really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
81,414 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Jun 202016


  • 145,000 miles


While driving I heard a clunk and a the car began rolling side to side. I limped to a mechanic and was told that the frame where the suspension and all parts connect was rusted out. Frame repair said this can not be fixed as the frame is rusted out. Where the stabilizer and suspension connects. Teh car only has 149, ooo miles and is in North Carolina. I have read other reports of a rusted out support frame on this site. Will the manufacturer replace this frame.

- Mebane, NC, USA

problem #22

Dec 152015


  • 114,283 miles
Crankshaft bolt backed out lost power steering brakes, Kia is aware of this problem from 2002 to 2009 many reports have been filed, its the manufacturing of the bolt which is to small, they are not standing by this defect, there is no permenant fix for this and Kia isn't warning anyone of this problem which could lead into a fatile accident with injuries and death.going at a high rate of speed there would be no control even at slow there is no easy turning the wheel.now im stuck with this problem and a temp fix wont fix it, so now I have no vehicle or anyway to get one, no way to work, no money to temp fix it, this is unjust and this vehicle should have never passed specs to be on the road.Kia should step up and honor there products, they are deceiving buyers and putting there life in danger and U don't know it till it happens, I didn't...I was taking my daughter to school I am thankful I wasn't on the highway possible resulting in my familys life or someone else on the road, with no control all because of there negligence not caring for peoples lifes but for money, its sad.if U pull up crankshaft bolt for Kia it will show you all the complaints and problems and this is a manufacturing problem and a dangerous defect, because you lose control of handiling of your vehicle.

- Washington, IN, USA

problem #21

Jul 122015


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. While driving at 55 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The contact had to apply force to the steering wheel in order to turn the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the harmonica balance in the steering column needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. In addition, the contact noticed that there was an abnormal noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the harmonica balance needed to be replaced and the rear axle corroded and needed to be welded. The vehicle was repaired; however, while at an independent mechanic for routine service, the mechanic stated that the subframe was corroded. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 79,000.

- Fall River, MA, USA

problem #20

Jan 112015

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles


I have service records showing I had the crankshaft pulley replaced at 55,000 miles under warranty by Kia. The crankshaft pulley broke off at 105,000 miles. I was able to have the vehicle repaired cost $1500 out of my pocket. On 1/11/2015 the crankshaft pulley broke off for a 3rd time, shearing the threads to the engine, and causing the engine to no longer work. All 3 events caused loss of power and able to steer the vehicle.

- Lisbon, WI, USA

problem #19

Sep 032012


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle made an abnormal noise when the battery and another unknown warning light illuminated. In addition, the contact had to pump the brake pedal several times before the vehicle would stop and the power steering stop working. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the crank shaft pulley bolt was holding too much weight causing it to fracture. The vehicle had been repaired but the failure recurred on numerous occasions. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 36,000.

- Ferrum, VA, USA

problem #18

Dec 112013


  • 96,000 miles
I bought a 2003 Kia Sorento from my niece back in November 2013 for $2000 and not even two weeks into owning this vehicle, the crank shaft broke in half! the bolt broke off in half inside the crank shaft pulley and the other half of the bolt was inside the crank shaft case. To my understanding, this is the second time that the crank shaft needed repairing (my niece, husband who were the first and original owners to this Kia Sorento had it break down on him on the freeway as well, had to get it towed to Kia then paid them to fix it when they owned the vehicle) but this time, when this issue happened again while I owned the vehicle, the crank shaft failed in a greater and more costly condition then the first time the crank shaft failed on them. Which then caused engine failure, loss of power steering, loss of the charging system, loss of the cooling system and loss of control of the vehicle, everything shut down, vehicle wouldn't start up after that and it could have been a very dangerous situation as it happened while on the freeway and while my husband, my daughter and my granddaughter was in the vehicle traveling. It could have jeopardize their life's as well as other!

- Ewa Beach, HI, USA

problem #17

May 142013


  • 140,000 miles


I was coming home from work one day, when the crankshaft bolt came out of my car.I barely made it home.but the front end was jarring my airbag light came on my breaks like same one and I did not have no control of my steering.then it cost me 1700.then one day I was in town and the crankshaft bolt came out of my car again which this time I did not have no control of the steering it took every muscle that I had to keep it in the road the front and shook so bad it jarred everything I lose my airbag light came on my brake lights came on seat belt light came on it was a hazardous on the highway seriously killed me or someone else or really badly hurt them.then I took it back to the mechanic again and he said welcome it's going to cost you 1700 more which I did not have so I let the bank have it back which now it has run my credit because I didn't have the money to get it fixed and I lost my credit because of thisso yes they need to do a recall on the crankshaft bolt before it does kill someone is that what they're waiting for for someone to die before they do something about.and I keep on replacing bugs brake lights headlights and everything they keep on blowing in this in the Kia and I keep on putting money in it for me to get it inspected it cost me a hundred sixty two dollars and 22 dish to replace bulbs that I just replace not even a month before that I have receipts I am so tired of putting money into this Kia I didn't have no other choice but to let them take it because it C and the tires at 8 my tires up and I put new tires on which cost me 800 800 again to put IN800 again to put inand when this bit when this happened I called Kia in charlottesville Virginia and they said they put a new crank bolt in at the kids embrace Chevrolet before I boarded so this would make three times the crankshaft bolt had been replaced I want this Kia..................

- Orange , VA, USA

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

Aug 302013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • miles
While driving at a safe speed (35mph) with my children in the car my power steering failed and all my dash lights came on. I was able to pull over this time out of harms way. Once I got the car to the side of the I had noticed that one of my belts came off. I got it towed to the mechanic first thing the next morning and told me a bolt came off the pulley and the pulley was off. They fixed the car and I was good up until it happened 4 more times. Luckily I was the only in the car at the time it happened the last time due to the fact I was on a highway and going 70mph. Once again I managed to get to the side of the road to safety. With this happening numerous times no one wants to fix the car anymore and I don't understand why a recall has yet to be made on something so simple. Also in my state my car is not protected under the lemon law.

- Fuquay Varina, NC, USA

problem #14

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 #13

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 #12

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 #11

Jun 082013


  • 162,000 miles
I was driving at 60 mph and my power steering was getting hard almost cause an accident in the expressway, I check power steering fuel and is fine, belt to power steering fine too, I just wonder if there is a recall parts in this problem, im very afraid to drive my Kia again, please investigate.

- Melrose Pk , IL, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Mar 312012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 87,213 miles
I had just purchased my 2003 Kia Sorento on February 23 2013 from a local used car dealer. The car had 85,000 miles at time of purchase. It was driving fine until March 31, 2013. As I was pulling out of my drive way the car started making a loud noise and then I lost control of the steering almost going into my neighbors ditch. The car was taken to the mechanic(towed) where he found that the bolt going into the crank shaft had been sheared off causing the belt to come off. The problem is that even after he fixes it (1800.00 +) he said it would happen again.this is a very dangerous problem. After reading countless accounts online of other Kia Sorento owners with the same problem, I feel Kia needs to recall this part.

- Pelion, SC, USA

problem #8

Dec 042012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 10 miles
My 2003 Kia Sorento start vibrating as I was pulling into my driveway and before I can park it I heard a load noise and my steering wheel became very heavy to steer and almost loose control. I had a mechanic look into the issue and found the pulley bolt (harmonic balancer) broke in half. I had also check if this is an unusual problem - came to find out that this could potential design defect from Kia. As there are thousand of them that has similar problem complained on the internet. I had called Kia dealer ship and they are not helping on this design flaw issue.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Aug 192011


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Kia Sorento. The contact was driving 5 mph and attempting a turn when the steering wheel failed and would not respond to the direction it was turned. The steering wheel would only spin in a circle during the failure. The vehicle was placed in reverse and allowed to drift into the preferred parking space. The vehicle was diagnosed by a private mechanic who advised that the U joint was loose on the steering shaft. The manufacturer was contacted, but the vehicle was not taken to the dealer or repaired. The failure and current mileages were 93,000.

- Yreka, CA, USA

problem #5

Jan 052010


  • miles
I bought a 2003 Kia Sorento about 6 years ago and I've had a lot of problems. The worst and most recent problem is the gas spews out of the tank every time I try to fill it. It runs down the side of the car and on my wheel. Sometimes it gets on me. This has been going on for several months now. If you pump very slow and stop every.80 cents it lessens the amount of times it spews out, but this is so very timely. The gas gauge periodically goes out. The horn has never worked. The power steering periodically goes out. When using cruise control it will periodically go off on it's own. The paint looks horrible and has peeled off on the side mirrors. The leather seats have not held up well. The dome light will not work when you open the door, but if you press the dome light button it will come on. Periodically the dash lights have flickered and I'm wondering if they are about to go out. I've already had to replace the ac compressor and the drive shaft, both of which have really set me back financially. I really want to get the gas tank issue fixed as it is the worst issue at hand and I fear it could be dangerous.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #4

Nov 162009


  • 79,000 miles
I have a 2003 Kia Sorento. As I left the garage at my office around 6 P.M. Monday 11/16, the car began making a horrible squealing noise. It immediately lost power steering, several warning lights came on, and it felt like the parking brake was on (it wasn't). I managed to get out of the garage to a space on the street. I turned the car off. When I tried to start it again, it wouldn't start. I had it towed to a service station, which said the car had thrown its drive belts and that it needed a new crankshaft balancer pulley, crankshaft sprocket, crankshaft pulley bolt and crankshaft pulley washer to fix the underlying cause. I called Kia customer service to see if there was a recall related to those parts. There was a recall in 2007 and my car was serviced at that time as ordered by Kia. Kia said Tuesday that they would only consider paying for needed repairs if I had the car towed to a Kia dealership. I had it towed to king Kia in gaithersburg, md., at my expense. The service writer, wayne johnson, told me that the garage that had put my new timing belt on had left a bolt loose. He told me his mechanic put the three drive belts back on. He told me I needed a new battery (though the current battery was only 2 years old) because the current one wasn't holding a charge. I told him to put one on. He told me the car was running fine and ready to go. I assumed -- it now turns out, wrongly -- that the Kia mechanic had tightened whatever bolt he found loose. I picked up the car Wednesday night and drove it straight home. When I started it yesterday morning to leave for work, I drove it about 1.5 blocks and the steering locked up, the brake and battery warning lights came on, and it felt like the parking brake was on. This time the engine kept running. I brought it back home and called the Kia garage back. Wayne now admits the mechanic never looked for an underlying cause. He simply put the old drive belts on and a new battery in. Today he says it needs a new crank pulley.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

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