really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
17,608 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.

1998 Kia Sportage drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 1998 Kia Sportage:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

1998 Kia Sportage Owner Comments

problem #9

Dec 042004

Sportage 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,475 miles


Driving uphill in one inch of snow the axel hubs on the front of vehicle did not engage causing the loss of control of the steering, sliding sideways and backwards to a stop. The parts replaced were as follows: Axel hub seals, axel bearings, upper ball joint, vacuum line and realignment of front end.

- Wenatchee, WA, USA

problem #8

Mar 262003

Sportage 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
After getting stuck in snow found that 4 wheel drive wasn't engaging - mechanic said due to someone over packing components with grease and a part put in backwards there was no way the 4 wheel drive was engaging. So essentially we haven't had 4 wheel drive since we purchased our vehicle in 2000. After the part was installed properly 4WD was engaging. May 16th brought in vehicle due to grinding noise in front wheel hub. Mechanic found 4WD hub rust filled and bad, bearings all rusted out, vacuum hoses to the back of the spindle broken both sides. Both front wheels had same problem. In checking your complaints on file there are many for the same problem, same year and vehicle.

- New Ipswich, NH, USA

problem #7

Apr 022001


  • miles
Continuation part 3...very slowly, there was a terrible crunching or grinding metal on metal noise when the vehicle was slowed down (not the brakes), the was a horrible groan sound when the vehicle accelerates on the freeway, there was something wrong with the hubs on the vehicle, and the vehicle would stall at any given time. When I picked the vehicle up from the dealer after being out of service for 8 consecutive days, the dealer stated that they duplicated each and every concern and addressed them all. Exactly 1 week later, the check engine light came back on and the vehicle died on me at the mall. I called a tow truck and had to get the battery boosted since something that the dealer did electrically was improper. I made it back home but was unsure whether or not I could make it to work the next day with a weal battery. Sure enough, the vehicle did not start in the morning. I immediately called the dealer, and they sent a tow truck to my house to pick up this lemon. After another 5 days out of service, I picked the vehicle up and was advised that there was a bad engine harness in the vehicle. Exactly 2 days later, the engine light came back on, the vehicle started leaking oil, the windows started moving slow again, the rear end of my vehicle started rattling, the front end of the vehicle had the metal on metal noise again, the groan noise had come back, the vehicle had lost power going up the slightest incline. Feeling like there was no other option available to me, I sent Kia a letter asking for a buyback as well as all of my repair invoices and all they did was off to pay one of my car notes and told me to take the vehicle back to the dealer. I declined their offer to pay 1 car note and took the vehicle to the dealer where it stayed for 16 consecutive days. Again, all concerns were duplicated and addressed. After picking up the vehicle, I noticed that none of the instrument panel lights were coming on as they usually did when I started the vehicle.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 202001

(reported on)


  • miles


I am a Kia tech in ct. The 1998 and 1999 Sportage was recalled to have the steering knucles replaced.the four wheeldrive vacum hubs would suck water and dirt into the wheelbearings causing them to fail.in some cases I have seen the bearings were so loose the vehicles would lose there brakes. The recall kits we have installed are now failing in great numbers and are not just 98 and 99 vehicls but 2000 and 2001 vehicles.all of these model year vehicles should be recalled before people get hurt.

- Terryville, CT, USA

problem #5

Mar 181999

Sportage 4WD

  • miles
Front bearings replaced, causing excessive tire wear, after replacement bearings had to be replaced shortly after due to faulty parts that fell apart, hub and bearing assembly/four wheel drive defective and not locking in properly and causing loss of control on minimal snow coverage prior to recall repair, after repair vehicle still experienced failures.

- Hawley, PA, USA

Search CarComplaints.com for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #4

Feb 112000

Sportage 4WD

  • miles
Front hubs were seized. Purchased vehicle 1 week before incident.

- Brewster, NY, USA

problem #3

Jul 111999


  • miles


Wheel bearings had completely rusted out. Was informed by mechanic water got into seals & were not sealing. This also affected 4-whel drive locking hubs.

- Elko, NV, USA

problem #2

Jun 241999

Sportage 4WD

  • miles
The dealer knew the bearings was bad at 19500 miles and they told my wife if they started grinding to bring back the vehicle but there was no warning all at once it pulled to the left and started grinding now they are telling me that kiais working on new bearings and hubs they can`T get parts they have to get the parts the Kia rep. Now I have to wait for him and they would not give us a loaner they said it was not the dealers responsiblity so I had to rent a car I could say more but that is enough for now.

- Vernon, NJ, USA

problem #1

Dec 211998

Sportage 4WD

  • miles
The car indicates the four wheel drive system is engaged even though the four wheel drive hubs failed, unable to have repair due lack of parts.

- West Danvi, VT, USA

Not what you are looking for?