Hyundai DCT Lawsuit | Dual-Clutch Transmission Investigation

Over the past decade, Hyundai has increasingly deployed dual-clutch transmissions (DCTs) throughout its vehicle lineup. DCTs are an intermediary transmission type that sits somewhere between an automatic and a manual; as a result, they are sometimes referred to as semi-automatics. According to Hyundai, the “modern dual-clutch offers the best of both worlds.” But many owners of DCT-equipped Hyundai Santa Fe, Sonata, Veloster N, Elantra N, Kona N, and Santa Cruz vehicles disagree. 

This article will explain how DCTs work and how they differ from automatic and manual transmissions and will then examine the problems reported by Hyundai owners concerning their DCT-equipped vehicles. It will conclude by discussing the potential remedies that can be obtained via the Hyundai DCT lawsuit, as well as a list of the potentially affected vehicles identified by our investigation to date.

If you own one of the vehicles listed in this article and are curious to see if you have an eligible claim for the Hyundai DCT lawsuit, feel free to contact one of our product liability attorneys here at Newsome Melton Law.

How are DCTs different from automatics and manuals?

As their name suggests, DCTs have two clutches. Clutches serve a vital role; they allow the wheels to be disengaged from the engine so that a gear shift can be accomplished. Manual transmissions have just one clutch. When a driver steps on that clutch, the power flow from the engine to the transmission is disrupted, allowing the gears to shift. Automatic transmissions, in contrast, employ a torque converter to transfer power flow from the engine to the transmission. The torque converter presents fuel efficiency concerns, creating a tension between the convenience of driving an automatic and the downsides in terms of fuel economy. 

In a DTC, one clutch controls the even gears while the other controls the odds. The advantage of this arrangement is that the power flow from the engine to the transmission does not need to be disrupted to change gears. As a result, they can accomplish gear changes more quickly while preserving fuel economy. But they also have downsides, including additional costs and maintenance owing to the fact that they are more complex than most automatics and manuals. And, as a general rule of thumb, the more complex a system gets, the more things can go wrong.

What complaints have Hyundai owners made about DCT transmissions? 

Hyundai has deployed DTCs throughout its vehicle lineup, including on recent model year Santa Fe, Sonata, Veloster N, Elantra N, Kona N, and Santa Cruz models. Owners of those vehicles have reported several related issues that suggest that the DCTs in their vehicles may be defective and cause poor shift quality and performance, prompting the Hyundai DCT lawsuit investigation. Commonly reported problems include: 

  • Delayed or sluggish acceleration
  • Gear slips
  • Shaking, shuddering, or juddering
  • Harsh or rough shifts
  • Immobility or stalling
  • Thumping and other objectional sounds

Hyundai issued a recall that was supposed to address transmission performance concerns back in October 2022. Since then, many owners have continued to report problems with their Hyundai DCT performance—suggesting that the recall did not fix the problem. Examples of complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) include: 

NHTSA ID No. 11548276, submitted May 13, 2023:

Transmission goes out of gear while driving. It was taken to Hyundai for inspection 5 times. Goes out of gear when driving. Making a turn at a light, the car stopped in the intersection, I could have been hit by another car. Car was taken in for a transmission recall on 02/07/2023, ever since they reset the transmission, the car goes out of gear again. It didn’t happen before recall and computer reset. The car has been back to the Hyundai dealer on at least 5 times and has been there for a full week now. They still have the car. The dealership said they can’t reproduce the problem. No warning lights when taken for recall, however, transmission warning light came on the last 2 times taken to the dealership.

NHTSA ID No.: 11547791, submitted Oct. 2, 2023:

Vehicle has just over 4k Miles on it. Several times I tried to accelerate and while the engine RPMs would increase, the vehicle would not accelerate. Very dangerous when turning right on a red light and when merging into traffic. I came close to getting T-Boned on 4 occasions, and rear-ended on 3 occasions. This vehicle is not reliable and puts passenger lives in danger. Today the “Shifter System Malfunction-Service Immediately” warning came on and I was not able to shift into any gear and the vehicle put itself into neutral. Looking at the forums, this has been a problem throughout the Hyundia vehicle lineup for years with the DCT transmission. I don’t understand how they can continue to sell these vehicles when there is a known safety issue with the DCT transmission. I have tried to contact Johnson Hyundia in Cary NC and left multiple messages with the service dept, but they have never returned my calls.

NHTSA ID No.: 11523146, submitted May 20, 2023:

My transmission keeps slipping. I was on freeway this time and it slipped out of gear but it was like I pushed all the way down on pedal the RPM went way up so I had to wait until it slipped back into gear to be able to continue on down the freeway. I backed up traffic for a minute because I can’t put on gas until it goes back in gear.

Owners have also expressed their frustrations on online message boards and forums. For instance, one post on SantaCruzForums.com describes the following

Transmission Recall – Worse after fix

I got the transmission recall fix done, and since then I’ve had some issues. Tell me if I should call the dealer and get it looked at again. Since the recall fix these things have happened:

1. Turning my truck on in my garage and shifting to drive, nothing happened, and then for about 2-5 seconds the engine wouldn’t respond, it would hesitate or pause

2. When at a stop in idle drive and holding the brake, I release and the truck lurches forward to with an rpm surge. This makes lightening up on the brake difficult cause at some point the lurch happens.

Similarly, Redditors have also made complaints, including the following example:

Nightmare transmission issue 2023

We love this car, but now @6000 miles the transmission completely went my wife, kids, and I had been stuck driving 20 mph in the middle of the highway when the transmission started revving into high rpms without changing gears. It was super weird and freaky to experience. Then we see the same issue re occur, a month later after the patch recall fix… after thinking all would be well repairing from a recall.

the dealer won’t tell us why the issue is occuring or how frequently it occurs, nor did they say Hyundai would admit it be a reoccurring issue or not… We kind of need to know at this point. we just need to know it will be reliable (said they couldn’t do anything) but manufacturer Hyundai corporate had to handle it.

All they said was corporate confirmed it needs to be completely redone along with a few other things.

We are extremely disappointed and just freaked out if even if they fix it, reading about all the issues with previous years too. We fear it will occur again and something dangerous could happen like on the highway. What kind of rights do we have… I don’t think lemon law could apply. But they need to make it more than right.

Anyone have suggestions on how to handle this with the company.. as we just are not feeling confident in this years model anymore.

In short, it appears that the DCT problems plaguing Hyundai’s lineup were not solved by the prior recall and persist to this day. Under these types of circumstances, lawsuits are often the only method by which a consumer can recover the costs and expenses associated with having purchased a vehicle that does not perform as marketed. 

How can a Hyundai DCT lawsuit help Hyundai owners and lessees? 

The law provides multiple potential legal claims for customers who have purchased defective vehicles. The legal claims include breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, violation of state lemon laws, violation of the federal Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, violation of statutes prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices, and common law torts such as fraud and negligent misrepresentation. The specific claims will, of course, vary by jurisdiction.  

Additionally, the law affords different potential remedies, depending again on the law of the jurisdiction and the claims asserted. The potential remedies for the Hyundai DCT lawsuit include: 

  • Money damages to put the consumer back in the place they would have been had the vehicle not been defective.
  • Consequential damages for things such as out-of-pocket expenses incurred while attempting to repair the vehicle or the costs associated with having to secure alternative transportation, etc.
  • Repurchase or rescission, requiring the automaker to purchase the vehicle back from the plaintiff. 
  • Treble or “triple” damages, which multiply the actual damages suffered by three.
  • Statutory damages, which set a certain amount of damages to be awarded for the statutory claim asserted.
  • Punitive damages meant to send a message and deter manufacturers from selling vehicles with similar defects. 
  • Attorneys’ fees and costs associated with filing and pursuing the lawsuit.

Does my vehicle qualify for a potential Hyundai DCT lawsuit? 

Our firm is presently investigating the models that might be affected by the potential defect listed in the Hyundai DCT lawsuit. So far, our investigation shows that the potential defect might affect the following: 

  • 2021-22 Santa Fe
  • 2021-22 Sonata
  • 2021-22 Veloster N
  • 2022 Elantra N
  • 2022 Kona N
  • 2022 Santa Cruz

We will continue to update this list as our investigation continues. 

Can I speak with someone about a potential Hyundai DCT lawsuit?

If you own one of the vehicles listed above and would like to discuss your personal experience or determine if you have a potential claim for the Hyundai DCT lawsuit, please give us a call at 407-648-5977 or send an email to ourand@newsomelaw.com. We’ll be happy to speak with you, free of charge, to discuss your experiences and potential claims.