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2003 Hyundai Elantra AT Will Not Shift Into Second Gear

Everything was working perfectly. I stopped at McDonalds to get a bite to eat. When I left McDonalds, the car would not shift out of first gear. I have checked the transmission fluid and it appears to be good. I shifted from Park to low, and low back to park several times making sure there was no problem there. I noticed it also kicks hard when going into reverse, and it kicks hard when going into drive. When it is driven it will not shift out of first gear. Can someone tell me possible problems.

Did you check the transmission fluid? Level? Color? Odor?

It sounds like the computer has put it into a “limp” mode. This will happen when the computer detects a problem and shuts down most transmission functions to prevent further damage. The hard shifting is probably from maxed out line pressure. Do you have any warning lights on the dash?

If the fluid looks good, you will need to take it to your best local, independent transmission shop & have them put it on a scanner. If you do that & you want suggestions based on what you hear make sure you get very specific info about things like error codes so that you can report it.

If the fluid is low, refill it and then take it to the transmission shop to have the leak fixed.

Color looked good. No odor. Level fine. Not too high, or too low. Check engine light has been on forever.

“Check engine light has been on forever.”

Pray tell… what are the codes that the check engine light is giving?

You DO check to see if the gas gauge is full or empty don’t you? The check engine light is even more important. Hopefully you didn’t lunch the whole shebang!

Unless you’re in California, many auto parts stores will read your error codes for free. The codes look like “P1234” - have it scanned, write down the exact codes, and post them.

In many cases there are other codes (e.g. for transmissions) that won’t be picked up by a typical code reader. I still think that you’ll end up at a transmission shop.

“Unless you’re in California . . .”

What happens in CA? Are auto parts stores in CA not allowed to read trouble codes?

Inquiring minds want to know.

I’m guessing it must be a law there or something - sort of like not being allowed to pump your own gas in Jersey. I have just gotten this info from being here on these boards. Someone from California reported it once. I haven’t been to California since the early 90s so perhaps I am just perpetuating some urban legend…?

If your CEL has been on that long what you need to do is first scan it, write down all the codes, clear the codes and drive it and see which ones come back. While you are waiting to see which ones come back, post ALL the codes here. I need to see which ones are transmission related.


Hmmm… Check engine light has been on forever. So you wait til things really get out of hand and then ask for help on line? Sorry no guesses here. Could be, and probably is, a hundred different things by now.