Tucson's Dual Clutch Transmission Won't Accelerate

Key Points

  • The dual-clutch transmission in the 2016 Tucson hesitates during acceleration. Other times it fails to engage at all.
  • Hyundai recalled 41,000 of the SUVs in 2016 after owners reported the vehicles can stop moving after releasing and re-engaging the accelerator pedal.
  • A previous TSB provided instructions for updating the control module software that handles gear shifting.
An isolated dual-clutch transmission on display.
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2016 Tucson owners have been reporting that their vehicles won't accelerate from a stop, a dangerous and scary problem. When trying to take off from a stop, the engine just revs but the transmission never engages:

"THIS IS COMPLETELY UNPREDICTABLE AND SCARY AS HELL! I have lost confidence in this car, and am totally unhappy with this car! I have filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and anyone having this problem should also. Someone is going to be seriously hurt or killed." - Burlington, Massachusetts

CarComplaints.com has received over 50 transmission complaints from 2016 Tucson owners with an average mileage under 5,000. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received 171 complaints but curiously categorizes them under 'drivetrain.'

The transmissions use control modules to constantly monitor data with the goal of improving gear shifting. The improved gear shifting makes the car feel sportier and more fuel efficient. Presumably something is going wrong in those modules and there's some sort of electronic shut-down of the transmission.

Hyundai Issues Recall for Dual-Clutch transmissions

In September 2016, Hyundai issued a recall for 41,000 2016 Tucson SUVs over concerns the vehicles can stop moving when the has pedal is pressed and released repeatedly. Which is an interesting designation when you consider most of us have to press and release the gas pedal repeatedly as we move with traffic on the way to work, school, or home.

Hyundai says the transmission clutch application login can cause a delayed engagement of the transmission when taking off from a stop. Specifically:

"If the gas pedal is steadily pressed for 1.5 to 2 seconds, the SUV will begin to accelerate, unless a driver repeats the process which causes the SUV to stop moving."

The issue affects Tucson SUVs with specific build dates: May 20, 2015 – May 31, 2016.

Technical Service Bulletin (TSB)

Hyundai has been aware of this problem for a while before the recall. Back in August 2016, Hyundai developed a software update and issued a TSB to its dealers with instructions on how to install the update if owners complained about the issue.

It wasn't until the NHTSA stepped in that a recall was ordered.

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Hyundai generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

  1. 3rd Generation Tucson

    Years
    2016–2020
    Reliability
    42nd of 50
    PainRank
    15.27
    Complaints
    345
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Tucson

Further Reading

A timeline of stories related to this problem. We try to boil these stories down to the most important bits so you can quickly see where things stand. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts for your vehicle over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. Hyundai says an error in the transmission clutch application logic can cause a delayed engagement when accelerating the 2016 Tucson.

    The problem has led to a recall for 41,000 SUVs.

    The SUVs are equipped with 7-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmissions that use transmission control modules to constantly monitor data to help with gear shifting. The problem enters the picture when higher ambient temperatures are combined with certain driving conditions.

    To make matters worse, Hyundai developed a software update to fix this problem a while back. However, instead of issuing a recall they sent it out as a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) to dealerships. It wasn’t until a meeting with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the automaker did the right thing.

    keep reading

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA