really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
21,032 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 Soul drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Kia Soul Owner Comments

problem #9

Mar 152013


  • 68,000 miles


Bought wife brand new 2012 Kia Soul in 2012. Got standard transmission. At around 20K I noticed a squeal coming from the vehicle when the clutch was completely disengaged, by that I mean vehicle running foot completely off clutch. I presumed it was a throw out bearing. Took it to local mechanic and he agreed. So I took it to local Kia dealer. Bought vehicle in denton Texas, but had moved 7 hours South to corpus christi area. When I took it to Kia in corpus I got the run around. Yes of course they could hear it but everything was working mechanically. So I was basically told too bad. Wife really wanted the Soul. And now I have to tell her Kia doesn't care if it makes embarrassing noises while she's driving, just as long as I'm making the payments. Throw out bearings are not supposed to squeak or squeal. That noise is metal on metal friction, the energy it takes to make that noise has to be made by some sort of fuel. In this case it's metal rubbing on metal in a fashion that causes an unbearable amount of pressure until something finally gives prematurely. Wife decided she would do her best to ignore it. And just enjoy her new car. Here we are 2015. Has made that horrible noise all these years. We both despise the vehicle and Kia in general for the lack of ethics. Last month she was driving behind a work truck and the work truck had a major malfunction. Front passenger tire broke off of the truck at the upper and lower ball joints. The assemble flew back and smashed into my wife's car. The guys insurance claimed his responsibility. They had the vehicle at allen samuels for 5 weeks. Picked it up last night. Throw out bearing is unbearably loud and new squeal as well. Body shop said not their problem. Should have replaced it when I first heard it. They replaced whole front right of vehicle, but didn't touch loud new squeal.

- Port Aransas, TX, USA

problem #8

Sep 012015


  • 63,000 miles
Before applying brake pedal upon several occasions was able to shift vehicle from park to drive just by depressing shifter. Several trips to dealer and they could not duplicate problem.

- Elyria, OH, USA

problem #7

Feb 272012


  • 100 miles
My Kia Soul 2012 has a noise at cold start that last 15 to 20 second, it feel like some thing loose. Dealer at sahara, las vegas Nevada had it for three times and 4 days each time and the first time they said was the timing tensioner and they replaced, but noise still there so they have two times more and at the end the said the noise is the oil pump, os if it was the oil pump why they replace the timing tensioner ? the noise still every day in the morning, plus smelling gas by the motor and infest the whole garage, so I took it to dealer at henderson, Nevada cause I found oil leaking by ocv ( oil control valve, so they replace two ocv and still leak oil, so I realized looking deeply that first two injectors are leaking gas, mixing with oil. They asked if oil got on the garage floor and when I said : no yet, so they said can not do any thing. So, the services manager there just put all this information to see if a person from manufacture or some one higher than then can look it up. I think when they replace timing tensioner they did not put right the liquid gasket, cause I see the leaking from that place. I have those problem since I bough the car and I waste my time three times 4 or 5 days each without my car, cause they don't rent cars or even give you one to move.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #6

Mar 142014

Soul 4-cyl

  • 16,000 miles


The first time that this happened I was driving and was attempting to change lanes and I stepped on the gas pedal to speed up and the car hesitated after a few seconds I had power again. When the car did engage a big thick cloud of white smoke came out of the tailpipe.the second time this happen was on 5/25/2014 my wife was on a ramp trying to get on the interstate going about 30-40mph, there was a vehicle coming so she let off the gas pedal than when there was an opening she stepped on the gas pedal again and there was no power. After several seconds the car finally engaged and accelerated causing a big thick cloud of white smoke come out of the tail pipe.

- Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #5

Aug 312013

Soul 4-cyl

  • 11,230 miles
8-31-13 is the first time I went into the dealership to complain about the car accelerating when I would first start the car up in the garage and then when I was driving it would jerk into another gear. They reset the adaptive learning system. 10-9-13, is the 2nd time I went to dealership with the similar situation, but the car would seem like it was shifting from 1st to 2nd while I was actually driving. They checked transmission fluid levels and they thought it was low (they told me this is nonserviceable area and they had to access the cover which is bolted). They filled the transmission fluid and said to watch and check next time I have an oil change. 10-11-13, on way to work, car was being driven to work (30-45 mph, city driving) when it seemed like it was holding its breath, ,,suddenly downshifted on it's own. Got to office. When leaving for the day, car was jerking as it was shifting from first to 2nd and seemed to not engage properly. Happened a couple of times at speeds less than 40 mph. Then noticed the equivalent of a check engine light came on and stayed on. Called dealership before I got home and asked if I could come in first thing in the morning. Will be taking to dealership in morning. This is similar situation that someone else previously reported to this site on 8-10-13 for Kia Soul 2012.

- Sandy Springs, GA, USA

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problem #4

Aug 012013

Soul 4-cyl

  • 29,400 miles
Vehicle with an automatic transmission is experiencing a violent shift from first gear to second gear under gentle acceleration and a lag in the shift where the engine races from 2nd to 3rd as if it was caught between gears. This is an intermittent problem that mainly seems to occur under gentle acceleration in traffic.

- Kingsland, GA, USA

problem #3

Mar 232012


  • 100 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Kia Soul. The contact stated that once shifted into park, the vehicle automatically unlocked all of the doors. The contact believed the failure to be a safety issue since the feature was unable to be turned off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the vehicle was performing to standards and that they were unable to alter the design of the vehicle. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100 and the current mileage was 1,200.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #2

Mar 272012


  • 600 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Soul. The contact was driving 60 mph when the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was restarted but the failure recurred as the contact was attempting to drive uphill. The contact took the vehicle to a dealer for a diagnostic test. The dealer stated to the contact that the vehicle needed a software update. The failure mileage was 600.

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #1

Nov 232011


  • 860 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Kia Soul. The contact was driving approximately 40 mph when the transmission downshifted and caused the vehicle to decelerate abnormally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised that they were unable to duplicate the failure. This failure recurred at least three times since the purchase of the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified who advised that they could not repair a vehicle that the dealer was unable to diagnose. The failure mileage was 860.

- Beacon, NY, USA

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