Kia soul transmission problems

Kia soul transmission problems DEFAULT

Most Common KIA Transmission Problems

Models such as Sportage, Rio, Telluride, Stinger, Sorento, Optima, Soul, Sedona, Forte, K900 are now some of the most reliable vehicles on the market with very few transmission problems. 

Are Kia Transmissions Reliable?

Kia transmission problems

Overall, Kia transmissions are quite reliable. Most Kia transmission problems such as transmission won't engage, transition slips, delayed shifting, transmission bangs into gear, no drive or reverse gears, stuck in limp mode are often caused by low transmission fluid. These symptoms may also be due to problems with the transmission control module, which in some cases can be fixed by having the dealer perform a software update. 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, check the transmission fluid level immediately and correct it if needed. Also, call any Kia dealer and ask if any Technical Sevice Bulletins (TSBs) or software updates for the transmission. 

With that said, we still come across Kia vehicles with automatic transmission problems, especially vehicles that aren't maintained or usedtransmission problems, especially vehicles that aren't maintained or used for towing.

Kia Automatic TransmissionTransmission Problems

Valve Body

Let's take a look at some problems and common causes of Kia automatic transmissions. 

Shift flares and delayed gear changes

KIA cars that use an A4CF 4-speed automatic transmission have a common gear shift issue, which involves shift flares or slipping into 2nd, 3th, atransmission have a common gear shift issue, which involves shift flares or slipping into 2nd, 3th, and 4th gear.

In some cases, there will be a prolonged pause followed by a clunk when selecting reverse. Usually, any of the symptoms will be more prominent while the car is cold. This can trigger a check engine light, so there will be a corresponding code inengine light, so there will be a corresponding code in DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Pressure drop inside the valve body as a result of leaking solenoids. Being an issue usually happens gradually; the symptoms will be more apparent when the vehicle is cold. As this is a prevalent problem, there are sets with uprated solenoids available.  
  • Faulty internal harness, which causes interference in communication between TCU and solenoids. Unlike leaking solenoids, this will cause intermittent and sudden issues and trigger a check engine light with solenoid-reengine light with solenoid-related codes.

Erratic shifting and jumping into neutral

Vehicles that use an A4CF 4-speed automatic transmission can suffer from issues that range from jumpy gear shifts to sudden and uncontrolled shifts to neutral whtransmission can suffer from issues that range from jumpy gear shifts to sudden and uncontrolled shifts to neutral while driving.

When this happens, the driver will not engage any gear, despite selecting the drive or reverse. These issues usually trigger a check engine light, meaning there will be a corresponding code inengine light, meaning there will be a corresponding code in DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Faulty input or output speed sensor, which offsets the shift procedure and causes misleading solenoid-related codes. Deciding which of these two sensors is causing the problem is not a straightforward task; the most efficient way of dealing with this issue is to replace both.

Erratic and failed gear shift

Kia Sorento that uses a RE5R05A 5-speed automatic transmission can suffer from a range of shift issues, including harsh shifts and failed gear changes. Any of these problems may occur sporadically or be present all the time. This will usually trigger a check engine light, so there will be code stored intransmission can suffer from a range of shift issues, including harsh shifts and failed gear changes. Any of these problems may occur sporadically or be present all the time. This will usually trigger a check engine light, so there will be code stored inengine light, so there will be code stored in DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions:

  • Faulty one or more solenoid valves. The usual ones to fail are those that operate the direct clutch, front brake, or input clutch. Each of them will trigger a different code, which will help narrow down the problem.
  • Wiring issues are caused by damage or corrosion. This creates problems with communication between the TCU and solenoids. The resulting symptoms will be similar to a failed solenoid, so double-checking the wiring and solenoid is recommended.
  • Broken or corroded connectors on the control board, resulting in sporadic loss of signal. While corrosion is easy to clean off, soldering broken connectors may be an unreliable solution. Instead, replace the board with a new or undamaged second-hand one.

Harsh or delayed gearshifts

KIA cars with A6GF1 6-speed transmission have a widespread issue with harsh or delayed gear changes.

In most cases, this problem will be intermittent and more present when the car reaches running temperature. A check engine light can also come on, which means a code will be stored insideengine light can also come on, which means a code will be stored inside DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Faulty transmission fluid temperature sensor, which will give false output readings. This transmission is susceptible to temperature; this will cause running issues and triggering a check engine light. Typical error codes range from P0711 to P0714. Checking both sensor and corresponding wiring will reveal the source of engine light. Typical error codes range from P0711 to P0714. Checking both sensor and corresponding wiring will reveal the source of the problem.
  • These transmissions feature an adaptive learning procedure, meaning they will adjust shift patterns based on the driver’s habits.  When drivers with different driving styles use the same car, gear shifts may seem unusual. Resetting the learning procedure may solve the issue.

Vibrations while accelerating or harsh shifting

Vehicles that use a D7UF1 7-speed dual-clutch transmission can suffer from several typical issues that include delayed response, strong vibration, and rattle during accelerations or while idling and harsh shifting. In most cases, the symptoms will be more noticeable when driving aggressively. These problems will not trigger a check engine lightengine light.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Worn dual-mass flywheel, which results in a metallic rattle on idle caused by excessive play. When checking the flywheel condition, look for any free movement between the plates and replace them if there is any.
  • Overheated clutch assembly can cause the clutch to stick to the flywheel and result in delayed gear changes. One of the possible causes is a driving style that is too aggressive. In some cases, updating the TCU software to the latest version using a suitable diagnostic tool can help some vehicles have outdated software.
  • Broken or worn engine or gearbox mounts. This allows excessive movement, causing the engine and gearbox to jump when pulling off from a stand-still.

Troubleshooting Kia Transmission Problems

If you Kia has developed transmission problems, we strongly recommend checking the transmission fluid level as soon as possible.

If the transmission fluid level has been corrected, but the transmission is not shifting correctly, read the fault codes from the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) with a Kia transmission scanner.

How to Check Kia Transmission Fluid Level

Kia Transmission Problems

  1. Park the vehicle on level ground when possible. 
  2. Set the parking brakes and shifter in Park. 
  3. Pull the hood release and open the hood. 
  4. Locate the transmission dipstick. 
  5. Remove the dipstick and clean it with a clean cloth. 
  6. Reinsert the dipstick in the transmission. Ensure the dipstick is fully inserted, then remove it. 
  7. Look carefully at the dipstick to determine the current transmission fluid level. The level should be between MIN and MAX marks for the COLD (lower) markings. 
  8. If the level is low, add transmission fluid level. 
  9. Drive vehicle for fifteen minutes making sure to select all the gears manually. 
  10. Repeat the procedure once the transmission warm-up, but the level must be between the MIN and MAX marks this time. 

Not all Kia vehicles have a transmission dipstick. If the dipstick is not present, the car will need to be raised on a lift, and the level can be checked via the fill hole. 

Read Kia Transmission Fault Codes

Troubleshoot Kia transmission problems

The next step is to read fault codes from the transmission control module or what is known as the TCU. To read these codes, you will need a Kia Transmission Scanner. Basic code readers are not recommended because they will show a generic system or may not show a fault code at all.

  1. Park the vehicle and turn off the ignition—set parking brakes. 
  2. Locate diagnostic port under the dashboard, driver's side. 
  3. Plugin your OBD-II scanner, then turn on the ignition without starting the engine. 
  4. The scanner will turn on. Allow it to communicate with the vehicle—Select Kia, then your particular. 
  5. Select Control Units, then Transmission. 
  6. Select Read Fault Codes from the main menu.  

These steps work on all Kia vehicles 2000 and newer, including Kia Rio, Sportage, Telluride, Stinger, Sorento, Optima, Soul, Sedona, Forte, K900, Cadenza. All these models have an OBD-II diagnostic port under the dashboard on the driver's side. 

Make sure to use a Kia scanner that can read transmission codes. Generic scanners typically only read codes from Engine Control Unit (ECU), but you need a scanner that can read codes from the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) as well. 

Sours: https://www.youcanic.com/kia-transmission-problems

Car Buying Guide

Worried about getting the Kia Soul Transmission Problems? This is a detailed research on2021 kia soul transmission problems. If your preference is 2020 kia soul transmission problems, then this article is perfect for you.

There is no doubt that Kia had a poor reputation two decades ago, in part due to frequent automatic transmission problems. Since then, Kia has made a 180-degree turn.

Models such as Sportage, Rio, Telluride, Stinger, Sorento, Optima, Soul, Sedona, Forte, K900 are now some of the most reliable vehicles on the market with very few transmission problems. 

2021 kia soul transmission problems

Are Kia Transmissions Reliable?

Overall, Kia transmissions are quite reliable. The majority of Kia transmission problems such as transmission won’t engage, transition slips, delayed shifting, transmission bangs into gear, no drive or reverse gears, stuck in limp mode, are often caused by low transmission fluid. These symptoms may also be due to problems with the transmission control module, which in some cases can be fixed by having the dealer perform a software update. 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, check the transmission fluid level immediately and correct it if needed. Also, call any Kia dealer and ask if there are any Technical Sevice Bulletins (TSBs) or software updates for the transmission. 

With that said, we still come across Kia vehicles that have automatic transmission problems, especially vehicles that aren’t maintained or that are used for towing.

Kia Automatic Transmission Problems

Valve Body

Shift flares and delayed gear changes

KIA cars that use an A4CF 4-speed automatic transmission have a common gear shift issue, which involves shift flares or slipping when going into 2nd, 3th, and 4th gear.

In some cases, there will be a prolonged pause followed by a clunk when selecting reverse. Usually, any of the symptoms will be more prominent while the car is cold. This can trigger a check engine light, so there will be a corresponding code in DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Pressure drop inside the valve body as a result of leaking solenoids. Being an issue usually happens gradually; the symptoms will be more apparent when the vehicle is cold. As this is a prevalent problem, there are sets with uprated solenoids available.  
  • Faulty internal harness, which causes interference in communication between TCU and solenoids. Unlike leaking solenoids, this will cause intermittent and sudden issues and trigger a check engine light with solenoid related codes.

Erratic shifting and jumping into neutral

Vehicles that use an A4CF 4-speed automatic transmission can suffer from issues that range from jumpy gear shifts to sudden and uncontrolled shifts to neutral while driving.

When this happens, the driver will not be able to engage any gear, despite selecting the drive or reverse. These issues usually trigger a check engine light, meaning there will be a corresponding code in DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Faulty input or output speed sensor, which offsets the shift procedure and causes misleading solenoid related codes. As deciding on which of these two sensors is causing the problem is not a straightforward task, the most efficient way of dealing with this issue is to replace both of them.

Erratic and failed gear shift

Kia Sorento that uses a RE5R05A 5-speed automatic transmission can suffer from a range of shift issues, which include harsh shifts and failed gear changes. Any of these problems may occur sporadically or be present all the time. This will usually trigger a check engine light, so there will be code stored in DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions:

  • Faulty one or more solenoid valves. The usual ones to fail are those that operate the direct clutch, front brake, or input clutch. Each of them will trigger a different code, which will help narrow down the problem.
  • Wiring issues are caused by damage or corrosion. This creates problems with communication between the TCU and solenoids. The resulting symptoms will be very similar to a failed solenoid, so double-checking the wiring and solenoid is a recommended step.
  • Broken or corroded connectors on the control board, resulting in sporadic loss of signal. While corrosion is easy to clean off, soldering broken connectors may be an unreliable solution. Instead, replace the board with a new or undamaged second-hand one.

Harsh or delayed gearshifts

KIA cars with A6GF1 6-speed transmission have a widespread issue with harsh or delayed gear changes.

In most cases, this problem will be intermittent and more present when the car reaches running temperature. A check engine light can also come on, which means there will be a code stored inside DTC memory.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Faulty transmission fluid temperature sensor, which will give false output readings. This transmission is susceptible to temperature; this will cause running issues and triggering a check engine light. Typical error codes range from P0711 to P0714. Checking both sensor and corresponding wiring will reveal the source of the problem.
  • These transmissions feature an adaptive learning procedure, meaning it will adjust shift patterns based on the driver’s habits.  When drivers with different driving styles use the same car, gear shifts may seem unusual. Resetting the learn-procedure may solve the issue.

Vibrations while accelerating or harsh shifting

Vehicles that use a D7UF1 7-speed dual-clutch transmission can suffer from several typical issues that include delayed response, strong vibration, and rattle during accelerations or while idling and harsh shifting. In most cases, the symptoms will be more noticeable when driving aggressively. These problems will not trigger a check engine light.

Possible causes and solutions

  • Worn dual-mass flywheel, which results in a metallic rattle on idle caused by an excessive play. When checking the flywheel condition, look for any free movement between the plates and replace them if there is any.
  • Overheated clutch assembly can cause the clutch to stick to the flywheel and result in delayed gear changes. One of the possible causes is a driving style that is too aggressive. In some cases, updating the TCU software to the latest version using a suitable diagnostic tool can help some vehicles have outdated software.
  • Broken or worn engine or gearbox mounts. This allows excessive movement, causing the engine and gearbox to jump when pulling off from a stand-still.

Troubleshooting Kia Transmission Problems

If you Kia has developed transmission problems, we strongly recommend checking the transmission fluid level as soon as possible.

If the transmission fluid level has been corrected, but the transmission is not shifting correctly, read the fault codes from the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) with a Kia transmission scanner.

2020 kia soul transmission problems

Introduction

Listen to the hype—whether it’s on TV, online, or in print—and you’d think saving money on a vehicle is as easy and fast as flipping the TV remote. Wrong! Did you know a dealer or online auto service can sell or lease you a new set of wheels for exactly what the dealer paid the manufacturer and still make $500 to $1,500 on just the car itself?  00:00 00:00        

Car buying guide introduction video.

Did you know that “Zero Percent” financing may cost you more than financing at a bank or credit union—even if the bank or credit union’s rate is 7 percent?

Do you hate dealing with dealers and look forward to buying or leasing a vehicle online—or from a buying service—just so you won’t have to deal with the dealer yourself? Guess what: you have to deal with a dealer, even if you use a buying service! All new vehicle sales—repeat, all—have to involve a dealer.

Car Buying Websites

Do you think the Internet has made it safer for you to research and/or acquire a new vehicle? Think again! In just the past three years, the entire auto business has been ripped apart, reinvented, and re-launched. “In an instant, your privacy, your money, and your good credit can be stripped away—and that’s if you’re dealing with the ‘good’ car guys!”

That quote, from the latest edition of my book Don’t Get Taken Every Time, sums it up. (Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the book.)

Straight Answers

“Just click here and this beautiful convertible can be yours for $1 under invoice. Unbelievable! And we’ve got Zero Percent financing. Even more unbelievable! And we’ll give you a free computer when you buy from us! And we guarantee the value of your trade-in!”~ Guy on the TV Commercial

Why this car buying guide is different? Because it frankly tells you the truth. I’ve written this special buying guide for you to give you straight answers about the car buying and leasing process.

For over 30 years, I’ve tracked the inner workings of the auto industry. As President and co-founder of the non-profit Consumer Task Force For Automotive Issues, and as co-founder of the Privacy Rights Now Coalition, I’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to wacky sales gimmicks, deception and consumer abuse. And, it’s my sworn duty to keep those things from happening to you!

And will this guide work! If you follow this guide, you can probably keep thousands of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket rather than in the dealer’s.

A major promise up-front: This guide is about educating you, not trying to hype you. Confusion and deception are rampant in the auto industry and on the Web.

For instance, where is it cheapest to finance? A lot of studies show that normally credit unions offer the cheapest and most straightforward vehicle financing. Credit unions generally don’t use double-talk and outright deception to try to get you to finance with them, either. But here’s the rub: a bank, and at times even a car dealership, could be the cheapest for you—specifically—to finance. And dealerships in particular aren’t going to tell you if their financing will cost you more.

So, how do you find the cheapest and best loan for you? We show you how to “shop” for the cheapest and best rate. Read on to learn how to do that! Thanks for reading. Your pocketbook, as they say, will thank you.

What’s Really Happening Down at the Dealership?

To win in any auto transaction, you first have to understand what the other side is trying to do to you, and why. Since “the other side” always includes a physical automobile dealership—even if you’re buying or leasing from an online service—I’m going to take you inside a typical dealership right now. What’s really going on down there?

The pressure game starts before you go near a dealership, either online or in person. Just look at the dealer ads: they promise low payments, sales, big money for your trade and respect for your intellect. But, as with most selling, these promises come with some crossed fingers. Did you know that many dealers make more during sales than they do at non-sale time? That’s because we consumers automatically equate the word “sale” with “save.” That’s dangerous math. Dealer advertising really has another purpose: To get you to rush down in a fit of excitement (“Really? Just $99 a month?!”) without stopping to think.

The “Track” System Takes Over

A “track” system is an automobile sales program designed to put every customer through the exact same sales steps with the sole intent of selling that customer instantly for the maximum profit. The key words here are “instantly” and “maximum profit.” When you arrive at a dealership (or log-on to most auto websites) the dealership begins to “work” you: put you through the track system.

The objective is always the same: Get you to pay more for every item and service than you were planning to pay. Want to spend $450 a month? A savvy dealership will get you to pay $550. Or they will happily sell you a car for $450 per month—but it will be a car you could have bought for $350 per month. Nice of them.

The car dealership is concerned about its profit, not your budget.

The people at virtually any dealership and most websites and buying services, friendly though they may be, have a little different objective in the car transaction than you do. Their goal is always to maximize profit. And that might mean leaving out an important fact or two.

To take one example, what would you do if you owned a dealership that sold cars ranked lowest on the government crash safety reports? Would you tell all your customers: “Oh, don’t forget—our cars are the most dangerous on the road!”

See the problem? To survive, the dealership must either lie about the dangerous test results, or simply forget to talk about the results.

What’s the Outcome of This?

The sellers of automobiles generally can’t give you good advice about what you should spend, number one. No salesperson in the auto industry ever prospered by volunteering to cut the price on every sale or always telling the whole truth about its vehicles.

Number two, the sellers of a particular automobile generally can’t give you the answers you need to questions about such matters as a car’s safety, reliability or resale value.

But these questions are important, aren’t they? And you’ll need the answers before you even look in the direction of the dealership.

Why? Because once you’re engaged with these folks, the “track system” will take over and speed you along recklessly whether you like it or not.

Car Dealership Tactics

Here’s a look at a few of the tactics track systems use to “work” you.

You stop into the dealership simply to pick up a brochure. Even though you have no intention of buying, the smiling salesperson requests your driver’s license, your Social Security number or simply your address. Or maybe they want to register you for a fabulous free trip to Paris.

Even though you haven’t given permission, many dealerships will now search their databases and quickly open a file on you. And because many dealerships are now owned by conglomerates that already have information on you, the dealership has an informal “read” on your credit without even pulling a credit report!

With that informal “read,” the dealership then begins to plan the maximum profit they can make on you, based upon your credit worthiness. And you really only stopped into the dealership to use their restroom.

More Tactics

  • The Dealership T.O.s You
    “T.O.” stands for “turn over.” You’re sitting in a salesperson’s office, thinking about how much more fun it would be to change the oil in your car in the dark rather than go through this, when your salesperson returns with reinforcement— another person. The new smiling face asks for more money. And then the salesperson asks for more. The T. O. system operates on the principle of “fresh faces can work miracles.” A miracle, in this instance, is defined as more profit. And as long as you keep giving, they’ll keep asking.
  • The “Note” System
    Rather than “T.O.ing” you, some dealerships use the note system: The salesperson steps out, returning with a nice note from the sales manager asking for more money. And then another note, then another. Usually, the salesperson comes back with five notes, and usually the last two ask for raises of odd amounts of money—for instance, $113.29 or, finally, $23.19. The note system has one basic problem. It makes you think the dealership is negotiating when it’s really only play-acting. Consider the “odd” raises. These are simply designed to make it look like you’re really a hard bargainer. You know, you think you’ve got them “down to the pennies.”A tip: Many Web-based sellers use versions of the note system.
  • The Four Square System
    The salesperson divides a piece of paper into four squares and then asks for your “wish list.” What do you want to pay a month? What do you want for your trade? What do you want to pay for the new car? However ridiculous the sums, each are written in a square. Then they ask for a large deposit, and then they ask for your signature in the fourth square.Daily the methods used by many dealerships and online selling organizations grow more sophisticated and subtle.Then they begin to “work” you on each square separately. You wanted to pay $20,000 for the car? They ask for $40,000! Very slowly the salesperson negotiates down, constantly scratching through figures. By the time they finish, the paper is illegible, you’re frazzled, but the salesperson is smiling. You’ve agreed to pay an additional $1,200 to $1,500 profit.The four square system is probably the worst system in use today because it was designed solely to confuse you and produce some very nice profits. Don’t deal with dealerships that use this system.
  • Spot Delivery, or “Yo-Yo” Selling
    “You can drive it off today!” That is the most expensive statement any car dealer or Web seller can make. Spot delivery means emotion is ruling you rather than good sense. It also means you (very conveniently for the seller) won’t have the opportunity to compare costs and terms.The real danger in Spot Delivery: Spot Delivery has become a fraudulent selling technique at many dealerships. These dealerships deliver you a car on any terms you want. Then a few days after you’ve taken delivery, they call you up and say “Oops, your contract wasn’t approved at the figures you wanted. We need an extra $1000 in cash, your payment has gone up $300 per month and we’ve added 12 more payments!”What can you do if that happens? Usually nothing. They’ve already sold your trade-in, and you unknowingly signed an agreement to let the dealer raise the price! This type of Spot Delivery is called “yo-yo selling” by unethical dealerships, and is endemic in the auto business. It is also the subject of hundreds of lawsuits at this very moment.How do you protect yourself from spot delivery? Never buy or take delivery of a car on your first visit to a dealership or a website.
  • The “Business Advisor” or “Financial Counselor” Scam
    Even if you have the cash in your pocket to pay for a vehicle, you’ll be forced to talk with a dealership’s finance sales staff. Or, as they are quaintly called at some dealerships, “Business Advisors” or “Financial Counselors.” Why do these high-pressure finance salespersons insist on talking with you? Because dealerships make much more money on financing these days than they normally make on the sale of an actual vehicle. Many dealerships will do almost anything to convert you to their financing, including shading the truth a bit.And if the dealership can convert you to their financing, they’ll sell you credit life and credit disability insurance that’s almost always more expensive than a credit union’s or a bank’s but sounds downright cheap on a “pennies per month” basis. Then they’ll sell you “protection” packages (rust proofing, undercoating, fabric conditioning) “for just $19 per month.”Why, you can afford that! But over 60 months, you will pay over $1,140 for products that cost the dealer $100. The same approach works for extended warranties or mechanical breakdown insurance, too.

Daily the methods used by many dealerships and online selling organizations grow more sophisticated and subtle. For instance, many dealerships now track customers’ movements by computer, rate their moods on scales entered in computers, and flash their progress in the buying process on computer screens so managers and other salespeople can monitor the dealerships’ careful plan to sell.

How Can You Avoid These Traps?

Buying a car isn’t one negotiation, it’s many: your trade, the new car you’re buying, the financing—and the newest, most popular profit centers—warranties, protection packages, alarm systems and other add-ons.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can save money in one area and pay too much in the other; no fun at all. That’s why dealers can sell cars for “no profit” and still make thousands on you. And that’s why you need to pay very close attention to the right steps.

Many Negotiations, Not One

If you really want to save money and still like your car after the fourth payment, you’ll have to look at the car-buying transaction in a new way. Most people find a car and adjust their budget to fit that car’s payment. That’s the wrong way, and usually means you end up eating pinto beans for years on end.

The Right Way, Step-by-Step

The FoolProofMe approach doesn’t start with the car at all; it starts with your budget. We encourage you to slow down rather than speed up. Emotions in car buying should come after you’ve done it right.

And we define “right” as saving money and buying the right car, too. Doing it our way, versus simply following the dealership’s lead, can literally put thousands in your pocket.

So, throw out the conventional thinking and consider this:

  • All cars are bought for cash.
  • No cars are bought with trade-ins or payments.
  • Trade-ins and payments only provide you cash.

Right now, based upon your budget and your old car, you have an exact amount of cash available to you to buy a new car. That amount of money is called “Available Cash,” and it’s—logically enough—made up of all the cash you have available to buy a car.

“Available Cash” is made up of three things:

  1. The cash your payment will buy you, called “Loan Cash.”
  2. Any cash your trade-in may give you after paying off your current loan. That cash is called “equity.”
  3. Any other cash you may have—rebate money or savings, for instance.

Know your Available Cash figure and you’ll always be on budget.

Understanding “Available Cash”

Understanding “Available Cash” helps you understand your budget.

Here’s an example of “Available Cash.”

You say:

  1. “I take home $2500 per month after taxes and deductions.
  2. I drive a three year-old Mustang convertible.
  3. I owe $13,000 on it.
  4. I want to trade in my car.
  5. I don’t want to make more than 48 payments.
  6. Now, what can I afford to buy?”

You plug all that information into the Available Cash calculator and you’ll get this answer: “Okay, according to all that information, what you really said was, ‘Based on my budget and my trade-in, I have $26,000 in Available Cash to buy a vehicle.'”

Know your Available Cash figure and you’ll always be on budget.

What’s Your Personal Available Cash Figure?

That’s easy to determine. Use the calculator in the right hand column after you complete the following steps (You can use our Available Cash Worksheet).

Calculate Available Cash

Your Available Cash is the maximum amount you have to spend on a vehicle. This calculator enables you to determine:

  1. The amount of cash a vehicle loan will yield.
  2. The total Available Cash from all sources, including the loan, you have to purchase the vehicle.

If the estimated amount of Available Cash is too little for the vehicle you would like to purchase, you have several options. A higher monthly payment and/or a longer loan term will typically yield higher initial Loan Cash, thus increasing your Available Cash. You may also want to consider alternative vehicles that better fit your budget.

To estimate the value of your trade, visit the Edmunds website.

Available Cash Calculator
Trade-in value
Amount you owe on your trade-in
Down payment
Monthly loan payment you can afford
Loan term (in months)
Interest rate%
Loan Cash$ 
Available Cash$ 

This calculator is solely for informational purposes. It gives you reasonably accurate results of your Available Cash. Results for your actual loan will vary based on your final rate and loan amount.

This calculator is solely for informational purposes. It gives you reasonably accurate results of your Available Cash. Results for your actual loan will vary based on your final rate and loan amount.

Use these steps to figure your Available Cash:

  1. Determine a “Wholesale” Value for Your Trade-in
    “Wholesale” is the amount of money a dealer will pay for your old vehicle. But “wholesale” isn’t a definite figure, the amount can vary from dealer to dealer. At most dealerships the objective, incidentally, is virtually always to give you as little for your old vehicle as possible.If you are very smart, you need to determine your individual vehicle’s wholesale value. Here are three ways:
    • A good way: Clean up your trade and drive it to three or four used-car departments of new-car dealerships, and tell the manager you are thinking about selling your old car, not trading it. The highest offer a dealer makes to buy your car is its true wholesale value.
    • A quick but less accurate way: Go to www.nadaguides.com and look up your current vehicle. This figure isn’t exact—it’s an average for all cars in a specific category, so use it only as a guide.Caution: NADA Guides is a commercial site used by many dealers and others in the business to solicit your business. So, be cautious as you use this site, ignore all the ads and come back to FoolProofMe.
    • What if you still owe money on your trade-in? If you still owe money on your current vehicle, you will need to know its “pay-off” to figure how much “equity”— cash value—the vehicle is worth. For a rough estimate of the amount owed, multiply your payment figure by the remaining months in the loan. Subtract that figure from the vehicle’s wholesale value to determine a conservative estimate of the vehicle’s equity. For a more accurate figure, call your financing institution and ask for the pay-off (or “loan balance”) amount. You’ll need your loan account number to get that. Write your pay-off and equity on your Available Cash Worksheet.
  2. What Can You Really Afford to Pay Each Month on a Vehicle?
    Do you want to pay more than you’re paying now? Would it make your life easier if you had a lower payment? You decide. Once you decide what would be a sensible payment for you, write the figure on your worksheet:
    • I want to pay _____ dollars per month.
  3. How Many Months Should You Finance?
    Finance for the fewest months, not the most months. Some lending institutions will finance you for 8 or 10 years. But the truth is, you’re making a big mistake if you finance a car for more than 5 years—and you would be smart if you didn’t finance more than three years. Financing longer means you’re paying vastly more money in interest, and virtually always guarantees that you will owe more money on your vehicle than it is worth. If it falls apart, you’re still going to be forced to make payments on it.And get this nice benefit of financing for less months: By financing for the fewest months that will fit your budget you actually can buy more vehicle. For instance, the difference on a $30,000 loan financed for 48 instead of 60 months is only $4 a day. Pay the higher payment, finance for 48 months rather than 60, and you’ll save over $2,000 in interest. Great! You’re already saving money. And wouldn’t it be nice not to have car payments for that fifth year? So how many months should you go? Jot that number on your Available Cash Worksheet:
    • I want to make $____ payments for ___ months.
  4. How Much Other Cash Do You Have on Hand That You Plan to Spend on a New Vehicle?
    Are you looking at a car with a rebate? Include that figure here. Do you have savings that you plan to use as additional down payment? Include that figure.

Now, let’s use the facts on your worksheet to determine your Available Cash using the Available Cash Calculator in the right hand column.

When you finish, congratulate yourself. Your Available Cash figure rules! To stay within your budget, Available Cash is all the money you’ve got in your car buying account. That’s all the money you have to pay for everything: cost of car, taxes, other charges, insurance, etc. Exceeding your Available Cash is like bouncing a check on your budget. And you know you don’t want to do that.

Save your emotions for the moment you finally drive away on budget in your shiny car with an extra thousand or two in your pocket.

Put Your Emotions Aside

Don’t go near that dealership! Once you know how much Available Cash you have, get the hard facts about the vehicles that fit your Available Cashfigure before you go any further. For instance:

  • What vehicles fit your budget?
  • What do these cars cost the dealers?
  • What are the vehicles’ safety records?
  • What about mechanical reliability and maintenance costs?
  • What about insurance costs?
  • What about operating costs, such as fuel economy?

Resources for Research

The following resources available online can help you find the information you need to choose wisely. Please remember that these are third-party sites that FoolProof doesn’t control. These are sites, however, that I have found provide generally sound, helpful information.

Manufacturers’ “Consumer” Sites

The manufacturers all offer “consumer” sites which supposedly tell you objective information about their vehicles. Frankly, these sites are nearly worthless when it comes to learning anything negative about a vehicle. If a manufacturer’s most popular car is having serious problems with its airbags, you’re not going to read about that problem first on the manufacturer’s site.

Big tip: Do not rely upon manufacturer (or dealer) websites when you are making decisions on safety, reliability, or resale value. The sites can be fun to visit, regardless. Most now offer “virtual” tours of individual vehicles. Just use your search engine and any manufacturer’s name.

Did you know some dealers and online lenders charge you thousands more in interest to finance a used car than they would to finance the same amount on a new car?

Now It’s Time to Shop for the One Vehicle You Like!

Like a chocoholic’s first whiff of a candy factory, your first visit to a dealership or website poses the maximum danger to your pocketbook. Those new or newer cars look so good. And you’ve waited so long. Whether online or in person, sellers know how to turn up the fires of your enthusiasm and singe your reason.

So put your emotions aside. Be wary. Slow down. Save the emotions for the moment you finally drive away on budget in your shiny car with an extra thousand or two in your pocket. Now that’s something to get excited about!

Big FoolProofMe tip: For decades, I’ve told people that buying the right used car is one of the smartest things you can do.

New cars are the worst investment in the world. They depreciate in seconds, thousands of dollars, the minute you drive off the lot.

But buying used can be the worst thing many people do, because they don’t understand the specific problems used-car buyers face, on the Web or at a dealership. For instance, did you know some dealers and online lenders charge you thousands more in interest to finance a used car than they would to finance the same amount on a new car?

How do you stop that from happening to you? Keep reading. We’ve got a special “Buying a Used Vehicle” section for you, and the information is priceless. But first, let’s deal with new vehicles.

Ready to Match Wits with the Dealership?

Good! You can match wits and win. Just keep reading.

Simple Rules to Remember:

  1. Narrow Your Choice
    Narrow your choice to one or two models or makes before setting foot on a car lot. Why? Trying to think about a big list will do nothing but confuse you.Be aware during your first dealership visit: You are under the microscope at a dealership. Many dealerships already have you in a database. Most are anxious to pull a current credit report on you. All want to use information about you to maximize their chances to make a big profit. Don’t let that happen! Unless you definitely plan to finance at the car dealership, don’t allow any dealership to pull a credit report on you at this stage.For instance, many dealerships will ask for a copy of your driver’s license before they will let you test drive a vehicle. A dealership has a right to know if you have a valid license. But you don’t have to allow them to request a credit report at this stage. How to stop this? Say up front, “I do not authorize you to pull a credit report on me.”
  2. Choose Two Nearby Dealerships
    Now, choose two nearby dealerships that stock the vehicle you like. If you’ve done your homework, where you buy isn’t important as long as the dealership is reputable.
  3. Find Only One Car at Each Dealership
    You can’t buy three cars. Keep it simple: Find the one you like the best.
  4. Take Control of the Transaction
    Tell the salesperson you are not buying a car today under any circumstances, but you will buy soon. Today you are just shopping and fact-finding. Check the car out. Take a test drive. But be firm and don’t let the salesperson lead you into any discussion of buying today. If you start to feel pressure or confusion leave immediately.
  5. Copy the Information from the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price Sticker
    Copy all the information from the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail price sticker before leaving the dealership (MSRP, not the dealer’s sticker). The MSRP is the sticker with the lowest price on the vehicle’s window. Copy all the dollar information from that sticker. For instance, the vehicle’s base price, then the name and price of options. (Use our “Auto Shopping Worksheet.”) For now, ignore the dealer’s sticker, which is always higher than the Manufacturer’s sticker. The dealer sticker contains hugely inflated profits.
  6. Compute the Dealer’s Invoice Cost
    A very important step. Use one of the online price guides below to calculate this amount. Some credit unions and banks can also help you determine dealer cost. Some dealers also say they will tell you dealer cost, but I would not rely upon their figures. Why is knowing the dealer’s invoice cost so important? Dealers want you to negotiate down from their inflated asking price, a very expensive way to negotiate. The FoolProofMe approach negotiates up from what a dealer paid for the one car you like. Don’t ever think percentage discounts from dealer asking prices; don’t ever think “sale” price. Know what the dealer paid for the car you like and negotiate up from that. Here are two links to two of these invoice-pricing services Edmunds.com or nadaguides.com.Big tip: The main job of sites like these is to make money on you. They’re loaded with ads, and at times used by some dealers to try to trick you. So, use caution when using the sites.
  7. Check to See if the Car Will Fit Your “Available Cash”
    Here’s the moment of truth. After you pay for the car, and give the dealer a profit, and pay tax and other charges, will you still be in budget? We have a simple Vehicle Buyer’s Fact Sheet to help you compare your figures and determine this. But first decide how much profit you want to pay a dealer, the last variable in the transaction.

Know what the dealer paid for the car you like and negotiate up from that.

What’s a Fair Profit?

Most car sellers believe they have a perfect right to make as much money on you as possible, even if the price you’ll pay will wreck your budget. If dealers can try to make as much as they can, FoolProof believes you have a right to pay as least as a dealer will take. Doesn’t that make sense?

You have a perfect right to pay all the profit you want. But if your objective is to pay the least profit a dealer will take for the car, you’ll need to start negotiating up from what the dealer paid the manufacturer for the car.

That figure usually already has “hidden” profits in it. And at times, a dealership will be happy to accept “cost” rather than lose a sale. The only way to know whether a dealer will do so is to offer that figure and stick to it for a while. But if starting at “zero” bothers you, add any figure you’d like as a profit figure.

Your Second Visit to the Dealership

The buying visit! You are way ahead of the game right now. You’ve been patient, and all that homework is getting ready to really pay off.

  • You know how much money you can spend (your “Available Cash” figure.)
  • You know what the one vehicle you like cost the dealer.
  • You know what your old car is worth.
  • The dealer—not you—is under the gun: They can lose a sale if they don’t do it your way.

The secret to winning (saving lots of money) is to stay in control, keep things simple and never be pushed.

Don’t give a deposit until your offer is approved in writing.

The Following Steps Will Help You

  1. Make an appointment with your salesperson
    These men and women work hard and many work on commission. If you liked the person who waited on you during your first visit, go back.
  2. Put these pieces of information on a summary sheet or take your Vehicle Buyer’s Fact Sheet with you.
    • The wholesale value of your trade-in if you’re trading.
    • Your available cash figure.
    • Your maximum offer on the one car you like.
    • Your maximum difference figure, if you’re trading.
  3. When you arrive at the dealership, ask to go to the salesperson’s office.
    You take the initiative; you take control of the situation. Tell the salesperson you are definitely going to buy a car, but not necessarily from that dealership. Say there are other cars you like as well as this one. Why say this? To increase your bargaining power.
  4. If you have a trade, ask to have it appraised.
    Do this before you discuss the new car at all. Keep the transactions separate. But beware: many dealerships will at first refuse to give you the true wholesale value of your car at any time. They’ll want to talk about “allowance,” a meaningless figure, or worse, may refuse to have your car appraised at all right then. If you run into a dealership that refuses to deal straight with you, find another dealership.
  5. Agree on the amount the dealer will give you for your trade.
  6. Make an offer, and be prepared to negotiate on the new car.
    You’ve finished talking about trades. You’ve agreed what they will pay to buy your car. Now it’s time to see what you must pay to buy their car. Two separate transactions. Your goal now, using the cost of the car you like, is to set the scale of bargaining in your favor. How do you do that? Whatever your first offer, expect the dealership to counter offer. And don’t be afraid to counter offer yourself—just offer a very small amount of money.The negotiating conversation might go like this:Salesperson: “What if I could give you a 10 percent discount?”You, the smart shopper: “No, let’s do it my way. I’ll offer you $15,000. Invoice cost on that car.”The flustered salesperson: “But, my boss will never accept that!”You: “Well, why don’t we offer it and see? I’ll even sign a buyer’s order saying I’ll buy at that figure.”A now calmer salesperson: “Okay. Let me fill out this sheet. And I’ll need a deposit before I can take this offer to my boss. To show him you’re serious, you understand.”You, very firmly: “I’m sorry, I won’t give you any deposit until my offer is approved in writing.”Salesperson: “But we’re not allowed to do it like that.”You: “If you can’t, I’ve got an appointment at a dealership that will.”The salesperson leaves, then returns and agrees to do it your way. You’ve offered $15,000. They now ask $20,000.You: “I’m sorry, no. How about $15,025?”Startled salesperson: “What?”You: “Okay, make that $15,030.”Do you get the idea? Set the scale of bargaining in your favor. Raise your offer a time or two, that’s part of the game. But don’t raise it much. And don’t give a deposit until your offer is approved in writing. Dealerships use deposits simply to make it harder for you to escape. Warning! Some dealerships, rather than taking money, will ask for your driver’s license or credit cards as a deposit. Don’t give those to them.
  7. When you reach agreement
    When you reach agreement and you are looking at a completely filled out “buyer’s order,” compare the “amount due” line to your “difference” figure from the Vehicle Buyer’s Fact Sheet.Quick FoolProofMe tip: Beware of hidden fees in the price that are not itemized on the purchase order, such as extended warranty and rust-proofing fees.If you don’t see the difference figure, ask the salesperson. Make sure it includes tax, tag, title, and any other dealer charges. Are you on budget? If this figure is below your difference figure, you’re home free. If it’s above it, stop the transaction. You’ve just gone over budget.
  8. If the difference figure is okay, give a small deposit.
    Dealers will ask for hundreds or thousands, but, unless you’re asking them to order a Cadillac without air conditioning or to paint your car pink and purple, don’t do it. Any amount of money makes a contract legally binding. $50 should be enough.
  9. Now be prepared to deal with one or two or even three other “salespeople.”
    You’re not free yet. Even if you’re paying cash; even if you have a check in your pocket, many dealerships will virtually force you to talk with finance managers (also known as “financial counselors” or “business managers”). They’ll also insist that you talk with their “after-the-sale” manager. This might be a separate person or the finance manager. Whatever, as we noted earlier, this person will try to sell you warranties, “protection” packages such as rust proofing and undercoating, and add-ons such as alarm systems.
  10. Be prepared for the leasing switch
    And don’t forget, this is the time a dealership may try to switch you to leasing. Don’t automatically fall for it. Remember that the dealership wants to convert you to leasing because the dealership generally makes a lot more money leasing you a car than they would selling you the very same car.
  11. If you’re buying, we recommend a simple approach for evaluating the value of dealership financing, insurance, protection packages, warranties, and other add-ons. After the sales pitch, which invariably presents dealership products and services as the cheapest and best, simply say something like this.”That sounds fine. And if your loan and products are cheaper, I’ll certainly finance with you. Now, would you mind giving me a copy, completely filled out, of the contract you want me to sign so that I can compare it to other sources?”Credit unions and banks will be happy to give you exact figures and tell you the exact cost for the loan itself, life insurance, disability insurance and warranties. If the dealership is cheaper, shouldn’t they be willing to give you these figures, too? To the penny?If the dealership will give you the exact figures, take those figures to a credit union and a bank, and ask that institution to compare their figures to the dealership’s figures. Finance where it is cheaper overall. But if a dealership won’t give you the details—if the dealership won’t let you compare costs line-by-line, what does that say? Doesn’t it have to say they are more expensive?If the dealership will give you the exact figures, take those figures to a credit union and a bank, and ask that institution to compare their figures to the dealership’s figures.What about their insurance, protection packages, warranties and the like?At times, it might be sensible to buy extra rust proofing and undercoating protection—though many consumer groups doubt the need for extra protection. And at times an extended warranty might make sense—though manufacturers’ warranties are good these days. But it never makes sense to spend hundreds and thousands more than you need to for these products. Unfortunately, some dealerships are now trying to charge $1,200 and more for rust protection they used to sell for $200; they’re trying to sell $300 warranties for $1,900 or more. We don’t think you should spend that type of money without very carefully comparing products. Who wants to throw away an extra $2,000 without thinking?
  12. After you’re finished with the finance salesperson
    Don’t celebrate quite yet. If you’re financing at the dealership, many will insist that you take the car home that minute. It’s called “spot delivery,” remember. But don’t do it. Go home and diffuse a little. Check the dealer’s figures again. And give the dealership time to fix the little things wrong with any new car. You did check it over carefully, didn’t you? Make a list of the squeaks, rattles, sticking knobs and scratches, and have them fixed before you agree to take the car.If you’re financing at another source, make sure you have all your paperwork necessary for their loan.
  13. When you finally pick up your new wheels
    Check it over carefully. Don’t look at it in the rain when it’s hard to see flaws in the finish.If everything’s okay, smile. You did it the right way and saved a lot more than change!

The FoolProofMe Way

Aused car, wisely bought, is a much better buy than a new car for most of us. You can buy more car, lose less in depreciation up front and enjoy lower payments—three good reasons to smile. But if you’re not careful, buying a used car can be a disaster! You might pay too much for an unsafe car that’s a lemon and vastly overpriced.

Buy a used car the FoolProofMe way, and you’ll be driving a fine car every time.

The Steps for Buying a Used Car

  1. Determine your Available Cash
    Like in chapter 2 of this guide.
  2. Shop for cars with an NADA loan value about $800 under your Available Cash figure
    Don’t worry about the car’s asking price. That’s what the dealer dreams you’ll pay.Incidentally, the reason you’re looking for cars $800 under your Available Cash figure is to leave room in your budget for dealer profit, taxes and the like.When you buy a used car, where you shop isn’t nearly as important as how carefully you shop. Look at multiple websites online. Look on used car and new car lots.Quick FoolProof Tip: Don’t shop on rainy days
    On rainy days, it’s hard to see body damage and you’re less likely to give the car a thorough check-over. Don’t be in a hurry. Each used car is unique. A car that looks just fine can be a monster.
  3. Get previous owner information, if possible
    If you’re looking for a car by yourself at a dealership, and have found one you like, without fail, get the name and number of the previous owner. If a seller won’t (or can’t) give you this information, don’t buy the vehicle unless you have it thoroughly checked out by a mechanic or diagnostic service. If the dealer will tell you the previous owner’s name, ask the previous owner:
    • How many miles were on the car when it was traded in?
    • What was wrong with the car? Make a list of the car’s problems, in detail.
  4. Get the vehicle inspected by your mechanic before you set the price
    Take the car to a mechanic of your choice. If the seller won’t let you have a vehicle inspected, don’t buy the car. Don’t even take it as a gift.Auto service centers, such as tire dealers or department store auto service facilities, are good for pre-purchase inspections, as are independent diagnostic services that do not make repairs. Also search used vehicle inspection services on the Web for inspection services in your area.With your list of problems from the prior owner, ask your mechanic to check the car carefully and tell you how much he’ll want to put the car in good running order—not to make it like new. Taking a car to a mechanic is the most important step you must take. Don’t buy a used car if you don’t do this.
  5. Use estimated repair costs to negotiate a better price
    Budget the repair costs and use them as bargaining chips. If your Available Cash figure is $5,000, and a mechanic says you need to spend $1,000 on repairs, you can’t spend more than $4,000 on that particular car. Don’t be shy in telling the seller that.Quick FoolProof tip: Forget the asking price
    Start bargaining up from loan value (or less). You can use a third-party, commercial, online price guide such as nadaguides.com to get loan value.What about used car “service agreements” and the like?
    Extended service agreements can be good. But many dealers and some other financing institutions charge two or three times as much for their agreements as they are worth. Don’t automatically fall for the dealers’ sales pitch. Shop around. If you are an auto club member, see what they offer.
  6. Negotiate warranties after price is set
    After you agree on price, negotiate a warranty. Don’t even mention warranties until you agree on price. If you do, some sellers will just add the cost of a warranty to their selling price without telling you.The warranty to fight for is a free 90-day, 100 percent powertrain warranty. Under the terms of this warranty the seller will repair anything that makes the car run for three months. Power windows and the like aren’t covered, but you can live with that. If you can’t get a free 90-day warranty, try for a 60 or 30 day.The warranty to avoid is any “50/50” warranty. It’s you pay half, they pay half. What’s the problem here? If you have a $50 repair, some dealer shops will bill you $100. Your 50 percent now just happens to be the whole bill.Extended service agreements can be good. But many dealers charge two or three times as much for their agreements as they are worth. Don’t automatically fall for the dealers’ sales pitch. Shop around. If you are an auto club member, see what they offer.

The Lease Hype

At some point during the car buying process many dealerships will to try to switch you from buying to leasing. If you’ve been to a dealership lately, or visited an automotive website, you already know that.

The pitch from these salespersons has been really successful, too. One study showed that only 6 percent of people plan to lease a vehicle when they enter a dealership, but 35 percent have leased before they drive out of that dealership. These people were converted to leasing on the spot. Why did that happen? Invariably because the sales pitch pushed these two points:

  1. “More car for less money!” That’s what we all want, isn’t it? And if you listen to the hoopla, leasing delivers that wish. “Lease it for just $199 per month!” And the ad is talking about a car you would pay $350 a month to buy!
  2. “No haggling, no confusing negotiations!” The dream of every car shopper. Lease a vehicle, the sales pitch says, and there’s no pressure and confusion! Everybody should lease!

Here are the secrets no traditional leasing company wants to tell you!

The Lease Reality

Leasing is simply another way to finance the use of a vehicle. A lease itself isn’t good or bad—it’s a financing tool. In a minute we’ll tell you how it works, and help you decide whether this type of financing tool makes sense for you.

First, you need to understand the simple reason dealerships push leasing over buying: Bigger profits for the dealership! Leasing hasn’t been pushed because it’s necessarily better for the customer. It’s been pushed because dealerships usually make a dramatically larger profit leasing you a vehicle versus selling you that same vehicle.

A sorry track record. The industry has made those profits on leasing because of the deceptive way leasing has been presented and sold. The Florida Attorney General’s office said it best: “The technical and complex language and the greed of some car salesmen causes car leasing to be an option that is fraught with many pitfalls for the average customer.”

And that’s an understatement! A typical lease customer, in one study, was overcharged $1,500. One was overcharged $10,500! In one state alone, over 40 types of leasing fraud have been identified. Think of that!

So, what’s the first lesson when somebody mentions leasing? Slow down! There’s a lot more to this than you thought.

Just what is a lease? In one way, it’s just like renting a car. You pay for the use of someone else’s vehicle. In a lease, you use the vehicle, you don’t own it.

Just what is a lease? In one way, it’s just like renting a car. You pay for the use of someone else’s vehicle. In a lease, you use the vehicle, you don’t own it. There’s one big difference in leasing and renting: If you’re renting a vehicle, you can usually turn it in early if you want to without paying a big penalty. If you’re leasing a vehicle, you may pay a monstrous penalty to turn it in early.

Why do lease payments seem so cheap? Because the lease payment is based on the fact you’re only using the vehicle—you don’t own it at the end of the lease. Your payment is therefore based on use, not on ownership. Let’s say you’re leasing a $20,000 car that’s going to be worth $5000 at the end of the lease. When you lease, you only make a payment based on $15,000. If you were buying that same car, your payment would be based on $20,000.

Why have leasing companies been able to make such big profits on leasing vs. selling the same vehicle? Because leasing, even with the new lease regulations, doesn’t require as much disclosure as buying a vehicle. Did you know leases don’t tell you an interest rate? Did you know leases don’t clearly tell you what you’re receiving for your trade-in? And did you know leases many times hide the important facts of the lease—the ones that cost you money—in ant-sized print on the back of the lease?

Two hidden dangers of leases. Leases can get you in trouble in many ways, but here are the big problems:

  • Unrealistic mileage restrictions. In a lease, you pay a penalty if you drive a vehicle beyond the miles stated in your lease. For instance, the lease contract might allow you to drive 15,000 miles per year. That’s fine, if you drive 15,000 miles a year. But some leasing companies deliberately give you an unrealistic mileage limit, and then charge you extraordinarily high rates for excess miles. For instance, they know from the miles on your current car you drive 40,000 per year, but the lease contract only gives you a mileage allowance of 15,000 miles. Penalties when you run over the 15,000 miles can run thousands of dollars.
  • Excessive wear and tear charges. Own a car, and you can ding it up all you want. It’s yours. But because you don’t own a lease vehicle, you pay money if the vehicle has excess damage over normal wear and tear when you finally give it back to the leasing company. But who determines “normal wear and tear?” The leasing agent, such as the dealership. And many leasing agents in the past have charged customers ridiculous amounts for wear and tear—they’ve turned “wear and tear” into a profit center. What’s your recourse if this happens to you? Virtually none. The lease contract gives the leasing agent the right to do this!

To Lease or Not to Lease

With all these problems, can a lease or a lease-type product be right for me?

It can be. You just need to decide which financing tool—a traditional installment loan or a lease-type product—fits your needs. And then you need to make sure you’re dealing with the right people when you’ve made that decision.

You can use these guidelines:

  1. Do you generally continue to drive a vehicle after you’ve made the last payment, and enjoy that feeling of “free” driving? If so, you’re generally not a good candidate for this type of financing. You’ll do better to negotiate carefully and buy the car you like. After that last loan payment you’ll own an asset (your car) that goes on providing transportation.Well, why can’t I just lease a car to get that low payment and then buy the car at the end of the lease? You can. All leases give you that right. But if you decide to buy your vehicle at the end of the lease you’re either going to need another loan right then to buy it, or you’ll need to have a pile of cash available to buy it. If you’ve got the cash, fine. But most people don’t have the cash. They’re forced to get another loan, and end up paying three or four more years on their car. Do you want to be making payments seven years or longer on the same vehicle? Probably not.
  2. Do you always trade for a new car before the old one is paid for? Are you the type of person who always has car payments? Welcome to the club! That’s most of us. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if you have carved out a truly affordable monthly vehicle payment as a part of your long-term budget. You’re a good initial candidate for this type of financing. If you’re always making payments anyway, it makes sense to make your payment as low as possible.
  3. Just how stable is your job situation? And how healthy is your general financial situation? If you buy a car and have trouble making the payments, you have a perfect right to sell that car for as much money as you can to pay off your loan. If you lease a car and have trouble making the payments, you don’t have the same rights. In fact, you may experience considerable financial difficulty if you try to break a lease early. Leasing is therefore safest for those who hold a secure job and are in good shape financially.
    • Well, my budget is so tight I barely break even each month. Should I lease? First, if you’re having budget problems, you probably shouldn’t trade cars at all. Think about fixing up your old car. If you don’t want to fix up your old car, think about buying a carefully checked-out used car. Don’t lease a car if you’re barely meeting your budget.
    • What about leasing if I have poor or nonexistent credit? Stay away from leasing if you have credit problems. These “subprime cut” leases, as they are called, will ruin you and provide you a junker, too. Leases like this are very popular now, because they are the hot, new profit darling of the leasing industry. Most of these leases are on junker used vehicles.
  4. How many miles do you drive a year? This is an important question! Most lease payments are based on the fact you will drive no more than 12,000 miles a year during the lease. Some leases (usually a “sale” lease payment) are based on a paltry 10,000-mile yearly driving mileage allowance. You put that on a car going up and down your driveway. So, imagine what’s going to happen if you are a high-mileage commuter who drives 40,000 miles per year. On an average three-year lease, do you know how much cash you would need to hand over to the leasing company because of those extra miles? From $5,000 to $11,000! What’s the moral here? If you’re a high-mileage driver, a leasing-type product may not be for you unless you make absolutely sure the lease is based on the actual miles you’ll drive.
  5. Are you stable financially, but yearning for more car for the payment? If you are comfortable with constant payments but want more car for the same payment, then a financing tool like a lease can be a good option. Maybe you need a bigger car, for instance, because the family has grown. Or simply like the looks of that electric red convertible. If you’re careful, a leasing-type tool can be good for you. Most leased vehicles are comprehensively covered under a manufacturer’s warranty during the length of the lease, allowing consumers to own a more expensive vehicle without the worry of large maintenance and repair bills.

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In a business filled with pressure, hype and confusion, FoolProofMe offers you an oasis from that pressure and confusion.

Categories Cars, VehiclesSours: https://koboguide.com/kia-soul-transmission-problems/
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Very few models have exhibited the same amount of personality that the Kia Soul has. Kia boasts that its Soul is a versatile hatchback with the smoothest advanced technology. While these claims hold true in many ways, there’s an important reason why you might want to avoid buying the 2021 Kia Soul.

First, what’s new with the 2021 Kia Soul?

A red 2021 Kia Soul driving on a highway

Since Kia completely redesigned the Soul for 2020, there aren’t many changes for the 2021 model. The biggest news for the 2021 Soul is that every model now comes with a rear-seat alert feature, which notifies you if someone is in the backseat. Fellow writer Peter Corn says that this new gadget is the perfect feature if you ever find yourself in a horror flick situation.

The Soul’s base engine is a 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s available with either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The standard engine is ideal for everyday drives and returns good fuel economy. There’s also the more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 201-hp. This option is on the top-of-the-line Soul Turbo trim, and it’s also standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The front row of a 2021 Kia Soul .

On the inside, the Soul impresses with generous space for five people and in-car tech. Its infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Active safety features such as forward-collision warning are available. 

The big reason to avoid the 2021 Kia Soul

Kia Soul X-Line driving on dirt trail

RELATED: The Kia Telluride Plays Nice With the Stinger

In previous model years, the Soul’s reliability ratings made it a more attractive buy. But the newest version no longer has reliability on its side, according to Consumer Reports. The Soul has officially lost CR’s recommendation due to reliability issues.

The redesigned Soul’s new CVT has presented various problems. According to CR’s 2020 member survey, numerous owners reported issues with the Soul’s transmission and had to get it replaced. Some drivers had to replace it after only 5,000 miles. 

A new car having problems like this is not a good sign. As CR says, a new vehicle should be virtually problem-free. The positive news here is that Kia is among the automakers that have actively issued service bulletins and service actions to address problem areas, as CR highlights. 

“Kia has initiated a service action to proactively address the concern. The repair is covered under Kia’s industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.”

A Kia spokesperson via Consumer Reports 

What are some alternatives to a new Soul?

A silver 2021 Mazda CX-30 driving on a highway

RELATED: These Tiny Crossovers Are Ridiculously Cheap for Obvious Reasons

You’ll want to shop some of the Soul’s competition for a subcompact SUV with better predicted reliability ratings. Mazda’s tiny crossovers, the CX-30 and the CX-3, both have exceptional ratings for dependability. They’re quite stylish too. These two Mazdas are very similar, but the CX-30 is the more spacious option. 

A yellow 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport on a foggy field

Additionally, you may also want to consider the Subaru Crosstrek over the Soul. CR ranks the Crosstrek as the top subcompact SUV for its overall performance, technology, and dependability. You may even want to shop for used Soul models with better ratings. 

Sours: https://www.motorbiscuit.com
USED Kia Soul? Check For These Issues Before Buying (SHOP SMART!)

Transmission Services for 2021 Kia Soul

What’s the Importance of Your 2021 Soul’s Transmission?

Your transmission carries power from the engine to the wheels so that you can drive at the speed you desire. Since the transmission has to translate the precise amount of power for your desired amount of speed, even the smallest transmission problems should be addressed right away. It's a type of car problem that’s not hard to notice. 2021 Kia Soul transmission problems could include shifting delays, grinding or jumping during acceleration, the car shaking at any speed, or a burning smell or whistling sounds coming from under the hood. If you ignore Kia Soul transmission issues your could suffer a loss in fuel efficiency or find that your Soul isn’t working at all.

Kia Transmission Recommendations for 2021 Souls

Kia recommends having your Soul's transmission system routinely inspected for wear and tear. For example, Kia recommends exchanging transmission and differential fluids in 2021 Kia Souls at certain intervals with Kia-approved transmission fluid. Our technicians are trained to service 2021  Kia Soul transmission systems according to vehicle manufacturer recommendations. Schedule an appointment at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care at the first sign of transmission problems to help keep your Kia running for miles and miles.

How Much Do Kia Soul Transmission Repairs Cost

We work to keep the average cost for Kia Soul transmission fluid changes and repairs affordable. Visit your local Firestone Complete Auto Care and we’ll give your car a free Courtesy Check. We’ll give your Soul a check-up so you can make informed service and repair decisions. Whether your vehicle needs a transmission fluid exchange or routine maintenance, you can rely on our Triple Promise to deliver a car that’s Fixed Right. Priced Right. Right on Time.

Questions About 2021 Kia Soul’s Transmission

  • Is it bad to ride the brakes in your Kia? Keeping your foot on the brake pedal or lightly but consistently pushing it down can lead to transmission problems. Keep that in mind when driving in hilly terrain and remember to use engine braking when possible.

  • How much can my Kia tow? Think twice before volunteering to tow a moving trailer, no matter how small. Defying your Soul towing capacity can spell trouble for the transmission system. Always consult your owner's manual before towing or hauling something.

  • When should I have my Soul's transmission fluid checked or exchanged? Caring for your Kia Soul’s transmission fluid is a great way to help it perform. A general rule of thumb is to have your transmission fluid checked and changed about every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, but that timeline can change if you're hard on your Kia. The good news is that transmission fluid leaks are affordable to repair and easy to spot.

Sours: https://vehicle.firestonecompleteautocare.com/kia/soul/2021/maintenance/transmission/

Transmission problems soul kia

2019 Kia Soul Transmission Service

Why is Your 2019 Soul’s Transmission So Important?

The transmission delivers power from the motor to your wheels so that you can drive at your desired speed. Because your transmission is responsible for converting the right amount of power into the right amount of speed, even the smallest transmission problems should be addressed right away. It's a type of car problem that’s not hard to notice. 2019 Kia Soul transmission problems can show up as shifting delays, grinding when accelerating, the car shaking at any speed, or whistling noises and a burning smell coming from under the hood. Let Kia Soul transmission problems linger and you might notice your fuel economy decrease or discover that your Soul’s not even driveable.

Kia Transmission Recommendations for 2019 Souls

Your Soul’s transmission should be inspected routinely, according to Kia. For example, Kia recommends exchanging transmission and differential fluids in 2019 Kia Souls at certain intervals with Kia-approved transmission fluid. Our technicians know how to service your 2019 Soul up to Kia-recommended standards. As soon as you suspect something’s wrong with your Soul’s transmission, book an appointment at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care to help keep your engine running at peak performance.

Kia Soul Transmission Service Cost

We work hard to offer affordable Kia Soul transmission repairs and services. Drop by your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for a free Courtesy Check. We’ll check out your Soul’s major systems and components to help inform your car service decisions. Whether your vehicle needs a fluid exchange or repair, you can trust our Triple Promise: Fixed Right. Priced Right. Right on Time.

Questions About 2019 Kia Soul’s Transmission

  • What happens if I "ride" my Kia's brakes? Keeping your foot on the brake pedal or lightly but consistently pushing it down can lead to transmission problems. Keep that in mind when driving in hilly terrain and remember to use engine braking when possible.

  • How much can my Kia tow? Think twice before volunteering to tow a moving trailer, no matter how small. The added weight can cause issues with your transmission if your vehicle isn't equipped to handle the load. Check your owner's manual to ensure you have the proper towing setup and aren't going over your towing capacity.

  • How often does my Soul transmission fluid need to be checked? Maintaining your Kia Soul transmission fluid is one of the best ways to maintain your transmission's health. A general rule of thumb is to have your transmission fluid checked and changed about every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, but that timeline can change if you're hard on your Kia. Leaks or low transmission fluid are easy to spot and affordable to repair.

Sours: https://vehicle.firestonecompleteautocare.com/kia/soul/2019/maintenance/transmission/
USED Kia Soul? Check For These Issues Before Buying (SHOP SMART!)

Kia Soul Problems – Will It Break Your Soul In Two?

As far as the more budget category of cars go, the Kia Soul is certainly among the most popular one on sale. This is largely thanks to the Soul’s distinct styling, which has plenty of, well, ‘soul’. But since it went on sale internationally in the 2010s, it didn’t take long for Kia Soul problems to start appearing. As cute as it may be, the Soul didn’t always have the most robust of hearts.

Kia has certainly proven that affordable cars don’t have to be bland, or cookie-cutter, with the Soul’s adorably angry looks. Its inspiration apparently comes from a boar – an important spiritual figure within Korean culture. Indeed, this writer here certainly agrees that there’s an added coolness to the Soul. Originally, this charming little machine was only a Korean affair, and it remained rather modest at the time.

At the very least, people have complained that the interior was a bit plasticky, and bits fell out. At the very worst, the Kia Soul’s problems extend all the way down to complete engine failure. So, you might ask, is this funky little slice of Korean automotive pop culture worth the trouble? Well, read along our Kia Soul problems guide to learn more on which model years are best, and worst for your soul.

  • Kia Soul background
  • The most problematic model year
  • Problems to be aware of (MY: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
  • Conclusion

Kia Soul Problems Introduction - Background history of the Soul.

What Do You Need To Know About The Kia Soul?

Before we can dive deep into knowing the extent of Kia Soul problems, we should probably take some time to learn more about what it is. The Kia Soul had its origins back in 2005 as an early sketch, by its design team based in California. Kia’s intent was on creating a car to appeal to the more youthful customers, with the target being unique and colourful. It has since won praise for its quirky and retro-futuristic design.

The covers were lifted off the Soul in the 2008 Paris Motor Show, and was manufactured at its home in South Korea. It went on sale in other markets, such as the US and Europe, in 2010. Since then, the Kia Soul spawned across 3 different generations. The ‘AM’ generation launched in 2008, followed by the ‘PS’ generation in 2013, and then the current ‘SK3’ generation in 2019.

As Kia is part of the same company as its sister brand, Hyundai, the Soul’s platform has been shared with other models. This includes the Hyundai i20, and the Kona. Since the 2nd generation Soul, Kia launched a separate electric version in 2014. It was marketed as the Kia Soul EV, or the e-Soul in some markets. It shares its electrified platform with the Hyundai Kona, and Kia Niro electric vehicles.

Which Model Year Has The Most Kia Soul Problems?

Kia has in the recent years been nominated as among the best car brands in regards to maintenance, and reliability. This recognition extends also to its sister brands, Hyundai and Genesis. However, it’s models, including the Kia Soul, have not always been indestructible. In its early years, the most common complaint made against the Kia Soul was regarding the build quality.

This includes issues such as interior trim pieces falling off, or wearing out faster than usual. However, Kia has addressed this in later generations. That said, poor build quality and overly plasticky trim is hardly the worst issue in the wider scope of Kia Soul problems. In fact, it can very quickly escalate into hugely expensive repair bills. The model years in between 2012 and 2016 had the most complaints overall.

We’re using data compiled by CarComplaints.com to curate this Kia Soul problems guide as best as we can. Users send feedback and complaints directly on their database. While others were taken from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This includes a wide range of carmakers and models sold in the US, one of them being Kia.

The Soul does not have as many complaints as some other Kia models, with just 265 cars noted to have issues, at the time of writing. The 2014 model year Soul had the most number of complaints, standing at 60 owners filing for problems with their cars. However, CarComplaints.com have instead named the 2015 Soul as the worst offender, with 15 out of 45 problems caused by engine failure.

Kia Soul Problems - Looking at the key reliability issues.

What Are The Kia Soul Problems That You Should Be Aware Of?

So far, we’ve understood what the Kia soul is, and the general overview of some of the issues that it faced. Now, it would be a good time to compile a more comprehensive list of the common faults found in Kia Souls. We’ll be running along across all model years sold in the US from 2010, to the most recent 2020. Note, that we’ll be taking a look at the internal combustion engine powered Soul, not its EV sibling.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Kia Soul model years with the most issues according to CarComplaints.com are between 2012 and 2016. These model years cover both the 1st and 2nd generation Kia Souls. Much of the issues have been remedied after the 2017 facelift of the 2nd generation Kia Soul, with a slight redesign, changes in trim, and a new powertrain.

The new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine seems to have fixed much of the engine failures caused in the 2016 and earlier models. It’s worth mentioning however, that a number of Kia cars had caught fire in 2018. The Center For Auto Safety later asked that Kia recalled all Souls between the 2010 and 2015 model years. Although Kia had initiated a voluntary recall in 2019, the Kia Soul was never included.

For our Kia Soul problems review, we’ll be guiding you along the most common issues found through its model years. So, if you’re thinking of buying a Soul, or have one and in need of help to know whether or not it’ll burst into flames, read along to find out more.

Kia Soul Problems, 2010 Model Year (1st Generation)

The 2010 model was the first Kia Soul to have been launched internationally, and sold in the US. CarComplaints.com has recorded 9 different complaints filed on its website, with a total of 114 counting for those problems filed with the NHTSA. The 2010 Kia Soul has had 3 recalls thus far. The most serious being in April 1st, 2013, with more than 980,377 vehicles being affected across the whole Kia range.

This main issue was regarding a malfunctioning stop lamp switch. This will cause the brake lights to not illuminate under braking, and it may also prevent you from disengaging the cruise control. Moreover, the faulty stop lamp switch can also have an effect on the push-button ignition. It can cause the transmission to switch out of ‘Park’ without first applying the brake.

Here are some of the most common Kia Soul problems for the 2010 model year that you should keep an eye out for:

1. Electrical problems

This is the most severe problem for the 2010 Kia Soul, with more than 19 complaints filed with the NHTSA. The symptoms for this are a distinct popping sound through the radio. Sometimes, it might even cause certain lights within the car to illuminate randomly while driving. It could also cause the electrical systems inside the Soul to stop completely, such as the air conditioning unit, power windows, sun roof, and wipers.

The main fault was linked back to the electrical harness used by Kia at the time, that can fail prematurely. This is also linked to the temperature sensors embedded into the wiring, and the soldering coming loose. These problems can also cause short-circuiting, and thus smoke visible within the interior. The recommended way to fix this is a replacement of the entire wiring system. On average, this happens with a mileage of 60,000 miles or before.

2. Faulty suspension

Another major issue with the Kia Soul, as noted in many reviews at the time, was the Soul’s harsh ride. This can cause the entire suspension system to wear out prematurely. The suspension is noted to start making unpleasant noises after a mileage of around 25,000 miles. On average, it can cost about $800 to fix. But the suspension faults also extend to the shock absorbers, suspension, joints, and bearings.

After around 68,000 miles of ownership, it can fail and cause intense vibrations, or the tires rubbing against the wheel well. This is even with moderate, and careful driving. The average cost for a replacement of these components are around $1,800. However, one owner had to replace the shock absorbers and struts 3 times, with a repair bill upwards of $8,000.

3. Engine failures

The early Kia Souls also suffered from engine problems. The most notable cause is a leaking of the car’s coolant. This can happen even without a warning light popping up, or the temperature gauge rising. The engine can start ticking, before eventually dying. In some instances, the engine required a full replacement. The average mileage for this issue is around 144,000 miles, with a repair cost of about $1,700.

Kia Soul Problems, 2011 Model Year (1st Generation)

The 2011 Kia Soul saw an increase in the number of issues, with 12 complaints filed on CarComplaints.com, with a total of 195. It has had 2 recalls in its lifecycle, with the most serious recall being the aforementioned stop lamp switch. This recall covered around 980,377 vehicles across all of Kia’s product range. The other recall is a minor one, concerning 95,314 Kia Souls that had a loose headliner plate on its sunroof.

These are some of the major Kia Soul problems for the 2011 model year that you need to know about:

Engine oil leaking, and engine seizing up in the Kia Soul.

1. Engine problems

The 2011 Kia Soul suffered from a variety of different engine problems. The most common one reported is the engine seizing up, and causing a loss of power. This is attributed to a broken oil pump, or a leaking oil pan. Owners had also reported broken head gaskets, and failing thermostats. One such owner had to replace their head gaskets twice, and their thermostat 4 times while the car had only driven a total of 109,000 miles.

Some owners had also complained about a loud knocking noise from the engine, and causing a loss of acceleration while driving. Another owner also reported that the engine on their 2011 Kia Soul exploded and caught fire. This happened after a mileage of just around 12,000 on moderate use.

2. Electrical issues

Just like the 2010 model year, the 2011 Kia Soul also suffered from a variety of electrical issues. The most common among them is a faulty alternator, which could fail even at fairly low mileage. Similar with the previous year, the wiring harness in the Kia Soul could also fail, which will result in some functions of the car not working. For some owners, the horn may not work when pressed, or would honk randomly.

Another major electrical fault is regarding the Soul’s electronic stability control (ESC). The ESC can sometimes come on without warning, and will result in a sudden loss of power while driving. This happened to one owner, despite driving on dry surface, and with adequate traction without going at speed. The car might also not shift gears with a malfunctioning ESC, causing it to enter ‘limp home’ mode.

3. Air bags failing to deploy

Faults with the 2011 Kia Soul’s air bags holds the largest share of complaints, with 27 filed with CarComplaints.com and the NHTSA. This can happen with an average mileage of just 50,000 miles or so. Reportedly, the Kia Soul’s airbags would fail to deploy, even with a high speed front end collision. Some owners even reported that the seat belt tensioners would not activate, while some other seat belts would unlatch automatically.

4. Drivetrain (mostly transmission) problems

There were a myriad of different complaints surrounding the 2011 Soul’s drivetrain. The most expensive, and commonly reported problem are issues with the transmission. One owner reported that they had to replace their clutch twice within a mileage of just 72,000 miles. It had cost the owner $1,400 to replace it each time on average. The cause of the issue is a faulty valve on the transmission’s slave cylinder that would cause slipping.

Meanwhile, another owner reported that their clutch and fly wheel had failed after just 22,000 miles. The Soul’s transmission would also react sporadically, causing sudden up-, or downshifts. One other major problem was a failure of the transaxle, causing leakage. It often requires a full replacement, and an owner claimed that a dealer had quoted a bill of $650.

Kia Soul Problems, 2012 Model Year (1st Generation)

The 2012 model year is when the Kia Soul saw a significant uptick in the number of complaints. Overall, the 2012 Kia Soul saw 408 total complaints logged between both CarComplaints.com and the NTHSA. It had 2 recall notices, with the most serious on announced in February 22nd, 2019. This is the start of the consistent engine problems that we’ll see for a few more years.

The recall notice applies to 378,967 Kia Souls sold between 2012 and 2016, those equipped with the 1.6 litre petrol engines. The primary cause is high exhaust temperatures, which can damage the catalytic converter. This, in turn, would result in the engine running abnormally, and causing damage. The connecting rod could also break, and puncture the engine block. This can cause engine oil to leak, and start a fire.

Apart from that, here are some of the most common Kia Soul problems for the 2012 model year:

Steering issues can be caused by a broken steering coupler.

1. Steering problems

Among the most common complaints for the 2012 Kia Soul are issues related to the steering. Many owners report hearing and feeling a clunking, clicking, or knocking sound while turning the steering wheel. Often times, the steering wheel could also have a lot of play (or looseness) while turning. According to owners, the key failure point is the flex coupling.

Sometimes, it may require the entire steering rack to be replaced. This can happen at a fairly low mileage, averaging at just around 76,000 of use according to CarComplaints.com. The average repair bill for steering problems on the 2012 Kia Soul is around $830. One owner had to spend nearly $2,300 for a total repair, but thankfully was later reimbursed by Kia, and given an extended warranty.

2. Engine problems

Once again, the 2012 Kia Soul is plagued with more engine and powertrain issues, with over 100 complaints filed. As mentioned earlier, this was part of the major recall that Kia had announced in 2019. The main problem with the engine is catalytic converter failure owing to excess heat, which may also cause intensive damage to the engine. This could happen even without prompting a check engine light, or temperature warnings.

The heat can cause the engine’s combustion process to run abnormally. One consequence of this is a faulty connecting rod. It can then puncture straight to the engine block or oil pan, and cause leaking. This might even cause a fire, as the engine oil would leak onto other, hot moving parts of the car. Other problems noted by owners are misfiring, engine knocking, or smoke from the engine bay and exhaust.

3. Difficulty, or hard shifting

Owners of the 2012 Kia Soul have reported numerous instances where their transmission would have difficulty shifting. This is evident by hesitation while upshifting, or ‘hard’ shifts that causes lurching while driving. This can happen at around 60,000 miles. The main cause for this is a faulty heat sensor on the transmission. Alternatively, it might also require replacing the gasket on the gearbox, and full flush of the transmission fluid.

4. Hood/bonnet unlatching while driving

Another odd complaint with dangerous consequences on the 2012 Kia Soul is a problem with the hood/bonnet latch. Some owners had reported this defect to happen at just under 40,000 miles. The hood can unlatch itself while driving, causing damage to the hood and smashing the windshield. The average repair bill for this is $1,700; mostly covering for the expense of a new windshield.

Kia Soul Problems, 2013 Model Year (1st Generation).

The 2013 Kia Soul saw another increase in the number of complaints, with a total of 438 logged on CarComplaints.com and the NHTSA. It is part of the same recall batch as the 2012 Soul, concerning the catalytic converter potentially failing. The high exhaust temperatures can cause damage to the rest of the engine as well. Similarly, most of the issues on the 2013 Soul (129 complaints overall) is pertaining to the engine.

Notably, most of the problems with the 2013 model year were carried over from the 2012 Soul. Some of the 2013 Soul’s issues had also carried over from the earlier cars, such as faulty wiring harnesses. Here is a deeper look at some of the Kia Soul problems that you might need to know about with the 2013 model year:

Engine oil can leak onto hot components, potentially causing a fire.

1. Knocking/ticking noise from the engine

This is once again related to the recall notice as mentioned above, and as in the 2012 Kia Soul. Most commonly with 2013 Kia Soul owners, engine failure can be noticed by a loud knocking or ticking noise. One cause for this is the connecting rod puncturing into the engine block, and causing a mass leakage of engine oil. While most were covered under the recall, some owners had to replace the entire engine, to a tune of $4,000 to $5,000.

2. Steering problems

Just like the 2012 Kia Soul, the 2013 model year also suffered from steering issues. Most noticeably, this can come in the form of a clunking, clicking, or knocking sound. Many owners reported that the problems are fixed with a replacement of the steering coupler. This is a part that has been known to fail in some Kia models. For the Soul, it can cost upwards of $560, while other owners necessitated to replace the entire steering rack.

Kia Soul Problems, 2014 Model Year (2nd Generation)

The 2014 Kia Soul saw the introduction of the 2nd generation car to the market. While it marked many improvements over the first generation, it also came with a lot more issues. On CarComplaints.com, there are 780 complaints overall with the 2014 Kia Soul. There were 4 major recalls of the car. The first was on March 2nd, 2015, that concerned the possibility of the accelerator pedal fracturing in 208,858 Kia Souls.

On September 29th, 2017, a second recall was announced by Kia for 342,381 Kia Souls. This time, they noted that steering pinion gear might separate, thus potentially causing you to lose any steering input. The next one was in 2019, regarding the aforementioned catalytic converters melting that affected 378,967 Kia Souls. The 4th recall was on December 2nd, 2020, concerning a possible engine fire with 294,756 Kia Souls.

Here are some of the most persistent Kia Soul problems that kept owners of the 2014 model year awake at night:

1. Engine problems

In following the theme with Kia Souls so far, the common issue with the 2014 Kia Soul remains to be the engine. The total tally of complaints from CarComplaints.com and the NHTSA stands at 284, all for faults with the engine. The issues are similar to the one described by as per the recall notice for the catalytic converter damage since the 2012 Kia Soul.

Most owners have reported complete engine failures, sometimes requiring to change the entire engine. The connecting road can puncture through the engine block, and causing the engine oil to leak. Owners have reported knocking noises, sudden loss of power, or sometimes have their Souls catch fire. This should be covered under recall, but some owners had to pay for their own repairs, costing upwards of $6,000.

2. Electrical problems

Despite a complete overhaul of the Soul for the 2nd generation, the electrical problems from the earlier cars still remained. Although this time, the electrical problems for the 2013 Soul concerns more on the exterior lighting. The connection between the wiring harness with the exterior lights can sometimes come loose.

Another fault is the subpar bulb connector that can burn out. This can cause the headlights, brake lights, and turn signals to not turn on or off. Alternatively, it could also blink frequently while driving, or flicker. Although not a relatively expensive fix, some Kia dealers have been caught charging owners of 2014 Kia Souls more than $400 for a repair.

3. Steering problems

The 2014 Kia Soul still caries over the steering issues from the earlier, 1st generation cars. This can be noticed with a loud clunking or clicking sensation and sound while turning the steering wheel. This is once more owing to the steering coupler, that can fail prematurely. It is made from substandard materials, and can break apart, causing you to lose steering completely.

Kia Soul Problems, 2015 Model Year (2nd Generation)

We won’t need to elaborate much on the problems of the 2015 Kia Soul. Most of the common concerns are echoed from the earlier 2014 Souls, and some even earlier. The 2015 model year cars suffered from the same 4 recalls as mentioned in the previous year. This is regarding the potential fracturing of the accelerator pedal, separation of the steering pinion gear, catalytic converter damage (since 2012), and engine fires.

As we’ve mentioned much earlier, the 2015 Kia Soul was nominated by CarComplaints.com as the worst when it comes to reliability. Despite having lesser complaints compared to the 2014 model – 578 vs. 780 – the 2015 Kia Soul’s problems are more catastrophic, and expensive. Moreover, some of the issues happened at lower mileages on average with the 2015 Souls.

Once again, the most common faults we’ve highlighted previously have are reoccurring on the 2015 Kia Soul. This includes the steering coupler failing prematurely, and catastrophic engine failure. The fixes should be similar. However, the costs have increased, as the engine problems on the 2015 Soul happens mostly on the larger, and more complex 2.0 litre engine.

There are, however, some unique Kia Soul problems with the 2015 model year. Here’s a couple of them:

1. Faulty air conditioning unit, and heater

The A/C unit and heater on the 2015 Kia Soul can break over time. One cause is that the A/C unit’s drain hose underneath the car can get clogged. One owner reported that they had moisture blowing, and water dripping from the vents. Some other owners noted that their heaters won’t work fully, thus causing the windows to fog up, and sometimes freeze.

2. Car not starting

The 2015 Kia Soul can as suffer from some electrical problems, mostly concerning the alternator. Owners can sometimes have their batteries die while in use. Others have noted that the battery can short out, potentially pointing out to a wider design fault with the electrical systems.

Kia Soul Problems, 2016 Model Year (2nd Generation)

Compared to the 2014 and 2015 Kia Souls, the 2016 model year saw a decline in the number of complaints. It had 2 recalls, both of them related to problems with the previous model years. The 2016 Kia Soul saw the year of the recall notice regarding the failing catalytic converter. This is an issue that had been happening since the 2012 soul. It covered 378,967 Kia Souls equipped with the 1.6 litre petrol engine.

The other recall, as noted earlier, was over the steering pinion gear potentially coming apart. Overall the 2016 Kia Soul has seen 304 complaints in total. Most of the problems are similar to the ones we’ve mentioned since the 2014 Kia Soul. Therefore, we won’t be covering them in great detail with the 2016 model year.

Engine failure is the number one problem suffered by owners of the 2016 Kia Soul, although this is covered under recall. The electrical problems from the 2015 Soul remains, causing the car to not start. A/C and heater issues still remained from the 2015 car. This also goes for the clunking noise felt while steering the car, which has been happening since the 2012 model year.

Kia Soul Problems, 2017 Model Year (2nd Generation)

The 2017 Kia Soul saw large improvements in terms of reliability and maintenance. There aren’t as many major concerns over these cars as of yet. Currently, there are 90 complaints logged on CarComplaints.com, along with data from the NHTSA. The most common problem with the 2017 model year is engine failure, courtesy of knocking.

Some owners reported that their engines made loud knocking noises, loss of power, engine dying, or smoke. It can happen at around 80,000 miles. Although this is not a common issue, it can be expensive to fix. Often, it would require a brand new engine to be installed, costing upwards of $6,000.

Kia Soul Problems, 2018 Model Year (2nd Generation)

In following with the gradual reliability improvements, the 2018 Kia Soul also saw minimal problems, with just 76 complaints. The lion’s share of the major complaints can be divided into engine, and electrical problems. As we’ve mentioned much earlier when looking at the Soul’s history, a number of Kia models caught fire around 2018. Similarly, some owners had reported that their Soul’s engine caught fire.

However, no recall was issued for the 2018 Kia Soul, and this remains limited to a small number of owners. No cause has yet to be determined, but the symptoms can be described as hearing abnormal noises while the engine is running. The electrical systems can also be problematic, such as the car not turning on, or a slight burning smell. Once again, this is not a widespread issue.

Faulty alternator or battery shorting can cause the car to not start.

Kia Soul Problems, 2019 Model Year (2nd Generation).

Being a much newer car, there is a very small sample size to work with. Most owners would not have been able to put enough mileage for problems to appear. At the time of writing, the 2019 Kia Soul has only logged 31 complaints overall. The biggest concern with the 2019 model year are problems regarding the brake pedal.

Some owners have reported that their Soul’s brake pedals would get stuck, or pinned to the floor. But despite being pressed down, the brakes themselves would not deploy, or sometimes only activate partially. Owners have tried to remedy this by pumping the brake pedals, but this has not worked. This has caused several incidents of Kia Souls rear ending other cars, as their drivers were not able to brake.

Kia Soul Problems, 2020 Model Year (3rd Generation).

The 2020 Kia Soul saw the introduction of the 3rd generation car to the market. Interestingly, the 2020 Kia Soul saw an uptick in the number of complaints, standing at 120 while writing this. This can happen with brand new, or to the ‘first batch’ of a new generation of cars. The two biggest problems with the 2020 Kia Soul are concerning the engine, and the transmission.

Owners have noticed while driving that the engine’s revs would very suddenly rise upwards for no reason, then cause the car to shut down entirely. There has yet to be a thorough diagnosis of the problem, but it might be related to the transmission. Owners have been told by dealers that some of their transmissions have metal fragments inside of them, causing premature failure.

Since it’s a brand new model, these problems should thankfully be covered under warranty. However, owners have reportedly been waiting nearly 2 months before getting their car again. So far, there has yet to be a recall issued by Kia over this problem.

Conclusion – Should You Be Worried Over These Problems?

We can now conclude our Kia Soul problems guide so far. You might be reading this, and asking yourself as to whether you should be worried. Overall, we can see that the Kia Soul is generally more reliable than some other cars. Granted, it can very easily break your soul in half with its more pressing issues, such as complete engine failure. If you have a Kia Soul, do consider having it checked out when you can.

Always keep in touch with your local Kia dealer to stay on top of problems, or recall notices. If you’re eligible, maybe even consider getting an extended warranty for the later models. Or, if you’re thinking of buying a Kia Soul second hand, then be sure to have a pre-purchase inspection done. This is to make sure that the previous owner has already complied with all the recalls, and had the major issues looked after.

Due diligence is always important, and we hope that our Kia Soul problems review has been able to better inform you. This funky little Korean box of wonders is surely as much as a joy to drive and own, as it is to stare at it. But do be cautious, or you might find your soul ends up in tatters.

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