hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,077 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

problem #9

Aug 082011

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 86,152 miles


While driving our 2003 Kia Sorento we heard a loud clunk and bang. Pulled the vehicle over and found the crankshaft pulley laying at the bottom of the engine compartment. This is the second time this has happened. The first was in June of 2010 with 78,560 miles. The dealer replaced the broken bolt. (part number 23127 39801qqk) this is what caused the failure. When the bolt failed it caused the following additional damage, timing belt, sensor crank angle, blade sensing crank. The total bill came to 1197 for a bolt failing. The bolt failed again 14 months later on August 8th 2011. Same exact problem that occurred the first time. The car is currently in the shop and I'm fighting with the dealer now to repair it under warranty. I've done some research on this and this is becoming a growing issue with the Sorentos. If you own one have the bolt on inspected during every oil change. If the bolt seems loose have it checked out immediately. It could save you thousands.

- Falcon, CO, USA

problem #8

Oct 282010


  • 36,000 miles
I have had my 2003 Kia Sorento since March 2010. It was purchased with 32,000 miles on it, and as of the end of October 2010, it had 36,000 miles. So far, I have had to replace the coolant reservoir, because it was cracked. I was driving, and it overheated out of nowhere. It was in the shop for four days, because they could not find the problem even after doing several pressurized systems tests. At the end of October 2010, I had to replace the oil pump, because it had a crack in it. No one anywhere I called could believe I had to replace an oil pump. All the mechanics stated that's one of the few things they never have to replace on any vehicle, and certainly not at 36,000 miles. Anyway, due to oil leaking onto the timing belt, that had to be replaced also. The timing belt was in fine condition otherwise. Consequently, I now have engine problems. I'm sure the engine will have to be replaced from overheating and then having no oil. At high rpms, you can hear a slight tick, which I'm pretty sure is a lifter issue. Headlights burn out quickly. I was driving one day, and both burnt out at the same time. I had to drive on high beams in the city. Constant electrical problems with the dash. Dash lights rarely work, and then all of a sudden all the lights will start flashing here and there - dash lights flash on/off, ceiling light flashes on/off, all back and forth while I'm driving in the dark. Very distracting, especially in traffic. The truck itself (seats, comfort, etc.) is awesome, but it was definitely manufactured poorly. Worst purchase ever. Glad I bought the 5 star warranty or I'd be paying for a truck I can't drive.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #7

Aug 272009


  • 122,000 miles
2003/04 Kia Sorento crank shaft pulley bolt is failing. There was a notice sent by Kia in July 2007 to notify the owners of the issue and to have it fixed. The replacement bolts are failing. When the replacement bolts fail it is causing the vehicle to stop no matter what speed the driver is traveling and the steering is locking up. The manufacturer will not address this. This is a an extreme safety issue. Some owners have reported this part failing up to 4 times in less then 24 months. The first incident was June 27, 2007 and the second incident was 8/27/2009.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #6

May 162007

Sorento 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,438 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. While driving 45 mph, the crank shaft failed and the vehicle was towed. The total cost of the rental expense was $600. The contact stated that when the crankshaft failed, he was stranded. The Kia dealer claimed to have repaired the vehicle. There are no warning indicators present when the failure occurs. The manufacturer stated that they could not be of assistance. The vehicle was repaired under warranty. The current mileage is 48,000 and failure mileage was 40,000. The consumer stated the repair was covered under recall, since a recall was issued, however he is requesting reimbursement for the rental car. The radiator assembly was replaced due to a leak at the lower seam. Updated

- Goshen, NY, USA

problem #5

Mar 252007

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles
Crankshaft pulley broke off. Kia dealer recommends engine replacement. Cost would be $7000. Researching this topic find others with same situation. This is a serious safety problem. The power steering becomes inoperable and the power shuts off while driving.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #4

Apr 222003

Sorento 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 300 miles
The vehicle was purchased in April 03. Not long after that there was a strange sound, then there was oil leak under the car. Took it in. Checked. Did dye check. Replaced some bolts. Replaced a part. Every few months up to today Feb 2006, there has been an oil leak. Taking car again to dealer on Feb 3, 2006 to see what they say now. The oil is felt when one touches under the car and there is a puddle in the driveway (oil stain). The car has only been serviced by the Kia mechanics at the Kia dealer. Criswell Kia as of January 06 no longer services Kia. I have to now take the car to farrish Kia in Virginia.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #3

Jul 062005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


I have consistently had problems with my car from the 1st month of purchase. The major problems have been: Check engine light kept coming on and a problem with the drive shaft. The check engine light problem was resolved approximately 2 attempts after it first appeared. It was diagnosed as a problem with the tsp. The problem with the drive shaft has not yet been resolved as it still continue to vibrate at speeds higher than 65 mph. These problems concern me as it may interfere or hinder with my driving abilities and cause an accident.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #2

May 262004

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,500 miles
I was driving my vehicle to work. For the past 2 to 3 days, I noticed some noise from my engine that sounded like a loose belt. No problem, I could replace it on the weekend. On the way to work, my power steering went and the engine light flickered on and off. I didn't want to be stuck on a backroad in Maine with no cell service so I continued, slowly, to work. After reaching work, I had the 24 hour service tow my Kia Sorento to the nearest dealer. This vehicle is 18 months old and they tell me the bolt holding the crankshaft to the pulley has sheared off. They cannot remove the bolt pieces from the crankshaft and have to replace it. To top it off, the airbag light was on, for the second time, and the radio has been replace twice.

- Sanford, ME, USA

problem #1

Apr 162003

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,300 miles
Vehicle would not start/has been in shop 4 times in last week/1st trip replace throttle body 2nd recalibrate engine 3rd trip egi unit faulty engine light on /replace egi unit 4th trip replaced throttle body(again) calibrated. Checked idle set..vehicle was kept for 2 days on 2 of the visits.

- W. Milton, OH, USA

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