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2005 Kia Sorento LX 4x4 - strange noise

I have recently noticed a noise… to describe it would be difficult, but I’ll give it a shot. There is a pulsing sound, maybe coming from my front left wheel area? It happens when I turn left driving, even on the smallest curve. From what I can tell, the pulsing sound does NOT change speed when I speed up or slow down. My initial thoughts were a bad wheel bearing, but I’m not so sure. Could it be power steering?

My Kia does have 130000 miles on it, and I just purchased it used a year ago, so I’m not exactly sure what maintenance or repair has been done on it.

Thanks for the help guys!

My Kia does have 130000 miles on it, and I just purchased it used a year ago, I’m not exactly sure what maintenance or repair has been done on it."


I have to say that you must be a very trusting soul to be driving a car with 130k miles on it while having no idea of what maintenance has been done. Typically, the 90k mile service includes replacing every fluid, every filter, and the spark plugs. At 120k, some of those same services are repeated.

At 90k-105k, most cars with timing belts need that belt replaced (along with the serpentine belt, water pump, and all belt tensioners) in order to prevent catastrophic engine damage. To the best of my recollection, your engine does have a timing belt, so you and your engine are really living on borrowed time. Make sure that the mechanic checks the condition of the brake pads on all 4 wheels also. The brakes may also be living on borrowed time.

If none of the above-listed items have been taken care of (and without documentation, you HAVE to assume that they have not been attended to), then you need to get them done right away if you want any hope of continuing to drive this vehicle for another year. I suggest that you look at the maintenance schedule contained in the Owner’s Manual to confirm my list, and to see if additional items are listed. I don’t have a Kia Owner’s Manual at my disposal, but hopefully you do.

When you take the car in for the long list of skipped services, your mechanic will test drive the car, so make sure that you describe the symptoms to him. Even better is if you take a ride with him in order to point out the noise to him. The noise could be from a bad bearing, or a failing CV joint, or from the PS system, or…

Just so that you are prepared for the bill, assume that doing the 90k/120k service + replacing the timing belt, water pump, serpentine belt, and all belt tensioners will probably cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $800-$1200, depending on the region of the country where you live and whether you take the car to an independent mechanic (your most economical choice), a dealership, or a chain operation (the worst possible choice in most cases). If repairs are needed in addition to maintenance, then the cost could be significantly higher.

If you think that my estimate is expensive, just remember that timely maintenance is invariably cheaper than the repairs that result from lax maintenance.

Good luck!

Edited to add:
It appears that Kia stopped using a timing belt on Sorento engines in 2004, so you can cross that item off your list. I just saved you several hundred $$!

I should have clarified… the brakes are fine. The belt is fine. I’m just not sure about what maintenance has been done before I owned this vehicle. I had it checked out before I purchased it, and everything was fine according to the mechanic. All I am concerned about is this little noise I am hearing.

I don’t think that you are getting it.
If you can’t confirm through documentation that ALL of the mfr’s specified maintenance up through at least 120k miles has been done, then you have to assume that none of it has been done.

Yes, the car is supposedly operating normally right now (with the exception of that noise), but if you don’t attend to maintenance now, you are going to risk being stranded at an inconvenient time and place when the vehicle breaks down, and you are going to pay far more in the long run to do multiple repairs necessitated by lax maintenance.

When the car is in the shop for all of the skipped maintenance, have the mechanic check the bearings, CV joints, and PS system in order to try to track down the source of the noise.