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I have a fairly steep driveway and to-day when it was snow-covered my 2013 Sorento could not deal with it. Had to get out my trusty 2002 RX 300 which made it up no problem! Both vehicle have good snow tires.
When the Sorento lost traction I had people observe and the front left wheel was spinning as was the right rear wheel. Pushing the 4 WD drive button on the dash had no effect except for illuminating the orange indicator light on the dash.
Any suggestions?
 

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04 Frontier V6 4WD; 2011 Sorento LX I-4, 6 spd auto AWD, Titanium, 3rd seat and PKG#1
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Lighter right foot and common sense might help....
 

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Lighter right foot and common sense might help....
a little civility might be nice as well :mellow:

Interestingly I was thinking the same thing re the 2012 sorento traction in the snow. My 2003 sorento was markedly better in the snow. It seems like the anti slip, or whatever that is, trumps the AWD even when locked. I did not have the traction control on the 2003 and it was called 4wd back then and worked much better. I think the next time I will try disabling the traction control and see if that helps at all.
 

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2012 Kia Sorento SX, 2003 Honda S2000
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a little civility might be nice as well :mellow:
:thumbsup:

I noticed similiar results when we had snow/ice her over x-mas, except mine was better when the AWD was locked manually. It's been a while since I've looked over the owners manual but I thought there was supposed to be a light that came on when it was using the AWD system, all I got was the traction control light and power cut to the engine (was testing the AWD out in an empty parking lot), didn't feel like the AWD system kicked on at all. When I locked it on I got noticeably better traction. I've never had any sort of AWD or 4x4 system so not really sure what to expect :confused:
 

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2013 Sorento EX V6 AWD
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I'm a northerner with a steep driveway and haven't even done snow tires yet. No problem with a few inches of snow. I haven't had any traction issues so while franx may have been a bit over the top, I'm wondering if there wasn't something driver-related going on.

Did you try playing with the traction control as well?

Best,
 

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I'm a northerner with a steep driveway and haven't even done snow tires yet. No problem with a few inches of snow. I haven't had any traction issues so while franx may have been a bit over the top, I'm wondering if there wasn't something driver-related going on.

Did you try playing with the traction control as well?

Best,

I probably would not discard that completely, in my case at least. Not being used to having a traction control AND 4wd. I think the next snow we have (in northern PA) I will try to disengage the traction control and see if the AWD works any differently. As I said in my case it just seemed like the traction control was overriding the AWD and possibly throwing me off a bit. It just did not handle like previous 4wd have handled. I will do some experimenting this winter and see what happens. If nothing improves, then I would say I am extremely disappointed in the new AWD system. BTW I had the AWD locked manually.

In any case stupid comments are stupid. I have 35+ years driving in northern climates, including Canada and the TS might have as much or even more so.... maybe some common sense in posting might come in handy as well. Sorry I'm crabby....I blame hormones! :rolleyes:
 

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I have a fairly steep driveway and to-day when it was snow-covered my 2013 Sorento could not deal with it. Had to get out my trusty 2002 RX 300 which made it up no problem! Both vehicle have good snow tires.
When the Sorento lost traction I had people observe and the front left wheel was spinning as was the right rear wheel. Pushing the 4 WD drive button on the dash had no effect except for illuminating the orange indicator light on the dash.
Any suggestions?
The AWD system is working perfectly here.

1.)Your Sorento is operating as a FWD vehicle with an open front differential until one of the two front wheels slips.
2.)Once a front wheel slips (has no traction and can be seen spinning) the open differential on the front axle (i am oversimplifying here, but more or less this is what happens) sends torque to the spinning wheel, and none to the wheel not spinning (the not spinning wheel is the one with traction).
3.)The AWD system detects the slippage across the front axle, and engages a clutch pack which links the front and the rear axle, allowing torque to "flow" to the rear axle.
4.)Torque flows into the rear differential, which splits torque to each rear wheel.
5.)One of your rear wheels has no traction (just like in the front) and so your rear axle is unable to drive you forward because you only have one wheel with traction, and it cannot get any torque from the rear differential.

All AWD/4WD systems with a center locker, center differential, or center clutch pack will work this way. They can link the front axle and the rear axle, meaning they can send torque from front to back (or vice versa), if they have open front and rear differentials (most do) they absolutely have no ability to send torque from side to side. The traction/stability control system is supposed to help with sending torque side to side. When a wheel spins the traction control system should apply the ABS to to that wheel, causing friction through the drivetrain and allowing the open differential to send torque to the side with traction. Not all traction control systems are created equally though and it is possible that the KIA implementation is not great.

What is probably most likely here is that your OEM tires are crap. Hyundai/KIA really put shitty tires on their vehicles at the factory, and no drivetrain or stability control system, no matter how sophisticated, can overcome an inability to grip from lousy tires. Since you've had other vehicles get up no trouble this is the most likely culprit.

Its not perfect, but my advice would be to keep some sand or some cheap all weather floor mats (I always do this) in the back of your car. If you get into this situation wedge the mat or sprinkle some sand underneath the spinning wheels and you should get them traction and get going, hopefully your momentum and catching intermittent patches of traction will take over from there. Once you wear out your OEM tires and get decent tires on you will probably never have to bother with this again.

Tires make a much larger difference than most people realize.
 

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2011 Sorento V6 AWD
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Put the tranny in manual and upshift to second gear. U have to keep the tires from breaking free once that happens your screwed, so go nice and easy on it. Unless both suvs have the same tires with same amount of tread, they should essentially be doing the same thing. If you can get a moving start that should help.
I havent had any problems with mine, and I dont even have winter tires.
BTW nice title for your post. Unless your awd system is faulty I have found that it is almost always driver error that creates these problems. If you do think you have issue then take it to the dealer.
 

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I find that I get the best traction when I disengage the stability control and lock the front and rear axles. I ran some tests a few years ago and this combination gave me the best traction. I also agree that the OEM tires are lousy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all for the helpful information. After doing much research last night I am pretty sure I have figured out the system - just as phillyguy detailed. I was under the mistaken impression that the 4 WD lock button would lock the wheels - spoke with my dealer who was under the same mistaken impression! Appears to me that the button/switch is a manual way of doing what the computer will do when it detects slippage - probably the brain-child of the marketing department! Anyway, I got up the hill a couple of times to-day - just, but in fairness it is a steep driveway - a fairly tough walk even in the summer and we have some snow here a couple of hours north of Toronto. Just a bit disappointed because my old Lexus never hesitated once and I have good snow tires on each.
Sorry to lose my cool on franxalot last evening - was frustrated with the issue and didn't need less than helpful comments at that point.
 

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Thanks all for the helpful information. After doing much research last night I am pretty sure I have figured out the system - just as phillyguy detailed. I was under the mistaken impression that the 4 WD lock button would lock the wheels - spoke with my dealer who was under the same mistaken impression! Appears to me that the button/switch is a manual way of doing what the computer will do when it detects slippage - probably the brain-child of the marketing department! Anyway, I got up the hill a couple of times to-day - just, but in fairness it is a steep driveway - a fairly tough walk even in the summer and we have some snow here a couple of hours north of Toronto. Just a bit disappointed because my old Lexus never hesitated once and I have good snow tires on each.
Sorry to lose my cool on franxalot last evening - was frustrated with the issue and didn't need less than helpful comments at that point.
I didn't read your first post closely enough, I thought you still had OEM tires on the Sorento. With good tires on it I am surprised that it struggled like that. I have tested mine on a very steep cobble stone road in the snow with the lousy OEM tires and it made it up without a hickup.

I hope that your getting stuck was just a fluke of lousy conditions, because the Sorento should really be able to make it up a snowy hill with decent tires on it. It is possible that the stability control is too aggressive in cutting the throttle, and that has given you some issue as well. Have you experimented with and without the stability control on?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes, that was the dealer's suggestion also. However, I will pay close attention from here on in to try and get a handle on why this is happening, I'm starting to wonder if the tires are part of the problem. I have Nokian tires on the Lexus and tried another brand that the tire dealer recommended for the Sorento - Nokians were terribly expensive.
Mind you I have another solution - heading to Florida to-morrow and will stay until April!!
Thanks again and happy new year.
 

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2012 Sorento EX V6 AWD w/Sunroof, RIDES a 2012 Suzuki GSXR 600
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I just put Nokian Hakkapeliitta R SUV tires on and in the recent snow we got I think the Sorento would now go through anything. Yes they cost a bit more ($249) but hands down they are the best winter tire out there. A friend of mine has had various other makes of winter tires but when he was in my car with Nokians on he couldn't believe how good they were and bought a set the next winter for himself the the winter after that for his fathers Murano.
I was out testing the tires in the snow to see how the vehicle would perform with the center locked, traction control on and off etc etc. I had the thing drifting completely sideways at times. With the wheel turned hard and the ESC off I think the power is still cut a fair bit by the computer to keep you out of real trouble and from doing a 180.
Once the wheel was straight again the power came back on and I could feel all the wheels driving.
Also, I was in a small parking lot while out for a walk with the dogs, had to go through the snow that the plow had pushed to the side of the road, a good foot high, no problems there. Also no problems maneuvering in the parking area (about 30 feet by 50) in forward, reverse etc, no problems with traction at all. My old Jetta wagon even with the Nokians would have had trouble.
While I wish the AWD system was full-time like Subaru's is at this point Im quite happy.
The traction with these Nokians vs the crappy Kuhmos that came on the vehicle is night and day. The Kuhmos were bordering on dangerous in the snow.
 

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This is why I wish the Kia Sorento had the Dynamax AWD like Kia Sportage.
It is hard to tell how dynamax differs from the borg warner iTM3e system in the Sorento. I'm guessing its computer cooperates with the traction control system much better to give an effective limited slip differential across the front and rear axle. They call the eLSDs on some cars. Supposed to work really well. Actually some people claim they work better than LSDs and perform closer to a locker.
 

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It is hard to tell how dynamax differs from the borg warner iTM3e system in the Sorento. I'm guessing its computer cooperates with the traction control system much better to give an effective limited slip differential across the front and rear axle. They call the eLSDs on some cars. Supposed to work really well. Actually some people claim they work better than LSDs and perform closer to a locker.
Just Google the Kia Dynamax and you'll see.;)
 

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Just Google the Kia Dynamax and you'll see.;)
I have and all that comes up is worthless marketing fluff. It actually sounds identical to the iTM3e system in the Sorento. I just gave them the benefit of the doubt hoping that they had implemented something to improve upon it like a functional eLSD. Otherwise I don't know why they would switch suppliers from one vehicle to the next.

The only difference that can be gathered from their stupid press releases are dynamx uses a hydraulic system to activate the clutches and the iTM3e system is electro-mechanical. Electro-mechanical sounds better to me in theory, but I don't know which works better in practice.
 
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