Product Reviews

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The Santa Fe is a pleasant and well-rounded vehicle, but it is starting to show its age. The latest freshening brought a new transmission and more fuel efficiency, but is otherwise modest. Handling is responsive and secure. Front headroom is particularly tight with the optional sunroof. Suspension noise is pronounced.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
Research Years *Redesign year
Worse Better
00
01*
02
03
04
05
06
07*
08
09
10
11
12
13*
14
15
16
17
18
Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
NA
NA
Potential Trouble Spots
Engine Major
NA
NA
NA
Engine Minor
NA
NA
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Major
NA
NA
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
NA
NA
Drive System
NA
NA
NA
Fuel System
NA
NA
NA
Electric System
NA
NA
NA
Climate System
NA
NA
NA
Suspension
NA
NA
NA
Brakes
NA
NA
NA
Exhaust
NA
NA
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
NA
NA
Body Integrity
NA
NA
NA
Body Hardware
NA
NA
NA
Power Equipment
NA
NA
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
NA
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 500,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2018 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

“Left Front Ball Joint was loose. Was not aware of problem. Was identified by technician when looking for rear noise and found rear differential coupler problem”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Had to replace ball joint twice while under warranty, but had to pay for front end alignments”

Ian M., ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Not sure for now There is noise when sharp turning left”

Anonymous H., BC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)
Bushings

“Rear control arm bushing squeak. Replaced under warranty”

Tony D., MB (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Bushing on the table had to be changed”

Michel C., QC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

“at 59k miles noise occured on start up. a fuel pump pullye i believe. luckily i was 400 miles under coverage for warranty. covered by warranty”

Anonymous, IN (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)
Shocks or struts

“Right front strut mount failed. Replaced immediately by dealer under warranty”

John W., MD (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Strut bearing failed on both front struts. Replaced under warranty”

Tony D., MB (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“The strut bearing in the front strut mounts have been replaced three times under warranty at the Dealership. It is obvious these parts require a revision and improvement. Once the vehicle is off warranty this will be expensive as they have to disassemble the strut assembly each time. This vehicle is driven on paved city roads only. Not impressed with its overall durability”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“strut mounts were making noise”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“Noise come from them Replace shock Still some c Noise when sharp turning left”

Anonymous H., BC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Broken front right coil spring”

Anonymous, NB (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“Noisy, were loose, repaired under waranty on both sides (front)”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“CV joint cover was leaking”

John R., CT (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Accessory belts or pulleys

“idler pulley required repair”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“Idler Pulley making noise (Dealer Replaced under warranty)”

Jim W., AR (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Noisy idler pulley. Dealer replaced on warranty”

Carl H., CA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“engine pulley needed replacement. Downtime 1 day”

Anonymous, AR (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“idler pulley”

Jim T., CO (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“Replaced noisy defecty polled on warranty”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)
Engine computer

“Engine seemed to want to stall when stopping. Fixed with firmware repair”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Under certain conditions when braking or under low speed, the car would stall. According to service notification, load placed on engine from alternator would cause drop in RPM and then car could stall. Hyundai updated Engine Control Module logic”

Les S., ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“Engine stalled when vehicle stopped. Computer was reset”

Anonymous, BC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“Warranty update / reprogramming the engine computer”

Anonymous, IN (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“The oil sensor switch had to be replaced due to a leak. It was replaced about 40K earlier. Done under warranty even though it has expired”

Lawrence S., ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“Condensator leak”

Daniel B., QC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“Oil pan gasket leak”

John R., CT (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“ABS, TRAC & Downhill lights on. Problem was Right Rear Speed Sensor Open Short. Repair replaced right rear HUB assembly. Covered by warranty”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Right rear speed sensor faulty. Replaced the right rear hub assembly”

Anonymous, MS (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“ABS lite and TPMS lite flashes erroneously. Hyundai performs service 17 times for TPMS and 1 for ABS lilt and has informed me that they can't fix the problem and now I own it. They did however offer me an extended warranty and said thew will continue to reset the lite for the next 7 years or 100K miles whichever comes first. I will not ever own another Hyundai”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“nothing special”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)
Parking brake

“It doesn't lock the vehicle. Upon applying, the car will roll several inches. Dealer's service dept said this is "normal"”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Had it serviced twice, as it doesn't hold the vehicle in place when applied”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“Brake pads are close to needing replacement, and rotors have been ground, and uneven wear is evident already, less than year later, and they are making a noise when applied”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“Had to replace all brake pads, had to machine front rotors and replace rear rotors at 30000 miles”

Anonymous, OH (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Very heavy rusting on rotors”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 3.5-L V6)
Rotors

“Apparently not designed well for Canadian winters. Lots of road stuff gets in”

Douglas S., BC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“they apparently wore out and I needed new ones”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Cruise control

“"Set" button occasionally does not make complete contact, requiring multiple pushes”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“Moisture detected inside left rear tail light lens”

Patricia C., MO (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Turn signal to turn left stopped working. The multifunction switch was replaced under warranty”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Left tail light fills with water”

Anonymous, CA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“lights would not come on when door opened”

Steven G., CA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Interior light not working when door opened, replaced under warranty”

Mike D., ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

“Keyless entry would no longer open drivers front door”

Anonymous, KS (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“Certain doors do not lock/unlock. Doors attempt to lock repeatedly when shifting into drive”

Thomas M., VA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“Driver door lock actuator required replacement”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Lights burnt out, both of them at less than 60000 miles and 4 years old”

Anonymous, UT (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

“Tire leak which required replacing all 4 tires”

Anonymous, GA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“drivers door weather stripping broke of in pieces”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

“Rattles in tailgate, backseat, dash, and console”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“Door hinges have terrible squeel”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“Driver window, Rattles in dash”

Daniel B., QC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“There always seems to be some sort of rattling and air leaks that they never seem to be able to fix or take care of”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)
Wind noise

“When the rear windows are opened, there is a buffering type of noise that hurts the ears. You have counter balance by opening the front windows”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“excessive wind noise at highway speed prevents use of radio”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Above 50 mph, the radio has to be so loud that normal conversation is impossible”

Ken W., TX (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“When the either/both rear windows are open, there is a buffering type of noise that is horrible. The only way to alleviate this condition is to balance it out by opening the front window”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

“Drive line coupling”

Anonymous, AB (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Horseshoe clip left off the driveshaft at factory”

Nancy F., TX (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Took it in for vibration & that is when the problem with driveshaft was found”

Nancy F., TX (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Electrical failure

“Car would not accelerate beyond 40km/hr.Car required throttle body replacement under warranty.”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)
4WD/AWD components

“Clunk after start-up from stop was traced to a bad coupler in the rear axle or differential area”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Viscous coupler went bad. The one and only time I have had an extended warrantee pay off because that would've been a $3200 fix”

Anonymous, IA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Differential

“The differential slipped and jerked intermittently for six months before it became continuous. We took it in on 4 different times. They finally fix it when it became undriveable”

Roger Y., IL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Noticed problem when I would steer car to the right or left. Nice coming from rear of car sounded like a flat tire”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)
CV joint

“Leaking seal/joint. Repaired under warranty”

Dan W., GA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“Rear passenger side light lens fogged up”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“I had some chips in the paint along the edge of the hood and on the roof. The chips on the hood and roof rusted. The chips on the roof were repaired with touch up paint. The entire hood had to be repainted to end the rust trouble”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“glass cracked, paint fades, paint easyily chipped or scratched, paint peeled on grill”

Anonymous, AB (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“front grill had paint flaking off, it was replaced”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“The front grill has been replaced 2 times because of peeling”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

“The rust was a result of the paint chipping along the edge of the hood and chips on the roof. I was surprised that the chips went clear down to the metal and rusted so quickly”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Frame rusting badly”

Paul A., ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Right under the back window I noticed a rust stain. I took it to my dealer and he repaired it. They will continue to monitor this insistent”

Bob L., ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“surface rust below rear window”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Backup or other camera/sensors

“If the sun is shining, the screen is impossible to see. It should be much brighter”

Ken W., TX (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“doesn't always turn on”

Anonymous, BC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“Take too long to come on”

Paul F., OH (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Take too long to boot up. Screen is too dark for the first 5 minutes or so”

Paul F., OH (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Sometimes the blue tooth does not work at all”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Since I purchased the car the Bluetooth does not work properly. I have also had issues with the cruise control”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Was replaced by dealer under warranty”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Stopped working”

Tony S., MI (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

“Heat/AC comes on at random settings. Fan comes on at random settings”

Thomas M., VA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

“Heater noisy and failed to work on some occations”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)
Blower (fan) motor

“Turns on and off oni its own”

Anonymous, NY (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Electrical failure

“The system cuts out at random, going from heat to cold (heater stops). Same in reverse, from air conditioner to no cool air at all. Can not determine cause of problem”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)
Heater system

“When you put the climate control on a high level, it does not heat the car up quickly or at all at times”

Anonymous, NV (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe)

“Complete heater controls replaced under warranty”

Tim W., ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

“A/C not cold and only blowing hot air. fixed at dealership”

Anonymous, MA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“Transmission acted like it started in 2nd gear from a stop. It would jump back in reverse. Under warranty, new trans. installed”

Douglas A., CA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“Had a pin size hole in the casting and would leak transmission fluid. The tranny worked fine but it Was cheapest for them to put a whole new tranny in”

Anonymous, MN (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“REPLACED UNDER WARRANTY--FAULTY SEALS”

Anonymous, BC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

“Torque converter noise. Internet information indicated a seal leak on the torque converter causing low fluid pressure resulting in no torque converter "lock up". Sometimes running the engine up to 3000 rpm for a mile or so would stop the noise for about one week”

Anonymous, OH (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“Rebuild transfer case for $1300, out of warranty”

Anonymous, WV (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

“It felt like the car was slipping out of gear and seemed to be in neutral while driving. Then it would catch and get back into gear”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

“Part of previous problem”

Les S., ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“Alternator went on way to work”

Anonymous, NL (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)
Battery (not hybrid or electric)

“Battery failed . replaced at 35 months”

Carl H., CA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Failed early”

Anonymous, CO (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.5-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

“a cheap part was damaged during a service. Coolant leaked out”

Anonymous, BC (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)
Water pump

“Water pump was leaking coolant - Dealer informed me they could not locate cause of leak; after asking them to verify once more, I am informed the water pump required replacement, a part they did not have in stock and had to wait two days to arrive”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 3.5-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

“We had an issue with a sensor whose symptoms were described in detail. Dealer said nothing wrong. Only when a Check Engine light came on would they diagnose a problem consistent with issues seen previously”

Anonymous, PA (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Tailgate, hatch or trunk

“Tailgate lift bar became separated from the frame of the car. Discovered the nut that holds the lift bar in place failed and fell into the frame of the car. Found out the nut is simply spot welded to the frame. The only way to fix was to weld out a portion of the frame to put a new nut in place. Feel this is a design defect of the vehicle”

Anonymous, AZ (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

“After 4+ years of complaints a service bulletin came out on the rough shifting and the trans computer was reprogrammed decreasing the problem significantly”

Anonymous, IN (2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 3.5-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

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This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all 17 trouble spots.
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