Trucks & SUVs

The 2011 Kia Sorento Had a Head-Scratching Problem

Kia redesigned the 2011 Sorento to make improvements to the already impressive SUV. The V6 engine enhanced driving performance and offered a slightly better fuel economy than the previous model year. The third-row seating, which few SUVs offered back then, gave it an edge in the smaller SUV market. People just couldn’t wait to get their hands on one of these when it rolled out from production.

In the beginning, most Sorento owners seemed pleased with their purchase. But, as time went on, and they put more miles on the SUV, one problem started to emerge and it had many scratching their heads to figure out what was going on. CarComplaints.com lists several complaints from Kia owners about what came to be the door latch nightmare.

What’s going on with the door latches on the 2011 Sorento?

Kia drivers, with this model year, report that their Sorento’s latches would fail when trying to open the front driver door from the outside of the vehicle. Often, they would have to enter through the front passenger door far enough to open the driver one, so they can get into the vehicle. Some owners also complained that after a while the passenger door and both rear doors would also experience the same problem.

In a few cases, drivers would notice the rear doors not opening from either the outside or inside. When they took their vehicles in, Kia dealerships and other repair shops told them it would cost approximately $300 per door, to fix the problem.

The parts in need of replacement weren’t costly, but having to remove the interior side of the door to access them would take a few hours of labor, thus increasing the cost of repair.

What caused it and how was it fixed?

Most owners had the door latches, and assembly replaced in the affected door. Sometimes the warranty covered the repair and other times, the owner had to foot the bill. Eventually, Kia determined the cause to be wear and tear on those latch parts over some time. After receiving numerous complaints about the same problem, Kia finally extended the warranty to cover the repair, but as yet, there’s no recall on it.

In August 2016, Kia released a TSB, or Technical Service Bulletin, for repair to the latch assembly. It gives specific instructions to technicians on the inspection, repair or replacement of the door latches for front and rear doors. It also shows how to access the parts and what they should look for when determining what repair they will need to perform.

Was the door latch the only problem the 2011 Kia Sorento had?

The year 2011 wasn’t good to the Kia Sorento. As it turns out, the door latch was not the only problem that plagued it. Consumer Reports lists a total of six recalls that came out for this model year.

One is for the model years 2011-2013. They had a problem with the gear shift coming out of park when the brakes weren’t pressed. Also, there was an issue with the stop lamp switch on the 2007-2011 model, causing it to malfunction occasionally.

The manufacturer for the towing light circuits recalled the wiring harnesses for the model years 2009-2011. It found that the wiring wasn’t watertight and had the potential of having moisture get into the converter modules.

Plus, the 2011 model started having issues with the intermediate shaft in the power train. Finally, there were faulty brake calipers and wiring harness issues in the advanced lighting speakers.

The 2011 Sorento was a bad model year for Kia, but at least they eventually acknowledged all the problems and have addressed them with the recalls and technical service bulletins. The door latch issue has very little complaints in the 2012 and newer Kia models, so hopefully, that problem won’t return.