Kia timing chain



We have a 2003 KIA Sorento that we thoroughly enjoy. We’ve always kept taken care of the maintenance on our car, but we have driven it a lot of miles. We spent the past two years traveling around the U.S. often pulling a small utility trailer. Recently, when we took it to the dealership for general maintenance at about 100,000 miles, the mechanic said we need to get a new timing chain. This is part of the preventive maintenance program they suggest we follow.

We are wondering: Do we really need to replace the timing chain now? Is that part of KIA’s planned obsolescence strategy? Do KIA Sorentos usually lose a timing chain after 100,000 miles?

We’re also wondering whether it’s time to get another car. Any ideas?


The Sorento 3.5 5 cyl has a timing belt. According to the Gates Timing belt guide, the Sorento is due for a timing belt change a 60k miles. When I was looking at a 2005 Sedona (same engine), the timing belt change interval was 60k miles also. Here is a link to the Gates guide:

This is an interference engine, so if the belt breaks, there is a high probability engine damage will occur. Double check your Owner’s Manual to verify the change interval. If this is the original timing belt, you are on borrowed time.

Ed B.


Agreed. It uses a belt and it’s past due. This also means tensioner pulleys and a new water pump.

It’s not a “planned obsolescence strategy” at all and many vehicles use rubber belts. It’s normal maintenance and part of the cost of driving.


It’s time. Kia didn’t invent the timing chain or the 100,000 mile change.


Although you state that you have always taken care of maintenance on this vehicle, it is apparent that you did not take care of the timing belt replacement which was scheduled many thousands of miles ago. And, as another member of this board likes to say, your engine will run very nicely right up until the milisecond when the timing belt snaps.

When the timing belt snaps, one or more pistons will collide with one or more valves, causing major internal engine damage. Since the exact timing of that event is unpredictable, I would suggest that you have this long-delayed bit of maintenance done a.s.a.p.

And, if you want to continue to enjoy your Kia, I would suggest that you read and follow the manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule. It should be sitting in your glove compartment.


Points well made. The instruction manual usually says something about changing the belt. My neighbour’s wife had a VW Passat which called for a change at 60,000 miles. Unfortunately, it failed at 58,000 miles, and caused $3000 dollars worth of engine damage. The dealer then had the audacity to tell her she had abused the car and they would not pay for the repairs. She had meticuously kept all her maintenance records and threatened to sue the dealer and VW. They quickly agreed to pay for the repairs, minus the cost of the belt. So, please do not exceed the change interval for a timing belt; it can get quite expensive.


We have several friends of the family who own “accidents waiting to happen”.
One is a 7 year old Honda with well over a 100k miles who has been advised by me several times the belt is a necessary maintenance item. They still ignore it.

The other is, ta da, an '03 Kia Sorento with near a 100k on it and they’re also choosing to turn the radio up and motor happily on down the road.
Eventually, something is going to pop and then they’ll be cursing their respective car makers till something freezes over.


Keeping things in context, as opposed to out of context, the Gates site says, “When the auto maker doesn’t make a specific recommendation, Gates suggests changing the timing belt at 60,000 miles.” Check a repair manual for your car maker’s recommendation.