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.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,800 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 Sportage drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Kia Sportage Owner Comments

problem #6

Feb 152016


  • 110,000 miles


Kia is ripping people off to the tune of $1,700 to $1,800 for their faulty ABS brake controllers plus labor. It is a widely know problem that brake fluid seeps out of the back of this unit onto the circuit board and causes a variety of safety and mechanical issues. A year and a half ago I experienced a problem with the ESC traction light coming on, followed by a flashing 4X4 light and then finally a check engine light. The worst part about this is that it then slams itself into first gear going down the road! yes, you heard that correctly. This can happen very quickly. Kia, you have a safety issue! I replaced the unit with a used one for $350 plus installation and now it has the same problem a year and a half later. There were two possible controller units for the 2008 Sportage and they look identical but are not interchangeable. The other one I can purchase new, direct from South Korea as an oem part in a Kia/Hyundai box for around $500. But not this one, they know they have a serious safety problem as this can unexpectedly pull you down to a crawl in heavy traffic. They also have kept the price extremely high on this unit to maximize profits on a safety item they refuse to fix. I'm looking for another used unit and then I'll dump this lemon.

- Worthington, MN, USA

problem #5

Feb 102016


  • 88,000 miles
I was driving the vehicle when my ESC light, brake light and check engine light came on. I just got the car inspected and it passed fine. I took it to the shop where they said an oil sensor was bad. They replaced that. The very next day the lights went on again and the car was having trouble shifting into gears. It was jumping and accelerating intermittently. I took the car back to the shop and they said I had 4 transmission codes. They said the ABS system needed to also be replaced which the part alone was over $2000. This car only had 88,000 miles. I drove the car to mccafferty Ford where they advised me to not fix vehicle the cost was far more than what I would get as a trade. It needed a new ABS box which alone was over 2000 without labor. It needed a timing chain 600 and some maintance stuff 700. This car never needed anyting but tires, brakes, oil changes etc. I find it hard to believe at 88, 000 all this could go wrong unless there was a defect in the ABS or transmission. After looking this up I see that this is a very serious issue and concern. I traded in vehicle and was only give 500 as a trade.

- Levittown, PA, USA

problem #4

Aug 012013


  • 10,000 miles
I am an owner of a Kia 2008 Sportage with approximately 12,000 miles. About 9 months ago, the engine and brake lights went on. It was evident that car had a transmission problem, you can hear the engine knocking when you would go park to drive or reverse to drive etc... the dealership said I needed a new transmission and all new brakes. They couldn't explain why the transmission was faulty on a car that had at the time less than 11,000 miles. The car was at the dealer for a month because they learned that the computer system needed repairing as well which wasn't covered under my plan they needed corporate to provide an approval to repair. It eventually got repaired. 3 weeks ago at 12K miles, my drivers panel turned into a christmas tree. The ESC on/off, ABS, brakes, engine and TPMS lights are all on. I also feel the engine beginning to knock again. The dealer said I need a new ABS pump and module and that it would cost me $2700 to fix. I decided not to repair because I believe their some type of electrical design flaw causing these issue. I have read that ABS and transmission problems are very common for kai Sportage owners - I have read that engine fires have been reported in these cars. I feel unsafe for myself and my family and I am looking for advice on how best to handle this problem. Kia refuses to take ownership of these problems.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #3

Mar 172011

Sportage 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,901 miles


The automatic transmission shifts very sharp and rough from 2nd to 3rd gear, approximately at 25 mph. On 17 Mar 11, the dealer re-programmed a computer chip for the transmission under their service bulletin tsb eng 075--ECM upgrade. The transmission was fine for about 8 months, but then same problem started. The car was brought in again at the beginning of March 2012, and I was told that the transmission was blown, and a new one provided under warranty. I was told to stand by and they will call when it is ready. I called once a week for a month to inquire, as I received no calls, being told that the approval process was underway. Today, 06 Apr 12, I was told that the chip needed to be re-programmed again. It didn't work before, why would it work now? I just want my car properly fixed, and the dealer does not appear to be willing to do it.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #2

Sep 242010


  • miles
I purchased a Kia Sportage 2008 Aug of 2010 about 1 month after purchasing I noticed the ESC light that came on, when this light comes on the engine forces itself to do more work, the car won't go more then 40mph, I took the car to the dealer they said it was fixed, 2 months later it happened again, here we are 1yr later and it's still happening. The dealer I take it to tells me "this always happens this type of car" and know the battery light is coming on at the same time the ecs light is coming on. I have an appt. To go to the dealer back on Monday for the same problem and I'm still getting no answers.

- Morristown, NJ, USA

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problem #1

May 142010


  • 24,900 miles
Accelerated after a stop sign and the transmission felt like it as struggling to switch gears. Like it was slipping.

- Clinton, WI, USA

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