2011 Kia Sorento electrical NHTSA complaints: Electrical System

NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2011 Kia Sorento (Page 1 of 5)

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com Notes: Kia really changed the design of the Sorento in the 2011 model year. Instead of a truck-like body-on-frame more capable of offroad adventures, the newest Sorento is a unibody construction and is much more crossover than sport utility. The changes brought a whole slew of problems, including a frustrating problem where the door that won’t open. Is it too late to go back?


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,192 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.

2011 Kia Sorento electrical problems

electrical problem

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2011 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #87

Nov 052016


  • 80,000 miles


2011 Kia sorrento/the car the lock mechanism failed. The car will not lock with the key fob or when pushing the locks in the door. Approximate failure was 80,000 miles. Took it to the dealer said I was over mileage for the repair. It will cost about $800 for repair. I am seeking advice to see if extended warranty will cover this cost. I have already replaced the front drivers door latch, I received a letter saying the repair on the locks would be done but apparently it does not cover this part. 5 year old car no locks work at all.

- Conneaut, OH, USA

problem #86

Mar 102013


  • miles
I bought my car in 2011 by 2013 the rear passenger door does not open at all, driver side wont open from out side. Then 2014 ABS light on, controls on steering wheel for phone, cruise and volume don't work. Shifting to park or drive isn't catching all the time, and door locks click open & close randomly. I do not feel safe driving my car.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #85

Aug 212016


  • 82,000 miles
Already filed complaint about 2 doors that you cannot open from the outside of the vehicle when unlocked, now I have a 3rd door that won't open from the outside while unlocked. Gonna have to climb in from the hatchback pretty soon. They all open from the inside, not the outside. So now I have to leave the child safety locks open all the time, hopefully my 3 yr olds won't pull on the door handle from the inside and fall out of the vehicle. All this within the last 3 weeks. I'm guessing somebody has to die before this will be recalled. Going to call dealer today to see what they say.

- Worth, IL, USA

problem #84

Aug 072016


  • 80,000 miles


Kia Sorento 2011. Parked. First it was one door, just stopped opening from the outside, opens from inside, unless you put child safety lock on, then it won't open at all. Then today the other side not opening from the outside. All open from inside, only problem is what to do when all four stop opening from outside. If my kid is in there, falls asleep, and it's hot outside, how do I get the kid out if I can't open from outside, somebody is going to be seriously hurt or killed from this problem. From the looks of things there has been a lot of problems with these doors.

- Worth, IL, USA

problem #83

Jul 232016


  • 47,000 miles
In August 2010 there was a recall to reroute the wiring harness for the starter and was supposedly corrected. Three weeks ago I was coming down a mountain in the vehicle (2011 Kia Sorento) and I noticed a little hesitation. When I stopped the vehicle, it would not start again. I had it towed to the local Kia dealer and they advised that the fuse panel had been shorted out and was defective. They said that Kia would provide the fuse panel if I would pay the cost of the labor. I reluctantly agreed. When I picked up the vehicle, they stated they had to put a "salvaged starter" on the vehicle to get it to start. I again reluctantly agreed because I didn't have money for a new starter($500). When I checked my past repair ticket I noticed that Kia and the dealer supposedly rerouted the starter wiring harness on a recall. After checking with other technicians, they advised that if the wiring harness was not installed correctly, it could have shorted out the starter and fuse panel and possibly could cause the vehicle to suddenly loose power even while driving. I'm afraid to drive the vehicle now; fearful that it will loose power while in operation causing an accident and possibly loss of life.

- Ridgeway, VA, USA

problem #82

Jul 202015


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the rear driver and rear passenger side doors failed to open from outside and inside the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who replaced the parts with plastic locks, but the failure recurred. The front passenger side door failed to lock and unlock without warning. The vehicle was to be taken back to the dealer for a third repair. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and provided no recommendation. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 28,000.

- Miles, IL, USA

problem #81

Jul 172016


  • 70,061 miles


I have been having problems with my driver door and passenger door opening from the outside. I have to open the back door to get in to the front. This has been going on for over 3 years. I've spoken to the dealer ship place where I got the car from, and they informed me it was nothing they could do about it. I also took it to the Kia dealership and they told me it's not a recall or anything can do about it unless I pay for them to fix it. I don't think this is right at all. I am not a ruff driver and I try to take good care of my car. I do not feel as if I should have to pay for this. There are so many people complaining about the same thing going on with their doors and we are not getting any help at all. They are not worrying that we have to pay the car note plus the car insurance and its nothing they can do unless we pay for it. Not to mention if it was someone trying to harm me and my kids. We would have to go through the back door to get in the front to start the car and pull off. That's not if you was to go on cargurus.com you would see all the complaints. Is there anything that you all can help us with please let us know. Thank you. Also the date I put in is not correct it would not let me put 2014.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #80

Jul 022016


  • 129,000 miles
Suddenly unable to open drivers side front door from the outside. Already paid over $300 for same issue on drivers side rear door did not open from outside suddenly. Obvious defect as normal use and no issues until suddenly stops working. Living in South Florida very dangerous with canals and water should an accident occur. Vehicle stationary parked.

- Miami Springs, FL, USA

problem #79

Jun 262016

Sorento 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
A couple weeks ago, while my car was parked, I went to open the driver's side door and it would not open. I tried unlocking with the fob and with the key in the door, nothing worked. I had to get into my car through the passenger side, now the only way I can get driver's side door to open, is from the inside. Then a few days ago, during a camping trip, I stepped out of my car to retrieve some things from my trunk. At that time, all doors automatically locked. When I tried to open the car doors to retrieve more things (and my two children), the doors wouldn't open, again, it took several attempts before I could finally unlock the car with the key (it took approximately 15 minutes). It's summer time and my young child was sleeping inside the car. This is definitely a safety hazard given the circumstances. About a day later, the airbag light came on, I'm guessing related to this electrical defect. I contacted the dealer, they say these issues wouldn't fall under warranty and that I had to pay $99 diagnosis fee plus repairs (about $200 per door). Please look into this, I found several similar complains online. Kia is not taking any responsibility. Thank you!

- Crescent Springs, KY, USA

problem #78

May 222016


  • miles
Drivers side door on 2011 Kia Sorento will not open from the outside. Inside still works, can hear lock/un-lock but seems like outside latch is stuck in the lock position. Have to either crawl through the car or reach in the window and open from inside. Still have extended warranty on car (82,000 miles) but was still going to cost me $200 to fix it. Why am I paying $200 to fix a handle on a car that is well under warranty. This is a safety issue considering if I get in an accident it hinders the first responders ability to get to me. From what I've read this is an issue a lot of people are having. Kia needs to issue a recall and fix it.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #77

Jun 012016


  • 62,000 miles


Passenger rear door will not open either from the inside or outside. Poses a safety risk as that is the side the baby seat is on.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #76

Apr 242016


  • 88,526 miles
Engine light stays on all the time. Bought used and returned to dealership to repair. They could not get light to go off. Dealership called Kia dealership for info and did all that was told to try installing actuator to repair but to no avail. I purchased master tech when I bought the car. Will a Kia dealership accept master tech as repair payment other than $100 deductible?

- Lavonia, GA, USA

problem #75

May 132016


  • 171,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the front driver side exterior door failed to unlock manually or with the key fob. The contact entered the vehicle through the front or rear passenger side doors. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 171,000.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #74

Apr 012016


  • 60,000 miles
About a month ago I discovered that my air bag light came on. Well apparently I am not the only person that has complained about this. I called my nearest dealership which is in huntsville Alabama to let them know about this problem of course they informed me that there will be a $120 charge just to check to see what is causing this problem, I suppose to have an extended warranty which I feel has expired so therefore the charges are all on me. I did some research only to find that thousands of consumers have complained about the same thing with the same model. I want to know what can we get done about this issue before someone gets injured. Thanks aletha

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #73

Feb 012016


  • 86,800 miles
A few weeks ago my husband went to open the drivers side door and it would not open. He tried unlocking with the fob and with the key in the door. Nothing works. So in order to get inside to drive we either crawl across or start the car from the passenger side, reach over and roll window down. Then walk to drivers side and reach in to open from the inside. I have down research and this is a common problem with Kia vehicles. We called 2 dealerships and were told this is something we will have to pay to fix. Not covered by warranty and not a defect. I find it very hard to believe that it isn't a defect. At this point it is just the drivers door, but I am waiting for the other doors to follow suit as many people have multiple doors that won't open. I feel unsafe in my own car. I don't want to leave the child safety locks engaged as others have had their rear doors not open at all. This is a huge safety issue and it needs to be addressed by Kia as I believe it is a manufacturer defect.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #72

Feb 042016


  • 60,243 miles
The contact owned a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle caught fire without warning. The contact was notified of the fire by a car alarm that sounded from the garage. The contact noticed flashing lights coming from the vehicle upon entering the garage. In addition, the contact noticed flames coming from the rear of the vehicle. The contact called the fire department to extinguish the fire. The vehicle was destroyed. There were no injuries sustained. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 60,243.

- Winneconne, WI, USA

problem #71

Feb 012016


  • 91,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Kia Sorento. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced a loss of power; however, the radio, bluetooth, and exterior lighting still worked. In addition, the vehicle could not be shifted except between neutral or drive. The check engine warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was stopped after being driven into a parking space against a curb. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence where the tow truck driver was able to get the vehicle out of gear into park. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 91,000. Updated 04/08/16

- Anthem, AZ, USA

problem #70

Dec 192015


  • 88,000 miles
Original owner '11 Sorento 4cyl, AWD w/tow package & approx 88K miles. Problem 1st noticed about 2 mos ago when seat belt light began flashing with audible clicking coming from relay behind dash. It was daytime when this happened 1st few times & I could not duplicate problem. This issue seemed to happen after starting car & would go away after a few moments of driving. Releasing & re-connecting seat belt had no effect. The 1st time it happened @ night I realized that the headlights & dash lights would flash on & off also. Still could not duplicate problem, but being a mechanic I watched for it to happen and tried different things to see if they had any effect on the issue. Always would begin after initially starting car, but not do it most times. Then 3 evenings ago, I found it happening every time I would start the car & would even do it afterwards driving down the road. I was 70 miles from home & tried to get back. It didn't matter whether the headlight switch was on, off or auto, it would still flash all lights & seatbelt light w/clicking from relay. On the way home, while driving a rural road, the lights again started blinking on & off causing me to hit a metal pole a drainage ditch thru farmer's fence into his field. Accident pushed metal bumper (behind bumper cover) back about 12", tore the entire front end &lights from car & bent hood back 1 1/2 feet and buckled it upward - all of this without ever deploying the airbag.these problems are prevalent in this car as I have read, but I now have a vehicle which despite it's damage will now duplicate the lights going on & off every time the car is turned on. Have contacted Kia Corp in hopes that they will want to use my car to get to the cause of this issue & finally correct it. As a mechanic I very well understand the need to be able to duplicate problem to find cause..... Kia now has no excuse.

- Harrison, AR, USA

problem #69

Nov 012015


  • miles
The bulbs for the low beam headlights have been "burning out" at the rate of once a month. Last month, the entire assembly plugin to the bulb was melted due to "a poor contact" or short in the wiring". unfortunately they said I need an entire headlight assembly (about a $400 part and $250 labor) as they won┐T just sell the connection plug. Frustrated I found a great mechanic who cut and spliced a new connection plug and it seems to be working. However the concern is that there is still a "short" in the wiring and will eventually do the same thing to the new plug. I have now had the same issue with the other side and am hoping that someone else has found the source of the problem. The other complaint is that this is not covered by the any warranty. There have been numerous complaints about this isse and I stillhave not seen a recall from Kia. This is my 2nd Kia and I am rethinking about buying another unless this issue is resolved.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #68

Dec 022015


  • 106,000 miles
I have a 2011 Kia Sorento, 106,000 miles on it. First I saw a headlight had burnt out, I bought a new one, by the time I got home, it was out again. My mechanic had to replace the wire harness on the passenger side, said the wires were melted. Soon after, as I am driving in the early mornings, I would turn on the right signal and the lights would turn off for 10 second, all the lights, inside, outside, but turn back on. It wouldn't happen every day, but once a week at least. I took it to my mechanic and he was unable to replicate the problem. Today, I touched the bright lever and the car lights inside and outside turned completely off, for about 30 seconds. I was scared to death as it was pitch black out and I couldn't see in front or anywhere and no one could see me. I turned the corner and they again went off, this time longer. Thankfully I was able to get my hazards on so I could pull off the road and people around could see me. I hit the brights again and everything came back on. I drove the rest of the way to work (45 minutes) without using any turn signals or brights. I am scared to death to get back into this car. I travel alot with my 4 grandchildren in the car. There needs to be an immediate recall, as I have seen dozens of people complaining about the same thing. The website directed me to this site. Please help, I am afraid to get in the car now, I travel in the dark every morning 45 min to an hour.

- Lehigh Acres, FL, USA

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