Both have been troublefree like mine.

    Best of luck.
  • After no less that 8 times the car was in for a look at, and have heard through the servise advisor 2 others have the same problem, the Dealer now wants to refund me all moneys spent for chrome wheels and low profile tires that they sold me plus tax to get out of his problem. I still have no idea if the standard alloy wheels will not vibrate. Oh he also offered me to spend an addl $900 for the new Hyundai 18" chrome wheel or $2100 for the Hyundai 20" wheel. Isn't he great(yeah riiiight)

    I will talking to the local TV Nevada news station (of which I have contacts,so watch for me), Hyundai USA and looking into the lemon laws and also hope the dealership is keeping up with this message as he knows who he is
  • bb04bb04 Posts: 2
    My SF is about 6 months old with 9,000 miles. Check engine light came on about a month ago. I retightened gas cap, even though I thought it was ok, and a few days later the light went off. About a week later, same thing happened, did the same thing, and light went off. Mentioned it to the service dept. who said as long as it went off, it should be ok, no reason to run a diagnostic. A few days after my next service, light came back on and stayed on for a week. Was then told that as long as it was not blinking, its okay to drive and that it happens alot in these cars. Eventually brought it back in because it was still on. They reset it and said it was because of the gas cap. Light stayed off for a day but came back on and has stayed on for over a week. Did not get gas after service/before light came back on. Is this a common problem with the SF? They don't seem to think it's a big deal. I had a Saturn with 190,000 miles and the the few times the light came on, it was for a good reason. Even if nothing is wrong with the engine, it is annoying that it is always on.
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