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Steering wheel peeling flakes on new 2013 KIA Sorento

a551518a551518 Posts: 1
I purchased a 2013 Sorento EX in December and less than a month later we noticed that the steering wheel was starting to peel. The top section of the steering wheel started to peel off black flakes of the outer layer onto our clothes and hands.

We took it to Green KIA in Springfield, Illinois where we purchased it from to look at it. This was 42 days after we purchased it and they said that sometimes this happens and is just a protective film. The service department cleaned it off and convinced me it was minor and would not come back.

A month and half later, exactly 90 days after the purchase, we took our Sorento to Lou Fusz KIA in St. Louis, Missouri to look at the issue. It was getting much worse where we would find black flakes from the steering wheel on our clothes later at work or home. They looked at it and rubbed all the flakes off so it look good again. This did not last long because a week later the steering wheel was flaking again just as it had before.

I called Lou Fusz KIA to let them know it was occurring again and they said they had no record it was in the shop. After further explanation and getting the right person she suggested it was our hand lotion we were using therefore our fault. I can tell you that we do not use hand lotion due to a skin sensitivity that I have. I left the conversation very dissatisfied.

We to purchase a KIA Cadenza and was looking in the show room at Lou Fusz KIA. I told the salesperson that I may get a new Chevy Impala due to the warranty experience I’m having with KIA. He walked me to service to make another appointment to have someone look at it and mail a picture to the KIA warranty office. I spoke with the lady at service and she said she has seen this before and to make an appointment.

I made the appointment and left the car earlier this week while getting an oil change. The service associate called me back and said he would not send a picture to KIA because it was obvious to him and his manager that it was damage caused by a wedding ring. Needless to say I could not believe that Lou Fusz KIA would respond in such a way and I insisted they send a picture to the warranty center just as they had promised to do earlier before I made the appointment.

Adam at Lou Fusz KIA called to tell me that KIA warranty said NO – this is not covered due to customer damage and not a defect. The customer scratched it up was the specific reason for the denial.

This occurred when my KIA Sorento was just over a month old!
I have never had any worn or peeling steering wheel issues with my other cars as follows (wedding ring and all).
Audi A6 – 260k miles
Audi A8 – 140k miles
VW Jetta – 180k miles
Honda Accord – 280k miles
Volvo XC70 – 260k miles
Volvo XC70 #2- 130k miles
Mercedes 220 - 370k miles

This experience has made it clear to me that KIA refuses to stand behind this product and will not honor their warranty in this case and has poor customer service.

Sorry but I just had to vent my frustration.
John M.

I will update this with current status if the status changes.


  • I had the same problem!! However, I guess I had a better experience, initially anyway, because the dealership did replace my steering wheel.... but now, 3 months later - the new steering wheel is doing the SAME thing!! There must be some issue with the material they used to make the steering wheels. I am going to ask if they will replace this one as well.... I won't hold my breath!
  • All my contacts with Kia dealers after the purchase has been dreadful. I would never buy a Kia again because of this.
  • doog2doog2 Posts: 1
    Today "7/7/2015" I took my 2012 Sorento to Dolan Auto Group in Reno,Nv. "the dealership that I purchased this vehicle from" with the peeling steering wheel problem. The service department took pictures of the peeling and wrote up an issue response for Kia and called it in. About 2 hours later I received a phone call from the service department that said the same thing as all the other complainants got. I am pretty sure the problem is not from owner neglect or misuse but Kia will not take the responsibility for this problem. I too have had other vehicles which I have put 100,000+ miles on and have never had this kind of problem. The peeling looks like paint to me and I never have seen leather come apart like this. I suppose there is nothing I or anyone else can do about this except not purchase another Kia. I am going to complain to the dealer again but expect to not get any results.
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