Kia, a subsidiary of Korean industrial giant Hyundai, sells cars that combine practicality with value for money. The brand has become a big contender in several vehicle classes, and has some of the best electric vehicle offerings.
Kia issues recalls occasionally to fix widespread issues in its cars. But if a car gets several recalls, it has more chances of developing additional problems in the future.
We explore the Kia models with the most recalls to help you get the most reliable option when buying a vehicle from this brand.
1. Kia Sedona
The Kia Sedona has the highest number of recalls among all Kia vehicles. The automaker recalled this model about 75 times since its release.
With 8 recalls each, the 2006 and 2007 Sedonas have the highest recall numbers. Model years 2008-2011 all have 7 recalls each, while the 2014 Kia Sedona has 5 recalls. The 2003 model year has 4 recalls, while 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 model years have 3 recalls.
Here are some reasons for the recall of the vehicle:
- Stop Lamp Switch: Due to faulty lamp switches in some Kia Sedonas, the brake lights may fail to illuminate when a driver presses the brake pedals. A defective lamp switch may also prevent the brake-transmission shift from moving out of PARK. This might activate the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) malfunction light in the car.
- Lamp Switch Wiring: Improper placement of the stop lamp switch wiring harness may make the component collide with the U-joint assembly in the steering column.
- Throttle Cable: The water around the throttle cable of some Kia Sedonas may freeze in cold weather. Due to this issue, the throttle cable may fail to move when drivers remove their feet from the gas pedal.
- Brake Hose: In some Kia Sedonas, the automaker may have positioned the rear caliper brake hoses wrongly. This can cause the rear caliper brake hose to collide with other rear suspension components, thus reducing the efficiency of the hose.
- Fuel Rail: The fuel rail in some Kia Sedonas may break when exposed to heat in the engine compartment. Due to this issue, fuel may leak from the fuel rails.
- Brakes: Water may enter the ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System) module in some Kia Sedonas. The affected vehicles may develop an electrical short circuit as a result of the issue. An electrical short circuit in the ABS module can cause an engine compartment fire.
- Seatbelt: In specific Sedonas, Kia may have positioned the seat buckle of the second-row center seat on the wrong side. This might make it difficult for the occupant in the middle seat to use the seatbelt. If the passenger on the seat doesn’t use the seatbelt, they might be at higher risk of sustaining injuries if a crash occurs.
- Wiring: When a passenger occupies the front seat of some Kia Sedonas, the Occupant Detection System (ODS) wiring harness may detach from the seat. This may prevent the frontal airbag from deploying during a crash when a child occupies the front passenger seat.
- Airbags: The airbag in some Kia Sedonas may develop an electrical short circuit. As a result, the frontal airbags and seat pre-tensioners may fail to deploy when a crash occurs. Failure of the seatbelt pre-tensioners and airbags may reduce the protection occupants in the vehicle enjoy during an accident.
- Door: Kia recalled some Kia Sedonas with power sliding doors to fix their PSD (Power Sliding Door) Module. When an occupant tries to prevent the power sliding door from closing, it may auto-reverse and close on the passenger. Such a passenger may sustain serious injuries.
- Latch: The secondary hood latch of certain Kia Sedonas may not shift to its latched position when the driver closes the hood. If someone releases the primary latch when the secondary latch is not bolted correctly, the hood may open up while the vehicle is in motion. As a result, the occupants in the car may get injured.
- Control Arms: The front lower control arms in some Kia Sedonas may break due to exposure to saltwater. Drivers who drive cars with broken control arms are likely to lose control of the vehicle while using it.
2. Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage takes the second spot on the list of most recalled Kia cars. This vehicle has 59 recalls.
With 7 recalls, the 2011 is the most-recalled Sedona. The 2017 and 2012 models year have 4 recalls, while the 2014, 2013, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 1999, 1998, 1997, and 1996 models have 3 recalls each. The 2018 model has only 2 recalls.
Some of the common recall-related issues in the Kia Sportage include:
- Fuel Pipe: Kia replaced the engine in some Kia Sportages previously. The high-pressure fuel pipe that is linked to the fuel pump may have been damaged during this engine replacement. Due to this issue, the fuel in the engine may leak.
- Trailer Hitch: A malfunction in the tow hitch module may activate the trailer brake lights on random occasions.
- Tire: The automaker printed the incorrect tire pressure information on the label of some Kia Sportage tires.
- Engine: Due to some manufacturing errors in certain Kia Sportage cars, the engine may wear out.
- Brake Light: The brake light switch in some Kia Sportage may fail occasionally.
- Wire Harness: Kia may have failed to seal the wire harness in the HECU (Hydraulic Electric Control Unit) while assembling some Kia Sportage cars. As a result, water may leak into the HECU circuit board. In some cases, salt may contaminate the water, thus causing the connector pins in the wire harness to rust.
- Accelerator Pedal: The accelerator pedal in some Kia Sportages may get stuck when the driver is using it.
- Stop Lamp: The stop lamp switch in some Kia Sportage cars may develop serious issues. Due to this problem, the brake lights may not illuminate when the driver presses the brakes. Also, pressing the brake pedals may not deactivate the cruise control. If the brake lights don’t illuminate when the driver applies the brake pedals, pedestrians may not be aware that the driver wants to make a turn. This might lead to a crash.
- Engine: A manufacturing error in some Kia Sportage cars may make the engine’s surface wear out prematurely. A worn engine may suffer occasional seizures.
3. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento has the third highest number of recalls amongst all Kia cars. Kia recalled its Sorento model 55 times since its introduction.
With 8 recalls, the 2018 Sportage is the most problematic. 2011 and 2007 model years have the second highest recall numbers, while the 2017 and 2008 Sportage models each have 5 recalls. Model years 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2009 have 4 recalls each.
- Fuel System: Kia recalled some Sorento vehicles to fix an error in their fuel system. The pipe connecting the fuel rail and the fuel pump in the affected cars may be broken. As a result, fuel may leak through the pipe. Fuel leakage puts the vehicle at the risk of a fire.
- Service Brakes: Brake fluid may leak from the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU) in certain Sorentos. Due to this problem, the HECU may develop a short circuit. Cars that suffer electric short circuits have a higher risk of fire accidents.
- Engine Compartment: A fire outbreak may occur in the engine compartment of some Kia Sorentos. If a fire outbreak occurs in the engine compartment, the occupants of the affected vehicles may sustain serious injuries.
- ABS Module: Water may enter the ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) module of certain Sorento cars, resulting in a short circuit. An electrical short circuit can lead to a fire outbreak in the engine compartment.
- Fuel Pipe: Kia recalled some Kia Sorento cars it had previously replaced their engines. The fuel pipe that is linked to the fuel pump may be fractured or wrongly positioned. As a result, fuel might leak from the fuel pipe.
- Steering Column: In certain Kia Sorentos, the automaker may have incorrectly welded the crossbar attached to the MDPS (Motor Driven Power Steering) in the steering column. Due to this issue, the steering column might break apart. The affected vehicle might lose steering assistance if the steering column is disconnected.
- Engine Crankshaft: Due to inadequate heat treatment, the engine crankshaft in some Sorentos may become inoperative. Engines with inactive crankshafts are likely to stall while the user is driving the vehicle.
- Engine: A manufacturing error in specific Kia Sorento cars may make the engine’s surface wear prematurely, which can cause occasional seizures.
- Electrical System: Kia recalled certain Kia Sorentos that contain accessory trailer hitch wiring harnesses. A fault in the tow hitch module of the affected cars may activate the trailer brake lights frequently while the vehicle is moving. If the trailer brake light stays on when the driver does not intend to turn, it might confuse pedestrians and cause an accident.
- Driver’s seat: The automaker may have installed inadequate weld joints in the driver’s seatback frame of some Kia Sorento cars. If a collision occurs, the seatback frame may be unable to protect the driver from sustaining injuries. The seatback frame may also break during the crash.
- Rear Suspension: Kia may not have properly welded a component in the rear suspension of certain Sorento cars. This weak weld could break and scatter the rear suspension alignment in such vehicles.
- Power Train: The brake-shift lock mechanism in some Kia Sorento cars may crack when the driver puts an extreme force on the gearshift lever. When this occurs, the transmission may shift out of ‘Park’ even when the driver does not apply the brakes. This might result in a crash.
- Seatbelt: Kia recalled certain Kia Sorentos with a buckle latch on their front passenger seatbelts. This buckle latch may prevent the occupants of the front passenger seat from fastening their seatbelts.
- Accelerator Pedal: The automaker may have incorrectly soldered a component in the accelerator pedal assembly of some Kia Sorentos. Due to this problem, drivers of the affected vehicles may be unable to increase the speed of the cars.
- Power Train: The right front axle shaft of certain Kia Sorentos may break while the driver is using the vehicle. A broken front axle shaft may reduce the power in the car’s wheels. In addition, the vehicle may roll away if the driver fails to apply the brakes after parking the car.