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2011 Kia Sorento engine ticking and stalling

Hey guys. I have a 2011 Kia sorento. A few weeks ago on my way in to work, my engine jolted a few times and then started to make a ticking sound, and i got a mile or so down the road and my power steering and acceleration went out and i was able to make it to the side of the road. I turned it off and looked under the hood but didnt see any red flags, so a few minutes later i tried to turn the car back on and it did, but the ticking sound was still there. i was able to limp it into work with it stalling a few more times and it’s still there. It starts up just fine so i don’t think it’s the battery or alternator, i’ve replaced the spark plugs and the coil packs. i tested the coil packs while the car is on, one at a time, removing the wire to each coil pack, and on one cylinder, when i remove the power, it stops ticking. any advice or more suggestions?

Is the check engine light on? What are the codes?

Is there oil in the engine? How many miles on the car?


Hyundai and Kia have had problems with their 4 cylinder engines, most have had a recall to address catastrophic engine failures. It looks like only the 2012 and newer Sorento are covered, but you might check with your dealer.

At a guess I’d say the ticking was caused by a lack of oil. However, given what else happened, that may be the least of your problems. Something caused the car to go into limp home mode. Check for stored codes.

I didn’t see where he checked the oil, or added any oil. If the oil was very low, I’d say that’s the most important problem. Of course, if the engine was run low on oil, it will probably make more noise than normal, and burn a lot more oil in the future too.

I missed this the first time I read the post. Definitely not low oil because taking the coil out of the equation wouldn’t stop the ticking. Most likely issue is a bad coil/wire. Probably arcing and making the ticking sound.

Disabling the coil would prevent that cylinder from firing, and that could conceivably eliminate a sound that was caused by play associated with that cylinder, like play in a connecting rod bearing. But I agree the most likely cause of this noise is the coil is sparking into the air for some reason. That could definitely make a ticking or zapping sound, and result in poor engine idle & performance. If so the remaining mystery is why replacing the coils and plugs hasn’t yet resolved the problem.

We don’t know how long ago the coils and plugs were replaced but let’s assume they’re fairly new. Could a bad wire be causing the problem?

some sort of wire harness problem or faulty ground connection seems a likely culprit.

You have identified the cylinder with the connecting rod bearing failure, a common problem with the Theta II engine. You won’t be able to hear ignition spark jumping around from the drivers seat so this is unlikely to be an ignition problem.

Limp your vehicle to the Kia dealer to check on their warranty/recall position on the Theta II engine for problem this week.


Thank you all for the advice. when i checked the oil it was on the low side. i will limp it into the kia dealership this week

How low . . . ?!

1/2 quart . . . ?

1 quart . . . ?

2 quarts . . . ?

3 quarts . . . ?

Here’s a bit of advice . . . and this goes for all cars you have or WILL have in the future

Check the engine oil level every weekend. Top off as needed. You should already be checking the fluid levels and tire pressures regularly

By doing this, you’ll actually head off some problems . . .


How would removing spark quiet a bad connecting rod bearing?

If the cylinder isn’t firing, the noise will be much less noticeable.


The firing force would bang the connecting rod into the crankshaft and make a noise if there was bearing play. No spark, no bang, less noise.

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