I am also currently dealing with the transmission problem and, luckily, it seems that it will be covered by an extended warranty I included in the purchase of my 2009 Kia Borrego EX V8. It had just over 89K miles and all of the components were working perfectly fine. Great car.
Well, a week ago, I started having the issues described on this and other posts and I was furious that KIA has been irresponsible enough to not classify this issue as a recall. I am now looking into the NHTSA to find out if they can tap into KIA to change this problem to recall status.
Long story short, I wrote a letter to KIA Motors and sent it through their global customer care as well as the USA customer care web forms. It is maddening that a car company knows about a recurrent issue with a *drive train* component and not do anything to help its customers.
I would like encourage all of you who have had to deal with the ZF transmission issue, to write a letter to KIA stating the details of the problem you have all experienced. I'll keep you all posted on any response from KIA, if any. I will post this message to other threads relating to this issue.
The letter is as follows:
August 31, 2016
To whom it may concern,
My name is (omitted for privacy,) a loyal KIA customer, and I am writing to express my concern regarding a known and well-documented issue with one of your products and the lack of support customers like myself have had to deal with.
Before I go into details, I do want to disclose the fact that I have owned three KIA SUVs: a 2011 KIA Sportage EX, a 2011 KIA Sorento SX, and my current vehicle, a 2009 KIA Borrego EX V8 (VIN (omitted for privacy.) I have also owned two HYUNDAI cars: a 1999 Hyundai Elantra, which was my very first brand-new car, and a 2004 Hyundai Elantra GT. I have been a loyal KIA/Hyundai customer and have always had not only good experiences with these very reliable products, but also good experiences at the dealerships during the very few occasions I had to take any of these for service. My current vehicle, a 2009 KIA Borrego EX V8, is definitely my favourite, by far, and I am actually bummed that newer versions have not made it into the USA. I am optimistic and looking forward to the production and release of the Telluride.
A bit of background on my current vehicle: I purchased the Borrego this past February, with just over 89K miles, great condition, well taken care of, good CARFAX records, large cargo space, great engine, lots of amenities, the advantage of a body-on-frame design, and very comfortable to drive. I have driven it since then without any issues whatsoever and have had regular maintenance, as in my previous cars. The only issue I have had to deal with was the A/C system, where a few parts were replaced not long ago as a result of the compressor failing and affecting other components. Anyhow, I now find myself dealing with an issue that I now know is a well-known and documented problem with the ZF 6-speed transmission used in this particular V8 model. This past Tuesday, August 23, the transmission shifting became erratic, in particular, and among other issues, holding on to 3rd gear and refusing to up shift or down shift properly. There were a few times in which when accelerating from a stand-still – a stop light and/or 4-way-stop intersection, for example – the vehicle would not shift up from 1st gear OR would start on 3rd gear and would not down shift down to 2nd nor up shift to 4th. Bizarre and dangerous to say the least, as it was a stop-and-go traffic situation. On two other occasions, while driving at over 35 mph or so, the engine would shift very abruptly from 3rd to 4th gear, and then would down shift back to 3rd gear. The second time this happened I pulled to the side of the road to shut down the car. I did not know what to so after five minutes or so I restarted the vehicle and headed home.
Upon extensive research, I have found that this is a well-known issue, documented by many KIA Borrego V8 owners, and one that has not been classified as a recall, even though it seems to be a defective component issue and it has led to many unsafe and dangerous driving situations. I have found many complaints on this particular KIA Borrego V8 model throughout KIA owners’ forums and even on the NHTSA website. I also found online the KIA Technical Service Bulletin 035 [Rev1, 3/7/11], which documents the issue to a T. At this point, I decided to call the KIA Customer Care/Support number (800-333-4542) to find out if there could be a course of action for KIA to solve this well-known and documented problem, however, after a short conversation with a not-so-nice rep, who kept saying that he was not responsible for deciding what is a recall or not and telling me that any dealership would say the same thing, I decided to end the conversation. I completely understand his response, however, the dismissive and condescending attitude struck me as a surprise because I have interacted with customer care reps in the past and have had good experience. I decided to call a local dealership and spoke to an extremely courteous and NICE gentleman who took time to inquire about the issue and explain that even though it is documented this particular problem is known and well-documented, KIA hasn’t classified it as a recall. Worth noting though, he did offer for me to bring the car for a diagnosis, which the customer care rep did not even care to mention. I have since inferred that since KIA has not classified this well-known, documented and potentially dangerous issue, the company is not taking responsibility for what it seems to be a defective part affecting many KIA Borrego V8 owners.
By now, I have decided to look into the NHTSA resources to find out if the agency could weight in this matter and what the avenues are to hold KIA accountable for this well-known and documented issue affecting the ZF 6-speed transmission used on the KIA Borrego V8. In my opinion, it is a safety hazard to have a transmission behave like this, especially if there’s a potential to damage other components and, most importantly, if it can potentially cause an accident.
As of today, my KIA Borrego has been at a local transmission service shop, one which specializes in ZF transmissions, and I am waiting for an “official” diagnosis, information on what the job entails and an estimate on what the solution will cost.
It is quite disappointing, especially for me and the many loyal and enthusiastic KIA customers, that this issue, which strikes me as a manufacturer quality control problem and the use of a defective part, has been ignored and that many KIA customers have had, and are still dealing, with the hassle and expense of something that should be classified as a product recall.
As a resolution, I would like to request that the well-known and documented issue in question affecting the ZF 6-speed transmission used on KIA Borrego V8 vehicles, and hundreds of customers, be classified as a recall, and that KIA Motors, as a courtesy and proof of the "Family-like Care" for its customers, perform the necessary repairs or replacements to resolve the issue free of charge to affected vehicles.
Below, I have included as reference many sources that cite this problem and the experiences that people are dealing with, and how KIA has not taken any accountability to resolve a defective part that affects one of its products.
Thank you very much for the time you took to read my letter.
(omitted for privacy)
Following are links to documented issues with the KIA Borrego V8 6-speed transmission
From NHTSA website:
NHTSA ID Number: 10546899
Date Complaint Filed: 10/06/2013
Date of Incident: 05/21/2010
Component(s): POWER TRAIN
Consumer Location: WEST RICHLAND, WA
NHTSA ID Number: 10037529
Manufacturer Communication No.: 035 REV 1
Component(s): POWER TRAIN
From KIA forums:
KIA Borrego Power Train - 2009 KIA BORREGO Problems With Power Train
From KIA Motors:
Technical Service Bulletin
Model: 2009MY Borrego (HM) w/4.6L engine
Number: 035 [Rev1, 3/7/11]
Date: March 2011
Subject: ZF ATM MECHATRONIC REPLACEMENT