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Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Problems

in Reliability
Grey Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport by SsmIntrigue CC BY-SA 4.0

Named after the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hyundai has been manufacturing its first sports utility vehicle since 2000 to rave reviews. In 2013, Hyundai unveiled the Santa Fe Sport, the short-wheelbase version of the original. The Sport is only available in a two-row seat option in North America, but comes equipped with a four-cylinder engine.

Most of these SUVs will give you an excellent, comfortable ride, but many have a few problems attached that you should know about going in. CoPilot is here to help keep you informed of everything you need to know when purchasing a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport!

The most common problems with Hyundai Santa Fe Sports & costs to fix

These are the most common problems reported by owners on platforms such as carproblems.com, carcomplaints.com, and Car Talk Community.

  1. Engine failure. Cost to fix: $3,500
  2. Paint peeling and blistering. $500 - 3,000
  3. Rodents chewing wires. Cost to fix: $390

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Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: Engine Failure

Cost to fix: $3,500

The most complained about problem with Hyundai Santa Fe Sports is also highly concerning. Many customers have reported complete engine failure while driving, putting them and their passengers in precarious situations.

In most reports, the engine began rattling loudly shortly before failing completely, causing the car to die in the middle of a drive and forcing the driver to coast into a safe spot. Thankfully, there are a few symptoms you can look out for so that you can take action immediately if you sense an impending engine failure.

Any sudden changes in the performance of your Santa Fe Sport are huge signs that something is wrong with the engine. The SUV might start shaking when idling or speed up at a much slower rate than before.

Your check engine light is another indication that your engine could shut down soon. This light can mean a lot of things, so if no other symptoms are present it’s likely not an engine failure, but it’s important to have it checked regardless.

A loud knocking or rattling noise is one more sign that your engine is shutting down, especially if the noise rises and falls in speed alongside the vehicle’s speed as a whole.

With a total engine failure, the only way to truly fix the issue is to have the engine replaced entirely. The average cost of such a repair for the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is approximately $3,500, so it’s important to have the car inspected before buying.


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Problem two: Paint Peeling and Blistering

Cost to fix: $500 - 3,000

A few Santa Fe Sports have had their paint begin to peel, blister, and generally look disheveled in the first year or so of their lives. This issue will only affect your SUV cosmetically and will not harm its actual performance or put you in danger. However, this is an annoyance and nobody wants their vehicle to look messy. 

Unfortunately, if your paint does begin to peel there isn’t much you can do about it. Hyundai doesn’t have any solutions themselves, so the only real workarounds are to ignore it or get an aftermarket paint job somewhere. Paint jobs can range from $500-3,000 depending on where you take it and how high the quality of the job is (in extreme cases, an excellent paint job could run you over $5,000).

One upside here is that this is a rare issue among Hyundai Santa Fe Sports, and even within the few reports that there have been, some instances were due to a person damaging the car and not an issue inherent with the car itself.

Another Common Problem with Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: Rodents Chewing Wires

Cost to fix: $390

Although relatively uncommon, rodents have chewed through the wires of a couple Hyundai Santa Fe Sports. Rodents are attracted to the wiring systems of certain cars because of the material they are made of, so cars with wires composed of plant-based materials like soy or peanut oil are more susceptible to this happening. You’ll notice very quickly if your vehicle has had its wires chewed because various warning lights will come on and the performance will be much slower.

The best ways to prevent rodents from chewing your cars are to maintain general upkeep and cleanliness in your vehicle and to store it in a safe place. You’ll want to avoid leaving food in your SUV, run your car regularly, and store it in a secluded place like a sealed garage if possible. If your Santa Fe Sport’s wires are chewed through by rodents, a mechanic should be able to repair your wires for around $390.


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How to avoid buying an unreliable used Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Engine failure is the number one defect that you should keep an eye out for when you’re in the market for a used Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Make sure to take it out for a test drive and evaluate the smoothness of the drive. If you notice any shaking, shuddering, or difficulties accelerating, steer clear.

Look closely at the body of the car in case you happen to notice paint peeling anywhere, though this is unlikely. It’s just as important to have a local mechanic check the car out and get a pre-purchase inspection so that you can analyze the history of the car and search for any red flags!

The easiest way to find reliable Hyundai Santa Fe Sports in your area

Want to easily find reliable Hyundai Santa Fe Sports in your area? Download the free CoPIlot car shopping app. Tell us what SUV you’re looking for and we’ll search every dealership in your area to create a personalized list of the best buys in your area. CoPilot is built using the same technology that car dealerships use to buy and sell their inventory, making it the smartest and easiest way to buy a used Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

If you’d prefer newer, off-lease vehicles, look no further than CoPilot Compare, the search engine for nearly-new cars. We’ll only show you models that are 5 years or newer with low mileage, most with CPO availability. We’ll break down how much you save buying a used Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and where the best buys are in your area.

To top it all off, CoPilot doesn’t work with dealerships, so there are no ‘promoted’ or ‘sponsored’ listings - just the best cars in your area. Learn more about how CoPilot works on our About Us page.