really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,363 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

May 012016


  • 101,300 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. When refueling the vehicle, fuel ejected out of the refueling hole. The cause of the failure was not diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 101,300.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #26

May 032016


  • 0 miles
Every time I have to fill the gas tank on my Kia Sorento 2003 it shoots back the gasoline like a proyectile. It takes an eternity to fill the gas tank if you don't want to have gas all over you. I have even being kicked out of some service stations because spiling so much gas is a hazard. Is there any safety recall for this problem? I have not heard a word from Kia.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #25

May 242016


  • 185,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. While stationary, the vehicle spewed fuel onto the ground when fuel was being added. This issue recurred regardless of the amount of fuel being added to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 185,000.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #24

Sep 102015


  • 126,000 miles


I have fuel still spitting out of the fuel tank, even after the supposed tank air filter replacement by bill Dodge Kia, saco, me. I can only trickle fuel in the vehicle without it spitting back out on me and the ground. I have already had a bad rash due to fuel spilling on me with shorts on last summer. The vehicle is not repaired as stated. I refuse to start trying to just throw money at it and not knowing if it will fix the problem or not. I seen a lot of other complaints even after the tank air filter replacement, the evap system should not be located under the vehicle to begin with, due to moisture getting into the air filter then the charcoal canister and everything else. I have also replaced the closed valve which is located before the tank air filter to no avail this vehicle is a health and fire hazard period !

- Biddeford, ME, USA

problem #23

Nov 032015


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. While refueling, fuel spewed back out of the filler neck without warning. The contact mentioned that fuel splashed all over the floor and his clothes. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 102,000.

- Collegeville, PA, USA

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problem #22

Jun 172015


  • miles
When fueling, after about 45 seconds, gas sprays back up and out all over me and the car and the ground. If the fuel pump handle is barely depressed, which pumps the gas very very slowly, fuel will be accepted. Takes forever - tired of gas-soaked clothes and gas-soaked shoes; tired of spilling gas all over the car and wasting on the concrete; - tired of dangerous situation!! need Kia to issue a recall on whatever is causing the fuel rejection.

- Decatur, AL, USA

problem #21

Sep 012015


  • 100,000 miles


Fule is shooting back of gas tank while putting in gas.this is very dangerous. Pleas tell me a fix for this. Car is stationary.

- Pinellas Park, FL, USA

problem #20

Sep 232015


  • 88,425 miles
I attempted to fill my 2003 Kia soento ex and after pumpming about $2.75 worth of gas, the fuel began to spit back up through the filler hose and spurted/ gush back out on to me. It gives you a false sense that the tank is full but it's not. I attempted to re-fuel and again, the gas spurt/ gush back out. I could get no more than $5 dollars in the car. I spoke with the Kia dealership in lithonia, Georgia and they told me that they have never heard of such a matter. I was instructed to bring the vehicle back. However, I began to research this matter and it was investigated by you all. Kia did state that they would look into the matter. I'm not confident that will happen. There are thousands of complaints out there among consumers about this same vehicle between the 2003 through 2006. Please investigate! I do believe that this is a recall item. The 2003 Kia Sorento was the first vehicle made by Kia corporation.

- Ellenwood, GA, USA

problem #19

May 052015


  • 113,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the fuel was not going into the fuel tank properly upon refueling the vehicle and there was a clicking noise as if it were full. The contact had to take an extended period of time to ensure the fuel tank was actually full. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they did not diagnose the failure. The vehicle was to be taken to an independent mechanic to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 05V353000 (fuel system, gasoline). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 113,000.

- Valley Stream, NY, USA

problem #18

Jan 012015


  • 209,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds and with the fuel tank gauge at 3/4 or below, the vehicle began to sputter and vibrate before stalling. The contact indicated that the fuel tank needed to be at least 75 percent full to prevent the failure from occurring. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 209,000.

- Eastman, GA, USA

problem #17

Jan 232014


  • 114,000 miles


I bought my Kia Sorento 2003 in November 2013. In January of the following year I noticed a gas smell. I looked under the vehicle and found a few drips on the ground underneath, which was gas. I had the line under the cab along side door replaced. I am noticing a strong gas smell coming from the side toward front and can't see anything leaking. I saw that there was a recall for this year and make so I called Kia and asked them is my vehicle covered under the recall and they said no after giving them my VIN number. I see that its not just the 2003 vehicles with this issue. Just because I don't have the right VIN number they should still honor my complaint. Regardless I'm still having the same fuel issues as the ones on recall.

- Weedsport, NY, USA

problem #16

Jul 032014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 137,000 miles
When fueling the vehicle the gas pump automatically shuts off constantly. The tank can be empty and the pump will shut off as soon as you start filling it and continue to do so as you fill it. It will also spit gas out of the tank while you are filling it. There should be plenty of room for gas as the gas indicator shows empty but even after putting one gallon in the tank, the pump will shut off and/or gas will spill/splash out. I have to stand back when filling the tank so that I don't get it all over me. The date listed for incident is when it first started happening but it continues to do so every time I put gas in the vehicle.

- Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #15

Aug 302014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 88,676 miles
We were attempting to fill the Sorento up with gas when it suddenly spit gas out of the tank when we had only put $11 into to. It was close to empty when we got to the gas station. We tried a couple times with the same result. The car would not take anymore gas.

- Pinellas Park, FL, USA

problem #14

Aug 012013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. The contact experienced difficulty placing fuel in the vehicle. The fuel would not enter the tank and leaked out while the contact attempted to insert fuel. An independent mechanic stated that the vehicle needed a new canister filter, fuel cap, and filler pipe. The vehicle had not been repaired and the manufacturer had not been notified. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000. Updated 10/8/14 the consumer stated the manufacturer was contacted. The manufacturer stated the vehicle was out of warranty. The consumer was not notified of any recalls due to being the second owner. The vehicle was repaired at the owner's expense. Updated 3/24/2015

- Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #13

Jul 152014


  • 133,000 miles
While pumping, the fuel spits back out from the tank. It is rather annoying as I lose money fueling and it takes forever to fuel. Normally when I reach about $15 in gas it begins regurgitating. This happens every time I attempt to fuel.

- Waipahu, HI, USA

problem #12

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 #11

Sep 092013


  • miles
My fuel pump was replaced in August 2013; not long after I began having fueling problems that have increased in severity. Any time I try to put gas in my tank, it explodes back out at me like a volcano erupting. I can't put gas in my car unless I let it trickle in and stop fueling in intervals...it takes about 30 minutes at least to fill my car. I'm tired of smelling like gas. This is dangerous and ridiculous and apparently a lot of other people have had this problem, yet Kia has done nothing. Something needs to be done by Kia to correct this issue. I took my vehicle to a Kia dealership and they weren't really sure what to do (lots of help there) and wanted to charge me about $2000 to try and figure it out (the same amount they charged me to replace my fuel pump). I'm tired of being ripped off....can't anyone do anything to help all of us consumers having this issue??

- Jacksonville, AR, 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

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 #8

Nov 152012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
We have a 2003 Kia Sorento, and since November while pumping gas, fuel suddenly spews out -- like a soda can that had been shaken. Online we can find other 2003 Kia Sorentos also complaining about what's known as fuel spit-back.. the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated over 100 complaints of spit-back on 2003 Kia Sorentos. Complaints allege that while refueling the vehicle, fuel can spill out or spit back from the fuel filler port on model year (my) 2003 Kia Sorento vehicles. Consumers report that the spilled fuel can splash on the person fueling the vehicle, or on the side of the vehicle and the ground. Just like ours. Then in January 2012, Kia's testing found that if the canister filter becomes significantly clogged, excess pressure can build up in the fuel tank and cause fuel to spit back from the filler port during refueling. To address the issue of fuel spit back during refueling, Kia conducted a service campaign of approximately 86,000 my 2003 and 2004 Kia Sorento vehicles. The campaign will provide a one-time replacement of the canister filter, at no cost to the owner -- this was done on our car on March 6, 2012. Before this service, there was no problem with fuel spit-back, now it happens every time we fuel up. The dealer wants to charge us to fix it, the company is of no help your Agency closed its investigation, but it seems you must reopen it. Again, we did not have the fuel spit-back problem until after the service!!!!!!!!!!!

- Amherst, NY, USA

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