2008 Hyundai Sante Fe - randomly will not start

alyx27
40

Asked by 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.

49 Answers

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.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

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~

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

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~

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
camel204b
160

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.

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
santafeowner
60

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?

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Giulio Moro
570

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.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer
ACEngineer
170

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?

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.
Tarno
120

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

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.
SIS2014
60

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

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
alyx27
40

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.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
yoyo21
40

I have a 2009 Santa Fe and when first my car would not start (unless I wiggled the transmission stick shift) the dealership said it was my transmission. They replaced it under warrantee and things were fine for about two years. Then in happened again and they replaced the transmission again. Today it happened again after only having this transmission for 3 months. I called the service department and here is how the conversation went: "It looks like you didn't really fix my car. I have the same problem with the car not starting unless I wiggle the stick shift or put it in neutral. (after getting my information the service department said) "Bring the car and and we will have a look." "This will be my fourth transmission if that is the problem. Are you installing a new transmission each time or are you giving me a rebuilt transmission?" "It's a rebuilt transmission." "So based on your past performance I can expect a replaced transmission to do exactly the same thing. You seem to be installing faulty rebuilt transmissions with defective parts until you run out of the old parts." "I can't say that sir." (interesting turn of phrase here - looks like I hit the nail on the head but he's not allowed to confirm or deny.) What is going on here? Can anybody tell me what I can do to get them to put in an new transmission?

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Rs0423
130

I have a similar problem with a 2007 Santa Fe. It's been going on for about three years and a dealership cannot fix my issue. I take it in every year they replace something, and then three weeks later I have the same issue. It only happens when it's cold out usually starts in October and goes til February with this issue. It's random and doesn't always happen. Does this seem to be a starter switch issue?

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.
camel204b
160

When I read yoyo21, I thought the neutral switch (it was called in militaryy heavy armor and don't know the exact name on vehicles) must be wrong. The switch makes the engine turn on in the position of parking or neutral. After the story read about multiple transmission replacement, I am reasonably confident that it looks like a starter switch contacts. It is not car-specific and it depends on the habbit of engine turning on. If the key is not released quickly after engine started, the contacts worn out sooner. The older the car it becomes frequent and the colder the frequent. It looks very random, but if you are careful, you may see these pattern. Then, most likely it is a starter switch contact. If you hear clicks, the solenoid works. If it tries to turn starter, the battery is okay. Then, it should be the worn starter contact points causing the random events. Very easy fix. I fixed Toyota Camry 2000 with 265,000 miles with contacts replaced. I have not done it before, it was easy one I took out the starter.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
Giulio Moro
570

Older cars typically have this issue for a variety of reasons. Starter solenoids stick and/or fail, and sometimes the internal contacts engage the solenoid but do not transfer any power to the starter itself. Sometimes the starter heats-up during normal operation and this also causes the starter not to work when needed again, until it cools off. Sometimes if it's not shimmed properly when installed it ca also cause premature wearing of the ring gear/pressure plate, and again damage to the starter. It's one of the cheapest, easiest and most overlooked part of a car that most people can change themselves if needed and overlooked as it's never seen, but it easily gets corroded, overheated, and rusts due to where it's usually located.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
ACEngineer
170

The problem with my 2007 Santa Fe 2.7 l is that it cranks but won't start unless you keep the key in the start position for a while. Sometimes it starts but engine shakes and goes off. Realised if immo light doesn't come on . It won't star

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
cargurus55
550

Hello, my Santa Fe Y2006 has this same problem. New glow plugs, currently changed crankshaft position sensor, battery in good condition, starter spins perfectly but no starting when cold (in the morning). Possible to start only after spraying of starting fluid directly to air filter outlet. Once started it will run all day with no problems. Last winter it was driven perfect without any problems it just suddenly appeared in this winter... Have somebody found the problem yet? If yes please let me know adresu @ gmail . com. It's blowing my mind.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Giulio Moro
570

Sounds like a faulty cold-start fuel injector.

Giulio Moro
570

Another place to look at is the ignition immobilizer. It's a small ring sensor that sits around the ignition keylock that reads the car key identifier code and then signals to the computer that a valid key is inserted into. Some cars have 3 different types of keys, one is the basic metal key used to unlock doors and the steering column but won't start the vehicle. The second is a Valet key that allows a valet to open and move a vehicle but not unlock security areas like your centre console or front glove compartment areas (and sometimes the trunk). The third type is a complete Master key. The immobilizer ring reads the key code inserted into the ignition and then tells the computer whether or not to allow the vehicle to start. Try another good key then if this happens again your key embedded security chip has gone bad, the immobilizer ring is going bad, or the main computer is going bad. Checkout the attached pictures. Good luck.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
Travis Smith
10

I have a 2005 santa fe... ran great til fuel pump went out.. replaced pump now it will run for 5-6 miles then just shut off... sometimes have to sit 1 min to an hr b4 it starts .. it may do this 7-8 time a day or go 3 months and not.. if u stop and put gas in same thing...sometimes will start..sometimes not. no codes will show up when this happens. have replaced crank sensor egr egr solenoid and fuel pump x2.. have replaced the fuel relay also.. if it happens i can take the old relay out put in new one starts up drives a couple miles shuts off. switch the relays again..same thing. any ideas? could it be the ecm or auto shut off? it was rear ended then fixed .. this happened about 6 months b4 problem started

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Giulio Moro
570

It sounds exactly what happens when the fuel filters are dirty and become clogged, not showing any fuel to pass. Check all fuel filters, screens and fuel rails. On some vehicles companies use a series of small hidden meshes to filter or stain the fuel and never change them. So sad for less than $2 in repair parts so that the dealerships can charge $300-1800 to fix.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
bebop2
10

My wife and I just got stuck in South Georga for two days because my 2010 Santa fe would not start....they found a engine to firewall ground loaded with green corrossion....this vehicle only has 51,000 miles on it!!! i allready have it listed for sale thats it for me with hyundai....

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
morty2000
20

Ive been following this problem for a long time. In Oct 2011 my 2007 SantaFe sometimes would not start when I first tried to start my car that day and it was cold outside. I turned the key but heard no sounds at all. The dash lights would come on though. After 10-20 key turns the car would start. I replaced the battery but it did not fix the problem. The car would only not start on some days. As it got colder the car would start less frequently. When Spring and Summer arrived - no problems at all. Next couple years it got worse each year. Finally in November 2014 the folks at Best Buy installed a remote starter for me but warned they were not liable for any previous electrical problems. For some crazy reason, after they completed the installation, I had my non-starting problem happen only ONCE, and since then all though this very cold winter I have had no problems. From my research, I would strongly suggest, BEFORE you replace any parts, to simply check all your electrical connections, especially ones to/from the starter area and GROUND connections everywhere. Dealers love to just replace parts and gamble that that will fix your problem. I am an engineer in real life so I can tell you that cold weather will increase electrical resistance due to material properties and contraction of parts. Also the more times you turn the key the more trickle of current occurs thus the connection gets warmed up a little thus allowing a little more current until you get to your threshold to allow the starter to crank the engine. I suspect the Best Buy guys jiggled or tightened some connections thus improving my electrical connections. I have researched that many car owners, not just Santa Fe, have similar problems, thus corrosion issues would fit the cross-section of car owners.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Giulio Moro
570

Hello. Your issue seems to be electrical in nature and many cars still have random ignition switch issues, like those in Ford, Honda, Acura, Lexus, Infinity, Toyota, etc., etc., etc. My 1998 Honda Accord DX had the same problem and the issue was a known defective steering column ignition switch. Too bad I had to replace it on my own before Honda finally acknowledged it and started doing something about it. Your remote starter install bypasses the ignition switch so if you were using it to remotely start the car and the use your key normally to unlock the ignition and then continue driving the vehicle normally, you haven't addressed the problem properly, but it could also be a bad connection at the ignition switch wiring harness connector where they they add-on the remote starter. A new ignition switch can cost $60-200 plus labour, but in most cases just about anyone can replace it themselves. Internal switch contacts wear out, so constant start/stop of the vehicle wears these contacts down until there's nothing left to properly conduct the electricity, so nothing will fix this until its replaced.

Ashka Martin
10

Hi.. I seem to have maybe the same problem and this has never happened before today.. I was driving as normal yesterday but today I went to start it all dash light come on etc but when I turned the key the rest of the way nothing.. no clicking turn over noice just a high pitch coming from the back of the engine... any ideas cheers

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Ashka Martin
10

I also charged my battery full and put it back in it didn't make a difference

toucanpilot
20

TX Giuliani & everybody. Bought my 2008 in Oct 2014...same issue. My mechanic just gave up. Seems to not want to start when ECU codes clear...referred me to Hyundai dealer. First thing I will have a go at ground contacts. --- Are you referring to switch contacts in starter solenoid or steering column switch? Its only fun after we beat this stuff.

toucanpilot
20

Mtg old buddy is going to put our Santa Fe on his hoist...clean & tighten all contacts. Tried to source new solenoid - nervous about getting wrong one. Gosh starter prices for smaller engine are CHEAP in US (: I have 3. 3 litre - see if I can get it shipped? I live two hours from border...I have a long trip to the Atlantic and would like to solve this for sure. I hope the previous folk have had success. D.

wabby426
20

So the no start problem first showed up twice last year and in the past month almost everyday. When I turn the key to start nothing will happen. Everytime it happened, I was confident that I it would start for me at one point so I was not too concerned. Except when you have finished filling up the gas tank at Costco or you were already rushing to go somewhere. It was so random and i tried to keep track of what I did to get it to start each time. Each time it happened, I tried to do the exact same thing i did previously to start it. Sometimes it would work, but sometimes it wouldn't. So I had to try something new again like, wait for the immo light to turn off in park or neutral, 10 minutes negative terminal off and 3 minutes key turned to run position after hooking back up the neg terminal, hood opened or closed. Sometimes it would start on 2, 3, 5, 7..... consecutive key starts. It was just getting impossible to keep track of what I did when it started. Finally today, I was hooking the negative terminal back up after waiting 10 minutes ( a solution I read online) when I stared at the plastic cover over the positive terminal. While deep in thought, i opened the cover and twisted the terminal. Low and behold, with a bit of effort, i was able to move it. So as much as I tightened the positive terminal, i could not tighten it enough so that I couldn't move it. I looked at the terminals and realized why I couldn't tighten the terminal tight. The design of the terminals only allowed it to tighten only so much and obviously not tight enough. The open tip of the terminal would close before it would tighten around the post. So as a fix, I ground the tips wider so that it would allow it to tighten itself around the post. So far it has started every time. i was planning on checking the starter relay, check grounds, even take off the starter to test it tonight, but now, i may not have to. I hope my experience will be of help for someone. good luck!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
wabby426
20

Well the battery terminals was not the cause. The problem still happens, but hasn't happened since I took d lower steering wheel cover off and slipped d wire wrapped around d ignition cylinder and re-wound it. It has been about 40 starts and my car has started every time. Got my fingers crossed....

Mirelle White
10

I have a 2009 Santa Fe, 2.7 ltr. I have had great performance from the vehicle, but in September 2014 the battery went. I replaced it and then in November 2014, the car would not start. I had it towed to the dealership where I purchased the car and they did diagnostics and told me the starter had gone. August 2015, the car would not start but because the warranty said 12 months or 12K miles (I am 14K miles since replacement) I am out of warranty and they will not replace the part for free. I am willing to pay for labor. How long should a starter last? 8 months sounds like it is defective. And Hyundai is not willing to back up the part. I am really annoyed. Any ideas?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
camel204b
160

Although it is not a battery trouble, I guess it will be better if you jump the car battery. There could be several causes. If not battery, it could be battery cable or bad contact of the cable on starter side. If it is a starter, most likely it is a starter contact. If you take off the starter and unscrew a few long screws holing the cover, there are two copper half circles. When you turn the engine, solenoid pull the bar with small disk at the end (don't know the name) in the middle while spinning. When it is pulled, it must contact copper contacts to have the electricity connected. I had the same trouble with Camry with over 200k miles. I changed the battery initially and it was okay for a while and the trouble started again. Finally, I decided to take out the starter and pulled the cover apart. I could see the copper worn out due to many contacts every time you start the car. I ordered it online around $5 and paid overnight shipping ($20) from Tennessee, but it missed a day and received on Monday. After replacing it, everything was great and never observed the trouble.

toucanpilot
20

We just made 4000 mile trip. TX for tips on cleaning cables. (Also switched keys). No issues...then yesterday 300 miles from home a new landmine. On freeway suddenly lost power and limped to exit. I took neg. cable off and reset ECU. Ran a few hours then it hit again four times within hour ( out of cell phone range for help). Finally it ran again for several hours and we made our night stop. Then made it home TG. I added injector cleaner and gas line antifreeze last night... bad fuel? Bad sensor? *** I wanted to attend a club camp out in southern Ontario next weekend, hum not worth the tension. Its tough coasting to safe places to reset ECU if its more than fuel. Hopefully I will have a good report. Its the unknown that is aggregating.

camel204b
160

Possibly worn belt. When the belt is worn and slips slightly, you would not notice. Since alternator is not fully generating electricity, the car is moving using the battery power. When battery is low, car stops because spark plugs can't get any electricity. When you stop and wait for a while, the battery accumulate electricity. Eventually, it is getting more frequent until dying. Twist the belt and see if there are small cracks inside the belt by folding out a small portion or shiny surface. If the inside the belt is shiny, it most likely slips and alternator is not generating enough voltage to run the car and recharge the battery.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
toucanpilot
20

Thanks. Good thought. We had lots of battery power as far as I can tell. Several starts. I waited 2 minutes just to get idiot lights out. *** I will make another 80 mile round trip to friends along the Lake Huron shore AND if it still runs fine might suck it up and go camping - GULP. (I have experience pre computer that was maddening, changed everything electrical and an old mechanic said, "KISS, consider bad gas...X-fingers.) TTYL Heading 40 miles west to see mechanic ( who gave up on previous starting issue - AFTER selling us car :) Loath to go to Hyundai at $100 + per hour; besides its two hours away.

toucanpilot
20

Mechanic found no code...now we are batting in the dark...

Giulio Moro
570

If you have no sound at all when trying to crank the motor over either replace the entire starter and starter solenoid, or replace the steering column ignition switch. Too many faulty/failing/prematurely defective ignition switches in vehicles lately. I'd replace both at the same time as the starter solenoid contacts and the ignition switch contacts are not being made as robust as they used to be.

toucanpilot
20

If that problem shows up again I will definitely go that route.

toucanpilot
20

Since this new problem is not in the same thread should not be posting about it here...comsider you guys my only sane support group. I found a theme last night on Car Guru & a Hyundai forum about Sante Fe's suddenly shutting right off shuddering etc. - worse than ours, which was bad enough. Particularly with 2011 -2013. So hopefully you won't have this issue. Frequently its the throttle position sensor. Hyundai often said no problem after vehicles in shop even for months...I think there is an advisory out now in USA? My gas cleaning and terminal tightening on this second issue was not really a soluion, other than good maintenance. ***Now to find a mechanic who will help me change that sensor and clean the MAP sensor for good measure.Its not good - but it could have been worse.

lieq
10

We have a 2007 Sante Fe. We have had starting problems for months. When key is turned, lights, radio etc all come on but starter will not turn, just silence. Yesterday the car had been in the garage for 12 hours and I tried to start it- no luck. Went to work and came home 5 hours later and it started on first try-same key. this happens evey 10 or so starts. Grounding cable has been cleaned by dealer. Anyone have similar problems they solved.

Giulio Moro
570

Seems to be an ongoing issue with the same defective ignition switch in these vehicles as the Ford, Honda, Acura, Lexus, Toyota, and Infinity that all use the same bad parts. Change the ignition switch and consider yourself lucky you didn't get cheated by crooked dealerships and dishonest manufacturers.

lieq
10

Thanks for your reply. Independent mechanic found the Hyundai battery lugs would not grip the replacement battery. He installed new lugs as Hyundai wanted $500.00 and $100.00 for the cables. Fingers crossed this works.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Giulio Moro
570

Sometimes mechanics shave the battery lugs too much and cause the terminals not to remain snug and tight. Lucky for you it was very cheap and simple. Keep your fingers crossed that the ignition switch is not the culprit.

MuffPuff
10

Same problem for me, intermittent starting. I replaced the battery and same thing. The ground wire coming from the negative battery tierminal to the chassis was loose at the chassis. Wiggling it caused the lights to come on. I removed and cleaned both ends, then replaced. Has started with no issues for a week now... about 40 times.

Giulio Moro
570

Then you were lucky indeed buddy. Always start with the simplest and work up from there. When it gets to the point that its an electronic and not electrical issue, then you need some serious help.

Keith Blackwell
20

I FIXED MINE! !! have a 2009 Santa Fe. Had the same problem, towed it to a garage and they changed the starter. It wasn't the problem. I researched on the Web and decided that the transmission range/neutral position switch was bad. I pulled the battery and battery tray out to look. I noticed that the connector looked a little strange. Reached in and pushed on it, heard a resounding SNAP! It's fixed now. It's been almost the weeks and no problems.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
WolfmanRandy
15

I just had my 2010 Santa Fe with a 2 month old battery refuse to start. It would just click-click-click. I tried jumping it to no avail multiple times and ended up getting towed to the dealership. Turns out they have a battery sensor on the negative terminal that can be "damaged easily by mechanical stress", meaning that if it gets bonked or wet it will just fail. When this sensor fails it breaks the circuit to ground, disabling the ability to start the vehicle. My battery was totally good. Works like a champ now with a new sensor. I found nothing about this online when I had the problem and hope to post about it as much as possible to get the word out, so people can get on with their lives. My best guess to fix this in the event it happens to you is to use jumper cables to link the negative terminal of the battery to the frame of the vehicle, as the visible cable that usually connects to ground has this broken sensor in it and does not work.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
vman6
20

I have a 2007 Santa Fe 3.3L with 187,000 km. Over the last three months it has experienced an intermittent starting problem where the engine will crank but not start. All the electronics are on and the battery is only 8 months old. Typically the problem would occur after I would go for a short drive to the mall. However, for the first couple of months it would always start after 2 or 3 attempts so I didn't worry too much about it. I figured it would be difficult for a mechanic to diagnose as well since the starting issue was so random. In the last month it has gotten worse and I had a couple occasions where it started but then the engine was misfiring and seemed like it was going to stall any minute. The check engine light also came on. So I took it to the independent garage I go to and of course it started perfectly every time for the mechanic. He said there were so many problem codes that he couldn't tell what the issue was and he didn't want to just start replacing parts. The codes were showing misfires on all six cylinders as well as issues with the coil pack. So he cleared the codes and told me to come back when it happened again. So I brought it back after a few days and again it started fine at the garage all day. This time he suspected that there was a problem with the main engine control module but he had to order one. So I went to pick the car up and finally the starting problem happened when he was going to back the Santa Fe out of the garage. I ended up leaving it with him for another day. After all the troubleshooting he identified the problem as a bad main engine power relay. He replaced that and its been over a week now without any starting problems.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
dkrobbie
0

Been having starting issues but it was due to the starter wire coming unplugged from starter. Now the plastic part is broken that goes into the starter and nobody, not even the dealer has the part. May have to sodder it on. There are no junk yards with Veracurzs either.

Shayle Dudash-Williams
0

do your reverse lighst work? Check the neutral safety switch. Im not sure if thats what its called on your car I have a 2004 jeep cherokee and that is the issue. Totally random, it doesnt start in ark, 80% of the time I put it in neutral and it works

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