The South Korean brand has improved the reliability of its fleet in recent years.

 

In the early 2000s, Kia had a reputation for manufacturing cheap, lackluster vehicles. Since then, Kia reliability has greatly improved, and today, it is regarded among the most reliable brands and a good option for drivers looking for a low-maintenance vehicle.

In this review, we’ll go over 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.

 

 

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Are Kias Reliable?

The short answer is yes, Kia reliability is above average. While Kia earned a poor reputation when it first entered the United States market nearly 20 years ago, much has changed since. 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 the reliability of its cars with one of the best new car warranties in the industry. While most car manufacturers offer a three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty and 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.

As long as you keep it properly maintained, you can expect your Kia to run well for at least a decade. If it doesn’t, most major issues are likely to be covered under warranty.

 


 

Kia Reliability By Model

Overall, the Kia brand is reliable, but not every model is 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 is $652 per year.

Kia Model Average Annual Kia Repair Cost
Kia Rio $434
Kia Soul $437
Kia Forte $451
Kia Sportage $462
Kia Optima $471
Kia Sedona $495
Kia Sorento $533
Kia K900 $697
 

With the exception of the Kia K900, each model mentioned above has an estimated annual repair cost below the industry average, in some cases 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.

 


 

Common Kia Issues

While Kia 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. If you don’t feel comfortable paying for such repairs out of pocket, you should look into an extended auto warranty. 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.

 


 

Top Recommendations For Extended Car Warranties

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 that comes with new and certified pre-owned vehicles should cover any defects in materials or workmanship, but these coverages will eventually expire.

An extended warranty helps cover the cost of unexpected repairs should 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.

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 up to 8 years or 200,000+ miles. We like Endurance because it has some of the most comprehensive contracts on the market. There are five coverage levels to choose from that 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 200,000 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.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kia reliable?

Kia is a reliable car brand. Overall, RepairPal gives Kia a 4.0 out of 5.0 reliability rating and ranks it third overall for reliability (out of 32 brands).

Is Kia more reliable than Toyota?

Both Kia and Toyota are known for reliability, and both have a RepairPal reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0. However, RepairPal ranks Kia third overall and Toyota eighth overall, so Kias may be slightly more reliable.

Do Kias have a lot of problems?

According to RepairPal, Kias require an average of 0.2 unexpected repair shop visits per year. This is half of the average across all brands, which is 0.4 visits per year. This means that you have about a one in five chance of needing an unexpected repair each year.

Why do Kias have a bad reputation?

The Kia brand used to be known for cheap, low-quality automobiles. This is largely because when the brand first launched in the U.S., its vehicles experienced a high number of problems. Since then, Kia has improved its fleet, and the brand is now known for its exceptional reliability.

 


 

Methodology

In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate rankings of the best providers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

  • Industry Standing: Warranty providers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
  • Coverage: This rating is based on types of extended warranty plans available, coverage terms, and added benefits like roadside assistance.
  • Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of plans and vehicles. Companies with lower prices per year of coverage receive the best scores.
  • Transparency: This score takes into account contract transparency and the availability of a money-back guarantee.
  • Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each warranty company.