really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
91,250 miles
Total Complaints:
47 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace engine (25 reports)
  2. not sure (8 reports)
  3. new engine (7 reports)
  4. has not been fix (5 reports)
  5. rebuild engine (2 reports)
2016 Kia Sorento engine problems

engine problem

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2016 Kia Sorento Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #47

Aug 162022

Sorento GDI 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,345 miles


I’ve had TWO engines fail on me now. The first engine was replaced in August of 2022. The second time my engine failed was the same reason it failed the first fkn time. The rings in my engine quit doing their damn job. There has been SO much stress with this car, it’s worse than my ex.

- Riley P., Magnolia, US

problem #46

Jan 172024

Sorento EX 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

I'll just say, this has not been a pleasant situation and expect Kia to do the right thing and stand behind the vehicles. Second Kia Sorento I have purchased brand new from Shawnee Mission Kia and have no plans to make my next purchase a Kia given the service does not match up with the sales.

They know and knew about this engine issue and yet they did nothing to fix it before selling these to customers. If the 2.4 engine has already been deemed crap, what in the world is taking so long to see that these 3.3l engines are the same material defects and stop this madness.

- Jennifer G., Raymore, MO, US

problem #45

Jan 102024

Sorento EX 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,500 miles

Temp gauge started going berserk from hot to cold, with coolant spitting out through the reservoir overflow. Took it to the Kia dealership and they stated that the head bolts failed and warped the heads. They said they need to replace an engine, but need approval from the district manager to get an engine if they even have it. This is ridiculous, they also told me Kia prematurely sent out those letters claiming that Kia corporate sent them out too early and we have to wait. Last time I purchase a KIA, dealership is rude and doesn't want to honor what corporate sent out.

- Huey F., Minneapolis, MN, US

problem #44

Jul 222023

Sorento 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 166,000 miles


I bought my car back in 2020 and only had it for 2 weeks and the engine blew up. I took it in and told them about it and they said I didn't have a warranty and I fought them about it. They ended up taking it and putting another used engine in it. I have many problems with this car since I got it and I have put nothing but money into it bc they didn't offer me any kind of warranty. Just a couple of months ago my oil needed to be changed once a month even when I didn't drive it much. Come to find out my car was going thru a qt of oil on a week. Took it to the dealership and they said I needed a new engine and there isn't a recall or a warranty on it. No light came on for the oil. My engine is done for.

- aherm0512, New Carlisle, US

problem #43

May 152023

Sorento EX 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 71,000 miles

I previously reported here that my 2016 Sorento engine seized and Kia dealer agreed to replace it.

However, this issue is that Kia WILL NOT PAY FOR A RENTAL CAR.

Kia dealer Will have the car for 4 MONTHS (May - Sept '23) and are only offering 10 DAYS of rental car coverage.

If I keep the rental, it will be over $4k on my credit card.

Kia Consumer Center says they have "no policy" on this and cannot advise yes or no if Kia will cover a rental. Surprisingly, if they do, I can only submit a claim for reimbursement after the car is fixed.

How can those of us in this situation escalate this to Kia will reimburse rental cars????

- Carole M., Raleigh, US

problem #42

May 152023

Sorento EX 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 71,000 miles

2016 Kia Sorento.71k miles.

Engine seized just after I got off the highway. No lights, no warnings. Had experienced low oil over the past year, which is another Kia class action suit. One day there would be plenty of oil, a few days later, hardly any on the stick. I loved this car until this happened, now that I'm reading all the issues, I have no faith in Kia. They've blown it in the US market.

Will report another issues on next report.

Kia dealer agreed to install new engine, but they will have the car for 4 MONTHS and are only offering 10 DAYS of rental car coverage. It I keep the rental, it will be over $4k on my credit card. Kia Consumer Center says they have "no policy" on this and cannot advise yes or no if Kia will cover a rental. Surprisingly, if they do, I can only submit a claim for reimbursement after the car is fixed.

Update from Jul 8, 2023 Engine started sputtering/acting strangely just after I got off the highway. No lights, no warnings. Spent $1400 at a specialized shop for fuel injection cleaning, etc, and during their test drive, the engine seized. Kia dealer agreed to install new engine.

I’d experienced low oil over the past year, which is another Kia class action suit. One day there would be plenty of oil, a few days later, hardly any on the stick. I spent $ checking if there was an oil leak; no.

I loved this car until this happened, now that I'm reading all the issues, I have no faith in Kia. They've blown it in the US market.

Will report another issue on next report.

- Carole M., Raleigh, US

problem #41

Apr 222023

Sorento LX 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,928 miles


I became the proud owner of a 2016 Kia Sorento LX 3.3L, which I got from Jerry Smith KIA in Burlington, Washington, in February 2020. This car has received prompt service for every maintenance item at the dealership where I bought it. Other than the expected wear and tear, I have never experienced any unneeded problems with the car. It's driven 143928 miles. I had no warning what so ever that there was an issue with the motor.

I had the car inspected and had the regular oil changed on April 20th, 2023, and everything was fine. On April 22, 2023, I drove the Kia while out to dinner with my daughter and her friends. On the way home, however, after dropping the girls off, the car cut out and died, but I was still able to make it to the side of the road. The engine knocked like a rod and wouldn't stay turned over for more than ten seconds when I tried to start the car again. All the dash lights lit up and engine sounded like a rattle can.

I had the car towed the following morning to the dealership where I have it serviced. After a week, they were able to identify the problem. It appears that the engine's bearings failed. They estimated that a replacement engine would cost $18,000. The vehicle has a negative equity of $13,000, which is too high for me to trade in. Spending that much money on it is not worthwhile. It is currently yard art in my driveway. Despite my attempts to rectify the situation, I am still left with a sense of dissatisfaction and regret over this purchase. It's a lesson learned, but one that comes at a steep cost.

It is concerning that KIA is selling these used vehicles without disclosing the necessary upgrade to prevent the motor from failing. The knock sensor is a crucial component in ensuring the longevity of the engine, and it is negligent of the company to overlook this issue. It puts the consumer at risk of costly repairs and potential safety hazards on the road. It also raises questions about KIA's ethical standards and their commitment to providing reliable vehicles to their customers. It is important for consumers to be aware of this issue and demand transparency from car manufacturers when purchasing used vehicles. KIA should take responsibility for their oversight and take steps to rectify the situation for their customers' safety and satisfaction.

- Amy B., Granite Falls, US

problem #40

Apr 282023

Sorento LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,269 miles

My motor is knocking. We replaced spark plugs, ignition coils, fuel injectors, etc. It runs better but it still is knocking. It had a fuel leak and it looked like some oil was in my coolant. I saw several recalls but my vin was not apart of those recalls even though the issues the mechanic said I had was on the recalls. I think KIA should just close shop. I will never buy from them again. I was told that it would be better just to get a new motor or another car AND he strongly suggest me to get out of this car.

My house is being built and I’m under mortgage loan negotiation so I can't until I close on my house in September. My oldest sister has the same car, different year and her engine was replace due to the recall. My baby brother also has the same car, different year and has the same issues, but like mine .. isn’t on the recall list.

- Latina D., Durham, NC, US

problem #39

Apr 082023

Sorento EX AWD 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,300 miles

I have a 2016 Kia Sorento EX AWD V6. It has been regularly serviced and had only had regular wear and tear issues. I had driven the car on the highway for about 2 hours and had exited and was driving on city streets when suddenly I smelled coolant. Then, steam came through the vents and the car started running hot. I stopped driving thinking it was just a radiator hose.

I had the car towed to a service shop and they told me the engine was completely shot. Coolant had mixed with the oil, the oil had metal shavings, my engine block heads were warped, and the head gasket was blown. They said I needed a new engine and new cooling system. The total repairs were over $15,000! I am not paying for this and am challenging Kia to take care of this latent issue. I am also looking at joining some of the class actions around engine failures. This is something Kia knows about and it should have proactively sought to fix these issues before customers suffered catastrophic failures. Thankfully, I was not on the highway when this happened.

Update from Jun 17, 2023: I just wanted to share this Canada case that may be helpful for all that suffered engine failures of Kia Sorentos or other Kias with Lambda, Theta, or Nu engines.


- devil94, Brookhaven, US

problem #38

Feb 202023

Sorento LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Noticed check engine light on, off, then on again. Within 2 days went to local mechanic shop 1. Ignition Coil causing check engine light (I think he said #3). Shop 1 did the following: 6 sparks plugs, replaced Delphi Engine Coil, oil change, 2 Gal Coolant, check for leak, replaced thermostat, cleaned throttle bay. Notes: think blown head gasket (fan operates normal, heat not working when idol). Need to take to shop that has more capabilities to diag. further. Cost $700

Took to local shop 2. End result - blown head gasket - not able to repair - need engine replacement.

Feeling bamboozled. Contact Kia Customer Service with Case, but need official "Kia dealer" to do anything with complaint. After Kia dealership shop looked at car Cause:


Kia contacted me stated: Although no recall on this V6 engine -- They need to do further analysis to determine root cause. The technician stated that coolant is leaking from the head gasket. He stated it is specifically leaking from the back end of the head. This is an internal leak, so you may have never seen physical coolant leaking from the vehicle since it is happening within the engine.

As for the stripping, we would be removing the cylinders from the head and looking into the engine. This is not something that can be diagnosed properly unless teardown is completed. You would not be able to see the stripping without getting into the engine. The stripping in the cylinders would have caused the leak. That is why we are trying to confirm if the cylinders are stripped. If they are, Kia is willing to cover 50% of the cost of the engine. The $1,280.00 for tear down would be put toward the 50% of the engine cost, as long as it is pertaining to the stripping. You would not pay that on top of the cost of the engine replacement. I approved the additional cost it is. gamble. I hope that is the case.

Opened Kia Consumers Case# 15343460 Kia Dealership in Mesquite also created a tech line case

- Holly Jacobs R., Dallas, TX, US

problem #37

Apr 142022

Sorento LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,359 miles


We bought a brand new 2016 KIA Sorento in 2017. It was a new model as the 2017 models were coming to the show room floor. Wife drives long distances for work so she puts miles on cars.

The KIA was great in every way, never a single problem until the Engine failure occurred unexpectedly around 115000 miles. Regular oil changes and services were always applied. I did have to start keeping a check on the oil level as I discovered that the oil levels were a low upon scheduled oil services (which is another known issue with the 4cyl version of the Sorento). The crazy thing is not even a month before the engine failure happened is when we received the KIA Motor Lifetime Warranty extension letter informing us about the possibility of the issue.

About a month after that my wife was driving home from work and called me telling me the car started making a horrible noise then shut off leaving her stranded. I pretty much knew what the problem was since I was aware from the KIA documentation of the engine failure issues. We had the car towed to the dealership where we purchased it new (KIA of Anderson South Carolina) and let the technicians do their inspection.

The KIA warranty did replace our engine at no cost to us and KIA of Anderson was absolutely great about the entire ordeal. Sure, it was a major inconvenience being without our car for a few months, but with a brand-new motor, respectful service reps and KIA stating that the car will have a lifetime engine warranty for the same issue is a good thing. At least KIA stepped up, noted the problem, informed the consumers and willingly repaired or replaced the engines. I've owned other brand vehicles with known problematic issues that the manufacturers have ignored and left us with high repair bills. So, in my opinion, at least KIA did the right thing and stand to make the any issue right with no money from my pocket.

- Josh B., Liberty, US

problem #36

Oct 152022

Sorento EX 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,300 miles

Just a mess! Traveling to ATL, when we get to Aiken GA, right before Augusta, 1:30 in the morning, my Engine began to die. My temperature needle never moved ( it stayed in the middle). The engine light never came on. All of a sudden we began to see the smoke from the rear and from under the hood, it was overheating. We made it to the Kia dealer in Augusta, after they looked at it 8:00 am and said My engine was gone and it would cost me $9K to repair. I have to replace the engine of a car, that never gave a single warning sign until it would not accelerate after giving it gas and began to decelerate. There was no check oil sign, nothing!!

Now in order to get my car back on the road, I have to replace the engine. I have only had this car for 6 years!! Never having engine problems. I kept my oil changed on schedule and had just taken it in to the Kia dealer on that Tuesday to get it ready for the road, they said everything still looks good and topped off all my fluids.

I called Kia Motors and of course my car is over warranty @ 127,300 miles, no recalls on my engine, I have been calling and researching and all I get is, I will have to replace my engine. When I called the Kia dealership where I bought it . I was told They No Longer Make the 2016 Sorento Engine, and it would have to be put together if they can find all the parts and it would cost around $8,900.

I am so done with this issue and not having transportation for the last 30 days. I will never buy another Kia or trust their sales pitch of standing behind their product. Hyundai is a Korean car/engine as well. I heard some people were having the same problems and just replaced the engines for the customers. Kia on the other hand not so much standing behind their engines, especially knowing the 2016 Sorento are having problems with the engines. Please someone let me know if there is help out there. Thanks

- Tondra H., Newport News, VA, US

problem #35

Dec 112022

Sorento SXL V6 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles

Check engine light came on and vehicle started running rough. Drove to shop and the care had only 1.5qts of oil in the engine. Oil light never came on. No flicker, no nothing. Engine was toast by the time the heck engine light came on. Kia dealership checked it and said it was excess oil consumption, but would not be covered under any recall or warranty extension. If oil light had worked, engine would still be working too.

- tarbell, Signal Mountian, US

problem #34

Sep 162022

Sorento L 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,500 miles

On May 18, 2022, I financed a 2016 Kia Sorento for $16,1991 from your Gillman Honda Fort Bend location. After only 4 months the engine in the Kia Sorento has locked up after losing significant power while being driven. Thankfully, no one was harmed, simply immediately inconvenienced, and now having a recall repair denied by Kia, although the vehicle falls in the Theta II Class Action Settlement, which was finalized in 2021.

As of today, I know more about Kia defects and the Theta II Class Action Settlement than I would have ever wanted to know. Most importantly, what I know, is although my vehicle is eligible for the Theta II Class Action Settlement, it does not qualify for repairs because it does not have the KSDS (Knock Sensor Detection Software) upgrade. Since having my car towed in, everyone has passed the buck, while leaving me without a vehicle to drive. Honda says the responsibility lies with Kia. Kia’s Consumer Affairs says the vehicle should have a powertrain warranty because it was purchased Certified Pre-Owned (CPO). Gillman Honda (Fort Bend) now says that they cannot certify any vehicle that is not a Honda product; although when I made my purchase, I was led to believe the car was a CPO vehicle. The service department at Fort Bend Kia, says the CPO warranty does not extend to used vehicles, repairs under the Theta II Settlement are denied because recalls were not performed on the car, and now we will have to rely on the mercy of MasterTech warranty to cover the cost of an estimated $8K - $12K repair that is obviously caused by a defect in the manufacturer’s product, as evidenced by the multiple similar reports of owners on the NHTSA website, as well as the related settlement. Speaking with MasterTech today, they have advised if sludge is found in the engine the claim will be denied. Here is where the issue gets even deeper. The reason for the Theta II Class Action Settlement had to do with the defective engine, not only failing, but failing because of "sludge" in the engine and other faulty manufacturing issues.

There are more than a couple of failures here. If Honda is going to sell other manufacturer’s products, as the professionals in the business, Honda should do their due diligence to ensure the vehicles they are reselling do not have any open recalls or campaign improvements. Due diligence should not stop at doing an online search of the VIN number because I discovered myself, the VIN number for the car I purchased at your Fort Bend location, does not register any recalls with NHTSA or Kia themselves. However, when speaking to the service department of Fort Bend Kia, I was told the vehicle had 2 recalls that had not been serviced – one being the engine of the 2016 Kia Sorento.

When I called Fort Bend Kia to advise them of the engine failure, they immediately told me to take the car to Kia because the problem was more than likely a recall. I feel they were aware of this lawsuit and recall issue at the time of selling me the vehicle. I have called several times, as well as emailed and I have not received a call back, nor an email or been offered a resolution.

- vposey, Eagle Lake, US

problem #33

Mar 262022

Sorento ex awd 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Just purchased car used from my daughter, and as this is pushing $10,000 I tried to contact Kia for some kind of assistance. Kia is impossible to contact - I sent an EMAIL to the (consumer@kia.com) address where I was directed. From there it was forwarded to a non existent address (rfc822:consumer@kia.com) which bounced it back to me.

Original-Recipient: rfc822;consumer@kia.com

Final-Recipient: rfc822;consumer@kia.com

Action: failed

Status: 5.1.10

Diagnostic-Code: smtp;550 5.1.10 RESOLVER.ADR.RecipientNotFound; Recipient not found by SMTP address lookup

- Gary C., Arlington, US

problem #32

May 012022

Sorento LX Theta Ii 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

We have had issues with this car since we have purchased it. From transmission work to a total replacement of the AC, it has been an unreliable money pit with only 67,000 miles on it. The engine has never run smoothly, but mechanics have never been able to pinpoint the exact issue. Most recently, it left us stranded out of state with our very young children on the side of the highway. All the lights on the dash came on and the engine completely quit in 65 MPH highway traffic. Then it started to smoke. It was scary. We had to take a (super expensive) Uber from Richmond, VA to Raleigh, NC because we couldn't find a rental car on a Sunday. It was awful.

It has now been at the Kia Dealership for 5 weeks. First, we were told it was the pistons. Then our extended warranty company was told that it was piston rings only. Today, Kia Consumer Affairs was told that it was a second cylinder failure. The dealership says that we need a totally new engine because they do not "do engine work" at the KIA DEALERSHIP. Our outside extended warranty will only pay for the rings but we cannot find a mechanic that will do just that part. And, I highly doubt that would fix the engine anyway - it's truly garbage.

According to Kia, our engine qualifies for the Theta II Class action settlement. However, we only qualify if the bearing rods are problematic but we can't even figure that out because the dealership stopped at the piston rings with the leak-down test. The car is truly not safe to drive, but Kia will do absolutely nothing even though the engine has been rough and knocky the entire time we have owned it. Because the mechanics could never pinpoint the issue, it could not be repaired. Now we are 7,000 past the manufactures warranty with a car that was never right. I was told that I could submit a claim that would be reviewed on a case by case basis by Kia but we have heard nothing.

As the situation now stands, we have two young children and we both work outside of the home. We are hemorrhaging money on a rental car because we need two vehicles to get us to work and the kids to school. We always use Kia Dealerships because we assumed the dealership would provide the more quality service, but we have made no progress whatsoever. Kia as a business is their first priority over the customer. This has been a time consuming mess and we will never buy another Kia.

- Brook Z., Apex, NC, US

problem #31

Mar 312022

Sorento ex awd 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Heater started blowing cold air, popped hood and noticed bubbling in coolant recovery tank. Contacted Kia and as I am 2nd owner, I was told the 100k warranty is invalid, no coverage. Took car to my mechanic who diagnosed head gasket, on rear head had failed. He pulled engine and when he loosened bolts to remove head, discovered 4 head bolts were finger tight, surrounding the spot where the head gasket failed. He called dealership for repair kit for stripped head bolt holes and was informed nothing works, they have to replace the engine block (they suggested new engine). He called other engine repair companies nearby and was told same thing. They are trying to find an engine now and estimate so far is over $12,000...

Update from Mar 5, 2024: After a bunch of searching for a replacement engine and being disappointed with KIA. I ok'd my mechanic to pull the engine and send it to a rebuild shop in CA that he recommended. After the elapsed estimated rebuild time the mechanic made many many calls and sent emails to the rebuild shop with NO replies. My Repair shop kept trying for weeks then gave up. My repair shop called me, pretty upset, and said "Engine is gone time to find another". Finally tracked one down in Wisconsin that was certified low mileage so I am assuming it wasn't from the defective '2016 3.3l run'. Basic engine replacement cost me around $10k but before installation and while replacement engine was out we replaced the water pump and timing chain sprockets and guides and a few other things that may go wrong someday. Total out of pocket was about $12k and about 5 months of no car. I've put around 15k miles on the car since this horror story and the car is doing great, which is too bad, from the standpoint that I will never buy a KIA again just because of the treatment by KIA. I have kids and grandkids and they all saw this so I'm guessing that KIA is pretty low on their vehicle buying list too....

- Gary C., Arlington, US

problem #30

Jan 192022

Sorento ES 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

My engine locked up due to the vehicle running out of oil. While it may have been 8,000-10,000 mile since my last oil change, I was never alerted to a problem. No warning or caution lights came on, and I was not notified that an oil change was required. I also never noticed an oil leak. There were no spots in my driveway or any other place I parked.

While driving, the car shut off and would not start. Once towed to a shop, I was informed the problem was there was no oil and the engine had locked up. My extended warranty company (EZ Care) said they would not cover the repair because of my lake of maintenance records. This is now costing my roughly $9,000 to replace the engine, due to a failure of being notified.

- Wayne W., Lusby, MD, US

problem #29

Jan 092022

Sorento 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles

My engine is blown and Kia says it was a piston ring failure. There is a lengthy history of engine problems on this model. A class action lawsuit resulted in a lifetime extended warranty on the drive train. However, I'm finding 100's of cases of people with 2016 Kia blown engines and Kia saying the cause isn't due to the lawsuit issue (rods and main cylinder). There needs to be another class action lawsuit against Kia for knowingly ignoring major engine failures!

- H L., Missouri City, TX, US

problem #28

Jan 062022

Sorento LX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

My 2016 Kia Sorento shifter got stuck in park and the only way to release it was to use shift release, then about 15 minutes later my car completely died driving down the road...

After 3 weeks of trying to figure out what it is, my mechanic thinks it is engine failure... Kia won't do anything because apparently the NO KNOCK sensor was never installed.

How do you sell these piece of s*** vehicle for SOOOOO much money just to have them die before 60,000 miles??? They pride themselves on dependability - Yah, right... never again will I buy a Kia!!!

- ArchiesInc J., Peru, ME, US

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