If you drive an older model Kia Sorento, you may already be aware that it’s prone to several different problems. One of these issues, failing headlights, is currently the subject of an investigation by the government. Having two working headlights is crucial to safely drive down the road. That could be an issue for the Kia Sorento. Depending on the results of the investigation, a recall could be issued for the Kia Sorento.
Headlight issues in the 2011–2013 Kia Sorento
According to Car Complaints, a federal investigation began in June and is currently underway into sudden headlight failures in Kia Sorentos from 2011 through 2013. As of the end of June, 74 complaints about headlight failures had been submitted to the NHTSA. Owners described repeated failures even after dealership repairs.
The complaints suggest that the headlights turn themselves off when the car makes a turn or drives on the highway regardless of the speed. Sometimes the headlights turn back on again. Sometimes turning the vehicle off and back on again will help the headlights turn back on. Kia’s own internal investigation found that both headlights have not failed at the same time.
Owners submitting their issues to Car Complaints have mentioned replacing headlight bulbs, wiring, and the entire assembly several times. So far, the investigation suggests that the problem may be connected to a thermal overload on the connectors. No crashes or injuries have been reported in connection with the headlight failures.
Other problems with these model years
The headlight issues aren’t even the biggest problem with these model years. Following a redesign for the 2011 model year, the Kia Sorento saw increased issues submitted to Car Complaints for several years. The 2011 Sorento has the most submitted complaints, currently with 176, but Car Complaints named the 2012 Sorento as the worst model year. The most common problem for the 2011 Sorento is that the doors won’t open from the outside.
The 2012 Sorento’s more serious issue is that catastrophic engine failure at less than 60,000 miles is its most common complaint. The 2013 model year also suffered from engine stalls and blown motors at low mileage. All three model years plus 2014 earned CarComplaint.com’s “Beware of the Clunker” seal.
The headlight problems aren’t the only investigations and recalls for these three model years. The 2011 Kia Sorento already has six recalls. These cover its brake-shift interlock mechanism, stop lamp switch, wire harness and converter module, intermediate driveshaft, brake calipers, and the wiring harness for interior lights.
The 2012 model year is affected by three recalls. These require repairs for the high-pressure fuel pipe, engine bearings, and the brake-shift interlock mechanism. The same three recalls are also covered for the 2013 model year. Some of these concerns have been so serious that owners filed a class-action lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai over the engine problems, which resulted in engine recalls for the 2012–2014 Sorento, 2011–2014 Optima, 2011–2013 Sportage.
There are other investigations as well for these Kia Sorento models. The 2011 model has two other open investigations into non-crash vehicle fires and spontaneous sunroof breakage. In addition to those two, the 2012 model year also has an investigation into the scope and timeliness of a previous engine recall. The 2013 model year is affected by these three additional open investigations as well.
What happens next?
Once the investigation is completed, the NHTSA will decide if a recall is necessary for the Kia Sorento. Or, if the company decides it is justified, Kia could issue its own recall for the headlights. A recall of 2011–2013 Kia Sorentos currently would affect about 392,000 owners, but the investigation could be broadened if the headlight problem is determined to affect more vehicles or model years. Kia Motors America has provided a phone number for owners to call with any questions: (800) 333-4542.