Notes: As long as catastrophic engine failure at under 60,000 miles is the top owner complaint, it'll be pretty hard to recommend the 2012 Sorento.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,448 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.

2012 Kia Sorento engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #65

Mar 092013


  • 6,000 miles


The vehicle grossly lost power and came to a near stop which almost caused collision with vehicles traveling at speed limit behind me. While traveling normally at the posted 55 mph speed the vehicle slowed immediately to nearly moving. This happened multiple times which I reported to the Kia dealer each time. The dealer did not correctly diagnose the problem until after the third report.

- Phoenixville, PA, USA

problem #64

Jul 082016


  • 77,000 miles
Driving 80mph on highway, heard pinging noise from engine, car slowed down and would not accelerate past 60mph. Car suddenly lost all power, power steering and brakes, resulting in a dangerous sudden stall event. Towed car to dealership, was told engine seized and needed a new engine.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #63

Jul 072016


  • 59,000 miles
I was driving my son to school on a city street and stopped at a stop sign then tried to accelerate and all of the lights on the dash began flashing and the car just shut-off. I put my car in park and restarted it. This type of incident has happened twice before and the dealership just tells me to keep bringing it in. They can never find what the problem is.

- Downey, CA, USA

problem #62

May 212016


  • 107,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. While driving out of a parking lot at 5 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the engine failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 107,000. The VIN was not available.

- Marion, MA, USA

problem #61

May 132016


  • 74,000 miles
I purchased the vehicle from drivetime in laurel md on 5/9/16. On 5/10/16 I heard a knocking sound coming from the engine area and the vehicle started pulling wile raddling. On 5/10/16 & 5/11/16 I made the dealer aware of the Kia having engine issues. On 5/13/2016 the car started dragging and wouldn't go above 60mph. Then the car stopped in the middle of 95N going towards ex 43. This was very scary, the wheel locked up and the car lost power so I ended up drifting out of control to the rights side of the road in the middle of rush hour traffic... IżM so lucky to be alive today...this vehicle was in motion on the highway... it sad to know that Maryland inspected and passed that death trap

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #60

Feb 212016


  • 127,000 miles
I was driving about 60 mph down 269 highway when all at once I heard a loud pop like sound and then smoke started going out the tail pipe and then under the hood the car lost all power and stopped. I got out and rasised the hood and it was on fire. Luckely someone one was behind me and had a fire exstinquer and put it out. Called police they would not come out called insurance and they sent a tow truck. We bought this car brand new in 2011 and always kelpt it serviced, they took it to the Kia lot we bought it from and said it was a fire in the bottom of the engine and it would cost $10,000 to fix it we were still paying on it. So the insurance called it a loss. Now we are out car and no money to boot. I had just took my grandbaby home it could of been really bad. I got on the enternet and found several other 2012 Kia Sorentos that had the same problems.

- Adger, AL, USA

problem #59

Jan 302016


  • 41,000 miles


I first bought my vehicle from a used lot still very well condition all service records car fax, etc a few months later I had issues with the system turning lights on an a weird engine noise, I brought it into a Kia delareship only to be laughed at by the service team over the phone because they hadn't realized I had picked up the line, they told me this was all normal fixed the "problems", and sent me on my way out. I called several times after that to tell them I didn't think the engine noise was correct and they told me it was normal wear and tear, a few months later my entire car shut off while on an expressway with my self pregnant and my 2 year old son. It is now at the shop and they are asking for extensive information and service records which I have and are being very odd about my vehicle and when they will know the problem. Please be careful when buying from Kia, I could have been seriously injured with my children. Trading in once the issue or engine if it even gets fixed. Scared to death.

- Nrh, TX, USA

problem #58

Jan 302016


  • 70,000 miles
We were told we had a 10 yr, 100000 mile warranty bumper to bumper in Jan 2012 when we bought the vehicle. Last week the airbag light and engine light came on. We took the car to the local Kia dealership and was told the warranty didn't cover check engine or airbag problems, even though the dealership service department said they would be covered if the unit was under 5 years old. They want $1000+ to fix the engine light problem on the intake manifold and $1400 to fix the airbag problem. Both units should be under warranty. We had a spare tire problem a month after getting the car. The spare tire was bad and they wanted us to buy a new tire. Nothing we have is covered under warranty it seems. We were told the entire airbag system on the car would not operate unless we paid the $1400 to repair the airbag system.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #57

Jan 222016


  • 66,000 miles
@ 66,000 miles, the oil pressure switch, located under the intake manifold, is defective and leaked all the oil out of the engine. You cannot replace the switch/sensor without disassembling the engine. Kia will only cover this repair up to 60,000 miles. An internet search shows this to be a common issue. Additionally, its the same switch that is covered under a recall on the 2011 Kia Sorento. Kia customer relations said I shouldn't believe what I read on the internet yet it was the internet I used to make my decision to purchase their product. The oil pressure switch should be on the same recall as the 2011 recall. Same problem same switch. Due to the location of the switch and what is required to access it, the coverage should be the same as an interior engine part 10 years, 100,000 miles. The oil drained while driving/running, and spilled while sitting stationary due to the design of the engine. The oil pools on what was described as a "valley pan" then dumps when parked.

- Upper Arlington, OH, USA

problem #56

Jan 102016


  • 79,643 miles
We own 2012 Kia Sorento sx, purchased new. The car has 79643 miles. Our family was driving on interstate 84 from boston to Connecticut. The car was driving at 60~65 mph. Suddenly, the car tpm (tire pressure monitoring) came on and within 5~10 second all lights ( traction control/ battery/ all wheel drive) started flashing. It was raining and wiper stopped in middle. All of these events occurred within 10~15 seconds. I pulled over from left lane to center lane. I felt car is losing power with no wipers running. I than pulled over to the breakdown lane ż the car started shaking and engine tuned off. The breaks were hard to press. After the car was turned off - I cannot even move the shifter from drive mode to parking. We called the tow truck and towed the car to Kia of East hartford ( Kia's dealer in ct) I was lucky to pull over without any accident or tragic. This kind of sudden death of car without warning is very dangerous. I called Kia customer service team to report this incidence and they were not even concerned. I reviewed the comment/ complain from other customer about the similar incidence they experienced as well. I request want NHTSA to investigate the matter.

- Cromwell, CT, USA

problem #55

Dec 142015


  • 83,000 miles


I bought my Kia new from the dealership with an extended warranty. It currently has 83000mi on it. When I start it, it is making a rattling noise coming from the engine that only last a few seconds. We took it to the dealer and they are saying it needs a new engine because there are shards of metal in the oil pan. The cost to replace is $6000. The engine light has not come on at any point while owning the SUV, nor has any other light. We have maintained oil changes at every 4000mi or less but we completed all oil changes and filter changes our self. The master mechanic stated that there was no sludge in the engine and the engine looked to be well taken care of. The extended warranty is not wanting to cover the cost of the repair. We are still waiting to see what the dealership is going to do.

- Edmonton, KY, USA

problem #54

Oct 112015


  • 129,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. While driving at approximately 65 mph, a loud banging noise emitted from the engine. After stopping the vehicle and lifting up the hood, the contact discovered smoke, oil and a small flame coming from the engine. The flame self extinguished. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the vehicle had experienced a catastrophic engine failure. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufactured was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 129,000. The VIN was not available. Updated 02/02/16

- West Roxbury, MA, USA

problem #53

Sep 182015


  • 43,000 miles
Friday 9/18/15 10:40 am, backing out of parking spot slowly into a road. Engine suddenly failed, engine light came on, and the brakes completely failed. Was able to restart the car and park it again, but brakes still failed and had to use the emergency brake and the curb and tree at curb to stop vehicle. Towed to ed voyles Kia on peachtree industrial blvd in atlanta who found no record of the incident in computer and that all diagnostics were normal and they couldn't reproduce the problem, so there was nothing they could do. I sent them this link with others experiencing similar issues and told rep about others' then had it towed to cobb county Kia in kennessaw, ga. They maintained neglect on our part B/C oil level was at 0 (previous dealership saw no problem here), engine had major sludge and particles of metal in it, needed full engine replacement for $6500 didn't make sense with our regular oil changes and didn't explain the brake failure, though rep said it did. Had it towed to aaa car care plus in marietta. Could not reproduce the issue and said the car, including the engine, was in great shape, was full of all fluids. Mechanic also said that there were 0 records on computer and that one of dealerships likely wiped it completely clean. Have rented a car in meantime because my, my husband's, my two kids' and other drivers and pedestrians safety would be compromised. Other comments online mention problem more than once, some on the highway. Also remembered that my husband had had trouble starting the car a couple of months back, with no lights coming on at all. He got the battery checked out, and he was told it was fine. We relayed this to the mechanics too, but they seemed not to acknowledge the info. We cannnot and will not drive the car until it's resolved.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #52

Aug 032015


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. While driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The engine was replaced, but the failure recurred after 10,000 miles of being driven. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was informed that the engine needed to be replaced for a second time. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #51

Sep 082015


  • 95,038 miles
While driving on I95 we began hearing a noise from the engine. It was faint at first, just a pinging that would happen when we pushed the accelerator down. We just had an oil change at 94,000 miles so knew our oil level was good. The faint noise grew steadily louder over the next 30 minutes and we pulled off the highway and into a service/gas station. The mechanics came out when they heard us pull up. They knew almost immediately that it was catastrophic engine failure and would need major repairs if not a rebuild. The Kia dealer is going to confirm today, but I beileve that it is an engine connection pin that broke. We were told we were lucky it did not break and puncture the engine block while we were driving.

- Gorham, ME, USA

problem #50

Jul 162015


  • 48,000 miles
Upon arrival at my destination the car would not turn off. I had to press the ignition off button several time before the car would shut off. There were times would have to sit in the car about 5-7 minutes trying to get the car to turn off.

- Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #49

Aug 072014


  • 44,516 miles
My 2012 Kia Sorento was running fine, no warning whatsoever. I was on the highway when I heard a flutter noise that turned into a knocking sound. Had the car towed to dealer. Tow truck driver started the car and drove it approximately 60 ft to a parking spot. I was told by the dealer I had catastrophic engine failure and that the engine was seized tight (which was not true at all) due to neglect. I have provided Kia Corp. And the dealer with all of the service records as well as the oil purchase receipts, oil filter receipts and oil change records. Oil changes were performed to what Kia's manual suggests. I have done research and have found numerous Kia owners with the exact same issue I had. Their complaints are almost exactly word for word what happened to my Kia. Something needs to be done about this...most Kia owners had this catastrophic engine failure happen on the highway or when their teenagers were driving. Kia has a class action law suit against them for this very reason. Please do something before someone really gets hurt. I was very lucky there was not a lot of traffic and was able to get off of the highway. If there were traffic and I was not able to get off of the highway.. it could gave resulted in much worse. Please I am begging you to do something about this. I have came across so many people in stores, restaurants, and dealers while looking for another car to be able to get my child to and from school, football, etc. I still have a loan on my Kia and now have another loan because this issue. Kia has based my warranty repair on pictures the dealer took. They absolutely refuse to listen to me nor help me. I begged and pleaded with them to look further into it and they wanted nothing to do with it. Then I was told there was nothing else they could do and I needed to get my car off of their lot.

- Townsend, MA, USA

problem #48

Apr 242015


  • miles
This is the third time that the 2012 Kia Sorento has surged on its own when stopped with the engine running. If you don't have your foot on the brake the car will run away.

- Bellingham, WA, USA

problem #47

Apr 212015


  • 113,000 miles
While driving down highway at 55 miles per hour with a semi tractor trailer behind me. My Kia Sorento just shut off. I just pulled over on the side of the highway in time so I wouldn't get hit by the semi. It took me about 6 hours to get my car home. I was out in where there wasn't a garage or nothing around. After getting it home and jump start the battery it started. Then on 4/22/15 I was taking my wife to a appointment and it did the same thing and the engine is knocking before it shut off going done highway. I bought this Kia used with 52,000 miles on it in July 2014. Have extended warranty for 6 months or 36000. Well 6 months is passed and now I am struck with this problem. Called dealer where I got it. They wont help. I hope that you can help me with this problem because it is a dangerous thing that the car just shut off driving down highway. I am paying for a car that is faulty and they mislead you on the mileage to. Only get 20-23 at 55 miles per hour. Not now 30 or so like they say. I hope you can help me. I still have to get my car yet. It is getting pricey to keep a car that suppose to be good car. Thank you [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Grandvalley, PA, USA

problem #46

Apr 062015


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Sorento. While driving at 70 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The failure only occurred once. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The vehicle was diagnosed, but there was no failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 36,000.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

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