2003 Kia Sorento LX from North America - Comments

23rd Aug 2010, 10:47

I have a love/hate relationship with my Kia Sorento. I love the features, build, etc, but hate having to replace bulbs all the time. Also I have spent a fortune on brakes. The interior lights don't work properly, and the check engine light comes on often.

I am not sure if I would purchase another one or not.

23rd Aug 2010, 15:45

I own a 2005 Kia Sorento and have had numerous issues that contribute to my feelings that it is a very low quality vehicle.

1. Catostrophic engine failure due to a wing nut falling off and getting sucked into the air intake.

2. Headlights and tail lights burn out 2 or 3 times per year.

3. Automatic shifting sensor failed causing the car to shift immediately into high gear seconds after accelerating from a dead stop.

4. Engine Issue #2 - I took it in for a noise coming from the engine. After keeping the car for a week of diagnostics, they determined the manifold needed to be replaced. That didn't solve all of the problem so they replaced many other parts.

5. Brake rotors warped in less than 1 year after buying it brand new. This trend continued after every brake job at a dealership until I took it to a local mechanic. That was almost 2 years ago and they have not warped since then.

6. I have had to replace the battery 4 times in the last 5 years. Something is causing a drain to destroy them before their time.

7. My fuel gauge reports that I am out of fuel when I really have 1/2 tank left.

8. Air conditioner stopped working due to a Mass Air Flow meter failure. After that repair they noticed the radiator leaking. The part that was broken could not be obtained separately so they had to put a new radiator in.

9. And my current problem is the rear differential started making noise. As you accelerate you can hear it wind up and wind down when you decelerate. It is especially loud between 40 and 45 mph and 60 to 70 mph. I am currently waiting to see if Kia will cover this under the 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

24th Aug 2010, 16:19

I purchased a 2003 Kia Sorento in November of 2009 with 105,000 km. It is now August of 2010 with 125,000 km on it (not even a year later), and this vehicle has been a nightmare.

In less than a year, I used up all four of my CAA towing calls for 2009, and I have now used up two since April 2010.

I have been having major starting issues with this car since day one. I literally got home from the dealership, shut off the car, went to turn it back on and it wouldn't start. The dealership told me it was a security issue, and I pressed something on the keypad (idiots).

Two more tows later, and it was the starter wire. In the last month, the car has not started twice for me. The first time was about three weeks ago, and they told me a fuse blew. The second time was today, and I'm assuming it's another fuse.

This car is the most frustrating thing I have ever driven.

30th Aug 2010, 19:59

I have a 2003 Kia Sorento, I got it from my dad for about half price, I replaced 1 low beam headlight, and a battery, but after 7 years that's not bad. All else has been fine, I put synthetic oil in it and get my filters from the dealer. I also keep it in the garage, maybe it gets bad if you leave it outside, I have had it for 4 years, and so far so good.

6th Sep 2010, 08:15

When I bought my 2003 Kia Sorento in March, it was the most beautiful vehicle I had ever seen. I love the build and features, but driving this vehicle has been a total nightmare! I would never suggest anyone buy a Sorento.

The check engine light is always on, my power steering and A/C went out immediately after we bought the vehicle. When we fixed the power steering pump, one of the hoses had a tear in it, so fluid leaked everywhere.

I have never had a vehicle with such overall poor quality. I understand that every vehicle has to be maintained and taken care of, but this vehicle is a piece of junk!

The headlights: I have seen several comments about headlights going out. I have bought 2 headlights, but both times when my husband was unscrewing the bulb, the light came back on. Anyone who needs to replace the bulb may want to try screwing and unscrewing the bulb first. I'm assuming this may be caused by a short?

27th Sep 2010, 13:11

2005 Sorento with 54000 miles. Bought new.

Passenger seat air bag sensor gone, must replace seat cushion. Dealer says 850.00.

Check engine light on, P0441 code, has to do with the vapor canister. Dealer replaced vapor canister filter, lasted one day, check engine light on again, same error code.

Can't remember how many headlights have been replaced. Nothing covered by warranty.

Clock replaced 2 weeks after buying.

An auto with this few miles should not have these problems. When these issues are fixed, it's gone.

31st Dec 2010, 01:39

First of all, if possible, stay away from dealers, don't waste your money on extended warranties, do a little research and you can fix some problems yourself.

I bought a 2003 Sorento with 50k. I now have 154k, yes I had brake rotor issues, so I went on ebay, bought new drilled slotted rotors with new pads and hardware for $100.00; problem solved.

Next, the headlight issue; replace with Sylvania and leave your heater on low. That will take care of power surges. If your alternator belt squeals, tighten it. Yes, I replaced the coolant tank because it split. New tank $130, very easy to install, but do it before all the coolant leaks out, or you'll damage the motor.

Other than tires, wiper blades, a battery, and brakes, the only major thing I did was timing belt. Dealers recommend 60k, I did mine at 100k, and the old one still looked good, but that's something that should be done, but not at a dealer; costs way too much.

Anyway, I've owned Fords, Chevy and many others, but this car has been the best for me. I really like it. I average 100 miles a day to work, and in 5 years this car has never let me down. I can't say that with the others.

11th Mar 2011, 16:06

2003 Kia Sorento: bought used 6 months ago, 5 left front headlights and a dozen left rear tail lights have gone out. Called the dealership at one point, suggested I only use their lights, doesn't matter, they still burn out in a couple weeks.

The car now has a horrible clunking noise coming from the rear end at take off. Love how the dealership can offer no help, other than take it in and stand there looking at it. I can do that myself, and not charge me 80 bucks an hour to think about things.

31st Mar 2011, 06:34

To the person with the check engine light... the light is just a warning device that your electrical signals to the computer are not what they should be... basically if your battery is not charging at 98-100%, your light will come on and stay on til the light is acknowledged by a service tech with a scan tool... if you disconnected your battery recently (ie: replaced it or changed your radio) your check engine light will come on... a check engine light just tells you there was a change in electrical signal to the computer; it could be a simple O2 sensor is bad or your spark module or even a bad computer..

Like the other poster said.. it is not a critical situation until the light flashes, and when the light flashes, it's telling you an ELECTRICAL failure has occurred and to immediately stop the engine to avoid damage... you don't need to be a mechanic to know this or "work for KIA (which I don't), you just need to be able to read and understand your owners manual... because it is all written right there in whatever language you prefer...