Question about 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe

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I can't open the back hatch on my '03 SantaFe

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  • lmtdds Sep 02, 2008

    Same problem only now the driver's side door locks stick midway between locked and unlocked. Seems more mechanical than electrical.

  • Anonymous Oct 21, 2008

    I have the same issue with my '01 i too just pull it out and lock & unlock and that solves it. when i took it to the dealer they wanted to charge me $300 bucks doing it my way is a lot cheaper it's free:-)



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I had the same problem. Heres how I fixed it. First get a regular blade and a philips screwdriver. It helps to be in a well lit place and have a flashlight handy. Also get a can of WD-40 and/or 3-in1 oil and a spray cleaner like Gumout. (You can probably see where this is going.) If your problem is like mine, it's a combination of a gunked up levers in need of lube and an aging small return spring. So, get in the back of the car with a flashlight You may want to open the hatch window before getting in. You'll see why later. There is a 5" x 5" plastic panel on the inside of the rear hatch door. At least on the 2001 there is. Use the blade screwdriver and pry this off (it snaps back on, don't worry). Look inside at the door latch mechanism and see if you see a small spring at the base of the lock mechanism. If it's not there, THAT is your problem. It's a royal pain to get to so unless you have more patience than I do, you may want to let someone with long fingers or the right tools put it back on. If it IS there, it is probably weak if your car is older (mine's a 2001) BUT the mechanism is most likely gunked up. Either way, here's how to remove the rear panel. There are five screws holding the plastic panel (in the 2001anyway, look your car over before proceeding). There should be one in each corner and one at the bottom of the handgrip slot you grab to close the liftgate. Your car may vary, but they are simple philips head screws. See the rubber strip at the top of the plastic hatch panel? Take your blade screwdriver and run it UNDER the rubber (you can start at either the left or right end) to the edge of the plastic panel closest to the hatch window and tuck it under. You may have to force it a bit. Try to begin pulling back toward you with the top of the panel. You will say "OH NO" at this point because it will sound like you are breaking something. You are not. There are about a dozen plastic snap tabs on the inside of the panel that hold it solid. You hear them snapping loose. keep wiggling and pulling on the panel until it comes loose. If there are no sensitive ears nearby, feel free to use every Anglo-Saxon expletive you can think of. It may help since this puts fear into inanimate objects. Now, once the panel is off, you can reach the horizontal bar that goes from the door handle to the lock mechanisim. Don't grab the one that goes to the key lock or the vertical one that goes to the window. If you opened the window previously, you can easily tell which you are grabbing by sticking your head out the window and figuring which bar goes to what. Work this bar back and forth (it may take a little force) and the door should unlock and open (assuming you UNLOCKED the door with a key first. (I found out the hard way on that one). So, now that you have the door open, get the Gumout and spray it all around the lock mechanism, spring (if its still there), all of the joints for the connector rods and in the latch on the bottom of the door (I know, some will point out that you should you grease. But the Grease is filled with crud and gumming up the works. So, after a few minutes, Get the WD-40 and go over everything you just sprayed with the Gumout. Spray it good! I followed this up with a can of 3-in1 oil that I have had since 1967. Man, what a great year for lubricants THAT was! So, maybe it was overkill but I felt better. Anyway. WORK THAT MECHANISM. Wiggle the rods back and forth and spray some more. I shot some oil into the BACK of the door handle from the inside. I don't know where it went, but it seemed to help. Once it felt loose I opened and closed the door about 50 times. It worked every time ALTHOUGH I will say the handle did NOT feel like it did when it was new. Thats because the spring on the lock mechanism has seen better days. So, time to close up shop. Make sure the door panel is in the back of the car and close the door with you on the outside (and the window open). Reach through the window and grab the panel. See the hump with the slot that covers the window latch? Do yourself a BIG favor and wiggle and tap the panel until you get the hump OVER the window latch, where it is supposed to be. You will have to smack the panel on both ends to make it slide over the window latch hump. Get back in the car with your screwdrivers and close the hatch. Tap the TOP of the panel back into place and, using the blade screwdriver, get the rubber strip to go back over the top of the panel where it was originally. Once thats done, it's a matter of slapping the palm of your hands against the plastic panel until the snap tabs go back into place. They actually go back in surprisingly easy. Thanks Hyundai. Replace the screws to hold the door in place and replace the 5" X 5" plastic observation panel (assuming you had one). Then walk around your house saying "That's right...I FIXED it" "I OWNED that door lock" And enjoy an adult beverage. Of course, remember that, if that spring was weak, it will eventually need to be replaced. So you may want to do it whlie the panel is off. IF you have the dexterity and the patience. So, there it is folks. I hope this helps. I couldn't find this anywhere on the net so I'm the guinea pig. It is much simpler than it sounds here (now that I know what is involved), so give it a try before the dealer charges you $300. Best of luck.

Posted on Jan 01, 2009


Sometimes the latch sticks on my '01 Santa Fe... I just pry the latch out from the handle, then lock & unlock the doors again, and it seems ok... Probably not too helpful, but ya never know!

Posted on Aug 20, 2008

  • asdfasdf
    asdfasdf Dec 01, 2014

    Very helpful, thanks



My hatch door on my 01 does the same thing. I have to bang the hatch beside the lock to get the handle unstuck. When it's all the way out I'm able to open it

Posted on Sep 25, 2008

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