definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,389 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Kia Sorento Owner Comments

problem #5

Feb 082011


  • 98,000 miles


Vehicle model: Kia Sorento ex; the transmission keeps failing and the airbag module keeps breaking and displaying red light even after fixing at a dealer shop "bill Dodge Kia, westbrook, me. The symptoms are as follows: You put the car in drive and the vehicle does not move and only a grinding sound occurs, then you move the transmission shift up and down and after a few moments it generally goes into gear.we almost had several accidents and the car is back in the shop. This car is a nightmare car -- please do notify manufacturer.

- Portland, ME, USA

problem #4

Apr 022009


  • 60,000 miles
My car had a horrible noise & I was told that it was the drive shaft. I got a friend to drive it to a Kia kendall and they were to warranty the part that was defective. In the process of driving car to dealer it came apart hit the bottom of car deployed air bags, cracked windshield, gas tank also cracked. This was a defective dealer part and was supposed to be warrantied. Now it has been reported to insurance and in the process of fixing this item they broke a plastic hose from the radiator and then clamped it & put a screw in my radiator. They know that this was going to cause a problem & did not even care.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #3

Aug 042005


  • miles
Comments: I would like to inform you of what I think is a potential safety hazard. Several weeks ago my wife and I were returning from a vacation in our car and it caught fire. Luckily there were no injuries or serious damage. At the end of this letter will be all the particulars. We were coming from santa cruz on highway 1, in California and at what is called the summit, of I started seeing smoke in back of our vehicle. We stopped, turned off the car, opened the hood and there was a small fire down on the driver side near the exhaust manifold. I closed the hood and tried to locate a fire extinguisher. The fire extinguished itself and we had the car towed to the dealership. After a day of testing the only thing they found was that the transmission was slightly overfilled, which was my error. While I realize that can cause the problem here is my concern. The technician who worked on my car said that transmissions are designed to blow out or through overflow the transmission filler tube. He also showed me that on top of the dipstick was slot which would allow the fluid to escape. However it is located right over the exhaust manifold. It would seem that it should be located where the fluid would not come in contact with such hot engine parts. I am not sure if this affects other vehicles but it does concern me. My vehicle is 2004 Kia Sorento 6 cyc, automatic we were not towing anything nor where we loaded down. I thank you for you time. Steve elijah 225 merrill ave fremont, ca 945 selijah@sbcglobal.net 510.623.8211.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #2

Oct 042004

Sorento 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,947 miles
While driving, the engine blew out the first time on 10-04-04. It was replaced and it blew again on 01-21-05. The vehicle is on its third engine. The key became stuck in the ignition, the vehicle shifted out of park. The consumer stated he has had transmissions and engine problems since he purchased the vehicle. The front wheel bearings were damaged. The fog light was inoperative.

- Beacon, NY, USA

problem #1

Nov 272004

Sorento 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
While driving at highway speed consumer smelled a burning odor. Then, smoke came from the rear of the vehicle. As a result, transmission failed and flames emanated from the under carriage.

- Wirtz, VA, USA

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