really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,651 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.

2012 Kia Forte engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Kia Forte Owner Comments

problem #7

Jun 022016


  • 62,000 miles


I bought a 2012 Kia Forte ex hatchback with 60,000 miles about a month ago. Two instances have occurred which I believe might be related. First time I was traveling @ 65mph around a 50mph curve on cruise control. I hit a bump, and cruise control shut off automatically. No big deal, I just put my foot on the gas and reset the cc after the curve. However, yesterday, I was nearing the beginning of a merge ramp to get on the interstate. I was turning and accelerating when I hit a pothole and the engine shut off. Instead of merging onto the interstate, I coasted @ 5-10 mph until I could reach the side of the road. I put the car in park, turned the key off and then immediately started the car back up. There were no warning lights and the car ran like a top. This is a serious safety problem and I am lucky I didn┐T get rear-ended (this was an on/off ramp, so cars were piling up behind me and honking due to my slow speed). I had the car checked by a mechanic before I bought it and he said that although there was no cel, there was a code in the computer for the ┐yaw┐ sensor (he told me if the car runs ok, he wouldn┐T worry about replacing it). Knowing this, I have turned off the electronic stability control in hopes that the issue is related and will not happen again if the ESC is off. Car is in good shape and was well taken care of by previous owner.

- West Columbia, SC, USA

problem #6

Apr 012014


  • 50,000 miles
My 2012 Kia Forte has a problem with the engine suddenly racing, and acting like it is out of gear. I have taken it to my mechanic and they keep telling me that they can't find the problem. I also get problems with the brake lights: I get told that they're out when they aren't. I do regular maintenance and oil changes on my vehicle. It started in April, 2014, at first occasionally, but now it is almost constant. If the problem is not found and fixed, I am in danger of losing my transmission and worse....updated 12/10/15

- Indianapolis, , IN, USA

problem #5

Dec 092013


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Forte. During cold weather conditions, the vehicle failed to exceed 2000 rpms. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 15,000. The VIN was not available.

- North Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #4

Sep 242014


  • 25,000 miles


September 24th at 6:30 a.M. traveling at 65mph on 91 freeway. Start to slow and then stop for traffic. Traffic starts to speed up and my vehicle goes into "limp mode?. car rev meter goes up to about 5, but car will not go faster than approx. 35 mph. Then within 20 seconds car surges forward and regains speed and rev counter drops to normal. Take car to Kia dealer its plugged into the computer. At 3pm he says there are no error codes. He and I take it for a test drive for approx. 20 miles and it does not replicate the problem. I advise him that it has done this twice before but only for a few seconds. October 1 at 6:40A.M I am traveling to work on the 91 freeway. I am doing 65 mph and start slowing down to approx. 20 mph as I pass the 55 interchange. Again traffic speeds up rapidly. I am in the middle lane. I accelerate and it goes into ?limp mode". the car will not go faster than approx. 35/40 miles per hour. The ESC light comes on. Cars are going past me as I am in a middle lane and I nearly get rear ended as a car behind me does not realize my speed. I pull into the slow lane just in case I need to pull to the hard shoulder. I continue slowly 5 miles to get off the freeway by work. I notice a burning smell. I get out of my vehicle and smell a very strong smell of burning that smells all over but appears to be very much stronger on the rear drivers side area. I turn the engine off. When I turn the engine back on there is no warning indicator on.

- Yorba Linda, CA, USA

problem #3

Mar 082012

Forte 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Driving in a shopping center parking lot. Made a right turn into an alley. Vehicle then rapidly accelerated through the alley and then smashed into a tree. Can't remember if brakes were applied or not. It all happened very quickly. Kia Forte was totaled and driver was hospitalized with extensive injuries (foot broken, hand broken, vertebrae damage) hospitalized approx. 5 days and nursing home approx. 10 days. Last visit to surgeon for smashed foot (to remove metal pins) was in April of 2013. Accident report on file with cape coral police (Agency case number [xxx]) information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- North Ft. Myers, OH, USA

problem #2

Jan 022014


  • 17,560 miles
300 miles after complaining to dealer of slipping floor mat stopping braking and random high acceleration-a real accident occurred against a barrier in a parking garage. Mats flip far more that Audi and Toyota recalls. Entire car damaged by previous acceleration(random) or brakes not working due to mats. The parking garage incident occurred at 15 mph and square head on to cement barrier severely damaging bumper, hood, fenders, grill, headlights and interior engine. I injured both arms and skin abrasions on chest-due to airbag not deploying-similar to recent recalls. Dealer response was that floor mats always give away from wear and tear at 17K miles without warning-causing me near fatal other accidents.

- Kirkwood, MO, USA

problem #1

Jul 042013

Forte 4-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
I was backing out of a driveway approx. 3 feet when the car lurched backwards at full RPM while the brakes were applied and the gas pedal went all the way to the floorboard. The only way I could get the car to stop was to turn off the ignition. It was like the brakes weren't working and the throttle was stuck. This "problem" caused damage to a support beam of a carport causing it to fail and fall on a car parked underneath. I know there are similar complaints such as this on this exact car, why hasn't there been any investigations and/or recalls on this car? this is a very unsafe car. By the way, this was a rental car and no one wants to take responsibility.

- Lady Lake, FL, USA

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