really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
84,350 miles
Total Complaints:
40 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. replace engine (19 reports)
  2. new engine (7 reports)
  3. not sure (7 reports)
  4. has not been fix (5 reports)
  5. rebuild engine (2 reports)
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This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Kia dealer.

problem #40

Apr 282023

Sorento LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,269 miles

My motor is knocking. We replaced spark plugs, ignition coils, fuel injectors, etc. It runs better but it still is knocking. It had a fuel leak and it looked like some oil was in my coolant. I saw several recalls but my vin was not apart of those recalls even though the issues the mechanic said I had was on the recalls. I think KIA should just close shop. I will never buy from them again. I was told that it would be better just to get a new motor or another car AND he strongly suggest me to get out of this car.

My house is being built and I’m under mortgage loan negotiation so I can't until I close on my house in September. My oldest sister has the same car, different year and her engine was replace due to the recall. My baby brother also has the same car, different year and has the same issues, but like mine .. isn’t on the recall list.

- Latina D., Durham, NC, US

problem #39

Apr 082023

Sorento EX AWD 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,300 miles

I have a 2016 Kia Sorento EX AWD V6. It has been regularly serviced and had only had regular wear and tear issues. I had driven the car on the highway for about 2 hours and had exited and was driving on city streets when suddenly I smelled coolant. Then, steam came through the vents and the car started running hot. I stopped driving thinking it was just a radiator hose.

I had the car towed to a service shop and they told me the engine was completely shot. Coolant had mixed with the oil, the oil had metal shavings, my engine block heads were warped, and the head gasket was blown. They said I needed a new engine and new cooling system. The total repairs were over $15,000! I am not paying for this and am challenging Kia to take care of this latent issue. I am also looking at joining some of the class actions around engine failures. This is something Kia knows about and it should have proactively sought to fix these issues before customers suffered catastrophic failures. Thankfully, I was not on the highway when this happened.

- devil94, Brookhaven, US

problem #38

Feb 202023

Sorento LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Noticed check engine light on, off, then on again. Within 2 days went to local mechanic shop 1. Ignition Coil causing check engine light (I think he said #3). Shop 1 did the following: 6 sparks plugs, replaced Delphi Engine Coil, oil change, 2 Gal Coolant, check for leak, replaced thermostat, cleaned throttle bay. Notes: think blown head gasket (fan operates normal, heat not working when idol). Need to take to shop that has more capabilities to diag. further. Cost $700

Took to local shop 2. End result - blown head gasket - not able to repair - need engine replacement.

Feeling bamboozled. Contact Kia Customer Service with Case, but need official "Kia dealer" to do anything with complaint. After Kia dealership shop looked at car Cause:


Kia contacted me stated: Although no recall on this V6 engine -- They need to do further analysis to determine root cause. The technician stated that coolant is leaking from the head gasket. He stated it is specifically leaking from the back end of the head. This is an internal leak, so you may have never seen physical coolant leaking from the vehicle since it is happening within the engine.

As for the stripping, we would be removing the cylinders from the head and looking into the engine. This is not something that can be diagnosed properly unless teardown is completed. You would not be able to see the stripping without getting into the engine. The stripping in the cylinders would have caused the leak. That is why we are trying to confirm if the cylinders are stripped. If they are, Kia is willing to cover 50% of the cost of the engine. The $1,280.00 for tear down would be put toward the 50% of the engine cost, as long as it is pertaining to the stripping. You would not pay that on top of the cost of the engine replacement. I approved the additional cost it is. gamble. I hope that is the case.

Opened Kia Consumers Case# 15343460 Kia Dealership in Mesquite also created a tech line case

- Holly Jacobs R., Dallas, TX, US

problem #37

Apr 142022

Sorento LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,359 miles

We bought a brand new 2016 KIA Sorento in 2017. It was a new model as the 2017 models were coming to the show room floor. Wife drives long distances for work so she puts miles on cars.

The KIA was great in every way, never a single problem until the Engine failure occurred unexpectedly around 115000 miles. Regular oil changes and services were always applied. I did have to start keeping a check on the oil level as I discovered that the oil levels were a low upon scheduled oil services (which is another known issue with the 4cyl version of the Sorento). The crazy thing is not even a month before the engine failure happened is when we received the KIA Motor Lifetime Warranty extension letter informing us about the possibility of the issue.

About a month after that my wife was driving home from work and called me telling me the car started making a horrible noise then shut off leaving her stranded. I pretty much knew what the problem was since I was aware from the KIA documentation of the engine failure issues. We had the car towed to the dealership where we purchased it new (KIA of Anderson South Carolina) and let the technicians do their inspection.

The KIA warranty did replace our engine at no cost to us and KIA of Anderson was absolutely great about the entire ordeal. Sure, it was a major inconvenience being without our car for a few months, but with a brand-new motor, respectful service reps and KIA stating that the car will have a lifetime engine warranty for the same issue is a good thing. At least KIA stepped up, noted the problem, informed the consumers and willingly repaired or replaced the engines. I've owned other brand vehicles with known problematic issues that the manufacturers have ignored and left us with high repair bills. So, in my opinion, at least KIA did the right thing and stand to make the any issue right with no money from my pocket.

- Josh B., Liberty, US

problem #36

Oct 152022

Sorento EX 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,300 miles

Just a mess! Traveling to ATL, when we get to Aiken GA, right before Augusta, 1:30 in the morning, my Engine began to die. My temperature needle never moved ( it stayed in the middle). The engine light never came on. All of a sudden we began to see the smoke from the rear and from under the hood, it was overheating. We made it to the Kia dealer in Augusta, after they looked at it 8:00 am and said My engine was gone and it would cost me $9K to repair. I have to replace the engine of a car, that never gave a single warning sign until it would not accelerate after giving it gas and began to decelerate. There was no check oil sign, nothing!!

Now in order to get my car back on the road, I have to replace the engine. I have only had this car for 6 years!! Never having engine problems. I kept my oil changed on schedule and had just taken it in to the Kia dealer on that Tuesday to get it ready for the road, they said everything still looks good and topped off all my fluids.

I called Kia Motors and of course my car is over warranty @ 127,300 miles, no recalls on my engine, I have been calling and researching and all I get is, I will have to replace my engine. When I called the Kia dealership where I bought it . I was told They No Longer Make the 2016 Sorento Engine, and it would have to be put together if they can find all the parts and it would cost around $8,900.

I am so done with this issue and not having transportation for the last 30 days. I will never buy another Kia or trust their sales pitch of standing behind their product. Hyundai is a Korean car/engine as well. I heard some people were having the same problems and just replaced the engines for the customers. Kia on the other hand not so much standing behind their engines, especially knowing the 2016 Sorento are having problems with the engines. Please someone let me know if there is help out there. Thanks

- Tondra H., Newport News, VA, US

problem #35

Dec 112022

Sorento SXL V6 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles

Check engine light came on and vehicle started running rough. Drove to shop and the care had only 1.5qts of oil in the engine. Oil light never came on. No flicker, no nothing. Engine was toast by the time the heck engine light came on. Kia dealership checked it and said it was excess oil consumption, but would not be covered under any recall or warranty extension. If oil light had worked, engine would still be working too.

- tarbell, Signal Mountian, US

problem #34

Sep 162022

Sorento L 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,500 miles

On May 18, 2022, I financed a 2016 Kia Sorento for $16,1991 from your Gillman Honda Fort Bend location. After only 4 months the engine in the Kia Sorento has locked up after losing significant power while being driven. Thankfully, no one was harmed, simply immediately inconvenienced, and now having a recall repair denied by Kia, although the vehicle falls in the Theta II Class Action Settlement, which was finalized in 2021.

As of today, I know more about Kia defects and the Theta II Class Action Settlement than I would have ever wanted to know. Most importantly, what I know, is although my vehicle is eligible for the Theta II Class Action Settlement, it does not qualify for repairs because it does not have the KSDS (Knock Sensor Detection Software) upgrade. Since having my car towed in, everyone has passed the buck, while leaving me without a vehicle to drive. Honda says the responsibility lies with Kia. Kia’s Consumer Affairs says the vehicle should have a powertrain warranty because it was purchased Certified Pre-Owned (CPO). Gillman Honda (Fort Bend) now says that they cannot certify any vehicle that is not a Honda product; although when I made my purchase, I was led to believe the car was a CPO vehicle. The service department at Fort Bend Kia, says the CPO warranty does not extend to used vehicles, repairs under the Theta II Settlement are denied because recalls were not performed on the car, and now we will have to rely on the mercy of MasterTech warranty to cover the cost of an estimated $8K - $12K repair that is obviously caused by a defect in the manufacturer’s product, as evidenced by the multiple similar reports of owners on the NHTSA website, as well as the related settlement. Speaking with MasterTech today, they have advised if sludge is found in the engine the claim will be denied. Here is where the issue gets even deeper. The reason for the Theta II Class Action Settlement had to do with the defective engine, not only failing, but failing because of "sludge" in the engine and other faulty manufacturing issues.

There are more than a couple of failures here. If Honda is going to sell other manufacturer’s products, as the professionals in the business, Honda should do their due diligence to ensure the vehicles they are reselling do not have any open recalls or campaign improvements. Due diligence should not stop at doing an online search of the VIN number because I discovered myself, the VIN number for the car I purchased at your Fort Bend location, does not register any recalls with NHTSA or Kia themselves. However, when speaking to the service department of Fort Bend Kia, I was told the vehicle had 2 recalls that had not been serviced – one being the engine of the 2016 Kia Sorento.

When I called Fort Bend Kia to advise them of the engine failure, they immediately told me to take the car to Kia because the problem was more than likely a recall. I feel they were aware of this lawsuit and recall issue at the time of selling me the vehicle. I have called several times, as well as emailed and I have not received a call back, nor an email or been offered a resolution.

- vposey, Eagle Lake, US

problem #33

Mar 262022

Sorento LX 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Just purchased car used from my daughter, and as this is pushing $10,000 I tried to contact Kia for some kind of assistance. Kia is impossible to contact - I sent an EMAIL to the (consumer@kia.com) address where I was directed. From there it was forwarded to a non existent address (rfc822:consumer@kia.com) which bounced it back to me.

Original-Recipient: rfc822;consumer@kia.com

Final-Recipient: rfc822;consumer@kia.com

Action: failed

Status: 5.1.10

Diagnostic-Code: smtp;550 5.1.10 RESOLVER.ADR.RecipientNotFound; Recipient not found by SMTP address lookup

- Gary C., Arlington, US

problem #32

May 012022

Sorento LX Theta Ii 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

We have had issues with this car since we have purchased it. From transmission work to a total replacement of the AC, it has been an unreliable money pit with only 67,000 miles on it. The engine has never run smoothly, but mechanics have never been able to pinpoint the exact issue. Most recently, it left us stranded out of state with our very young children on the side of the highway. All the lights on the dash came on and the engine completely quit in 65 MPH highway traffic. Then it started to smoke. It was scary. We had to take a (super expensive) Uber from Richmond, VA to Raleigh, NC because we couldn't find a rental car on a Sunday. It was awful.

It has now been at the Kia Dealership for 5 weeks. First, we were told it was the pistons. Then our extended warranty company was told that it was piston rings only. Today, Kia Consumer Affairs was told that it was a second cylinder failure. The dealership says that we need a totally new engine because they do not "do engine work" at the KIA DEALERSHIP. Our outside extended warranty will only pay for the rings but we cannot find a mechanic that will do just that part. And, I highly doubt that would fix the engine anyway - it's truly garbage.

According to Kia, our engine qualifies for the Theta II Class action settlement. However, we only qualify if the bearing rods are problematic but we can't even figure that out because the dealership stopped at the piston rings with the leak-down test. The car is truly not safe to drive, but Kia will do absolutely nothing even though the engine has been rough and knocky the entire time we have owned it. Because the mechanics could never pinpoint the issue, it could not be repaired. Now we are 7,000 past the manufactures warranty with a car that was never right. I was told that I could submit a claim that would be reviewed on a case by case basis by Kia but we have heard nothing.

As the situation now stands, we have two young children and we both work outside of the home. We are hemorrhaging money on a rental car because we need two vehicles to get us to work and the kids to school. We always use Kia Dealerships because we assumed the dealership would provide the more quality service, but we have made no progress whatsoever. Kia as a business is their first priority over the customer. This has been a time consuming mess and we will never buy another Kia.

- Brook Z., Apex, NC, US

problem #31

Mar 312022

Sorento LX 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Heater started blowing cold air, popped hood and noticed bubbling in coolant recovery tank. Contacted Kia and as I am 2nd owner, I was told the 100k warranty is invalid, no coverage. Took car to my mechanic who diagnosed head gasket, on rear head had failed. He pulled engine and when he loosened bolts to remove head, discovered 4 head bolts were finger tight, surrounding the spot where the head gasket failed. He called dealership for repair kit for stripped head bolt holes and was informed nothing works, they have to replace the engine block (they suggested new engine). He called other engine repair companies nearby and was told same thing. They are trying to find an engine now and estimate so far is over $12,000...

- Gary C., Arlington, US

problem #30

Jan 192022

Sorento ES 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

My engine locked up due to the vehicle running out of oil. While it may have been 8,000-10,000 mile since my last oil change, I was never alerted to a problem. No warning or caution lights came on, and I was not notified that an oil change was required. I also never noticed an oil leak. There were no spots in my driveway or any other place I parked.

While driving, the car shut off and would not start. Once towed to a shop, I was informed the problem was there was no oil and the engine had locked up. My extended warranty company (EZ Care) said they would not cover the repair because of my lake of maintenance records. This is now costing my roughly $9,000 to replace the engine, due to a failure of being notified.

- Wayne W., Lusby, MD, US

problem #29

Jan 092022

Sorento 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles

My engine is blown and Kia says it was a piston ring failure. There is a lengthy history of engine problems on this model. A class action lawsuit resulted in a lifetime extended warranty on the drive train. However, I'm finding 100's of cases of people with 2016 Kia blown engines and Kia saying the cause isn't due to the lawsuit issue (rods and main cylinder). There needs to be another class action lawsuit against Kia for knowingly ignoring major engine failures!

- H L., Missouri City, TX, US

problem #28

Jan 062022

Sorento LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

My 2016 Kia Sorento shifter got stuck in park and the only way to release it was to use shift release, then about 15 minutes later my car completely died driving down the road...

After 3 weeks of trying to figure out what it is, my mechanic thinks it is engine failure... Kia won't do anything because apparently the NO KNOCK sensor was never installed.

How do you sell these piece of s*** vehicle for SOOOOO much money just to have them die before 60,000 miles??? They pride themselves on dependability - Yah, right... never again will I buy a Kia!!!

- ArchiesInc J., Peru, ME, US

problem #27

May 282021

Sorento SX 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

I purchased a 2016 Kia in May 2017 as a certified preowned vehicle with an extended warranty. For the entire time I had the car performed remarkably. But at the end of May in 2021 the car all of a sudden started running hot. I had a tow to the dealership and they thought it might be a thermostat. The check engine light never ever came on. All of my services were performed in a timely manner at the dealership where it was purchased. I was informed that the engine had a manufacturing defect which caused Baltz to back out of the block which ended up messing up the head gasket. The only way to repair the situation was to install a new engine. I was astonished.

The car had 116,000 miles on it and it was just out of warranty. The manufacturer would not cover it even though I spent more money on an extended warranty. The only engine available was a remanufactured engine. I’m not even sure if this engine is made anymore. The dealership that replaced my engine said that he was replacing an average of seven engines per week and that it was a manufacturing defect that Kia knows about and is not addressing. They handle the issues relating to the four-cylinder engines but they are doing nothing relating to the six-cylinder engines. Again, the service manager at the dealership informed me that Kia knows that there’s a problem and they are refusing to address it or pay for the repairs. I have finally received word that my engine finally came in and was installed.

The dealerships have been so backed up regarding repairs that I had to tow my car almost 70 miles away from my home to get fixed. It took almost 6 months to get a new engine. I have filed complaints with the federal government, with Kia, and I had a person even escalate my issue so that I could get my car fixed but even with all of that the manufacturer will not cover the repair because it’s out of warranty. All of these engines are garbage on the used car market because as my service manager indicated, they will all fail between 100,000 and 120,000 miles. And even after replacing the engine the only warranty I will receive is 12 months and 12,000 miles.

Again, Kia knows that it has a problem and is not going to address it. Their service managers and all of the people I spoke to acknowledge that there is a problem. If they do not cover or reimburse me I am going to sue them for all that I have lost in this deal. And everyone else who has the same problem should too.

There was absolutely no warning about this defect. It was described to me that the manufacturing process for some of these engines would lead to bolts in the block shearing off and backing out causing the exhaust and cooling system to converge and ruin the engine making it unrepairable. The cost of the full repair is $6700, not to mention the fact that I have had to have numerous car rentals and I had to go out and buy another car because it took so long to repair my automobile.

Update from Nov 14, 2022: I ended up having to pay $6850 for a remanufactured engine. I received absolutely no help from Kia although the dealership did go out of his way to do its very best to get me assistance. When I actually spoke to a Kia representative, a conversation I recorded, they were actually very aggressive and snippy and saying essentially that while I bought a preowned vehicle “they are only in the business of selling new cars“ and that my pre-owned certified warranty was simply just an insurance policy and that they had nothing to do with it. It was a completely unsatisfying experience. But I ended up having a good relationship with a new dealer and should I ever buy another Kia I will buy it from them because they have a lifetime warranty which is beyond the manufacturers warranty. The dealership where I originally purchased it was horrible and I would never return. But I will drive almost 60 miles outside of the city to give my business to someone else now.

But the down and dirty version of the story is that buying a used Kia from a Kia dealership is no better than buying it from someone off the street. Buy a new one to get a full warranty and if you can buy it from a dealership that offers a lifetime warranty, I would go with that. Unless the transmission fails or something else goes wrong I expect to drive the wheels off of this one.

- David P., Atlanta, US

problem #26

Jan 152022

Sorento EX 2.0L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

While driving on the highway at posted limit, we heard pop and then rpm's dropped to zero and engine shut down and would not restart. Had vehicle towed to local Kia dealer in North Aurora, IL who told me after inspection a spark plug had imploded and cracked a hole in the #4 cylinder exhaust valve. I was told head can be sent to a local machine shop to be checked and machined in addition to replacing valve and checking seals. Current estimate is in the ballpark of $6,500 so far and still waiting on corporate to decide on coverage.

The case was reported to Kia dealer and corporate in November of 2020 of excessive oil burning and was told it was an acceptable amount according to their specs and to monitor and top off oil when needed. No repair or solution given and corporate denied any help. Dealer suggested a fuel force carbon build up cleaner at a cost of $550 which corporate also denied covering, but would not correct problem, just a temporary issue minimizer. In January 2022 it was reported to Kia dealer and Kia corporate oil burning issue has gotten much worse and burning one quart of oil after every fuel fill up, approximately every 400 miles. New case has been opened with Kia corporate and am anxiously waiting for them to respond and stand behind their product and cover engine repair.

- David D., Geneva, US

problem #25

Dec 232021


  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Truly in awe! I have to replace an engine of a car, that never gave a single warning sign until it would not accelerate after giving it gas and a quick blinking engine light appeared. There was no check oil sign, nothing!! Now in order to get my car back on the road, I have to replace the engine. I have only had this car for 6 years!! I have previously owned cars for over 13 years, never having engine problems. I will admit there were times that I replaced oil at 4500 miles, but come on!! Engine Failure! With NO warning!! I hope this next engine replacement gets me at least 3 more years. It is a used with 54,000 miles. I will NEVER purchase another Kia again!

- Taise B., Pikesville, US

problem #24

Oct 262021

Sorento SX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,400 miles

My vehicle went in for service 10/26/2021, it took about a month for them to even confirm it is covered. I got an update Nov 24 2021 that the engine is on back order. I don't even know when the engine will start to ship. Huge pain in the arse the certified pre-owned coverage only covers 10 days of a rental @ $35 a day.

- Shawn V., Elk Grove Village, US

problem #23

Jan 062020

Sorento EX 3. 3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,999 miles

My wife’s heat started to not work. Then the temperate gauge started to go up. Long story short, my mechanic got the car and found a blown head gasket. Thinking it was under warranty, I had it towed to Crowley Kia. The service department told me that they have seen this issue before. Looks like the head bolts stripped from the block. Needs a new engine.

I bought an extended limited lifetime warranty at Premier Kia in Branford when I bought the car. Crowley Kia contacted them. They wanted a complete Teardown of engine to determine the cause of failure. Cost to do this is 1500 at my expense to only be paid by warranty if it is something that was covered. Well guess what, I had them do it, only to find that the cause of failure is caused by the stripping head bolts which is not a lubricated component of the engine.

Crowley gave me a price of 8900 to put in an engine on top of the teardown cost. $10400 to fix my car for stripped head bolts that this mechanic has seen before. They told me it was a manufacturing issue. I decided to do some research by calling 7 different Kia service departments in CT, all of which have seen this exact issue on my particular engine multiple times! Contacted Kia Consumer affairs, who denied any help. Says it’s not under warranty, there are no recalls... and anything that anyone has told me is hearsay. Funny thing is, I read this exact complaint on this blog and they live in the same town as me!!!! So frustrated!

- Gene B., Woodbury, CT, US

problem #22

Mar 182020

Sorento EX Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,935 miles

I purchased this car after my 2014 Kia Sorento blew a piston driving up Rt 95 near Fayetteville NC. I purchased a 2016 Kia Sorento EX Turbo w/ 66,000 miles. I did all of the oil changes. On May 18 11 months to the day and less than 20k miles a bearing blew and my engine failed. Being going back and forth with the extended warranty that I purchased through Kia. I don't speed or carry heavy loads. Two Kia's in less than 1 year.

- Dennis M., Mays Landing, US

problem #21

Aug 282020

Sorento LS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

My family was driving from Washington state to Texas 8 month ago, her engine lost a cylinder on top of mountain with 3 kids in car, towed vehicle to closest Kia in Spokane Washington. KIA WOULD NOT COVER THE ENGINE FAILURE, AND AFTER REVIEWING OIL RECORDS, MY WARRANTY DECIDED TO COVER A VALVE REPLACEMENT. I drove back up to Spokane to pick up car after 2 months of fighting with them, and on my way back down the car broke down again. I took it to a Kia in Idaho, Poccatello, and they replaced the oil drain plug, and finally made it home with having to dump oil in every 100 miles.



- scottbuehrer2, Brazoria, US

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