Has anyone experienced “Sudden Unintended Acceleration” in Hyundai’s, Specifically Santa Fe. My wife has had this happen to her while driving her Hyundai Santa Fe three times now and the Hyundai dealership insists there has been no indication on the computer codes and that Hyundai does not have this problem. Therefore as far as they are concerned “Sudden Unintended Acceleration” on her Santa Fe never happened. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as this is a very serious and dangerous problem.
What year is this Santa Fe?
The confirmed reports of unintended acceleration were on the newest Toyotas equipped with drive by wire throttle. I personally believe drive by wire throttle, being a new and relatively complex system, probably had more to do with unintended acceleration than floormats getting stuck under the pedal or the pedal being “sticky.” I also think that this concern with unintended acceleration is probably a little overzealous in a lot of people’s minds. The media has had a feeding frenzy with the recent problems with Toyotas, and it has struck fear into the minds of a lot of people. I would just make sure you know how to react in the event that anything, even unintended acceleration, happens to your car. If it happens again, shift the transmission to neutral. If that doesn’t work, turn off the engine, but DO NOT LOCK THE COLUMN!
Anything can happen to any car. I even had my own bout with some “unintended acceleration” in my 1986 Chevy half ton recently. Specifically, it wouldn’t idle down after a hard acceleration run. I never really figured out what happened because the problem resolved itself before I fully figured it out, but I’m pretty sure one of the throttle plates stuck open due to gum or varnish.
Some “fly by wire” throttles are somewhat peculiar. Mostly it seems that when attempting to move from stop they require a significant pedal motion with barely noticeable engine speed increase but as the pedal is progressively pressed it will suddenly get into a sensitive range and then from low cruise it becomes very predictable. Just my observation and I must admit I do suffer from peripheral neuropathy.
Not putting blame on anyone, but have you looked at how close the 2 pedals are to each other? Some smaller vehicles will have pedals closer together due to space issues. It could be that pressing on the brake with one’s foot not on it all the way could allow one to press the gas pedal as well.
In 2008 there were 4 complaints registered at safercar.gov for vehicle speed control. Two were for unintended deceleration and 2 for unintended acceleration. You can search their web site for this information on all years of Santa Fe, and you can register a complaint there as well.
The hyundai Santa Fe is a 2003 with 131,000 miles. She bought the vehicle from a dealer with a as is warranty, so has no recourse from that front. She bought the vehicle about 6 weeks ago and has had 3 sudden unintended accelerations. My wife has driven many different vehicles including my own, which is a 2006 Chevy HHR with no problems. I feel this is a universal problem and probably electronic, which most asian vehicles are exhibiting and do not want to acknowledge because of the bad publicity and cost to repair. We as consumers are just allowing this to take place. I have contacted the NHTSA and am in the process of going public via the media. This is a serious problem and a danger to everyone on the road.
I will have to disagree with you on a number of fronts, mardi4011. The 2003 Santa Fe had a cable operated throttle plate, and there are no electronics on this car that could cause it to accelerate out of control, with the possible exception of the cruise control. If it will make you feel safer, you could unhook the cruise control. Cruise control has remained largely unchanged for the last 50-60 years, so I doubt that is the problem. Also, I would hardly say that consumers are allowing unintended acceleration problems to take place without doing anything about it. If you have been following the news for the last year or so, you will see that there have been numerous fraudulent complaints about unintended acceleration. The media is not taking this lying down, either. CNN ran a story a few months back regarding an “internal document” inside Toyota dealerships reporting “surging acceleration” in Camrys as old as the 1999 model year. Their “internal document” was a technical service bulletin concerning an idle air control problem which would cause the engine to idle erratically, referred to in the industry as “surging.” Frankly, I don’t think the media needs any more fuel to throw on this fire.
I also disagree with the statement that most Asian cars have this problem. The only confirmed cases have been in Toyota and Lexus cars. Lexus is Toyota’s luxury division. This leaves Honda/Acura, Mitsubishi, Nissan/Infiniti, Daewoo (if we can count them), and, of course, Hyundai/Kia. I probably missed some other companies, but can’t think of any more right now.
I also disagree that the automakers (Toyota specifically) are refusing to acknowledge this problem due to bad publicity associated with acknowledging a problem. Toyota has publicly acknowledged that there is a problem, recalled over 8 million vehicles to correct the problem, and paid their fines for not acting quickly enough. They are now running commercials trying to rebuild consumer confidence in their products, which didn’t seem to be too badly affected. I expected resale value of Toyotas to drop, but they didn’t. I think Akio Toyoda acknowledged that there was a problem when he stood before Congress, tears running down his face, and pledged to correct this issue no matter what it took. It certainly looked more consumer oriented than when the former CEO of General Motors took a private jet to Washington to ask for bailout money.
In all fairness, I would like to know more about the conditions under which this unintended acceleration took place. If it was in a parking lot or some other low speed situation, there is certainly some validity in the scenario mentioned by bscar, in which the brake and accelerator are close together and can be accidentally pressed at the same time. This has happened to me before in my Buick, especially when I first got it six years ago. It still happens sometimes, like when I get a new pair of shoes that actually have tread on them and feel strange to me (I wear my shoes down to nothing before I replace them). I really don’t think the Asian car companies are out to get us. Why bite the hand that feeds you?
It is possible a sticking throttle (accelerator cable etc.) could be perceived as unintended acceleration. You take your foot off the gas expecting to slow down, and the car wants to keep going, even as you are applying the brakes.
Yes, there was some good advice from Mark9207, but the problem still remains, when the engine is racing at full RPM and the brake is applied as my wife did, there is very little if no slowing of the forward movement of the vehicle. The reaction time to shift to neutral and hit the brake in a stressful situation like this is not fast enough to sometimes avoid an accident or death. Again it is very easy to be an arm chair person with suggestions, but not to be in the hot seat when “Sudden Unintended Acceleration” occurs. The safety problem needs to be investigated and reaired by the auto industry, not ignored as it has been for many years now. More people need to complain and report these SUA’s to the NHTSA to force the auto manufactures to design safer cars. Go to Goggle and search for “Sudden Unintended Acceleration” and there will come up tens of thousands hits. Anyone can be innocently walking or driving through an intersection and a vehicle may have a SUA incident and then hurt or kill someone, not to mention the increase to the insurance premiums because of this. Ignorance is not bliss!
Clearly you have a brake problem as well. You might want to get that looked at.
“The reaction time to shift to neutral and hit the brake in a stressful situation like this is not fast enough”
If that’s really true the person simply shouldn’t be driving. Case closed.
I’ve BEEN in the hotseat, Tootie from the Facts of Life, when in my misspent youth I put a slide into the throat of a motorcycle carburetor backwards and my throttle stuck wide open. I handled the situation and there was not an armchair in sight. Good times were had by all.
Please, you must look outside the box, which is your own inner self. All people do not react alike, we are all different. This has happened 3 times to this vehicle and the vehicle has been checked by mechanics after each time. The driver has driven many different vehicles including mine with no problem. Please try to understand that there is a problem with this type of vehicle which is dangerous and being judgemental is not a positive way to solve this problem. A pro-active and consertive effort by vehicle owners to force the manufacture of safe vehicles above profit needs to take place. I am begging you to try to understand the seriousness of this issue. Thank You!!!
I have a possible explanation to offer up for consideration: the Throttle Position Sensor, or TPS.
I too, suffered from unintended acceleration on a couple of occasions, which absolutely terrified me. On each occasion, I had already been driving my 2005 Hyundai Tucson for a few hours, so the engine was pretty warm. I had my cruise control on, was headed up a mountain highway, and suddenly, my car lunged forward, increasing speed. I was just cresting the hill, and as I headed down, braking, the car’s tachometer continued to wildly go up and down, and the engine was revving up, although at this point I don’t recall that the car was actually accelerating anymore. Regardless, I was braking, and as I pulled over to the side of the road, the car stalled, causing me to lose my power steering. I was towed the rest of the way home, although I was able to start the car up again. My mechanic was unable to recreate the problem. I took it to the dealership…they downloaded a ‘computer upgrade’ for me (and charged me $97). Over the next few weeks on 4 or 5 occasions the car would stall out at low rates of speed, causing the power steering to lock up, but I could always restart it again. Then last week I drove 45 miles away from home and back, getting the engine warmed up pretty well again, and about 10 miles away from home, going 65 on the freeway, suddenly it started accelerating and deaccelerating again, as if it was kicking in and out of gear (it’s an automatic). The cruise control was not on, by the way. Then the transmission light went on. This is the first time I’d ever seen this light come on, but the car had been acting up for 2 months. We continued on home, lurching the whole way. Then as we turned off the freeway and into a parking lot, the car stalled. I asked two cops to follow me home because I was afraid. Then 2 blocks from home, it wouldn’t go back into gear at all, (using the Shiftronic we were able to get it into gear and back into the driveway). I had it towed to a different dealership, and they believe they have figured it out: the Throttle Position Sensor. $320 for a new sensor. It makes sense, because this is the thing that makes the determination of how hard your foot is pressing on the pedal to give more or less gas/oxygen to the engine. And if it goes haywire, your car may accelerate and deaccelerate regardless of whether your foot is on the pedal at all. That was my experience, at least. I have researched it a bit, and have come across a number of other recent (within 5 years old) Hyundai models (not necessarily Tucsons) that have experienced the same issue. I have done what another Hyundai owner suggested: Call Hyundai Corporation Consumer Affairs and reported the problem. I also asked them to seriously consider a recall of all TPS’s because it put my life in jeopardy more than once, and it’s quite possible that Hyundai contracted with a TPS manufacturer that made a bad batch of these. Or else these sensors are expected to fail after a certain amount of wear and tear. And if that’s the case, consumers should be made aware that this item, like a timing belt, is expected to go after 60K miles or so…because it’s downright life threatening to have this happen to someone while driving.
Thanks for the information and we will try your suggestion of replacing the “Throttle Position Sensor” or TPS. There has been 2 other sudden accelerations since the 3 that took place previously. My wife is very apprehensive to drive this vehicle and has been driving my car as much as possible instead of her Hyundai Santa Fe. Electronic parts do fail over the years, but one would think that the manufacture (Hyundai) would take this into account, especially if the failed part creates a dangerous driving condition. Most of the other responses we have gotten from readers are that it is the drivers fault or just to shift into neutral gear and live with it. The trouble is trying to stay alive driving a dangerous vehicle is the problem, or not to hurt or kill someone else as well.
Again thanks for the information.
If you contacted NHTSA, you must be aware that there are up to 2 other documented complaints about unintended acceleration in 2003 Santa Fe’s. You can search the complaints here if you haven’t already.
the Hyundai dealership insists there has been no indication on the computer codes and that Hyundai does not have this problem.
Either the dealership knows a lot more about vehicle computers than I do or they know less. For the most part, vehicle computer error codes are designed (mandated actually) to detect emissions problems. They generally do not detect, record, or report brake, suspension, oil flow, or accelerator problems unless the problem is somehow related to emissions.
I’m skeptical that these folks are capable of solving your problem if they wanted to – which they apparently do not.
You might look into whether you can legally force them to take this vehicle back and give you your money back. However, even if they have to take it back, they’ll probably just test drive it, have no problems, then sell it to someone else.
My guess would be that the problem is mechanical rather than a computer software/firmware problem – Either the accelerator pedal, the cable, or the Throttle Position Sensor is sticking. Or the TPS is defective. … or something else. But that’s just a guess.
You might try bypassing the dealership and contacting Hyundai directly. They may be able to provide some insight. You might also want to switch cars with your wife while you try to figure out what is going on. If it were me, I would be trying to become an expert on how throttle control in my Hyundai works just in case neither the dealer, the manufacturer, or the NHTSA can or will help you. But that’s just me.
I did a search on the NHTSA after the first time my wife had “Sudden Unentended Acceleration”. There are many instances of situations related to this problem. The question that I have is how many reported problems are needed for the NHTSA to issue a recall of certain types of vehicles? How many people need to be killed or seriously hurt because of a manufacture defect for a recall to take place? It does seem to me that the NHTSA is being lead by the nose by the powwerful auto manufactures.
You are wrong that the 2003 Hyundai Danta Fe does not have any electronics that would cause this vehicle to accelerate out of control. Please see the response below from “Valda” concerning the Throttle Position Sensor" or “TPS”. My wife had this part replaced on her car and the dealership did acknowledge that this may very well have caused “Sudden Unintended Acceleration” in her vehicle. There were 5 time that she experienced this “SUA” and after replacing the “TPS” this no longer takes place. Do you work for Hyundai or are you just an arm chair vehicle expert. Either way, accurate information and an open mind that the vehicle is at fault and not the driver is very important for safety.
2007 Hyundai Tuson with only 22,000 miles on it is now experiencing Sudden Unintended Acceleration. Hyundai is in total denial and squirted some lubricant on a linkage and sent me on my way. After not being able to drive this vehicle due to safety concerns I demanded that the same tech come out and drive it for his self. after getting on an interstate the same issue happend to the tech and now they are stating that something is wrong just not saying what.
Sporadic Sudden acceleration is experienced with no warning. The gas pedal will actually fall rite from under your foot or more precisely is sucked out from under your foot. The engine tacks out at top end and if driven for a while this will slow down to normal driving conditions.Braking is impeded by some mechanism and does not stop the car and after standing litterally on the break pedal I was forced to shut the car down and coast wildly into a break down lane.
When will these car companies get the message? How many people need to be killed by these kinds of engineering flaws before real action is taken?
My wife and I are very sorry for the acceleration problem you are having with your 2007 Hyundai Tucson and realize how dangerous Hyundai vehicle are. My wife had the “Throttle Position Sensor” (TPS) replaced on her 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe and now she has not had the same “Sudden Unintended Accelleration” as she had 4 or 5 time before. I would suggest that you have the dealership replace this part, whether they admit that it is defective or not. I would also ask you to report this situation to the “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration” (NHTSA). I would also recommend that you complain strongly to Hyundai USA as well, even though they do not seem to give a damn whether the cars they are manufacturing are seriously flawed and dangerous. You can look up how to contact the NHTSA and Hyundai USA on the internet (Google). Good luck and keep us informed of your outcome with these endeavors. The more people that issue complaints the better chance that something will be done by someone to address this “Sudden Unintended Accelleration” problem. Just like the past problem that Toyota has had, it will probably take a law suit to get Hyundai’s attention.
Yes, I have experienced SUA in a 2006 Santa Fe. My wife reported it to me and I thought she was mistaken but I have had it happen to me twice now. I am taking the vehicle in to the dealer tomorrow to have it checked out. Service manager says he has never heard of this being a problem. We’ll see how it goes.