2018 Hyundai Tucson Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes, engine and transmission issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

With so many SUV options to choose from, consumers have become pickier about the vehicle they drive. One of the popular choices has been the 2018 Hyundai Tucson. After all, the automaker promotes the newer models as “smart, modern and athletic.” What they failed to mention is that the engineers that designed this model weren’t quite as smart. That’s why there is a faulty powertrain, defective engine and malfunctioning service brakes on many of these vehicles today.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Hyundai Tucson

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Service Brakes, Hydraulic
Electrical System
Vehicle Speed Control
Fuel/propulsion System
Exterior Lighting

Problems with the Transmission

When it comes to the powertrain, this system must be reliable in order to get from Point A to Point B. Otherwise, the driver faces numerous issues while traveling, which is exactly what is revealed by actual customers of the Tucson SUV.

Just look at this complaint left on Edmunds. “I really got stuck with a lemon and I can’t wait to get rid of it.  There are things I love about the car.  It is big and roomy.  The electronics are awesome.  I love Apple car play and the navigation system as well as the Infinity stereo system.  The leather seats are incredibly comfortable and you can make all sorts of adjustments to get the seat just right.  Love the extra room in the back.  The problem is that something is terribly wrong with this car.  Whenever I come to a sudden stop the car lurches forward as soon as I go again.  Sometimes it jerks and lurches when I just am sitting at a stop sign.  Sometimes it won’t go when I press the gas…it will eventually “go” but only after a big jerk and lurch.  It feels like I am driving a car with a manual transmission.  This car is brand new and I am scared to death I am going to have an accident in this crazy thing.”

Sadly, the manufacturer communications reveal that there are several defects with the powertrain. Service Bulletin #19-AT-012H discusses a transaxle clutch slipping while Service Bulletin # 5NP-F6W6P-05 talks about how specific models have trouble shifting out of Park. In Service Bulletin # 5NP-P5L7D-05, the automaker acknowledges a harsh and delayed shifting in certain models. To repair it, the technicians must measure shift engagement time. These three problems perfectly illustrate how the Tucson is anything but reliable. Where were the transmission engineers during the building of this machine? It appears they were taking an extended lunch break.

Problems with the Engine

When it comes to a car’s engine, there’s nothing more important than this valuable component. To provide years of service, the engine must be durable and reliable. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to figure out that the 2018 Hyundai Tucson comes with plenty of engine trouble.

Just look at this complaint left on the NHTSA website. “My car has 20,000 miles on it. 2 months ago, around 18,000 miles, my car started to hesitate during acceleration. It started as only sometimes, now it happens every time I drive it. When it is stopped and I push on the gas to go it hesitates. The RPMs shoot up to 5-6 then it goes. This is dangerous especially if you are crossing several lanes of traffic. Also when in motion and you need to accelerate it will hesitate as well. I brought it to the dealership as itsunder warranty and was told it’s the DCT and many people have complained, and it’s normal. I disagree because if it was normal then it would have done this when I first purchased the car.”

One look through the communications with the manufacturer reveals that these engines have serious issues. They even discuss how the Check Engine warning lamp illuminates with DTC P1326 in Service Bulletin # 19-01-006H-2. To repair it, some vehicles require a wiring harness, engine assembly or oil cooler pipe and hose. No one will argue that the Tucson is modern and athletic, but if the engine malfunctions, it isn’t very smart, now is it?

Problems with the Brakes

It has already been proven that this Tucson model has some significant problems, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that the service brakes have just as many problems.

An NHTSA reviewer says, “Once my brand new Tucson hit 500 miles on it, it suddenly unintentionally accelerates while my foot is already pressing firmly on the brake pedal. The first time, it happened as I was approaching the peak of a hill. I was going 25 mph. My foot was already pressing on the brakes, anticipating the decline, when my car jolted forward and took off. My foot slammed on the brakes even harder, however I watched my speedometer hit 40 mph while simultaneously, my RPM decreased to 1…(yes, down a hill). For about 5-7 seconds, the RPM and speedometer would not increase or decrease once hitting 40 mph and 1 RPM. I had to lean over the wheel and slam my brakes to the floor before I regained control of the vehicle. Once this occurred, the car lagged, struggling to accelerate throughout the remainder of the drive (all flat roads). It is now day 5 of experiencing this, and it now occurs multiple times every time the vehicle is in motion, whether brakes are being applied prior, or not, regardless of the type of road I am on (flat, hill, etc.). I was exiting a parking garage that I had a mediocre ramp to exit the garage. My vehicle was going 12 mph when I turned right to proceed down the ramp. My foot slowly pressed the brake pedal, and my vehicle accelerated to 28 mph, and maintained that speed for 3 seconds, before responding to my brakes. Yes, my foot had the brakes pressed all the way down. Another example, yesterday I was on a flat road driving at 27 mph when it suddenly accelerated to 45 mph, and the RPM dropped suddenly from 2 to 1. After a few seconds of my foot slammed on the brakes, I regained control and pulled the car over. I turned the engine off and waited about 5 minutes. When I turned it back on and began driving (3 minutes left in my drive), the car continued to lag, lunge forward and could not reach speed higher than 30 mph. This car is brand new.”

Interestingly enough, the automaker doesn’t have any service bulletins related to the braking system. It appears they’ve already said more than they wanted to between the engine and transmission. Instead, they want people to believe that this SUV is well-built without major mechanical faults. For most “smart” consumers, it doesn’t take long to figure out that’s not the truth.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • LSB

    I have a 2018 Hyundai Tucson and my engine just blew up with only 80,000 miles! No check engine light came on! I’m just sick because its going to cost a lot to get a new motor in this vehicle! Times are hard enough without poor quality engines being put in these vehicles and causing such hardships for people who trust they are getting a solid reliable vehicle. I’ve been reading a lot of people are having problems with this vehicle. This is actually my 3rd Hyundai Tucson and my 2006 and my 2013 were very reliable. This has hit hard because I’m 69 years old now on a fixed income and there is no way I can afford to buy a engine so be assured I will never purchase another Hyundai and I will definitely tell everyone I can about the motor going out at 80,000 miles. I am the second owner of this vehicle and from all I’ve read the warranty stops at 60,000 for a second owner. So no backing their product!

  • Wendy

    I bought a used 2018 Tucson in 2019. It was fine for the first year then the engine started burning oil. It was out of it’s warranty period. The catalytic converter needed to be replaced as well. The dealership will not help with any engine repair. The car needs a new engine.

  • Jean Y

    My 2018 Tucson”$ driver’s door won’t unlock or lock unless I use the key fob. Passenger door and back works fine.
    And I love the vehicle. Just aggravated about the door.

  • Brenda W

    My engine just went at 123k. 2018 hyundai tuscon. Bought brand new. 1 owner. They are saying mine isn’t covered under the last engine law suit.

  • gina g

    I purchased a 2018 tucson in dec of 2021 with 80,000 miles and upon driving 2 hours home noticed fuel smell inside and out as well. have had car to dealer to check fuel system out, they smelled it, but failed to remedy it. they did the evap on the system but smell is still there,get headaches often, have to drive with window down.

  • Siobhan

    I’ve owned 4 Hyundais – 2 Accents and 2 Tucsons. With both Tucson’s, the engines were replaced (one at 112,000 kms and the other at 104,000). They have been nothing but headaches. Stay away from these cars. I should have learned after the first one but being a Tucson lover, I had to try again. That was a mistake. The 2013 was in the shop for 16 weeks due to lack of engines (everyone was getting theirs replaced at that time). The 2018 was in the shop for 5 weeks. I’ll never buy another Hyundai product again as I no longer feel any comfort or security with their products.

  • Debbie

    My Hyundai turbo went out and my 2018 Tucson started smoking resulting in me taking it to the dealer ship and i paided out of pocket to rent a car because they wouldn’t give me a borrowed car till mine is fixed and they haven’t fixed it and I have to pay for rides to get to work they have had my Hyundai tucson for three months now what can I do about this

  • Travis S

    Purchased a used 2018 Tucson sport in April 2021 with just over 16000. Drove it for two weeks, then started having coolant issues. First it was just a leak but it wouldn’t show until you had driven the car for at least an hour non stop. Luckily it was still under warranty so the dealer replaced the radiator. 2 days later the hose to the overflow started blowing off. The dealer had it for seven weeks and could not find or repair the problem. We took the loss traded it in and started over, not with a Hyundai.

  • Carol

    My Hyundai Tucson blew a rod in the engine up into th oil pan my insurance said they would fix it under comprehensive w/o collision but that changed real fast the will not fix it because it’s a mechanical failure so I still owe 14,000.0 for a car I can’t afford to fix it needs a new engine and oil pan all the parts needed to install another engine they have been sued twice by the NHTSA regarding the rod I’m not the only one with this problem and the NHTSA has a long article on this very problem and information about the lawsuits against Hyundai and Kia it’s so frustrating and Hyundai is aware of the problem that they discontinued the engine with the long block and went to the short block

  • Carol

    My Hyundai Tucson blew a rod in the engine up into th oil pan my insurance said they would fix it under comprehensive w/o collision but that changed real fast the will not fix it because it’s a mechanical failure so I still owe 14,000.0 for a car I can’t afford to fix it needs a new engine and oil pan all the parts needed to install another engine they have been sued twice by the NHTSA regarding the rod I’m not the only one with this problem and the NHTSA has a long article on this very problem and information about the lawsuits against Hyundai and Kia it’s so frustrating

  • Jennifer

    On one hand I’m glad to read it’s not just me with the dual clutch issues on the other hand it makes me furious that a car manufacturer can even sell these cars knowing they have such terrible issues.
    Its scary at times to have no acceleration at all and I truly feel one day it is going to cause an accident.
    When you complain about the problem you are told it’s an issue with that model but never offered a proper explanation solution as it seems there isn’t one. I paid top dollar for the top model …. it has some little annoyances but the dual clutch is simply a dud.

  • Adah

    I purchased my 2018 Hundai Tucson in December of 2018 new. Since I had the vehicle, My Turbo charge failed, and engine failed twice. After the dealership claimed they put a new turbo charge in my car, two months later my engine failed.They claimed they put a new engine in my car. I didn’t get my car back until March of 2021. A month later my car lost power again on the expressway in front of in coming traffic. I recently had my car towed back to the dealership. All three times, my car lost power on the expressway. I’m done with Hundai products period!!!!!

  • Amanda

    I have a 2018 Tucson that is currently at the shop in the dealer, again. I have all of these complaints. Jerking, lurching, the brakes! Foot all the way to the floor and it doesnt stop! Push the gas to the floor especially if its a hill and it doesnt go! It had no power last year and just wouldn’t accelerate so they change the oil pump. Something they told me rarely goes out and it was luck fluke defective oil pump. It fixed it. For a while. Still lurch, jerk, breaks but told it’s normal cause of clutch. My radio value goes all the way up and you can’t turn it down and you just have to stop and shut it off. Fast forward to this week… Doing the exact same thing it was doing before the oil pump went out. Between 20 and 40 mph it sound weird and it just won’t go even when flooring it. I have an appointment to get an oil change and to fix the recall on it however the engine light came on Sunday. I call and say my car won’t make it to next week. I drop it off. The shop is so busy despite calling constantly I don’t hear amything ither than ‘you need a new engine and dont think your warranty will cover it cause you missed an oil change’ I don’t hear from them again til Friday night despite calling constantly until I have a man call(I’m stranded cause they wont give me a loaner and have none to rent me btw) no one still can tell me WHY I need a new engine other than I didn’t change my oil soon enough and I was 2 quarts low. They will not give me the codes they pulled, nor the diagnosis other than ‘ypu need a new engine’ but Based on previous issues and numerous complaints all over the internet I can see this issue is deeper all across the board tgan just me missing an oil change. Unfortunately, they wont honor the warranty cause of my missed oil change. I owe 18000 on a 2 year old car with 53000 miles and all these previous obviously common issues and it needs an engine and they honor cover the warranty because I didn’t change the oil? Regardless this car is a piece of junk that I have hated since I drove it off the lot and now I will be upside down in a lemon and I bet if I install the new engine, I will still continue to have the other issues with it. Sucks

  • Alicen

    I have had several issues with my 2018 Tuscan. As stated above, I feel like I take my life into my hands each time I have to turn into traffic. There is consistently a lag between pressing on the gas and the car actually moving. It is the scariest ride ever! I have taken it in for service on many occasions and the service manager keeps assuring me that is how the car is supposed to handle. This cannot be possible!
    I also have experienced the radio turning up or down and getting stuck at the volume. For example, while driving the radio will go full blast and will not turn down. You can turn the radio on and off and the car as well and the radio will continue to stay at the volume and then it will just randomly go back to normal.
    Lastly, I have had problems with my sunroof closing, it appears that the motor is slowing down. Tonight, the sunroof would not close. I would press the close button and it would attempt to close and then pop right back open.
    I am so disappointed in this car as well as the service from Hyundai.

  • Kelly

    I bought the 2018 Hyundai Tuscan towards the end of 2019, loved it at first, it was doing really well. Then right before I had it a year problems started to arise. I had to replace the motor because the Cylinders exploded, it had been leaking oil for some time. Now, I need a new starter, and my thermostat housing has a leak. Also, the ABS has a recall, and my breaks lock up at random.
    Now I’m officially done with this car and trading it in for a Rogue.

  • Keely

    I have the same issue with the car picking up speed when I turn into traffic. It has a 5 second lag before accelerating like normal and I have almost been t-boned multiple times. It’s terrifying and they tell me it’s just how the car runs….

  • Amanda H

    I was so excited to get this vehicle. I am a Hyundai lover, having owned more than one Sonata. This time around we decided we wanted something a little bigger, so we went with the Tucson after research. I was extremely happy with it at first, because it’s comfortable, has all the features I want, and it’s fairly sporty. After driving it for 4 months, I have noticed that it is very slow to accelerate, sometimes even refusing to accelerate for several seconds, and jerks when it finally does. But what really prompted me to come to this page today is the brakes. I was driving at around 30 miles an hour today, and I came up on my turn. I hit the brakes to slow down and proceeded to make my turn and the car refused to break. I was already mid-turn and so I went into a right turn onto a residential street at 30 miles an hour. I fish tails and almost overcorrected my vehicle trying to avoid hitting a house before the brakes finally engaged and slowed down, causing my entire car to grind and jerk and lurch. Had I known that these issues were going to be a problem I would not have bought the car. This was not the first time that I had noticed slight issues with and/or grinding brakes, but it was by far the scariest and possibly deadly to myself or other people.

  • Barbara

    I have 2018 Tucson awd with the turbo. Experiencing at a full stop need to accelerate as on coming traffic then it’s like the turbo has to make enough pressure to get u going. That could be an accident waiting to happen. I finally took it in still under warranty but no recall on this issue. So I got a loaner car as they are ordering parts for the transmission of the clutch. It’s got dual clutch probably not using the right terms but has issues. Now I’m wondering if this will cause more problems as the car ages and has miles on it. Now 20 thousand on car

  • Kiera

    I have a 2018 Hyundai Tucson turbo with the dual clutch transmission. Its terrible with all its jerking and acceleration lag. I feel unsafe and want to get rid of it.

  • Vienna C

    I bought a new 2018 Tucson on Black Friday 2018 with 15 miles on the odometer. About 7 months ago I started to experience a jerking/lurching when sitting in stop and go traffic on the freeway. Whenever I have to come to a complete stop in traffic or slow down significantly, the car always jerks/lurches whenever I attempt to pick up speed. First time I mentioned the issue I was told that it’s how the dual clutch functions and it’s fine. Amazingly, the issue stopped for a time. They obviously did something to correct it. Then things started up again, and I’m now noticing the issues with the car picking up speed when I’m trying to make a turn into traffic. I press three gas, engine revs, and the car creeps into the turn. I took it back again and now I’m being told there’s abnormal wear on the clutch and parts are on order, but there’s no ETA as to when the parts will get in because they’re on backorder. Once again the issue went away, but everything is starting up again. Oh and they also detailed abnormal wear on my front tires on the service ticket but never actually discussed it with me. I know the tire issues have EVERYTHING to do with the clutch issue.

  • JMD

    I purchased a new 2018 Hyundai Tuscon with the defective dual clutch transmission. I have complained every time I have had it to the dealership since I purchased the vehicle. They just tell me that that’s the nature of the transmission. I have learned that it is fact a defect.

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