Perfect for novice and teen drivers, the Kia Soul is known for its reliability, user-friendly features and fuel efficiency. Although before you make any decision about the car you want to buy, it is good that you find out the common faults of the Kia Soul .
The Kia Soul has an excellent depreciation rate of just 37% after five years and a five-year resale value of $13,614 (assuming a sale price of $21,521).
How good is the Kia Soul?
The Kia Soul is a very reliable subcompact SUV . This model has a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0, ranking third out of 7 other vehicles in its segment. For its part, the 2021 model has obtained a reliability score of 85 out of 100. The 2019 Kia Soul has been chosen by some experts as the best new car for teenagers.
In addition to high reliability scores and awards, the Kia Soul is also known for its low cost of ownership. The average annual cost of ownership for the Kia Soul is $437, which is lower than the ownership costs of other subcompact SUVs ($466) and other vehicles overall ($652).
The Kia Soul has a repair frequency of 0.2 times per year, which is about the same as other subcompact SUVs (0.2) and less than other vehicle models (0.4). The probability of taking this model to a shop for major repairs is at 9%, which is about the same for subcompact SUVs (9%) and less than other vehicle models (12%). The Kia Soul can be expected to last around 200,000 miles with regular maintenance and repairs .
Common Failures of the Kia Soul
While the Kia Soul is a reliable subcompact SUV, some of its model years can develop issues over time. If you’re looking to buy a used Soul, here are some of the common reported Kia Soul failures to look out for before you buy.
1- Cruise control overload
The cruise control on certain Kia Souls (particularly the 2018 model year) has a tendency to overload. The affected owner has said that his vehicle suddenly sped up and then slowed to three miles per hour. He further added in his report that if the cruise control was engaged, the vehicle appeared to operate normally.
The owner had assumed that his Soul’s cruise control was trying to take control of the vehicle or that there was a vacuum leak somewhere. As of now, Kia has not issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) or recall regarding this issue.
2- Engine problems
The motor makes a ticking sound and may shut down suddenly. This fault is more common on early models of the Soul, this is caused by a problem with the coolant system. In most cases, it won’t cause the coolant warning light to come on, and the temperature gauge won’t go up either. Kia’s only advice in this case is to install a new engine.
3- The engine does not start
Two of the most serious problems with the 2016 Kia Soul have to do with the engine . The first of these two main problems is a no start condition. According to reports made by affected owners, the problem seemed to show up at around 10,000 miles.
One owner even said she ran into the problem less than a month after purchasing her SUV. According to another owner, she managed to solve the problem by replacing the vehicle’s battery.
There are no TSBs that specifically address this issue, but Kia posted a TSB for the Soul EV about the AVN (audio-video navigation) displaying a “cannot start vehicle ” warning message. TSB #PS425 was published in October 2015 and covers the 2015-16MY Soul EV (PS EV).
4- Hard driving
The driving is often tougher than before and every bump in the road is felt . The Kia Soul is known for having a weak suspension system. The entire system can wear out prematurely, and that includes the shocks , seals, and bearings. Replacing an entire suspension system is a very difficult DIY job.
5- Engine light on
Your check engine light is on and you have no idea why . There are many possible reasons for this. Check if the fuel tank is damaged, as well as the oxygen sensor inside the tank.
If both seem fine, you most likely have a bad cylinder gasket. Ignore the check engine light at your peril as it can easily lead to engine failure if left untreated. You can buy a new fuel tank, oxygen sensor and cylinder gasket to solve the main problems.
6- Engine failure
As mentioned above, there are a couple of common 2016 Kia Soul failures. The second is worse than the no start condition and is probably the worst problem on this list as it involves engine failure. Also, this issue is not limited to the 2016 model year. In fact, this issue affects 2012-2015 models as well.
The vehicle owners were driving when their vehicles lost power and came to a complete stop. Affected owners experienced the problem at around 70,000-80,000 miles and have shelled out at least $3,800 for repairs.
Upon investigating the issue, Kia discovered that some 2012-2016 Kia Soul vehicles had their catalytic converters damaged by high exhaust gas temperatures. This resulted in abnormal engine combustion and damage to one or more of the engine’s pistons and connecting rods.
Due to the nature of this issue, Kia recalled the affected vehicles under recall #SC176 on February 22, 2019. More than 350,000 vehicles were affected by this recall.
7- DPF warning light
Has the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) warning light appeared on the control panel? The DPF removes harmful gases, keeping emissions low, but it can become clogged if the vehicle is only used for short journeys, in the city, etc.
You can take the car out onto an open road and drive at about 2,500rpm in fourth gear for about 10 minutes to allow the DPF to get hot enough to burn off any unwanted particles and clean the DPF. This should turn off the warning light on the control panel. Cars with DPF installed are not suitable to be used only on short journeys. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to unlock the DPF manually .
8- Knocking engine
A knocking engine is another major issue with the Kia Soul, specifically the 2014 model year. According to affected owners, they heard a knocking noise from their vehicle before it lost acceleration and came to a complete stop. An owner has reported that she and her partner heard the pounding noise while on a road trip.
They stopped to see what was going on and were surprised to discover that a small fire had started under the hood. The vehicle then burst into flames. According to this owner, she had only owned the SUV for less than 90 days when the incident occurred.
Kia has issued Recall #SC200 in December 2020 to fix the issue. This knocking bug not only affected 2014-2015 Kia Soul models, it also affected certain Sorento, Forte, Forte Koup, Optima Hybrid and Sportage vehicles.
9- Electrical problems
If you are experiencing a wide range of electrical problems. From clicking sounds in your radio to lights turning on randomly, this can be a very serious and dangerous problem. The sunroof may stop working, as well as your windows and wipers.
Unfortunately, the only solution is to replace the electrical harness . In some cases, even this may not work, and you will have to replace the entire wiring system. This is a huge job, and it’s best left to a professional. In most cases it will be cheaper to buy a new car.
10- Ticking noise
The most common problem with the 2013 Kia Soul is the audible ticking of the engine. This symptom is related to the engine misfire problem mentioned above . According to the affected owners, they were on their regular daily drives when they suddenly heard loud banging and clattering from the engine. The vehicle then began to move more slowly.
One affected owner had to have his engine replaced as a result of this problem. On average, affected owners needed at least $4,000 to fix the problem. Many of the affected owners were relieved to discover that they were covered by the extended warranty that came with recall #SC176.
11- Loss of steering control
You have lost some directional control, and there may be strange noises coming from the steering rack. This issue has been recalled by Kia, so your Soul should have been fixed by now.
If yours hasn’t, you have to change the steering rack . You may need to purchase a new steering rack, but a Kia dealer can carry out this work for free.
12- Flashing headlights
Their headlights flicker and may simply burn out . The bulbs that were installed in the 2014 version of the Soul are notoriously fragile. Even if you haven’t experienced these problems yet, it’s always a good idea to purchase more durable, long-lasting bulbs that are easy to install.
13- Clicks when turning
A common problem with the 2012 Kia Soul has to do with the steering system of the SUV. According to some owners, they suddenly hear and feel a clunk from the steering column. While others have reported hearing the sounds when making turns, some noted that the issue was more noticeable when they were driving at certain speeds.
According to the owners, they started noticing the problem around 70,000 miles (112654.08 km). It also cost them approximately $800 to fix.
Kia has posted several TSBs regarding this issue . In fact, the last one was issued in March 2021. TSB #084, which was published in November 2018 and revised in November 2020, details repair procedures to fix steering components on C-equipped Kia vehicles. -MDPS.
The 2021 version of this TSB (#TSB_CHA084_R7) is not yet available online. However, you can call your local Kia dealer to request a copy of the document.
14- Problems in the glove compartment lid
The plastic glove box lid is prone to damage on the Soul . It is known that the plastic interior in most Kia cars is not of the best quality and the interior lining can be easily damaged or broken. Most of the time it is more expensive to repair it than to change the part. You will have to change the plastic cover of the glove box.
15- Hood release
The hood often opens suddenly when driving. This causes damage to the hood and can break the windshield. This can happen around 40,000 miles, so check your hood latches if you’re close to that mileage. Replacing the hood latches is very simple. Changing the windshield is much more difficult.
With its stellar reliability scores and ease-of-use features, the Kia Soul can be a great vehicle choice for you, especially if you’re a new driver. As always, be sure to do your own research on the model year you want to buy to avoid potential major problems down the road. Also, remember to clarify everything with the seller before closing the deal.