Common problems with the Kia Soul

Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is one of the best-selling cubic cars on the market. This car has outlasted most of its rivals like Honda and Nissan. It is also reliable, efficient, and practical. Nonetheless, it also comes with several problems that users should be ready to handle. But what are the common Kia Soul problems?

Common Kia Soul problems include cruise control surges, electrical problems, engine knocking sound, failing catalytic converter, blown engine, bumpy driving, and loss of steering control. Not that some issues can only be found on particular Kia Soul model years.

What are the common problems with the Kia Soul?

Engine knocking sound

Several owners of the Kia Soul models made between 2012 and 2016 have complained about hearing a knocking sound coming from the car’s hood. On the same note, this problem is rampant in the 2014 Kia Soul model year. Some of the things that can cause this sound are wrong fuel octane, carbon accumulating in cylinder walls, poor fuel quality, and disrupted combustion timing.

If the underlying issue is not fixed, it can lead to serious engine damage and costly repair. Besides, it can also cause a fire to start and endanger the driver and the passengers. The good news is that Kia recalled the affected cars in 2020 and fixed the problem. Other affected Kia models were the Kia Sorento, Sportage, and Optima.

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Blown engine

Another common problem with the Kia Soul is a blown engine. This problem is common in the 2016 Kia Soul, but the 2012 and 2015 Kia Soul owners have also reported experiencing such a problem. It was reported that the 2016 Kia Soul’s catalytic converter is susceptible to high exhaust temperatures, making it fail and creating abnormal engine combustion.

As a result, it can cause all the parts in the engine to fail, including gaskets, piston rings, seals, and even cause a fire.  Most users have reported experiencing this issue after their car hits around 70,000 miles. Nonetheless, Kia recalled the affected models in 2019, and the issue was fixed.

This is a very serious problem and it can happen at any time. That’s why it is crucial to know some of the signs of a blown engine and rectify the issue ASAP! Some of the signs include loud banging sounds, clouds of white smoke coming from the hood, abrupt acceleration, and black smoke coming from the tailpipe.

Cruise control surge

If you’re driving your Kia Soul and notice a change in speed without your authorization, then you’ve got a cruise control surge. This problem usually occurs when the Kia Soul hits 40 to 50 mph, and it can cause the car to lurch forward. Surprisingly, this issue normally goes away if cruise control is engaged.

Note that this issue is common in the 2018 Kia Soul. It is usually caused by electrical problems. While Kia has not issued a recall yet, you can visit a professional mechanic to fix the problem for you. 

Loss of steering control

Several Kia users have also reported having lost some directional control. Aside from that, they heard odd noises emanating from the steering rack. This is usually caused by a loss of steering control. However, Kia recalled the affected cars and fixed the issue.

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Electrical problems

When the electrical harness in your Kia Soul breaks down, you should replace it as soon as possible, failure to do so, you may notice things such as lights turning on randomly and popping sounds on the radio. In some cases, the sunroof may fail to work. Ensure to replace the bad electrical harness.

Bumpy driving

The Kia Soul is known to have a weak suspension. Therefore, as the car gets older, you may start experiencing a harsher or bumpy ride. Ensure to replace the entire suspension to fix the issue. This includes joints, shock absorbers, and bearings.

Failing catalytic converter

The catalytic converter helps the car to filter and clean exhaust air before entering the atmosphere. Hence, if the catalytic converter is failed, it should be replaced immediately to avoid damaging other parts. The most affected Kia Soul models are those made between 2014 and 2015.  


Is the Kia Soul a reliable car?

Yes, Kia Soul is a reliable car. It competes closely with Toyota and Honda in terms of reliability. Most reliability agencies rate Kia Soul to have an above-average rating. This is better than most subcompact SUVs on the market. On top of that, this car does not register many issues and it’s cheaper to maintain.

Is the Kia Soul expensive to repair?

No, the Kia Soul is very cheap to maintain. Annually, it will only cost the user around $437 to maintain this car. This is way cheaper than most subcompact SUVs which cost around $466 to maintain yearly. It is even way cheaper than standard cars which cost around $652 to maintain annually. 

How long does the Kia Soul last?

Kia produces some of the most durable cars on the market. If maintained properly, the Kia Soul will last for more than 200,000 miles. On top of that, good driving habits have to be maintained for the car to last long. Besides, the latest Kia Soul models may last for more than 250,000 miles.

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Does Kia Soul have transmission issues?

Yes, Kia Soul also comes with transmission problems. Some of the transmission issues that Kia Soul owners should be ready to deal with are grinding, shifting delays, car shaking at a different speed, jumping during acceleration, whistling sound coming from the hood, and a burning smell.

Is Kia Soul going to be discontinued?

No, the Kia Soul is not going to be discontinued as the manufacturer has also planned for the facelift of the next Kia Soul model year. After releasing the 2022 Kia Soul, the manufacturer will give a facelift to the 2023 Kia Soul, including an angrier mug and a revised lineup. However, it will also drop the X-Line and Turbo trims.


Overall, the Kia Soul is a sleek, reliable, efficient, spacious, practical, and affordable subcompact SUV. But like most cars, it has issues that users should prepare to deal with during their ownership. Nonetheless, most of the Kia Soul problems that we’ve highlighted can be avoided or handled in time by taking good care of the car.

With timely maintenance and repair, Kia Soul owners may prevent most of the problems to take place. Furthermore, proper maintenance ensures the car lasts longer.

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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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