The Sportage has great resale value. An SUV in good condition, with an annual mileage of 12,000 miles, will only depreciate 50% after five years. But like any car, there are some problems with this SUV. Stay until the end and discover the common faults of the Kia Sportage , to be aware of any breakdown.
Eye-catching design, intuitive features and an affordable price elevate the Kia Sportage above many compact sport utility vehicles (SUVs). The older models are still great options for both new and experienced drivers.
How good is the Kia Sportage?
Few compact SUVs can match the reliability of the Kia Sportage . RepairPal gives it a 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it sixth out of 26 models. It also has excellent cost of ownership. It requires fewer repairs than the average for its class, and the problems it develops are usually less severe than those found in other compact SUVs.
Although the first generation (1995-2002) has some reliability issues, the next three benefited from an improvement in build quality . Many late-generation Sportages boast six-figure mileage.
Your compact SUV can easily achieve 200,000 miles if you take good care of it. Follow Kia’s recommended maintenance schedule, fix problems immediately, replace worn parts every 100,000 miles, and drive carefully. You’ll see that the almost legendary reliability of the Kia Sportage is real.
Common failures of the Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage is one of the most reliable models in its class, but it’s not immune to problems. You should know that the 2012 Kia Sportage received the most complaints and developed the most severe problems. However, here are some of the common Kia Sportage failures through the model years:
1- Problems with exterior accessories
Although there aren’t many reports of bad Kia Sportage exterior accessories, the drawbacks that do show up can be problematic. For example, several owners of 2016 Sportages have complained about a faulty key fob that wouldn’t work except at very short ranges.
Meanwhile, a power liftgate that sometimes won’t close properly is a commonly reported 2017 Kia Sportage failure. The boot lid can even open on its own. In both cases, the vehicle is still drivable, but items stored in the trunk can roll out and thieves can use to break into the SUV.
2- Problem with the engine light
The check engine light comes on and goes off at random times . This check engine light can illuminate for a variety of reasons, but with the Sportage, the problem is usually a leak in the intake ports. Check yours for moisture and replace them with new ones if there are obvious signs of leakage.
3- Failures with the air conditioning
The A/C compressors in some Sportages built in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 are prone to defects. Turning on the air conditioner can produce loud noises and jar the air conditioner compressor clutch. The repair usually requires replacement of the entire clutch assembly, although the compressor itself may work fine and not need to be replaced.
4- Water problems inside the Sportage
If you experience a water leak in the front steps, it is most likely due to a problem with the bulkhead. This part is known to be faulty, causing water to leak from the front foot pegs. Sometimes the wells can become clogged with leaves and debris, causing water to leak into the cabin.
The screen problem should be fixed under warranty, but if you haven’t because the warranty ran out before the part started to leak, you are responsible for fixing the problem. Before buying a replacement screen, check to see if it is blocked by leaves and debris.
5- Engine failures
One of the problems that plague many units of the 2012 Kia Sportage has to do with the engine cutting out while driving at high speeds . In some cases, the engine would make loud noises before shutting down or misfiring.
Some owners reported that their SUV also caught fire and released smoke. This problem was especially dangerous, especially when it occurred on the highway. The only way to fix the problem was to replace the motor.
Kia ended up recalling the 2012 units with the faulty motors. The automaker explained that leaks in the oil pan were causing the problem. Without enough oil to lubricate and cool the engine parts, the engine could easily overheat and be damaged .
6- Exhaust pipe wear
The Sportage’s exhaust can experience premature wear . If the exhaust pipe is starting to fail, you will hear a loud banging noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. You will need to identify exactly which part of the exhaust has worn out, and once identified, you will need to install a replacement part to fix the problem.
7- Transmission problems
Owners of different models of the Sportage have complained that their SUV has developed transmission problems. The transmission may slip out of gear, have difficulty shifting, or get stuck in Park gear.
Starting with the 2000 Kia Sportage, several model years may develop a problem that keeps your check engine light off. The problem is usually caused by an error in the transmission control module (TCM). Software updates may help the TCM to disable the check engine light.
8- Loss of engine power
Do you notice that you have lost all power from your engine, and this has caused your car to become undriveable? It is very common on the Sportage for premature wear to affect the fuel filters. Your best option to buy new fuel filters and install them yourself easily.
9- Defective fuel systems
The metal fuel tanks on some 1996-2002 Kia Sportage units can corrode rapidly when exposed to road salt (this is where it snows). These leaking tanks can waste fuel and reduce the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
If rust flakes contaminate the fuel, it can negatively affect engine performance . Also, the 2002 Kia Sportage may develop a problem where fuel is poured out of the tank and pumped too quickly.
Some newer model years also have occasional fuel system issues. Several 2020 Kia Sportages owners have reported a faulty fuel sensor that can send inaccurate data to their SUV’s computer. This causes the fuel gauge to display misleading information about the actual contents of the fuel tank.
10- Seat belt loose
One or more of your seat belts may not tighten when pulled quickly, increasing the chances of injury in an accident. Some versions of the Sportage built between October 2011 and November 2012 were equipped with faulty seat belt pretensioners, and you will need to replace them.
Keeping your Kia Sportage in good condition requires being on top of its maintenance and being on the lookout for problems it may develop in the future. So it’s worth learning about common Kia Sportage failures associated with the model year you own or plan to buy.
By taking steps to minimize these problems and by replacing Kia Sportage parts when they wear out, you can keep your SUV running smoothly for years to come.