2021 Kia Stinger Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electric issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Kia Stinger, launched as “a dream car” in 2018, is a nightmare for some consumers. A total of 28,200 Stinger vehicles from 2018-2021 have been urgently recalled because of the risk of the engine compartment catching fire.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2018   2019   2020   2022

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2021 Kia Stinger

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Service Brakes
Visibility:sun/moon Roof Assembly
Service Brakes, Air:disc:rotor
Electrical System: Instrument Cluster/panel
Service Brakes, Hydraulic
Electrical System

One of 3 recalls for the 2021 model that is publicized on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, is featured in a bold box framed in red. It states:


If your vehicle is part of this recall (NHTSA Recall Number 20V518000), the manufacturer has recommended that you follow their instructions on how and where to park this vehicle.

There is a similar recall for the 2021 Kia Sportage SUV that Lember Law reported in a  recent article. Hundreds of thousands of 2017-2021 Sportage vehicles have been recalled because cars are catching fire, and have been for five years.

But, like the Sportage, there are other problems with the 2021 Kia Stinger too. These relate to the electrical system, engine, fuel/propulsion system, the brakes, visibility, and a couple of unknown factors. We’re going to look at some of these in more detail and give you additional information about the fire risks.

Most Common Problems with the 2021 Kia Stinger

There are currently 7 complaints on file with NHTSA about the 2021 Kia Stinger, 2 of which relate to the electrical system. There are single complaints that relate to the engine, fuel/propulsion system, brakes (hydraulic), and visibility/wipers.

Additionally, there are 2 complaints listed in the category Unknown or Other. One describes the sunroof exploding. The second seems to be related to the fire risk, and the recall solution was used to solve the problem.

2021 Kia Stinger Fire Risk Problems

Initially, 2019 Stinger vehicles with 3.3 L T-GDI engines were recalled in August 2020. Then, four months later, Kia expanded the recalls to include 2018 to 2021 Stingers.

The issue is that an engine compartment fire can happen while driving. This starts in the area where the Anti-Lock Brake Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit is located.

Kia has notified owners of cars that are at risk and dealers will install a new fuse kit in the electrical junction box free. But until the repair has been done, owners are advised to park outside and away from structures as a precaution.

This is exactly the same warning given to 2017-2021 Kia Sportage and 2017-2019 Kia Cadenza vehicles.

One of the complaints made in the Unknown or Other category seems to have been resolved with a new fuse kit in the junction box.

The failure described how the car stalled on the interstate during rush hour. There was “thick white smoke coming out of the back” and a gas smell in the cabin of the car. The car kept stalling and wouldn’t restart.

The complaint states that there were “cars flying by whizzing by me and blowing the horn and could have hit me from the back or either side. Could have caused a pile-up and killed me or others.”

2021 Kia Stinger Electrical System Problems

The 2 complaints relating to the 2021 Stinger’s electrical system both relate to a defect in the fuel gauge.

The first describes how a brand new 2021 Kia Stinger with just over 300 miles on the clock suddenly lost power while driving on a busy main road. After almost being rear-ended, the driver was unable to restart the car. A police officer pushed the car to safety.

“Turns out there was a defect in the wiring from the fuel sending unit. And the fuel gauge was reporting just under half a tank despite being empty. The vehicle was so new that I had not filled it up since taking delivery.”

The complaint goes on to say: “Unexpectedly losing all power and not knowing the fuel level in the vehicle could lead to a very dangerous situation.”

The other complaint is essentially the same, but, to make matters worse, it happened after the gauge had supposedly been fixed. “Dangerous situation to run out of fuel on a highway.”

What to do if your 2021 Kia Stinger is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

You don’t have to keep a lemon and put up with or pay for its innate problems. You can contact an experienced lemon lawyer and get help.

Lemberg Law has years of experience sorting out issues for consumers who have found themselves with lemon cars, trucks, and other vehicles. We have negotiated cash settlements, trade-ins, and replacement cars.

Call our Helpline and we’ll see what we can do to help you. It won’t cost you anything because the law makes Kia pay the legal fees.

Complaint Data

CategoryEngine, Power Train, Service Brakes
DateDec 09, 2022
My transmission/engine and brake system failed. I was slowing down to probably 5 mph to make a right hand turn into my driveway from the street when the engine started racing. I heard a loud whine and the car started to speed up. I jammed my foot onto the brake to slow down but did not have the time to try to put the transmission into neutral. The car was not slowing down so I turned right to hit my tree rather than proceed straight and crash into my garage. When I hit the tree there was a large jolt and the car stopped. No airbags deployed and I felt the impact on my right foot that was firmly on the brake; I checked to make sure I was not inadvertently pressing the accelerator. This same issue with the engine suddenly revving happened one time a year ago but stopped when I put the car in neutral.
CategoryUnknown Or Other, Visibility:sun/moon Roof Assembly
DateOct 10, 2022
I was driving on hwy 73 when I heard a sound like a shotgun went off. Glass started falling in the car and on me as the sunroof had shattered. There was no other vehicle in the area and the sunroof was closed.
CategoryService Brakes, Air:disc:rotor
DateAug 10, 2022
The contact owns a 2021 kia stinger. The contact stated that the dealer had previously replaced the rotors twice; however, the failure recurred with a metal-to-metal noise while the brake pedal was depressed. The contact stated that while driving at an undisclosed speed, the brakes failed to stop the vehicle immediately. The contact had to downshift manually to slow down the vehicle. Additionally, after driving for a lengthy period of time, the steering wheel would shake and a burning odor was detected while the brake pedal was depressed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the rotors needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and informed the contact that the failure was a maintenance issue and provided no further assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 25,000.
DateJul 02, 2022
The car started to slow down and once I came to a stand still. The car would not start!
DateFeb 24, 2022
When driving in below freezing temperatures, the windshield washer fluid nozzles freeze and prevent the flow of windshield washer fluid when it's needed most resulting in severely impaired visibility and sometimes requiring stopping along the roadway to clean the windshield manually. This condition has happened multiple times, only in freezing temperatures in spite of the use of multiple types of fluid that are all rated for temperatures far below where the freezing is occuring.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateFeb 22, 2022
Component/system failure from repair invoice: perform campain sc196a new fuse kit in junction box 1 cause action to take: service campaign 1 correction action taken sc! 96/sc196a multi fuse & junction box cover installation 201121r1 failed description: repair kit multifus ,,engine injectors #3&4 stuck open causing fuel to dump into exhaust umburned ... Failed pipe assy fuel injector assy fuel my and others safety was put at risk I was on the interstate in rush hour and the car stalled in the middle lane thick white smoke coming out the back and gas smell filling up the cabin of the car and as I tried to get to the right shoulder the car kept stalling and wouldnt start and cars flying by whizzing by me and blowing the horn and could have hit me from the back or either side could have caused a pile up and killed me or others. This problem has been identified by other kia stinger gt owners ( google ) no warnings no symptoms nothing this happened friday december 31, 2021
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateSep 10, 2021
Exploding/shattered sunroof no cars on the road near me at the time of incident, eliminating rock or debris damage glass shards fell onto me in the cabin of car there was potential for accident due to sudden distraction dealer has claimed rock damage but this is false sunroof appears to have blown out upwards from the center sounded like a bomb went off when it blew no warning signs car was purchased brand new 5 months prior
CategoryElectrical System: Instrument Cluster/panel
DateMay 30, 2021
After failed first fix at 300 miles, wife was driving an ran out of gas on highway around 800 miles on o/d. Told this time the entire instrument/gauge cluster is bad. Dangerous situation to run out of fuel on a highway. Kia roadside assistance driver would not come and get her as she was on an express lane. Had to fill up car with fuel myself (after scrambling down highway embankment) while standing in traffic lane (fuel fill cap is on driver's side).
DateApr 19, 2021
Just purchased a 2021 kia stinger gt awd new about a month ago. Just over 1000 miles on it now and encountered a concerning issue. Sitting at a stoplight with the auto start/stop off, traction control off and in sports mode, I pressed the gas pedal and there was a slight hesitation followed by a pretty forceful lurch forward. As I approached the next stoplight several hundred feet further ahead the car completely stalled out. I took it to the dealer and they could not duplicate it... Of course.
CategoryService Brakes, Hydraulic
DateApr 12, 2021
Tl* the contact owns a 2021 kia stinger. The contact received notification of nhtsa campaign number: 20v518000 (service brakes, hydraulic) however, the part to do the recall repair was not yet available. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. Nalley kia (7849 mall pkwy, lithonia, ga 30038, (770) 288-5283) was contacted and confirmed that the part was not yet available. The contact had not experienced a failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. Vin tool confirms parts not available.
CategoryElectrical System, Fuel/propulsion System
DateMar 27, 2021
Brand new car, just over 300 miles on the odometer. Suddenly lost power while driving on a busy main road in fairfax, va. Was almost rear ended (inches to spare) and stranded on the road. Car would not restart. A police officer rescued me and pushed me to safety on a nearby residential side street to await a tow truck. Turns out there was a defect in the wiring from the fuel sending unit and the fuel gauge was reporting just under half a tank despite being empty. The vehicle was so new that I had not filled it up since taking delivery. Given this was a brand new car, sporadic driving due to the pandemic, sharing the car with my wife and the fact this car is much less fuel efficient than my previous car, I did not realize the gauge was stuck and was not as suspicious about it as I would perhaps have been in another car. Moments earlier, I had been on a busy highway with no shoulder due to construction. If I had run out of gas then, it could have been a very dangerous situation. Unexpectedly losing all power and not knowing the fuel level in the vehicle could lead to a very dangerous situation. I was fortunate that I didn't get rear ended, and that there was a police officer nearby who came across me and helped.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Sharon R

    I bought a 2021 Kia stinger in 2021. I told the dealer where I got it from and he said it’s just the rack in the trunk loose. So my husband and I removed the rack and it continues to make that disturbing noise while driving. I also have a noise coming from the hood and he said it’s just the engine, his car does the same thing. The car is still new to me and should not be making the disturbing noise. He said if it keeps making it bring in which I have did that at least 3 times and also when I take to get oil change but he keep saying nothing. What should I do?

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