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No matter how long you are planning to drive this car, either for 10 years or for less than one year, here is the thing that you are highly likely going to hear during that time from your Kia service manager/director, when you shall eventually notice that your air conditioner is not working any more under 100 degree heat without any single sign of trauma to the car or other abnormal signs (again, it is “highly likely” to happen because this is due to Sportage 2011’s design fault, as explained below).
Expect your Kia service manager to say;
“Well, it seems like “some kind of stone” hit the air conditioning condenser, and “made a hole in the condenser”. “This kind of things are not covered by warranty”. If you want to fix it, you will be charged $874.”
Sounds like a new joke, isn’t it? This is exactly what happened to me and my fiancé 3 days ago.
For starters, this car was purchased as a brand-new car in less than one year ago, 8459 miles run until this happened, and has never been (I mean NEVER) on any rough road or even a dirt track. 100% on well-paved regular roads and highways.
We were driving on the Penn Turnpike (highly-maintained highway) from Philly to Pittsburg. While driving 3/4 way to Pitts, we noticed that the inside of the car felt kind of warm although air conditioning was on. My fiancé tried to feel the air from the vent and realized that the air was not cold any more. I increased the airflow of air-conditioning, and heard this whistling sound which was not there before. The sound disappeared when I turned off the A/C button. Of note, before this happened, there was no abnormal events/noise/impact/vibration whatsoever while the driving. After driving back to Philly the next day under 90+ degree heat without A/C (it was a horrible experience!), my fiancé took the car to Kia service in Jenkintown, PA, and heard this verdict above from them. I want to re-clarify that we did not hear anything hit the car, or any other abnormal sounds or vibration or impact or anything, and there was no construction site on the highway we ran over.
Now, there are three points that I want to make to Kia;
1. So you are saying that the condenser is strong and durable enough and has no problem, right? If “some kind of stone” hit that “strong and durable” condenser and even hit hard enough to make a hole to that strong condenser, shouldn’t it be a really big rock or hard stone and shouldn’t that make a perceivable impact and loud noise? I (driven for 24 years) or my fiancé (driven for 14 years) never heard any noise or felt any impact/vibration whatsoever. (You know you can feel it even when you hit a squirrel. You must feel some kind of impact or at least hear some noise if a hard rock hit your “strong” condenser and even made a hole in it)
2. Now, if that “some kind of stone” was not big enough to make any noise or impact or vibration, it must be a small stone, right? If that kind of small stone hit the condenser, and not even just broke the main metal frame and metal mash (please see picture), doesn’t it mean that the condenser is not strong and durable enough?
3. Ok, let say your condenser were durable and strong, and the stone were a big and hard rock. Even so, isn’t the design of the car supposed to be made so that this kind of highly predictable daily damage can be prevented? Cars are made to drive on roads, which normally can have some debris and stones. This is not a “Surprise!” to see some small stones on a road. Not to mention on a highly-maintained highway, but, Ehh...Excuse me!, this SPORTAGE is a Sport-Utility-Vehicle with All-Wheel-Drive option, which is designed to FIT YOUR PURPOSE of enjoying outdoor sports leisure and is supposed to be able to sustain driving on a certain degree of rough roads when you go hiking or something!

TWO MAJOR FAULTS CAN BE IDENTIFIED HERE
1. The air conditioning condenser is not durable.
: The metal frame was easily damaged by a highly predictable, minor daily driving damage which did not even make a perceivable noise or vibration/impact (either it was a small stone or a big moth shown in the picture). Please note that the metal bar is even dented and the metal mash torn. I wonder how good metal Kia used for this condenser.

2. There is a design fault in Sportage 2011, which can be critical for a Sport Utility Vehicle (which, by definition, is expected to drive on a certain degree of off-road for leisure purpose. Moreover, we have never driven our car on a rough road until this moment).
:Actually, Canadian and American Automobile Association noticed this problem early and even made an official report about this problem.
http://www.caaquebec.com/DocumentLi...RoadTestAttachment/kia-sportage-2011-en_0.pdf
Apparently according to the Canadian and American Automobile association (CAA), “Large openings under the front bumper can make way for road debris that can damage the air-conditioner condenser.”


So Kia, basically you have produced a car that has an air conditioning condensing unit that is prone to damage, not from excessive “off road” use, but as the report states, even from normal use. By definition you have therefore produced a defective product that is “not fit for purpose” and knowing this, you are trying to conceal a design fault.
Additionally, your air-conditioning condenser is so fragile that it can be easily damaged by a daily use damage that cannot even cause a significant impact.
After going through this, I almost got to think that Kia was maybe trying to make money out of charging consumers for replacing the air-conditioning condenser, by making it such easily damaged by the design fault and by the non-durable condenser unit. I mean, if you could charge $874 for every minor daily damage that can happen to any car for an average car’s lifespan, you would easily become a millionaire! Although I hate to think like that, because I actually really liked our car until Kia was playing like this.
So people who are considering this Sport Utility Vehicle “SPORTAGE” to enjoy your “outdoor sports and leisure” as true to its purpose, please mind that a rough road can easily damage your condenser one day, sooner or later, and cost you $874. According to Kia, if “some kind of stone” from a road (not only a rough road, but just a normal highway or even a parking lot) gets way to its faulty designed gap below the bumper and hit your condenser and make a hole in it, they cannot cover it with the warranty as per their policy. (It seems like their warranty can be applied only when the car was driven in a road that was made of perfect glass or something with ZERO percent of debris or stones.)
Wait! It gets better here!! The real beauty here is that this damage actually can happen not just for one time, but for multiple times, because the underlying problem is actually the design fault of this car, as Canadian and American Automobile Association clearly pointed out. Kia, however, is still saying that they cannot cover it with warranty and that you have to pay $874 each time as per their own warranty policy. Seriously? If Kia is a company with some conscious, this kind of critical design fault of an SUV should be a candidate for a recall; not for charging $874 for their own design fault to the consumers who paid a lot of money to buy their product.
Come on Kia! Isn’t it too much below you, when you are starting doing well in the US market? If the CAA know this and have officially reported it, obviously, you knew it too. You and your dealers are just trying to cover up a design fault. Spare me the $874 repair bill and honour you warranty else I will NOT be buying Kia again.
 

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Wow........just a little backgoung on myself. I have been working at new car dealership's parts dept for over 26 years now. 8 diff dealerships. Jeep, Chrysler, Ford, now Kia. In my years I have see hundreds or condensers, radiators, engine oil coolers, trans coolers and power sterring coolers get damaged, and fail, just like your's did from rocks. Kia does'nt make BAD condensers or weak ones. They are not worse or better than any other car's or suv's. STUFF happens. Just because you didn't hear anything doesn't mean you condenser didn't get hit. You REALLY thought Kia was going to "cover" it for you under warranty? This is NO different than a tree limb falling on your hood. You think Kia is going to repair your hood under warranty? No I don't think so.
$874 is too much? Buy the condenser, replace it yourself. Then take to ANY shop and have them charge the a/c. New OEM Kia condenser is $299.00 from ANY kia dealership USA that is. Or try to get one aftermarket? For what's it's worth, In my 2 1/2 yaers working for Kia have NOT see one condenser fail from a rock that I can remember.
Did you see the damage on your cond?
 
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HEADLINE NEWS: SHIT HAPPENS! FILM AT 11.

lol, so because your ride lacks a barn door or snow plow on the front bumper to protect the engine components, you think it's a poor design? please realize the EXTREMELY LONG ODDS that rock beat to pass through your "faulty designed gap" and puncture your condensor make this an exceptional event. also, please note that pretty much every car out there has some kind of "gap" in the front of the car.

op, what you got here is a bona fide comprehensive insurance claim. if price of fix is greater than your insurance deductible, then pay it out of pocket. otherwise, pay your deductible and send it to the body shop.

my SX was in a front-end collision. the whole front end had to be replaced, but there wasn't any damage to the condenser, radiator, or my inter-cooler. i am still dealing with having the shop replace/re-align the condenser side covers, as they got a bit splayed out and the shop guy figured (wrongly) it was that way to channel air. i thought that was suspect as it was apparently channeling air away from my inter-cooler, which he may or may not have realized was there. He is gonna look into it and i will be getting it fixed.

it really sucks that this happened to you, but you have to realize that the condenser is the leading part of any of the mechanical systems in our vehicle. more likely than not, it wasn't even a rock, but something small, sharp and dense. perhaps a sliver of steel or a piece of a nail. who knows. it could have been a freaking meteorite or maybe even an act of god. just be glad it didn't take out your radiator, inter-cooler (if equipped), or do damage to your grill or fascia as well.

this is not a manufacturers issue. this is why you have insurance.

as for your reaction while driving, i would suggest at ANY point in the future you are driving and you have a sudden loss of cold AC, you PULL OVER IMMEDIATELY AND STOP THE ENGINE. this is what happened on my 2001 Hyundai Elantra GT 20 secs before i blew out the radiator. It was the heater core that blew, that nuked the thermostat, that blew out the head gasket, that blew up the radiator.

RIP Hyundai Elantra, i hope you have been repaired and are being taken care of.

op, maybe you should consider something more like this for your next vehicle. no way a small piece of debris can beat the odds and take this down.



PS: If and when you get it replaced, why not see if you can make your own protective plate/screen. probably risk not getting enough air over your condenser/radiator, but you might avoid having to go through this again.
 
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I'm not sure that 8x8 tank thing has A/C, so it probably won't suit OP's needs. Plus it looks prone to drawing enemy fire, and FYI enemy fire is likely not covered under warranty.

Aftermarket direct fit condenser's may not be available for the 2011 Sportage yet but you can have an A/C shop custom build one for probably much less than $874. That may void warranty for other A/C components so likely using your insurance coverage is the way to go.

Edit: I missed that a new one direct from Kia is only $299, that is the way to go!
 
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That's sweet! I didn't see that on the lot when I bought my Sportage.
 

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Although I now have a Sorento, my wife and I have had two Sportages over the last six years and they were driven on all kinds of roads including icy winter roads with tons of sand and gravel on them and we never once had a problem like what has been described. I did however end up with a cracked windshield from the stones pounding the front end of my car while been driven at highway speeds with that gravel on the road but it certainly was not the manufactures fault. I simply made an insurance claim, paid my deductable and got on with my life. I agree with cloud9utk about making an insurance claim for road debris. This is clearly not a warrantable issue and blaming Kia for a design flaw makes no sense at all.
 

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To the OP...
Sorry but things do happen...
RockAuto has a condenser with a receiver/dryer included for $97.79
Replace the condenser, have the system evacuated, and re-charged at a local AC shop for MUCH less than $874.
The condenser is not that hard to replace and there is NO charge (R134a) in the system right now... Call around and get a price on evacuate/and charge.
Dave
 

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A letter to Kia on the forum will draw criticism (we aren't Kia ;-)

The warranty mentions rocks (along with "chemicals" and "normal wear" etc.). I have not heard of a warranty that will cover windshields for rock damage.

It would be nice if Kia would replace expensive parts.

Check for how the rock collided with the failed part. Since there haven't been complaints of this problem, the vehicle seems "fit-for-purpose", but it could help if you can find that the condenser is not adequately shielded from debris.
 

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What are the odds the odds we never hear from the OP again?
Well, it's the first post, and everything below the first paragraph is an essay-letter to Kia. I calculate it's the last post 73% out of 96% 32 times out of a broken pump.

Still, it's good to know. The linked PDF is a review mentioning poor shielding on the condenser, oil pan&filter, and fuel filter. The Sportage's "skid plate" IIRC is a plastic aerodynamic fairing, so it'll help, but it isn't designed to deflect rocks flying at (supposedly) 150mph. There's a bumper garnish some sellers claim is a skid plate. Anyway, a proper skid plate protects engine components from debris, and it sounds like it could have been useful in this case. Hopefully there's a compatible one available.
 

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What are the odds we never hear from the OP again?
Can't imagine what the post would be like if something really bad happened. Bad things can happen; I've had rocks come from nowhere to destroy the windscreen. Insurance pays.

At least the OP has some suggested cheaper fixes from the forum.
 

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I stopped reading when he said the Pennsylvania Turnpike was highly maintained. Pretty much NO roads in PA are good. Drive on I-95 from Maryland and close your eyes before you cross into PA. You don't need to see the "Welcome to PA" sign to know when you crossed the border, the road will inform you.
 
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Very good advice and nice post.
 

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Sorry for the frustration in trying to get your Kia back to par. U seemed to have everything well documented. I would suggest scheduling an appointment up the food chain and remember when speaking.,, Ur are looking for there help and don't be shy to negotiate a better price once a price has been established. Remember to WIN, you want your car fixed with a little better support and pricing you have been currently been given. You ultimately will have tell the person up the food chain what you are willing to compromise. They will not offer it up front.
 

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Remember to WIN, you want your car fixed with a little better support and pricing you have been currently been given. You ultimately will have tell the person up the food chain what you are willing to compromise. They will not offer it up front.
Well, I guess :-\ . That is how to do it.

I don't know the roads in PA like ILLJIM69 does, and maybe things are different there. Where I am, communities sand the road in winter. Some cities are notorious for using cheaper poorly-sifted larger gravel, or not sweeping completely by summer. Cracked windshields are incredibly common even in well-maintained areas; there's impromptu tents set up in parking lots where people repair windshields for supposedly-less than autoglass shops.

I can't find a relible citation for rock speed (just that 150mph mention), but I'd imagine it's the car's speed plus some velocity off a tire. If it can puncture laminated glass, shatter tempered glass, and puncture metal, I wouldn't want to be hit by that rock; 75lb of force on the windpipe can be fatal. I wouldn't want to warranty products against those projectiles, and car manufacturers don't.

I don't know insurance well, but it protects against vehicle damage. If a part is damaged, they'll fix it. If the cost is more than the deductable, and there aren't bad consequences (increased premiums etc?), then it can go on insurance. Parts like windshields are usually cheaper, especially on average cars, so the owner usually pays.

I think it's possible to pressure the manufacturer to fix it for free. I don't think it's necessarily fair. Sportage doesn't have full shielding for rocks, but on-road vehicles usually don't.
 

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i came to think what bakersyl posted and i know that it was an unfortunate accident what he expeienced, but i will be trying to install an aliminium grill mesh behind the grill. i think this would reduce the flow of any debris through the grill opening. I found a grill mesh that has the holes a bit large in order not to reduce the air flow. will post pictures when it is fitted.
somthing like this
items in MK Tuning Ltd1 store on eBay!
 

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Aluminum mesh isn't exactly the strongest material known to man. If a rock will go through the radiator or AC condenser, it will go through aluminum mesh and still go through the radiator or condenser. You would need to get what's called "expanded steel" to offer any sort of real protection but that stuff is pretty heavy.
 

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Seriously, this was one of those "holy smokes, one in a million" things. First of all, the fact that the OP hasn't come back leads me to think he is a troll. Secondly, what are the odds? I could see if half the Sportages out there were having this problem, but this is honestly the first time I ever heard of it happening to any car.

Also, the thread title makes no sense. Not fit for purpose? WTF does that mean? LOL.
 

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Also, the thread title makes no sense. Not fit for purpose? WTF does that mean? LOL.
ESL (or no english at all) and google translate?
 
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