Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2009 Kia Sedona Electric Motor Noise from Under Rear

I have a 2009 Kia Sedona that is in great condition. I noticed an odd thing today. After shutting the car off and letting it sit for an hour or so, I came out to my garage and a heard a weird whirring noise.

I couldn’t place it at first, but I eventually realized it was coming from the Sedona. The best I am able to locate it is under the rear, near the back axle. It doesn’t sound louder on either side of the vehicle.

The noise itself sounds like a small electric motor moving. Almost like in those old movies when a robot would move his arm. It happens anywhere between every 30 - 60 seconds, but not at regular intervals. Right before the noise happens there is a light click, which I’m assuming is a switch that’s powering the thing opening.

Anyone have an idea of what this might be and how I can get it to stop?

I am not familiar with that car, but it sounds a lot like an automatic leveling suspension system that had a leak in a hose I had to fix. If it is still under warranty, take it in, let them diagnose it and get it fixed that way.

When I read the Owner’s Manual for my friend’s 2008 Rav-4, I was surprised to see that there is a notation about the vehicle’s Evaporative Emissions System normally doing a self-test after the vehicle has been parked for several hours. The manual notes that the noise will sound like a small electric motor turning, somewhere underneath the car, and that it is no cause for concern.

Does this Kia model go through this same type of normal self-test for the Evap system?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I am willing to bet that a call to Kia’s toll-free customer service phone number should yield an answer.

It is also possible that this information is contained in the Owner’s Manual, but I have essentially given up on urging people to read their car’s Owner’s Manual. Most folks apparently never bother to read this incredibly valuable little book, sad to say.

Maybe something crazy about the fuel pump.

Unless the OP also reports problems with restarting the engine after the car sits for a few hours, I would tend to rule out the fuel pump theory.

EVAP self test or self leveling suspension, if the van is so equipped. To find out if it’s the suspension, try turning the key on, then sit on the rear bumper and listen. If, after a few seconds to a minute you hear that same sound, it’s self leveling suspension. You may even notice the back of the vehicle raise up to more or less where it was before you parked yourself on the rear bumper. Your owner’s manual can tell you more about this and a whole lot more.

Does a Kia Sedona even have a self-leveling suspension?
Hopefully the vehicle’s owner knows the answer to that question, or can find the info in the Owner’s Manual.

OP–How about responding to this question?

I was thinking EVAP test, which is common with modern cars, but:

“After shutting the car off and letting it sit for an hour or so”

Every EVAP test description I’ve seen calls for it happening several hours after the vehicle is stopped.

We’re not talking about a Lincoln!! (self leveling suspension).

It has become common over the last decade or so for minivans to have factory rear air shocks and ride height sensors to level the suspension when the vehicle is burdened with passengers or cargo. When the back end starts to sag, a little air pump in the back will add air to the shocks to level the vehicle. The earliest minivans I can think of that frequently had rear air shocks were GM minivans from the late '90s (Venture/Montana/Silhouette). These vehicles do, however, still use coil springs, unlike the Ford/Lincoln cars and trucks with the Air Ride suspensions, which use air bags in place of springs. In fact, I just saw an Expedition the other day with a failed Air Ride suspension, bouncing down the road practically dragging it’s rear bumper behind it.

Even if your vehicle has load leveling suspension, isn’t the compressor under the hood??

On my '00 Silo the compressor is in the rear. Its handy too since it has an attachment for an external hose, so you can actually use it to blow stuff up.

On mine, however, it should never operate with the key off. Those compressors do suck some power. We have a little glitch in our ignition switch where it can sometimes leave the ACC power engaged with the key out. I once needed a jump b/c, at the time one of the shocks was leaking. So it sat over night occasionally pumping the rear back up.

All the conditions would fit the EVAP self test theory. The car had been sitting for an hour or two, it sounded like an electric motor and when I restarted the vehicle it didn’t happen again.

It also has 40k miles, so fuel pump seem unlikely.

My manual doesn’t mention the self test in any way, nor can I find any info about it online.

That being said, it has not happened again since that day.

Thanks for all the help.