really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
104,335 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.

2003 Kia Sorento engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Jul 062014

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


As my family and I drove down 146 towards baytown, tx from dayton, tx I heard a loud "thud". immediately followed by a loss of A/C, power, and steering. I pulled onto the shoulder immediately and popped the hood. I saw the harmonic balance lying on the splash guard and a belt lying beside it, as well as another belt loss but still hanging on the other pulleys. I got a friend to tow me back to my studio. I began searching online for why the bolt that holds the balance could just break. I found numerous reports of this problem, as well as law suits filled in other states for this very issue.

- Liberty, TX, USA

problem #15

Jun 022014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 155,000 miles
The bolt on the crankshaft pulley as well as the pin broke off causing the motor to stop and overheat dumping all the antifreeze and stopping all belts. My mother could have been injured while driving but it ended up being she was just blocking traffic thankfully and not on the highway. This seems to be a very common issue with hundreds if not thousands complaining about the crankshaft pulley bolt and pin. Kia says they won't do anything as it is out of warranty and I am not the original owner. This may have been fixed once before on the vehicle due to failure and I am very worried this may happen again with worse consequences. My mechanic was able to provide a temporary/permanent fix but we really dodged a bullet and it could have caused immediate catastrophic damage. I'm disappointed with all of the serious complaints that Kia still has not recalled it for 2002-2009 Sorento models.

- Bloomington, MN, USA

problem #14

May 012014


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, the check engine light illuminated before the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact also indicated that while refueling, fuel spilled from the filler neck. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 58,000.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #13

Feb 202014


  • 160,753 miles


In February this beautiful vehicle became a nightmare quick. A horrid sound came from below and I lost steering, several lights on the dashboard lit up and our was very difficult controlling the SUV. Me and my children were very afraid. I allowed the SUV to slow N it veered off and jumped the curb. After a tow, $2000 bucks plus, and several shops including Kia is just sitting like hunks unless I can stuff another $2000 or so in. Kia needs to fix this!!

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #12

Aug 152007


  • 34,878 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle was shaking abnormally on multiple occasions. The battery warning light and the brake warning light were illuminated as the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who diagnosed that the crank shaft needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The dealer replaced the crankshaft a second time but to no avail. The vehicle was taken to the authorized dealer for further inspection of the recurring failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 34878.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #11

Jul 252005


  • 38,000 miles
I was driving the vehicle in the parking lot when I heard a loud noise and lost control of the steering because the car died and the steering wheel locked up. I looked under the hood and notice all the belts and front of the motor fell off and was laying at the bottom. I called the tow truck they towed it to the Kia dealer. Where they told me its a problem the 2003 Kia Sorento has. They told me they will replace the engine that was at 38,000 mile. Now the car has 72,000 miles on it so that's 34,000 miles on this motor now they tell me the same thing is happening and the motor has to be replaced. So the Kia motor is only good for 30,000 miles that's just ridiculous and the cost is on me.

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #10

May 052004

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 1,000 miles


The car been a problem since first year, I called district manager for Kia back in 2004, told him car was skipping beat, and shaking...he told me is was my imagination...the 2nd big problem car would just start losing power in I-95 or fl.turnpike and come to stand still, no matter how much I pressed the gas pedal, no go, almost got in several accidents in I-95, Florida late at nite...spend $800 at Kia of kendall in Florida, in miami, told me was fuel problem...way back home that same day, car did same thing slowed down in rushing traffic in I-95 floirda, almost got deadly accident from car behind me, took it to Kia of ft.pierce, kept car 1 week, mechanic could not figure out problem, ...I found on line, problem was at the fueling entrance, something dissolved and particles went to fueling injectors, clogging it and causing problems, told mechanics, replaced this part, car got fixed....last incident, major one, back 3 years ago took car to Kia dealer, due to letter from Kia corporation, major recall on screw that hold harmoney blancer to lower engine case...they replaced it...1/9/2004.driving back from orlando, fl, at nite, car just slows down, shakes, battery light and brake lite come one...miracle, 1 hour I drove car slowly back home...Friday I take to shop, find out same recall, replaced screw, rusted off, sheared off, half of it still in engine, harmoney fell off, ..miracle I did not ger major fire in car, late at nite, on I95..took it fri.to ft.pierce Kia, mechanic said can not be repaired, need spend$79000on new engine...nothing was mentioned same screw, recall, they replaced back 3 years ago...car has history of my complaints to corporate Kia..nothing ever done.

- Port St.Lucie., FL, USA

problem #9

Nov 152013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
I was driving along and my battery, brake lights came on. I lost power steering and brakes. I popped the hood and realized that I had lost 2-3 belts. I had it towed to a mechanic shop, national chain who said the harmonic balancer had fallen off. Upon inspection, the crankshaft bolt had broken. Many, many complaints about this problem online.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #8

Jun 132013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 173,174 miles
As I was leaving work, the crankshaft bolt broke, and the bottom/pulley came out and hit the road.thank god I was still in the parking lot. I had it towed to a automotive shop to have it fixed it, has $ $768.45 plus 75.00dollars to tow it. I got my 2003-Sorento back on 06/20/2013 on 07/06/2013 I was going down the hwy about 55mph. And the crankshaft/bolt broke again after only having driven 1,674miles. I am a single mom of two, living week to week and I can, T afford to fix it again and it is our only car. If Kia is not going to fix the crank/shaft bolt ( it is a dealer item only) and they keep breaking, just look at all the repute incidents, over and over, then they need to be made to do a recall, I would like to know if their is a class action law suit on this matter.

- Danielsville, GA, USA

problem #7

Jul 132012


  • 97,500 miles
Crankshaft pulley bolt sheered off and then the pulley fell off busting the power steering pull completely off. Making me almost loose control and flying off the freeway at 60mph with my child with me, very scary. Car was still under warranty but because it was the bolt that broke the bolt was not covered by warranty work. Replaced all by manufacture on July 16th 2012. Costing $1,300. This last week on fathers day my husband was driving the car to get his daughter and the bolt sheered off again and it is less then 12 months since this happened but because the warranty is 12 months or 12,000 miles, we were 1,000 miles over and now the dealership says its our problem and now we have to buy a whole new engine this time. Our car was fixed by portland Kia and now its at Washington Kia, Washington Kia is saying that portland did it incorrectly and they should make this right but portland Kia is not taking any fault for over torquing the bold with 130 pounds of a torque.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #6

May 152012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles


While driving my daughter to school, vehicle lost steering in a turn causing us to narrowly miss hitting a utility pole. Vehicle had to be towed to service garage where they confirmed that the crankshaft pulley bolt had become loose causing the harmonic balancer pulley to wobble, break and cause damage to all surrounding engine components. $1700 repair did not work and issue recurred. After a second repair attempt, same issue occurred again this time with the crankshaft bolt having sheered off. Vehicle is a serious safety hazard, is not drivable at this time, and will this time cost minimally $3500 for a replacement motor....and potentially a life. It is imperative that the NHTSA mandate a recall on these vehicles as it is ludicrous to wait for a death or multiple deaths before acting on what I am well aware is a commonly reported and potentially deadly problem. A good part of "safety" occurs in being proactive. The absence of a recall on this is mind boggling. NHTSA must act.

- Niles, OH, USA

problem #5

Aug 012012


  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning. In addition, fuel would spew from the filler neck when refueling and the interior lights would flicker on and off sporadically. The vehicle was taken to the dealer to have a diagnostic performed, who was unable to generate a failure code. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 175,000 and the current mileage was 180,000.

- North Augusta, SC, USA

problem #4

Jun 222009

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
I purchased car from orginal owner about 4 years ago with around 47K miles. Within a month or two the engine light came on. After numerous visits over the course of the last 4 years to the dealership, comments on the work orders that they could not figure out the problem, replacing the timing belts, plugs, wires and coils I am told that the 4th cylinder is bad and based upon the issue I am looking at between $2800 to $4,000 to fix. If its the top end the lesser of the two numbers and if its the bottom end I was told that I should consider wether or not I want to sink $4,000 into the car at this point. Whats more disturbing is when researching the issue on various websites I come to find out the most reoccuring problem is the crankshaft bolt coming out and causing serious damage and a very dangerous situation for the driver. The response by Kia seems to be consistent and now knowing that they do not stand behind their warranties, issue recalls(crankshaft bolt 2007) and still expect their customers to pay for the repairs I can confidently say I will never purchase a Kia product again. The car currently has 67,00 miles on it and I am intrigued by the comments and requests for a class action lawsuit against Kia. I am hopping that a enough people have the desire to follow through and if needed I would support.

- Gold River, CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 112013

Sorento 6-cyl Diesel

  • 53,105 miles
I was driving and heard a screeching sound and lost my power steering. I had vehicle towed to my local garage and was informed that the crankshaft bolt, roll pin and crankshaft sprocket were all damaged because the bolt had broken. The garage repaired the car and I was informed that this is a common problem with Kia Sorento models. The crankshaft bolt part number had changed and been redesigned which shows that Kia knows of an issue. The shop had to replace the crankshaft sprocket, roll pin and crankshaft bolt.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #2

Aug 012012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
While driving on hwy 275 at 60 mph. Engine lights came on and steering wheel locked..total system power failure..2 daughters almost lost their lives trying to maneuver this death missile to emergency lane..just in time to miss multiple tractor trailers vehicles from crushing them..not to mention multiple passenger cars in harms way from defective part replaced malfunctioning again... Kia claims no responsibility even though defective part is clearly at fault..have Firestone mechanic willing to substantiate claim and is willing to help in class action lawsuit.. I urge everyone that has any history with this deathtrap to please get the message out that this vehicle will kill you..most likely their other vehicles will as well...do not ever drive or put anyone you love in any vehicle that they make!!!!! my daughters are scarred for life and never want to drive this vehicle or anything at this point..I am going to make sure that everyone that I can reach via social media really really understands the truth of this vehicles death warrant.

- Panama City Bch, FL, USA

problem #1

Aug 032012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 86,200 miles
Driving my 2003 Kia Sorento in town when the brake, oil and check engine lights come on and lost my power steering. After almost hitting a couple cars got it to my in laws house to find that the crankshaft bolt had backed out of the harmonic balancer and caused all the belts to stop. Called my mechanic and he said it is a common thing for Kia's. told me to take the bolt out and inspect it to see if the threads are stretched if so to get a new bolt. After trying to get the bolt loose it will not budge. Now its on a trailer on its way to the mechanics house. Just paid my first payment on it last month. Bought it used because my wife liked the vehicle and had a thirty day warranty and wouldn't you know it 36 days after I purchased it something like this happens.

- Logan, OH, USA

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