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2012 Hyundai Tucson - Very Scary Ride!

I’m the original owner of a 2012 Hyundai Tucson and have owned the car for 2.5 years; mileage is under 15,000. About 14 months ago, the car started lunging (for lack of a better term) and I’m wondering what could cause this. It happens only in stop & go city traffic, from a stopped position. Lightly depressing the gas pedal will see the tachometer zoom to 3,000 rpm but the vehicle doesn’t respond. Additional light pressure on the gas pedal will then produce a jerk accompanied by a loud THUNK. The first time this happened, I thought the truck behind had rear-ended my car.

I’ve had the vehicle to two different dealers and they both have said the same thing. “We can’t reproduce it; bring it back if it happens again.”

I’m getting very nervous about driving this vehicle and really would just like to get rid of it, but it would weigh heavily on me unloading a lemon on an unsuspecting buyer or dealership.

Any suggestions?

Transmission slip ?
Check transmission fluid level.

I agree that this sounds like a slipping transmission.
In light of the 100k mile powertrain warranty, and the unwillingness of two different dealerships to deal with the issue, I suggest that you contact Hyundai at the corporate level. Contact info can be found in your Owner’s Manual. Begin with a phone call, and then follow-up with a certified letter summarizing the facts.

Hopefully you have maintained the car as per Hyundai’s maintenance schedule so that the company can’t try to weasel out of providing warranty coverage for the repair.

Start documenting the problems and visits to dealerships. This may be fixable under warranty, but only if you can get Hyundai’s attention. The dealers may be stonewalling hoping you’ll just go away.

I would elevate this problem in a letter to Hyundai regional manager and demand that they take action to fix the problem under warranty.

Hyundai has a 10-yr 100k mile powertrain warranty, so they absolutely owe you a fix.

It definitely sounds like automatic transmission problems. These newer automatic transmissions (not just Hyundai, but all the vendors) are often extremely expensive to repair. This is especially true if the transmission hosts a lot of speeds, more than 4 or 5. So the advice about documenting the problem, all visits to the dealerships, contacting the national rep, all are excellent advice. If it is due to a defect in the design or the work quality when the vehicle was manufactured, you want them to be paying for fixing this, not you.

In the front wheel drive, 2L version of this vehicle, there are at least a bunch of customer interest bulletins, and other TSBs involving the A/T. There’s a lot of superseded versions of the bulletins too involving the A/T, so it appears they may have been struggling to figure the issues out.

You might want to visit a local bookstore and see if you can find a newly released Consumer Reports book titled something like “Car Reliability Guide”. It’s dated December 2014, but has been on my local Barnes and Noble bookstore for about a month. It lists the reliability problems the vendor is aware of and has made accommodation to their customers for, by each car year/make/model.

And of course it is entirely possible this is a minor problem and easily corrected. It might not even have anything to do with the A/T. But given the symptoms, better to be forewarned and on the lookout I think.

Check out #7 Johny’s problem sounds exactly the same.