Stalling Engines in the Santa Fe

What’s causing the 2010–12 engines in these SUVs to stall at any time?

Engine Stalling in 2010-2012 Santa Fe (image via wikipedia)

Santa Fe owners don't need coffee to keep them awake during long drives. Nope, the crippling fear of a sudden engine shutdown does the trick.

The SUV has an engine with a nasty reputation of stalling at any speed, any time, without any warning. That means no acceleration. No power steering. No power brakes. And one change of pants.

Tracing the Stalling Problem

So what’s the deal with these narcoleptic SUVs? Owners have been bringing their cars in for service to find out. So far, the overwhelming response has been “sorry, we can’t replicate the issue.” That’s kind of like your doctor saying “Maybe you passed out and hit your head at home, but you’re awake now so I’m sure you’re fine.”

Make no mistake, however, dealer mechanics are more than willing to replace your battery or clean your throttle body before handing you a hefty bill and sending you on your merry back to stall town. Sure, those repairs sound like a good idea but owners report they do nothing to fix the problem.

Santa Fe Model Years Affected by Sudden Engine Stalls

The issue appears to be happening earlier for owners of later model cars.

Year Model Top Complaint Average Mileage
2010 Santa Fe Engine Stalls / Shuts Off While Driving » 54,882
2011 Santa Fe Car Stalls » 32,703
2012 Santa Fe Engine Stalls / Shuts Off While Driving » 22,734

A Service Campaign

Then came Hyundai’s “service campaign” in mid–2014. Despite denying the existence of the problem to any owners who called, Hyundai started warning dealers that yep – these SUVs are stalling. The campaign mentions that a heavy load on the alternator is resulting in a sudden drop in RPMs but only at low speeds.

The “service campaign” suggested a free fix in the form of a software update.

Santa Fe Stalling Engine Class Action Lawsuit

In August, 2014, a couple weeks after the release of the service campaign, a class action lawsuit was filed over the stalling engines.

The suit says the automaker denied the problem to consumers all the while collecting evidence by installing monitoring devices on the vehicles brought in for service. Of course none of that was mentioned to the owners, which is James Bond villain level creepy.

Furthermore, the suit says the “service campaign” is a crock – not only does the stalling issue happen at all speeds, but the “software update” doesn’t go far enough to fix the root of the problem.

Hyundai didn’t take too kindly to the lawsuit. They called the plaintiffs “opportunistic” and accused them of “rushing to the courthouse” after the release of the service campaign. Basically, they called them leeches. Looks like someone didn’t read Public Relations 101.

Hyundai has demanded the case be dropped but that has yet to happen. For more information on the lawsuit see this article on

What Owners Are Saying and Doing

“This car is a lemon. It suddenly loses power at any speed between 40–80 miles per hour. Dealer has replaced the throttle body three times, supposedly they claim its a ”software“ update that’s needed. It is totally unreliable.” - Plantation, Fla.

“As I am driving my car the engine suddenly stops without warning. There is no indication that anything is wrong, no sudden sounds or vibration, and no warning lights on the dashboard. This problem has occurred 3 times within six weeks. I am very disgusted and do not feel safe driving in my car much less putting anyone else at risk.” - Glen Rock, N.J.

Actions You Can Take

This step is crucial, don't just complain on forums! The sites below will actively manage your complaints and turn them into useful statistics. Both and the CAS will report dangerous trends to the authorities and are often called upon by law firms for help with Class Action lawsuits. Make sure to file your complaint on all three sites, we can't stress that enough.

  1. Step 1: File Your Complaint at is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases. Add a Complaint

  2. Step 2: Notify the Center for Auto Safety

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits. Notify the CAS

  3. Step 3: Report a Safety Concern to NHTSA

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues. Report to NHTSA

Or read other owner’s engine complaints for the 2010, 2011 and 2012.

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Hyundai Consumer Affairs

P.O. Box 20850 Fountain Valley CA 92728-0850