NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2012 Kia Sorento

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2012 Kia Sorento, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Non-crash Vehicle Fires

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP18003

    Component(s): Electrical System
    Electrical System: Battery: Propulsion System
    Electrical System: Instrument Panel
    Electrical System:Alternator/Generator/Regulator
    Electrical System:Battery
    Electrical System:Battery:Cables
    Electrical System:Fuses And Circuit Breakers
    Electrical System:Ignition
    Electrical System:Ignition:Anti-Theft Controller
    Electrical System:Ignition:Module
    Electrical System:Ignition:Switch
    Electrical System:Starter Assembly
    Electrical System:Starter Assembly:Relay
    Electrical System:Starter Assembly:Solenoid
    Electrical System:Wiring
    Electrical System:Wiring: Rear Compartment/Trunk
    Electrical System:Wiring:Front Underhood
    Electrical System:Wiring:Interior/Under Dash
    Engine
    Engine And Engine Cooling
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Cooling System
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Cooling System:Fan
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Cooling System:Hose
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Cooling System:Radiator Assembly
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Gasoline
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Gasoline:Belts

    Summary: In a letter dated June 11, 2018, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a safety defect investigation into non-collision related fires on model year (MY) 2011-2014 Kia Optima and Sorento, and Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe vehicles. In a letter dated July 24, 2018, CAS requested that MY 2010-2015 Kia Soul vehicles be added to the petition. CAS stated that there is a higher number of complaints to NHTSA regarding non-crash fires on these vehicles compared to other similar vehicles. The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) had already opened Recall Queries (RQ17-003 and RQ17-004) on all Kia and Hyundai vehicles equipped with Theta II engines for engine failures that may cause stalling and fires.The queries cover most of the petition subject Optima, Sorento, Sonata, and Santa Fe vehicles but not any of the subject Soul vehicles.On August 21, 2018, ODI opened a Defect Petition (DP18-003) to evaluate whether to grant or deny the CAS petition. ODI sent Information Request letters to Kia and Hyundai (September and October 2018) requesting information on all engine and non-engine related fires in the petition vehicles.ODI performed extensive analysis on the information obtained from Kia and Hyundai. During the DP18-003 analysis, Kia and Hyundai each initiated three additional safety recalls related to engine compartment fires on certain petitioned and non-petitioned vehicles (nearly 740,000 total vehicles: Recalls 18V-907, 18V-934, 19V-101, 19V-063, 19V-120, and 19V-204). Based on ODI-s review of the applicable materials, including responses to Information Requests sent to multiple manufacturers, Vehicle Owner Questionnaires (VOQ), and Early Warning Data, NHTSA decided to grant the petition.The CAS petition was granted on March 29, 2019. Preliminary Evaluations (PE19-003 on Hyundai and PE19-004 on Kia) have been opened to assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of alleged defects relating to non-collision vehicle fires in the 2011-2014 Kia Optima and Sorento, 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe, and 2010-2015 Kia Soul.Attached is a list of the reference numbers for the 404 VOQs cited above.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Scope and Timeliness

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ17003

    • Status:
      PENDING
    • Date Opened: May 18, 2017
    • Date Closed: N/A
    • Recall: No recall yet

    Component(s): Engine

    Summary: On March 31, 2017, Kia Motors America (Kia) filed a Defect Information Report (DIR) recalling 618,160 MY 2011-2014 Optima, MY 2012-2014 Sorento, and MY 2011-2013 Sportage vehicles with "Theta II" engines (Recall No. 17V-224)."Theta II" engines are a family of engines used by both Kia and Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai). Kia's DIR described the defect as an issue involving manufacturing debris as well as a machining process causing an uneven surface roughness which could restrict oil flow within the engine. Previously, on September 10, 2015, Hyundai filed a DIR recalling certain vehicles containing engines from the shared "Theta II" engine family, describing the defect as an issue involving manufacturing debris. Kia's March 31, 2017, DIR stated that Kia did not conduct a recall upon learning of Hyundai's September 2015 recall because Kia's "Theta II" engines were manufactured on a different production line and did not have the same manufacturing issue.This RQ is being opened to investigate both the timeliness and scope of Kia's "Theta II" engine recall, and Kia's compliance with reporting requirements.

  3. INVESTIGATION: Non-crash Vehicle Fires

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE19004

    • Status:
      PENDING
    • Date Opened: March 29, 2019
    • Date Closed: N/A
    • Recall: No recall yet

    Component(s): Electrical System
    Electrical System:Alternator/Generator/Regulator
    Electrical System:Battery
    Electrical System:Battery:Cables
    Electrical System:Ignition
    Electrical System:Ignition:Module
    Electrical System:Ignition:Switch
    Electrical System:Starter Assembly
    Electrical System:Starter Assembly:Relay
    Electrical System:Starter Assembly:Solenoid
    Electrical System:Wiring
    Electrical System:Wiring:Front Underhood
    Electrical System:Wiring:Interior/Under Dash
    Engine
    Engine And Engine Cooling
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Cooling System
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Cooling System:Fan
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Cooling System:Hose
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Cooling System:Radiator Assembly
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Gasoline
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Gasoline:Belts And Associated Pulleys
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Gasoline:Turbo-Charger
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Other Fuel Types:Turbo-Charger
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Exhaust System
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Exhaust System:

    Summary: In a letter dated June 11, 2018, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a safety defect investigation into non-collision related fires on model year (MY) 2011-2014 Kia Optima and Sorento, and Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe vehicles.In a letter dated July 24, 2018, CAS requested that MY 2010-2015 Kia Soul vehicles be added to the petition.CAS stated that there is a higher number of complaints to NHTSA regarding non-crash fires on these vehicles compared to other similar vehicles.The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) had already opened a Recall Query (RQ17-003) on all Kia vehicles equipped with Theta II engines for engine failures that may cause stalling and fires.The query covers most of the petition subject Optima and Sorento vehicles but not any of the subject Soul vehicles.On August 21, 2018, ODI opened a Defect Petition (DP18-003) to evaluate whether to grant or deny the CAS petition.ODI sent Information Request letters to Kia (September and October 2018) requesting information on all engine and non-engine related fires in the petition Kia vehicles.ODI performed extensive analysis on the information obtained from Kia.During the DP18-003 analysis, Kia initiated three additional safety recalls related to engine compartment fires on certain petitioned and non-petitioned vehicles (nearly 500,000 total vehicles: Recalls 18V-907, 19V-101, and 19V-120).Based on ODI-s review of the applicable materials, including responses to Information Requests sent to multiple manufacturers, Vehicle Owner Questionnaires (VOQ), and Early Warning Data, NHTSA has decided to grant the petition.The petition is hereby granted.A Preliminary Evaluation has been opened to assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of alleged defects relating to non-collision vehicle fires in the 2011-2014 Kia Optima, 2011-2014 Kia Sorento, and 2010-2015 Kia Soul. While prior recalls of vehicles covered by this PE have primarily related to engine fires, NHTSA-s Preliminary Evaluation is not limited to engine components and may cover additional vehicle systems or components as well.Attached is a list of the reference numbers for the 244 VOQs cited above.

  4. INVESTIGATION: Spontaneous Sunroof Breakage

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA14002

    • Status:
      PENDING
    • Date Opened: May 12, 2014
    • Date Closed: N/A
    • Recall: No recall yet

    Component(s): Visibility:Sun Roof Assembly

    Summary: On October 21, 2013 the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened PE13-035 in order to further examine claims that the sunroof would spontaneously break on 2011-2013 Kia Sorento vehicles.The majority of these claims occurred while the vehicle was in motion.Glass shattering while driving may distract the driver, and the resulting glass particles which enter the passenger compartment may injure occupants.To date, ODI has received a total of 26 reports of sunroof breakage on the subject vehicles. Of those, 24 occurred while the vehicle was in motion.There were also four (4) injury incident reports for minor cuts/scratches. Kia submitted a total of 123 field incidents related to sunroof breakage in response to ODI's information request. Of this number, ODI identified 78 unique vehicle identification numbers (VINs), with 9 matching ODI complaint vehicles.Sixty of the submitted reports occurred while the vehicle was in motion.Fourteen (14) of the submitted reports alleged minor cuts/scratches from falling glass.Kia also submitted a total of 101 warranty and goodwill claims for sunroof replacement, of which 86 unique VINs were identified.Kia stated in its response that their field inspections identified only one potential cause for the sunroof breakage - external impacts from rocks or other foreign objects encountered while the vehicle was in motion.In the other instances, no evidence of a defect was found, however, Kia's inspection results were inconclusive as to a cause for the breakage.Kia advises that the Sorento sunroofs also have a greater surface area than many other vehicles, potentially making them more susceptible to road debris strikes.While ODI recognizes that the Sorento may be more at risk due to its larger impact area, the rate of ODI reported incidents is concerning.Thus, the investigation has been upgraded to further analyze the scope, frequency, and consequence of these failures.The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification (ODI) numbers: 10345933, 10410440, 10432904, 10453957, 10466987, 10478778, 10492886, 10502219, 10508983, 10514388, 10531972, 10534883, 10553341, 10555931, 10556212, 10562460, 10562516, 10563779, 10564555, 10567351, 10568629, 10572959, 10575487, 10583122, 10583626, 10584650

  5. INVESTIGATION: Panoramic Sunroof Breakage

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE13035

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: October 21, 2013
    • Date Closed: May 21, 2014
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Visibility:Sun Roof Assembly

    Summary: On October 21, 2013 the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened PE13-035 in order to further examine claims that the sunroof would spontaneously break on 2011-2013 Kia Sorento vehicles.The majority of these claims occurred while the vehicle was in motion.Glass shattering while driving may distract the driver, and the resulting glass particles which enter the passenger compartment may injure occupants.To date, ODI has received a total of 26 reports of sunroof breakage on the subject vehicles. Of those, 24 occurred while the vehicle was in motion.There were also four (4) injury incident reports for minor cuts/scratches. Kia submitted a total of 123 field incidents related to sunroof breakage in response to ODI's information request. Of this number, ODI identified 78 unique vehicle identification numbers (VINs), with 9 matching ODI complaint vehicles.Sixty of the submitted reports occurred while the vehicle was in motion.Fourteen (14) of the submitted reports alleged minor cuts/scratches from falling glass.Kia also submitted a total of 101 warranty and goodwill claims for sunroof replacement, of which 86 unique VINs were identified.Kia stated in its response that their field inspections identified only one potential cause for the sunroof breakage - external impacts from rocks or other foreign objects encountered while the vehicle was in motion.In the other instances, no evidence of a defect was found, however, Kia's inspection results were inconclusive as to a cause for the breakage.Kia advises that the Sorento sunroofs also have a greater surface area than many other vehicles, potentially making them more susceptible to road debris strikes.While ODI recognizes that the Sorento may be more at risk due to its larger impact area, the rate of ODI reported incidents is concerning.Thus, the investigation has been upgraded toan Engineering Analysis (EA14-002) to further analyze the scope, frequency, and consequence of these failures.The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification (ODI) numbers: 10345933, 10410440, 10432904, 10453957, 10466987, 10478778, 10492886, 10502219, 10508983, 10514388, 10531972, 10534883, 10553341, 10555931, 10556212, 10562460, 10562516, 10563779, 10564555, 10567351, 10568629, 10572959, 10575487, 10583122, 10583626, 10584650

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