In the early 2000s, Kia had a reputation for manufacturing cheap, lackluster vehicles. Since then, Kia reliability has dramatically improved, and today, it is regarded among the most reliable brands and a good option for drivers looking for a low-maintenance vehicle.
This review will cover Kia reliability details like average annual repair costs and common breakdowns. We also provide advice about extended warranty coverage to keep your Kia in top shape for as long as you plan to own it.
Our review team has examined the best extended car warranty providers, and we’ll introduce you to our two top recommendations at the end of this article. To start comparing warranty prices immediately, click below for free, no-obligation quotes.
Are Kias Reliable?
The short answer is yes, Kia reliability is above average. While Kia earned a poor reputation when it entered the United States market nearly 20 years ago, much has changed. Today, the brand has an overall RepairPal reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 and ranks third out of 32 car brands surveyed.
RepairPal determines reliability scores by looking at driver-reported data about brands’ average annual repair costs, the frequency of unexpected repairs, and the severity of needed repairs. Vehicles that earn a high RepairPal reliability rating, like Kias, are not likely to have many mechanical issues.
Kia guarantees its cars’ reliability with one of the best new car warranties in the industry. While most car manufacturers offer a three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year powertrain warranty, Kia beats these numbers by a wide margin. The Kia warranty includes a five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty and a ten-year powertrain warranty.
You can expect your Kia to run well for at least a decade if you keep it properly maintained. Most significant issues will likely be covered under warranty if it doesn’t last.
Kia Factory Warranty
Kia has one of the best factory warranties in the business. New vehicles from Kia come with:
- 5 year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty
- 10 year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty
- 5 year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty
- 5 year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan
J.D. Power Kia
Kia has won several J.D. Power awards for various vehicles. For example, four 2020 model-year vehicles won the Highest Quality award that year: the Kia Soul, Forte, Sorento, and Sedona. Also, the 2016 Kia Soul won a J.D. Power Dependability award in 2019. This award considers problems reported in three-year-old used cars.
Most Reliable Kia Model
Based on our data, the Kia Rio is the most reliable model and requires the least repair costs. The Kia brand is reliable, but only some models are identical. The chart below shows the average annual repair cost for several Kia models, according to RepairPal. For comparison, the average repair cost across all car makes and models are $652 per year.
|Kia Model||Average Annual Kia Repair Cost|
Except for the Kia K900, each model mentioned above has an estimated annual repair cost below the industry average, sometimes by hundreds of dollars. No matter what car you purchase, you should budget for maintenance expenses, and with Kia, you can expect these expenses to be relatively low.
You may notice the Kia Telluride is missing from the list above. This is because the new model needs more automotive repair data.
While Kia’s reliability ratings are high, no car is entirely free of issues. Even the best-built and maintained vehicles can experience unexpected breakdowns. If you plan to purchase a Kia, make sure you’ll also be able to cover the following common repairs, as reported by RepairPal users.
|Kia Model(s)||Common Repair||Estimated Cost|
|Kia Sorento||Headlight bulb replacement||$82 to $90|
|Kia Sorento, Kia Sportage, Kia Optima||Air conditioning compressor replacement||$639 to $912|
|Kia Optima, Kia Spectra, Kia Sedona||Alternator replacement||$772 to $841|
|Kia Spectra||Oxygen sensor replacement||$211 to $292|
|Kia Sorento||Timing belt replacement||$681 to $798|
|Kia Sorento||Ignition coil replacement||$251 to $325|
Most of the repairs above are covered by the Kia warranty. However, if your factory warranty has expired, you’ll need to pay these costs yourself. You should consider an extended auto warranty if you aren’t comfortable paying for such repairs out of pocket. A Kia extended warranty or a plan from an independent warranty provider can help you finance repairs over time and give you added peace of mind on the road.
Is Kia Reliable: Conclusion
The best way to keep your Kia running smoothly is to keep up with the factory-recommended maintenance schedule and to address issues as soon as they arise. The Kia warranty with new and certified pre-owned vehicles should cover any defects in materials or quality, but these coverages will eventually expire.
An extended warranty helps cover the cost of unexpected repairs should be your vehicle break down after your initial warranty period ends. While you can purchase a Kia extended warranty from the manufacturer, you can also find extended warranty coverage with third-party providers.
Best Extended Warranty Companies For Kia
Independent extended warranty companies typically offer more choices for coverage, coverage for older vehicles, a wider network of repair shops, and more extensive benefits. Two providers we recommend are Endurance and CarShield.
Endurance: Best Coverage
Endurance can provide extended warranty coverage for up to 8 years or 200,000+ miles. Endurance also has some of the most comprehensive contracts on the market. There are five coverage levels to choose from, which range from simple powertrain coverage to full bumper-to-bumper warranty protection.
Read our Endurance warranty review to learn more, and get a free, personalized quote from the provider below.
CarShield: Best Value
CarShield also offers extended warranty coverage for vehicles up to 300,000 miles, which can double the coverage offered by the Kia factory warranty. In addition to having a strong industry reputation and offering a good selection of coverage options, CarShield has some of the best-priced contracts in the industry.
You can learn more in our full CarShield review, and click below to receive a free, no-obligation CarShield quote.
Kia Reliability: FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions about the reliability of Kia cars.