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Q: Check Engine light, Sputtering/stuttering when accelerating,tapping noise on 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe

It has been a month since i got this car and I can honestly say it has given more headaches in the last month than i have ever had to endure in my life.
Brief history: I bought the car from a private seller who managed to "mask" away any problems this car had i a test drove it on 2 occasions. I have had to have a transmission flush, changed a leaking oil cooler, change tires, so far i have spent close to $1000 on the car. I decided to take it to Hyundai dealership to get services as i felt that was going to be safest option.
Now to the problems, from almost day 1 the car has tapping sound that emanates from near the timing belt section, i have looked but cannot figure out what it is, could it be the tappets? I have had an oil change. The tapping noise does not go away as i accelerate.
I took the car to a car wash a week ago and after a few hours i noticed my turn signals were not working, i checked the fuses and replaced a blown fuse (10amp). I have checked if there is any moisture in the lights but there is none. I have had to change blown fuses 4 times this week, until i decided to use a 15am fuse, i understand that this is not recommended but i am tired of having to change fuses. I sometimes get an electric shock when i get out of the car!
I usually don’t drive on the highway as i work close to home, but when i get on the highway the car sputters when going from40mph to 60mph. On 2 occasions the check engine light has gone on an the car will continue to struggle to pick up speed around 55miles per hour, if i drive for 5 miles the check engine light goes off and all seems fine, I have never been close enough to a service center to check what codes come up as the check engine light goes off before i can do that.
I am at my wits end with this car and any suggestions of car mechanics in the apex North Carolina area that can be recommended will be appreciated greatly. I cannot afford to put any more money into this car.
Apologies for the long question- i look forward to hearing from the experts.
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First addressing the engine noise, that engine uses hydraulic tappets ( no valve clearance oil pressure adjusts the valve clearance) if the oil was infrequently changed, sludge can built up in the lifters causing "noise". Engines with hydraulic lifters need to have oil changes at the recommended intervals to keep the oil clean and fresh and the correct weight or viscosity of engine oil . A small bit of dirt or sludge can "gum" up the lifters and cause the oil not to properly adjust valve clearances. Sometimes this noise goes away after initial start up or after the engine warms up. If it is as simple as "lifter noise" try adding an oil additive called Risolene, it is a low viscosity high detergency oil additive that helps clean lifters. Hyundai as a car manufacturer put a lot of free technical information and workshop manuals on line for Hyundai owners. Check out lots of great information. Rather than replace fuse with a higher amperage fuse they make resetting fuses, but the problem needs to be repaired look at the bulb sockets for corrosion that may cause a short. The shock getting out of the car may just be static electricity but it shouldn't be that common. The cause of the "highway sputtering" will become clearer once the codes are retrieved from the computer in your car. The stored codes will indicate what area the problem is. I would be concerned if there is no record of a timing belt change critical on that engine. Sorry you are having all these problems. Get a full inspection done on this car see if there are other potential problems if so decide whether to keep this car and fix it or run! Ask the previous owner for any service records he may have especially if the timing belt was changed. There is a company that independent auto repair shops "buy" their information from that the same information inexpensively to do it yourselfers. The information is year make and model specific repair procedures, service bulletins, component locations, wiring diagrams ect.... Alldata is very easy to navigate
Hi its been a while, since i was here. I finally got the my timiing belt changed. The mechanic also advised that the valve cover gaskets were leaking and needed replacing. is this essential - and what could possibly happen if these are not replaced immediately?
Does cold weather affect the transmission. My car seemed to shift properly during the summer months but all of a sudden, it will not engage immediately in reverse on drive on a cold morning. I normally run the car for about 5min before driving off, and on most days that does the trick, but today the weather is slightly colder and it drove for a bout a mile and then "slipped" out of gear. Check engine went on, and the following codes came up P0732 and P1529. I have researched on the web and most recommendations advise changing the speed sensor. (I did add Risolene as you advised previously - is this something i need to continue doing?)
it makes good sense to have your car checked before you buy it from an expert to determine any issues.
it is very hard for anyone to mask a problem particularly with a used car.
what were the results of the dealers observations??
you risk a melt down of a wiring harness by putting the wrong amp fuse in the circuit. it could cost you thousands. it is better to get the problem fixed than run this risk.
the sputtering may be coming from plugs and coils. you need to have this checked so you do not damage your cat converter from all the missfires.

the tires and oil leaks are still basic maintenance items that any car needs.
as far a the trans flush, were you having a problem or did you do it for preventitive maintenance??

this car is generally a good car depending on the past services. i would have the timing belt checked as the noise may be the tensioner or a pulley bearing under the covers.

The flush was suggested because when i took the car to get inspected it had the check engine light and the codes errors were about gear ratios. hyundai suggested a flush to eliminate the errors, the car would also not go into drive on a cold morning, it would coast for a few yards the violently jerk into 3rd, I also addded a liquid which stops the gears from slipping, seems to have helped the cause.
DO you think gettiing the electrics checked could be a costly job?
Unfortunately been a first time car buyer i didnt think about history on service on the car, when i asked about it afte rpaying for the car i was told that he did all his own oil changes...
Hyundai have suggested a new timing belt at a cost of $600 and new plugs and wires at a cost of $475
on a coulpe of bullitens that they have put out, any codes in the 700 range are trans codes and hyundai reccomends replacing the trans. if anything, the additive you added may only be temporary at best. it wont fix the issue.
electrical is tricky to guess at. if it blows a fuse, there is something that is drawing too much current and needs to be checked before your bigger fuse costs you tons more money. a good electrical shop will help you. i am in pa. and cannot reccomend anyone but if you look at our directory tab at the top, you may be able to find a shop.
the timing belt and tune up sounds about right but i would have the trans addressed first.

It is the positioning throttle sensor I had the same problem . I would start off and it would spit and sputter for about a minute and then run ok Doug
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