10.0

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$7,500
Average Mileage:
83,900 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. replacement of lower block or replacement of entire engine (1 reports)
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problem #1

Jul 062022

Sorento LX 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,885 miles

click to see larger images

loose head bolts leading to engine failure loose head bolts leading to engine failure

We purchased a used 2016 Kia Sorento from South Trail Kia in 2019. The vehicle had been serving us well and we always kept it well maintained and never had any issues with the vehicle.

On July 6, 2022, we were returning back to our home from a road trip when suddenly, the vehicle started to overheat out of nowhere. I opened the hood to find the coolant bubbling in the reservoir and I noticed traces of radiator fluid above the radiator cap on the hood of the car. Thinking that perhaps the seal on the radiator cap was bad, I immediately found a replacement, topped up the coolant but noted that the vehicle temperature gauge continued to fluctuate wildly. On July 7, first thing in the morning, I immediately brought the vehicle to the nearest mechanic to my home a block away.

You can see their assessment process attached below. Initially, they though perhaps there was an external leak in the system. As this was not found to be the case, they deduced it was a blown head gasket. Upon taking the head apart, they noted that 2 head bolts on 2 separate cylinder heads were "so loose that a child could loosen them by hand". I was notified of this on July 11. As you well know, this is not something that could simply occur during normal wear and use. As noted in the mechanic's notes, he specifically points out that it is likely a "manufacturer's defect", perhaps due to the head bolts being overtightened beyond recommended torque during the manufacturing process. As such, this would be a latent defect in the product sold that was not disclosed to the consumer. My mechanic stated he has "never seen anything like this" in his career.

The associated cost as per my mechanic is outlined in the other document provided (minus the costs associated with changing spark plugs). The Kia recommended fix in this situation is also replacement of the lower block or replacement of the engine altogether as the threads in the lower block are now completely stripped. Note that the cylinder heads were not warped or needing to be machined suggesting that this was probably not due to overheating, but as stated, a likely manufacturer's defect.

In any case, after further investigation into this issue doing research online, I have across a multitude of cases reported of customers complaining of almost identical situations.

Kia would do NOTHING about this because it was no longer under warranty. This defect is the "perfect storm" of a problem for a vehicle. Where the problem is completely undetectable until usually only after the warranty has passed. But it causes problems soon enough that it is not worth scrapping the vehicle but also disastrously expensive to fix.

- Brian H., Calgary, AB, Canada