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Kia Sorento Maintenance and Repair



  • Just a FYI. I ran a few other models of SUV's (2003) through Edmunds TSB, recall list to for a comparision of vehicles.

    The 2003 Sorento LX 4wd had no TSB's, or recalls.

    Honda Pilot LX AWD - 1 recall, 8 TSB
    Toyota Highlander AWD 6cyl - 1 recall
    Jeep Liberty 4wd 3.7L - 1 recall
    Ford Escape XLT Sport 4WD 3.0L - 5 TSB
    Acura MDX AWD 3.5L - 2 TSB
    BMW X5 4.4i AWD 4.4L - 1 recall
    Chevrolet TrailBlazer LT 4WD 4.2L - 5 recall, 3 TSB
    Infiniti QX4 4WD 3.5L - 1 TSB
    Nissan Xterra XE 4WD 3.3L - 1 recall
    Suzuki XL-7 Limited 4WD 2.7L - 1 recall
    Honda CR-V LX AWD 2.4L - 1 recall
    Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 AWD 3.7L - 1 recall
    Saturn VUE AWD 2.2L - 8 TSB
    Isuzu Axiom XS 4WD 3.5L - 1 recall

    What does all this mean? Maybe the KIA is the Korean P.O.C. some make it out to be.......
  • I don't think that the Edmunds page is very accurate for TSB's as the Sorento actually has 8 TSB's according to the NHTSA.

    1 - rattling sound in jack compartment rough roads
    4 - other (these are just training bulletins for dealers)
    1 - replacement of drivers side seatbelt wire harness
    1 - electric power steering logic change to improve feel
    1 - apply hood anti corrosion

    I would consider them all very minor and only the last one applied to my Sorento, purchased in Feb.

    Just for a quick comparison between Edmunds and the real organization that does the TSB's, I looked up the Vue. That model actually has 25+ TSB's. The Pilot, has one recall and 30+ TSB's.

    Check out
  • Well, I stand corrected. Thanks for the info. I did notice, however, that there are no TSB's for the 2004 KIA's at this time.

    BTW, I checked my trade in car, a 2002 Ford Focus, which I felt was a pretty decent vehicle -79 TSB's!.
  • its been a while since I have checked the forum, When I first got my Sorento (03, ex, tod)about 9 months ago I made a post about a thump when I begin to accelerate. I am glad to see that I am not the only one. Still absolutely love my sorento -- the only problem I have had is the center console has always been diffuclt to open (the top magnetic part) and the other day the magnet pulled right up through the plastic!! I am hoping that the dealer will replace this.
  • Well after 33 years of driving and 7 cars this is
    my first car where the dome light doesn't come on when I open the doors. Absolutely annoying :-(
    but I can live with it and hate it for the next 5 years or so !

    The rest of the whole SUV is running real good after one month :-)

    I wish my dealer can be smart enough to rewire the silly thing to turn "on" when the door opens
    In the winter it gets dark around 4PM up here and that dome light could be useful rather than useless
  • To jdesjardins:

    You may want to check your dome light for an on/off switch. In my Sorento EX, there is a 3 position switch - to turn the light on, on when the door is open, or off completely.
  • to nutin2it

    Thanks for feedback. I will check if the scrolling intensity switch next to CRUISE does
    anything. That is the only switch I can find or know of. I will read the book again. The book from Kia which contains 0 instructions of the radio ! Pre-Programming the stations turned out to be easy by hold the buttons in about 3-4 seconds but I would have liked a section in the book. I will reread again in case I skipped it but I do not recall the RADIO functions listed in the front index.

    By the way..last knight was a first... fairly cold evening with a bit of snow etc.... I noticed the LX had a hard time clearing the windows.

    This was never a problem in my previous 4 Caravans ...and no the air recirculate was not active.

     The car simply seemed to have a high humidity content which fogged inside the windows and froze.
    This could become a problem at 0 F or -20 F !!!
  • To jdesjardins:

    O.K. on the light issue.

    As for the owner's manuals, my Sorento came with not only the basic owners manaul (about an inch thick), but also separate books for the sound system, warranty and the tires. That's why you couldn't find anything in the basic book - cuz it's in the separate one. You should have received all 4 in a nice little leather-like binder.

    Interesting situation you have with regard to the foggy windows, etc. I don't have an answer for you on that one - and I will likely never have the same situation - as I live in the southern states. Good luck with it.
  • to nutin2it

    No switch found to activate dome light on door openning, this must be an EX option. Us poor LX owners have to stay in the dark when to door opens.

    If this is a hardwired thing then a good mechanic could rewire it to work decently, if is is a softare controlled relay the Kia would have to change a chip containing the smarts to active the dome light when doors open.

    Think anybody at Kia reads this board ????

    (found the radio book in the pouch like u said !!) thanks

  • netcamnetcam Posts: 30
    Do the interior front door lamps light up when you open your doors? My LX has interior lighting (including dome light) automatically on for maybe 20 seconds or so whenever I enter (to start) or exit (after engine shutoff) the vehicle. The ignition key area also lights up after unlocking and opening the drivers door, for getting the key in. The dome light switch is located on the front of the dome light housing. I believe the middle setting will turn it on when a door is opened.
  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    In case any Sorento owner out there has been frustrated about the super magnet from the planet Kryton that is used in the top center console section. I think many of you have been cursing this cover and I know I have to use two hands sometimes to open it because of the magnet. I kind of figured out a way to make it not as strong. I placed a small piece of duct tape to cover the magnet piece on the top cover section and it was still hard to open so I placed another on top of the first and it got better and I placed a third piece and now I can open it with one hand.
  • netcamnetcam Posts: 30
    Thanks for that tip hciaffa, that is a strong magnet on the top console cover.

    Another tip for those with ABS that want to confirm for themselves that the mechanical sound from the front wheels after engine startup and initial forward movement is an ABS system test, is this: Rest your left foot on the brake pedal when starting off, when the sound occurs you will feel the ABS pulsation through the brake pedal. Feels exactly like ABS brakes would if you needed them for a very sudden, sharp stop. So it is definitely NOT a problem, but another nice safety feature from Kia. They just need to write a better owner's manual.

    For those of you who are thinking of buying a Sorento, since the salesperson more than likely starts the vehicle up and moves it before you get behind the wheel for a test drive, if this ABS test feature isn't described or explained, give them a bit of a surprise by turning off the engine and restarting it at some point in your test drive!
  • I have a 2003 EX with 17000 miles on it. The airbag light came on in Jan. 03 then in april, then in november and it stayed off for a week. Now it is back on. Has anyone else had a problem with there airbag system. The drivers a/b was replaced twice and the clock spring replaced once. Kia has no bulletins on this problem and I am frustrated with it already. Anyone think I have a lemon law case here? It will be in the shop tomorrow for the 5th time for the same problem. HELP
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    There are few posts about the airbag sensor that located under the driver's seat. It is a minor fix for a lose connector/cable. Your message didn't incident the airbag sensor. I wonder your dealer didn't look at that. My dealer once replaced the airbag in the steering wheel because the horn wasn't working. I left the dealer and the problem came back. They replaced the horn rely and it works fine ever since. So check with other dealers. Anyway, I think this happens on few Sorentos on early production date, probably prior Oct/Nov '02. There is no recall or TSB on this issue.
  • I can understand your frustration with the airbag sensor. I had mine replaced at around 5000 miles. Its been ok ever since. I recieved a recall notice about 3 weeks later to have the very issue I had just had fixed...the drivers side airbag sensor cable under the seat. Apparently what happened to some Sorentos is that when the electric seat was extended all the way up and raised to the highest seat height, the cable extended so much it became disconnected. From what my tech guy told me, the airbag would still activate in a crash, it would just activate at its full force, not based on occupant weight or position.

    Theres no way in gods green earth that you will have a case for the lemon law on this one. Sounds like you need to go to another Kia service department.
  • thm1thm1 Posts: 3
    Don't complain about having your sorento in the shop 5 times. I have had my sorento in the shop 9 times and it will be 10 times when the next windshield gets in town. Over a month total shop time so far. Kia refuses to give me a loaner each time. It hsan't been a pleasant experience so far.
  • Has anyone had ANY sun roof problems on the '03 or '04 Sorento? Have you taken it through a touchless car wash and then checked the rear part of the sunroof(called drip guard) to see if you noticed water leaking in? If not please try the car wash and make sure you check that area of the sunroof, then email me back to let me know. Just wondering if it's right to be told that a "tech" manual states that sunroofs may leak and its normal? I DONT think anyone would by a vehicle if they knew that that was a issue, but the manual says its NORMAL! Do you? Mines been replaced and still leaks, but so did NEW ones on the lot...go figure. Lookin 4 answers.
  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    Your right I wouldn't buy a vehicle if it had a leaking sunroof even if it was normal. I have an 03 EX and I have taken it through many high power auto washes as well as hand held presure washers at the car wash and we have never spotted any leaking. I think you service department is trying to cover their [non-permissible content removed]. Try taking it to another dealer for repairs.
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    looking4answer - I have no leak on my Sorento. What did you replace? Seal or drain hose? The only issue for the sunroof is rattle when it is half open. My dealer did some adjustment and it is still occur. BTW, what part of MA you are in?
  • Hi everyone! Well I think my Sorento has been fixed. It turns out that the clock spring, which is behind the drivers airbag was acting a little funky. It seems like there are few Sorento's with some faulty clock springs and that is what is causing the light to come on. I really did not to pursue lemon law, because I really like my Sorento. I just love parking this thing a looking at it as I walk away. It rides so nice and is a pleasure to own.

    Also has anyone installed the weatherflectors? I just took mine off, because they rattle if you have the windows open just a little. I like a quiet ride. Is anyone else having that problem with them?
  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    are you refering to the window visors from Kia or from Weathertech. If the Weathertech visors are vibratting you can remove them and use some 3m double sided trim tape to hold them in the channel better. Mine do not vibrate but a fellow worker had the problem and used just a little stip and it worked. You can purchase this tap at some auto parts shops or even at Kmart or Walmart. Its a double sided foam tape to adhere auto trim to the car and they come in assorted widths. He used the 1/4 inch wide tape.
  • did anyone see the IIHS's review of the Sorento...MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT from such a well-equppped SUV
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    fmunoz1069 - I have the window deflectors from WeatherTech. I also noticed a rattle (very little) on the front set because no tape was applied. It is a kind of lose at the end of the visor when touching it, not the other end near the side mirror. When the weather gets warm, I will put some tape on the front set. I put the same WeatherTech visors on my '03 Camry and there is no rattle.

    hicaffa - I do see some Auto Shade vent visors on some SUVs with a similar design as WeatherTech, no outside tape. But the it is a bit thicker and darker.
  • Is this normal ??

     When backing up (front wheels turned about 45 degrees ) in 4wd hi mode, my Sorento comes to a halt after about 8 feet. (I did not dare force the transmission but I was stopped dead )

    I was on dry pavement. I then put the car in 2 wheel mode and could then back away from my parking slot.

    Tried backing out again in 4wd mode and the car stopped again if the front wheels are turned at an angle

    Is this something to do about the wheels locking up because of different rund radiuses.

    Everything alse is perfect on my sorento (except it sucks gas big time) Tried it in deep snow and it handled beautiful!!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    And if you force it, you'll wreck your 4wd unit. 4wd Hi is only to be used on non-pavement surfaces.

  • TO Paisan:

    Thanks for confirming my doubts. !

    This something to think about all the time. My area gets big snow storms so I coud be in 4wd yet some parking lots can be underground (and dry as a bone) or have their snow cleared and melted away in an afternoon's on a sunny day.

    Finding one's self on pavement can happen rapidly
    with the wheels in 4wd mode !!
  • That is exactly why I got the TOD 4wd. I didn't want to have to change between 2 and 4 all the time. Around here there are areas that are dry and then you come upon inches of snow. I have been very impressed by the TOD system.
  • jjwolfjjwolf Posts: 11
    Im also getting that sound when I first begin to accelerate after the car has been parked.
    Though to me it sound like a tiny rub or a grind,
    and then goes away.

    Anyone find out what this was, or what will fix it?

  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    I have an EX 4WD with TOD. I have seen more and more Sorento owners (including me, members at Edmunds and others from some car discussion boards) have the same observation when we are just about to take off after break from high speed.

    Most of us have 4WD with limited slip differential (LSD) and with a good number of LX and EX owners. I mentioned this to my service manager. He told this is normal for 4WD and didn't do any further investigation. Many are guessing the transmission or the LSD.
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