2012 Sorento SX Intermittently Won't Start - Kia Forum

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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation 2012 Sorento SX Intermittently Won't Start

2012 Sorento SX, 3.5L V6:
Over the past year or so, my wife's Sorento has intermittently failed to start several times, the most recent being yesterday. Sometime last year, the dealership cleaned various contacts/grounds in the wiring harness, and it seemed to be okay for awhile, but the problem has returned. They have never been able to duplicate the problem.

It has only happened when my wife was driving and never when I was in the car, so I can only tell you that she says that all the dash lights come on, but absolutely nothing happens when she presses the Start button. Inserting the key in the emergency slot in the arm rest only seems to work occasionally. (Her key fob has a new battery, BTW, and remotely locks/unlocks the doors just fine.) So far, it has eventually started every time, but only after many attempts.

I switched key fobs with my wife today, so it may be awhile before I know whether that is the issue, but in the meantime, has anyone else had this issue and had it solved?


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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 01:23 PM
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While I've not had this issue happen to my Sorento I have seen similar situations before. A few things to look at are the neutral safety switch, brake switch and the possibility that some sort of interference with the fob is causing it. One of the first 2 would be my guess. When it happens have your wife look to see if her brake lights are lit up. If the brake lights are not on the the car doesn't know tout foot is on the brake and therefore won't start. If the brake lights are on then wiggle the shifter and put it in neutral. If it won't come out of park then that will point you in the right direction. Also I have heard that cellphones can interfere with the fobs signal.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions! I have asked her to try most of those, but not trying to put the shifter in neutral, and never considered the cell phone. Although we both have iPhones, hers is a 4S, while mine is a 6S -- could be that the old 4S is an issue.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:11 PM
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When you say "eventually" do you mean after trying a few times, is there any delay in the attempts, is it after several minutes, etc.

I've heard of another case where something like that happens. If the starter is stuck I've heard of people tapping it with a wrench or hammer and then that un-sticks it. I don't think that's your case.

Maybe a code is stored in the ODBII? I've pulled codes from mine. You may need to have the reader connected while you drive for a bit.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by VIM View Post
When you say "eventually" do you mean after trying a few times, is there any delay in the attempts, is it after several minutes, etc.
All of the above! Sometimes, it starts simply after several tries. Other times, it has started after a few tries plus a pause of a minute up to a few minutes. And it doesn't seem to matter whether the engine is warm or not.

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I've heard of another case where something like that happens. If the starter is stuck I've heard of people tapping it with a wrench or hammer and then that un-sticks it. I don't think that's your case.
I don't, either, because she says there's no clicking or any other sound from under the hood.

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Maybe a code is stored in the ODBII? I've pulled codes from mine. You may need to have the reader connected while you drive for a bit.
Unfortunately, I don't have a reader, and the dealership hasn't been able to pull any meaningful codes.

Since it has never happened to me -- and I use my own key fob -- I wonder if her key fob could be the culprit.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 11:29 PM
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It's tough when it can't be reproduced. You can't fix it if it ain't broke!

Maybe it is the key fob. Maybe it's malfunctioning or something like that. Swapping with your wife should confirm whether that is the case or not. It may take a while but if it's the fob, you should start experiencing the problem and your wife should stop experiencing it. If she still experiences it and you don't it's not likely the fob but something else specific to her...maybe the phone...you could try switching those too.

FYI, the reader I use is a generic bluetooth ELM327 I picked up on Ebay for a very reasonable price. I picked a smaller form factor one so that I could plug it in and leave it there so that the cover could still be put back in place. I use it with the Torque-lite app on my Android phone. The app has a bunch of interesting things you can do with it, but I use it to pull codes.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe it is the key fob. Maybe it's malfunctioning or something like that. Swapping with your wife should confirm whether that is the case or not.
We're trying that now, but as you said, it could take awhile.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 01:51 PM
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Strange issue with mine. Wife and I went on errands. At some point a got a warning tone for about 3 seconds, nothing on the dash and we proceeded. When I dropped her off and she got out, the dash toned and said something like "the key is outside??". What I discovered later when I went to lock the car and start it did not respond. My FOB battery crapped out. Used her FOB and went home, changed batteries in both mine and hers, both FOB's work normal again.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by meebers View Post
Strange issue with mine. Wife and I went on errands. At some point a got a warning tone for about 3 seconds, nothing on the dash and we proceeded. When I dropped her off and she got out, the dash toned and said something like "the key is outside??". What I discovered later when I went to lock the car and start it did not respond. My FOB battery crapped out. Used her FOB and went home, changed batteries in both mine and hers, both FOB's work normal again.

Two things...
#1 that tone will sound when the fob gets a couple feet away from the start button. This way you don't set your keys down after starting the car and drive a hundred miles away and can't start it again. Yours toned because your battery died and again once your wife's fob got out of range.

#2 if you open the center console and look at the bottom at the front. You will see what looks like a small pocket. This is used for when your fob battery dies. Place your fob in that little pocket and it will let you start the car.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 12:41 PM
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IMO, Make sure your battery terminals, & cables, and or grounds, are clean, & shiny, then coat them with Vaseline, or a dedicated dielectric grease. You can pick up a battery terminal brush cheap, it's worth it, and very important esp. on these new multi computer controlled vehicles. As you happened to have found out with your key fob batteries!

Some previous Hyundai/Kia vehicles: 2002 Santa Fe LX V6 AWD, 2005 Tucson LX V6 AWD, 2010 Tucson GLS 2.4L AWD, 2011 Sportage EX 2.4L AWD, 2015 Sorento Ex V6 AWD
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