Common Engine Problems

  1. Kia Theta II Engine Seizing and Stalling

    Many Kia vehicles have a Theta II, a gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine that is well known for having oil flow issues that eventually cause catastrophic failures.

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  2. What Are We Missing?

    We know there's more problems than this. Let us know which one you'd like to see us cover next.

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Where Engine Complaints Happen

Sometimes it helps just to tally up the complaints and see where the biggest stacks are. Use this information to learn about troublespots or to run for the hills.

Recent Engines News

There's a lot of news out there, but not all of it matters. We try to boil down it to the most important bits about things that actually help you with your car problem. Interested in getting these stories in an email? Signup for free email alerts over at CarComplaints.com.

  1. The relief plunger in the 2017-2018 Forte's oil pump can get clogged and needs to be fixed.

    And here I was thinking plungers were for removing clogs. In this case, foreign particulates can slip their way past the oil filter and stick onto the plunger's sharp edge, causing reduced oil pressure and engine lubrication that can cause irreversible damage if left untreated.…

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  2. Kia is recalling 167,000 Soul and Seltos vehicles in North America that may need a new (Nu) engine because of improperly heat-treated piston oil rings.

    The rings are harder than normal and can chip or scuff the cylinder bore. This could cause a range of problems from excessive oil consumption to a siezed connecting rod bearing and a total loss of power.

    And while it's only happened in "limited cases", there's a whole busted connecting rod blasting a hole through the engine block, allowing oil to leak into the exhaust system where it'll catch on fire and burn the car to the ground situation to worry about.…

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  3. Another owner has sued Hyundai and Kia for knowingly equipping vehicles with defective Theta II engines.

    Proving once again that when it comes to engines that catch on fire, people generally aren't fans. The automakers have settled similar lawsuits and issued recalls for these clunkers, but the plaintiff suggests not all affected vehicles were included.…

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  4. More than 1,800 Kia vehicles have burst into flames, now the government wants to know why.

    It’s about time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was petitioned to look into these non-collision fires last June. They are responsible for 77 injuries and 1 death. The investigation will focus on the Theta II engine, but the NHTSA plans on looking into tail lights and other potential combustion sources as well .…

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  5. Kia is recalling the Sportage over concerns that oil pan leaks could stall the engine or set it on fire.

    The automaker says there was a problem during the assembly of the oil pan seals for the 2011-2012 model years. Now they want owners to watch out for signs of a problem – oil pools on the ground, check engine lights, a wall of flames shooting out of your hood, etc. You know, subtle stuff like that. Kia doesn’t know how they’ll fix the problem and they don’t plan on contacting owners about the recall until April 10, 2019.

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  6. Over 379,000 Souls are at risk of burning in eternal damnation … due to damaged catalytic converters and connecting rod failures.

    Wait, you knew I was talking about the Kia Soul, right? The automaker has admitted that hot exhaust gas is overheating the catalytic converters. Additionally, piston damage and busted connecting rods can puncture the engine block and let oil leak onto the hot exhaust. In other words, these things are a tinder box and the recall can’t come fast enough.

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  7. A small number (62) of 2017 Sorento SUVs have defective crankshafts, forcing a recall that starts next month.

    Kia also says it's possible failed crankshafts could cause fires, so dealers will need to inspect the crankshafts and if needed, replace the engine sub assemblies.

    If your crankshaft breaks it’s going to be a bad day. A fire would just be the cherry on top.

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  8. Kia is facing another lawsuit for metal shavings causing catastrophic failure in its Theta II engine.

    The engines can allegedly fail at any time while driving any speed, leaving owners in dangerous driving conditions once the engines stall. According to the plaintiffs, damage to the connecting rod bearings causes metal shavings to appear in the oil.

    A few months ago, Kia recalled 618,000 vehicles with Theta II engines that shipped with metal shavings due to a faulty manufacturing process. The recall only covered certain vehicles up to the 2014 model year.…

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  9. Safety regulators are looking into how Kia and Hyundai handled their Theta II engine recalls, specifically if the companies acted fast enough.

    They want to know if Hyundai and Kia did enough and fast enough concerning the recalls of nearly 1.7 million vehicles with Theta engines prone to a lot of noise and finally locking up.

    At this point, we know the widespread engine problems are caused by metallic debris left behind during mechanical deburring on the assembly line. Those tiny bits of metal are carried through the engine by oil, wreaking havoc on the way.…

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  10. A lawsuit thinks it has enough evidence to prove fault in an incredibly sad crash that killed 7-year-old twins and an 83-year-old driver last year.

    According to the lawsuit, Parks had enough time to not only repeatedly hit the brakes, but she also turned on the hazard lights and flashed her headlights to warn other drivers. The lawsuit also alleges Parks tried to shift the Optima into NEUTRAL but on top of that not working, she couldn't turn off the ignition.

    Parks’ car was going 90mph at the time of the crash. Even the parents of the two young boys think unintended acceleration is to blame.…

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  11. The Theta II recall that so many Kia owners have been waiting for is finally here.

    Kia is recalling more than 618,000 model year 2011-2014 Kia Optima, 2012-2014 Sorento and 2011-2013 Sportage vehicles because the engine bearings can wear out too early and cause the engines to seize. The automaker says machining problems occurred during manufacturing, something dealers will need to fix by replacing the engine assemblies.

    We’ve been tracking Theta II engine problems for a while and let’s just say … they’re not good.…

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  12. Owners worried about a defectively designed crankshaft in the first-generation Sorento have a reason to celebrate.

    The plaintiffs claim Kia knew about the problems but concealed that knowledge from consumers and refused to cover repair costs under warranty … Kia says it agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit to save on the expense of additional legal costs. However, the automaker has not admitted any wrongdoing concerning the bolts.

    Admission of fault or not, this settlement could mean up to $4,900 for owners of the 3.5L Sorentos manufactured between March 1, 2002 to June 12, 2006. All claims for benefits under this settlement must be postmarked or submitted by May 17, 2017.

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  13. The Theta II Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine is earning a reputation for stalling and eventually seizing, leading to a class-action lawsuit.

    The [lawsuit] targets the Theta 2-liter and 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection engines, also known as GDI engines. According to the plaintiffs, the engines contain defects that cause a restriction of oil flow through the connecting rod bearings and other parts of the engines.

    Hyundai is facing a similar lawsuit that is currently awaiting final class-action approval.

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  14. Kia's Theta 2-liter and 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection engines, also known as GDI engines, are giving owners a ton of headaches by stalling or failing at just about any time.

    According to a new lawsuit, these engines contain defects that cause a restriction of oil flow through the connecting rod bearings and other parts of the engines. In turn, the engines can stall without warning.

    The plaintiffs say Kia knows about the Theta engine problems, but refuses to freely repair the engines or order a recall. Another Theta II engine case with Sonata owners is awaiting final settlement approval.

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  15. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is being asked to investigate if possible mechanical malfunctions led to a deadly crash on New Year’s Eve.

    NHTSA has been asked to investigate a crash that killed twin 7-year-old boys and an 83-year-old woman. The 11:30 a.m. New Year's Eve crash in Winchester, Tennessee, occurred when a 2008 Kia Optima traveling 90 mph slammed into the rear-end of a minivan.

    The whole story is just sad. The Optima driver told authorities it felt like the gas pedal was stuck and she couldn’t get it to move. She died the next day of injuries sustained in the crash.

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