The Kia Soul’s 5 Most Common Issues

The Kia Soul’s 5 Most Common Issues. Kia first debuted the Soul in 2008, with the goal of creating a balanced cross-over vehicle that was both affordable and practical. Kia has continued to enhance the Soul and its engine design in its third generation. The Soul’s distinct aesthetic has been a major factor in its long-term success. Kia, as a brand, has maintained its reputation for providing affordable and dependable everyday drivers.

Kia has achieved its goal of demonstrating that even the most affordable cars on the market can be unique. The Soul, which debuted at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, garnered headlines for its unique, dynamic design and affordable price point. Despite its first reported too plastic interior and rough ride, the Soul’s design has evolved over time to meet the expectations of overseas purchasers. These engines are not associated with power or performance, but rather with low-cost everyday drivers with decent durability. Aside from its lack of horsepower, the Soul’s various versions have provided long-lasting options for hundreds of thousands of drivers. However, no engine is flawless, and the Soul has its own set of shortcomings. Throughout this article, we will look at some of the most typical problems that Soul drivers may encounter over time.

With that stated, let’s take a look at the Kia Soul’s many options and basic specs before delving into its most typically encountered issues.

The Kia Soul's 5 Most Common Issues

Kia Soul Configurations and Basic Specifications

Throughout the Soul’s production years (2008 to present/2022), numerous engine variants have been used. The Soul is currently available in four different versions in 2022, including its electric e-soul adaption. Now, let’s take a look at the many engine options that Kia has used on the Soul over the years.


  • 1.6 Gamma II MPi: 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions, 123 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque
  • 2.0 Beta II: 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions with 140 horsepower and 137 pound-feet of torque.
  • 1.6 U II CRDi: 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions with 126 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque.


  • 1.6 Gamma II MPi: 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic with 127 horsepower and 116 pound-feet of torque.
  • 1.6 Gamma II GDi: 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic with 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque.
  • 2.0 Nu MPi: 6-speed manual with 164 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.
  • 1.6 U II CRDi: 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic with 126 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque.


  • 1.6 Gamma II MPi: 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with 122/130 horsepower and 115/119 lb-ft torque.
  • 1.6 Gamma II GDi: manual and automatic transmissions with 122/130 horsepower and 115/119 lb-ft of torque.
  • Gamma II T-GDi: 7-speed dual-clutch engine with 201 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque.
  • 2.0 Nu MPi: 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic with 151 horsepower and 137 pound-feet of torque.
  • 2.0 Nu GDi: 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions, 164 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque
  • 1.6 U II CRDi (2013-2014): 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic with 126 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque.
  • 1.6 U II CRDi (2014 – 2019) has 134 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque with 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.


  • 1.6 Gamma II MPi: 6-speed automatic with 121 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque.
  • 2.0 Nu MPi: 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic CVT, 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft torque
  • 1.6 Gamma II T-GDi: 7-speed DCT with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque
  • Electric (e-soul): direct drive with 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque

Soul drivers have a wide range of performance options thanks to the numerous engine variants available. Although the engines themselves do not have much power, they are practical and inexpensive. So, in the following section, we’ll go over the top five most typical difficulties with the Kia Soul.

The Top 5 Most Common Kia Soul Issues

Regardless of the issues we’ve outlined here, Kia has done an excellent job of retaining its reputation for dependability across the Soul’s various generations and variants. However, the Soul, like any other engine, has its share of usual issues. Furthermore, different engine designs offer different types of defects or troubles, especially over time and mileage. As a result, we will list each year and engine type related with our most common difficulties below. With that said, let’s take a look at the Kia Soul’s first most prevalent issue.

1. Oil Spills

Unfortunately, the Kia Soul has joined our expanding list of vehicles prone to oil leaks. Oil puddles beneath the vehicle are the most obvious indicator of an oil leak. Moreover, certain oil system components or head gaskets might be bothersome causes of oil leaks. Oil leaks and additional high oil consumption can be considerably reduced by practicing timely oil changes and using high-quality oil.

If the engine bay smells like burnt oil, the leak is most likely in the engine’s top and could be caused by a faulty valve cover gasket. Oil pools beneath the automobile, on the other hand, are most often the result of a leak at the engine’s bottom. Because many Kia Soul oil pans break their seal, it’s also important to inspect the oil pan for any potential damaged seals or loosenings.

Symptoms of a Kia Soul oil leak may include:

  • The odor of burning oil
  • Oil puddles form beneath the engine.
  • Engine frequently runs out of oil
  • The block is leaking oil.
  • Oil pouring from the turbocharger
  • Inadequate acceleration
  • Idle time

2. Failure of the Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is one of the most noticeable flaws in the Kia Soul’s design. Blown catalytic converters are a prevalent issue for the Soul, particularly in 2014-2015 vehicles.

The primary function of the catalytic converter is to filter and purify exhaust air before it exits the vehicle and enters the atmosphere. The catalytic converter can break down nitrous oxide through a chemical reaction by using a filter made of different precious metals. In layman’s words, this filter converts toxic gases into less harmful compounds for the environment.

Defective catalytic converters can cause a slew of additional issues for the Soul (including the fire concerns discussed further below). A blocked catalytic converter, for example, can increase back-pressure, lowering engine efficiency and performance. Furthermore, the inside metals of the converter can burn out, resulting in incorrect gas emissions and a failed emissions test.

Symptoms of catalytic converter failure may include:

  • Idle time
  • Misfires in the engine
  • Exceptionally high exhaust gas temperatures
  • Emissions test failure
  • O2 sensor issues

3. Poor Suspension

Kia Soul owners frequently mention issues with suspension components. Initially, complaints about the Soul’s rough ride and inadequate suspension were so widespread that Kia significantly changed the suspension. Certain components, however, such as the front wheel bearings and suspension springs, are prone to failure. Furthermore, steering pins and tie rod system components can fail, resulting in ongoing suspension troubles and costly repairs. The Kia Soul seeks to make up for what it lacks in comfort and a smooth driving experience with price and utility. We’ll make that point frequently while discussing some of the Soul’s flaws. However, these vehicles are popular for a reason, particularly in the American auto market.

The Kia Soul is equipped with a basic D2 air suspension system. Struts are likely to require replacement between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, but some drivers may experience more longevity based on driving characteristics (such as road conditions and aggressive driving). Many Soul drivers may have a bumpy ride due to body integrity issues and malfunctioning suspension components. Fortunately, this is rarely a major issue, and the Soul’s newer generations strive to solve any issues caused by a faulty suspension. Symptoms of a poor suspension include:

  • Bouncing and/or a generally bumpy driving experience
  • When cornering, you may experience drifting or tugging, as well as trouble steering.
  • While braking, dip
  • While parked, the car is sitting lower on one side.

Because of their obvious symptoms, weak suspension problems are often easy to detect. However, due to the numerous expensive suspension components, repairs may be more expensive and time-consuming than anticipated.

Related : The Engine Fault Code P0303 : Symptoms – Causes and Solutions

4. Inadequate Transmission

In addition to the weak suspension issues, harsh transmissions also contribute to a terrible driving experience for the Kia Soul. Transmission issues may be a major source of frustration for any motorist. Furthermore, the numerous varied components and perplexing architecture of different transmissions can make appropriate maintenance difficult, despite the high cost of associated repairs. Fortunately, many of the gearbox issues with the Kia Soul are not disastrous. It’s crucial to realize, though, that putting off transmission repairs can lead to much more serious issues.

Failure of the Piston Ring and Connecting Rod

A piston ring or connecting rod failure can be caused by a number of factors. Incorrect installation, fuel flooding, worn ring grooves, abrasive particles from engine oil, or wrong fuel and air combinations can all cause piston ring failure. In general, many of the causes of connecting rod failure can be linked to high mileage and wear over time. Failure of rod bearings and the influence of high speeds on engine pistons can result in failed or damaged connecting rods. Rod bearing failures are typically caused by lubrication issues or incorrect connecting rod installation. Many drivers may face issues with their piston rings and connecting rods due to the different components that can degrade or fail. A defective connecting rod can cause the following symptoms:

  • Oil pressure is low.
  • Excessive oil usage
  • The engine is making a knocking noise.

It’s critical to remember that you should never drive on a bad connecting rod. Serious engine damage can happen fast, and catastrophic engine damage can happen over time if not fixed properly and on time. Driving on a bad piston ring, on the other hand, will generally cause less severe damage and can be driven on for a short period of time until repair. Some of the most common signs of a faulty piston ring are:

  • Low power and slow acceleration
  • Excessive oil usage
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Exhaust smoke that is white or light grey

Faulty piston rings will not be able to prevent oil from seeping into the cylinders if not replaced, resulting in a decline in the engine’s oil levels. A wet compression test can usually determine the source of the problem and whether or not your piston rings need to be replaced.

Kia Soul catches fire

Yes, the Soul is prone to catching fire. The media may draw attention to these incidents by emphasizing them. However, due to numerous Souls catching fire, Kia has had to issue major recalls and significant lawsuit settlements. A man died in August of 2020 after a rental Kia Soul caught fire while he was driving. Kia recalled 534,000 Souls manufactured between 2012 and 2016 owing to high exhaust temperatures and faulty catalytic converters that could cause a fire. Kia was also compelled to recall an additional 253,281 Soul cars manufactured between 2017 and 2019, as well as 147,249 manufactured between 2020 and 2021. Unfortunately, news stories about Kia Souls catching fire continue to circulate even beyond 2022.

Kia Soul Dependability

Despite the fact that many drivers would encounter the majority of the issues described above, the Soul is still regarded as a solid option for a reliable daily driver. These problems are frequently the result of poor maintenance or just heavy mileage over time. Overall, the Kia Soul is thought to be exceptionally reliable. As a selling factor for the Soul, Kia has tried to maintain excellent reliability standards. The Soul received an 87/100 rating from J.D Power, indicating high dependability. The Soul aims to compensate for its lack of power and performance by being inexpensive and reasonably reliable.

Given its low price, the Soul is an excellent choice for a daily driver. However, each Kia engine configuration has a design issue. As a result, we rate the Soul’s dependability as ordinary to above average. However, keep in mind that the variables that determine the Soul’s dependability are heavily reliant on good maintenance and repairs. Many of the issues on our list are simply too common to award the Soul a solid reliability grade. Nonetheless, many drivers may travel more than 100,000 miles without incident.

It’s easy to criticize the Kia Soul because of its well-publicized recalls and fire problems. Some motorists may be satisfied with the Soul. However, many Soul owners may face costly and time-consuming repairs before reaching the 75,000 – 100,000 mile threshold, thus lowering the model’s overall worth. Again, the Soul prioritizes price and functionality over anything else. Having said that, the Kia Soul’s eccentric design has resulted in brand success while also causing issues for executives dealing with recalls and lawsuit settlements.