Rising in the east and conquering the west is how we would describe what the Kia Stinger is doing to its competitors. But wait, can it beat the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, or BMW? Today, this blog reveals all the common problems and recalls of the Kia Stinger. If you want to learn the critical points of the article, read the paragraph below!
Kia Stinger had a significant problem with the faulty fuse kit in the electrical junction box near the HECU. Another potential fire risk involved a recall of the wiring harness due to the possibility of wear and tear and short-circuiting. There were also recalls due to a fault in the steering system and the fuel pump.
You surely want to know more if you are in the market for a Kia Stinger. As we continue, we will further discuss the abovementioned problems and more. We will reveal how some problems are fixed and how Kia handled specific serious safety issues. Stay with us!
1. Potential Fire Hazard Due To Electrical Issues
The most widely known problem of this compact executive sedan revolves around the 2020 recall that initially affected certain 2019 model year Stinger’s and eventually also certain 2018-2021 model year vehicles with the 3.3L T-GDI engines. However, further investigation (NHTSA ID PE19004) revealed that vehicles with other engine types were also affected.
The NHTSA Campaign Number 20V518000 or Kia recall SC196 recalled almost 30,000 Stingers due to the possibility of a fire hazard. The fires started due to a faulty fuse kit in the electrical junction box near the Anti-lock Brake Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU). Some of the cars affected caught on fire while driving, while others caught on fire while standing still.
After reviewing the numerous NHTSA complaints, it is evident that this was not an isolated issue. In fact, the problem was so widespread that Kia urged Stinger owners to park outside and away from buildings until the recall repair was taken care of.
2. Damaged Wiring Harness Due To Sharp Fender Edges
The second recall also dealt with potential electrical issues with the Stinger. The wiring harness located in the engine and passenger compartment is prone to wear on the sharp edges of the fenders. As the harness gets damaged, the risk of a short circuit increases, together with the risk of a fire hazard.
For this reason, Kia launched the SC170 recall campaign (NHTSA Campaign Number 18V754000), which addressed this issue. All the owners of the affected vehicles (2018 model year Stinger’s) had the wiring harness inspected and replaced if needed. All the vehicles were also fitted with a protective cover which prevented future damage.
3. Structural Problems
The structural problems are an issue we immediately noticed on several NHTSA owner’s complaints (ID number: 11202935, 11296905) and even on owners’ forums. Both owners’ description of these problems mentions unusual noise coming from the A and B pillars as the car is driven around tight turns or uphill and into a turn.
The forces at play in these road conditions put enough stress on the vehicle to the point where the fittings on the pillars and the door frames start rattling due to movement.
According to the owners’ forums, the part causing many owners to experience this issue is the joint on the windshield frame where it meets the top of the A-pillar. Certain owners have had this issue successfully resolved under warranty.
No further investigation or comments regarding this issue have been received from Kia officials.
4. Fuel Pump Problems On The 2020-2021 Kia Stinger
According to several NHTSA complaints and an official recall (NHTSA Campaign Number 18V754000, Kia recall number SC198), many owners of 2020-2021 model year Kia Stinger have experienced a sudden loss of engine power due to a discontinuation of fuel flow.
The fuel flow is interrupted by plastic debris, which is present in the fuel pump due to a manufacturing fault. The plastic burr in the fuel pump blocks the fuel pump nozzle, leading to insufficient fuel being delivered to the engine.
Because this problem led to owners losing engine power while driving, it is considered a significant safety hazard.
Also read: Types Of Gas A Kia Stinger Takes (Explained)
5. Interior Rattles
Despite not seeing many NHTSA complaints about interior rattle issues, we quickly found many forum threads on Stinger owners’ forums. One of the forum threads included a poll where 240 out of 297 participants confirmed they are experiencing rattling, creaking and other interior noise issues that should not be present.
Many owners have filed complaints with Kia dealerships and have gone to great lengths to resolve these issues.
6. Coolant Odor Around And Inside The Stinger
If you Google “Kia Stinger coolant smell”, you will be met with several owners reporting unusual occurrences of coolant odor around and inside their Kia Stinger. While it is now regarded, as usual, we still recommend keeping an eye on engine coolant levels.
Coolant leaks can usually be seen underneath the car. However, they could be caught on the engine protection cover. We recommend having a Kia technician check the car for leaks if you notice any coolant odor around the Kia Stinger you intend to purchase.
7. Engine Noise At Cold Start-Up
Hearing a distinct ticking sound at a cold engine start-up would usually alert any mindful car owner. After all, a knocking sound at start-up could indicate slack in the timing chain on engines with timing chains. But when it comes to the Kia Stinger, the loud ticking noise at cold startup is not an indication of significant engine problems. The part that causes the loud ticking on the Kia Stinger is the solid engine lifters or tappets, as they are called.
These lifters make sure that the intake and exhaust valves are actuated. Kia uses solid engine lifters, which are louder than hydraulic lifters. At the same time, similar noises are caused by the high-pressure fuel pump, which also tends to be louder on a cold start.
Official Kia service technicians deem this as normal, so it is not something you should be worried about. There are also no reports of premature timing chain failures, which could cause the same symptoms.
8. Problems With The Dynamic Light Bending System
Two NHTSA complaints (ID number 11140710, 11447095) report failures of the adaptive light bending system of the Stinger. This poses a safety hazard as the headlight beam could get stuck in positions that obstruct the ongoing traffic or prevent the driver from having good road visibility.
Due to the number of such reports, Kia released a software update with a service bulletin 170134, which resolved the issues if they were software related.
9. Vibration When Braking (The Warped Rotor Controversy)
Since the introduction of the Kia Stinger, one of the most significant controversies (apart from the fact that many of these cars went out in flames) is the notorious braking vibration. The vibration was first thought of as an issue with warped braking discs. Kia initially accommodated owners and replaced the problematic brake discs under warranty. However, the problems soon returned, even with new rotors.
Further investigation proved that the reason behind the vibration was brake pad deposits on brake discs. The brake pads that Kia used were and still are of great quality. However, they tend to leave brake pad deposits on brake discs when they overheat. These brake pads offer great braking performance and are much quieter. They also release less brake dust which keeps your wheels cleaner.
To resolve the vibration issue, you can follow the re-bedding procedure described here or replace the brake pads with EU-specification brake pads that resolve the issue for good.
10. Inaccurate Fuel Gauge Reading And Steering Problems
In the 2020 and 2021 model year, Kia Stinger was met with a rather odd issue. Due to a software problem in the instrument cluster, the fuel level indicator might have conveyed false information.
This led to several Stinger owners running out of gas in the middle of the road because they thought their fuel tank was still full. This increased the chances of an accident which is why Kia immediately released the Kia SC219 recall addressing this issue (NHTSA Campaign Number 21V862000).
Having your steering lock up while driving is just as if not more dangerous than stalling your engine due to a lack of fuel. This serious steering issue was addressed with a recall in July 2020, and it affected the 2020 model year Kia Stinger with the 2.0L T-GDI engine.
Due to a manufacturing fault, the Rack Mounted Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS) could cause the steering to lock up or become stiff while driving. Kia issued this recall under the SC193 number and NHTSA Campaign Number 20V422000.
11. Jerky And Problematic Cruise Control
According to an NHTSA complaint ID Number 11364717 and several owners’ forum threads, it is evident that the cruise control on the Stinger is causing the car to jerk, lurch forward, or even brake without expectation. Based on our conclusion, the cruise control is less smooth in sport mode than in other drive modes, and so far, there has not been any response from Kia officials regarding these complaints.
He is the founder and owner of LifeOnFour.co, where he focuses on transmission-related articles. Furthermore, he finished a 4-year program to be an auto mechanic at the Technical Education Centre of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and worked for six years as a floor manager of a transmission specialist repair shop in Nova Gorica, Slovenia.