Kia Sportage Starter Problems [Causes and How to Fix]

If your Kia Sportage won’t start and you’re looking for tips to resolve the problem, this post is for you.

Keep reading to learn about the causes of Kia Sportage starting problems and how to troubleshoot.

Kia Sportage 2018

Reasons Your Kia Sportage Won’t Start and How to Fix

Here are some of the reasons you’re struggling to start your Kia Sportage:

1. Weak Battery

The most common cause of starter problems stems from weak batteries. Winter has a considerable impact on battery performance as it becomes less efficient. Most of its juice is also expended during this season by windscreen wipers, heating, headlights, etc.

All these will eventually prevent your Sportage from starting. When you switch on the ignition key, you will be greeted with clicking noises.

So, find out the problem the battery is battling with. Next, you should test the battery performance using your vehicle’s headlights. If the headlights glow weakly or cannot be switched on, your battery is empty.

You can also use a multimeter to measure the battery’s voltage via its terminals. If the voltage is less than 12 volts, you must recharge the battery as soon as possible. The standard range for a healthy car battery between 12.4 volts to 12.7 volts.

Using a battery booster or jump-starting with another car, you can start your Sportage when your battery is weak or low.

Take note of the correct cable cross-section. Gasoline engines only need 16mm2, while larger engines need 25mm2 booster cables. But for your Kia Sportage, you don’t need more than a 16mm2 booster cable.

2. Starter Motor Issue

The starter motor turns on the engine when starting your vehicle. A failed starter motor will not start your Sportage; you will only hear clicking sounds when trying to start your vehicle.

If you suspect the clicking sounds are due to a failing starter motor, get your mechanic to check the electric motor. You can do this yourself using a multimeter. If the starter motor has failed, replace it with a new unit.

3. Faulty Alternator

A faulty alternator can also cause frequent and frustrating problems starting your Sportage. A malfunctioning alternator won’t charge the battery properly while driving.

So, when the battery symbol is lit on your dashboard, it indicates your alternator is defective.

Your mechanic should test the alternator and replace it with a new unit if it’s bad. You should also replace the ribbed V-belts while at it since you may have to remove them, anyway.

4. Corroded Battery Terminals

Your car battery may be sufficiently charged, but if the corrosion has taken over the terminals, the battery cannot deliver the power required to start your engine. Moreover, the metal clips on the battery case may also be over-oxidized.

You can clean off the corrosion by loosening the terminals, starting with the negative terminal and then the positive one. Next, clean the connections using sandpaper or a wire brush.

Then grease the poles using battery pole grease to prevent further oxidization. Next, reconnect the terminals, starting with the positive and negative terminals. Then try to start your Kia Sportage again.

If this does not help, you may have to replace the car battery, which may be damaged beyond repair.

5. Loose Battery Cables

At times, loose battery cables can prevent your Sportage from starting. Also, corrosion can cause battery cables to become loose. So, check the battery cables for any sign of corrosion.

Clean off any corrosion on the battery cables; if they are so damaged, they can’t be tightened, replace them immediately. When connecting the new cables to the battery, ensure you connect the negative terminal first before doing the same with the positive terminal.

Doing it the other way around can cause some problems. If you have no idea how to do this, consult a certified mechanic.

6. Key Fob Problem

Nearly every modern vehicle is equipped with an electronic ignition switch that owners can activate using a remote control key. The remote control key has an electronic chip that communicates with the vehicle’s central locking control unit or immobilizer.

If the control unit no longer synchronizes with this key (which may occur when the battery in the remote control key becomes empty), your Kia Sportage will not start.

The only way out is to relearn the radio remote control key at a specialist workshop.

7. Rodent Bites

Rodents can find their way to the undercarriage of your Sportage to wreak havoc. Spark plug cables are usually susceptible to rodent attacks; if bitten, they will fail to do their work. Your vehicle will not start if spark plug cables are broken or damaged.

Check your vehicle’s undercarriage for signs of rodent damage. Reattach every loose connector and cable that is tight but sparking due to damaged insulation caused by rodent bites. Replace all damaged spark plug cables immediately and cover them with insulation tape.

Always check the engine compartment for signs of damage to the cooling water line, which can cause severe engine damage.

8. Clogged Fuel Filter/Fuel Pump Failure

If your fuel filter is clogged with dirt, debris, or contaminants or your fuel pump fails, no fuel can reach your Kia Sportage injectors. Unfortunately, this problem is common with diesel Kia Sportage vehicles, especially during the autumn-to-winter transition period.

During this period, the weather may suddenly turn cold at night while you still have summer diesel in your tank. Paraffin crystals will clog the fuel filter while summer diesel flocculates, preventing the free flow of fuel to the engine.

Get your vehicle to your mechanic to help free up the fuel filter, or swap it for a newer unit. If the fuel pump has failed, it should be replaced because it can’t be repaired.

9. Bad Fuel or an Empty Tank

If the starter cranks but your Sportage doesn’t start, check whether there is fuel in the tank. It is not uncommon for the measuring needle to get stuck, and you may fail to notice that your tank is running empty.

You can check if there’s any fuel in the tank by leaning it back and forth. Another issue to consider is the quality of fuel you use. You may have fuel riddled with impurities or inferior additives, which may negatively impact engine performance.

If your tank is empty, refill it at the nearest gas station. Then, get your mechanic to help you deal with impure fuel in your Sportage.

Preventing Kia Sportage Starter Problems

You can prevent Kia Sportage starter problems by implementing the following:

  • First, cover the spark plug cables with insulating tape for transitions.
  • Next, grease the poles of your car battery using dedicated battery pole grease in order to prevent further oxidization.
  • Finally, if your battery is dead or weak, jump-start it with another vehicle.
  • Check for signs of a failing starter motor from time to time. Early discovery and replacement help prevent future starting problems.
  • Check for corrosion on the battery terminals or cables from time to time. Clean or replace them as required.
  • Stick to the maintenance schedule for your Kia Sportage model year. This makes it easier to discover problems such as rodent bites, alternator failure, etc.

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Wrapping Up

Many issues can prevent your Kia Sportage from starting. Some of the reasons behind those issues have been highlighted in this article.

Take note of them, and follow the suggested action steps to fix the starting problems of your vehicle. Ensure a certified mechanic always works on your Kia Sportage.