New transmission needed?

I have a 2004 Hyundai Accent with about 120,000 miles on it. Last summer, it started jerking badly from park to 1st and 1st to 2nd for the first five or ten minutes that I drove it. It stopped during the winter (Texas winter, so a mild fall in most places with seasons), the check engine light never came on, and the transmission fluid was fine (both color and volume), so I didn’t get it checked out. Now that it’s summer again, the jerking has started back up. I’ve also noticed in the last few weeks weak acceleration after stopping (again, usually only in the first ten minutes or so of driving). And today my check engine light came on.

I’ve checked the fuses, and I just got my oil changed (they said the check engine light was giving them a transmission code, but didn’t elaborate). I have a leaking valve cover gasket and cracked belts that I’ll be repairing ASAP. Is it possible that either of those are causing this problem?

Since I’m a single young woman, I don’t want to go into a shop without being fully informed (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been ripped off). My research suggested a couple things:

  1. It might be the coil packs.
  2. I might need a new transmission.

If someone could hazard a guess on what is wrong and a basic explanation of what’s happening in the transmission that causes these problems, I would appreciate it. I’m trying to learn as much as I can before I fork over hundreds of dollars that I don’t have!

Thank you very much for your help.

Is your check engine light on now? If so, go to an advance auto, pepboys or autozone. They can read the code for you for free. They’ll want to sell you service but politely turn that down and post the codes here. It will look like Pnnnn with nnnn being a number.


The coil packs would be responsible for a misfire

Since you didn’t mention any misfires, I think we can eliminate the coil packs

Have you serviced your automatic transmission fluid and filter regularly, that is, according to the service manual?

Perhaps a visit to an INDEPENDENT transmission shop is in order . . .

Take it to a transmission shop, then take it to a 2nd and 3rd after getting a quote for repairs. If the first shop knows you are gonna get a price somewhere else they will be less likely to over-write you.

I believe that Hyundai recommends 30k miles fluid changes and if transmission still has the original fluid in it the problem could be due to aged fluid. The fluid may appear fine color-wise but the additives in it break down with age and miles.

In a nutshell, heat related fluid failure and it can often lead to internal transmission problems.

The jerking may or may not be related to the transmission code and could be related to an ignition miss or fuel delivery problem.

The maintenance history is not known but if the timng belt has never been changed along with the trans fluid and factoring in a leaking valve cover along with a cracked accessory belt then the vehicle has seen some neglect and may need quite a few things to bring it up to par; and that’s omitting the possibility of a transmission failure.

I’m also a single woman, an older one, and I understand being ripped off. Since you said the jerking occurred when moving from park to 1st and 1st to 2d, I’m thinking your car may have a manual transmission (like mine does). If so, have them check the alternator. I had the beginnings of jerkings before my alternator needed to be replaced a month ago (2002 Accent, 64,000 miles). No more jerking now! I suspect that a dying alternator might also account for weak acceleration; my acceleration was weak, too. If your car isn’t a manual, you can probably disregard this post. Whatever, I wish you good luck!

@mewsician I’m sorry that you were (or at least felt you were) ripped off

I can’t side with you 100% because I don’t know the details. And also because I’m a professional mechanic, so I’m literally on the other side. And I know that the service writer is sometimes the cause of hard feelings. Of course, if the customer was really happy, the service writer also had a lot to do with that.

“park to 1st” = no way this car has a manual transmission