Hyundai Santa Fe ABS brakes false activation at slow speeds


This Hyundai has what we call a cracked exciter ring. The ABS sensor shown at the lower right of the picture reads the square peaks and valleys of the exciter ring as the front drive axle turns and this is how the car determines how fast that particular wheel is traveling. The crack in the ring, shown by the red arrow causes that gap to be wider than the others tricking the ABS computer to think that wheel has suddenly changed speeds so it thinks it need to activate the ABS brakes. Having this happen on dry pavement will cause the car to not stop fast enough and could cause a collision.

To repair the problem, the front suspension is pulled apart, the axle shaft removed and the exciter ring replaced. To do the job properly, the complete shaft should be pulled apart, replace any worn parts, replace the CV joint boots and grease.


This problem is not isolated to just Hyundai and can happen on any make of car fitted with Anti Lock Brakes. At Nelsons Automotive of Pewaukee LLC. we specialize on the diagnosis and repair of simple to complicated brake systems. Give us a call if you are having problems with your ABS brakes, we can help.

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5 Responses to Hyundai Santa Fe ABS brakes false activation at slow speeds

  1. Jim says:

    I have a 2005 Sante Fe with this problem. Why did the recall stop in 2004?

    • Jim Nelson says:

      I’m not aware of any recalls for this issue. As far as your question goes, you have to remember recalls are generally started by NHTSA. If the part number changed in 2005 even if the new item is still having this issue, then it would not have been included until NHTSA gets a complaint then they will expand the campaign. If you are having what you believe is a safety issue, write them and if many others do this and a recall comes out, they will pay you for any past repairs.

  2. Tom says:

    Good article. I had & found the same problem so I knew what I was talking about when I took it to my dealer . My 2005 Santa Fe had 97,200 miles on it & 4 months under its 10 year/100,000 mile original owner powertrain warranty and Hyundai replaced the complete shaft, since it was part of the powertrain. I think they had a recall on all 2003 & 2004 but not 2005’s for this problem.

  3. John Soprych says:

    Would this also cause an engine light sensor error ?

    • Jim Nelson says:

      This will only affect the ABS and Traction control systems, not related to the emissions or engine lights.

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