2015 Kia Sorento - VVT troubles

59000 miles on my 2015. In the last 4 weeks, has been in for repair. VVT solenoid replaced, enjine light back on with same syptoms (no power and stalling). Second repair, VVT solenoid replaced again. Now I am told if it happens again it is an internal problem in the enjine which will be a big repair…waiting time to get parts is herendous. Anyone have this problem?

What codes are set that cause the engine light to be on?

It has been the same code P0011. First garage visit, 10 days in waiting for shipment on the VVT solenoid…picked up car, stopped to tank up on my way home, check engine light on again. I called the garage and he assumed it was the gas cap, although I couldn’t remember for sure if the light came on before or after I got gas…They put a new gas cap on. The check engne light came on the next day…had to drive it to work, then on way home (short drive 10 miles one way), the car stalled out when I slowed down to make a turn…the first time as I was driving home, the car lost power and stalled several times on my way home from work…Back in the garage, they say the VVT solenoid was bad, supposedly ordered another…(kind of suspicious as the repair was done way faster) the hold up on the first repair was 10 days, waiting for part to arrive…second time they had the part in 4 days…?? When I picked up my car yesterday with the second VVT solenoid having been replaced, the garage tells me, if it happens again that it is an internal engine problem that will need major work/tear down of the engine.
The car had 36000 miles on it when I bought it. Current mileage is 59500. I have had it just 4 years…Let me add that there has been no indication of overheating or anything either.
thanks Linda

Did you take it to the dealer? If not, maybe they can sort it out. If it was a dealer, maybe a different one might have better success. The dealer might have diagnostic tools that other shops don’t have.

Your engine may have clogged internal oil passages causing this problem. That is the internal problem they are telling you. Its cause is infrequent oil changes. An oil additive product like Seafoam added to the oil before an oil change might clear things up. Or a a second treatment and oil change in 1 or 2000 miles. Cheaper than a new engine.

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But, at least in view of Kia’s 10 year warranty on the engine, you don’t have to pay for those repairs.
Do they include a free loaner car when yours is in the shop for warranty-related issues?

The OP did not buy it new, only 4 years ago so the 5 year 60k mile warranty applies. And 5 years is up. As we’ve seen posted here, Kia won’t cover neglect which is what they will claim if it is an oil sludge problem.

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Thanks for the clarification. I missed that crucial detail.
And, as you pointed out, there is a very real possibility that infrequent oil changes by the previous owner led to this problem.


Maybe it was leased by Mike’s friend… the no-service-car-lessor?


Thank you all for your responsed…did not take it to a Kia dealer, as the ones near me are 30 and 40 miles away…I had also purchased and extended warranty policy thru Compass at a platinum level, so far this repair was not covered…
Again, all of your comments are appreciated

Unless the shop where you took the SUV for service wrote this up as “engine sludging” or some similar lack-of-maintenance notation, I don’t understand how an “extended warranty” can weasel out of covering this. I know most of these so-called “extended warranty” or “extended service plan” type policies are a scam, but still.

Do you live in a jurisdiction where emissions testing is required, or could you continue to register and drive even with a check engine light on, assuming the VVT was bypassed and the engine ran ok? I know that certain Ford engines have problems with cam phasers, etc. and as a result, there are aftermarket camshaft sprockets made for those engines, which delete the VVT functionality, and provide good performance for highway use.

Such a product might exist for your engine, or a skilled mechanic might be able to permanently lock the VVT camshaft sprocket(s) in a position which will allow the engine to run well. This, of course, would probably result in the check engine light being illuminated all the time, which is only a problem if you live in a jurisdiction which does emissions testing.

The symptoms seem consistent with the part the shop replaced, the VVT actuator. Maybe the replacement part was faulty from the get-go.

The code could be caused by other problems, such as the camshaft is not properly synchronized to the crankshaft, faulty timing chain or mechanism etc. It’s usually possible to quick-test that theory without having to remove the timing chain covers. Ask the shop if such a thing is possible on your car.

Hopefully w/the second actuator the problem is now fixed. To keep it fixed be sure to follow the manufacturer’s oil and filter change regime to the letter. If anything, change the oil and filter more frequently. And always use the correct oil spec. VVT technology is very unforgiving to car owners who let the routine engine maintenance slide until symptoms develop.

The Kia dealer is only 30 miles away but the replacement parts take 4 to 10 days to arrive? I think they spent ten days struggling to find a solution for the problem.

Some of those aftermarket service contracts involve a 20 to 30 minute phone call for authorization. This is the service writers job, a mechanic in a small shop is not going to spend 30 minutes on the phone for a one hour repair so the answer is “not covered”. It is also possible that the VVT solenoid is not a covered component.

The shop replaced the VVT solenoid. The VVT actuator has not been replaced and the shop seems hesitant to perform the repair.

The VVT actuator is inside the camshaft gear. The bottom two parts show the inside of the cam gear/actuator.

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If this is a 4 cylinder, you definitely need to check with the dealer. Hyundai/Kia have had big problems with these engines and have extended the warranty coverage on several models.

Thanks to all of you who have responded…I think at this point, I am going to make an appt and have the car towed to Kia dealer nearest to me…to the response about “how the garage may have reported the issue to my extended warranty company”…hopefully they reported the actual problem that I reported to them, which at the time was “check engine light on, car losing power, no power when gas pedal pushed, then stalling out”, but who knows…I am seventy yrs old, my husband is older, so this is really troublesome for us…If the Kia dealer in Ithaca, NY can fix this problem, hopefully there will be some coverage on the repair. I did in fact, ask my garage if they were capable of fixing this problem with the second visit, of course they said yes…
thanks again everyone, you were all helpful in some way!

OP= I have extended warranty
It pays a shop money. Hello?
Shop owner= can you describe repair to warranty co so you DON’T get paid?

Is your car is still exhibiting the same symptom after two VVT solenoid replacements? I presume this is the case, otherwise you’d just be crossing your fingers the second solenoid continued to do the trick. If so, then my guess is the same that Nevada above is implying, the VVT actuator is actually the problem. The solenoid is an electricity activated magnet, which creates the force needed to move the actuator into the correct position. It’s relatively easy to replace the solenoid (the electric- magnet), but considerably more difficult to replace the actuator. The VVT actuator isn’t really “inside the engine”, but it is sort of difficult to access, being hidden underneath the timing covers.

I’m not an expert on this topic btw, just offering an educated-guess diy’er opinion. Both of my vehicles predate VVT technology. VVT yields better power and improved mpg. Unfortunately that doesn’t do you much good if your car is at the shop.

Thanks you George…all of this info certainly helps me to be able to advocate for myself as I move forward with this