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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,662 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.

2008 Kia Sorento drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Kia Sorento Owner Comments

problem #17

Sep 052016


  • 119,000 miles


Check engine and ESC light came on while driving down the interstate. Truck immediately loses power.

- Poplar Bluff, MO, USA

problem #16

Jun 202016


  • 31,000 miles
Purchased this vehicle from a Kia dealership now out of business in February 2009 as a new vehicle. The odometer reading today is 31000 miles. Despite regular Kia maintainance a few weeks ago we noticed sluggish acceleration and a hum at increased speed from the rear end. We took it to a Kia dealership and was diagnosed as entire rear axle assembly needed to be replaced as well as left rear tire. The service tech said it was unsafe without the repairs and the original Michelin left driver side tire was close to failure. I notice that nhtsaid# 10625749 complaint on this site is nearly identical. Authorized replacement of rear axle at a cost of $2219 and picked up vehicle yesterday and bought new tire from tire store. While car in Kia shop I noticed 10 year 100000 mile warranty covered rear axle so called Kia motors usa and opened a case. Case still under review but was surprised to learn Kia claims 100 K warranty not applicable because their record shows we are not the original owner despite all our purchase documents say it is new and not a used or demonstrator we purchased. Realize that is warranty dispute with Kia but shows how Kia will try all in its power to cover up defects they should know about and not honor their warranty.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #15

Oct 082015


  • 38,000 miles
Every 6 months the engine light and ecs off lights come on and the car loses power intermittently. This is dangerous when it happens on the freeway. I bought the car from carmax in July 2014. By November, it started to have the issue, it progressed at I checked it on the internet and saw a recall and brought it in to city Kia in orlando. The mechanic could not find an issue why the engine light was on and there was no clear code. However, when he replaced the recall lamp switch part it went away until now (Oct 2015). It is clear to me that there is an issue with the electrical system that can cause the loss of power. There are numerous comments from others with the same issue and the same symptoms. I expect carmax and Kia understand there is an issue. I bought the car with 32K miles on it from carmax and it already had 2 previous owners. The average Kia mechanic seems incapable of diagnosing and resolving this issue. They will just change out parts every 6 months and hopefully reset the electronics somehow. I am a licensed mechanical engineer and safety engineer working in the ride industry for 30 years. I believe this is a safety issue and I would like Kia to either fix it or take my car back or carmax to take the car back. The loss of power can occur when you start or when you are driving. The engine light and ecs light come on and always accompany this issue. Typical posts on internet Jun 30, 2014 - cheektowaga, NY - power train TL* the contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle decelerated. The contact depressed the accelerator pedal and the vehicle slowly decelerated to 20 mph. The service engine and ESC sensors illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000.

- Celebration, FL, USA

problem #14

Sep 132014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles


I have had nothing but problems with my 2008 Kia, first it was the front rotors replaced three times within 3 mos. After multiple diagnoses to figure out the problem. I have had acceleration problems, I just put $800 in new rotors and tires and fuel/air induction services. Then the other day driving 45 mph the vehicle started to shake, making a thud thud thud noise in the front end, felt like I had a flat tire, I pulled over, no flat tires. I started driving again and it happened again, worse than the first time it sounded like a helicopter in my vehicle and it vibrated and while slowly driving it felt like it was gliding. I was afraid the wheels were going to fall off, I took it to the dealer immediately and they called me later with the diagnoses of a carrier bearing coming apart, the carrier bearings are not able to be replaced alone, the whole drive shaft has to be replaced as in this model it is all one piece. To replace the drive shaft it will cost $1100 to replace. I declined the repairs I can not afford that, especially after all the money I have had to invest in this vehicle just to keep it running. I feel Kia should stand behind their products, I will never buy another Kia. Thank you for your time in this matter.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #13

Aug 162014


  • 65,989 miles
The vehicle is making a noise coming from the rear end. I had the dealer where I purchased the Kia Sorento diagnose the problem. They confirmed rear carrier assembly ( rear differential gears) needed to be replaced at a cost of $1942. Upon further research I found out it's a common problem with that year vehicle due to sub-standard supplier parts. Vechicle warranty 5yr/60,000 mlies ;not covered. I believe this is a premature and a manufacturer defect, that makes the vehicle unsafe and a danger on the road. The vehicle has lose power (not stalled) while driving the vehicle(not sure if related to problem.

- Dracut, MA, USA

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problem #12

Jun 212014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 97,500 miles
After removing the gear from reverse to drive, the acceleration will not comply, goes less than 10 mph while pressing on the gas. I stopped and switched back to park. Tried the drive gear again, and it was still not acknowledging the change, it responds like it's in neutral. I parked for a few minutes and turned off the vehicle. After 10 minutes I tried it again and it was fine. This has since happened on four different occasions. After the first incident I had the vehicle checked by a mechanic, told the transmission was fine, no sign of the problem. Problem has occurred in public areas where help may not be available should the gears not correct themselves. The problem use to occur only coming off a slanted parking area like a driveway, but it's started happening while parked on a leveled parking space also.

- Kenner, LA, USA

problem #11

Jun 302014


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle decelerated. The contact depressed the accelerator pedal and the vehicle slowly decelerated to 20 mph. The service engine and ESC sensors illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000.

- Cheektowaga, NY, USA

problem #10

Apr 052010

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
After being parked with vehicle off, turned vehicle on and vehicle would only accelerate at a very slow speed, maybe 5 mph. Tried to switch it to manual shift but it would not register. Turned vehicle off for a few minutes and turned it back on and it was back to normal. This has happened at least three times a month since and has not done it once for the dealer to figure out the problem. They always act like I am insane and don't know what I am talking about. Vehicle is now over 60,000 miles and the dealers could care less about my issue. It is so immensely frustrating.

- Deridder, LA, USA

problem #9

Oct 102010


  • miles
My car will rock back and forth violently while driving. Notice it more at higher speeds, seems to happen when I take my foot off the gas pedal. It's progressively getting worse and I'm terrified of having a wreck. Have tried new tires, tire rotations, alignments etc.. I've been told it may be the differential.

- Seneca, SC, USA

problem #8

Oct 232013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 40,934 miles
The gear shift handle came off while the vehicle was moving in reverse, rendering it almost impossible to put the vehicle in park.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #7

Oct 172013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 22,508 miles


Vehicle made a progressive noise coming from the rear of the van. If sounded like oversized mud tires were on the vehicle. Brought it into the dealership and they said it was the rear differential assembly. The dealership said there were a lot of complaints about the rear differential assembly. This vehicle was bought new by myself and only has 22,508 miles on it.. at the same time the air compressor went out. This was also replaced. These parts should not have failed this early on a new vehicle.

- Metairie, LA, USA

problem #6

Aug 282013

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • 9,786 miles
My check engine light and ESC off light came on. After driving around for the day it went off. Then last night Sept. 2 2013 they both came on again.

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #5

Sep 032012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • miles
My 2008 Kia has had a continuing problem with the ESC off light coming on intermittently. Causing failure to accelerate properly. Dealer ran diagnostics. Replaced an item and said that should take care of it. Within three weeks it started again. The light would come on and I would lose power. The dealer stated it wasn't related but I never lost power until the light would come on. They checked it again and couldn't find any problem. Service tech said he couldn't "recreate" the issue. The light was on when he tested it, but I took it too another licensed mechanic shop and they could tell that there was no acceleration power. Any one who drove the car could tell that it wouldn't accelerate. Now the ESC off light then stays on constantly. No acceleration. Will not allow 4 wheel access to operate. Transmission shifts from 1st to 5th too rapidly not allowing the acceleration. I'm obviously not the only one with this problem that the service tech's can't seem to figure out.

- Holt, MO, USA

problem #4

Aug 222012


  • 27,534 miles
While driving, the check engine and ESC lights illuminated. Vehicle had sudden loss of acceleration and would not go beyond 40mph. Speed decreased below 40mph on hills. Vehicle continued to have problems even after restarting. A check of the odb-II codes gave P2138, P2127 and P2106. All of the codes reflect a malfunction in the accelerator control system. Awaiting repairs by local Kia dealer.

- Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #3

Mar 012012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • miles
I purchased this Kia brand new in 2008. Had to take it to the dealership 3 times within the first 6 months because when I reached between 40 and 50mph the vehicle jerked. Was told each time there is nothing wrong. On the final time the service manager rode with me and told me it was the way I drove. I have now had this vehicle for 3 and half years. It has 67,000 miles. I am still having the jerking issue and now the entire rear differential needs to be replaced. I have researched different forums on different websites and have found that this seems to be an issue for a lot of Kia Sorento owners. The dealership will not honor my warranty because I did not have the service done at authorized Kia service establishment so I had to out of pocket pay $1100 to have my 3 and half year old vehicle fixed. I have owned many new cars and have never had this much of an issue as I have had with a Kia with under 100,000 miles on it.

- Statesville, NC, USA

problem #2

Jan 192011


  • 49,000 miles
On 3 occasions my car has slipped out of park after stopping & removing my key... it is possible that my Kia has allowed me to remove the key when it is not in park, but I think it is the former..

- Matador, TX, USA

problem #1

Jun 062011

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
2008 Kia Sorento ESC light and check engine light came on and vehicle lost power.

- North Syracuse, NY, USA

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