Hyundai Tucsons recalled for software issue
Marc Stern's picture

Does Hyundai Tucson Tranny Recall Show Key Software Needs More Testing?

Is the car business rushing its software too quickly to market? That's the opinion of some in the car business who think that things are happening so quickly that software glitches will get through that shouldn't be there.
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Hyundai has announced the recall of 41,000 2016 Tucson crossovers for a software problem that appears to raise this question: was transmission control software released too soon? The automaker announced the recall of the crossovers after problems were found with the operation of its seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission.

In the recall, the clutch application logic is called out as a key piece in the transmission issue. This logic is a function of the transmission control module (TCM), the computer that controls all transmission functionality.

A Majority Of Tucson’s Involved

Looking at the numbers of vehicles involved in the recall, one would think that since only 41,000 crossovers are included, that the problem isn’t widespread. A further look at the number shows that the recall’s impact is quite extensive. The 41,000 vehicles affected represent fully 70 percent of the Tucson’s delivered by Hyundai through the end of August.

With such broad impact in such a key market – crossovers are the hottest market in vehicles sales now, eclipsing even traditional sedans that formerly were market leaders – you have to wonder why the software was not more rigorously tested before it went it became operational.

Since the transmission is such an essential piece of the functionality of a vehicle, it makes little sense to expose your hottest market to the major issues that follow something like an unreliable transmission in 70 percent of the new crossovers on the road.

One unnamed software expert, who asked for anonymity, pointed out that due to the incredible complexity of a device like the seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, it makes very little sense even to begin using any new software packages that haven’t been adequately tested. “If you don’t test things the right way, you end up with a recall like the one they [Hyundai] announced today [Thursday],” the expert told Torque News in a phone interview. “It just doesn’t make sense, does it, to install what amounts to little more than alpha-level software in a transmission and then ask your customers to act as beta testers,” the expert emphasized.

This is the situation that exists, though. The expert also pointed out that Hyundai isn’t alone in this. Every automaker in the world is under incredible competitive pressure to get their wares out to increase market share. That pressure militates against proper software testing and development cycles. “It’s just the nature of the business today,” the expert concluded.

NHTSA Discussed Fault

Meantime, the exact character of the recall issues was presented on the NHTSA website, www.safercar.gov. The software glitch is temperature-related. It seems that the control logic may become a bit confused by the warmth and issues begin to happen. Or, as NHTSA said in a posting:

“In higher ambient temperatures and specific operating conditions, the transmission clutch application logic can result in a delayed engagement when accelerating from a stop. If the accelerator pedal is steadily depressed for approximately 1.5 to 2 seconds, the vehicle will begin to accelerate and normal driving is resumed. However, if the accelerator pedal is repeatedly cycled, the vehicle will not accelerate."

If the acceleration loss occurs in traffic, the Tucson will slow down if the issue has just happened or it will stop. If it stops in traffic, NHTSA acknowledges that an accident could occur and that the risk of an accident is dramatically increased. So far, no crashes or injuries have been linked to the software problem.

The problem affects Tucson’s built between May 20, 2015 and May 31, 2016. The vehicles were equipped with the EcoShift Dual-Clutch Transmission.

For further information about the recall, ou can contact Hyundai at 855-371-9460 and inquire about recall 149. Or, you can call NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. It is campaign 16V628000.


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Comments

we purchased a 2017 Hyundai Tucson in February/2017, from Hyundai/Roseville/CA and are having the same 7speed tranny issues. they have our car today (9/29/17) for the second time and they again find no problem. we have a rental from them and will go back Monday 110/2, so we can go personally in the car with the tech for a test drive. i feel we are getting the run-around. i will be contacting the NHTSA. and have contacted a noted lemon law atty in the Bay Area/CA. the trip Monday will satisfy our 3rd attempt (per lemon law/CA) to get this remedied. the service manager has no remedy for us. the store manager is out. there is a list a mile long of complaints online but Hyundai says they have "maybe one complaint about a year ago". laughable and unacceptable.