2018 Kia Sedona Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Minivans aren’t as popular since the arrival of larger SUVs, but the 2018 Kia Sedona still had a following. The automaker boasts that the new Sedona lineup offers “smart features for smooth sailing,” but many owners are having trouble operating this vehicle at all. The defective electrical system, malfunctioning powertrain and bad tires are all causing trouble.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Kia Sedona

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Air Bags
Unknown Or Other
Exterior Lighting
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Power Train

Problems with the Electrical System

To have “smart features,” this model better have a strong electrical system to back these amenities up. Yet, a quick glance at customer reviews shows this isn’t the case.

One NHTSA complaint states, “The contact owns a 2018 Kia Sedona. The contact stated that the passenger side sliding door would open and close on its own. The contact took the vehicle to [dealer], but they could not duplicate or diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and did not assist. The approximate failure mileage was 9,000.”

This isn’t some random occurrence. In fact, there is a massive recall affecting more than 100,000 vehicles, labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 18V338000. According to the documentation, the door can close, even if something or somebody is in the way. This poses a risk of injury to occupants, especially children that could get in the way. But, that’s not the end of the electrical system issues. There’s yet another recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V109000 that affects more than 94,000 vehicles. This recall says that the occupant detection system wiring harness could break. If a child sits in the front seat after this occurs, the front passenger air bag might deploy and cause injury. At this point, it would appear that Kia doesn’t know the first thing about creating “smart features.” In fact, the only thing that the company has done right so far is to create systems that can hurt children.Pretty ironic for a minivan that’s meant to protect the little ones.

Problems with the Transmission

Part of the powertrain is the transmission. When hauling kids and groceries, it’s vital to have a transmission that responds properly, but that’s not the case with the 2018 Kia Sedona.

One NHTSA comment says, “If you remove pressure from the accelerator when the transmission wants to shift sometimes there is a loss of acceleration and the vehicle will start slowing down with the engine running with no engine warning light coming on. This intermittent problem has happened when transmission shifts at approx. 2, 9, 19, 25, 40, 55 and 62 mph. When this happens the accelerator becomes disabled, the vehicle starts to slow. Tapping the brake will slow the vehicle faster and the accelerator is ok/enabled.”

This is a delicate balancing act that owners have to figure out in order to get to the destination. Kia has nothing to say about this matter and has chosen instead to remain quiet. Obviously this transmission concern goes against the “smooth-sailing” claim, especially when drivers have to press the brake pedal in order to accelerate. They must stop to go – talk about mixed messages.

Problems with the Tires

Most new car owners don’t struggle with tire concerns, but most vehicles aren’t the Kia Sedona. This minivan doesn’t have good tires installed from the factory, further putting busy families at risk.

Here is yet another NHTSA complaint. “The contact owns a 2018 Kia Sedona equipped with Kumho Crugen premium tires, size: 235/65R17. While driving 60 mph, the steering wheel shook violently without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the tire tread separated. The dealer was contacted, but no further assistance was offered. The tires were replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and did not assist. The approximate vehicle failure mileage was 19,040.”

While the Kia team was busy focusing on the “smart features,” the standard equipment fell by the wayside. Something as simple as tires weren’t even done right, which shows how much of a lemon this vehicle actually is. As can be expected, Kia had nothing to say about tire issues either and decided to remain silent. Looks like it isn’t smooth-sailing for this automaker now that it’s dealing with irate customers.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • KL

    I have a 2018 Kia Sedona XLT. In the shop 5 times for same airbag issue. Driver seat has been replaced but still same issue. It is currently in the shop 5th time and been there over a week.

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