2019-2021 Kia & Hyundai Transmission Problems

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Lemberg Law is investigating several consumer complaints about a variety of Kia & Hyundai vehicles that might be equipped with defective transmissions. Consumers continue reporting to our team that the affected vehicles are producing a sudden loss of power, inability to accelerate, trouble shifting gears and erratic tachometer readings. Despite addressing the concerns with Kia and Hyundai, customers continue to be left in the dark, without a solution in sight.

Affected vehicles might include (but are not limited to):

Here is one complaint left with the NHTSA regarding the 2021 Kia Seltos:

“Driving on a busy 4 lane highway where everyone was going over 70mph. Car began to shudder in the transmission and lost most of its power. Rpms went up to 3 or 4 thousand when stepping on gas to pull out out fast traffic and wouldn’t go above 35 mph. Had to slowly pull out of traffic with hazards on at 30mph with cars flying by in both sides. Finally got to breakdown lane after a mile and tried to use sport shift mode to try other gears. Car wouldn’t go above 30 mph and rpms went up to 4000. Luckily there was a rest area 500 feet off the highway. Pulled in there to look at transmission oil dipstick but couldn’t find it. Spent over 2 hours trying to get Kia roadside assistance towed to a LOCAL Kia dealer but none had loaners to give so had to use my AAA to tow it to my dealer where I bought it. Hopefully I will get reimbursed for the tow I had to pay for. Still waiting for my service department to fix it. They tried to drive it and confirmed the transmission is gone. The car ONLY has 6500 MILES ON IT!!!!!! No warning light came on to know problems were present. Very dangerous…. Kia needs to have a transmission oil cooler or a warning light installed so this can’t happen again!!!!”

Here is another example related to the 2021 Kia Soul:

“I was on the interstate and my car started making a loud noise and decelerated. It seemed to lose power, I turned around and started home as I was very frightened. The car accelerated without pressing the gas, decelerated without pressing the brake. The tachometer was swinging around wildly. The car most of the time seemed to have no power. I was afraid of a rear end hit by another car or flying into the back of a car in front. I was trying to limp it to the dealer. The car only had 3,400 miles on it and I had had it for 7 months. At one point, I had to stop for a red light and the car would not move. I put on the warning flashers and tried to edge to the side of the street as there was a bit of slope. I turned the car off and restarted it and was able to get it to the dealer about 2 miles away with very little power. They told me it has to have a new transmission. They said they are replacing the transmission with a different kind and it will be safe not to worry, though confidence in the vehicle is diminished. I understand that the IVT transmission that Kia developed in 2020 has been giving problems.”

It’s possible to be without an affected vehicle for more than a month to get the transmission replaced. Plus, several customers have reported needed multiple replacements before the problems are corrected, while others claim that it never drives right again.

Any time you purchase a new vehicle, you expect that the powertrain will run smoothly and consistently. While this expectation is completely realistic, car manufacturers don’t provide the quality control needed to avoid major defects. Once the problem becomes known, the companies will do everything possible to avoid repairing it, mainly because of the cost involved. At Lemberg Law, we are committed to ensuring these automakers are held accountable for these dangerous defects. Our expert legal team represents individuals against the manufacturers and gets justice for lemon car cases.

If your Kia or Hyundai IVT powertrain is losing power, shifting erratic or failing to work normally, you might have a lemon. Fill out our no-obligation case evaluation form or call us.

Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm

Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of bad manufacturing and run-arounds from auto companies. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. Call our Helpline today!  There is no charge unless we win.

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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.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Taylor D

    I’m 22 years old and from Halifax NS, Canada. From May 2022 to June 2023 I lived in Toronto, and in October 2022 I purchased a 2021 KIA Forte (used at 5200km) from a KIA dealership in the GTA. I chose KIA because my mom and uncle had 3 Kia’s my whole life and it was only my moms 2016 forte that ever gave her problems so originally I thought user error. The car I got drove great to me until I drove it back to Halifax this past June. Both myself and my father who’ve driven it have experienced the very often high RPM jump just going to simple speeds like 20-50km/hr. Trying to get going on the highway up to 100 I can barely get it to jump below 4 and 5k rpms, especially on low gas which to my knowledge shouldn’t affect the transmission power? It almost feels like the acceleration ignites but the car doesn’t understand to go with it. I’m so young and have sunk so much debt into this car only for a Kia dealership in Halifax to do diagnostic and tell me nothing is wrong, and that my concerns about the American recalls of steering wheel detachment do not exist for the Canadian version and to not worry. What would the best case scenario be if my steering wheel came loose while on the highway? My mom contacted the owner of that dealership who told us they’d be in contact yet nothing. I’d be happy if they paid out my remaining loan and I could purchase a brand new vehicle from a more reliable company. I don’t want to lose my life behind the wheel because Kia is negligent.

  • Rudy

    My daughter and I were on the 400 HWY by Barrie Ontario when our Kia Seltos transmission went from drive to first gear almost causing a transport truck to rear end us. We had to drive almost 2 km to get off the highway in first gear because they had cement barriers along the side of the shoulder of the road which prevented us from stopping the car safely. That 2 km was the scariest thing I ever did in my life. This almost caused a pile up on the 400 HWY when it happened and I was honestly scared for our lives. I had to leave the car in Barrie at the Kia dealer and rent a car to get home. Dealing with the dealership is not the problem I’m having, dealing with Kia is my problem. The lady on the phone is my problem. They’re making me pay for the rental, she was very short with me on the phone and now won’t answer any of my questions , like why are you not reimbursing me for the rental and why can I not have a rental car etc… They are having problems with the transmissions on this car and she made it sound like it was something I did. Any help with this would be appreciated. Thx

  • Terry

    I bought 2022 sorento in Jan in this year, and I drove less than 5000miles.
    On September 10, there was a pop-up asking me to check the Transmission Oil, and the service center made a reservation for Tuesday, the 13th because it was the weekend. But on my way to work on Monday, RPM kept going up and speed going down. So my car was sent to Kia service center via tow service to kia. They said it was fixed in a day, and I picked up the car. But after only two miles, the same thing started and I had to go back to the service center. They said I had to completely change the transmission of my car after that, but the problem wasn’t solved even after changing it. They said later that the computer program and the new transmission are not compatible and that it will be okay if the program is upgraded.
    But until today, November 3rd, they couldn’t fix my car and my car is still in the service center.
    I talked to Kia headquarters and they said the case manager would contact me but I still haven’t heard from them.

  • Mikaela C

    I bought my 2021 Kia Forte in December and it was working nice and then all of a sudden I started having problems with it. The transmission is not shifting right, the rpms jump at different speeds, when we first start to drive sometimes it stops the speed feels as though i’m hitting the break instead of the gas, sometimes when we’re driving it feels like it rumbles, when we go on the highway the whole steering wheel shakes, and my car likes to pull towards the right. We have been to a couple of people and they can’t do anything for us because no codes come up and we can’t afford to pay almost $1,000 just to start to play around with the car and do things that may or may not fix it.

  • Karen A

    I lease a 2020 hyundai venue. I was on vacation and the transmission went out. Only 22’000 miles. I was over 600 miles from home. Had to rent a car at my expense. Hyundai gave me a 500 dollar voucher but it didn’t even cover the cost for me to get home. My car is sitting at a Hyundai dealer, waiting for a transmission. Delivery of that transmission has been rescheduled 5 times. The newest estimated date of delivery is 7 weeks since my car broke down. I have not been able to get assistance for a loaner vehicle. I also have to pick up my car at my own expense. That’s 1200 miles and two days of my time. I believe it is unacceptable to wait this long while still having to pay for the leased vehicle.. Nobody seems to be able to help me. I will never buy a hyundai due to the customer service.

  • Nicole S

    I am in Vancouver Canada and the transmission on my 2021 Kia Forte is failing. Kia said they cannot diagnose my car until 3 weeks from now. I told them I was afraid to drive it and they did not seem to care. I’m so upset. I cannot afford to rent a car and transit would take to long for me to get to work. I have to drive this dangerous car for 3 weeks!

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