Kia Niro transmission problems 

Kia Niro

The Kia Niro PHEV and Hybrid versions come with a reliable 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. This transmission provides better fuel economy than an automatic transmission. It is also smoother to drive, but it also comes with some problems. So, what are the Kia Niro transmission problems?

Some of the Kia Niro transmission problems are rough shifting, delayed shifting, gear slipping, clutch problems, and solenoid issues. On top of that, several users have registered low transmission fluids. Torque converter problems, and transmission lurching & clunking. 

What are the Kia Niro transmission problems?

Rough shifting 

A common problem with the Kia Niro 6-speed dual-clutch transmission is rough shifting. Most Kia Niro users have complained about experiencing rough shifting when changing gears. This is usually caused by low, lack, or dirty transmission fluid. But if the transmission is okay, it might be due to a faulty sensor or a vacuum problem. 

To fix this issue, you will have to replace the bad transmission fluid. But if the transmission is fine, you will have a mechanic inspect and replace a faulty sensor or vacuum. 

Gear slipping 

Several Kia Niro owners have also reported having gear slipping problems. The gear usually slips because of wear and tear on various parts. Some of the transmission parts that wear out faster on the 6-speed dual-clutch transmission are clutch plates, solenoid packs, and transmission bands. 

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To fix this issue, you will have to visit a professional mechanic and have them replace the worn-out parts. 

Delayed shifting 

Delayed shifting is also common in Kia Niro models. This issue is usually caused by a faulty shift solenoid. After some time, the shift solenoid’s tiny plungers may fail, or the electromagnetic coils fail because of constant heat and vibration. So, if the solenoid fails, it won’t be able to open or close to help in engaging the subsequent gear. 

Ensure to replace the shift solenoid plungers to fix the problem. 

Transmission lurching and clunking 

This issue is common in the 2017 to 2019 Kia Niro hybrid models. Several users have reported poor acceleration and the car lurching forward when shifting gears. Unlike many shifting issues that are caused by low transmission or defective parts, transmission lurching forward is caused by poor tuning. 

So, to fix this issue, you will have to visit a professional mechanic to tune your car properly. 

Clutch problems 

Most clutch problems are usually confused with low transmission issues. This is because the clutch is located within the torque converter and can sometimes become jammed. When the clutch jams, the solenoid may become locked and the amount of transmission fluid in the torque converter may not be appropriately calculated. 

Some of the signs of clutch issues are violent shaking and high heat levels in the transmission. To fix this issue, you will have to fix the clutch issues or replace it if it’s bad. 

Torque converter problems 

The torque converter enables the engine in the Kia Niro to continue running even as the wheels come to a stop. But like any car part, the needle bearings in the torque converter become worn out and create all sorts of transmission problems. One of the signs of a bad torque converter is a strange noise coming from the transmission. 

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To rectify this issue, you will have to replace the worn-out needle bearings in the torque converter. 

Low transmission fluid issues

This is the main cause of most transmission problems in the Kia Niro. Low levels of transmission fluid are caused by leaks in the transmission and faulty parts like the driveshaft and gasket seal. In some cases, the transmission fluid may be contaminated, leading to gear slippage or shifting. 

To fix this problem, you will have to replace the bad transmission or refill it if it’s low. 

Solenoid problems 

The solenoid is in charge of controlling the flow of fluid throughout the transmission. Like many transmission parts, the solenoid can become damaged because of low transmission levels or electrical issues with the solenoid. Note that most solenoid signs are similar to low transmission fluid signs. 

So, if you inspect your transmission and find that there is sufficient and good transmission fluid, then the issue is the solenoid. Ensure a professional mechanic inspects and fixes or replaces the affected parts. 


What type of transmission is in the Kia Niro?

The Kia Niro hybrid and PHEV are fitted with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. On top of that, the Kia Niro hybrid is powered by a 139-hp powertrain that is made up of a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Furthermore, it is provided exclusively with a front-wheel drive system.

Does the Kia Niro come with a CVT transmission?

No, the Kia Niro does not come with a CVT or continuous variable transmission. On the contrary, it comes with a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. Note that a CVT transmission works by one pulley linking to the engine, and the other pulley connects to the transmission. The belt moves the power between them, and the transmission adjusts settings constantly. 

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What is the main cause of automatic transmission failure? 

The number one cause of automatic transmission failure is low fluid level. This issue causes overheating. Furthermore, it causes harsh shifts, delayed engagement, and gear slippage. For this reason, it is vital to always check the transmission fluid level in your car before driving. 

Is a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission reliable?

Yes, the 6-speed dual-clutch transmission in the Kia Niro is reliable. This is because it has a significantly reduced danger of engine stalling. Furthermore, it is easy to control even if you’re in a crowded place. This transmission also provides faster and smoother gear changes. It also provides better fuel economy.

How long does a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission last? 

It depends on how well you maintain and care for the transmission and the car. With proper care, a 6-speed transmission should last for at least 200,000 miles or even 300,000 miles. Nonetheless, users of this transmission should start to experience minor issues from 100,000 miles away.  


The Kia Niro is one of the best-performing cars in its class because of the 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. However, if not maintained properly, this transmission can also develop issues, such as shifting problems, gears slipping, clutch problems, low transmission issues, and solenoid problems. 

Note that most of these problems can be avoided if the car is well-maintained and cared for.

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Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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