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Hyundai Santa Fe Air Bag Light

We have a 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.7 with Automatic Transmission. Our problem is when I am driving the car and my wife is in the front passenger seat. Regardless of whether my wife buckles up before or after turning on the ignition, she frequently gets a seat belt OFF warning light. She is properly positioned upright in the seat with both feet on the floor. She weighs 115 pounds and is 5'4". This really freaks us out because safety was a major buying consideration. It will often, not always though, go off when I will pull over, turn off the engine, and restart. We took it to the dealer and they said there are no Technical Service Bulletins on this problem. Anybody else with this problem? I really thank you all in advance for any feedback!


  • If there are no TSB's, I would politely ask them to fix it anyway....under Warranty.
  • jcwsbltdjcwsbltd Posts: 167
    There have been a bunch of complaints about this very problem on the government ODI website for vehicle complaints.
    Look up 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe.

    Call up Hyundai and find out what the design weight is for the passenger seat to activate the air bag. This is a known common complaint and they must address it if it is part of the safety system. Check on this forum for access to other sitee that can access TSB's.

    Alternatively, Go to keywords link on this page and type in TSB's and see what comes up. Sounds like yet another lazy dealership blow-off to me.
  • I recently purchased a new SE and I've got the warning light problem whithout someone in the passenger seat. The dealerhas scheduled the repair for Tuesday 11-14-07 at no cost. I also have the interior light problem. I'm calling HyundaiUSA monday about that because the dealer soesn't have a clue. :(
  • My Air Bag light came on about 3 months after purchase. The dealer replaced the fuse box saying it was defective. Haven't had a problem since.
  • If,. by the interior light the poster is refering to the map lights then there is something interesting happening here.

    You would also think they would have put it in a TSB so all Sanmte Fe's would have the Map lights working properly (They probably figured most owners would never know!) :mad:

    That would mean that there is Santa Fe stock left over from at least last Jan since that is about the time they "fixed" the map light issue on the line.

    Could some of the our owner/members that just got their 07 santas check inside the driver's side door pillar (facing rear) for the build date of their Santa Fe's. I am very to how well they are really selling (and of course if their map l;ight work properly when a door opens! TIA

    Believe it or not, Hyundai seems to have a worse name than Kia does here (Reno, NV) I also see lotsa more small Kia cars than I see kia cars..could be the size of the dealer too i guess
  • I purchased my 07 SF on Oct 1, 2007. The build date is 12/13/06.
    I need the map light fix and it is at my dealers (I ordered it from Hyundai) ready to be installed.
  • Thanks...My build date with the map light issue was also October 2006. Purchased early Feb 2007

    My map light was "kitted and fixed" last April (found out about the kit pretty early from a poster here!) and it has worked just fine ever since. Depending on the dealer, figure 45 min - 2 hrs installation time. (pretty simple. Mine took 45 minutes and it was the first they had seen (or even heard of) best of luck!!

    Ahhhh, it's nice to see in the dark now that winter is coming round with the shorter days! :)
  • toosnicktoosnick Posts: 4
    We purchased a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe 2 months ago. We have noticed the same problem with a passenger 5'5 and 140 lb. It is intermittent, but it also freaks us out. We took it to the dealer who said they could not find anything wrong with it and that there were no service bulletins. They supposedly drove around with a passenger about 130 lb and couldn't get it to happen. This is no surprise, it only happens sporadically. They said they cannot do anything unless they can confirm the problem.

    Just brought it home tonight - not fixed, and thought I would search to see if anyone else had experienced problems. The dealer made us sound like this was a strange problem and they had never heard of it.

    We have told them we will be contacting Hyundai directly because this is definitely a safety issue, and if the airbag did not deploy in an accident, and we have brought our car in for service for this issue, we will hold Hyundai responsible. I am extremely disappointed to find that a car with 600 miles on it less than 2 months old is experiencing a problem they won't fix with their supposed 5 year bumper to bumper warranty!!!!

    Did you ever get this issue resolved? If so, how? :mad:
  • jcwsbltdjcwsbltd Posts: 167
    This is a known problem -if you go to and check for complaints about the S.Fe. you will see that there are many complaints related to the same weight/seat sensor issue - in other words if the sensor is working according to design parameters then it is not a defect. If they get someone who is 200 lbs. to sit in the pass. seat, the sensor will work and turn off the air bag "OFF" light. No-one seems to know what the design weight is, however!.

    It probably needs a recall as you can imagine what safety issues may arise when they advertise the safey of the S.Fe. and then the air bags don't deploy for a small passenger if there is a wreck.
  • I see my exact complaint regarding my 2007 santa fe in this forum - my 115 lb wife does not trip the air bag sensor. Has anyone had a solution to this problem other than suing Hyundai and/or the dealership?
  • rhonasrhonas Posts: 11
    Same thing - Santa Fe 2007 AWD Limited. The passenger air bag light is on when my daughter 14 years old 105 lbs (not a child anymore) is a passenger. The light is off with my son 170 lbs.
    What is the minimum weight the light goes off according to specs/safety?
  • hodad57hodad57 Posts: 7
    I was just advised by my Hyundai dealership (Wednesday) that Hyundai has issued a "recall" (actually a fix but calling it a recall makes the offer good for an indefinite period of time) for this same problem for the Sonata. I have a copy of the letter that was sent by Hyundai to Sonata owners - apparently, the seat light issue is even more problematic in the Sonata than the Santa Fe. Anyway, I would imagine that a "recall" for owners of Santa Fe's affected by this problem will be forthcoming - hopefully! Other than this 1 issue (of critical importance to my family however), we absolutely love our Santa Fe. Hyundai is having Sonata's with seat issues brought in to the dealership who then takes the seat cushion out and sends it to Hyundai for recalibrating. I would think that Hyundai gives you a replacement vehicle or another seat - I am unsure on that angle of the specifics but this is the latest. Keep pushing for the Santa Fe seat issue to be addressed - Hyundai will feel compelled to follow through on their commitment to building a quality vehicle with customer safety a premier consideration. I feel they want to do the right thing.
  • rhonasrhonas Posts: 11
    Good to know. Actually we do own a brand new 2009 Sonata too - No problem with the passenger air bag with my daughter (105 lbs) as a passenger like in our Santa Fe.
  • RE: Front Air Bag light, 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe. Thanks everyone for all the information. It's amazing how many people have this problem. I am now continuing to search on various Government sites for additional information. My hearing is on Tuesday with the Better Business Bureau and Hyundai. I'll let you all know how things turn out. Thanks again. :)
  • I am having the same problem with my front passenger airbag staying on with my Hyundai Santa Fe which is a 2008. It seems to be an intermittent problem but I cannot get anyone to tell me a minimum weight requirement for the front passenger seat. My 21 year old daughter who weighs 130 pounds just had the air bag disengage while she was riding with me during the drive. I am very concerned about this but the dealership I took it to said I was the first to bring a Santa Fe in with this problem and they don't know how to fix it plus it does not do it consistantly. Can anyone shed some light on how I should proceed? Other than this problem we love the car.
  • Hi Edmunds Forum,

    I initiated this post about the airbag sensor not deploying for my wife about a year ago. I wanted to let people know that it SEEMS like the problem's frequency has decreased but anxiety about safety from the issue still lingers in the deep recesses of my mind. Like I said, safety was a major reason we bought the vehicle. Other than this and a strange clunky growl from the left front wheel when making a 3 point or U turn, we like the car a lot. Sounds funny to say I like the car except for these 2 major issues of concern as I reread this post before submitting it.

    Anyway, I'd like to know how this issue is going for everybody else. When I recently got a Hyundai recall notice in the mail, I was certain it would be for the airbag like an earlier poster noted for the Sonata...but it was for a hitch we never chose to purchase and install.

    So, anybody else have any breakthrough news or ???

  • Hi hodad57,

    I have the same problem. I have been dealing with it since I bought my 2007 Santa Fe. I had repeated tests conducted at the dealership. Never able to reproduce the problem on site. I talked to customer service at Hyundai and they said that they contacted the regional rep which in turn should have contacted my dealership which should have contacted me in turn. Nothing happened. On my next visit to the dealership, two days ago, I asked them to look at the problem. They were unable to identify a problem with the sensor. They did try to see if they could find a way to replace my seat but apparently they got a no go from Hyundai. They suggested that my wife seats in the back when we wife is 120lbs and the light goes on or off on a random basis. I called customer service again to understand if there is a way to look at the issue or get the work (replacement, recalibration) authorized. The reply was that if the dealership determines that the seat works as designed they cannot fix or do anything. I asked to speak with engineering to find out what the calibrating weight reference is since my wife's weight is in the adult range to me. He wasn't able to tell what weight they use as reference and then I was told that their policy doesn't allow them to transfer my call to engineering.
    I like my Santa Fe, I also have a Sonata that I like, I have no problems with the dealership or customer service, everybody is very polite. I do have a huge problem with the fact that I have been uncomfortable driving the Santa Fe with my wife in the right seat. I would have expected a more proactive attitude toward a safety concern. Hyundai is building its brand on their safety record, it is sad to see their lack of concern.
  • I bought a used 2003 Hyundai SantaFe 4cyl 2wd in Jan. which I love. But in the last couple of days the idiot light came on and stayed on. If it is telling me that it will shut off when there is a person sitting in the front pass seat weighing over 200 lbs. I had a person sitting there for two days of driving and it did not shut off. It is now on when there is no one sitting. Not sure what to do but call the dealer and check it out. I do not like driving around with the thing lit knowing it might fail if an accident occurred.
  • On 12/26/08 My wife and Daughter were involved in a head on wreck in 2008 Santa Fe. The passenger air bags did not deploy.
    I have just gotten through reading about the senser problem with the seat. My daughter is a 25 yr. old pettie woman. Something needs to be done with this..
    Due to her air bag not deploying she recived very serious injuries. My wifes air bag did deploy but she also recived sever injuries.
    Does anyone know if there is a lawsuit going due to this problem.
    Mike Moore
  • jcwsbltdjcwsbltd Posts: 167
    I am so sorry that your Wife and Daughter were involved in such a bad wreck and i do hope they recover from their injuries.

    As far as i know, there has been no news of a Lawsuit regarding the passenger seat airbag sensor, but there has been plenty of complaints about this issue from the start, also including the Sonata as well.

    If you need more ammunition, please refer to posts #3 and #11 for the Governmnent's Automobile Complaints website and look up Hyundai Santa Fe - you will see the list of complaints for your model.
  • Safety issue!! Airbag sensor system is very inconsistent! With a person who weighs 120#, 5'4" it is constantly OFF/on.
    Our experience with Hyundai's HMA was not pleasing. He said the OCS system is operating correctly after our ride.
    "I told him after our ride I still felt like the OCS system was very inconsistent (watching Off sensor light on and off during our entire ride)". Having to sit just right with my feet positioned just so, purse in back seat, in seat before motor started etc. Had we of been notified all this before purchase....a choice would of been nice. This is all nonsense for me to constantly have to be concerned of my safety!!".


    We have been dealing with this problem since October 2008, in and out of the service department.
    If they say the system works properly then why are there so many other complaints from consumers about the air bags?
    Why were the Sonatas recalled and fixed with similar problem?
    Why does the air bag system seem to function when person (120#, 5'4") sits and drives in drivers seat? IS THERE ALSO A RISK THEN?
    Why are there serious injuries being reported if air bags are functioning properly in the Santa Fe's?
    Are we the consumer responsible for injury occurring to a passenger with us knowing our Santa Fe has a very SERIOUS SAFETY PROBLEM, THAT THE DEALERSHIP WON'T ADDRESS?
    Why weren't we told when we bought the new Santa Fe by the dealership, salesmen, service mgr. that there might be a problem with the computerized air bag system. PERSON OF120# WAS CERTAINLY APART OF THE PURCHASE.
    Why did the service people tell us they had recalibrated the system and we could come pick it was fixed. We never got off the lot and it failed?
    Why are there Santa fe owners out there driving daily that have the exact same safety problem and not aware of it?
    Hope to hear from other people and their solutions. We have notified BBB and Hyundai.
  • I agree with you wholeheartedly. We have had this problem with a person 5'5 and 140 lb, and have had it in and out of the dealership. They replaced the seat, changed some settings, yadda, yadda, yadda, but it still comes on sporadically. Hyundai gives us lots of excuses about why the light comes on - person is not sitting properly, etc. We are always told that they have to actually see it when you bring it in or be able to replicate it on their own. Those of us with this problem know that it occurs sporadically - can come off and on during the same car ride.

    One time we actually drove straight to the dealership with the light on, and, amazingly, it stayed on. They actually videotaped it so that the service department could document that it indeed was on with an adult sitting in the passenger seat, properly, in their terms. They then supposedly "fixed the problem." NOT!!!! The off light came back on 5 miles down the road. What a bunch of crap! We have been to 2 different dealerships and still have this problem - this has been going on for almost a year! Only 8,000 miles on the car now!

    120 lbs still too high of a setting for the passenger seat. There are plenty of small women and teenagers who are under this weight. It should be set more toward 90 lbs. I don't understand how a small person is too light for the passenger seat but apparently weighs enough to actually drive the car!

    How did they fix the Sonata? Why can't they do the same for the Santa Fe?

    There definitely needs to be a recall.

    Are there any lawyers out there who care to bring about a class action lawsuit? I think they could find plenty of clients right here on this site!


    As far as I am concerned the 10-year warranty is crap - what good is it if the problem never gets resolved?


    :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
  • your answer is the same as ours, why arent customers told of safety problem before purchase ? would we be libel knowing of this problem and some one injured? would we be libel selling santa fe and not telling buyer about air bag? we think the dealership alone is responsible for not telling us there might be a problem with air bag. one time we took it in to be recalibrated and never left lot and light came on and stayed on. sad thing is we have rode in santa fes that work and we have told santa fe owners of problem that have the problem and did not know it. some work and some dont.i for one dont like to be lied to about , what problem? yeah right!!!
  • I have a 2008 santa fe. Ihave taken the car in since the air bags red light stays on after I start it. The first time I took it in they thought they fixed it. The light stayed off for awhile. Several weeks later it came on again. I again took it back. They tell me it is the computer on the passenger side that is not working. I was told when that light is on all air bags are off. My dealer now has my car since they have to order the whole front seat. The computer is in the seat. They are on back order The dealer did give me a loaner. If you have a santa fe and the red light stays on or the off light near the clock is lit up it means you have no air bags and should go to the dealer. My dealer called the engineer in ca. and he was told that if the light is on you have on air bags.
  • on my last remark it should say if the light is on you have no air bags. the light near the clock will be off if no passenger.
  • mtgalmtgal Posts: 2
    We have the same issue in our 2008 Santa Fe. We noticed that if my legs are constantly holding pressure down on the front edge of the seat the light stays on. I am 150 lbs and 5' 7". If I stretch my legs out or sit forward, such as to take my arms out of a jacket, the sensor indicates OFF. Lifting up and sitting back down didn't trigger the sensor either. Then I squeezed the front right corner of the seat and the sensor comes back ON. We are going to bring it up to our dealer this week. I would have thought that they would have tested this issue as soon as it came to their attention. Does the bag still deploy if the light is off? Or, will it really deploy when light is on? Not something I want to find out the hard way.
  • flower6flower6 Posts: 7
    We were told by the dealer that if the airbag light is on the air bags will not deploy. If that is correct your airbags are not working. They did replace our front passenger seat. It was on back order so the dealer gave us a loaner for several days. We have it back now and the lights are working correctly. You need to get your in very soon since it does not look like you have any airbags. If the dealer gives you a problem about it tell him to call the engineers in Ca. They seem to know all about it.
  • mj3mj3 Posts: 1
    I also had a problem with my Air Bag light never turning off on my 2008 Hyundai Sante Fe. I bought the car used earlier this year from a dealership. After driving it for about a month (~17,000 miles total on the car), the air bag light started staying on continuously once the car was started (Note: this is with no one in the passenger seat). At first, it was intermittent - sometimes the light stayed on, sometimes not. There was no predictability to it, and weight shifts did not seem to matter. Afer a few days, this happened all the time. I took the car back to the dealership (in California), and they determined that the passenger seatbelt pre-tensioner was faulty. They replaced it, and I have not had the problem since. It's been only 2 weeks, though. They also told me that if the light is on, then the airbags will not deploy.

    Good luck to the rest of you with this problem on getting it resolved.
  • I have a 2008 Limited and with 17k on it. I'm also having the same issues with the passenger air light staying on while my wife (120lb) is in the seat. Dealer claims they re-programed the sensor, but also provided sitting in the passenger seat' best practices. If Hyundai can not correct this issue quickly, I may have to move on. I'm not willing to compromising safety.
  • np01np01 Posts: 17
    This has been a problem since day one. You'd probably find numerous posts regarding this. We have an '07 and Hyundai has been telling us the same thing for two years.
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