Kia 2.0 turbo engine problems 

The Kia 2.0 turbo engine of the Theta series is a four-cylinder gasoline engine that first debuted in the Hyundai Sonata in 2004. However, Kia also featured this engine in the 2011 Kia Optima and 2011 Kia Sportage. But what are the Kia turbo engine problems? 

Some of the most common Kia 2.0-liter turbo engine issues are engine failure, excess oil consumption, carbon build-up, and oil leaks. These issues are not only experienced in the Kia 2.0-liter engine but also the Hyundai 2.0-liter turbo Theta engine. 

What are the Kia 2.0 turbo engine problems?

Engine failure

This is one of the most common issues that Kia 2.0-liter Turbo engine owners have complained about. It is also crucial to note that the cars most affected were made at the US plant. Engine issues are usually caused by debris during the manufacturing procedure that restricts flow to the engine rod bearings. 

Some of the common signs of engine failure in this engine are poor performance, excess oil consumption, and engine knocking. The good news is that most of these problems occur during the warranty period and most affected cars had Kia replace the engine for free. Otherwise, replacing the engine can be quite costly. 

Excess oil consumption 

Some people link excess oil consumption on the Kia 2.0-liter turbo Theta II engine to the manufacturing defect of the crankshaft, but that’s not always the case. This engine also loses oil naturally. For instance, as metals expand with heat, oil usage is usually highest on a cold engine when clearances are larger. 

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Common symptoms of excess oil consumption in this engine are losing more than 1 quart of oil per 1000 miles, burning oil smells, smoke from the exhaust, and engine knocking or pinging. If the design flaw on this engine was fixed and you’re still experiencing the same problem, then you will have your engine checked for other issues. Ensure the engine is inspected and the underlying problems are fixed. 

Carbon build-up

Another common issue with the Kia 2.0-liter turbo engine is carbon build-up. This issue can be avoided through proper care and maintenance of the engine. This is because carbon builds up after some time of using the car. This happens often when low-quality fuel is used. 

Signs of carbon buildup in the engine are rough idle, power loss, engine misfires, hesitation, or stuttering. Fixing carbon buildup is easy as you will have to clean the intake valves. To avoid this problem, it is crucial to clean the intake valves every 80,000 to 100,000 miles. 

Oil leaks 

This is another problem that forced Kia and Hyundai to recall their cars. One main leak on this engine lies within the turbo oil feed. Nonetheless, Kia updated the oil feed with a new part, which seemed to fix this issue for the long term. Note that this problem is synonymous with the Kia Optima. This issue usually occurs when the car hits more than 60k miles. 

So, if you’re buying a used Kia 2.0-liter turbo Theta II engine model, you should check if this issue was solved as Kia recalled the affected cars. Some of the common signs of oil leaks are oil loss, visible leaks, smoke from the engine bay, and burning oil smells. 

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Is the Kia 2.0-liter turbo Theta engine series reliable?

Yes, the Kia 2.0-liter turbo Theta GDI engine is reliable. However, it is not as reliable as other Kia or Hyundai engines as it has been with multiple problems for years. Most of the issues that these engines face are centered around manufacturing defects in the crankshafts. 

Despite having several issues, Kia offers a generous warranty that will cover most of these issues. On top of that, the manufacturer recalled the affected cars and most of the problems were solved.  

What is the recall on the Kia 2.0-liter turbo engine?

Kia and Hyundai recalled more than 1.2 million cars because of engine failure. Some of the affected cars featured the Kia 2.0-liter turbo engine. The cars recalled included the 2011 to 2013 Kia Sportage, the 2011 to 2014 Kia Optima, and the 2012 to 2014 Kia Sorento. 

The manufacturer stated that, during the machining of the engine crankshaft and crankpins, metal shavings may be left within the crankshaft oil passages, and the crankpins may be extremely rough on the edges. Therefore, oil may be blocked and make the connecting rod bearings to wear, which would then cause them to fail and seize the entire engine. As a result, this causes the car to stall when driving. 

How much horsepower does the Kia 2.0-liter turbo engine have?

The Kia 2.0-liter turbo engine delivers outstanding power and performance. This engine produces a maximum of 274 bhp and 269 lb-ft of torque. With such power, this engine beats most of its competition and it is offered at a slightly favorable price. It is also more efficient than most of its rivals. 

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How long does the Kia 2.0-liter turbo engine last? 

Kia makes some of the most reliable and durable engines on the market. The Kia 2.0-liter Turbo engine is not an exception. Even though this engine comes with several problems, it is still reliable. With good care and maintenance, this engine can clock more than 200k miles. Some owners have even registered up to 300k miles.  

Which cars are fitted with the Kia 2.0 turbo engine? 

The Kia 2.0-liter turbo engine is not only featured in Kia but as well as some Hyundai models. The Theta II engine can be found in the 2011 to 2019 Kia Optima, 2015 to 2020 Kia Sorento, and 2011 to present Kia Sportage. Additionally, it is also fitted in the 2017 to present Genesis G70, 2009 to 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, 2009 to 2019 Hyundai Sonata, 2018 to present Hyundai Kona N, and 2012 to 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe. 


The Kia 2.0-liter turbo Theta engine is an efficient, powerful, and durable engine. However, unlike most Kia engines, this engine came with manufacturing defects in the crankshafts, leading to several problems. Aside from the crankshaft, owners of the Kia 2.0-liter turbo engine also face engine failure, oil leaks, excess oil usage, and carbon build-up. 

Even with the above issues, the Kia 2.0-liter engine still performs well and can last for a long while if properly maintained. 

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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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