Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,897 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Kia Sorento cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2003 Kia Sorento Owner Comments

problem #11

Dec 222009


  • 45,000 miles


I purchased my 03 Kia Sorento in 2004 and have had many issues since then. I have had to replace lights from the front to the back numerous times. I've been driving down our remote country road at night and had my headlights go out. My coolant tank cracked and left me stranded on another country road in the snow last year. I later found out it was recalled for that particular defect; after I had it replaced. The lighting issue is my biggest concern right now because of where I live (remote country roads, deer at night, etc) I have to have properly functioning headlights at all times. Now, I am having problems concerning the bearings on it. It makes a horrible screeching noise that is now; almost continuous. It doesn't matter the temperature outside, driving conditions, etc. It has become harder to steer and the power steering fluid is fine. I don't feel safe in this vehicle anymore, and I cannot afford to just go out and buy something new. I just ask that if fault lies with Kia; then they should fix it at their expense....not mine! I have invested way too much time, money and patience thus far and feel it's Kia's responsibility to make sure they create a vehicle that functions properly. And when they don't...fix it!!! as for the questions below; was there a fire"...not yet!!! was there property damage?....there probably will be when my bearings go out and the wheels fall off! where there any deaths or injuries"....dear lord, I pray every time I get in my truck that nothing like that ever happens to me or my son....but; with an unreliable vehicle that has constant electrical and mechanical problem; then who knows....

- Attica, IN, USA

problem #10

Oct 022007


  • 67,375 miles
My 2003 Kia Sorento stopped with no warning or indication of a problem at 67,735 miles due to what was later determined to be engine overheating. At first the Kia dealer said it was due to the coolant reservoir cracking and going empty. Since this is not a part of the engine's actual means of cooling, they changed their story to the thermostat failed. Kia said that this portion of the warranty passed at 65,000 miles. Their warranty says 100,000 miles. Cost over $3,600 to repair, similar situation at 80,000 miles for $1,400. Still no warranty coverage. I have furnished complete maintenance records showing maintenance at every interval required by Kia. Looking for some one to join in a class action suit.

- Montgomery, TX, USA

problem #9

Jul 152008


  • 73,000 miles
Overheating, the overflow and filler tank cracking open on the bottom out of sight. Caused me to replace the waterpump and thermostat before being able to find the problem and left myself and family stranded. Took to dealer who found the crack after checking and stated they nationwide they had to replace over a half a million tanks on these vehicles at $ per job not to mention the cost of created problems from the overheat they are talking about multi millions of loss to consumers.

- Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #8

Jul 141977


  • 66,000 miles


Engine coolant leaking. Car parked in garage at 66,000 miles. Won't hold coolant is leaking at heated coil. I have taken this Kia to the dealership and have not received the source of the problem yet. I saw and read the many complaints and similar problem with the Kia Sorento cooling system. That is why I am entering another complaint to help get something done. With every vehicle there will be problems. However, this Sorento seems to have a ton of engine coolant problems. The only recall I have on this 2003 Kia Sorento is a fuel assembly issue. I would love to receive a list of any and all recalls. Hopefully add the engine cooling system to it.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #7

Jul 142008


  • 67,000 miles
While driving the Sorento to his girlfriends house my son noticed that the temperature gage was higher than normal. He wasn't to far from town so he called and I told him to get some 50/50 antifreeze to put in the reservoir. He did this and had no more problems until the next day on his way home. His girl lives about 20 miles from us. About halfway home the vehicle just died. Had the vehicle towed to Kia dealership and was told that the engine needed to be replaced. No warning lights or gauges identified anything wrong. Was also told that engine was driven while excessively hot. Not because a warning light or gauge told us so! if all of this cost to us is due to a small piece of plastic someone needs to take Kia out to the woodshed. "the contact stated that the coolant tank was cracked and all of the coolant leaks out the vehicle. When this occurs, the temperature sensor stops working. While driving 65 mph, the vehicle overheats without the contacts knowledge; therefore, he continues to drive until it fails. The dealer did not want to repair the vehicle because of the engine failure and no recording of prior maintenance. The failure mileage was 67,000.

- Tuttle, OK, USA

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problem #6

Jun 072008


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the coolant tank was cracked and all of the coolant leaks out the vehicle. When this occurs, the temperature sensor stops working. While driving 65 mph, the vehicle overheats without the contact's knowledge; therefore, he continues to drive until it fails. The dealer did not want to repair the vehicle because of the engine failure. The failure mileage was 71,000.

- Brea, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 232007

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles


Same thing engine light comes on I pull over tank cracked, engine ruined, Kia told me they don't care and won't help. Engine failure due to manufacturer defect car had 110 K on it, but they knew about the tank and the engine concerns, Kia should not be allowed to get away with this, $4,000 later I have a car that should never had broken.

- Matamoras, PA, USA

problem #4

Oct 172007

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,787 miles
Engine coolant overflow container is cracked.

- Linesville, PA, USA

problem #3

Jul 102007

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,700 miles
Last Feb. The coolant reservoir cracked, lost all coolant. Towed to dealer. They fixed it and told me that I needed a new belt. I didn't want anything more to happen as I take my 90 year old mom around, they replaced one belt for $120. Never ran right after that, with screeching noises and no more A/C. today, just as I was driving onto the highway-I started losing my steering and I immediately pulled over off the ramp, then it stalled as I was pulling over. I have read about this happening to a lot of people and was just waiting for it to happen. Well it did and thank god I wasn't going 70 on the highway yet. It has been towed to dealer and they said it was the bolt on the drive shaft that broke. Then he said that since I'm only 8000 miles away from 60K, then I should just do the timing belt service now because if I don't and it goes, then my engine will blow. So I guess this is what I have to wait to happen next and I'm sure it will. Thousands of people can't be wrong. Don't buy a Kia!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Upton, MA, USA

problem #2

Jan 142007


  • miles
Coolant tank cracked. Called Kia and they said that it was not covered by warranty but that the part had been re designed. So I guess there was a problem with the tanks. But Kia would not cover the replacement of the defective tank.

- Freeport, ME, USA

problem #1

Oct 312006

Sorento 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Engine and cooling system.

- Vandalia, IL, USA

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