Common problems with Kia Niro

Kia Niro

The Kia Niro is an affordable, fuel-efficient, compact, and comfortable crossover SUV. It is also eco-friendly as it has hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric models. But what are the common problems with the Kia Niro?

Common problems with the Kia Niro are loss of braking power, engine issues, overheating electrical relay, clutch actuator leaks oil, transmission problems, and loss of electrical power steering. Most of these issues can be avoided with good care and maintenance of the Kia Niro.

What are the common problems with Kia Niro?

Overheating electrical relay

This is one of the main problems that Kia Niro users have complained about. However, this issue can only be found in select Kia Niro model years. The most affected model years are 2016, 2017, and 2018 Kia Niro model years.

This problem is majorly caused by the main relay inside the power relay assembly having inadequate connections between its contacts. As a result, this may lead to a short circuit or prevent the car from starting, hence increasing the risk of fire and accidents.

Kia recalled these models and the problem was fixed. 

Clutch actuator leaks oil

Another problem that made Kia recall some model years is the clutch actuator leaking oil. This issue is common in the Kia Niro model years made between January and December 2017. This problem is caused by oil leaking on the power electrode within the hydraulic clutch actuator. This can cause a short circuit that could cause a fire.

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Luckily, Kia also recalled all model years with this problem, and the issue was rectified. 

Loss of braking power

Aside from the recalls issued by Kia, other problems to worry about are loss of braking power. This problem is common in some 2017, 2018, and 2019 Kia Niro Hybrid models. Some users have reported a lack of pressure from the braking pedal when the pedal is pressed.

Unfortunately, Kia has never accepted this problem, and a recall was never issued. However, many users with this problem found out that the right rear flexible brake line was loose at a point where it is attached to the line. Visit a mechanic to fix this issue. 

Engine problems

Engine problems are also common on the Kia Niro Hybrid. Some users have reported their cars failing to start under 10 degrees. The easiest way to know if you have got an engine problem on your Kia Niro is by observing the engine light on your dashboard.

Other Kia Niro engine problems include a clogged injector, faulty lambda, bad position sensor, and a dirty particulate filter. If you’re having one of the above issues, visit a professional mechanic to help you fix them.

Loss of electrical power steering assist

This issue is common in the 2017 Kia Niro model years. Users reported a complete loss of electrical power steering assist. Most of them reported having a sudden and total loss of power steering, making steering pretty challenging at lower speeds.

Fortunately, only 135 cars were affected and Kia made a recall. It was discovered that these cars had a malfunctioning motor-driven power steering connector. Kia replaced this free of charge for the affected models.

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Transmissions issues

The Kia Niro also has transmission issues. Many users have complained about having lagging acceleration and lunching forward. This problem is linked to Kia Niro’s powertrain. Besides, this problem is common in the 2017 to 2019 model years.

Users of the above model years reported having poor acceleration and jerking or lunching forward when shifting. While these are signs of a bad transmission, the transmission is not faulty but poorly tuned. This is because the Kia Niro utilizes a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that was poorly tweaked.


How reliable is the Kia Niro?

Kia Niro is one of the most reliable hybrid SUVs on the market. In 2018, Consumer Reports named the Kia Niro as the most reliable vehicle. Besides, J.D rated this car to have a reliability score of 78 out of 100, which is exceptional. So, overall, the Kia Niro is a reliable car.

How long does the Kia Niro last?

Kia is one of the most reliable car brands on the market. So, if the Kia Niro is well-maintained, it should last for more than 200,000 miles or 13 years. With proper maintenance, the Kia Niro won’t record any major repairs over this period.

Is the Kia Niro expensive to maintain?

Since Kia Niro is a hybrid car, the cost of maintaining it is considerably lower. The estimated cost of maintaining a Kia Niro is between $95 and $2307. On an annual basis, the cost is around $142. With such a cost, maintaining the Kia Niro is way cheaper than most of its competitors.

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How much does it cost to replace a Kia Niro EV battery?

The average cost of a Kia Niro hybrid high voltage battery replacement is between $5,575 and $5,617. Moreover, the labor cost will range between $158 and $200, while the parts will cost around $5,417. Note that this is not inclusive of taxes and fees. Besides, the cost may be high considering your location and the model year of the Kia Niro.

Do Kia Niro timing belts last?

Unfortunately, most Kia Niros don’t feature timing belts but timing chains. Yes, most Kia Niro timing chains last. Nonetheless, for the Kia Niro timing chain to last long, you need to properly maintain the car and ensure the oil change is done as recommended by the manufacturer.


Now that you know some of the common problems that the Kia Niro faces, it is vital to take good care of the car if you want it to last. With proper care and maintenance, the Kia Niro can last for more than 200,000 miles or 13 years without major repairs. Overall, the Kia Niro is an affordable, efficient, reliable, and fun car to drive.

However, its braking system is not the best and the engine is not of the best quality. But still, you will enjoy this car, more so if you want it for a daily driver or around the city.

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Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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