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I have a 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, AWD. For the most part, my wife and I really like it. We had the engine replaced in 2017 because it started dying on us. Come to find out, there was a recall due to the engine's internals grinding themselves to death. So, for the most part, the car has been pretty good.

However...we've been having some serious issues with the transmission. For instance, after the car sits for a few hours and we decide to drive it, there's a horrible slipping feeling in the transmission from 1st to 2nd gears. The engine will also rev very high...sometimes close to red line. It'll do this for about a second, then after that, the transmission shifts fine. The next problem with the transmission is while coasting down any kind of incline. There's an abrupt jerk when the transmission downshifts from either 3rd to 2nd and/or 2nd to 1st. We took it to the dealership numerous times. After all of the diagnostics and testing, they found absolutely nothing wrong. I was shocked. They reprogrammed and serviced the transmission a couple times and nothing changed. They even had our car for 2 weeks at one point and of course they could not reproduce the issue. It also never threw a code or caused the Check Engine Light to come on! I recorded it on my phone happening to us about 20 times. I even showed them other videos of the transmission doing its thing. It didn't matter one bit. If they could not reproduce the issue, to them, it didn't happen. I wrote to the dealership begging them to send someone over our house for a couple mornings so they could see what I/we were experiencing. Guess what, no response. Can you believe it's still happening to this very day? Of course we're over the 100,000 mile warranty. Our only saving grace is the dealership told us that if the transmission fails, Hyundai will most likely fix it under the warranty because we've been complaining about it for so long. I'll believe it when I see it.

Does anyone else have the same issues that we're having...or had the same issues? Does anyone know what might be causing the transmission to slip like that almost everyday? What would cause the abrupt downshift while coasting down an incline? This has been nothing but a huge headache. I just want to know what's causing those things to happen!!!

Thanks for reading my rant. Hopefully it made sense.
 

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I think there may be more going on in this case than that TSB covers. The TSB discusses DTCs but does not mention any other symptoms, and this vehicle has some substantial symptoms. If the transmission is slipping as badly as the owner indicates the clutch plates are being worn / damaged. It is going to fail in a big and expensive way eventually. The part I do not get is that the owner seems to indicate that this happens regularly yet cannot be duplicated. Driving habits might be the issue. By that I mean that whoever is road testing the vehicle at the Dealer may by driving it with a heavier or lighter foot than the owner and thus fails to duplicate it. Now when I was managing I would have made arrangements for someone to stop over at your residence as long as the distance was reasonable. If they will not.....Are you close enough to leave the vehicle overnight and then go back in the morning and YOU drive it with the service manager or Tech in the vehicle? You really do need to get it resolved as the more miles you put on the less likely assistance from Hyundai may be.
 

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Wow, Ejcapo71 you are one easy going guy. If I had a 2014 and 3 years later the engine went and 4 years later the tranny is acting up like a hawaiian volcano I'd be PO'dX10 and also a bit suspicious. I'm wondering if that replaced engine can/is somehow causing problems with the transmission. Nothing can replace the factory...except another factory.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies. The transmission fluid was changed, the system was refreshed, yes I'm close enough to the dealer that someone could come over or I could go there, and lastly, I try to be an easy going guy...lol (however, they have heard my wrath before!)

I've gone to that particular dealership many, many times for the transmission. I told them that it mainly happens when the car is parked for a few hours and things have cooled down. I asked them to keep my car for a week and have the manager drive the car to and from work. They agreed. I made sure to check the mileage before I left. After a week, I went back to the dealership and the manager told me he couldn't duplicate the issue. I knew that was impossible. I was pissed and disappointed. When I got home, I then remembered to check the mileage again and it was obvious that the car wasn't driven as much as he/they claimed.

When it happens to me, as I stated before, the car has to be cold or have sat for a few hours. My driveway is a little long. It's about 500 feet from when I leave my driveway to a stop sign. I'm not ever really leaving first gear...the car coasts most of the way. As soon as I leave from the stop sign and it shifts from first to second, that's the exact time it happens. It happens almost every morning. It also happens just about every single time I leave my house, no matter the time of day, as long as the car sat for a while. I can reproduce it all the time, without fail. Why the dealership can't reproduce it is beyond me. Oh, it also does that horrible downshift while slowing down, when coasting down any type of incline. I'm pretty sure it's from third to second gear. The car jumps and shutters when it happens. Recently, it's been shifting really hard when going from reverse to park. The whole car jolts when it happens. I'm not sure exactly what's causing all of this but it's not good.

Of course now I have 105,000 miles. Hopefully, when the transmission finally throws a code or drops out the bottom of the car, Hyundai will honor the warranty. Otherwise, we're gonna have a problem. I just wish I could get something fixed. The dealership can't tell me what it is. I should probably go to another dealer but I'm not sure if they have some type of database for specific manufacturers that they put people's car issues in. Anyone know???

Keep your questions and/or comments coming. Any ideas and/or suggestions would be helpful!!!
 

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Sounds very much like my 2017 SFS!! Mine had the same hard downshift, especially when going from 6-5 gear. It was a very hard jerk. We had the tranny replaced last October (car was only 10 months old!!), and things were going ok for a couple of months, but now it's back and worse than ever.
I brought the car to my local dealer back in May and they kept if for a few days to try and figure things out, and they did a transmission "reset", however, nothing has changed for the better, actually a little worse. There was a couple of times in the last two weeks where it downshifted two gears from 6-5-4 very abruptly in about a 1.5-2 second span while starting to climb an incline of about 10-15 degrees while at highway speeds around 110 km/h.
Something else that has happened since the "reset" is the reduction of speed while starting starting to climb a shallow (less than 10deg) incline while at highway speeds while also pressing harder on the accelerator pedal. I've seen reductions in speed from around 5-8 km/h when this happens, but i have been increasing pressure on the accelerator. It's like the car isn't responding to the increase on the pedal but instead slowing down. Eventually, the car grabs and then does the hard downshift in gears and then speeds up.
Not sure what to do anymore. We've had the car for about a year and a half and I don't have the time or patience to keep bringing it back to the dealer.
 

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When I was a Service Manager (GM) i discouraged the Techs from doing "resets" as all that does in the GM world is put the transmission back in default mode, just as it was after being assembled. Most transmissions "learn" and adjust over the first "X" number of miles. They adjust to how the internal components work together as well as to your driving habits. All a reset does is to start that process over so whatever it is you feel but do not like may go away until the transmission relearns the behavior. Thus an owner comes back in and says: hey, it was great for about 2,500 miles and now the same "problem" is back again. So why to some Techs do the resets? In many cases, at least in my experience, it was because the transmission may be operating normally so they try that to appease an owner. And that's why I stopped them from doing the resets. It accomplishes nothing and the owner will be back most of the time thinking that our "fix" was only temporary and now it needs to be fixed again. Sometimes you just need to tell the owner that it is shifting normally at this time and even put them in a like vehicle with you for a road test and show them that they operate the same.

YYT......My 2015 SFS 2.4L has had those abrupt 6-6 or 6-5-4 downshifts on certain types of grades for all of its life. About 25,000 miles on the clock now. I have felt it in other SFS and to me it is a normal operating characteristic of the vehicle. Under certain conditions it does that. I can get it to do it at the same location every time i start up the grade. A lot comes into play, including our driving habits. Plus the transmission may be coming out of lock up with amplifies the feeling of the downshifts. Thus you and I may feel it but someone else may not because their driving habits may be different. Some folks claim that they had transmissions replaced and it went away. All I can say that in my experience with my vehicle.....To me I do not feel anything that in my experience I feel is a problem.

I see that Hyundai is introducing an 8 speed automatic for 2019. If you think that the 6 speed transmissions have bad habits.....Adding two more gear ranges......My guess is that many here may not like how they shift....

Now for the OP.....He speaks of slipping as proven by the tachometer climbing severely during the shift. That is completely different than what I am discussing here. I would really suggest that he / she get another opinion because that type of slipping generally indicates a transmission that IS going to fail at some point...Yes, Dealers can see what was done at other Dealers. How much they can see varies by manufacturer. So be honest with the new Dealer. Explain what has been happening, how long, what has / has not been done etc.... and go from there. If you were coming to me I'd see it as a chance to win over a new customer, not as a problem customer coming my way....As long as everything is presented in a civil and honest manner.

ADDED CONTENT - I should add that today's transmissions in general do not behave as nicely as the 3, 4, and perhaps the 5 speed automatics that some of us grew up with. Back in the day if you wanted firm shifts you added a shift kit. Today's transmissions...You do feel the shifts more, the transmission may upshift and downshift more often, and there may be delays in downshifts while the transmission control module decides what to do and then does what may be several steps to perform the actual downshifts. I would say that transmission shift quality is right up there in the top five complaints if not holding the top spot itself. I would also say that it is in the top 5 of "it is working as designed at this time" as being the outcome. The more gear ranges added.....The more complaints we generally see....
 

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I have been changing the transmission fluid every 10-15K miles. I only do it because it is so cheap and easy to do. Always pretty red every time I drain it.
 

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Yup. 2014 20t Santa Fe. Less than $20 and if you think its hard to do you should turn in your man card (unless you are old or physically unable to do so). Hardest part of the entire job is pulling the underside protector.
I'd have to agree, doing a dump and fill on the transmission isn't much harder than the engine oil. About the same price and amount too.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I just need whatever is going on with my car, fixed. I'm tired of going to the dealership and having them tell me they can't reproduce the issue. I know it's total bulls*it. I'm over 100K so I'm nervous that if my transmission fails, they won't honor the warranty. I was told that since its been documented, that I shouldn't have a problem.

I thought about changing the transmission fluid more often but I was told a dealer has to do it because it's a "sealed" unit. How are you guys changing the fluid? Is it something that's pretty easy to do? If I ask the dealership to do it, it's gonna cost me a lot of money, so I would love to be able to do it myself. I've been unsuccessful in getting service stations to change the fluid. They also tell me the transmission is sealed.

I have no clue why my SFS is behaving the way it is. It acts up on a daily basis, sometimes more than once. It's beyond frustrating. I can tell you that it's making my wife and I reconsider buying another Hyundai.

It never throws a code and it never causes the "Check Engine" light to come on. Believe me, I so wish it did. Then I can go to the dealership and tell them I told you so.

So, how do you change the transmission fluid with it being a sealed unit?

Thanks for all the input.
 

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You can always replace auto trans fluid. Get OEM fluid from Hyundai, a siphon pump and oil pan from Walmart, remove sensor on the top and drain and fill with same amount of oil
 

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I just need whatever is going on with my car, fixed. I'm tired of going to the dealership and having them tell me they can't reproduce the issue. I know it's total bulls*it. I'm over 100K so I'm nervous that if my transmission fails, they won't honor the warranty. I was told that since its been documented, that I shouldn't have a problem.

I thought about changing the transmission fluid more often but I was told a dealer has to do it because it's a "sealed" unit. How are you guys changing the fluid? Is it something that's pretty easy to do? If I ask the dealership to do it, it's gonna cost me a lot of money, so I would love to be able to do it myself. I've been unsuccessful in getting service stations to change the fluid. They also tell me the transmission is sealed.

I have no clue why my SFS is behaving the way it is. It acts up on a daily basis, sometimes more than once. It's beyond frustrating. I can tell you that it's making my wife and I reconsider buying another Hyundai.

It never throws a code and it never causes the "Check Engine" light to come on. Believe me, I so wish it did. Then I can go to the dealership and tell them I told you so.

So, how do you change the transmission fluid with it being a sealed unit?

Thanks for all the input.
It's not a sealed unit, anyone who tells you it is, is an idiot or thinks you are.


Hyundai Santa Fe: Fluid. Repair procedures - Hydraulic System - Automatic Transaxle System - Hyundai Santa Fe DM 2013-2018 Service Manual

There is actually another fill port on the top that is easier to fill quickly but you most remove the airbox to access it.
 

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Here is how to do it. This is a Kia but it is identical to the Santa Fe. Its exactly how I do it. I also use the Valvoline trans fluid

 
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