pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
107,150 miles
Total Complaints:
13 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (9 reports)
  2. well, they had to replace the whole engine!! (4 reports)
2010 Kia Forte engine problems

engine problem

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2010 Kia Forte Owner Comments

problem #13

Oct 272020

Forte EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 194,000 miles


Engine has been knocking since I got it. It can't keep a steady RPM and it almost feels like the transmission wants to slip when going over 50 miles an hour.

Called Kia & they’re having it diagnosed for $100 but basically said no promises, and that Kia would cover the cost if the engine does need to be replaced because there is no “Active Recall”. I explained the class action lawsuit against Kia for this same issue & also many articles about this issue. I seen some people say they’ve had theirs replaced at no cost & some say Kia said no it’s a wait & see thing.

If you have this issue, check out the class action lawsuit - you can get your named added as I did (even if they have fixed it) if you meet the requirements.

- Tiffany G., Salisbury, US

problem #12

Mar 012019

Forte LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

Don't buy Kia Forte. It just constantly have problems. And I doubt it can last over 200,000.

- Ice C., Calgary, AB, Canada

problem #11

Sep 202019

Forte SX 2.4L I4

  • Manual transmission
  • 180,000 miles

I purchased my 2010 Kia Forte SX sedan in May of 2019. I will give it pointers for having around 180k on the body, not much rust if any underneath and everything else still works great. But there's one MAJOR issue... The car is on it's THIRD engine!

When I bought it, it was knocking pretty badly. Car was paid off at that point, so I said hell with it, can't hurt to try and find another engine. Well wow. First of all, I don't know how many of you have searched for a used 2.4L Theta Forte engine...they don't come cheap. Most engines aren't cheap. These, for what they are, are WAY too expensive. Found one, in it went--to the tune of $3000 overall between the cost of the engine to me, having to replace the flywheel (oh well, it happens), and labor. Things were immediately different, after I had the dealership I work at replace the engine the new-to-me replacement began knocking as well. We think bad wrist pin. Turns out the issue with the original engine was starved bearings. I maintain my cars or pay to have them maintained when I can't do the work in question. They are not neglected, nor beat-on. Can't drive a Kia like you can an old Toyota or Honda that's for sure...

I bought the car willingly and knowingly needing an engine the first time, and should have known better. I also have had two other engines put in this car (not my work, my employer's certified techs did the swaps)... also should have known better. Overall, this car has been a great lesson what not to do.

It is now, needless to say, on its third Theta engine. This one makes some valve train noise when cold, but once it warms up and the tolerances get in check, it quiets up. It also only has around 70k, which the second replacement engine had around 120k.

I don't think these were designed to stand the test of time. I mean, they were... but not the engines. I wish Kia would recognize that they did something wrong, and recall the USDM 2009/10-2013 models, both the Koup and Sedan SX models specifically. But they likely won't, nor ever will. Why? Well, they're Kia. They didn't become "successful" because they gave free cars or labor cost away.

I also own a 2008 Elantra GLS. Great engine. That car has almost 200k on it, never flinching, never complaining. Overall a great little ride, despite the ABS module woes that Hyundai/Kia seems to be experiencing, I still wish Kia would've built the Theta II 2.4L way better. Wishful thinking.

- Noah D., Sharon, VT, US

problem #10

Apr 012015

Forte EX 2

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


Started noticing a ticking noise when accelerating back when my 2010 Forte only had 70,000 miles on it. Took it to the dealership and was told to add a motor oil additive to oil changes. The ticking has gotten worse, but it is now past warranty so they won't replace the engine. My mom also has a 2010 Kia forte with the same issue, but because hers was under warranty, they are replacing her engine for free! Such a scam. I will never buy another Kia again.

- Amanda L., Harrisburg, PA, US

problem #9

Nov 012018

Forte EX 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I bought the Kia Forte new in April of 2010. Has been a trouble free car until I noticed the loud ticking, louder at cold start up, from the engine. I have changed the oil more often than is recommended using 5w20 synthetic oil and top of the line filters. I have read other reports of owners with a similar complaint. One mechanic who had the same complaint actually took the engine out and pulled the head discovering extreme ware in the middle two pistons, a rocking back and forth in the bore! That makes sense as the ticking is louder when cold, but as the pistons get hot and expand the noise is reduced.

I feel like I can't trade it in with this problem, I won't get much at all, but I'm afraid down the road it will cost me a fortune if I keep it, which is more than it's worth anyway. At least it is paid off.

- Jim J., Phoenix, AZ, US

problem #8

Dec 282018

Forte V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Got the car used at 107K from a friends' Mom. I took over the payments May 2018 and in December 2018 At 120,000 miles a loud knocking noise began coming from the engine at engine start. It persists and sounds almost like an electric sewing machine - taka taka taka taka. The sound gets louder when I accelerate and decreases when I don't press the gas pedal. The noise decreases slightly when the engine is fully warmed up but it is still audible. I took it to a mechanic who specializes in engines, his diagnosis was "rod bearings need replacement" I have started searching for this issue online and became aware of safety recall sc147. Unfortunately this recall doesn't include the kia Forte model. I saw in my research online that many other Forte owners were having similar issues. In addition, my car's engine "theta ii" 2. 0 liter appears to be the same engine that is included among the recalled models included in sc147. I am wondering why the kia Forte is not included as it seems to be suffering from the same issue. Is this a question of accountability, or lack thereof on kia/Hyundai's side

- Tosha B., Stone Mountain, GA, US

problem #7

Feb 132019

Forte EX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,000 miles


The car is good but the engine is a nightmare. It starting making load noises from the engine and no the oil light came on. Losing power. Just park it. If someone can help with this matter, please do. Thanks.

- Terry H., Powder Springs, GA, US

problem #6

Oct 312018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 164,242 miles

While driving the car it started knocking loudly and stopped at a signal light. I manage to start it back up and parked it. It was towed to the shop. They will have to break the motor down they said, to see if my the extended warranty will cover the problem. No answer yet.

- Pamela H., Waco, Tx., US

problem #5

Feb 012013

Forte EX 2

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles

I bought my 2010 Kia Forte new and after about a year the engine got loud, but honestly I thought maybe normal. After a couple of years engine got louder and knocking and again I thought it maybe normal. I did have my cars regular maintenance done (oil change) and no mechanic ever mention of any issues and/or concerns with the engine. After a few years engine seem to get louder and I complained but was told several times to fix the noise would be "very expensive for me and not worth fixing". I was annoyed and embarrassed driving my Kia. Now reading that this is a common issue with the Kia Forte, I believe they should own up and fix this issue.

- Maureen H., Mississauga, ON, Canada

problem #4

Jan 192017

Forte EX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,137 miles

Engine knocking bad and warranty just had expired. I had changed the timing because I thought noise was coming from timing chain. It looked loose but after all that it's still ticking bad and dealer would not cover the engine.


problem #3

Feb 012017

Forte LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,419 miles


I complained about an engine noise while my car was under warranty. Now I bring it to the dealer and they say I require a new engine. I have owned this car since new and absolutely babied it. All miles were long trips--highway miles, as I live in the country. Now, no warranty and no help. Even as I find multiple problems with theta II engines, this car seems to fall through the loopholes. I thought since I maintained it, I would give it to my teenage son...all I ended up doing was unloading a piece of crap on him. This as I bought a 2nd brand new Kia ( an Optima). I am feeling very burned at this point. There won't be a third Kia in this household unless Kia makes good and helps me out. The car is in excellent shape...way too good to send to the boneyard...but I can't even put a used motor in it, because the engines were flawed....I found a service bulletin from 2015 that alerted them to the problem...yet nothing was done and now I am S.O.L.

- farmergirly, Guelph, ON, Canada

problem #2

Mar 012017

Forte 2.0L Theta Ii

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,187 miles

Purchased vehicle used with 45,935 kms. Had to replace the transmission ( under extended warranty) around 110000kms. Now we are told the engine has to be replaced. Due diligence was done and regular maintenance was done (oil changes).

- Brian C., Lower Sackville, NS, Canada

problem #1

Sep 062010

Forte EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

I had the car in the shop many times. Finally they realised the car was burning more oil than needed. I am not sure they ever knew how to fix, so they gave me a new engine

- Courtney M., O Fallon, MO, US

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