What Are the Common 3rd Gen Sorento Issues?
3rd generation Kia Sorento problems are common. Some of the most common problems may include the headlights burning out, the airbag light turning on, and the engine making noises, burning oil, or failing. We cover these issues and more, why they happen, and what the common fixes are for each for 2015 to 2020 Kia Sorento models.
Top 5 Most Common 3rd Gen Kia Sorento Issues (2015 to 2020)
1. Headlight Failure
Symptoms of Headlight Failure on the 2015 to 2020 Kia Sorento
- One or multiple headlight bulbs frequently burn-out
Causes of Headlight Failure
Most headlight failure on the 2015 to 2020 Kia Sorento is from a burnt-out light bulb. A bad alternator can also cause the bulbs to burn out too frequently from a bad voltage regulator. Bad wires can also cause issues with the headlight bulbs from poor resistance in the wires, causing high amperage and burning them out.
How to Fix Headlight Failure
- Test the alternator with a multimeter.
- Inspect the wires and socket. If the socket is excessively hot, if the socket appears to be melting or if the wires are melted or loose where you can feel softness from the heat, replace the bulb and wiring harness.
- We also recommend replacing the headlights if they are cloudy from use or broken. Find replacement headlights for the Sorento at 1aauto.com
2. Engine Rattling at Start-Up
Symptoms of Engine Rattling Problems on the 2015 to 2020 Kia Sorento
Rattling noise at start up that stops after 4-5 seconds
Causes of Engine Rattling Problems
If a rattling or ticking noise is 4-5 seconds long, it is probably oil-related; if it is not, we still recommend checking the oil level and condition, but it probably has to do with the timing chain and tensioner.
Fixes for Engine Rattling Problems
Check the oil condition and level
How to Check the Oil Level
- Remove the Dipstick
Remove the dipstick from the dipstick tube
- Clean the Dipstick
Clean the dipstick with a rag
- Reinsert the Dipstick and Remove It
Reinsert the dipstick fully and remove it
- Check the Oil Level
The oil level should measure between the two dots
- Add Oil If Necessary
If the level falls below low, add oil to get the level near the full dot but not past
- Warm Up the Engine
Start the vehicle and let the engine warm up to operating temperature
- Let the Engine Cool
Let the engine cool for a few hours
- Listen for Rattling
If the rattling noise stops quickly after start up, the problem is probably fixed. If the noise continues, it might be from a bad timing chain or tensioner.
How to Prevent Engine Rattling on the 2015 to 2020 Kia Sorento
Following the recommended intervals is not always going to help prevent high oil consumption. The engine may burn oil faster than the mileage interval. We recommend frequently checking the oil level and adding oil as the engine needs it to keep it near full. If the oil light turns on when driving, pull over, turn off the vehicle, and check the oil level–it may be one to one and a half quarts low. If the oil level is below the low mark, it is at least one quart low, which is bad for the engine and can cause more internal damage.
How to Fix a Bad Timing Chain or Tensioner
If the oil level and condition are fine it may be the timing belt or tensioner. This is a detailed job on the 3rd gen Sorento, and if you’re not very experienced with car repairs, we recommend bringing the Sorento to a professional.
3. Air Bag Light Is On
Signs of an Air Bag Light Issue
- Air bag light turns on for no obvious reason
Causes of the Air Bag Light Turning on
The airbag light tends to turn on in 3rd gen Kia Sorentos with no accident or body damage that might trigger a sensor. This may be from a bad clock spring or airbag module.
How to Fix the Air Bag Light
If the airbag module is the cause, it’s from an internal failure and the module will need to be replaced.
Before diagnosing and unplugging parts, disconnect the negative battery terminal. Wait for the capacitors holding energy in the system to dilute to remove energy from the system and keep the airbag from accidentally deploying.
4. Check Engine Light for Misfire Code
Symptoms of a Check Engine Light for a Misfire
- Check engine light turns on for a misfire related code
- Vibrating engine
Causes of a Check Engine Light for a Misfire
Misfire problems on the 2015 to 2020 Kia Sorento is usually caused by a bad ignition coil
How to Fix Misfire Problems
- Check the condition of the spark plugs. Burnt or gray ends means they need to be replaced.
- Check the ignition coil connector for melting, corrosion, or discoloration.
- To test an ignition coil, swap the coil with another in another cylinder and see if it reads for a misfire code with that cylinder. If the misfire code follows the potentially faulty ignition coil, replace it.
5. Engine Performance Problems
Symptoms of Engine Performance Problems on the 2015 to 2020 Kia Sorento
- Engine knocking while driving, followed by loss of power and engine failure
Causes of Engine Performance Problems
A shoe on the bearing on the crank tends to overheat and fail from low oil. This can affect the piston’s ability to function and cause catastrophic engine damage.
This common problem can come from not monitoring and refilling the oil level when it falls low.
How to Fix Engine Performance Problems
Fixing this requires taking the engine apart, obtaining miscellaneous parts, and knowing certain specifications and torques. We recommend bringing it to a professional. This repair can cost between $6,000 to $8,000, so we recommend checking the oil and refilling it as needed to keep the oil level from falling to dangerously low levels.
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- How Often Should You Change Your Oil?
- Excessive Oil Consumption: Why It Happens, How to Prevent It, and How to Fix It
- Why Is My Service Engine Soon Light On?
- How to Diagnose an Engine Misfire
- P0300 code: Mechanic advice to diagnose and fix
- Signs of a Failing or Bad Ignition Coil
- How to Test If an Ignition Coil Is Bad
- Does your Engine Have a Knocking Sound?