How Long Do Hyundai Santa Fe Last? (Solved & Explained)

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize SUV that is geared towards adventurous families and outdoor lovers.

Featuring a panoramic sunroof, a stylish front grille and excellent gas mileage, the Santa Fe offers a luxurious driving experience at a modest price.

If you’re considering buying one, you might be interested to know its average lifespan.

We’ll cover that in this article, read on to find out…

Here is the Short Answer to How Long Hyundai Santa Fe Last:

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a durable vehicle that can last between 200,000 – 250,000 miles, as long as it is well-maintained and conservative driving habits are adopted. Based on an annual mileage of 15,000 miles, the Santa Fe can last 13 – 17 years before requiring expensive repairs or breaking down.

How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Hyundai Santa Fe?

From our research we think a reasonable estimate for the Santa Fe’s lifespan falls within the 200k – 250k region, however this won’t be achieved without staying on top of maintenance.

One Santa Fe owner who reported passing 200,000 miles said the longevity of their car was attributed to regular oil changes every 5000 miles.

Whilst another owner reported that his Santa Fe is now at 321,000 miles and still going strong, however these kinds of numbers should not be expected and would require exceptional maintenance.

Ultimately though, the lifespan of a vehicle is very much dependent on the owner.

To get the most life out of your Santa Fe we advise

  • Sticking to the factory required maintenance intervals
  • Learning basic maintenance procedures such checking the oil, checking tire pressures and topping up of fluids
  • Adopting smooth driving habits to help reduce wear and tear on components.

Newly purchased Santa Fe’s are covered by Hyundai’s impressive 10-year powertrain limited warranty and 5-year new vehicle limited warranty.

How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Hyundai Santa Fe has had a few rust-related issues spread across different model years, but most of the latest models are not known to rust easily.

Based on our research, you might expect your Hyundai Santa Fe to show some degree of rust after seven years of use. This number can be much smaller though, especially if you live in the Rust Belt or an area where roads get salted in the winter.

Residing in a coastal area where salty sea air is prevalent will also accelerate rust on your Santa Fe. Minute salt particles in the air will cling to your vehicle and speed up the corrosive process.

To help keep rust at bay we advise:

  • Rustproofing treatment: A car undercoating process that defends your vehicle from corrosion and if done right can last for years.
  • Regular car washes: Keeping your Santa Fe clean and free from corrosive compounds such as salt and dirt will make a significant impact. Make sure to wash the undercarriage also.
  • Store in a garage: Storing your vehicle out of the elements can help protect it from moisture and humidity and therefore reduce the chance of rust setting in.

Fortunately, for owners of Hyundai vehicles model year 2005 and above, the anti-perforation (rust and corrosion) warranty is good for 7 years (unlimited mileage).

Related: 6 Most Common Problems With Hyundai Santa Fe (Explained)

What is High Mileage for a Hyundai Santa Fe?

A Hyundai Santa Fe with over 100,000 miles is considered high mileage. This can equate to a riskier purchase because parts will have accumulated wear and tear and there is a slightly higher risk of major component failure. However, you should not assess the car on mileage alone.

Purchasing a high mileageSanta Fe won’t necessarily equate to a sour outcome.

A well-maintained Santa Fe with over 120,000 miles might be a better option than one with 80,000 miles that had many owners and led a tough life or was previously a rental car.

If you’re buying a used model, consider the following:

  1. Maintenance history. Check that the car was properly serviced and the owner can provide proof of this.
  2. Get a second opinion. Take it to an independent auto repair shop or have it inspected by a mechanic you trust.
  3. Check for rust. Rust is a problem that will spread. Some dishonest salespeople cover up the rust with a bit of paint or some stickers. It’s always a good idea to look under the car.
  4. Inspect engine for obvious leaks and obvious damage. If the engine looks immaculately clean, it means it was washed. The question is why? Most likely to hide oil leaks and similar nasty problems.
  5. Check the CarFax. This can provide a good overview of the car and includes the vehicle’s title, mileage, previous ownership, accident reports, and it might tell you what the vehicle was used for, such as whether it was a personal or commercial vehicle.
  6. Number of previous owners. As a general rule, less is better. More owners usually equate to more wear-and-tear. If one family owned it and drove the full mileage and serviced the car, then you can almost guarantee they took good care of it throughout their ownership.
  7. How long you are planning on keeping the car. If you’re planning on keeping the car for a long time, evaluate whether the short-term savings outweigh spending extra on something more reliable.
  8. Examine the interior. The condition of the interior tells the story of how well the car was maintained and cared for. Does the steering wheel, pedals, or shifter look suspiciously new? If so, there’s a good chance that the car was heavily used, and those parts were just replaced before sale.
  9. Check the car’s VIN and get a full history report. Was it a taxi or rental car? Recalls? How many owners? Real mileage? Stolen? Any accidents? If you’re buying a used Chevy, always check the VIN – you never know what the car has been through.

How Long Do Hyundai Santa Fe Last Compared to Similar Models?

Below, we look at how the Hyundai Santa Fe fares against its main competition in terms of lifespan and reliability.

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Honda Pilot

The Santa Fe is outperformed by the Honda Pilot in terms of lifespan. While the Santa Fe can go up to 250,000 miles (or 17 years, based on 15,000 miles driven per year), the Honda Pilot can last 300,000 miles (or 20 years, based on 15,000 miles driven per year).

Make and ModelReliability Rating (Repair Pal)Annual Maintenance Cost(RepairPal)
Hyundai Santa Fe4.0/5.0$515
Honda Pilot3.5/5.0$542

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Ford Edge

In terms of longevity, the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Ford Edge are equals. Both midsize SUVs are expected to last up to 250,000 miles (or 17 years, based on 15,000 miles driven annually).

Make and ModelReliability Rating (Repair Pal)Annual Maintenance Cost(RepairPal)
Hyundai Santa Fe4.0/5.0$515
Ford Edge3.5/5.0$611

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Honda Passport

The Hyundai Santa Fe and the Honda Passport have approximately the same life expectancy, at 250,000 miles, with proper maintenance. This translates to 17 years if the vehicle is driven at 15,000 miles annually.

Make and ModelReliability Rating (Repair Pal)Annual Maintenance Cost(RepairPal)
Hyundai Santa Fe4.0/5.0$515
Honda Passport4.0/5.0$371

How Reliable is a Hyundai Santa Fe?

Backed by customer reviews and top automotive outlets, in recent years the Santa Fe has earned a reputation as a very reliable and trustworthy vehicle.

  • According to RepairPal, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is the 2nd most reliable midsize SUV, out of 26 midsize SUVs.
  • Taking into account all model years, the Santa Fe has a Repair Pal reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0
  • The 2020 Santa Fe also received an excellent 4.5 out of 5.0 for predicted reliability from J.D. Power.

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do VW Tiguans Last?

Reliability Compared to Other SUVs

ModelReliability 
Mazda CX-54.5 / 5.0
Hyundai Santa Fe4.0 / 5.0
Toyota Venza4.0 / 5.0
Hyundai Veracruz4.0 / 5.0
Mitsubishi Endeavor4.0 / 5.0
Dodge Journey4.0 / 5.0
Toyota Highlander4.0 / 5.0
Dodge Nitro4.0 / 5.0
Toyota 4Runner4.0 / 5.0
Subaru Outback3.5 / 5.0
Ford Edge3.5 / 5.0
Toyota FJ Cruiser3.5 / 5.0
Honda Pilot3.5 / 5.0
Jeep Liberty3.5 / 5.0
Jeep Grand Cherokee3.5 / 5.0
Mazda CX-73.5 / 5.0
Nissan Pathfinder3.5 / 5.0
Subaru Tribeca3.5 / 5.0
Ford Explorer3.5 / 5.0
Ford Explorer Sport Trac3.5 / 5.0
Chevrolet Tahoe3.5 / 5.0
Chevrolet Traverse3.0 / 5.0
GMC Acadia3.0 / 5.0
Buick Enclave3.0 / 5.0
Volkswagen Touareg3.0 / 5.0
Ford Police Interceptor Utility2.0 / 5.0
Avg. Midsize SUV3.5

The Best and Worst Years for the Hyundai Santa Fe

Despite its recent glowing form, older Hyundai Santa Fe’s were known to have problematic engines, and data from Car Complaints highlights a problematic past pre-208.

Based on data gathered by carcomplaints.com, the best Hyundai Santa Fe models are the 2020 and 2021 model year units while the worst Hyundai Santa Fe is the 2012 model.

Owners of 2012 models reported engine failure that occurred around 86,000 miles and cost an average of $5,100 to fix, owners of 2013 Santa Fe’s experienced a similar issue.

To be on the safe side we would encourage buyers to look at the more recent Santa Fe’s as they have received much higher reviews and fewer complaints.

Below is a table of the recorded complaints about the Hyundai Santa Fe from 2005 to 2021:

Model YearRecorded Complaints (carcomplaints.com)
2005 Hyundai Santa Fe37
2006 Hyundai Santa Fe16
2007 Hyundai Santa Fe143
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe97
2009 Hyundai Santa Fe126
2010 Hyundai Santa Fe49
2011 Hyundai Santa Fe52
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe92
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe107
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe65
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe22
2016 Hyundai Santa Fe16
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe59
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe1
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe8
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe0
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe0

What About Recalls for the Hyundai Santa Fe?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) database, the Hyundai Santa Fe has been recalled a total of 46 times since 2005.

Here are the total number of recall campaigns per year for the Hyundai Santa Fe since 2005:

Model YearRecall Campaigns (NHTSA)
2005 Hyundai Santa Fe3
2006 Hyundai Santa Fe1
2007 Hyundai Santa Fe9
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe6
2009 Hyundai Santa Fe3
2010 Hyundai Santa Fe3
2011 Hyundai Santa Fe3
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe1
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe3
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe3
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe1
2016 Hyundai Santa Fe2
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe5
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe1
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe Model Year List

Below is a list of Hyundai Santa Fe models since its introduction in 2001:

First Generation (2001 – 2006)

  • 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

Second Generation (2007 – 2012)

  • 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe

Third Generation (2013 – 2017)

  • 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe

Fourth Generation (2018 – 2022)

  • 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrids Last?

Are Hyundai Santa Fe Expensive to Maintain?

According to RepairPal, the average annual repair cost of the Santa Fe is $515 (or approximately $43 per month).

The Hyundai Santa Fe has more affordable repair costs than its competitors. In comparison to the average for midsize SUVs ($573 per year), Santa Fe is $58 cheaper.

For additional comparison, the average annual maintenance cost of all vehicle models is $652.

ModelAvg. Annual Repair CostFrequency of
Unscheduled Repairs (per year)
Probability of
SevereRepairs
Mazda CX-5$4470.38%
Hyundai Santa Fe$5150.210%
Toyota Venza$4440.510%
Hyundai Veracruz$5240.59%
Mitsubishi Endeavor$5150.212%
Dodge Journey$5620.312%
Toyota Highlander$4890.313%
Dodge Nitro$5820.313%
Toyota 4Runner$5140.413%
Subaru Outback$6070.412%
Ford Edge$6110.313%
Toyota FJ Cruiser$5060.514%
Honda Pilot$5420.513%
Jeep Liberty$6740.312%
Jeep Grand Cherokee$6660.313%
Mazda CX-7$4700.714%
Nissan Pathfinder$5420.415%
Subaru Tribeca$5630.713%
Ford Explorer$7320.214%
Ford Explorer Sport Trac$7200.314%
Chevrolet Tahoe$7440.316%
Chevrolet Traverse$6560.418%
GMC Acadia$7340.419%
Buick Enclave$7200.518%
Volkswagen Touareg$9370.913%
Ford Police Interceptor Utility$1,1601.020%
Avg. Midsize SUV$5730.413%

Related: How Long Do Mitsubishi Outlanders Last?

How Long Do the Brakes of Hyundai Santa Fe Last?

The average lifespan of the brakes of the Hyundai Santa Fe ranges from 30,000 to 70,000 miles. This means that you can expect your brakes to last from 2 years to 5 years (based on 15,000 miles of driving per year).

To prolong the life of your brakes and brake pads, we recommend to start braking at a generous distance, to allow the brakes to ease the vehicle into full stop.

How Long Do the Tires of Hyundai Santa Fe Last?

You can expect the stock tires of your Santa Fe to last up to 50,000 miles or 3 years (if the vehicle is driven 15,000 miles annually). 

If you would like to keep your Elantra’s tires in good shape, regularly check tire air pressure and follow the recommended air pressure configurations for the front and rear tires.

How Long Do the Transmissions of Hyundai Santa Fe Last?

Just like most modern-day transmissions, you can safely expect your Santa Fe’s transmission to last around 200,000 miles.

Always make sure that your vehicle has the proper level of transmission fluid, especially before going on long-distance trips, to ensure the longevity of your transmission.

How Long do the Spark Plugs of the Hyundai Santa Fe Last?

The spark plugs of modern-day Hyundai models, including the Santa Fe, can last at least 60,000 miles and can go up to as high as 100,000 miles.

Spark plugs are responsible for the engine ignition of your Elantra. If you have been having difficulties starting your car, consult with an authorized Hyundai service center immediately.

What About Insurance Cost of the Hyundai Santa Fe?

According to data gathered by carinsurancecomparison.com, expect to spend an average of $1,376 per year (or $115 a month) for full insurance coverage of the Santa Fe. 

If you are a long-time driver with a good driving track record, you can save up to $571 per year (or approximately $48 per month) on insurance coverage for Santa Fe. 

Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Hyundai Santa Fe

There are several guides online that can teach you how to prolong the life of your Tucson. Here are a few of the most important tips:

  • Drive smoothly – this includes acceleration and braking – This will reduce wear and tear on components.
  • Keep up to date with factory scheduled maintenance – intervals can be found in your owner’s manual.
  • Keep fluids topped up and check fluid levels regularly – This includes oil, radiator fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, A/C coolant, windshield washer fluid.
  • Check your tire pressures at regular intervals – low pressure is dangerous and lowers gas mileage
  • Check engine oil every two weeks – Oil is important for lubricating parts and prevents them from wearing out to quickly
  • Store in a garage, out of the elements – Reduces exposure to moisture and thus limits rust

Related: How Long Do Hyundai Palisade Last?

Resources

  1. https://repairpal.com/reliability/hyundai/santa+fe
  2. https://www.tampahyundai.com/hyundai-santa-fe-brake-pads.html 
  3. https://www.planethyundai.com/service-tips/how-many-miles-do-car-tires-last/
  4. https://www.tampahyundai.com/service/spark-plugs.html
  5. https://www.carinsurancecomparison.com/how-much-would-car-insurance-cost-for-a-hyundai-santa-fe/
  6. https://www.motorbiscuit.com/hyundai-santa-fe-engine-problems/ 
  7. https://www.carcomplaints.com/Hyundai/Santa_Fe/ 
  8. https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2021/hyundai/santa-fe 
  9. https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2020/hyundai/santa-fe/sel-2-4l-auto-fwd 
  10. https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2007/hyundai/santa-fe/utility-4d-gls-2wd 
  11. https://www.cars.com/research/hyundai-santa_fe-2021/recalls/ 
  12. https://repairpal.com/reliability/hyundai/santa+fe
  13. https://www.carcomplaints.com/Hyundai/Santa_Fe/2007/
  14. https://www.motorbiscuit.com/how-many-miles-will-hyundai-santa-fe-last/