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Kia maintenance: cost, plans and service schedule

Expect lower-than-average maintenance and repair costs

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    Kia, BMW, Hyundai and Toyota
    front right side view of a kia

    Kia, the South Korean automaker owned by Hyundai Motor Company, tends to be a reliable brand with maintenance and repair costs below the industry norm. However, it’s still important to plan ahead and budget for these expenses if you want to keep your Kia on the road long-term.

    Keep reading to find out how Kia’s upkeep costs compare with other automakers’, what you can expect to spend on maintenance and repairs and what you can do to avoid paying those costs out of pocket.

    Key insights

    • Kia vehicles cost an average of $474 per year to maintain and repair, according to RepairPal.
    • Kia has a different recommended maintenance schedule for each of its models.
    • New Kias come with a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
    • An extended warranty can protect you from large repair bills once your factory warranty runs out.

    Are Kias expensive to maintain?

    On average, Kias cost their owners $474 per year in maintenance and repairs, according to RepairPal. That’s well below the industry average of $652 per year, meaning Kias are relatively cheap to keep running.

    MakeAverage repair and maintenance cost*
    Kia $474 per year
    Honda $428 per year
    Toyota $441 per year
    Ford $775 per year
    BMW $968 per year
    *According to RepairPal

    However, these average costs really depend on what model you drive. We pulled model-specific estimates for three different models and put them in the table below to help show the variation in costs within Kia’s lineup.

    ModelAverage repair and maintenance cost*
    2018 Kia Sorento $402 per year
    2018 Kia Soul $334 per year
    2018 Kia Forte $567 per year
    *According to RepairPal

    It’s also worth pointing out that these statistics combine maintenance and repair costs into one figure. In a way, that makes sense — both leave you with a bill from your mechanic — but it also erases some key differences regarding how people actually pay for these services.

    (Generally, “maintenance” refers to any preventive, regularly scheduled service recommended by your automaker. “Repairs,” on the other hand, are unexpected services needed to correct something that has gone wrong with your car.)

    Let’s take a better look at some maintenance and repair costs for Kias to help you budget appropriately for both.

    Kia maintenance schedule

    Kia sets a different maintenance schedule for each of its models. Most of the guidelines between vehicles are the same regardless, but it’s important to follow what’s suggested for your particular vehicle, especially if your Kia is still under warranty. (Missed maintenance can be grounds for voiding your warranty coverage.)

    You can find the recommended maintenance schedule for your Kia by looking on the company’s website, referring to your owners manual or calling a local dealership.

    Example: 2022 Kia Telluride maintenance schedule

    To show you an example of what a maintenance schedule looks like, we’ve included the maintenance schedule for a 2022 Kia Telluride below.

    Oil and filter change Every 8,000 miles
    Tire rotation Every 8,000 miles
    Multipoint inspection, including your battery, air cleaner filter, brake system and suspension Every 8,000 miles
    Air conditioner filter replacement Every 16,000 miles
    Brake/clutch fluid replacement Every 48,000 miles
    Spark plug replacement Every 96,000 miles

    Scheduled maintenance for severe driving conditions

    If you're hard on your Kia, you should perform some maintenance services more often than what your regular schedule recommends.

    For the example 2022 Telluride above, Kia actually recommends having the oil and filter changed every 5,000 miles instead of every 8,000 miles if you routinely drive in severe conditions. Other than that, it appears that most of the maintenance tasks remain at the same intervals.

    Kia maintenance costs

    Costs for maintenance services vary depending on your vehicle and what exactly you need done. However, once you figure out what your mechanic charges for these tasks, it’s relatively easy to plan out your estimated maintenance costs for as long as you plan to own your Kia.

    Example: 2018 Kia Sorento maintenance costs

    Here are a few common maintenance tasks and what you might spend to have each performed. We based these estimates on a 2018 Kia Sorento in Austin, Texas, so your costs may be different if you have a different vehicle or live somewhere else.

    Tire rotation $58-$74
    Oil change $194-$214
    Transmission fluid change $186-$206
    Front and rear brake pad replacement $573-$625
    Spark plug replacement $649-$793
    *According to RepairPal for a 2018 Kia Sorento in the 78705 ZIP code

    Kia repair costs

    It’s harder to estimate how much money you’ll spend on repairs because breakdowns don’t occur on a set schedule. They also vary a lot in terms of severity and frequency, so it’s hard to guess how often you’ll need repairs and how much each of those visits to the mechanic will cost you. Theoretically, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and budget for the worst repair you could face, but that’s often difficult and potentially even unnecessary.

    Kias are generally dependable vehicles these days, with RepairPal giving the brand a score of 4.0 out of 5 for reliability. This rating puts Kia in third place out of 32 car brands. Kias also average 0.2 visits to the mechanic each year, according to RepairPal, which is below the industry average of 0.4 visits per year. On top of that, the chance of a repair being severe is only 10% — 2% lower than the industry average. Of course, these estimates can vary by model, but Kias overall are fairly sturdy.

    Author’s note: From a mechanic’s standpoint, it wasn’t that long ago when Kia wasn’t considered a reliable brand. Prior to 2000, we would deal with Kias coming to the shop on a regular basis for large repairs, and it was just expected. The same isn’t true today; we rarely see major problems from Kias anymore. The company has done a good job of adding more reliable parts, even if there’s still more room to grow.

    Example: 2018 Kia Sorento repair costs

    With that in mind, let’s take a look at what some repairs may cost for the same example Sorento we got maintenance estimates for earlier.

    Water pump replacement $804-$914
    Head gasket replacement $3,069-$3,585
    Catalytic converter replacement $2,046-$2,098
    *According to RepairPal for a 2018 Kia Sorento in the 78705 ZIP code

    Even though repairing a Kia tends to be cheaper than repairing the average vehicle, most repairs are still far more expensive than simple maintenance services. Don’t worry — you shouldn’t have to pay for repairs as often as you get an oil change or a tire rotation, but it’s a good idea to at least be aware of how much repairing your Kia might cost so you can budget appropriately.

    We should mention that Kia has one of the best new car warranties in the industry at the time of publishing. All new Kias come with a 5-year/60,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That means you may not have to pay anything if a covered component breaks down during your warranty period.

    However, your factory warranty won’t last forever, and Kia actually shortens the term of its powertrain warranty coverage if you buy your Kia used. Bottom line: If you intend to keep your Kia on the road long-term, you may eventually have to deal with a massive repair bill without your factory warranty to protect you.

    » LEARN: What is a manufacturer’s warranty?

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      How can an extended warranty or maintenance plan help?

      Extended warranties and prepaid maintenance plans are optional vehicle protection products that can help you save money on maintenance and repairs for your Kia, and Kia even offers its own versions of these plans:

      • Prepaid maintenance plans can help you get better rates on maintenance services and maybe even protect you from inflation by locking in your rate when you buy. (Kia’s prepaid maintenance plans are available for one to six years, including two services per year.)
      • Extended warranties, also known as vehicle service contracts, can effectively mimic your factory warranty coverage and protect you from paying to fix covered components once your factory warranty runs out. These plans have their pros and cons, but they’re worth investigating if you’re worried about affording a large repair bill.

      As a final note — we had trouble finding a Kia dealer that would sell us a Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contract, but you may have better luck. Even if your dealer does sell Kia extended warranties, though, it’s still a good idea to get quotes from other car warranty companies so you can compare the results and make an educated decision about which is right for you and your Kia.

      » MORE: Car warranty vs. car insurance

      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. Kia, “Schedule Service.” Accessed March 12, 2023.
      2. Kia, “Kia Maintenance Plan.” Accessed March 12, 2023.
      3. RepairPal, “Kia Repair & Maintenance Costs.” Accessed March 12, 2023.
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