Sorento shocker!

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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We had a terrible shock this afternoon.
I bought a 2013 Kia Sorento last December, it was everything we wanted in a tow car.
This morning I took the Sorento to our local Kia dealer to have a recall notice attended to, plus a service and MOT.
The dealer phoned me this afternoon with some very bad news.
The service technician carried out a 'health check' on the car as part of the service, and he discovered an oil leak in the rear diff.
There's no oil on the drive, they reckon that the leak is probably internal.
There are no replaceable oil seals or gaskets, and if left the diff will eventually destroy itself with possible significant damage to the rear axles and suspension.
The only effective solution is a replacement rear differential.
With parts and labour this will cost just short of £3500 ☹️
Towing our caravan up and down the highways and byways isn't a safe option, the car doesn't have a warranty so I'm going to have to turn into Scrooge this Christmas, to get the work done early next year.
Apparently this diff issue isn't uncommon among Sorentos of my mileage, but it's potentially safety critical.
Our holidays in 2024 are going to be severely curtailed. 🥺
 
Jun 16, 2010
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I'd question how you can have an internal leak in a rear diff - the oil has to be going somewhere

Personally, i would top it up and see what happens. If its not leaking from the diff cover, it can only be coming out of the pinion seal or one (or both) axle seals.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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We had a terrible shock this afternoon.
I bought a 2013 Kia Sorento last December, it was everything we wanted in a tow car.
This morning I took the Sorento to our local Kia dealer to have a recall notice attended to, plus a service and MOT.
The dealer phoned me this afternoon with some very bad news.
The service technician carried out a 'health check' on the car as part of the service, and he discovered an oil leak in the rear diff.
There's no oil on the drive, they reckon that the leak is probably internal.
There are no replaceable oil seals or gaskets, and if left the diff will eventually destroy itself with possible significant damage to the rear axles and suspension.
The only effective solution is a replacement rear differential.
With parts and labour this will cost just short of £3500 ☹️
Towing our caravan up and down the highways and byways isn't a safe option, the car doesn't have a warranty so I'm going to have to turn into Scrooge this Christmas, to get the work done early next year.
Apparently this diff issue isn't uncommon among Sorentos of my mileage, but it's potentially safety critical.
Our holidays in 2024 are going to be severely curtailed. 🥺
Can we assume that you bought privately? Expensive repair. Many years ago I had to have the diff on mt Cortina refurbished and that was almost half the cost of the car! The car was also bought second hand and when the garage opened the diff someone had added sawdust to the oil mixture so no noise to alert you!
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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If it's a common failure I'm surprised it does affect Hyundai Santa Fe as the Sorento of that age uses it's underpinnings.
 
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May 15, 2023
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I'd concur with the other suggestions to get a second opinion, ideally from an independent transmission specialist, independent firms frequently identify resolutions that main dealers can't offer.

Secondly, how quickly is the diff loosing oil? if its a case of topping it up say every 1000 miles, could you not live with it? As someone who runs classic cars this is normal :)

Finally, is it worth spending £3500 on the car? I don't know what it is worth or what its condition is, would another option be to trade it in and use the £3500 to get something newer, the dealer who identified the problem, may do you a deal because it won't cost them £3500 to fix it. Many dealers are keen to shift stock at year end.

Finally there is always "we buy any car" who would take it off your hands at a trade price....
 
Jul 15, 2008
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.......if there is no evidence of oil visible I would ask how the technician knows there is a leak.
If after checking the level he found it to be low then ask them to add the correct amount of oil.
The car is basically a front wheel drive vehicle so if the rear diff let go it may even still be drivable.
It would likely give an audio warning if any wear present gets worse.
You'll have breakdown cover anyway to get you home.....then you can think about replacing the diff and the cost of doing so......that's what I would do.
You have a second car to use for non towing duties I believe.
 
Dec 27, 2022
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A common mistake on a Yeti is when the Haldex is serviced they drain the diff by mistake and then top up the Haldex oil causing the same situation you have.
Could this be the same?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Sorry to hear of the issue, I would seek a second opinion. Do the Kia Owners forum have any background to this problem, perhaps with solutions. Theres a gearbox specialist in Halifax called Beaumont they rebuilt Gen1 Sorento transfer cases when some early models had technical problems. Here’s their website and although they don’t show Kia differentials they have a get in touch contact. Might be worth a discussion.

 
Jun 20, 2005
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Oh dear Steve.Not the news you want just before Christmas.
Most of the posted diff failures have been accompanied with significant noise? Did you hear anything? As others have asked where is all the oil?
I know of two Santa Fe’s and three 2.2 Sorentos like yours that have been going for years with no problems.
Don't panic! Defo get a second opinion preferably from one or two of the Birmingham engineering firms who specialise in diffs. See below. You do live in the heart of U.K. engineering😉. Good luck!


and once you have a confirmed diagnosis worth checking for a price on a used item from here https://www.1stchoice.co.uk/car-parts/kia/sorento/differential
Just helps to get a feel on the costings.
 
Last edited:
Sep 29, 2016
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We had a terrible shock this afternoon.
I bought a 2013 Kia Sorento last December, it was everything we wanted in a tow car.
This morning I took the Sorento to our local Kia dealer to have a recall notice attended to, plus a service and MOT.
The dealer phoned me this afternoon with some very bad news.
The service technician carried out a 'health check' on the car as part of the service, and he discovered an oil leak in the rear diff.
There's no oil on the drive, they reckon that the leak is probably internal.
There are no replaceable oil seals or gaskets, and if left the diff will eventually destroy itself with possible significant damage to the rear axles and suspension.
The only effective solution is a replacement rear differential.
With parts and labour this will cost just short of £3500 ☹️
Towing our caravan up and down the highways and byways isn't a safe option, the car doesn't have a warranty so I'm going to have to turn into Scrooge this Christmas, to get the work done early next year.
Apparently this diff issue isn't uncommon among Sorentos of my mileage, but it's potentially safety critical.
Our holidays in 2024 are going to be severely curtailed. 🥺
It's never good news but when it comes so unepectedly out of the blue like this it is all the more disheartening.

As others have said, the oil must be going somewhere, personally I would research and consider all options, up to and including a filler cap and drain plug if it meant that the vehicle was below reasonable salvage value.

T.B.H. I find the garage diagnosis raises questions.

Whatever, I'm sorry for your misfortune regarding this unwanted news Steve.

Best.
 
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Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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Thanks for the responses.
I'm definitely going to qet a second opinion on this, and I'm hoping to speak to the technician who diagnosed the diff problem.
I haven't noticed any noises from the diff, the car runs well and I won't be doing anything until after Christmas.
If the worst comes to the worst, I can sell my Fiesta runabout which would pay for the replacement diff, but there are a few questions to be answered first.
 

Sam Vimes

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Sep 7, 2020
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Not the sort of thing you want for Christmas, Steve. So, sorry to hear about your troubles but hope it doesn't spoil your festive celebrations.

On the theme of Diff problems, one of my friends had a 2015 VW something with the Haldex diff. He only had it a few months and it literally seized up, which he describe as like the handbrake being pulled up. Cost about £4500 to fix. He only kept it a year or two more than got rid of it.
 
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May 7, 2012
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I have seen a few cases of garages trying to suggest things needed when it was not true. This was particularly true when I had company cars although I have not seen anything as serious as the work suggested here.
We have stuck with the same garage for about 15 years, partly because they have never suggested anything was needed that was not. With every service we get a video showing mostly the brakes, tyres and suspension and so far everything has been excellent.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Not the sort of thing you want for Christmas, Steve. So, sorry to hear about your troubles but hope it doesn't spoil your festive celebrations.

On the theme of Diff problems, one of my friends had a 2015 VW something with the Haldex diff. He only had it a few months and it literally seized up, which he describe as like the handbrake being pulled up. Cost about £4500 to fix. He only kept it a year or two more than got rid of it.
In three years I had two Haldex failures on a 2014 Skoda Superb estate. The car had been regularly serviced at two main dealers and the Haldex oil had been changed at 20 k intervals.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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I have seen a few cases of garages trying to suggest things needed when it was not true. This was particularly true when I had company cars although I have not seen anything as serious as the work suggested here.
We have stuck with the same garage for about 15 years, partly because they have never suggested anything was needed that was not. With every service we get a video showing mostly the brakes, tyres and suspension and so far everything has been excellent.
Very true. I had issues with the gearbox on a company Datsun Bluebird that was under warranty. They could never fix it. Strangely within a few months of it being out of warranty they found the fault. My boss went ballistic with them and the car was repaired free of charge! When the fleet of cars were due to be changed, the company switched to Toyota Corollas.
 
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Aug 12, 2023
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I have seen a few cases of garages trying to suggest things needed when it was not true. This was particularly true when I had company cars although I have not seen anything as serious as the work suggested here.
We have stuck with the same garage for about 15 years, partly because they have never suggested anything was needed that was not. With every service we get a video showing mostly the brakes, tyres and suspension and so far everything has been excellent.
Work caddy went in for leaking coolant and garage tried to charge us £250 for new battery.
 
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Dec 27, 2022
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In three years I had two Haldex failures on a 2014 Skoda Superb estate. The car had been regularly serviced at two main dealers and the Haldex oil had been changed at 20 k intervals.
Skoda dealers until recently didn't change the filter or clean the screen depending on year. This led too many failures.
They have learnt and now do the screen / filter.
 
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Skoda dealers until recently didn't change the filter or clean the screen depending on year. This led too many failures.
They have learnt and now do the screen / filter.
That probably explains why my 2010 XC 70 had no problems and my son’s 2008 Freelander has been trouble free as presumably screen/filters were addressed. Also explains why Skoda have/had low running costs ☹️
 
Dec 27, 2022
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That probably explains why my 2010 XC 70 had no problems and my son’s 2008 Freelander has been trouble free as presumably screen/filters were addressed. Also explains why Skoda have/had low running costs ☹️
Servicing is designed to be the minimum needed to get the car through the warranty period not to keep the car in tip top condition.
 
Mar 17, 2020
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If it's a common failure I'm surprised it does affect Hyundai Santa Fe as the Sorento of that age uses it's underpinnings.

I'm no mechanic but maybe it does!

We have had 3 Santa Fe and the first would have been 2014 I think. I'm pretty sure my dealer phoned to say there was an oil leak from the rear diff. at one serviced. It was under warranty but I'm positive the diff wasn't replaced. I had the impression a gasket had failed and after changing a fill up with oil was all that was required.
Never had any issues beyond this one.

As I say I'm no mechanic but would be pleased to hear how the leak was identified.
 
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