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Most Common Mechanical Breakdowns of Kia Sorento

As with all cars, there have been reports by owners of specific faults and issues developing with the Kia Sorento. Below, we detail some of the most commonly reported problems, along with the amount you can expect to pay to get them put right.

Problems with the Transmission

If you have a Kia Sorrento manufactured from 2009 to 2014, you may have had some issues with the transmission - this is most commonly the case with the 2011 model. Gears jerking or slipping, hesitancy when accelerating, and problems with starting or stopping have been regularly reported by owners, with automatic models being most prone to these bugs.


The underlying fault is usually with the sensors. A malfunctioning transmission control module can also be to blame. While both are relatively easy to fix, if left they can result in the sort of damage that can be very expensive to put right. If you have a 2009 to 2014 Kia Sorento, it’s a great idea to book it for a service to check that the vehicle’s transmission is working correctly.

Engine Problems

Engine issues have also been something of a plague to the Kia Sorento, with stalling being one of the most frequently reported issues by owners. Models manufactured in the years 2010 to 2014 seem most prone to this problem. Sudden stalling and loss of power can be a serious safety concern and should be taken seriously.


In most cases, a damaged oxygen sensor is to blame. This can also cause decreased fuel efficiency, strong odors from the exhaust,  overheating or failing of the catalytic converter, and unusual engine noises. The repair required to fix this should be a speedy one, but is likely to be relatively expensive.

Dodgy Door Handles

While this may seem like a mild inconvenience, faulty door handles could constitute a major safety issue - especially if a child is in the car and you’re unable to open it from the outside. This fault has been most prevalent in the Kia Sorento 2011 model.


If your vehicle is still under warranty, you’re golden: you’ll be covered for these repairs. If not, you’ll pay around $500 for the fix.

Battery Issues

Many Kia Sorento owners have also experienced battery-related problems. These may manifest in various ways, from batteries dying if a car is unused for several days to problems with the alternator preventing batteries from charging. Random problems with electric systems have also been fairly regularly reported by owners of Kia Sorento models from the years 2004 to 2016.


The cost of the repair will depend on the exact cause of the fault. However, if the battery problems are found to be due to a faulty crankshaft pulley, you may be able to make a claim to Kia for repairs up to £5,000 if you make this claim within the correct time frame.

Headlight Bulb Burnout

Mostly affecting the Kia Sorentos manufactured between 2002 and 2009, there have been dozens of reports from owners regarding headlight bulbs prematurely burning out. Some owners even discovered that their headlight bulbs’ components had melted. Unfortunately, Kia did not issue a recall for this fault, leaving owners to cover the cost of replacing headlight bulbs themselves, at a cost of from $100 to $600.

Defective Ignition Coil

Faulty ignition coils cause a car to misfire and, if left unreplaced, can cause significant damage to its engine. The majority of these problems, however, were reported by Kia Sorento owners who had 100,000 miles or more on their vehicle’s odometer, which is around the time when an ignition coil is realistically replaced. This fix will set you back around $20 to $140.

Fixing Common Faults on Your Kia Sorento

If your Kia Sorento is under warranty, you should have no problems getting any of the above issues fixed at a dealership at no cost. In some cases, such as the battery issue we just mentioned, you may even be able to claim for costs from Kia even if the warranty has expired.


Further, your auto insurance coverage may indemnify you should your car develop a problem. A comprehensive coverage policy, for example, can help pay to fix damage to your car - or even replace it in some cases - caused by events other than a car accident.

Final Thoughts

While the Kia Sorento may be prone to several common faults and other issues, don’t panic if you have one of these cars in a “problem” model. In the majority of cases, faults don’t develop, and where they do, they can be easily fixed.


Even if your vehicle seems fine, it’s a good idea to get a service inspection booked to be sure that everything is functioning properly. This will give you peace of mind that you won’t experience a nasty surprise, such as a sudden loss of power or malfunctioning locks.