2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems

By Max Anthony •  Updated: 06/23/21 •  5 min read

The Kia Sorento is an option in the midsize crossover market. But how reliable of an option is it? Take the 2012 Sorento for instance. It is plagued with reliability issues – mostly engine-related. Therefore, it is not a viable option, despite its low cost. So, here are the 2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems.

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Most Common 2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems

Engine Failure

2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems
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Kia is well-known for producing cars that will outlive your family before needing a major overhaul. However, many 2012 Sorento owners aren’t so lucky.

The most recurring type of the 2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems is a complete failure. This usually occurs at above 80,000 miles. The solution is to replace the entire engine. 

Drivers say that the engine’s internals contained sludge and naturally, the heat increased. One driver had their car lose power while traveling at 60mph.

They ended up replacing the motor to fix it. Another reported issue is power steering failure. This happened during the drive, and the power went out as well.

Some 2012 Sorentos break down before 60,000 miles as well. Lack of maintenance is a big factor here. 

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Excessive Oil Consumption

A severe one of the 2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems is excessive oil usage. This occurs with wear and tear over 100,000 miles.

This problem is because of many different factors. One of them is when too much oil gets into the crankcase. Another is when the oil on the cylinder wall evaporates. 

The piston rings can also fail and cause this. In this case, they need to be replaced and it is a long process. Most components of the engine will be disassembled.

2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems
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Hence the long time and high cost. 2012 Sorento drivers usually change the small block at the aforementioned mileage. 

One cause is the high oil pressure. In this case, the owner should get the relief valve fixed. This is only if the piston rings replacement doesn’t work. 

Engine stalling

Stalling is a major part of the 2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems. The 2012 Sorento usually starts stalling in the mid-sixty thousand range.

This is almost as dangerous as engine failure. Except, the car only stops running momentarily. Engine stalling is due to unclean or damaged fuel injectors, which need to be cleaned or replaced. 

2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems
© source

The damaged spark plugs and ignition coils also need replacement. Sensors such as the ones for the intake air temperature and crankshaft position can also be blamed.


Some Sorentos have gone as far as turning off in traffic. One driver even had their engine rod penetrate the engine block. This is an extreme case and it destroys other engine components as well. 

Another driver gave their all to fix it. They replaced everything from the aforementioned sensors to the alternator and throttle body. But the car continued stalling several times in just a week. 

Check Engine Light On

Having the Check Engine Light on is also one of the 2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems. The fault occurs near the 80,000-mile range. The light reportedly stays on for a couple of days and randomly turns off. One can reset the system but the problem is fixed only for a short while. Experts blame the air vac. 

How Long Do Kia Sorento Engines Last?

Kia Sorento engines are durable and last for years. We reached out to Kia’s customer service department to find out just how long these engine life spans can be! For the 2018 models, a new Kia Sorento engine is warranted for 5 years or 60,000 miles. 

However, some older models have a 3 year or 36,000-mile warranty on their engines. If you own an older model but would like an estimate of your engine’s longevity, it may be worth reaching out to Kia directly!

What years did Kia have engine problems?

The first generation of Kia motors (the B-series) had some issues with the piston rings and connecting rods. The engines from 1994 to 1997 were recalled in 2001 because they could cause engine failure. This was fixed with a new cylinder head design.

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 In 2004, there were problems reported with the second generation of their motors (B2). Some of these problems included oil leaks, sticking pistons, and faulty valve springs that caused valves to move erratically. 

There are also reports that crankshaft failures may have been due to improper heat treatment or bad metallurgy during production. These models were recalled for repairs at this time as well.

2012 Kia Sorento Engine Repair Cost 

The Kia Sorento is a vehicle that provides excellent fuel economy and comes with a 3.5-liter, 24 valves V6 engine. This engine has been known to have issues on occasion due to its age.

If this happens, you need to know the cost of replacing it – which could be up to $3,000! Knowing about this prior can help save you from making any more costly mistakes down the road.

2012 Kia Sorento Engine Problems
© source

The 2012 Sorento was recalled for various engine problems. One of these was because of problems with the fuel system. Some models were at the risk of catching fire. While others were at the risk of getting worn out earlier. All these manufacturing faults have been corrected though. 

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Max Anthony

Max is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.

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