Most Common KIA Transmission Problems (2022)

Models such as Sportage, Rio, Telluride, Stinger, Sorento, Optima, Soul, Sedona, Forte, K900 are now some of the most reliable vehicles on the market withvery few transmission problems.

Are Kia Transmissions Reliable?

Most Common KIA Transmission Problems (1)

Overall, Kia transmissions are quite reliable. Most Kia transmission problems such astransmission won't engage,transition slips,delayed shifting,transmission bangs into gear,no drive or reverse gears,stuck in limp mode are often caused by low transmission fluid. These symptoms may also be due toproblems with the transmission control module, which in some cases can be fixed by having the dealer perform a software update.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, check the transmission fluid level immediately and correct it if needed. Also, call any Kia dealer and ask if any Technical Sevice Bulletins (TSBs) or software updates for the transmission.


With that said, we still come across Kia vehicles with automatic transmission problems, especially vehicles that aren't maintained or used for towing.

Kia Automatic Transmission Problems

Most Common KIA Transmission Problems (2)

Let's take a look at someproblems and common causes of Kia automatic transmissions.

Shift flares and delayed gear changes

KIA cars that use an A4CF 4-speed automatic transmission have a common gear shift issue, which involves shift flares or slipping into 2nd, 3th, and 4th gear.

In some cases, there will be a prolonged pause followed by a clunk when selecting reverse. Usually, any of the symptoms will be more prominent while the car is cold. This can trigger a check engine light, so there will be a corresponding code in DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions


  • Pressure drop inside the valve body as a result of leaking solenoids. Being an issue usually happens gradually; the symptoms will be more apparent when the vehicle is cold. As this is a prevalent problem, there are sets with uprated solenoids available.
  • Faulty internal harness, which causes interference in communication between TCU and solenoids. Unlike leaking solenoids, this will cause intermittent and sudden issues and trigger a check engine light with solenoid-related codes.

Erratic shifting and jumping into neutral

Vehicles that use an A4CF 4-speed automatic transmission can suffer from issues that range from jumpy gear shifts to sudden and uncontrolled shifts to neutral while driving.

When this happens, the driver will not engage any gear, despite selecting the drive or reverse. These issues usually trigger a check engine light, meaning there will be a corresponding code in DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Faulty input or output speed sensor, which offsets the shift procedure and causes misleading solenoid-related codes. Deciding which of these two sensors is causing the problem is not a straightforward task; the most efficient way of dealing with this issue is to replace both.

Erratic and failed gear shift

Kia Sorento that, which uses a RE5R05A 5-speed automatic transmission, can suffer from a range of shift issues, including harsh shifts and failed gear changes. Any of these problems may occur sporadically or be present all the time. This will usually trigger a check engine light, so there will be code stored in DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions:

  • Faulty one or more solenoid valves. The usual ones to fail are those that operate the direct clutch, front brake, or input clutch. Each of them will trigger a different code, which will help narrow down the problem.
  • Wiring issues are caused by damage or corrosion. This creates problems with communication between the TCU and solenoids. The resulting symptoms will be similar to a failed solenoid, so double-checking the wiring and solenoid is recommended.
  • Broken or corroded connectors on the control board, resulting in sporadic loss of signal. While corrosion is easy to clean off, soldering broken connectors may be an unreliable solution. Instead, replace the board with a new or undamaged second-hand one.

Harsh or delayed gearshifts

KIA cars with A6GF1 6-speed transmission have a widespread issue with harsh or delayed gear changes.


In most cases, this problem will be intermittent and more present when the car reaches running temperature. A check engine light can also come on, which means a code will be stored inside DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Faulty transmission fluid temperature sensor, which will give false output readings. This transmission is susceptible to temperature; this will cause running issues and trigger a check engine light. Typical error codes range from P0711 to P0714. Checking both sensor and corresponding wiring will reveal the source of the problem.
  • These transmissions feature an adaptive learning procedure, meaning they will adjust shift patterns based on the driver’s habits. When drivers with different driving styles use the same car, gear shifts may seem unusual. Resetting the learning procedure may solve the issue.

Vibrations while accelerating or harsh shifting

Vehicles that use a D7UF1 7-speed dual-clutch transmission can suffer from several typical issues that include delayed response, strong vibration, and rattle during accelerations or while idling and harsh shifting. In most cases, the symptoms will be more noticeable when driving aggressively. These problems will not trigger a check engine light.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Worn dual-mass flywheel, which results in a metallic rattle on idle caused by excessive play. When checking the flywheel condition, look for any free movement between the plates and replace them if there is any.
  • Overheated clutch assembly can cause the clutch to stick to the flywheel and result in delayed gear changes. One of the possible causes is a driving style that is too aggressive. In some cases, updating the TCU software to the latest version using a suitable diagnostic tool can help some vehicles have outdated software.
  • Broken or worn engine or gearbox mounts. This allows excessive movement, causing the engine and gearbox to jump when pulling off from a stand-still.

Troubleshooting Kia Transmission Problems

If you Kia has developed transmission problems, we strongly recommend checking the transmission fluid level as soon as possible.

If the transmission fluid level has been corrected, but the transmission is not shifting correctly, read the fault codes from the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) with a Kia transmission scanner.


How to Check KiaTransmission Fluid Level

Most Common KIA Transmission Problems (3)

  1. Park the vehicle on level ground when possible.
  2. Set the parking brakes and shifter in Park.
  3. Pull the hood release and open the hood.
  4. Locate the transmission dipstick.
  5. Remove the dipstick and clean it with a clean cloth.
  6. Reinsert the dipstick in the transmission. Ensure the dipstick is fully inserted, then remove it.
  7. Look carefully at the dipstick to determine the current transmission fluid level. The level should be between MIN and MAX marks for the COLD (lower) markings.
  8. If the level is low, add transmission fluid level.
  9. Drive vehicle for fifteen minutes making sure to select all the gears manually.
  10. Repeat the procedure once the transmission warm-up, but the level must be between the MIN and MAX marks this time.

Not all Kia vehicleshave a transmission dipstick. If the dipstick is not present, the car will need to be raised on a lift, and the level can be checked via the fill hole.

Read Kia Transmission Fault Codes

Most Common KIA Transmission Problems (4)

The next step is to read fault codes from the transmission control module or what is known as the TCU. To read these codes, you will need a Kia Transmission Scanner. Basic code readers are not recommended because they will show a generic system or may not show a fault code at all.

  1. Park the vehicle and turn off the ignition—set parking brakes.
  2. Locate diagnostic port under the dashboard, driver's side.
  3. Plugin your OBD-II scanner, then turnon the ignition without starting the engine.
  4. The scanner will turn on. Allow it to communicate with the vehicle—Select Kia, then your particular.
  5. Select Control Units, then Transmission.
  6. Select Read Fault Codes from the main menu.

These steps work on all Kia vehicles 2000 and newer, including Kia Rio, Sportage, Telluride, Stinger, Sorento, Optima, Soul, Sedona, Forte, K900, Cadenza. All these models have an OBD-II diagnostic port under the dashboard on the driver's side.

Make sure to use a Kia scanner that can read transmission codes. Generic scanners typically only read codes from Engine Control Unit (ECU), but you need a scanner that can read codes from the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) as well.



Most Common KIA Transmission Problems? ›

Overall, Kia transmissions are quite reliable. Most Kia transmission problems such as transmission won't engage, transition slips, delayed shifting, transmission bangs into gear, no drive or reverse gears, stuck in limp mode are often caused by low transmission fluid.

Are Kia automatic transmissions reliable? ›

In addition to the Kia Sportage, the Kia Picanto, the Kia Forte and the Kia Soul. These stylish cars are known for their reliability and focus on modern technology. Despite their intelligent design, they can still suffer from serious issues, including damaged transmissions and other problems.

How long does a transmission last in a Kia? ›

With proper care and maintenance, your Kia's transmission should last you up to 200,000 miles. Proper care and maintenance for your transmission include regular fluid checks and transmission fluid service every 40,000 miles.

How much does it cost to replace a Kia transmission? ›

Kia Transmission Replacement Cost

Having your transmission rebuilt is often more cost-effective than smaller repairs, as it will extend the life of your transmission and vehicle by many years. The average transmission replacement cost starts at about $1,800 and can be as high as $3,400.

Does Kia warranty cover transmission? ›

In what they call their 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program, Kia warranties include: 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty—Covering the engine, transmission, transaxle, and other powertrain system parts, this Kia drivetrain warranty lasts longer than what most car manufacturers offer.

Is replacing a transmission worth it? ›

Rebuilding a transmission can save you a lot of money over the short-term, while keeping car payments out of your monthly budget. For many, rebuilding their transmission is worth the initial cost. Rebuilding a transmission may cost you twenty-five hundred dollars or more, which is a significant chunk of change.

What are common problems with Kia? ›

8 Glaring Problems With Kia Cars No One Tells You About
  • 8 Steering Problems (Optima, Soul, And Sorento) ...
  • 7 Transmission Issues (Borrego, Forte, Optima, And Spectra) ...
  • 6 Door Lock Malfunction (Optima And Rio) ...
  • 5 Airbag Failure (Forte, Sedona, And Soul) ...
  • 4 Engine Failure (Forte, K900, Sedona, Sportage, And Soul)
Apr 14, 2022

How do I know when my transmission is bad? ›

What Are the Transmission Failure Symptoms?
  1. Refusal to Switch Gears. If your vehicle refuses or struggles to change gears, you are more than likely facing a problem with your transmission system. ...
  2. Burning Smell. ...
  3. Noises When in Neutral. ...
  4. Slipping Gears. ...
  5. Dragging Clutch. ...
  6. Leaking Fluid. ...
  7. Check Engine Light. ...
  8. Grinding or Shaking.
Mar 16, 2017

Can you fix a transmission without replacing it? ›

So, yes, there are some car repairs that can be done without replacing the part in question, like electrical components of your transmission, or the external components like bushings and shifter cables. Some bad news for you: everything with your car's transmission cannot be fixed from the outside.

What is the most common cause of transmission failure? ›

The #1 cause of transmission failure is low fluid, which causes overheating. In automatic transmissions, it causes delayed engagement, harsh shifts, and slippage.

What causes sudden transmission failure? ›

Low automatic transmission fluid, one of the most common causes of a slipping transmission, reduces the hydraulic pressure necessary to properly shift. If there's not enough fluid or it is starting to lose its effectiveness in lubricating and cooling, the transmission will perform poorly or stop working altogether.

Will my check engine light come on if my transmission is bad? ›

Yes, transmission problems can cause your check engine light to come on. Your automobile's main computer, the engine control module (ECM), talks with system sensors to make sure everything is okay. If the transmission sensors report a problem, the ECM will turn on the check engine light.

Can a transmission fail without warning? ›

Major transmission repair requires disassembling, inspection, cleaning, and rebuilding. It's labor intensive and cost prohibitive. Luckily, transmission failure doesn't usually happen without warning. There are several warning signs that your transmission's going out.

Can you drive with transmission problems? ›

Is driving with a faulty transmission okay? Short answer: no! The only thing you should do if you think you have a faulty transmission is go for a quick jaunt to your local mechanic. If you have a bad transmission it's only a matter of time before your vehicle literally won't be able to drive anywhere.

Is it worth replacing a CVT transmission? ›

The CVTs won't last nearly as long as the standard automatic transmissions, and it's not surprising if they fail to run for more than 100K miles or less. Additionally, when they fail, nine times out of ten they will need replacing and not repair.

How long does it take a mechanic to replace a transmission? ›

It usually only takes a day or two to replace a transmission in most rear wheel vehicles. However, some late-model, front-wheel drive vehicles can be quite labor-intensive and take three to four days.

How many hours does it take to change a transmission? ›

Transmission Replacement Labor Cost

A big portion of any transmission replacement or rebuild is the labor cost. It's at least six hours to remove and install a transmission, often twice that.

What does the Kia 10 year warranty cover? ›

The Kia powertrain warranty will cover any manufacturer damage or defects for 10 years or up to 100,000 miles. This warranty covers all of the vehicle's essential systems, including the transmission, axle, transaxle, engine, driveshaft, propeller shafts, and differential.

Does Kia still have 10 year warranty? ›

Kia calls their 10-year/100,000-mile warranty a testament to the quality of their vehicles. This program includes powertrain coverage for up to 10 years or 100,000 miles depending on the first limit the vehicle reaches.

Are Kia's expensive to fix? ›

As an accessible brand with high-reliability ratings, Kias tend to be significantly cheaper to maintain than the average automobile, with an annual repair cost of around $474—far less than the average vehicle maintenance cost of $652.

Who makes Kia automatic transmission? ›

Hyundai Powertech was established in 2001 as South Korea's first automatic transmission specialist. It has plants in South Korea, China, and the United States. Its automatic transmissions are used in Hyundai, Kia, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles.

Are Kia Sportage automatic reliable? ›

Is a used Kia Sportage 4x4 reliable? The Sportage, in petrol form, finished in sixth place out of 25 cars in the family SUV class in our most recent reliability survey. In diesel form, on the other hand, the Sportage came 16th. Kia as a brand finished in ninth place out of 30 manufacturers.

Who makes Kia CVT? ›

Kia's 2019 Forte compact sedan gets the spicy exterior design cues of the Kia Stinger fastback sports sedan and improved mpg with the first production 'intelligent' variable transmission from parent Hyundai.

Are Hyundai automatic transmissions reliable? ›

Hyundai is ranked 11th in Motor Warranty Direct's chart of most reliable used automatics.

What kind of transmission is in a Kia? ›

One such innovation by the Kia brand is the Kia Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) System. This system, which is a form of a continuously variable transmission, provides great efficiency and ensures gear shifts like automatic transmissions.

Does Kia make good CVT transmission? ›

With low ratings in major categories based on customer feedback, three Kia models earned abysmal predicted reliability scores. The brand added a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) to the latest Forte and Soul, resulting in substantial problems.

Does Kia use ZF transmission? ›

Per Kia, the new transmission has an additional clutch and a fourth planetary gearset (bringing it in line with the number of gearsets used by the ubiquitous ZF nine-speed auto), and benefits from a 34-percent-broader ratio spread between first and top gear as compared with the six-speed.

What are the main problems with the Kia Sportage? ›

The Kia Sportage is a good SUV. It has a comfortable interior and a good safety rating. However, it has been known to have several common problems. These include engine failure, transmission failure, electrical problems, suspension problems, and exterior quality issues.

What is the average life of a Kia Sportage? ›

The Kia Sportage can last up to 200,000 miles and even reach 250,000 miles. Based on 15,000 miles driven per year, you can expect your Sportage to last 13 – 17 years providing it's well maintained and conservative driving habits are adopted.

How many miles can you get out of a Kia Sportage? ›

So, how long will a Kia Sportage last? Discussion on Kia Forums, and owner reviews on Vehicle History, show many drivers reach 150,000, 200,000, even 250,000 miles or more with minimal repairs. Driving 12,000 miles per year, that's 12.5 to over 20 years of service.

Is Kia as reliable as Toyota? ›

Is Kia more reliable than Toyota? Both Kia and Toyota are known for reliability, and both have a RepairPal reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0. However, RepairPal ranks Kia third overall and Toyota eighth overall, so Kias may be slightly more reliable.

Where does Kia rank in reliability? ›

The Kia Reliability Rating is 4.0 out of 5.0, which ranks it 3rd out of 32 for all car brands. This rating is based on an average across 345 unique models. “Kia had 3 popular models in the top 30 with Excellent ratings, including the Soul, Rio, and Forte.

Are Kia expensive to fix? ›

As an accessible brand with high-reliability ratings, Kias tend to be significantly cheaper to maintain than the average automobile, with an annual repair cost of around $474—far less than the average vehicle maintenance cost of $652.


1. Kia Telluride transmission problems: second transmission. Transmission replaced 8,000 miles ago
(Brad Davis)
2. 10 Used-Cars to AVOID for BAD Transmission - as per Consumer Reports
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3. 2005 - 2006 KIA Sorento transmission easy limp mode fix. Also for some Nissan, Infinity & Subaru.
(AirbubbleStudios Video Production)
4. Kia Rio 3rd Gen 2012 to 2017 common problems, issues, defects and complaints
5. Used Kia Carnival 2 Reliability | Most Common Problems Faults and Issues
6. Hyundai and Kia Have MAJOR Engine Problems
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