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Most Common Problems With Kia Vehicles

Kia is easily one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in South Korea, and that popularity is spreading out into the world rapidly. Stylish but affordable, Kia’s makes and models have been holding their own in the vehicle market with a range of high-quality cars to suit all different tastes. From luxury vehicles that can compete alongside the likes of Mercedes and BMW, to accessible hatchbacks perfect for first-time drivers, Kia has certainly taken the market by storm but, like all manufacturers, their cars aren’t free from some common faults. From engine stalling problems to faulty airbags, here are some of the most common problems Kia owners report.

Engine Stalling 

In 2016, a lawsuit was filed against Kia for problems with their Theta II gasoline direct injection engine. KiaComplaints report that the engine is “well known for a lot of things, and none of them are good”, including “bearing failure, metal debris riding on contaminated oil, piston ring defects, seizing, knocking (and) crying” ( Kia, as a result, agreed to increase the warranty on the affected vehicles, giving them an overall warranty of 10 years/120,000 miles.

Fuel Pipe Leak And Fire Risk

Kia has been faced with three separate NHTSA recalls over the years, with some of these issues still being sorted through to this day. One particular case, however, involved a fuel pipe leak. HotCars reported that the issues involved “misaligned, improperly torqued, or damaged high-pressure fuel line connected directly to the fuel pump outlet” and could create an “urgent fire risk” as a result. ( This triggered a NHTSA to issue their own urgent fire risk and an official recall for the vehicles was released. The fuel pump issue could lead to overheating engines that in some cases, risk turning into engine fires so if you have a 2011-2017 Optima, 2011-2018 Sportage or 2012-2017 Sorento, it may be worth checking for a recall on your vehicle.

Faulty Airbags

Faulty airbag deployment can be life-threatening and while Kia isn’t the only manufacturer to face airbag issues, it’s a serious issue that the manufacturer has had to tackle head-on. According to MotorandWheels, the over 400,000 Forte, Sedona and Soul models “have been recalled by Kia for the faulty airbag control unit,” with the origin of the issue claimed to be “the soldering joint which got damaged during manufacturing.” ( The issue would result in the airbags not deploying properly or in some cases, the airbag deploys when it isn’t supposed to. This could cause serious distraction and therefore an accident, or even damage to passengers in the front seat.

Model Specific

There are a few of Kia’s models that have the highest number of recalls and issues, including the Optima, Sportage, Sorento and Rio. GetJerry report some of the most common issues for the following models (

  • Kia Optima – The Kia Optima reportedly faces “a variety of engine malfunctions likely due to worn-out beatings or a defective throttle position switch” currently has 16 recalls on it, with all models between 2011-2014 currently being recalled for engine problems. This includes malfunctioning stop lamp switches which could affect brake lights.
  • Kia Sportage – The Kia Sportage currently has a recall for models manufactured during 2011-2013. This includes engine problems too, with one problem relating to high-pressure fuel pipes that can be misaligned or are improperly torqued, creating the potential for fuel leaks.
  • Kia Sorento – the Kia Sorento, according to GetJerry, “has experienced the most problems in the Kia Brand” including engine failure, gearbox issues, doors that won’t open from the outside and oil leaks.

For more information about Kia vehicles or what recalls mean, feel free to get in touch with our team, today. Alternatively, book an appointment at one of our garages for a service or diagnosis of your Kia vehicle.