hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,398 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.

2008 Kia Sorento engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Kia Sorento Owner Comments

problem #17

Oct 262016


  • 70,000 miles


On two seperate occasions approximately 2 months apart on start up and initial drive the engine suddenly lost all power, the check engine light came on and the ESC off light came on. Pulled vehicle to curb, shut off engine, waited several minutes to one hour, restarted engine and had full power.. check engine light remains on for several start ups then resets itself. This sudden loss of power at highway speeds could be devastating and potentially lead to fatalities.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #16

Sep 052016


  • 119,000 miles
Check engine and ESC light came on while driving down the interstate. Truck immediately loses power.

- Poplar Bluff, MO, USA

problem #15

Oct 202015


  • miles
The engine makes a high pitch whining noise. Have not had any repairs as of yet. Kia thinks it's the timing chain tensioner. Kia states this will cost 4000 or more to fix

- Marysville, KS, USA

problem #14

Feb 252015


  • 180,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. While driving 60 mph, the ESC, passenger side air bag, and motor light illuminated before the vehicle lost power. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V473000 (air bags). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The aproximate failure mileage was 180,000.

- Diamond, MO, USA

problem #13

Oct 082015


  • 38,000 miles
Every 6 months the engine light and ecs off lights come on and the car loses power intermittently. This is dangerous when it happens on the freeway. I bought the car from carmax in July 2014. By November, it started to have the issue, it progressed at I checked it on the internet and saw a recall and brought it in to city Kia in orlando. The mechanic could not find an issue why the engine light was on and there was no clear code. However, when he replaced the recall lamp switch part it went away until now (Oct 2015). It is clear to me that there is an issue with the electrical system that can cause the loss of power. There are numerous comments from others with the same issue and the same symptoms. I expect carmax and Kia understand there is an issue. I bought the car with 32K miles on it from carmax and it already had 2 previous owners. The average Kia mechanic seems incapable of diagnosing and resolving this issue. They will just change out parts every 6 months and hopefully reset the electronics somehow. I am a licensed mechanical engineer and safety engineer working in the ride industry for 30 years. I believe this is a safety issue and I would like Kia to either fix it or take my car back or carmax to take the car back. The loss of power can occur when you start or when you are driving. The engine light and ecs light come on and always accompany this issue. Typical posts on internet Jun 30, 2014 - cheektowaga, NY - power train TL* the contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle decelerated. The contact depressed the accelerator pedal and the vehicle slowly decelerated to 20 mph. The service engine and ESC sensors illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000.

- Celebration, FL, USA

problem #12

Jun 122014


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. While driving at approximately 55 mph, the vehicle decelerated to 20 mph without the brake pedal being depressed. The sec and the check engine warning indicators illuminated. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, where it was diagnosed that the throttle position sensor failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000.

- Waverly, TN, USA

problem #11

Feb 102015

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles


We were driving on a busy freeway on the way to work, the steering wheel started getting stiff so we slowed down and moved over to the far right. The car died but we were able to coast over out of traffic though the back of the car was still not out all the way due to the angle. We were not able to steer and straighten the car. The car would not start. We called roadside assistance and they were unable to jump the car. It was towed to a mechanic. The engine was locked. The mechanic said a screw broke off. There was an issue with the crankshaft. I had to get a new engine put in at the cost of just over $2400.

- Euless, TX, USA

problem #10

Feb 192014

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
I was driving down the road and the car shut down and the all the panel lights came on. Had to stop on the side of the road to start the car. Oil light came on and took to my mechanic. Replace on oil pump and car will not start. He stated motor was gone. Please help me. Have 30 more payments on this 2008 Kia Sorento. God bless nd have a good day.

- Graham, NC, USA

problem #9

Sep 252013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 39,790 miles
Two days ago the check engine light illuminated (and stayed on) with intermittent electronic stability control off light illuminated; vehicle acceleration became sluggish and sometimes unresponsive. Vehicle codes using obdii pocketscan showed active and stored codes of P2138 (accelerator), P2127 (accelerator) and P2106 (limp mode). I made an appointment to take it to the dealership on 09/25/13. On the day of appointment the check engine light was not illuminated, but the dealership found stored codes in the computer of P2138, P2127 and P2106. The dealership refused to fix the vehicle even though it was still under warranty because there was not an active code (check engine light) on at the time of the appointment and the part was functioning properly for the time being. When asked if it was their policy or Kia motors policy not to replace components that were failing, they stated it was Kia motors policy. This is the second time the accelerator assembly has failed in this vehicle. The last failure was 08/23/12 at 27,545 miles. A vast majority of the complaints with NHTSA for this make, model and year vehicle involve these codes and this component. A serious accident, or loss of life should never be the determining factor when making a decision that a manufacturer should take action to correct a faulty component; by then it is much too late.

- Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #8

Sep 252013

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • 26,358 miles
ESC light comes on then the engine loses power, it also did this 2 years ago on 10/31/2011.

- Oakdale, MN, USA

problem #7

Aug 282013

Sorento 4WD 6-cyl

  • 9,786 miles


My check engine light and ESC off light came on. After driving around for the day it went off. Then last night Sept. 2 2013 they both came on again.

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #6

May 292013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Current and ongoing problems began just a few days after receiving a notice of recall from Kia regarding the faulty/defective brake light switch. The switch was faulty and there was a problem with no brake lights coming on upon braking as well as "ESC off" and "check engine" malfunction indicator lights appearing and staying on the instrument cluster. The vehicle was promptly taken to a Kia dealership where the recall service was performed. Replacement of a failed brake light switch under the recall campaign did not eliminate the problems/codes that began when the brake light switch failed. Shortly after the repair (less than a month afterward and very few miles driven) the "ESC off" and "check engine" malfunction indicator lights appeared, stayed, then came on and off intermittently with engine not going over past approximately 2,000 rpms resulting in unpredictable vehicle behavior especially when it comes to merging onto a highway/interstate or getting through an intersection. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where the service advisors gave assurances that the new brake light switch is not defective. The problem is that the service advisors/technicians could not specifically diagnose what needs replacement to ultimately solve this ongoing problem or if it is related to the failure of the of the brake light switch.

- Duluth, GA, USA

problem #5

Jul 202013


  • 34,000 miles
Driving on a surface street with a 40 mph speed limit. Car suddenly lost power and could not get speed above 20 mph. We were lucky that there wasn't much traffic about as this could definitely have caused an accident. When this happened both the ESC off light and the check engine light came on. We had to leave our car in Nevada and get a rental car to get home to Arizona, we have no idea when we will get our car fixed and back home. We were owners of a Kia rondo and the same thing happened to that vehicle too (no longer own that one). This vehicle needs to be recalled immediately and Kia needs to admit that there is something seriously wrong and that they will take responsibility for fixing it. Too many owners having exactly the same problem, we should not be ignored.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #4

Jul 162013


  • 178,155 miles
I was driving on an interstate with a speed limit of 65 mph when with no warning the "check engine" and "ESC off" lights came on simultaneously. At the same time, the engine lost power, causing my vehicle to suddenly decelerate and almost causing a collision both with the car behind me and with the cars merging over from an entrance ramp. Luckily, I was able to safely maintain control of my car and put on my hazard lights to warn other drivers of my much slower speed. Even depressing the gas pedal to the floor, I was unable to accelerate above 55 mph, and my speed going up hills was significantly slower. Once I was able to safely reach a shoulder with comfortable clearance, I pulled over and stopped the car for a few minutes. I restarted the car, both lights remained on, and I similarly was unable to accelerate the car appropriately, especially from a stop. I limped along with my hazard lights for the last few miles to work where I immediately began researching this issue only to find that this is far from an isolated incident. In fact, this problem seems to be pervasive in Kia of similar model year. There are scores of Kia owners who have experienced a similar series of events. The sudden and unexpected loss of power with absolutely no warning is highly dangerous in any situation, but especially so on the interstate when speed limits are so high. I was so lucky that the drivers around me and I were able to avoid an injury-causing crash. This issue needs to be investigated swiftly and thoroughly. Again, a simple search of this very website as well as other online car forums reveals a problem so widespread that it should warrant a recall by Kia.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #3

Feb 122013

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, a loud banging noise was heard from the rear passenger's side of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician stated that the engine threw a rod, causing a hole in the oil pan. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 63,000.

- Ballwin, MO, USA

problem #2

Jan 012012


  • 55,371 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle lost acceleration power and did not accelerate over 20 mph. The failure was experienced numerous times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where a diagnostic was performed and revealed that the oxygen senor, brake pedal light switch, and throttle pedal sensor had failed. The dealer replaced the failed parts but the failure recurred. The vehicle continued to lose power. The failure mileage was 55,371 and the approximate current mileage was 64,000.

- Marion , NY, USA

problem #1

Sep 112012

Sorento 6-cyl

  • 60,300 miles
2008 Kia Sorento start-up stalling temperamentally for three weeks. On 9/11/2012 the check engine light and ESC off light appeared, followed with a "putting" engine and limp mode. The car would not accelerate when foot applied to gas pedal. Kia dealership confirmed tps and brake sensor failure and electronic stability control needed reprogramming. (error codes read: P2135, P0638, and P2A00 or P2A03.) Kia published bulletin tsb 044: www.Kia-forums.com/attachments/Kia-carens-rondo-forum/5552D1272512047-engine-racing-stop-tsb-tps.pdf danger aspect: The car seemed drivable, however, the limp mode does not allow the car to accelerate to the speed limit or flow of traffic. Researched many similar complaints -- please issue an investigation for a recall.

- El Cajon, CA, USA

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