Hyundai Santa Fe Transmission Problems



  • gerrettgerrett Member Posts: 2
    Here's one for the experts!!!!
    During a 2 hour trip back home,I was driving along last night at about 65 MPH, and all of a sudden my SF starts overreving with the check engine light on, it was like I was in neutral. No more drive ...nothing, so I put it in neutral and I coasted down to a stop, I tried to put back in drive - nothing, reverse - nothing, sport 1st or 2nd gear - nothing.
    Believing it was in fail-safe mode, I unpluged the battery to reset the ECU - not a good idea.
    Still same probleme except no more check engine light, and now no more trouble codes ...

    Anyone have any ideas to what might be happening, or what I can do ?
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    check your tranny fluid 1st...
  • gerrettgerrett Member Posts: 2
    Fluid is ok - the level is a little high, it doesn't smell burnt and it doesn't have any deposits in it - all fuses were check OK, the ATM module seems ok everthing responds as they should, when I move the shifter from PARK to DRIVE, you can feel the hydrolic pump work and the RPMs go down slightly but nothing else happens, same when I shift in to reverse.
  • sandym520sandym520 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 Santa Fe and really like it. I have 68000 mile on it and have had a problem the last couple of weeks with the transmission. My husband suggested having the transmission flushed and we had that done. It seems to go along fine and when starting out and shifting from first to second we get a bump in the back end and the engine light comes on and when it gets up to higher speed it won't shift into 5th. RPM's will stay at over 3000. When it sits and you drive it everything will work fine and the check engine light will go out. This has happened about 5 times. Any suggestion has to what it might be?
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    the computer for the automatic transmission maybe... bring it to lee myles or aamco to get it checked - or at least get a diagnostic done to see what the svc eng light came on for... or it might be a mechanical failure in the transmission... another thing could be the wrong type of transmission fluid used... who did the flush?
  • sandym520sandym520 Member Posts: 2
    The problem actually started prior to the flush. Can they tell what the problem is if the engine light isn't on?
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    if it came on and went off there should still be history of the event in the computer - if there were problems before - you should never have flushed it - maybe a mechanical problem....
  • bill74981bill74981 Member Posts: 2
    anyone have a trans noise when the car is cold from park to drive sounds like a motor mount but goes away when its hot?
  • pelican19pelican19 Member Posts: 323
    Yep. You may have one of two known issues. The first is a defect in the hub assembly. There is a tsb that somewhat resolves this. I can only imagine this is a short term fix. If this is your issue make sure you keep all documentation in the event the hub fails down the road. Not under warranty after 10 or 12K miles. I have had the plastic washer replaced 3 times now to get rid of this noise when going into gear. I told the dealer that everytime this washer fails and the noise comes back there is additional stress and wear on that hub I should not be resposible for.

    The other issue that can cause this noise is a strut problem. I had this resolved just recently. I seemed to only happen as it got colder out. The funny part was it would go away before I was able to get it to the dealer so I had to leave it with them overnight so they could drive it cold. Resolution: Replaced strut. In any event I would get it to the dealer and explain in detail your issue and let them have a go at it.

    Good Luck...
  • jcwsbltdjcwsbltd Member Posts: 167
    Hi pelican19 - I still have the intermittent problem with the creaking rear suspension. From your post you mentioned replacing the strut - do you mean the hydraulic suspension strut or coil? did you have a transmission problem or a suspension issue? The dealer just spent 6-1/2 hours last week taking apart the suspension and putting it back together and I still have the same damned noise.
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    is the noise always ther? is it definitely noise from outside of the car?
  • jcwsbltdjcwsbltd Member Posts: 167
    It's definitely from the wheel, not inside the car. it's only when i go over a speed bump or a ramp - and then it's not all the time. It's a loud creaking sound, which sounds like the suspension. It's also beginning to happen when i turn right up a ramp. Driving straight on a road there is no sound.

    They keep saying it must be a worn or loose "bushing" somewhere that's causing the sound. I.m worried that when the bolt came off the left suspension control arm , that it put extra pressure on the right one and wore the bushing. They have tried twice to find it but can't.
  • don97don97 Member Posts: 5
    I just purchased this suv 118,000 miles 2.7 the transmission is acting weird wont move when cold operates fine when warm and hear a whine noise from the rear when the suv is moving any ideas at low speed the sound disappears any assistance is appreciated Happy Holidays to all. Don
  • pelican19pelican19 Member Posts: 323
    They replaced the strut not the coil spring. I was getting a thumping sound that slowly began to jiggle over small imperfections in the road. You would not hear it over large bumps only small ones and more often when it got colder. the creaking you are hearing MUST be a bushing or the strut itself. Nothing else can make such a noise.
  • don97don97 Member Posts: 5
    Would adding a quart of the wrong transmission fluid cause all these issues this may have happened with the previous owner thanks. Don
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    they need to look at the entire suspension - not just springs and strut - if a bolt fell out and they had to replace - assume that the stress of the missing bolt bent something - so whatever they reinstall will still not be right - they need to replace hardware - not just bushings
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    20023 santa fe awd? the rear whining noise is either wrong fluid in rear differential - or axel or bearings going bad - not moving until it heats up - bad tranny - wrong fluid will cause noise but if it was driven for a long period of time with wrong fluid tranny is probably already damaged...
  • swiiggsswiiggs Member Posts: 1
    I have 04 Santa Fe with 79,000 miles. Runs great until recently, has "hard" shift at about 28-30 MPH. Once car warms up, shifts fine. Dealer replaced input/output sensor and did transm fluid flush. Drove it off the lot and still does same thing.....they said it could be transmission, but I don't see how since it shifts fine once it's warmed up. Any suggestions? Thanks!
  • jcwsbltdjcwsbltd Member Posts: 167
    Thanks for the replies - I agree it must be a bushing as they re-tightened all the struts to specs. on the last dis-assembly and re-assembly (6-1/2

    I also originally attempted to get the service manager to sign a letter stating that they had checked the right side rear suspension components for wear and damage caused by the bolt failing on the left control arm assembly, and they would be reponsible for any further damage under warranty- but they refused to sign it on legal grounds!!!
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    yeah- something's probably bent or they didn't replace whatever "looked" ok - whatever is out of spec probably cannot be noticed by just looking - they should have just taken all the stuff they took apart and sent it for inspection and canabalized a good identical vehicle that doesn't have the problem for the same parts... but of course - it is not Porsche, Mercedes or BMW...
  • faith08faith08 Member Posts: 5
    I have a 2002 and mine does the same thing, as of late. It takes a VERY long time to realize it's in drive. Particularly on cold mornings. I've sat at two stoplights, just waiting for the car to realize it needs to go. Once I'm on the highway or once it gets going, usually it's fine. I have the type of transmission that operates like a standard and I thought it was saving me from being stranded; however it's not working properly either. On one occassion when I was stopped at a light, the stick showed it was in 3rd gear. So, part of that problem was that the car was trying to start up in 3rd gear. I was completely stopped and usually the car goes back down to 1st by itself, there's no downshifting required-- but this time it was stuck in 3rd. It never got back in 1st, I made it go by continually applying the gas -- it was a cold start from 3rd, which I know isnt' good -- but once it moved and I got on the highway, then it wouldn't get into 4th. I noticed the engine sounded loud, and it was because it was driving 65 in 3rd gear. I need this car to go in the morning, like it should. The dealer told me when I bought it that this car didn't have to be warmed up. I bought it new, it's still under the warranty, with about 3,000 miles to spare....Sometime as I'm warming it up, it bucks like a horse.....I've had my fluids checked and those are fine....any suggestions?
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    no service engine light? it is most likely mechanical - only because a computer problem would normally set off the svc eng light.... ever flush or change the transmission fluid? or the transmission filter?
  • faith08faith08 Member Posts: 5
    Yes, I do get the service engine light. I start it up, engine starts fine, sounds fine, then I shift from park to drive, the service engine light comes on, it bucks like a horse and doesn't move forward. The transmission fluid has been changed. I am not certain about the filter.
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    you need to see what the code is for the svc eng light - it may be transmission related - also - how are your engine and transmission mounts - sometimes the engine shifts affecting how the gears mesh getting engine power to the transmission... but if it starts working fine after heating up - it's most likely mechanical - transmission may need to be rebuilt...
  • faith08faith08 Member Posts: 5
    I looked at the code, which didn't explain much. I took it to Aamco, they did a diagnostic and they said that I have a cracked axel shaft - and that I don't need a new axel, just that one peice, which is relatively cheap, but difficult to get. Korean parts. They said they could tell the car had been leaking fluid all ove the place. But, I wonder, when it leaks, where does it go, because I haven't seen any spots on the ground or anything. I'm probably showing just how much I really know about cars now. ;0)

    Then, on the same day, I took it to the dealer. They said right off the bat from what I was describing to them, that I needed new transmission oil. They looked at the stick and said I had just about none and that what I did have was brown, not yet burnt, but brown and needed to be changed. (Fresh oil is pink). They did the diagnostic. And they said just about the same thing that Aamco did. Except they told me that I had no fluid at all and that was why my car was bucking like a horse and why the engine light was on. That crack that Aamco mentioned is causing the fluid to leak right out. Anything that goes in, comes right out. Korean parts are hard to get, so it'll take a few days before it comes in and thankfully, it is under the 100,000/ 10 year warranty. What they did for me was put in enough oil so I'd be fine driving until the part comes in. And immediately, I noticed a difference. No bucking. Easy shifting. My car transmission troubles are over! Thanks for your help.
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    good news - i love a happy ending... sounds like a seal is bad - but you have to remove the axel to get at it - so why not change the axel too (from the mechanics' point of view...) great if the tranny is not damaged yet ;)

    oh - when it's full of fluid you might see the leak on the ground - otherwise - you probably leak more when in motion - if you get to look at it on a lift - the whole axle will be wet!
  • faith08faith08 Member Posts: 5
    Replacing the whole axel sounds good to me....those boogers are expensive though...I don't think the dealer would go for it...and I surely can't pay for it...It seems it would behoove them to replace it all. However, I wonder if that's what the dealer plans to do anyway, because when I called parts to find out about this shaft, they told me they couldn't get the shaft without getting a whole new axel. The axel is about $675. Interesting. They were willing to sell me the whole thing. It'll be interesting to see whether they replace the whole thing since now it's on them, or if they miraculously find just the shaft since it's not that expensive. I will let you know.

    Seeing it would make more sense to me. Visual learner. I'll ask them if I can see it once it's up.

    So, what you're saying is that because I've driven -- for I don't know how long -- without fluid that I could have permanent damage to the transmission?
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    this is an '03 santa fe? did they say if it was the right side or left side?

    yeah- if you run the car without enough tranny fluid - it can mess it up...

    over 600 for just the part? or to install?
  • faith08faith08 Member Posts: 5
    This is an 02 Santa Fe. The parts guy said about 670 just for the part. It's on the right side.
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    an awd 02 santa fe automatic transmission - i can't see what would cost that much just in parts... if they are doing it under warranty great - if they want you to pay for anything let me know - i can get those parts for dramatically less... considering it's the same parts we're talking about...
  • marie44marie44 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 Santa Fe. The transmission stutters a little around 35 - 40 mph. I had it checked out yesterday & was told it was the clutch slipping in the torque converter.
    My question: Since the stuttering is still mild, would this cause any damage to the transmission itself? I don't want to be pressured into fixing something that isn't actually broken...
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    failure is inevitable - without any further warning - the car may just stop moving... you can try to change the fluid to include something thick like lucas to see if it helps prolong function but eventually you will have to repair....
  • marie44marie44 Member Posts: 2
    Isn't it always? ;)

    I'm getting the torque converter replaced now. I'm concerned that they will try to say the transmission is damaged as well. Would the slipping clutch in the torque converter likely cause damage to the rest of the transmission?
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    hard to say - how'd they check to see what was wrong in the 1st place? if the torque converter is a problem - can't really see how the rest works until that's fixed - if they pulled everything down and inspected it internally - they should be able to tell if the transmission is damaged too...i think that's why facilities used to charge like $300 to check it and absorbed it into the cost of the repair if you did it - if you refused you lost $300 but knew what was wrong... in a way i respect that approach because then you know what your cost is up front - not "oops - guess what - we found some more messed up crap - it's gonna cost you more...." i usually deal with Lee Myles - never really had a problem with them and their warranty is nation wide...
  • cdnbikerdudecdnbikerdude Member Posts: 2
    Hi Everyone

    My wife and I just purchased a brand new 2008 Santa Fe Limited AWD. We had the car for about 24 hrs. It has 150km on it.

    Friday evening driving approx 80km/h about 5 minutes into our drive , the SUV jerks forward. It continues to do this until we are almost stopped. The Check Engine Light comes on. We decide the car is unsafe to continue driving so we turn around and go back home. Saturday morning we bring the Santa Fe into the dealer. (it continues to jerk as we are driving so we go slow) The service manager runs a diagnostic and says it is showing a code he has never seen. The service manager takes it for a drive and says he can't give us the car back. It is randomly going into 3rd gear whenever it wants. It is now also showing a different code as well.

    Today we hear they are going to replace the transmission on the car. I can't believe this! This car is brand new! How did it get this far without being noticed? Any comments? Suggestions??? We have told the dealer we do not want this SUV back with a major component like this already being replaced.

    As you can imagine, we are not very happy so far with this car. Imagine you just purchased a $40,000 vehicle and the transmission fails the next day. The dealership has been helpful and given us the owners wife's santa fe till this gets resolved.
  • mpuzachmpuzach Member Posts: 635
    While I can certainly understand your frustration and concern, I think you're overreacting. While such transmission failures are rare, they do occus now and then. So far it sounds as though your dealer is handling the situation perfectly. Why not give them the opportunity to make things right? Odds are they'll replace the transmission and you won't have any future problems. As for "How did it get this far without being noticed?", according to your report the malfunction didn't appear until you'd driven 150 km. With that being the case, there wasn't anything to notice earlier. Just a thought.
  • cdnbikerdudecdnbikerdude Member Posts: 2
    While one would accept a minor problem such as an O2 sensor failure or perhaps some rattles and squeaks, a car that is brand new would have to have hours of work done to it to replace the transmission. It would certainly never be as perfect as done in the factory. I think you would agree if you had just bought this car and fully understand the nature of replacing a transmission at such and early point in buying the car you too would not want this vehicle.

    With that being said, we have not heard from anyone but other sales people and yourself that said we should keep this car. The dealer has agreed to buy it back and another new car is coming in about 1 week.
  • wamba2000wamba2000 Member Posts: 146
    I feel your pain, I had a german built car in the 80's that ended up getting a new rear end after two weeks of ownership. I was lucky, like you, that it was close to home and didn't strand me.
    As long as your dealer is standing behind their product and supporting you properly while they do the work, I would work with them.
  • bobmc3bobmc3 Member Posts: 8
    I have a 2003 Santa Fe (automatic 7.6 V6) with 42,500 miles which we love. We purchased used from Hyundai dealer and also bought the extended warranty. This car has always hesitated when going from reverse gear to forward gear. We have learned not to press on the Accellerator for about 4-5 seconds unless we want to experience a jolt when it finally engages. The dealer told us this was normal for this make car. I have a bit of a hard time believing that, but he claims his wife's Santa Fe does the same thing. Is this normal for this car? Or is something wrong with the transmission? Thanks!!!
  • denvertrakkerdenvertrakker Member Posts: 132
    Simple solution - ask him if you can drive his wife's car, and see!
  • bobmc3bobmc3 Member Posts: 8
    He is pretty honest guy, and would be happy to let me drive his wife's car if I asked him. But I would still be interested to know if this is "normal" for this car? And if so, I will continue to brake and wait before trying to accellerate. I would think others would have noticed this and I would have seen much more activity about it. I have only seen a few messages on this site with similar problem. Is it something you think can be serviced or fixed? Thanks
  • dreslough1dreslough1 Member Posts: 1
    I've read in many places, including these forums, that the Santa Fe has SERIOUS transmission problems. The biggest complaint appears to be that the transmission "slips" between 1st and 2nd. What's troubling is that many drivers don't notice this until they've owned the car for a week. And by that point, the 'slipping' is unbearable, but it's also too late to choose a different car.

    Excuse my naivete, but my question is whether this occurs with the automatic transmission, or with the 5-speed. I don't really understand how a 5-speed could have all these transmission problems. But I only drive 5-speed manual transmissions. So, frankly, I could care less if all these transmission complaints are referring to the automatic.

    I'm hoping to make a buying decision soon. So please reply to cjd at sportsmogul dot com.


  • mpuzachmpuzach Member Posts: 635
    I'm not aware of the problem you described. FWIW, I have a 2007 Limited AWD with automatic and the transmission has been flawless.
  • bobmc3bobmc3 Member Posts: 8
    Well, I finally took our SantaFe back to the dealer as the delay was getting to be 4-5 seconds. The service dept. said that is not normal, no matter what a salesperson may have told you. I was told it is a transmission problem. He also said it was not very commo9n on these cars and that he had only replaced 6 transmissions over the years. They called Hyundai and were told to order and put in a new "computer" for the transmission first. If this didn't work, then the transmission will be replaced. Fortunately I have the extended warranty coverage as the factory warranty is done! My car goes in tonight and they are providing us with a loaner car at their expense. So far so good....we'll see! I can't speak to the conclusion that these cars have a transmission problem, as every thing I have read seems to be a very good and reliable car, and certainly new purchases for original owners have a wonderful warranty! May be that's why you don't find too many of these on the used car lots to purchase...people hang on to them.
  • i360i360 Member Posts: 74
    Sorry to hear your troubles....

    I have a 2007 Santa Fe Limited which does not have the 1-2 gear issue, and has been pretty much problem free.

    And your right i'm seeing alot of newer Santa Fe on the road and they have become very popular. I see several everyday.......I ran a search on AT and there are only 6 used limiteds for sale in a 100 mile radius of my home, and I live in a fairly populous area (4-5+ million).
  • tdtemplintdtemplin Member Posts: 1
    My wife's 2007 Santa Fe Limited with about 21K miles had a similar problem crop up recently.

    Suddenly the SUV jerks forward. The Check Engine Light comes on. If you slide from Drive to Manual, it stays in 3rd gear and refuses to shift down or up.

    We came up with a workaround to use until we could get to the dealer: pull over and park, turn the car off, wait about 5 seconds, and restart the car. Slide the transmission to Drive then Manual. If it says "1" you are good-to-go until the next occurance. If it says "3", turn the car off and try again.

    Now at the dealer, so far they have replaced the "transmission harness" but that did not solve the problem (it reoccured that night after getting the car back). Now they are replacing a computer of some sort. We'll see how that goes.

    I am also requesting they install the "Retrofit Dome Light Kit" (as explained by Hyundai USA) so the map lights will light when the door opens. The tech had never heard of it (seems like by now all the dealers should know about it) but was going to talk to his boss.
  • bel15bel15 Member Posts: 1
    Hi I have a sante fe 2003 model. I took my car to a hyundai dealer and they were supposed to fit a transmission filter to my car that they supplied to me. They pulled apart my car only to find that I did not have a filter to replace. Of course I was charged for them to do this, but my question is, Why did they not no that my car did not have a filter to replace? All that needed to be done was to change the oil and I paid $180 to change oil, when my husband could have done it. I feel that they did not have a very good knowledge on their own product. Please explain! :surprise:
  • rkatherinerkatherine Member Posts: 5
    Can you tell me how my 2007 Santa Fe went into neutral without keys in the ignition?? Today our son went into it to get change for the snowcone man, he believes he may have hit the gear shift but he is 6 and he is not sure. Anyway, we live on a steep hill and the car went down the hill and across the street. Needless to say we are very upset and shook up, but thankful that our son is perfectly okay. My husband says it is not possible, and should not be possible for this to have happened, but I cannot find any other explanation.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    but he is 6

    Who parked the vehicle?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • jcwsbltdjcwsbltd Member Posts: 167
    I'm so glad the no-one was injured. Was the parking brake on ? - I can't see how it moved if the parking brake was applied. Was it parked on the steep hill, or on a level driveway?

    I thought there was a safety feature on the transmission where it locked the gear lever and the wheels into place when the lever was placed in "P". Only then could the keys be removed. After re-starting,you have to then step on the foot brake to release the lock on the gear lever before it can be placed into gear.

    The only other possible explanation may be that it was left in neutral.

    Or that somehow the locking mechanism on the gear lever failed, or was broken by applied force.

    Or, the foot brake was applied and the gear lever was manually moved into neutral allowing the car to move.

    But, if the parking brake was applied, then it should have prevented it moving anyway. Hmmm.
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