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KIA Rondo Handling, Tires, Suspension



  • I applaud your efforts to make your vehicle as stable as possible in winter. Not such a molehill!
    I have not yet had to deal with ice or snow, only standing water once, but it is very common in this area. I just have not been driving the vehicle a lot. It is my wife's.

    I'm not saying this traction system is worse than none, rather there would be better ways. When traction is lost, without free-wheeling the tires are forced to turn at the rate of the entire drive train until engine RPM drops below the point the torque converter has any engagement and then still you have the mass of all that spinning in the tranny. With an overrun clutch, most of that would be disengaged the moment your power was cut, either manually or electronically. Maybe one day they will incorporate into the computer system an auto speed that turns the wheel at the exact same speed as the vehicle is sliding, even with angle correction for rotation. The tire has to be moving at the exact same rate as the vehicle or else you are spinning.

    You mention electronic brake force distribution, ABS, and stability control. Do you know exactly how they function and are interleaved? Perhaps I got bad info, but it was from a reputable site. To know for sure we would probably have to use a site where all the test codes and troubleshooting diagrams are available. I would really like to know.

    As to handling issues tied to alignment and torque steer, sadly I say we are still dealing with that. Family health issues tied us at the critical time for lemon law. Now we are left at the mercy of the dealer, KIA, & warranty. My wife gets more aggravated as time goes on and she has made a couple of efforts to get them to fix. I suspect I will get dragged into picture again, and when I do I will not be nice.

    I do have a little extra time because it became time to say goodbye to the Aurora. New car with hopes it is great. But it will never measure up to ride, quiet, handling, Bose sound, roominess, power, and other features. Just better mileage.
  • Strange think happeenned last week ro my 08 Rondo. I have 23,000m miles onn car and had a tire with cord showing, 988 miles after dealer rotated and said they were ok. Now they tried to align it and couldnt get it to align. They claim my samplres 4 to 500 Lbs are causing problem and when thay are removed it is i8n alignment. When I purchased car new dealer told me my samples would be no problem.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I would say something is seriously wrong. A properly designed suspension should have each wheel tracking properly no matter how much the spring is compressed. Otherwise, the vehicle would be trying to steer itself improperly and that could result in a nasty surprise if conditions are slippery or otherwise critical. I would not accept their response if you are within weight limits.
    If you can not get any satisfaction from dealer or KIA, then consider BBB, and file a complaint with NHTSA as a safety issue.
  • HOw do you drive this car it is a KIA Rondo 2008 LX - V6.???? We have had a lot of snow and I cant drive this thing it slides from the front at all speeds. Then if i need to go through snow unless I am driving straight through it, with out stopping, if I stop I am screwed I get stuck. My tires are not bad, but they could be better . Does anyone have any idea what I should be doing to be able to drive this thing .I hate this car very much right now and feel it is a death trap.. Thanks for any suggestions.
  • 93949394 VancouverPosts: 74
    we've been having a mild winter here in Vancouver, BC so far, only a little snow and ice 3 weeks ago, during that time the ESC and ABS was working beautifully on my Rondo, since we don't have heavy snow fall here so i can't speak from my experience.

    however, according to the owner's manual, you can push and hold the shiftronic shifter forward to make the transmission start in 2nd gear (to reduce the chance of wheel spinning on slippery road), perhaps you can give that a try.

    2016 eSoul - All Electric - Zero Emission
  • bgwbgw Posts: 116
    I have a 2007 Rondo EX V6. We installed 4 studded winter tires and, I have to say, the Rondo is almost as surefooted in wintry driving (snow or ice) as our former car, a Subaru Legacy AWD (also with winter tires).
    If you are finding your Rondo to be sliding alot, you need to check your tires. Are they all-seasons? They harden below about 7 degrees Celcius and lose traction. The Michelins which came on our Rondo felt slippery too in November, on dry pavement, just before we installed our studded winter tires.
    I am not saying you need to stud your tires, but if you do not have winter tires on, that is most certainly the problem.
  • Thanks for the suggestions I will try them out.It just seems like maybe something else may be wrong with the front end steering , but it also could be the operator(me). But i will try these things .Thanks again!!
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Did they finally put camber and caster adjustments on this vehicle? Otherwise you can not fully align.
  • bgwbgw Posts: 116
    Our 07 EX V6 has never had pulling to the right (or left) problems like e_net_rider has described in the past. I have not known any of my friends' Rondos to have this problem either (one has an 08 EX 4 cyl, another has an identical 07 to ours). I think e_net_rider's statement "you can not fully align" is incorrect. I can't image a manufacturer in this day and age engineering a vehicle (that is marketed worldwide) without camber and caster adjustments. I am not saying he is wrong (he may very well be right) but I find it highly unlikely. I know he has had problems with his Rondo's alignment - I wonder if it is more a matter of poor service at his dealer?
    Anyway,back to Jessicae's situation. I have found that the Rondo's traction control intervenes a little too readily. Of course, it is only trying to counter a right foot that is too heavy for conditions, but sometimes a little spinning is necessary. If you find yourself in a situation when the traction control cuts power and you don't feel it needs to (like when taking off at an intersection and turning), all you have to do is release your foot from the gas pedal for a second - just a second - this resets the traction control and gives you back control of the gas. If you don't release your foot but instead keep your foot on the gas, the traction control will cause you to lose speed, which is something you don't want in an intersection.
    Overall, we are mighty pleased with our Rondo. Almost 2 and a half years now and only once have we needed to visit the dealer for warranty work. My Honda Civic needed 13 visits in the first six months...
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Starting in 2nd gear might be helpful as well.
    The reason I brought up alignment is optimum traction will occur with the proper contact patch. That is the area of rubber on the tire that contacts the road. This is effected by alignment, but also steering geometry especially when cornering. Part of the reason more caution is needed when cornering and this is figured for dry, not slippery surfaces such as ice and snow. But every little bit can help, especially winter tires if needed.
    Definitely hard to imagine that there are not camber or caster adjustments on the 07. That is why I asked if they added them and that maybe it could be retrofittted.
    One possible solution is eccentric bolts for the front, but I don't know that would work for the rear. I know the butcher job they tried to trick me into would not have worked on the rear because it involved wallowing out the strut mount holes on the front. There have been numberous law suits involving those get-by methods of fixing the problem, so I want their engineer approved fix.
    Also would be the issure of unequal length drive shfts which is noted by GM as being part of the reason for torque steer. The first adaption to cure that used in some Mazda was an adapter plate bolted to the trans-engine assembly near the engine front (or right side). The right side shaft then was straight out the tranny, through the adapter with bearing, and the inner joint was then placed in the shaft at a point of equal distance as the left side. It would be easy to do this as a retrofit if KIA chose to.
  • I have the same camber problem on 3 of the 4 tires. The caster is out on 1. The is no camber kit available (that I know of). The tire store says kia does not specify those adjustments. The dealer wants $90 to tell me the camber is out. Of course I already know that. They sub-diagnosed the problem; It needs new struts at $300 a wheel, Also suggested the transporter tied the car to the trailer to tight, I don't think so... This is why there are traction problems when slick, your tires don't make good contact with the road surface,.........
  • 93949394 VancouverPosts: 74
    is this problem not covered by the manufacturer's warranty?

    2016 eSoul - All Electric - Zero Emission
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    edited October 2010
    It should be and also lemon law. Unfortunately my wife had surgery during the peak of the mess and it never got handled.
    They were going to sluff me off to a different shop where they would enlarge the holes in the struts allowing some tilt of the hub. This would only correct camber, but the same procedure will not work on the rear. Also class actions because some slipped from setting, some broke, causing accidents.
    He may want new struts, aftermarket, because some of those came with a slot for adjusting and the surface was knurled so the setting was less likely to slip.
    I had recently heard what shop KIA was using to fix this factory issue. I called and they told me of several options with aftermarket parts. One of them is an eccentric bolt used on the strut, but then again no caster adjustment.
    When I get a bit caught up, I'm demanding they bring the district rep in. I want a factory engineered fix so they can't claim I altered vehicle and deny any warranty work.
    When I find that time I also will file complaint with NHTSA. I'm tired of the way they deal with it and have already asked for that district rep twice. It will be a safety issue.
    I had an 84 Mercury that only had front toe adjustment. Some aftermarket parts came out that allowed changing rear toe via eccentric bushings. NAPA carried a plate that mounted at the strut tower. You had to open up the original strut mounting holes, then you could move the strut in and out for camber, fore and aft for caster. These were added to 86 production vehicles.
    I have big issue with handling on 09 Malibu since new. It has been on rack 4 times, 3 dealer. They did adjust the first time but all say it is in spec now. Although in spec, R/F has lots more caster than L/F. The independant shop told me there is no caster adjustment on vehicle. The fix is to loosen four big bolts with rubber isolators and shift the entire cradle. (cradle is assembly that engine and tranny mount to. also the lower suspension arms connect to it.)
    In looking for anything, maybe something bent, I could see the front two mounts from under hood. The big rubber doughnut isolators looked somewhat distorted and like the RS was farther ahead than LS. With those doughnuts not centered, you will get different response with forces applied from different angles because of the varying amount of rubber around the mounting hole. And the RS will react differently than the LS with the same force applied. Any wonder why it handles like a wreck on anything but glass smooth highway?
    Even though they claim it is aligned, it will drift across a mild crown and flat road, it just goes left.

    I too have heard the excuse that it might have been improperly tied down in transport. I was told by GM that they have special hook points on the vehicle and truck so that can't happen.

    I believe it to be a factory problem. Every Ford product I've had and seen with those factory strut adjustment plates never needed aligning. I could tell by the paint around them. To me that indicates they aligned it properly during assembly. No adjustment, they just let it slide off the line, right or wrong.
  • It doesn't sound like they want to work with me. I would think it would be covered however I was scared off by the $90 to look at this and $90 to look at that. Next week I'll be more mentally prepared to see if push will come to shove. Someone else wrote in about a shop doing the fix. I would like to know more about that.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Is the vehicle new?
    How many miles?
    Dealer should be covering everything including tire problems to at least 10K or more.
    Is lemon law still applicable?
    Badly worn tires can be evidence of other problems such as bad alignment.
    A poorly aligned vehicle can cause handling problems and that is a safety issue. You would need to specify the handling problems that make it unsafe. Having ESC does not make it safe, just safer. You should not be having handling problems that force you to rely on ESC. ESC is not a cure all but an emergency aid if by accident you get in condition activating it. While trying to regain control it will not stop someone from hitting you during that loss of control.
    Insist upon seeing the KIA rep and write letters if you have to. I always got excuses as well.
  • I new here and glanced over the posts. I'm here because my 08 Rondo has had handling/steering problems since new. I have always believed that the problems were caused by the front struts. The dealership gave me the same excuse as another poster car was strapped down too tight by transporter) They have changed the torque specs on the top nut of the struts. They never told me. They just adjusted it (unauthorized repair) Immediately after the adjustment, the car handled the worst it ever did for 3-4 days. Then it improved to the point where it was better to drive (but still not fixed) I have monitored the ride heigth since new and it is constantly changing at all 4 wheels. The amount of change decreased with the retorque, but it still changes. I have current LL suit pending.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I am curious about the new torque spec. Is this an authorized change such as a TSB? When you say top nut, are you referring to the nut at the top of the strut or of the two near where the strut bolts to lower assembly?
    I heard through the grapevine that my dealer was sending a lot of new vehicles to this one particular place for modification because they were un-alignable. I talked to the shop briefly and learned they were special ordering aftermarket parts to do the job. These would be KIA unauthorized modifications. They did not have any parts available to fix the right rear camber issue.

    I just have not had time to deal with this issue as I should. I just spent 13 months dealing with a safety issue on my new Malibu. Goodbye Malibu. Now I'm dealing with a new Lacrosse and it is not without its own laundry list of issues. It even came from the factory with a scratch in the sheet metal that occured before it got paint.
  • Yes it is a revised torque spec. A TSB. They are hiding it and doing the repairs as cars come in for other work.They have doubled the tightening of the top nut. I have just returned home from the dealer where they replaced the sub-frame bushings. It now pulls a bit more than before this repair. To date, they have replaced rear springs, tie rod ends, retorqued struts, 3 algnments, 4 rotations,and now sub frame bushings. Yes, the R rear is out of camber. The car still pulls from side -to-side. It used to pull mostly to left but now it pulls more to the right. The ride heighth variation seems to predict/coincide with the pulling. I have documented these measurements for more than a year. It used to vary over and inch and a half before the retorque. Now it is less but still handles badly. Long sad story. Disgusting treatment by the manufacturer. The dealer is not sin free either.
  • Can I install studded tires on my 08 Rondo LX-V6? Do you have to use smaller tires since the clearance if pretty tight in the front fenders.
  • bgwbgw Posts: 116
    Sorry for such a late reply. My EX has 17" rims and 225/50R17 tires. I use 15 " x 6.5" rims with 205/65R15 studded winter tires, and have been doing so since 2007. Works fine.
  • You can fix your rondo easily. for the Rear; EZ Arm 67410 SPC from; ( 1 arm per side) You may need to elongate the toe adjustment hole. They supply instructions. as for the front; Drivewire 877.221.9770 Camber Bolt # AC45K18036 (1 bolt per side) Do NOT take to KIA dealer. They will rip you off. It's easy if you are mechanical inclined at all. If not: Get a friend to help you or a trusted mechanic. Your Rondo will handle much better when the whole tire makes contact with the road surface,......
  • boydewboydew Posts: 10
    I have a 2009 rondo and had it in for alignment twice in 4-6 months. I have told them several times after that the car seems to pull to the right at times but not all the time. Now my tires are worn out, actually worn in the center of the tire. Tires are Michilen 225/50r/17 which are rated for 80,000 km. I was told this at about 54,000 and all km are highway miles. All good roads. I have had lots of cars over the years maybe 20-25 and have never seen new tires wearing out before at least 10,000 or less ratings on them. I know that the service has not been that great at the dealership but you would think that they would have checked the tires each time I brought the car in for maintenance checks and told me about them. I guess when it takes two hours to do an oil change I should have checked my reports each time.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Tires worn out at middle is usually because of over-inflation. That is also hard on struts and other components.
  • boydewboydew Posts: 10
    I know that over-inflation causes the problem but I only put air in one tire back in september of 2011 and that was only about 3psi. The other tires were fine. What I don`t understand is how can a dealership do a oil change and check your tires and brakes and whatever and not put air in the tires. I guess they don`t check for that. I had the car in twice since last september and the last time was january 2012 and they told me I needed new tires before they could do a wheel aligment(which I asked for) not realizing the tires were gone. When I got home I checked the tires and only one was near the 32psi-one on drivers side and the rest were out by 5-9psi. I guess they don`t check if not asked too.
  • 93949394 VancouverPosts: 74
    mine only has 16" tires, i keep them at 38-39psi and i have no problem after 40k.

    i remember when i took delivery of the car, the dealer set the tires to 40psi even though the label on the door frame recommends 36.

    tire pressure should be checked more often then the times you visit your dealer.

    you said the car pulls to side sometimes, do you mean when you accelerate (hard), mine does the same and i think that's normal for front wheel drive, isn't it. my last mini van was even more noticeable because it was a V6.

    2016 eSoul - All Electric - Zero Emission
  • I'm so glad I bought my little Rondo new in 09. Love almost everything about it. Except the crappy tires. I never got good traction in rain, snow, or ice. I'm not asking for miracles, just to be able to stop when appropriate and to move forward, even uphill in inclement weather. I had a cheap Chevy Cavalier before this with a lot of crappy elements to it, but it had at least adequate traction. I've been nervous every winter with my Rondo, been unable to scale the slight uphill angle of the street in front of my house in winter (had to slide back to the bottom and go a different way), and had huge problems getting up the incline of my driveway in ice and snow, even when its been shoveled. The tires always looked like cheap, wussy little things to me when I bought it new. The dealer seemed to indicate that those were the only tires I could use with a Rondo when I asked, but I have seen other websites indicating otherwise. I have been told now that I'm at 58,000 miles or so, that all 4 tires are completely shot, bald, caput. I'm about to buy 4 tires, and I want better ones, that actually GRIP THE ROAD, and I want to hear any recommendations anyone has for better tires.
  • Go to They have a huge selection. The Continental Contact is a good tire.
  • The door placard may not have the best pressure, but it is a good starting point. As stated earlier, tires worn out in the center indicate overpressure compared to even wear. Likely not the reason for premature wear out, but possibly a contributing factor.
    There are a wide array of suspension designs and cost likely influences some of them. I found the suspension in the 90's Olds Aurora to be unique and exceptional in many ways yet it seems no one else is using that.
    BTW, that vehicle had absolutely zero torque steer. One of the factors contributing to torque steer is totally ignored in the design of this vehicle. Unequal length drive shafts.
    What works best for tire pressure can vary a pound or two by tire model. Face it, this vehicle is a cheap vehicle, but designed with a lot of quality for the buck. A time when "you get what you pay for" qualifies.
    I can not speak for your driving conditions but when replacement was necessary we put Michelin on. The vehicle almost never sees snow. The Michelin are superior to the Hankook in the following ways. Much quieter and smoother ride under any conditions such as road surface changes and variants by seasonal temperature. Stopping, especially wet, seems improved. Not throughly tested since we don't push it to find out how quickly tires will let loose. Something no one should be routinely doing. Maybe like testing brakes when they get wet, when it is safe to do so.
    All tires change with wear and age as to how well they will perform a needed task. Firestone/Bridgestone claims they have overcome the aging issue with Uni-T technology, like using two different types of rubber for the tread. But I've found those tires poor in many other ways from day one or low mileage that the necessary age was never reached.
    We have a small safety net these days, if it is enforced, in that tires are not to be sold as new one year past manufacturer date (it is on the sidewall). Even a tire just sitting in storage ages. The last I checked, Michelin warranty expires after five years which is now the recommended age limit for any tire. You might be able to push the envelope a little if you have special circumstances such as living in Alaska where low temperatures might slow the aging process. But then you'd likely not buy the usual tire anyway.
    What I've found is Michelins perform quite well over their lifespan. Almost as good as new until worn most of the way and have not shown hardening until five or six years (we're not usually or always high mileage drivers) What I have learned is that some tires degrade significantly with as little a 2/32" wear. Savannah GA gets plenty of rain and not uncommon to find pockets of standing water. Hydroplane is a major concern unless you are able to always stay off the road when it rains.
    Most tires have 10/32" rubber new and considered worn out at 2/32". If you frequently encounter less than ideal road it is likely not a good idea to run on that small amount of tread. Water being a primary concern, it is very important that the tires have a method of letting that water out from under the tread. Wide sidewall sipes are very good at that but also allow faster tread wear. Many manufacturers counter that by not having that side sipe the full depth of tread, but only half-way. That is, when that side sipe channel gets fully closed off you have only used 5/32" of rubber. Factoring in the dry road government standard of wornout, 2/32", that allows only 3/32" of wear before wet road performance declines rapidly. Remember that the manufacturer's brags are for new tires. And there is no way of holding them accountable if you have a hydroplane accident with half the tread left. This is a case of you, the owner, becoming responsible for your own safety. This is just one example of things to consider when buying. And it is a very important safety issue relative to automobiles. "If the tires don't work, do brakes really matter?"
    I understand budgetary constraints but going cheap on tires is one of the last things you should do. Insurance might make your vehicle situation OK, but no amount of money can totally undue your body damage (personal injury).

    Even if you drive a refugee from a junk yard, you should have the best tires you can find.
  • I'm a new Rondo owner - (Quebec) but notice that this thread has been quiet for 18 months so perhaps I'm too late to get help ;-( I come from a background of engineering, DIY mechanics, sport cars (raced for 12 years) but then into Japanese cars for quality, comfort and control and now, as a retiree, I need good, safe transportation with some space at a cost I could handle. I owned a KIA Optima (Magentis) for 5 years and it was a terrific car for low noise, comfort and ride, but I now need a hatchback to let me see my small sailboat, when backing up to launch! Having a good past experience with KIA, the Rondo appealed to me physically .... but after just 2 weeks with it, I need advice to help me over my bitter disappointment with the noisy ride and the lousy radio ... (despite buying the EX that claims a radio upgrade over the LX). The radio will not hold ANY station when the signal drops off even a little and auto-switches to the closest one ... 99% with loud music I do not enjoy. The dealer says 'they all do that' ... but I'm not sure. But this thread is for suspension .. so perhaps some kind soul can help me improve that to a tolerable level. I find the ride not supple at all .. but hard, noisy and frankly, quite bone-shaking. I drove a 2014 loaner from the dealer the other day and while it was still hard, it was not noisy. My Rondo only has 37000 km (23K mls) on it and it has passed the KIA inspection as being in excellent shape .. but they really have no way to check bushings unless they are really worn. They just seem too hard and I even suspect the suspension design is poor - but little one can do about that. (Equally small Nissan's and Mazda's ride much better and even the small 4WD Suzuki).
    So I was wondering if anyone knew of alternative springs and shocks? In the past, I'd found that going to softer springs with harder shocks would often solve ride issues. The old Renault R8 Gordini's were like this .. wonderful suspension for both handling and ride - so it CAN be done.
    The other thing I noticed is that the car has fairly high tire pressures specified and the summer tires on this car are perhaps adding to the hard ride issue .. they are Hankook Optimo H418.
    So that's my story and hopefully, someone will still drop by this thread, as Rondo suspension issues are seemingly still around ;-)
    Thanks guys

  • I purchased my Rondo late last spring and immediately noticed how bad the handling was in snow. Yes, the tires were in need of replacement but it almost put me in the ditch twice at low speeds. I live in far northern WI along Lake Superior and have to disagree with all the comments around how crucial snow tires are. I've been driving through winters up here for close to 20 years and have always made it through just fine with all-season tires. Yes, snow tires help a lot but in no way are a necessity. Driving according to conditions goes a long way. That said, sadly we've already received one of our first tastes of snow this year and I can already tell the Rondo (with a new set of well-rated all-seasons) just does not feel sure-footed at all on this stuff. I had to drive 60 miles this morning through a small amount of snow/sleet (1/2 inch maybe) and many times the car just had an uneasy feeling as if it were about to fish-tail. I've never experienced a car that feels like this. Could the camber really be to blame? Has anyone put the money into adding the aftermarket camber adjustments? If so, what were the results? Rondo_2012ex, I have also noticed crummy radio reception...even after replacing the stereo unit which makes me point a finger at the antenna/antenna cable. Maybe a cheap in-line signal amplifier would help? Thanks to anyone out there who may still be monitoring this thread and cares to comment.
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