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Hyundai Cars and Gearbox Issues

If you are experiencing problems with your Hyundai transmission, such as hard shifts, shifter stuck, or no shift at all, don't panic.

In this guide, we go over problems that affect Hyundai transmissions, common symptoms, possible fixes, and how to read transmission codes yourself.

Hyundai cars, vans, and SUVs can suffer from transmissions problems, especially if not maintained. One of the most common issues with Hyundai transmissions that can affect even new vehicles is hard shifting or jerking when the engine is still cold. Once the engine and transmission fluid warm us, about 20 minutes of driving, shifting is normal. According to Hyundai, this is normal operation and within specification.

Let's take a look at Hyundai transmission problems and common symptoms.


The most common problems with Hyundai transmissions:

  • Low transmission fluid level - Common on Hyundai vehicles with over 100,000 miles. It can cause hard shifts, delayed shifting, or shifting at high RPMs.
  • Input and output sensor - Failure of either one of these sensors will trigger the check engine light and erratic shifting. Hyundai transmission gets stuck in gear. Vehicle speed may be limited to 45 mph maximum.
  • Clogged transmission filer - The transmission fluid filter may get clogged by metal shaving, clutch metal, or broken internal parts. At this stage, changing just the transmission fluid and filter most likely will not fix the problem, and a transmission rebuild or replacement may be necessary.
  • Transmission range switch - The transmission range switch is mounted on top of the transmission housing. It is connected to the shifter in the center console which is used to change the transmission gears between Park, Neutral, Reverse, Drive. This is a common problem in many models, including 2001 to 2006 Hyundai Elantra and 2005 to 2009 Hyundai Tucson. It can affect other older models as well as including Hyundai Veloster, Sonata, Genesi, Santa Fe. The selector may rust and not go in gear or back to Park.
  • Torque converter or oil pump failure - Vehicle won't move when the shifter is placed in Drive or Reverse. This is not a common problem but can be an issue on high mileage Hyundai vehicles with over 150,000 miles.
  • PCM and TCM Problem - Issues with the powertrain and transmission software can be the cause of erratic shifting. Especially when cold or when downshifting. Software glitch can cause harsh shifts at cold starts especially in the newer 8-speed automatic transmission. This problem affects newer Hyundai vehicles including Elantra, Sonata, Veloster, Santa Fe, etc.
  • Brake light switch - It can prevent moving the shifter out or back to Park.  It can also cause intermittent starting issues.
  • Shifter - The shifter (gear selector) allows you to select the gear (PRND). When it fails it can prevent the shifter from returning to Park or you can not select the correct gear.
  • Neutral safety switch - Can prevent vehicle start or cause the shifter to get stuck in Park. The engine will not start in Park but it can start in Neutral.
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