Over the years, Kia has undergone numerous recalls on many of their corporation’s models, such as the Rondo, Sportage, and most notably, the Soul. After the Soul was created in 2009, it began being sold in 2010 in numerous countries across the world. However, shortly after it rose to prominence on the market, there were many safety issues that needed to be addressed before it could be considered a safe and reliable car to drive.
The host of engine problems, steering issues, and braking issues have plagued the Kia Soul line for its entire lifespan. Ever since 2010, the Kia Soul has had numerous reports of engine failure, requiring a full engine replacement – a service costing sometimes around $5,000. In addition, the Soul has reports of the headlights acting up and not being able to illuminate the road properly, the electrical system short circuiting, and the steering issues causing some trouble with turning, creating a dangerous and harrowing situation on the road.
Due to all of the aforementioned safety issues with the Kia Soul, it may come as no surprise that many models were recalled. We will discuss in depth the reasons why the 2011-2016 models were recalled, and which model is unsafe to buy.
What Is A Recall?
A car recall is when a manufacturer, or the NHTSA, makes it known that a car model has a safety-related defect or doesn’t adhere to the federal safety standards. If this happens, the automaker has to alert the owners of the specific model to the problem. Typically, the auto-makers will also give the owners a chance for a free repair in order to fix the problem – or problems, in some cases.
If your car has been recalled, the specific company, in this case Kia, will have to send you a letter via the mail to let you know of the situation. The letter that Kia will send you will include a few key items that you should take note of.
First, they will describe the defect to you. In many of the cases regarding Kia Soul cars, this will address either the engine issue, the stop lamp switch, the high exhaust gas temperatures, the pinion plug separating, etc. After they describe the issue, they will tell you the risk or hazard that is created by the problem. For example, the pinion plug separating from the steering apparatus can cause a loss of steering control, causing an accident.
Third, they will send you potential warning signs for the problem. If you feel as if your steering is loose or making some clicking sounds for example, this might be a symptom that your pinion plug is not secured properly. Fourth, they will explain how they are going to fix the problem, and their future plans (how long it will take to repair the issue). For certain problems, this could be a very short fix. For others, this could be a more extensive problem that can have you waiting on your vehicle. Lastly, they will provide you with some information about what your next steps should be in order to stay safe.
Now that you know the process of the recall, and specifically the Kia Soul Recall process, we will go through the recalls that have happened over the years.
Kia Soul Recalls Throughout The Years
Over the past decade, Kia has undergone many recalls in their Soul model. The NHTSA has had no choice but to issue a vehicle safety recall for the 2011-2016 versions, beginning with the 2011 Kia Soul.
2011 Kia Soul Recall
The 2011 Kia Soul was recalled due to the stop lamp switch malfunctioning while using. The stop lamp switch if not working properly can cause the brake lights to not light up when the brake pedal is pressed, causing the drivers behind you to not notice you are stopping. In Addition, a broken stop lamp switch can cause an inability to turn off the cruise control by pressing on the brake pedal manually. The stop lamp switch can also cause an inadvertent and accidental operation of the push-to-start button, which would negatively affect the brake-transmission shift. This would cause the driver to be unable to move the shifter out of the park position, and cause the electronic stability control, or ECS, light to turn on.
In addition to the issue with the stop lamp switch, there was a recall due to the headliner plate coming detached. A detached headliner might increase any risk of injury since the headliner plate can come off during the deployment of the air bag. These two issues caused the 2011 Kia Soul to be recalled due to the safety issues apparent.
2012 Kia Soul Recall
The 2012 Kia Soul was recalled for a few reasons, the most notable being an issue with the structural component of the body, roof, and pillars. The headliner plate can detach during the deployment of the airbag in the occasion of a crash. The detachment could cause an increased risk of injury to the driver during the crash. There are over 6 million car crashes in the United States alone every year – this could lead to extensive damage that you can’t afford.
In addition to the problems with the structural body of the 2012 Kia Soul, Kia was forced to recall this model due to the high exhaust gas temperatures being able to damage the catalytic converters. This process could result in a higher engine combustion, causing damage to multiple of the engine’s pistons and creating possible connecting rod failure.
The piston damage can cause an engine to stall, which is extremely dangerous while driving. A broken connecting rod can also force a puncture in the engine block, letting engine oil escape, potentially contacting the exhaust, and increasing fire risk. The dealerse were notified of these problems and had to update the engine control unit logic to prevent overheating, and to replace the catalytic converter if needed.
2013 Kia Soul Recall
The 2013 Kia Soul was recalled for similar reasons to the 2012 version. The high exhaust gas temperatures provided a possibility of engine combustion and damage to the pistons, due to the specific 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection engines.
In addition, the 2013 Kia Soul was recalled due to the issue with the headliner plate coming off and causing potential injury during a crash. The headliners are made up of multiple layers and provide many functionalities, and are necessary to the running of the car. This is the same issue that was apparent in the two previous years, dealing with problems with the Kia’s structural body. These two issues weren't fixed since the previous year, and caused a recall in the 2013 Kia Soul.
2014 Kia Soul Recall
The 2014 Kia Soul experienced a host of new problems which caused this year’s model to be recalled from the market. In addition to the new issues, this model still experienced the high exhaust gas temperatures that can cause damage to the pistons and piston rod connecting failure.
As we mentioned, this piston damage can result in an engine stall, which is unsafe while your car is moving. A broken rod can puncture the engine, and allow the engine oil to escape, and increase the risk of a fire within your car.
In addition to the issues with the gas exhaust, this model also experienced a pinion plug separating from the steering gear assembly. This plug separating can cause the steering to be lost, which highly increases the risk of a crash. Kia had to notify owners and dealers to secure the pinion plug or replace the steering apparatus. This is a serious issue which must be fixed in order to safely drive your 2014 Kia Soul.
Lastly, the 2014 Kia Soul saw issues with a section of the accelerator pedal bending and possibly breaking. If your Kia Soul has a broken accelerator pedal, or if it is damaged in some way, the driver might have difficulty pressing the pedal. This can result in an inability or difficulty accelerating the vehicle, which can cause a crash and injuries.
Kia was in charge of notifying owners and the dealers, encouraging them to add a supportive rubber underneath the pedal stopper in order to remedy the issue. The rubber would enhance the ability to accelerate, and would ensure the pedal wasn’t faulty.
2015 Kia Soul Recall
The 2015 Kia Soul saw the same type of recalls that the previous year did, showing consistent problems with the steering separating, the brake pedal breaking, and the overheated catalytic converter.
If the pinion plug in the steering wheel comes loose from the wheel, this means that the driver loses control of the steering wheel – and in turn, the car. This issue has caused over 342,000 Kia Soul models to be recalled. This issue was obviously supposed to be fixed in the 2014 version, after the problem was brought to light, but hasn’t been fixed for the 2015 Kia Soul model. Kia came back and said that the remedy they suggested, replacing the pinion plug, might not have been properly performed. This would result in the pinion plug not being able to secure correctly into the steering wheel.
2016 Kia Soul Recall
The 2016 Kia Soul saw a little better in terms of less reasons to recall than the previous models, with the two reasons being the overheated catalytic converter causing damage to the engine and the steering gear separating. The issue with the steering apparatus separating was fixed after the 2015 Kia Soul.
Despite the steering wheel issue being fixed, the overheated catalytic converter can still cause serious damage. The 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection engines are susceptible to high exhaust gas temperatures, which will damage the converter. This will result in an abnormal engine combustion, and damage to the engine’s pistons.
Damage to the pistons can cause possible piston connection failure, which will increase the risk of a stalling engine. The broken connecting rod can also cause a puncture in the engine block, letting engine oil escape and increasing the risk of a fire in your 2016 Kia Soul.
2017 Kia Soul – Safe At Last?
The 2017 Kia Soul didn’t undergo any recalls for safety issues, unlike the previous models. Although the 2017 Kia Soul had some overall problems, like engine issues, seat belt and airbag problems, and electrical issues, the lack of recalls make this a safer model to choose for your car.
The NHTSA did have numerous complaints for the engine category for this 2017 Kia Soul, however. There were reports of the car jerking back and forth while trying to accelerate, the engine failing in the 2017 version, and the acceleration pedal not working to go forward after stopping. The inability of the car to move when needed can cause an accident, since other drivers will anticipate you to drive.
The issues with the seat belts and airbags have unfortunately resulted in six crashes, seven injuries, and reach a 10 on the severity scale. This issue averages to happen at around 31,000 miles, which is extremely low for any problems to arise. The problems with the airbags is that they fail to deploy during crashes, which can cause injuries due to not being fully protected. An airbag replacement alone can cost $200-$700 on just the driver’s side, $400-$1000 for the passenger side, and cost a total of around $3,000-$5,000. In addition, the seat belt has reports of not being strong enough, the seat belt light flashing, and the seatbelt not holding you back during an accident.
Despite the 2017 Kia Soul not having any recalls, the NHTSA still made note of numerous safety concerns in this model. Even though there were safety issues, if you’re comparing this model compared to the previous years, this is the safest one up until this year.
What If My Kia Soul Is Beyond Repair?
If you have one of the models that had extensive recalls and you don’t feel safe driving your car anymore, or you aren’t in the right financial state for a repair or replacement of parts, you can bring your car to a junk car dealer. If you bring your vehicle to a reputable location, they will provide you with a fair quote. Bring your broken Kia to CashCarsBuyer to earn some money to put towards your next new – and safe – vehicle.