Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2011 Hyundai Elantra phantom automatic transmission problem = harsh shifting

I have been having phantom automatic transmission problems with occasional harsh shifting, mostly up shifting through all the gears but sometimes downshifting. This problem started in May 2014, lasted off and on for several days, and then stopped occurring. There had been a few instances of small drops of fluid on my carport but nothing consistent. Then in September, the problem started again on the same basis: on/off again, nothing consistent. When I couldn’t locate the port under the hood to check the transmission fluid, I took the Elantra to the Boise Hyundai dealership to ask where the trans fluid port was located. My service rep told me that there was no port in the new vehicles and that the transmission fluid was not changed until 100,000 miles at a cost of $400. The service technicians could not find anything wrong with the vehicle when they hooked it up to their computers to check the error codes, and the vehicles would not perform the harsh shifting when they test drove the car. The techs re-set the adaptive points and I was sent on my way. A few days later, the harsh shifting started again on and off, phantom problem. I took the Elantra back into the dealership and told them to keep it for as many days as it took for a tech to drive it home and start it cold in the morning. The transmission did not perform the harsh shifting for the 80 miles the tech drove it home and back to the dealership for three days.

After driving the Elantra another week, the phantom trans problems re-occurred and I was tearing my hair out. After surfing the web and checking the Hyundai Customer Forum, all I could find was problems with 2010 Elantra transmissions and my service tech admitted that Hyundai had replaced thousands of 2010 transmissions.

Through the dealership I opened a Case File for my transmission problems because there is something definitely wrong with the vehicle and I want a new transmission, and will press my case to the max. I’ve kept a log since September, noted daily temperatures, and times the trans has performed harsh shifting. I’ve kept the problem to a minimum by letting the car warm up for about 5 minutes and will only drive it when the tachometer needle rests on 1,000 rpms.

This week because I have major projects off my radar, I’ll begin driving the vehicle after only 1-2 minute warm up because somehow, it seems temperature of the trans fluid is playing into this problem. I’ll also take the Elantra into Hyundai to have the mileage certified for the annual debit card program that Hyundai issues to owners because of the erroneous in-town mileage advertised with the 2011 Hyundais. My service tech and I will also have a discussion where I want Hyundai to pull the trans pan to look at the fluid and have them waive the $400 charge. What stupid automotive engineers or corporate wallahs decided to eliminate a vital fluid check port in newer vehicles? To me, this is a No Brainer of a really bad idea!

Is there any other owner of a 2011 Hyundai Elantra who is having similar problems? I’ll also be surfing the Internet extensively again to see if there are similar entries on some web site with these phantom trans problems!

My dealership and Hyundai corporate both know I’d do anyting to have my 2001 Chevy Cavalier back in my possession with her 210,000 miles and a problem free car! My vehicles always have current service and maintenance so I haven’t been driving the Elantra and only filling the gas tank with no maintenance! Thanks for any input to this stupid problem!

1 Like

So, you’ve just got to hope the tranny dies before 10 yrs, 100K miles.

Nope, trans warranty is 60K or five years and this Elantra has 47K today. This vehicle can’t be the only 2011 in the Universe with this problem. Tomorrow I’ll begin the cold start and drive right away. This afternoon I drove it “cold” and it did the harsh shifting so I’m on to some track to figure out the problem …

I read numerous posts on the Hyundai site for harsh shift. Apparently the 2010 was really bad and they replaced thousands of trannies. There is a TSB for hash shift.

NUMBER 13-AT-009

If the shift is less than 0.8 seconds, exchange a PCM from another vehicle and retest.

If the shift time is more than 2.5 seconds, compare to a similar model and year vehicle. Replace the transmission if the shift time is longer than a comparison vehicle.

Also, there’s been problems with a transmission oil temp sensor:

Cause: TSB #12-AT-021-1 Applied for failed trans temp sensor 07 Auto Trans.

1 46386-3B00 Sensor-Oil Temperature
1 46307-3B620 Harness
1 45282-26100 Gasket-Valve Body Cover
8 00232-19045 ATF-SPH-IV
1 00232-19039 Gray RTV Silicone, Gasket Make

Error Code - p0711

knfenimore - I was aware many 2010 Elantra trannies were replaced both from Internet research and my Hyundai service representative. I’ve also seen references to TSB’s regarding the harsh shifting problems. I want a copy of that specific TSB and have been trying to access it on the website but will also request a copy of Number 13-AT-009 from Bronco Motors and through my Hyundai Case File at Hyundai this week. I estimate the harsh shift time exceeds 2.5 seconds each time the problem occurred the past 9 months. Thanx.

insightful - oil temp light has not come on but there could be a failed temp sensor causing the on/off again problem so I’ll follow up on that lead. Thanx.

found a number of videos showing the trans drain/fill process. looks real easy. fresh fluid might help the issue

Cavell - I am requesting that the dealership change the fluid so we can see how the fluid looks. I found several good videos with Richard Lloyd’s being the most comprehensive. Thanx.

$400 trans drain? the elantra has a drain plug in side cover. the sonata has a drain plug in bottom of case. seems both trans are different design but both can be drained. the elantra has a easy access fill port on top. looks like a 1/2hr job. the dealer obviously must be doing something additional for $400. can you verify with them exactly what they do? this car does not have a CVT trans, does it?

$400 bucks? That’s nuts. Toyota dealer did my 09 Camry for $85.

I opened a Case file with the Hyundai Customer Hot Line troubleshoot this problem. Yesterday the corporate office scheduled an appointment for Monday at Bronco Motors at no cost to me. The shop will pull the pan, we’ll see what the fluid looks like, check the pan gasket, drain, flush and fill the trans. They will also be checking the sensor oil temperature, the harness and anything else related to the trans. Then I’ll drive it to see what happens; since the problem escalaated in September when I first took the car to the shop, I’ve been keeping a detailed log in addition to the three times the Elantra has been in the shop.

Since Hyundai has a history of problems with transmissions, replacing many trannies in many 2010 models, and at this point they are not fighting me at the corporate level to take a logical approach to trouble shooting and fixing the problem- to and including replacing the trans is that’s necessary. And I won’t “go away” …

Usually I avoid service work at the dealership because they’re more expensive than a good non-dealership mechanic. But since the car is still under warranty, I’ll continue to push them to stand the expense to determine and fix the problem.

Through various web sites I’ve found several other Elantra owners who’ve experienced problems at 38K+ miles with trannies so there’s obviously some kind of wear going on in the transmissions that isn’t the normal wear and tear and maybe that’s what is causing the intermittent harsh shifting?

I’ve seen lots of tranny fluid changes in my prior vehicles and am famliar with what shows up in the pan - both normal and abnormal foreign material in the fluid.

I appreciated the input from you folks and have finally had time for more comprehensive research on the web so am getting more education than a geologist should know about newer vehicles and the complicated systems that have evolved with technology, both good and bad.

But why did the automotive engineers factor out the port and dip stick for automatic transmissions? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Thanx again!

The trans is a factory stock trans in 4D sedan GLS models not a CVT. The vehicle came off the assembly line March 15, 2011.

Part of the reason the designers are leaving out the transmission dip stick on automatics is that it is very difficult for a driveway diy’er to check the transmission fluid accurately with the new transmission designs. It’s a complicated process and often a special manufacturer’s computer diagnostic gadget is needed to even do it at all. Deleting the dipstick saves some space and makes it less likely an owner without the appropriate transmission service knowledge will damage the transmission in an attempt to measure and correct the fluid level.

So better living through technology eh? Give me dip sticks any day as a diagnostic tool! Thanx!

The 1990’s were the golden age of cars, as they had most of the important functionality by then, electronic fuel injection, computers, and self-diagnostic capability, but diy repair and maintenance was still within reach for owners so-inclined. As customers demanded more and more functions, more and more power, and the gov’t demanded more and more safety, mpg, and emissions features, but w/the car remaining the same size, something had to give to free up space. DIY functionality got on the removal list . Makes sense from the manufacturer’s point of view, as very few people are inclined to do any work at all on their own cars these days.

My previous vehicle was a 2001 Chevy Cavalier which I recall still had the trans fluid port/dip stick. The fluid was checked frequently while commuting 2.5K/month. It was traded in at 210K miles when the Elantra was purchased from the Hertz Rental Sales lot. The Elantra had 22K miles and was the second vehicle I purchased from Hertz. Cav was still in excellent condition except high mileage. I comprehend the above explanation “why” but it’s frustrating not to easily access the fluid on the end of a dip stick with the current phantom situation!

The elantra has a fluid level height port on the side of case. Like they use on manual trans. Why? Maybe engineers think checking the fluid level once/decade is enough? Seems like a simple job though. At least it is somewhat accessible.

On Monday Bronco Motors Hyundai service department scan showed code SP0713.P0711 and they replaced the transmission temperature sensor per TSB 14-AT-010. Drained and re-filled transmission fluid; parts replaced: harness #46307-3B650; gasket-valve body #45282-26100; fluid which looked okay when drained with 47K on the trans.

Now I’ll on some mileage to see if harsh shifting re-occurs or the problem’s been solved.

Thanx for all input!


i’m kapoho with the same 2011 Elantra that had phantom harsh shifting problem in Jan 2015. On Feb 2, 2015, Hyundai finally fixed the problem with exactly the solutions posted by Car Talk responders in Jan- Feb 2015. No problems since the Feb repairs.

This morning the Elantra began surging and nearly stalling out on acceleration after about 20-25 minutes driving. I was barely able to drive the car home; when pulling into the garage, there was a strong smell of something hot. Temperature gauge indicated normal engine temp; no icons lit on the dash indicating a problem.

The car was towed to Boise Hyundai dealership to hopefully find out what’s wrong with the car now on Monday when I talk with my Service representative.

Is anyone familiar with this surging/nearly stalling and overheating problem and is it related to other Elantra engine, trans, fuel system-related problems? I can’t find anything specific while web surfing today for some clues!


I have the same problem on 2012 Sonata. I’ve been going back and forth to the dealership trying to describe what is happening with but no luck! the tech kept the car overnight to test it and they said there is nothing wrong with it just got my engine light on with P0711 Oil temperature sensor – rationality and I was looking up some similar issues and wanted to share my story.
Hopefully they will replace the sensor and finally get the issue fixed as it got so worse right now when it happens in changing gears