2018 Kia Sorento Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, steering and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Families in search of a reliable SUV regularly turn to the 2018 Kia Sorento. It’s spacious and provides the style that many consumers desire. Even the automaker claims that the newer models have “the power to perform.” While it appears this model features everything someone could hope for, there are some dark sides to this vehicle. From a faulty steering system to defective engine and glitchy electrical components, this SUV doesn’t live up to the hype and puts people in danger.

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Steering

One component that everyone takes for granted is the steering system. Consumers know that most vehicles steer the way that the automaker intended and there’s minimal discussion about it unless something goes wrong as with the Sorento.

One Edmunds review illustrates trouble with the steering. It states, “I have noticed that while driving over 50 MPH on a hi way I’ll be going straight and move the steering wheel a millimeter and it jumps left or right. This startles me and I almost jerk the wheel too hard to regain control. I read where someone posted that Kia has had this problem for years and won’t fix it because it’s not a life threatening problem. Ha HaI almost jerked the wheel out of control. It’s very annoying when you can’t relax your hand on the steering wheel without it jumping right to left. Ask drivers of Kia what they think, or better yet test drive one on the freeway at 65 mph.”

Sadly, this isn’t the most concerning steering issue with the Kia Sorento. In fact, the automaker issued a recall labeled NHTSA Campaign Number 18V656000. It turns out that the steering column can separate while driving, leading to an increased risk of an accident. Why would the steering column disconnect? Because the company improperly welded the cowl crossbar connecting the Motor-Driven Power Steering column. While watching steering wheels come detached is fun in cartoons, it’s not so exciting in real life.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Kia Sorento Steering Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 KIA SORENTO. WHILE DRIVING, THE STEERING WHEEL SEIZED WITHOUT WARNING. THE CONTACT COASTED THE VEHICLE TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND POWERED OFF THE ENGINE. THE VEHICLE WAS RESTARTED AND WAS ABLE TO DRIVE NORMALLY. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE FAILURE OCCURRED INTERMITTENTLY. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO ED VOYLES KIA TO BE DIAGNOSED, BUT THE FAILURE COULD NOT BE DUPLICATED. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURE AND DID NOT ASSIST.

WHILE DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD THE STEERING WHEEL STICKS. WHILE YOU KEEP TURNING A LITTLE TO KEEP THE VEHICLE STRAIGHT IT WILL SUDDENLY BREAK LOOSE, CAUSING THE VEHICLE TO JERK LEFT OR RIGHT DEPENDING ON THE DIRECTION YOU WERE TURNING THE WHEEL AT THE TIME. IT IS MOST DANGEROUS WHILE THE ROADS ARE EITHER SNOW OR ICE COVERED AND SLIPPERY. HARD TO KEEP THE VEHICLE ON THE ROAD.

THE PROBLEM IS A STICKY FEELING IN THE STEERING WHILE DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAY. WHEN MAKING VERY SMALL CORRECTIONS FEELS LIKE THE POWER STEERING IS TURNED OFF. GENTLE PRESSURE DOES NOT TURN THE WHEEL AT ALL. AS MORE AND MORE PRESSURE IS APPLIED, IT FEELS LIKE THE POWER STEERING TURNS ON. THIS CAUSES THE VEHICLE TO SWERVE DUE TO OVER CORRECTION. THE VEHICLE IS INCREDIBLY HARD TO CONTROL AND UNPREDICTABLE. OCCURS AT HIGH SPEEDS. EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

Engine

Since the Sorento claims to have all of the power, it makes sense to examine the engine as well. It’s clear that this Kia SUV suffers from numerous motor problems, making it dangerous to drive.

One NHTSA complaint states, “Engine completely lost power and shut down on the highway and when restarted, went into limp mode. Now engine needs replaced and no engines are available. My car has a mobility device installed to accommodate my missing right leg and any rental vehicle is difficult to use since I have to remove my prosthetic leg to drive it. I need a vehicle fitted to accommodate my disability and don’t know when or if I’ll be getting mine back.”

It turns out that the Sorento suffers from major engine malfunctions. The automaker released Service Bulletin #VPI1802WX_TSB_R3 discussing why the engines need to be replaced. It turns out they previously attempted to skirt around the engine troubles by installing a Knock Sensor Detection System in consumers’ vehicles that would reduce the wear, but it didn’t work. In fact, some owners complained that it made the engine troubles worse. Now they have to repair so many engines that they can’t keep up. This model is the poster child for a lemon car.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Kia Sorento Engine Problems:

I WAS DRIVING ON A STATE HWY ABOUT THREE MILES FROM HOME GOING 50 MPH. I WAS THE SOLE OCCUPANT IN THE VEHICLE WHEN I BEGAN TO SMELL SMOKE. I WAS ABLE TO PULL OFF THE HWY. AND TURN THE VEHICLE OFF. I OPENED MY DOOR AND OPENED THE HOOD FROM THE INSIDE. WHEN I DID, FLAMES AND SMOKE BEGAN TO SHOOT OUT FROM THE HOOD AND I HEARD A LOUD POP. I EXITED THE VEHICLE AND WITHIN SECONDS, THE WHOLE CAR WAS CONSUMED WITH FIRE. I CALLED 911 AND REPORTED A VEHICLE ON FIRE. THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND EMS BOTH RESPONDED WITHIN MINUTES. THE FIRE DEPARTMENT WAS ABLE TO PUT OUT THE FIRE BUT NOT BEFORE IT WAS A COMPLETE LOSS. AFTER THE FIRE WAS EXTINGUISHED, I NOTED ALL THE DOORS AND THE HATCH HAD LOCKED AT SOME POINT DURING THE FIRE. I CONTACTED CUMBERLAND KIA WHERE I PURCHASED THE VEHICLE TO NOTIFY THEM OF WHAT HAPPENED AND THEY TOOK POSSESSION OF THE VEHICLE THAT AFTERNOON.

AFTER THE SOFTWARE UPDATE, MY KIA HAD ISSUES WITH THE KNOCK SENSOR. SO, WILL THIS VEHICLE HAS ISSUES FOR THE REST OF THE ENGINES LIFE? I AM HOPING TO DRIVE THIS CAR FOR MORE THAN 100,000 MILES. IS THIS JUST A COINCIDENCE THAT THE SENSOR WAS BAD RIGHT AFTER THE UPDATE? THE CAR WENT INTO LIMP MODE AFTER A LOUD CLUNK. GLAD I WAS CLOSE TO HOME!

ENGINE COMPLETELY LOST POWER AND SHUT DOWN ON THE HIGHWAY AND WHEN RESTATRED, WENT INTO LIMP MODE. NOW ENGINE NEEDS REPLACED AND NO ENGINES ARE AVAILABLE. MY CAR HAS A MOBILITY DEVICE INSTALLED TO ACCOMODATE MY MISSING RIGHT LEG AND ANY RENTAL VEHICLE IS DIFFICULY TO USE SINCE I HAVE TO REMOVE MY PROSTHETIC LEG TO DRIVE IT. I NEED A VEHICLE FITTED TO ACCOMODATE MY DISABILITY AND DONT KNOW WHEN OR IF I’LL BE GETTING MINE BACK.

Electrical

If those problems aren’t enough, a quick look at the electrical system might be enough to prove how defective this model can be.

Another NHTSA complaint says, “The contact owns a 2018 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vent control functions failed to work properly when needing to use the heater. In addition, the headlamps failed to illuminate as the contact was informed by a passerby on the roadway. The dealer was notified of the failures and the contact was waiting for a response to schedule an appointment to service the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified. The contact would like the dealer to buy back the vehicle if there is no remedy. The failure mileage was not available.

Believe it or not, the automaker is facing multiple electrical concerns. Service Bulletin #PS541 talks about an inoperative shift lock release or ignition while in accessory mode. Because of this malfunction, owners aren’t able to release the key or turn on the car once the key is placed in accessory mode. Those with smart keys, also face the Shift to Park message illuminating even though the vehicle is already in Park. Considering the definition of perform is “to carry out or accomplish” it’s clear that Kia has some work to do before claiming that this model has “the power to perform.” It seems all they have is the power to fail and cause destruction.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Kia Sorento Electrical Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 KIA SORENTO. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE VENT CONTROL FUNCTIONS FAILED TO WORK PROPERLY WHEN NEEDING TO USE THE HEATER. IN ADDITION, THE HEADLAMPS FAILED TO ILLUMINATE AS THE CONTACT WAS INFORMED BY A PASSERBY ON THE ROADWAY. THE DEALER WAS NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURES AND THE CONTACT WAS WAITING FOR A RESPONSE TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TO SERVICE THE VEHICLE. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED. THE CONTACT WOULD LIKE THE DEALER TO BUY BACK THE VEHICLE IF THERE WAS NO REMEDY. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS NOT AVAILABLE.

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