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Kia Sorento Maintenance and Repair

lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
One dealer told the problems they have heard on the Kia Sorento are Check Engine light and catylst
converter. I properly will test drive one to see how it's feel on and off the road.


  • 01r101r1 Member Posts: 280
    On a recent test drive (EX model, non-lux), it would not consistently shift into 4wd Low range. One time with the selector set to 4wd High range, it shifted in 4wd Low range.
  • boredbored Member Posts: 300
    I'm not sure you're supposed to shift into Neutral when shifting the 4WD. I think you are supposed to keep going, and shift on the fly in Drive.

    Hey, I may be wrong!

    Check Engine Light: Gas cap.
  • johnh17johnh17 Member Posts: 2
    I test drove one a couple days ago. In 2WD, take off was smooth...from 1st to 2nd...but huge whine and excessive rpm 4500+ going from 2nd to 3rd. We test drove another one, didn't seem quite as bad...but not as smooth as my Grand Vitara. Anyway the dealer called said they looked at it, was faulty ...getting new parts in. Will test drive it again next week. Has anyone else encountered this?
  • 96_i30_5sp96_i30_5sp Member Posts: 127
    When you shift in 4WD Low, you need to stop, put it in neutral, shift into 4WD Low, then put tranny into gear. Shift on the fly is only for 4WD Hi.
  • rgrossrgross Member Posts: 2
    I test drove the Kia twice now and have noticed the same problem. I am very interested in the vehicle but if others have experienced the same issue that concerns me. Has anybody else experienced this?
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    Hi Steve or anybody - Are any links for the test report on this Kia Sorento? People have concerns with the shifting problem on its 4WD system. I believe Sorneto has shift-on-fly 4WD system and you don't have to shift to neutral. What would be the better way to test drive a 4WD vehicles?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    I think these are all our links on the Sorento to date:

    Future Vehicles

    First Drive

    There's a mini-blurb in the New Vehicle Pricing (the "Overview").

    Steve, Host

  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    Thanks. Steve. The body of the Sorento looks like Mercedes-Benz ML320 from a distant.
  • boredbored Member Posts: 300
    4x4 System: That's exactly what I thought too.

    Also: There's not any car that doesn't look alike from a distance., with maybe the exception of a PT Cruiser.
  • 01r101r1 Member Posts: 280
    Maybe a Sorento owner could look it up in their owner's guide to confirm this. On the non-lux version, I believe you can shift on the fly into 4wd High range like any other 4x4. But must shift the tranny into Neutral before selecting 4wd Low range. Shifting to Neutral unloads the positive torque in the transfer case allowing the lower gear to engage.
  • moose27moose27 Member Posts: 4
    Hello everyone,

    To all the new KIA Sorento owners, what do you think of the Sorento's fuel consumption ???
  • hciaffahciaffa Member Posts: 454
    I posted this in the other Sorento page about it being SUV of the year.
    I just posted #590 and in it I wrote how we took it for a pretty good test drive on a old tank trail. To engage the 4X4 it shifts something like my Ranger. For the 4X4 HI it shifts on the fly up to 45 mph and for 4X4 LO you have to stop the vehicle foot on the brake and in neutral and it engaged. I also tried it in park and it engaged. Drove it for about a 100 yards on this old trail and it did very well. As mentioned in the posting above we were quite pleased about the Sorento. We ordered the EX in Ivy Green with the cargo tray, mud flaps and window shades ( the things that you can leave your windows open to prenvent rain from coming in). So now we wait.

    AS far as the looks al the write ups I read say that it almosts looks like a Lexus and the Mercedes. I did read that Lexus was a little miffed about the side profile being almost the same, but they also feel flattered that it was copied. Shows how good the Lexus is.
  • txbluetxblue Member Posts: 8
    I just bought my Sorento this Monday and wanted to comment on the gas mileage. I don't know what all the gripe is about. I drive 25 miles one way to work everyday and so far, I haven't had to fuel up yet. Still have just under half a tank. I was expecting worse, but am pleasantly surprised. I am having them check mine out, because I have noticed a whine in the engine when it hits gears 3 and 4. (As mentioned in earlier posts) Maybe it needs an adjustment. Will keep you posted...
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    hciaffa - It is good to see another positive posting. I agree. It looks like RX300 or ML320 from outside. I and my wife looked at this at the auto show and we love it. And we are in the market for this. By the way, how much did you pay? We are looking the EX with 4WD, possible with the luxury package. Are you recommend those add-ons like ABS and rear spoiler?
  • hciaffahciaffa Member Posts: 454
    The dealer I am dealing with in central CT does not add on ADM but at this time is not marking down the price. We are trying to get a Ivy Green EX with either the standard cloth seats or with leather seats. And with ABS, his price is $25100. If he can get a EX with the Luxury pasckage we would settle on that as well his price was $26980 which he might deduct about 800 of the pjrice. At this point because of the scarcity in CT we told him get whatever he can. Right now I have not seen any price posting that compares invoice to MSRP which would help in the negotiation. I'm not getting the spoiler but I am getting the cargo tray, mudflaps, hood protector, window visors andjmaybe later I will get the Yakima travel basket for the roof rack.
    My wife is real anxious to get this vehicle. She has Forester now so if we get the EX with luxury the full time 4x4 is like the AWD but if we settle with the regular EX she has no qualms about it as I have a Ranger with shift on the fly 4x4 that she has driven.
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    hicaffa - Yeah. The price is still holding. I looked the pricing on The invoice for EX 4x4 is $22350 (plus $495 dest. fee). The TMV is $23859. There is no invoice price for the options. Have you looked at this before you go to the dealer? BTW, what makes you consider this Sorento? I first noticed this from TV ads.
  • txbluetxblue Member Posts: 8
    I found the prices are pretty cut and dry. I printed off the price list from the Kia website when I went in to buy my Sorento. I got the LX with 4 wheel drive. I was originally planning to get an EX, but they only had one and I didn't like the color. I decided on the beige gold, which is much nicer in the LX (no two tone). I'm also glad I got the cloth upholstery because I didn't care much for the way the leather looks. I got everything else I needed except the sunroof. I basically sacrificed that to get the 4 wheel drive. Overall, I'm happy with my choice. When I looked at the sticker, it was exactly what the price list showed. No hidden charges anywhere. It's kind of like buying a Saturn. I paid $23,340 exactly what the price list said I would pay.
  • PlacemanPlaceman Member Posts: 44
    I'm sorry, but I cannot buy a car at MSRP. I don't care if they are a "no haggle" dealership (ala. Saturn). If I can't negotiate, I'm not going to buy. I got the EX Luxury for $450 over invoice ($1200 under sticker [or KIA's website]) and I'm still not really happy. I've never paid over $150 over invoice, but made a sacrifice since this was a first year model with a suposed limited first year US production.
  • jrdowneyjrdowney Member Posts: 96
    I am intrigued by the Sorento but concerned about it being in the first year. Is this vehicle based on any existing platform? Does anyone have a sense about how well it will hold up? And, does it really look and seem like a Lexus RX300?


    Jim d.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    I'm sorry, but I cannot buy a car at MSRP.

    No need to apologize. We all have our own negotiating styles ranging from intransigence to total acquiescence. In any case, we make our own choices.

    tidester, host
  • mkayemkaye Member Posts: 184
    Someone's been looking at the thesaurus again!
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059

    tidester, host
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    I don't know if this is a problem. I have never driven the 4WD before. For this Sorento, there is a control switch for 2HI, 4L0 and 4HI. Do I need to change that manually when different road condition applies?
  • hciaffahciaffa Member Posts: 454
    If you have the the switch as you describe then you must engage it manually. Read you owners manual. Regular driving is 2HI that's your rear two wheels driving the Sorento. When the road conditions are bad meaning snow you can engage the 4HI on the fly usually up to 40 mph. With my Ranger if its raining real bad I engage my 4HI as long as I make no tight turns then the differentials start to bind. Believe me the noise they make is a good warning that the turn is to tight. For 4LO you usually have to be at a stop and the tranny in either park or neutral and foot on the brake to engage it and this is really for bad and heavy snow conditions or mud. Hope this helps
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    hicaffa - Thanks for the info. The salesman told not to use 4WD mode all the time. It is designed for off-road or snowy road condition, for better traction. It will hurt the tires when using 4WD on dry pavement a lot. I also think the car (when 4WD uses) will be difficult to turn. What about these SUVs or cars with AWD? Can the rear differential design to elimiate this problem?
  • cptsessocptsesso Member Posts: 116
    Hey guys, I don't have a Sorento but I do have an Isuzu Axiom XS 4wd. It think we both have the same type of T.O.D.(torque-on-demand) 4wd system.

    With mine, you can switch from 4HI to T.O.D or vise versa while at speeds slower than 60mph. For 4LO, you have to come to a complete stop and put the shifter in neutral with the brake on. Then select 4LO and you will hear a clunk in the transmission. This is the 4LO kicking in.

    It is ok to have T.O.D. selected all of the time. The power goes only to the rear wheels until the computer senses wheel slippage. The computer senses the slippage before you even feel a thing. At this point, up to 50% of the available power is transfered to the front wheels. So, it is safe to leave it in T.O.D. while driving in all conditions especially slippery conditions like rain.

    4LO is recomended for off roading where you need that extra bit of grunt from your vehicle to climb steep hills, go through mud, etc. 4LO uses a lower gearing and all 4 wheels are constantly turning at the same time. This is why it is not recomended to use 4LO on dry pavement because of tire wear.

    The only time I have used 2HI was on a long highway trip in dry conditions. I have read some people like to do this because of gas mileage. I tried both T.O.D. and 2HI on different legs of the trip and didn't see any mpg difference. This makes sense because only the rear wheels are receiving power in both T.O.D. and 2HI in non-slippery conditions.

    I hope I have clarified this subject a little bit. Check with your dealer to see if you have the same system. I think it is the same type or very similar.
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    What is this mean? Some SUV has front, center and/or rear differential (or all three together like the MB G500). Is this often used on cars and SUV with AWD with no 4Lo and 4Hi? Like Forester, RX300, etc.
  • fopjusticefopjustice Member Posts: 3
    I found the invoice prices for the Sorento by going to and clicking their link to (This gets you into a format that allows for printing the pages within printer width parameters). They listed the base invoice price for whichever trim level you choose, as well as the add on's such as ABS. You get the info on everything.

    We're looking at getting a Small SUV and have driven the Tribute, Escape, Liberty, and Sorento. I still want to drive a Vue before choosing. We're limiting ourselves to V6 with FWD models. So far they all have their pluses and minuses, but we were impressed with Sorento that we test drove last night.
  • fmunoz1069fmunoz1069 Member Posts: 35
    Hi, I am the proud owner of an 03 Sorento EX with the Luxury Pkg. I think it is a great riding vehicle, I have a 2wd (we don't need 4wd in Fla.) I was wondering if any one has experienced a problem with a slight shudder or vibration when you are accelerating from a stop. That is the only time I feel it. The vehicle only has about 500 miles on it and it seems to be getting a little worse. Looking for some input
  • PlacemanPlaceman Member Posts: 44

    My vibration comes between 65-70mph. I'm not sure exaclty what it's caused by. I seems to be a harmonic resonation by the engine, but I supposed it could be the tires (balance). Although, if it was the tires, then I should feel the same vibration at about 35mph. Don't get me wrong, the vibration is not strong, but It's enough to know it's there.
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    Can you tell me when, where (pothole, turns and even on flat surface) and how much vibration that you feel? And on what part of the car? I think I do feel vibration when I test drove the LX 4WD. I was just driving at 30 to 40 mph on the some city and country roads. When I hit a small pothole or uneven road surface, I feel vibration or bumps. It was not strong enough. I felt the same way as I drive my sister-in-law '00 Odyssey. The four-wheel independent suspension and front & rear stabilizer bar are great for this car. Maybe I will test drive again on highways. BTW, which type of 4WD (part-time with 2H, 4L & 4H or full-time with TOD) you recommend for the Sorento? I guess full-time is the only choice with luxury package.
  • PlacemanPlaceman Member Posts: 44
    I have the EX Luxury with TOD AWD. The vibration can be felt in the steering wheel and on the floorboard. It is not abnoxious, but I can feel it. It is a very high frequency vibration which makes me think it is engine related (possibly a balance or motor mount issue). I'm going to take it on a road trip this weekend so I'll be able to get a better feel of it. At that point I will determine whether or not I want to take it into the dealership.
  • fmunoz1069fmunoz1069 Member Posts: 35
    About this vibration, I feel it when I begin to accelerate, about 850rpm-1100rpm or so. I feel it on the seat bottom, not the wheel. Once I get up to speed I have no problems.It happens on turns, straight aways, It does not feel like it is coming from the engine. It feels more like a rear end vibration.
    I do recommend the Sorento. It has great value and I feel confident that Kia has done their homework and did a fine job. I considered a RX300, too pricey same with the MDX. This gave me the comfort, performance and appearance I look for. You can't beat the warranty, which is another reason why I went for it, Look at how far Hyundai has come. They now build pretty good cars. Good luck.
  • schip1schip1 Member Posts: 97
    fmunoz1069, we have a 4x2 EX, almost just like yours, except ours also has the auto load leveling option. I haven't experienced anything like you described, so you certainly should keep your eyes on this possible defect (or annoyance) and get it taken care of before the 10 year warranty runs out :)

    We've had ours for a little more than 3 weeks and it's only been driven to and from work, 70 miles round trip, mostly California freeways. It has approx 1,500 miles on it now and I haven't felt any sort of vibrations or shudders or anything. About the only thing I've noticed is that sometimes (usually when leaving work and temp is maybe 50 degrees), it shifts into reverse with a noticeable 'thump'. But that thumping sound is all relative. There have been times when it shifts into gear so quietly and smoothly, I need to look at the dash indicators to make sure it is actually in gear!

    I couldn't agree with you more that the Sorento is a GREAT value. When I was adding it to our insurance policy and our agent read the Bill of Sale, he couldn't believe the entire package was less than $25,000 (before tax and license).

    Within this past month, two co-workers bought a new Camry and a new Passat. I know I'm bias, but I gotta say, as nice as the other two cars are, the Sorento makes a more dramatic first impression....both exterior and interior. The Sorento may have less horsepower, but IMHO, its fit and finish is SUPERIOR to either of the other two cars! The Sorento also has more standard features.'s 'good luck' to our cars and hope your vibration problem doesn't get worse and if it does, it'll get fixed right the first time.
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    I going to test drive one this weekend. I hope this is not a widespread problem or not even a problem. I doubt this came from the engine. The Sedona also has the DOHC 3.5 V6 engine.
  • mwitt58714mwitt58714 Member Posts: 44
  • willie340willie340 Member Posts: 59
    Kia-Lada get it..and a Lexus!!!i suggest to lay down, take a couple of tylenols and let that thought go away.
  • anonymous02anonymous02 Member Posts: 1,538
    Have you tried rotating the tires?

    If so, did that help?

    Otherwise, have you asked the dealership to rebalance the tires? Check alignment?

    Let us know how you make out on this.
  • fmunoz1069fmunoz1069 Member Posts: 35
    I have had the tires rotated and re balanced. That is not the problem, I mean that was a different vibration (50-60 mph.), and by doing that I don't have that vibration any more. I have driven other Sorento's and they do the same thing. It only occurs at acceleration, like when the light turns green and you don't stomp on the gas pedal. So since other vehicles do it I guess it is a regular characteristic of the vehicle. I have a 2wd so I am not sure if 4wd's do this as well. I'll keep on reading to see if anyone has heard of this and I wish we can find a Kia tech that can join in on some of this stuff..
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    Maybe those who has the experience can contact the Kia Consumer Affairs for comments or suggestions. Maybe they will look at the issue more seriously after receiving many calls or emails. It is no hurt to make a phone call or drop an email. After all, this is your car. By the way, I contact them about the Kia warranty when vehicles travel outside U.S. by email. They gave me the response within hours. It was great. I couldn't find this for Toyota or Honda. They only gave you the toll free number to call.
  • anonymous02anonymous02 Member Posts: 1,538
    Don't forget this is a truck, with "trucky" tires.

    It WILL NOT ride like your car, and don't expect it to.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I bet this needs a Hunter 9000 balancing. '98 Rodeos had a similar problem and the ONLY fix was to have the rims and tires super super balanced @ a Hunter 9000 machine.

  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    Weather a car or truck, have your local Kia dealer take a look.
  • schip1schip1 Member Posts: 97
    fmunoz1069, I believe you when you said you've "driven other Sorento's and they do the same thing". However, I can tell you that there are some Sorentos which do NOT vibrate. As reported in post #35, ours is fine. In the main "Sorento" forum, others must have read about the vibration problem you've reported here, because some new owners have specifically said theirs do NOT vibrate.

    I do hope you're able to get in touch with a KIA technical expert and get this situation resolve. I can imagine how frustrating this must be a proud new owner of a nice car, only to be burdened with this problem. Good luck and keep us informed.
  • PlacemanPlaceman Member Posts: 44
    I have noticed that the vibration varies with the type of road surface I'm driving on. New asphalt seems to vibrate the most, concrete doesn't vibrate at all. I think it has to do with the tires, maybe the tread. I have the Michelin Cross Terrains. I'll double check the pressure too. That could be the culprit also.
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    What about tire pressure?
  • jmejiasjmejias Member Posts: 8
    Guys! This is a complete new vehicle. Give to the Sorento a chance. My Sorento at 80mph was vibrating. I got the wheels balanced. Now, is OK. On the EX model the tires are to big for the vehicle. I saw the LX and they are smaller. Maybe the LX owners do not have problems with vibrations. When from stop to acceleration I feel a vibration coming from the rear. I think is normal. There is another noise coming from the front end when turning the engine on and moving forward or in reverse every time, and I was told that is normal. I was told that is the steering system charging. I got the problem that when I am stopping my vehicle feels like my disc rotors are already glazed and need to be resurface. It just has 2500 miles. About the vibration on the front end, the only thing I can do is to install a steering damper. It will help. I am going to complain about the tires and see if the dealership will replace them for a size smaller. I don't know, anyway, good luck to all.
  • schip1schip1 Member Posts: 97
    I'm not sure if I'm just lucky or totally oblivious to vibrations and strange sounds. Ours is an 4x2 EX with 1,800 miles on it and thus far, no problems at vibrations, no problems with brakes, no unusual noises. Having said this, I sure hope the tranny doesn't fall off when I back out of the garage tomorrow morning!

    Talking about the big tires on the EX....just so as to familiarize myself in a non-emergency situation, I took out the spare tire this weekend. Lowering and raising it was easy enough. The hard part was dragging it out from under the car, after it had been lowered and was sitting flat on the floor!
  • lok888lok888 BostonMember Posts: 1,788
    Too thing is to contact your dealer and/or contact the Consumer Affairs (link from the Kia site). Make some noise! I am sure they will listen and investigate the complaints and get it fix. I am sure they don't want any bad things happen on their new SUV.
  • anonymous02anonymous02 Member Posts: 1,538
    What size are they?

    They aren't 31X10.5 or similar, are they? I kind of doubt it (though if I bought one, that's what I'd likely put on there).
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