really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
101,150 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (7 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
  3. cut losses - traded it in (1 reports)
2012 Kia Forte engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Kia Forte Owner Comments

problem #10

Sep 012020

Forte EX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


Bought the car used in 2012 with @ 3k on the odometer from a KIA dealer. I have done all the work on it, and it has not needed much, the usual oil/filters/tires/brakes/spark plugs. I have always done name brand synthetic oil changes on schedule, and it has a great daily drive cycle of about 60-80 miles a day city/rural/highway. It has had a light tapping since about 60k-ish, which has gotten much worse once it was out of warranty. Still runs, power is still consistent, but it sounds like a canal boat at idle. Considering the synthetic oil changes and the drive cycle, it should still be purring.

It appears the KIA knows they have some problems with this series of engines, metal shards in the oil passages/piston coating breakdown, so they should fix the problem and live up to their obligation to their customers.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. Won't be buying a KIA in the future, and will do all that is in my power to dissuade others from buying one, as their warranty does not appear to be worth the value of the paper it is written on.

- Tim S., Schenectady, NY, US

problem #9

Dec 012020

Forte EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

Similar to other complaints on here. Engine has knocking sound and is not reliable any longer as a commuter vehicle as it intermittently will not start. If it rattles on starting it may stop if the car is shut off and then turned on again. Took to Kia dealership and was told it needs a new engine but it is not covered under the current recall for engines that CATCH ON FIRE!!!

It seems like this engine knocking thing is an issue for many people and should be a recall as well. I have owned a 2 Kia Fortes 2009 and 2012, a 2011 Kia Sportage, and a 2013 Kia Soul. They were great cars for the kids as they started driving. However, Kia's refusal to correct this engine problem under warranty has cost them a loyal, returning customer.

- Nicole A., Beaumont, US

problem #8

Apr 232019

Forte EX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

The car engine has knocking noise when I start the car in the morning. It takes about 5 minutes, after that the engine sound back to normal.

- O M., Pittsburgh, PA, US

problem #7

Feb 202019

Forte EX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles


Bought the car new. Solid. Reliable. Very low maintenance. Excellent performance and we got 38MPG on trips from NY to FL @75MPH. No complaints... Until a few weeks ago when I started the engine and it had a loud clanking/knocking noise. It lessend as the engine warmed, but now is so bad I'm certain it's headed for a catastrophic failure. The video I attached was recorded 3-17-19 with the windows up and the engine idling.

I spoke with a KIA mechanic who has seen lots of these failures and he agreed that KIA needs to step up and cover the Forte engines, not just the Optima/Sportage/Sorento failures.

My car is solid. No rust. Great shape for a 7 year old vehicle (we had the premium Ziebart undercoating done before delivery). Now that the warranty is expired, I need to pay more to repair it than the vehicle is worth.

On the Forte forum I follow people have waited 3 months for an engine and shelled out $7K in the end.

This is unacceptable and it's a real shame too. The Forte was a great car and still would be if the engines weren't designed to fail after warranty expiration. Sadly, once the knocking starts, the engine block cannot be rebuilt from what I've been told. Apparently the main bearing races in the block are prone to excessive wear and fail to hold the bearing in place. I was told there is also a problem with the rings causing excessive wear and carbon buildup that damages the cylinder walls.

I don't think I care to ever own an all aluminum engine block vehicle again.

I hate to say it, but it's looking like cutting my losses and walking away from this brand is very likely to happen unless KIA covers the repair and/or instructs the dealer to offer full value trade-in (not likely).

Update from Mar 19, 2019: Dealer has yet to get their hands on the car. I'm not thrilled at the $109/hour diagnostics fee to tell me what everybody already knows.


Update from Mar 20, 2019: Update 3-20-19 Had it to the dealer, confirmed piston skirt issue and the block is bad. Short block has a 2 month backlog, cost is estimated to be in the $6500 range.... for a car with a trade-in value of under $3K. If they know there is an issue that results in an unrebuildable block, Why hasn't there been a recall? There are literally no engines out there to be had without the wait. Dealer told me they currently have a couple dozen vehicles waiting for engines, 3 of them Fortes.

C'mon, really? No recall? Only course of action is either pay twice the value of the car or maybe declare it as a total loss on insurance without an accident due to repair cost exceeding vehicle value? I wonder if that would work....

Update from May 7, 2019: 5-5-2019 - Tired of trying to deal with what has to be the worst customer service ever. It's one thing to be handed excuses, it's entirely another to be told I would hear from "my assigned agent in 2-3 days" and be ignored completely regardless of the number of attempts to initiate a discussion after those 2-3 days. We are cutting our losses and walking away from this brand never to return. I figure losing about $1500 on the trade in value is worth getting rid of the headache. Shame too. Except for the defective and ignored engine block design, it was a solid and reliable car.

- joester, Vestal, US

problem #6

Dec 272018

Forte 2

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I also have same problem most people have. It started making noise around 125000 miles. One day, I stopped at red light and engine was like shaking as hell. I do not know why Kia is not recalling this engine.


problem #5

May 012015

Forte EX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

When I bought my 2012 Kia Forte EX new the salesman told me if I keep up on maintenance I can get 300,000+ miles out of a new Kia. Bullshit! My engine started making noise probably around 60,000 miles. Unfortunately, I was told by more than one person that it's just noisy lifters and not a problem. So, I ignored it. Now at just over 100,000 miles my new mechanic told me to have it checked out. Of course, just out of warranty they tell me I need a new engine and it will cost $6000. The car isn't even worth that much. I'm going to continue driving it. Hopefully Kia does the right thing and expands there recall before I go up in flames.

- Brian M., Kersey, PA, US

problem #4

Jan 082018

Forte EX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,566 miles


I bought my 2012 Kia Forte 5 new in Oct of 2011. I decided to go with them because Consumer Reports ranked the brand highly and I had heard from friends and read on the internet many people were happy. We were so happy with our Kia that in the summer of 2017 I bought a brand new Rondo. I took the Forte 5 from my wife and she got the new car as always.

I inherited the car with 192000km on it and it ran like a champ until 223000km that's when I started noticing a loud ticking noise coming from the engine. I was about 2000km from needing an oil change so I googled the symptoms and found out that there is a TSB from Kia regarding the use of non Kia oil filters causing engine damage. I always service at the dealer until the warranty expires than I service at my mechanic and have never had an issue with my past vehicles.I always service between 5 and 6000km.

Under the advice of a forklift mechanic at work who was a Toyota auto mechanic for 15 years I took the car to the dealership for the knocking noise. I was informed by the dealer that one of the pistons is slapping in the cylinder which is making the ticking sound. I was also informed that the fix was replacing the small block on the engine which would be $6000. I could also drop a used engine, I was quoted $1500 for a used engine plus 10hrs labour at $97 and tax so approximately $2800 and it could be more. It should be noted that the ticking noise and engine failure is common with this engine, just do a google search.

I have owned many new and used cars and all have made it to 350000km very easily, with the exception of 2 cars, I had a 1998 Hyundai Elantra that I bought used from the Hyundai Dealer with 86000km that grenaded at 135000km. I had to pay 10 months of car payments with out a car to show for it and this 2012 Kia Forte 5 which I bought brand spanking new. The common denominator is the are both South Korean cars with Hyundai manufactured engines. I just wished this would have happened before a bought a 2017 Kia this summer as I vow to never buy a Kia/Hyundai product again. I mean I even had a 2006 Ford Focus ZXW wagon I bought brand new that had 406000km when a pick up lost control and side swiped my at 115km/h and we all know Ford stands for Fond On Road Dead and yet that was the best car I ever owned.

I have decided to drive the car until it breaks and then I will by a $5000 car either a Toyota of Ford as those are the brands I have had best luck with. If you are thinking of buying this car don't, 1.7 million engine recalls for the 2.4l engine and 2.0 turbo engine, and why this engine isn't included is beyond me but it should be as there are boat loads of complaints about this engine being faulty as well.

- Stephen L., Hawkesbury, ON, Canada

problem #3

Feb 252018

Forte EX ECO 2.0L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

My car has perfect oil change history. The KIA dealer says the piston skirt coating failed causing piston slap (lies...I don't think the knocking I heard was piston slap...it was bearing knock) If you talk to junkyards around the country our Forte engines are selling like hotcakes because hundreds a week are failing in the USA. There is a lawsuit brewing: http://tjl.quebec/en/class-action/kia-forte-problemes-de-moteur/

This is unacceptable to have engine failure before 200k. I'm uneasy driving this Forte now...

- William H., Flat Rock, MI, US

problem #2

Sep 112017

Forte EX 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,302 miles

Significant noise makes driving uncomfortable and I do not feel secure while driving this car. Known problem from several Kia owner in Quebec (over 1700).

- Lucie R., St-Bruno, QC, Canada

problem #1

Feb 062017

Forte EX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,419 miles

Kia Fortes have the same Theta II engine as the Sonata made at the same engine plant in Alabama. Sonata's have been recalled but not Kia Fortes.

- Karren W., Shelburne, ON, Canada

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