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Hyundai Santa Fe Transmission: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Hyundai Santa Fe Transmission: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Santa Fe is the first compact SUV produced by Hyundai Motors. The car has spawned over four generations and has relatively few problems (at least compared to some US brands). As always, these models have been equipped with different transmissions. This article gives you a detailed analysis of the significant transmissions used in Hyundai Santa Fe, along with their problems, costs, and the optimum ATF to be used.

The first-gen used 4-speed auto (F4A51& F5A51) and 5-speed manual transmissions. The second-gen used 4-speed auto (W4A51& F4A51), 5-speed manual, and 6-speed auto (A6LF2), and 6-speed manual (M6GF2) transmissions. In the third-gen Santa Fe, we saw 6-speed and 8-speed auto (A8MF1& A8LF1) transmissions. The latest generation uses 6-speed auto, 6-speed manual, 8-speed automatic, and 8-speed DCT (D8LF1) transmission.

If you own a Hyundai Santa Fe or plan to buy one, it is essential to know all the ins and outs of this car. Transmission plays a vital role in the functioning of any vehicle. What transmission fluid you should use in your Hyundai Santa Fe, how much will it cost, and what problems can you expect in such transmissions – knowing these things can come in handy for a Santa Fe owner. Give this detailed article a read to learn all you need to know about transmissions used in Hyundai Santa Fe.

What Transmission Has the Hyundai Santa Fe Used?

First Generation (2001-06)

  • F4A51 4-speed Automatic Transmission
  • F5A51 4-speed Automatic Transmission
  • 5-speed Manual Transmission

Second Generation (2007-12)

  • M6GF2 (6-SPD) Manual transmission
  • 6 speed A6LF2 Automatic transmission
  • F4A51 4-speed Automatic Transmission
  • W4A51 4-speed Automatic Transmission

Third Generation (2013-18)

  • 6 speed A6LF2 Automatic transmission
  • 8 speed A8LF1 Automatic transmission
  • 8 speed A8MF1 Automatic transmission

Fourth Generation (2019-Present)

  • 8-Speed A8 automatic Transmission
  • 8-speed D8LF1 DCT
  • 6-speed manual transmission
  • 6-speed automatic transmission

How Long Does a Transmission Last?

Pretty much like an average SUV, an American-made Hyundai Santa Fe transmission can last for a long duration provided it is appropriately maintained. A Hyundai Santa Fe can last for 150k-200k miles before its transmission gives in. This value has only seen minimal fluctuations during the 21 years of its existence. Nearly all generations of Hyundai Santa Fe are equipped with transmissions that can last for about 200k miles. Considering an average mileage of 15k per year, this amounts to about 14 years. This essentially means that you won’t have to change your transmission until after 14 years.

Also read: How Many Miles Can A Hyundai Santa Fe Last? (Answered)

How Much Does A Transmission Cost?

Hyundai Santa Fe has seen several different transmissions throughout its generations. The price of these transmissions varies accordingly. Since there are several models of Hyundai Santa Fe, it can be challenging to find the replacement cost of the transmission that your Hyundai Santa Fe uses. However, the following table will relieve you of this trouble. After going through the websites of several online retailers, here are the prices* of the Hyundai Santa Fe transmission we found.

F4A51 4-speed Automatic Transmission$1975
F5A51 4-speed Automatic Transmission$2429
  F4A51 4-speed Automatic Transmission$2702
W4A51 4-speed Automatic Transmission$3045
8 speed A8LF1 Automatic transmission  $3250
8-speed D8LF1 DCT$3595

*These prices do not include labor costs. For more information, visit Auto Zone.

Common Transmission Problems

 First Generation Transmission Problems

  • 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe shuddering while going into forward gears. This problem is most likely associated with a bad sensor. To solve this problem, disconnect the battery leads and touch them together for 10-15 seconds. Reconnect the battery and take your car for a drive to see whether the problem is resolved or not.
  • Loud clunking noise coming from the drive train; although the car works fine when it is in FWD. This problem indicates a faulty transmission. A thorough inspection of your car’s transmission by a professional would pinpoint the underlying cause.

Also read: The Types Of Gas A Hyundai Santa Fe Takes (Explained)

 Second-Generation Transmission Problems

  • Shifting delays and jumping during acceleration are the most common transmission problems associated with 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. This problem is caused due to addition of a poor-quality transmission fluid in your car. Use the genuine Hyundai fluid to solve this issue.
  • The Hyundai Santa Fe 2010 won’t shift into drive. Plus, the transmission also does not engage. This problem is usually caused by a low level of transmission fluid in your car.
  • Transmission disengaging at low speed coasting and then reengages violently. This problem is most likely due to a computer upgrade gone wrong.

Third-Generation Transmission Problems

  • Transmission disengaging in the middle of traffic, leaving the car without power.
  • Transmission slipping and hard downshifts. Although the most likely culprit behind this problem is low level or low quality of transmission fluid, it could also be caused due to a faulty transmission sensor.

Fourth-Generation Transmission Problems

  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2019’s transmission jerking in automode.
  • Gearbox would randomly shift the car into drive, or if the car is already in drive mode, it won’t allow the car to continue in driving mode.
  • Abrupt transmission shifting while going from reverse to drive. The shift hangs for a few seconds and then shifts with a severe jerk-like motion.

Difference Between Hyundai Santa Fe Transmissions

Here is a table that enlists the significant differences between the main transmissions used across different generations of a Hyundai Santa Fe.

ModelDrive-trainMaximum Engine TorqueGross Vehicle Weight
F4A51 4-speed Automatic TransmissionAWD255 Nm2830 kg
6 speed A6LF2 Automatic transmissionFWD360 Nm2700 kg
8 speed A8LF1 Automatic transmissionAWD353 Nm2520 kg
8-Speed A8 automatic TransmissionAWD400 Nm2680 kg
8-speed D8LF1 DCTFWD281 Nm2400 kg

Transmission Fluids and The Hyundai Santa Fe

To ensure that your transmission works appropriately, you must use the right kind of transmission fluid.

The 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe transmission uses Dexron VI fully synthetic ATF. It is also called ATF 4 fluid. The 2003 model of Santa Fe works best with the Professional™ Full Synthetic Dexron™ VI Automatic Transmission Fluid.

The 2007 model of Hyundai Santa Fe is equipped with a transmission that works with the Valvoline MaxLife Technology. If you have the 2014 model of Hyundai Santa Fe transmission, you can choose Full Synthetic DexronViAutomatic Transmission Fluid.

The transmission used in the latest generation of Hyundai Santa Fe uses Dexron VI ATF by AC Delco.


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