Common Problems and Reliability Issues of the Hyundai Tucson

Common Problems and Reliability Issues of the Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson is one of the most well-known compact crossover SUVs to come from South Korea based on its global popularity.

However, whether you’re buying one new or from the used market, you also need to consider the number of flaws that’s been reported to have.

Thus, we’ll be discussing all of the common problems and reliability-related issues of the Hyundai Tucson in this article.

We’ll also be including info based on what actual Hyundai Tucson owners have to say about the vehicle, so be sure to stick around until the end!

Hyundai Tucson Common Problems

The common problems of the Hyundai Tucson include the engine stalling, failing, or knocking, transmission issues, difficulty accelerating, the Forward Collision not working, the doors not unlocking/opening, the speakers not working, and faulty air conditioning.

We have provided more in-depth explanations as well as solutions for each of the common problems of the Hyundai Tucson right below.

If you ever experience any of these problems yourself, be sure to visit an authorized mechanic for a proper diagnosis and repair performed on your vehicle.

Engine Stalling and Failure

Engine Stalling and Failure

One of the major problems of the Hyundai Tucson is that the engine suddenly stalls or even fails completely.

This problem has particularly plagued the 2012 to 2014 Hyundai Tucson model years the most, and owners report that the vehicle’s engine just suddenly shuts down while driving around the 90,000-mile mark.

Some owners also report knocking sounds from their engine before it stalls, which we’ll also be tackling in the next entry.

As you can imagine, this can be a life-threatening situation, especially with other vehicles on the road.

The good news is that there has been an issued recall for this specific problem, and it was found out that it was actually related to the connecting rod bearings.

Hyundai released Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) #21-EM-004H on the 30th of March 2021, which includes Tucson models as well as other Hyundai vehicles that can be brought in for “Bearing Clearance Test Service Procedure”.

But despite the engine stalling reports made by 2012 to 2014 Hyundai Tucson owners, it’s still unclear why these specific model years are actually nowhere to be found on the TSB list on rod bearings.

To clarify if your specific Hyundai Tucson model year is part of this recall, make sure to contact a Hyundai dealership near you and give your VIN for reference.

Otherwise, the cost for an engine replacement on the Tucson will be a whopping $4,000 to $5,000 on average.

Engine Knocking

One of the worst sounds that you can hear from any vehicle is a knocking sound from the engine, and this has unfortunately been the case for several Hyundai Tucson owners.

We’ve also mentioned in the previous part how some owners can actually hear knocking sounds before their engine stalls or fails shortly after.

Thus, this problem also serves as a warning sign of what’s potentially to come, so be sure to get your vehicle to the nearest repair shop as soon as you the hear engine knocking.

To address this issue, Hyundai has recalled almost 100,000 units of the 2017 Tucson (and Sonata Hybrid) for, yet again, another rod bearing-related issue.

Engine Knocking

Hyundai states that the defective bearings may wear prematurely and cause the engine to suddenly stall while driving.

It can also potentially become a fire hazard, as the damaged connecting rod can break through the engine block and cause oil to leak onto nearby high-temperature components.

Now, if you were to bring in your 2017 Hyundai Tucson for this recall, the manufacturer will now install an updated engine control software.

This software update also includes a new Knock Sensor Detection System that’s exactly made for the purpose of better monitoring and detecting cases of rod knock inside the engine.

With this new feature installed, Tucson owners will now be notified of engine knocking earlier and will have more time to get the vehicle fixed before it stalls or fails.

Transmission Issues

The Hyundai Tucson has been plagued with issues involving the transmission system, and such issues are considered the worst category of problems for the vehicle due to how early they can happen and how costly they can be to fix.

Some owners’ reports specifically state that the 2016 model, which has a 7-speed EcoShift DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission), tends to be jerky and accelerates poorly from a stop.

Transmission Issues

2011 Hyundai Tucson owners have also reported such symptoms while also having a unique problem with the transmission randomly popping out of gear.

As a result of these reports, Hyundai had to release several different “Technical Service Bulletins” (TSBs) to try and resolve these transmission issues.

One such TSB is #5NP-F6W6P-05, which has the subject “Automatic Transaxle Shift Lever Diagnosis”. This was more geared towards the 6-speed 2010 to 2016 Tucson models.

As for the ones with the 7-speed DCT, Hyundai had to reprogram the DCT’s software with a more updated one. But alas, this only mitigated the associated problems at best.

Difficulty Accelerating

Another commonly reported problem that even Hyundai Tucson models as new as 2022 have is difficulty accelerating.

Other than 2022 models, owners of older models from 2016 to 2018 also report this acceleration issue in their vehicles.

Anecdotal reports describe the problem as the vehicle feeling very sluggish or hesitant to accelerate from a stop. Sometimes, the issue becomes so bad to the point that the vehicle doesn’t respond to any throttle input at all.

Difficulty Accelerating

Others also say that if they do manage to get it to accelerate, it would take 4 seconds before the engine actually responds and applies power.

To make matters worse, this has been reported to happen as early as 7,000 to 13,000 miles (11,300 to 21,000 km) on average.

Not only are these acceleration issues annoying to deal with, but they also create dangerous driving situations where you have to accelerate, such as when you are overtaking another vehicle.

For the 2016 to 2018 models, Hyundai has issued TSB #20-AT-025H, which is entitled “TCU Update – Tucson 2.0L Hesitation at Acceleration”. 

This recall essentially provides all 2016 to 2018 Hyundai Tucson models equipped with the 2-liter engine option with a newly updated transmission control unit (TCU) in order to prevent the acceleration issue.

Difficulty Accelerating

Prior to this, Hyundai already issued a recall for about 41,000 units of the 2016 Hyundai Tucson with the same course of action taken. The NHTSA Campaign recall number for this is 16V628000.

For newer models that experience such acceleration issues, however, Hyundai has yet to have a permanent fix for them, as recent offers of software updates do not work. 

Forward Collision Avoidance System Malfunctioning

Forward Collision Avoidance System Malfunctioning

One modern feature of the Hyundai Tucson that is known to run into issues is the Forward Collision Avoidance System.

This system is an important safety feature of the Hyundai Tucson, and it has been reported to malfunction in 2019 to 2022 models specifically.

When functioning normally, the Forward Collision Avoidance System should be sending two separate warnings (initial and secondary) before applying the brakes automatically to avoid collisions.

However, some owners have experienced the car braking suddenly on its own, which implies that the system was activated even if there’s nothing in front of the vehicle.

In contrast, others have experienced that the system actually fails to detect vehicles that are directly in front of the Hyundai Tucson, despite setting the system to “early” detection.

While Hyundai already released TSB #19-BE-009H (Blind-Spot Collision Warning Module Troubleshooting Information) for this particular issue, it currently doesn’t cover the 2021 and 2022 model years in the document.

Thus, if you happen to acquire a 2021 or 2022 Hyundai Tucson model and run into this same issue, be sure to contact your local Hyundai dealership for clarification and assistance.

Otherwise, you should be able to get the faulty blind-spot collision warning module serviced by Hyundai technicians so you don’t run into this rather dangerous problem again.

Doors Not Unlocking or Opening

Doors Not Unlocking or Opening

On multiple occasions, the Hyundai Tucson’s doors have been reported to not open or unlock despite using the key fob and the “locked/unlocked” indicator on the inside working.

Some owners have also reported that this can happen either from the inside or the outside of the vehicle and either with the front doors or the rear doors.

Even though this annoying door-related issue can happen to just about any Hyundai Tucson model, the majority of owners’ reports are actually those of models older than 2018.

Also, apart from having no apparent warning signs, this issue seems to happen at just about any mileage from as few as 24,000 miles all the way to over 100,000 miles on the odometer.

The main culprit to this problem has been found to be faulty door latches, and there’s already a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB 21-BD-006H) released by Hyundai to replace these latches.

Doors Not Unlocking or Opening

However, this recall only covers 2016 to mid-year 2017 Tucson (TL) models. If you have an older Hyundai Tucson model with faulty doors, we recommend contacting your local Hyundai dealership for the best course of action.

Other than that, some have found luck by opening the door panel and spraying the faulty latch with some WD-40. However, this doesn’t always work in all cases, as there may be other mechanisms involved.

Speakers Not Working

Speakers Not Working

One reported problem that has affected both old and new Hyundai Tucson models is the speakers not working.

This problem has been reported by owners of Hyundai Tucson models as old as 2009 and as new as 2022, and they describe the issue as the speakers just suddenly cutting out and stopping playing any audio.

Though taking a closer look at the models, we’ve found that only models equipped with navigation units are affected by this problem.

For 2009 to 2017 models specifically, it has been found that there is a glitch in the software that controls the speaker, and simply doing a hard reset on the software fixes the problem.

This can be done by removing the terminals on the vehicle’s battery for 15 minutes and reconnecting them again, which will reset every interior accessory to its factory settings, including the speaker system.

Some 2022 Hyundai Tucson owners, however, had no luck doing this to their own software.

But while there’s still currently no recall to permanently resolve this speaker issue, 2022 models are still under warranty and should be fixed by the technicians at Hyundai free of charge.

Faulty Air Conditioning (A/C)

Faulty Air Conditioning (AC)

The air conditioning (A/C) system in the Hyundai Tucson, mostly the 2016 model, is known to run into some problems, which can actually be pretty expensive to repair.

Some owners experience the air conditioning system blowing hot air regardless of the temperature that has been set.

Others also report that the A/C can sometimes randomly switch the flow of air from one air vent to the other.

One possible way to resolve the hot air issue is to have the “thermistor” replaced in the system, which is a type of resistor that is temperature-sensitive and is used to measure the temperature of a unit.

Faulty Air Conditioning (AC)

Others also found that turning the A/C off for about 15 minutes and turning it on again allows a temporary flow of cold air.

However, there can be several other reasons why your A/C blows hot air, such as a clogged condenser, a refrigerant leak, or a faulty actuator.

To properly diagnose and fix a faulty air conditioning system on the Hyundai Tucson, you need to bring it to an authorized mechanic, preferably from Hyundai.

Which Hyundai Tucson model years have the most problems? (Years to Avoid)

The 2016 Hyundai Tucson has the most problems out of any Tucson model year, with a “problems reported per thousand vehicles per year” (PPMY) index of 2.20.

This is followed by the 2017 model year with 0.88 PPMY, and the 2015 model year with 0.61 PPMY.

Hyundai Tucson Model YearTotal Problems Reported (P)Total Sales (S)Vehicle Age (Y)Problems Reported Per Thousand Vehicles Per Year (PPMY)

Based on the PPMY index, which we’ve provided the formula for below, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson has the most reported problems, both per thousand vehicles per year and in total.

Which Hyundai Tucson model years have the most problems (Years to Avoid)

This makes it the number one model year that you should avoid when you’re in the market for a Hyundai Tucson. 

Some “honorable” mentions are also the 2017 and 2015 model years, which both have a considerable amount of problems reported relative to their total sales and ages.

The formula for the PPMY Index is “PPMY = P/S/Y * 1000. 

P is the total problems reported for that model year, S is the total number of units sold, and Y is the years ever since that model year debuted (vehicle age).

Which Hyundai Tucson model years have the least problems? (Best Years)

Both the 2007 and 2009 Hyundai Tucson models have the least problems out of any model year. They both have a “problems reported per thousand vehicles per year” (PPMY) index of 0.11.

These are followed by the 2008 and 2021 model years with 0.16 PPMY, and the 2006 model year with 0.19 PPMY.

Hyundai Tucson Model YearTotal Problems Reported (P)Total Sales (S)Vehicle Age (Y)Problems Reported Per Thousand Vehicles Per Year (PPMY)

To find out which Hyundai Tucson model year has the least problems, we’ve utilized the PPMY index just like the last entry.

As you can see in the table, there has been a tie for the model year with the least number of problems based on the PPMY index, and it goes to both the 2007 and 2009 model years.

Both of these model years are part of the 1st-generation Hyundai Tucson (2005 to 2009), and just looking at their total problems reported already shows how reliable they can still be despite their age.

Which Hyundai Tucson model years have the least problems (Best Years)

Some noteworthy model years include the 2008, 2021, and 2006 Hyundai Tucson models, which all have a PPMY index of less than 0.20.

How reliable is the Hyundai Tucson compared to similar vehicles?

The Hyundai Tucson has a reliability score of 87/100, ranking it 1st and beating similar vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape, according to a list by Consumer Reports.

Vehicle Make and ModelReliability Score (Consumer Reports)
Hyundai Tucson87
Honda CR-V80
Mazda CX-580
Subaru Forester80
Toyota RAV444
Ford Escape25

Do take note that the reliability scores of the vehicle models listed above are the average scores of the three latest model years for each of them.

Thus, the table only serves to give a general idea of how reliable each vehicle is after three years of ownership at most. Older model years are otherwise excluded from the average reliability score.

Also, if you would like a more in-depth comparison to one of the other vehicles listed, we actually recommend checking out our reliability review for the Mazda CX-5.

What are the pros and cons of the Hyundai Tucson?

What are the pros and cons of the Hyundai Tucson

Pros of the Hyundai Tucson

  • Sporty and modern exterior design
  • High-quality interior trims
  • Includes hybrid, PHEV, and non-hybrid engine options
  • Available in all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • Comfortable suspension ride quality
  • Lots of modern cabin features
  • Well-equipped with safety features
  • Comfortable high-end perforated seats
  • Ample amount of legroom for passengers

Cons of the Hyundai Tucson

  • Slightly less spacious compared to some competitors
  • Non-transferable powertrain warranty
  • Does not have a 3rd seating row
  • Base 2.5-liter I4 engine option feels underpowered
  • Very touch-sensitive control panel

Likes and Dislikes of Hyundai Tucson Owners

Likes and Dislikes of Hyundai Tucson Owners

All of the bulleted entries provided below are based on Kelley Blue Book ( reviews of the Hyundai Tucson from several owners.

What Owners Like About the Hyundai Tucson

  • Fun driving experience
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Beautifully designed exterior
  • Modern and spacious interior
  • Excellent safety ratings
  • Great handling for its size
  • Competitive pricing in its category

What Owners Dislike About the Hyundai Tucson

  • 2.5-liter engine has poor acceleration
  • Flimsy exterior body panels
  • Map function sometimes crashes
  • Turn signals are too low to the ground
  • Doesn’t come with a spare tire
  • Loud cabin noise at 60 mph
  • MPG can vary for each unit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)