If you are ever in the market for a truly practical vehicle, your eyes should be set on a minivan. While it is true that a minivan is not the first choice for many people, there is just no denying their convenience (although the lifespan is quite average). The car we are looking at today is a staple in the segment, Kia Sedona. This practical South Korean minivan is both functional and, as it seems, also highly reliable.
In this article, we look at the Kia Sedona and reveal all the common problems and issues it has.
2006-2021 model year Kia Sedonas mostly have problems with the rear power sliding doors. Vehicles made between 2006-2012 also suffered from problems with corrosion on the suspension and broken stoplight switches. Overall, the Sedona is a reliable minivan.
If you want to learn more about these problems, we recommend you stay with us. We will highlight all the issues with specific model year Sedona and the recalls Kia issued to resolve common problems. Keep reading!
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1. Power Sliding Door Problems
After reviewing the 2007-2021 model years of the Kia Sedona, it quickly became apparent that the most common problem throughout all the model years was the power sliding doors.
Many NHTSA complaints describe how the power sliding doors tend to open on their own while driving or they refuse to open at all. Some owners also report that the doors tend not to close entirely. The nature of the problems varies.
One of the owners filed the following NHTSA report:
“While driving 30 mph, the passenger side door flew open. the warning indicator chimed after the door opened. The vehicle was taken to the dealer four times for the failure. The dealer reset the sensor and replaced the latch; however, the door continues to open while driving.”NHTSA ID Number 10229193
Kia addressed the issues with the power sliding doors remote controller motor that would not fully close the sliding doors in a 2009 technical service bulletin BOD 048. This service bulletin provided service centers with instructions for repairing this issue on all post-2006 model-year Sedona.
Additionally, Kia launched a Kia SC164 recall campaign (NHTSA recall number 18V338000) which addressed another issue with the power sliding doors. The power sliding doors should automatically reverse if they hit an object or a person. In particular 2015-2018 model year vehicles, the sliding doors would continue to press against a person or an object that would get caught by the doors.
2. Lower Control Arms Corrosion
Lower control arms are a crucial part of a vehicle’s suspension. If they brake while driving, there is a significant possibility of completely losing control and crashing. This is exactly what happened in particular 2006-2012 model year Kia Sedonas.
In a 2013 recall, Kia addressed that the lower control arms on the Sedona were prone to breaking due to corrosion. These problems were even more common in areas with a lot of snow and salt on the road. The salt from the road caused major damage to Sedona’s suspension.
If you are in the market for a 2006-2012 Kia Sedona, make sure you have a professional inspect the suspension, as it is evident that the undercarriage was not as well protected against corrosion as it should be.
3. Cruise Control And Uncontrolled Acceleration
This is why we always take any problems with cruise control seriously. There are several (10+) reports of uncontrolled acceleration for the 2007 model year Sedona. One of the complaints reports:
Using the cruise control should increase the driver’s comfort and safety. No one should be scared of using cruise control, and manufacturers should ensure that such systems work flawlessly.
This is a brand new 2007 Kia Sedona. I was merging on a highway and pressed the acceleration pedal as usual when I noticed immediately that the car was stuck on the acceleration mode despite the fact my foot was no longer on the gas pedal. The car would not slow down or stop despite my foot pressing firming them slamming the brakes. In fact the engine/motor kept racing even though now i was slamming on the emergency brakes.NHTSA ID Number: 10232241
We would not mention this if it were an isolated case, but it is far from isolated. The issues also do not seem to be connected to an older NHTSA recall number 05V329000, where Kia addressed the issue with freezing throttle cables on older pre-2007 model year Sedona.
Kia has never mentioned this problem in any official service bulletins or recalls.
4. Broken Stop Light Switches
This issue followed Kia in almost all models in the past 15 years. We have recently reviewed the Kia Sorento and Sportage, and both had the same issues. Unfortunately, the Sedona uses the same faulty brake light switches.
A broken light switch causes several problems; the brake lights do not turn off, the cruise control cannot be deactivated by pressing the brake pedal, the vehicle cannot be shifted out of Park, the functionality of the start-stop button is interrupted, and the warning light for the electronic stability control may illuminate.
Many owners of the 2007-2010 Kia Sedona experienced the symptoms above, contributing to the increased risk of crashing. Kia addressed the issue in 2013 and recognized this issue in the 2007 Sedona with the SC098 recall (NHTSA recall number 13V114000).
5. Turn Signal And Headlight Issues
Certain 2015-2017 Kia Sedona experienced problems with their turn signals. You might ask yourself what could go wrong with the turn signals, but you would be surprised.
Due to an error in the Smart Junction Box software, the software wrongly interpreted the signals from the turn signal switch. As the driver pushed the turn signal lever down to indicate that he was turning left, the computer illuminated the right-side turn signals.
While this may seem minor, it can be incredibly dangerous. Kia fixed this issue by releasing the Kia recall SC217 (NHTSA recall number 21V725000).
We have also detected an abnormal amount of NHTSA complaints regarding the headlights on the 2017 model year Sedona. Several owners report problems such as intermittent functionality of the headlights, and many more said that they need to replace the H3 and H7 light bulbs constantly.
One of the owners complained:
My headlights have blown 3 times within the last 3 months. It happened on both driver’s and passengers’ side 3 times each. So I replaced a total of 6 light bulbs.NHTSA ID Number: 11179875
Kia has issued no response in connection to these issues.
6. Transmission Shift Lever Problems On The 2016 Sedona
The owners of the 2016 model year Kia Sedona were unpleasantly surprised when their car freely rolled away. Yes, rolled away. You might ask yourself how that is possible in a modern automatic car. Here is the answer.
Certain 2016 Sedona came with faulty automatic transmission shift lever assemblies, which prevented the shift lever or, better yet, the parking pawl from engaging after shifting to Park. If the emergency brake was not applied, the car would have the ability to roll away when parking on unlevel grounds.
This issue was addressed in the Kia recall SC246 (NHTSA campaign number 22V612000).
7. Airbag Issues And A Recall
Like with other Kia models, the most common airbag problem is sudden and intermittent illumination of the airbag warning light. This is both a security and a financial burden. Owner of 2015 Sedona reports:
“2015 Kia Sedona driver’s side airbag light is on intermittently. Dealer states airbag under the seat is malfunctioning and cost to replace is greater than $1000.”NHTSA ID Number: 11443377
We have noticed similar issues in all model years but even more common in the 2015-2019 model years.
In 2022 Kia also issued the SC226 (NHTSA campaign number 22V031000) recall which addressed an airbag-related problem. The airbag control unit cover on certain 2017-2019 model year vehicles may come in contact with the memory chip on the circuit board, which leads to damage to the circuit board.
This leads to the deactivation of the airbags, which means they will not deploy in a crash.
8. Fuel Leaks
Any fuel leaks must be taken seriously as they significantly increase the chances of a fire. Due to heat exposure in the engine compartment, the fuel rail was susceptible to cracking, which led to 87-octane fuel leaks on specific 2011-2012 model year Sedona.
Kia launched the SC188 recall campaign in 2020 and addressed this severe safety hazard. The recall can also be found under the NHTSA campaign number 20V101000.
9. Abs Module Short Circuiting
Moisture and electrical systems are never a good mix. This is also true in the case of certain 2006-2010 Kia Sedona. Moisture entered the Anti-Lock Brake (ABS) module, which caused an electrical short.
This posed a significant fire hazard risk, even when the vehicle was turned off. This was highly controversial and led to a substantial recall filled under the Kia recall number SC186 and NHTSA campaign number 20V088000.
Dealerships installed a relay in the main junction box to prevent power distribution to the hydraulic electronic control unit when the vehicle is turned off. This was done as a preventive measure, and further action was taken if moisture did enter the ABS module.
10. Faulty Secondary Hood Latches
This problem is far from funny. Specific Sedona models built between June 15, 2005, and April 4, 2014, were fitted with faulty secondary hood latches that would not secure the hood when needed.
If the driver unknowingly drove away with an open hood, the secondary hood latch should prevent the hood from rising under the influence of frontal wind. If the secondary latch failed, the hood would rise violently, slapping the windshield and blocking the view of the road.
This is a significant safety hazard, and there are actual NHTSA reports of this happening. The one below is a “good” example.
“While driving at highway speed the hood popped open and bent the hood and smashed the windshield. I already had the recall on the hood latch repaired in 2017 at a Kia dealer.”NHTSA ID Number: 11219599
Kia launched the SC134 recall, which ordered the service centers to replace the faulty hood latch or give it a good cleaning and lubrication. This recall is filed under the NHTSA campaign number 16V389000.
11. Other Recalls
Alternator terminal recall – Kia SC192 / NHTSA 20V399000
This recall affected the 2020 model year Sedona, specifically its positive battery terminal on the alternator, which may have come poorly tightened from the factory. This means it can get loose over time, which can lead to electrical arcing and potentially lead to a fire.
Seat buckle assembly recall – Kia SC177 / NHTSA 19V207000
If you opt-in for the 8-seater version of the 2019 model year Sedona, check how the seat belt buckle is installed in the second row of seats. Due to a manufacturing fault, the seat belt buckle might have been installed on the wrong side of the seat, making it unfunctional.
This is a safety concern that needed to be addressed by Kia after failing to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.”
Occupant detection system wiring recall – Kia SC175 / NHTSA 19V109000
Certain 2015-2018 model year Sedona that feature manually-adjusted front passenger seats have a wiring harness for the occupant detection system located under the front passenger seat. With time, this wiring harness might get damaged.
This means that in the case of a crash, the front passenger airbag will deploy despite the presence of a child in a child’s seat. This seriously increases the chances of injury to the infant.
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.