Korean manufacturer Hyundai has recalled nearly 50,000 examples of its Santa Fe crossover to fix an oil leak, caused by a faulty valve cover gasket, that could affect alternator performance.

The alternator is, in effect, a generator, turned by the engine, that keeps the battery charged while the car is running; without it, the battery would run down after a short time on the road.

And that is exactly what is happening in the cars covered by this recall, which were sold as 2007, 2008 and 2009 models: the oil leak is damaging the alternators and causing the engine to stall and not restart, which affects not only the car's driveability, but also the driver's ability to steer and stop the car, as both the power brakes and power steering only work when the engine is running.

Hyundai Canada is instructing its dealers to replace the failed gaskets and repair or replace the alternator as necessary.