2008 Hyundai Sante Fe - randomly will not start


Asked by alyx27 Feb 25, 2013 at 11:05 AM about the 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2008 Hyundai Sante Fe with a very strange issue.  I cannot duplicate it, it just happens
whenever it feels like it! The car is a V6 and has approx. 75,000 mostly city miles.
Randomly, the car will not start.  When I put the key in the ignition and turn, the radio, lights etc. all turn
on but when I go that extra little turn to the right to start the car, nothing. There is no pattern – radio on
or off, lights on or off, door open or closed.

Due to my business, I start and stop the car, on average 10 to 12 times a day, many days a lot more.  It
has not done this first thing in the morning, only after I have done at least one stop at a client’s house.  
When it acts up, it may take anywhere for 1 minute to 30 minutes before I can get it to start.  I just keep
trying.   I end up just stuck wherever I am until it decides to start. It may happen once a week or 2 times
a day.

The dealership had it for 2 days and ran multiple diagnostics on it and tried to duplicate.  Finally on the
2nd day an error code showed up for a stop lamp switch, which they fixed.  
Battery, battery cables and starter were all tested and were fine.  They removed the ignition and tested
(ignition switch was replaced last September). Battery is 6 months old.

10 Answers

Not Active

Corrosion can build up in a couple of days...do think it's a compromized connection from the battery to chassis ground. Do take a look at this ground wire that connects the negative to chassis, disassemble wirebrush and re-assemble for a reliable ground connection.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Not Active

the connections do have to pull 300 CCA to make the starter turn...if they seem okay, could be "wimpy" and not lettin' all the juice thru~

Not Active

also me mustn't forget ground connection to the engine, probably overlooked by the person who put your battery in initially~ this one also has a 1/0 battery cable to pull the gigundo amperage load~

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

It sounds like a problem of worn starter switch which is made of copper. When you turn the key, a battery supply electricity to the starter motor in which switch spin and pull into the motor to conduct electricity. Over time, the copper parts (two parts: left and right) get worn and do not make a good contact. It is random and gets more frequent as time goes. The copper parts are $5-6 and I paid express online to pay around $25. It fixed it. I forgot the part name, but try to search for 'starter switch'. Once you take a starter off, it was easier than I thought. Good luck.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have same problem with my 2007 Santa Fe. It started December 2012, then I replaced battery, but it showed up again October 2013, and seems to be getting worse. Ill have to check ground connections but since I wonder do I have to take off starter to replace the starter switch?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Giulio Moro

Hello. The problem looks to be either the starter relay, starter solenoid, or the starter itself. It's a very common issue with older cars and some companies use sub-standard, cheap, or cheaper than usual parts in this section of the starting subsystem. If you can do the work yourself then replace the starter as it should also include the starter solenoid that engages the starter motor drive gear with the transmission ring gear and/or engine crankshaft to start the motor. It's the cheapest and easiest fix to start with. If the problem persists, then look at either a relay or the ignition switch itself. The ignition switch cuts off device power except to the starter relay. Honda, Ford, Chrysler, Acura, Lexus, Toyota and many others have all had the same problem as they typically use the same switch as there is only a limited number of companies that make these particular parts. Good luck.

Best Answer

Hi My santafe 2007 shows same random starting issues.just realized that it happens only when the immo sign on the dash doesn't light up. Any clue?


Have you figured it out? I am having the same problem with my 2009 Santa Fe. Would love to hear of a fix.


Hi, I just had the same problem with my Santa Fe 2009 CDXi. Did you got it fixed and how ?


Well, this turned out to be a horrible 16 month experience from when the problem first started to the final fix. So much happened, so many parts replaced, so much frustration of being stuck and unable to start the car....long story short...the dealership installed a brand new starter that was faulty. Because they couldn't replicate the problem at the dealership, they never caught the replacement starter being the problem and ended up replacing pretty much everything in the ignition and many other parts and tearing the car apart multiple times. Finally, their lead mechanic took my car for two weeks and drove it as his own. He had equipment to test it when it failed and sure enough it was the starter.

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