Kia Sorento is a luxurious SUV equipped with 4-wheel drive; it is the type of drivetrain system that simultaneously distributes the power to all of the wheels. It is the best feature for off-roading, moving on uneven terrains, snowy roads, wet grasses, and muddy surfaces.
Kia Sorento 4WD not working can be due to a faulty differential actuator pump, low fluid levels, faulty switches, a blown-out fuse, issues with the transfer case, damaged chassis, worn-out tires, faulty 4WD actuators, software glitches, and electrical faults.
Many people complain that the rear wheels of their SUVs do not spin when they engage the feature while moving on wet grasses and snowy roads. The indicator light on the dashboard illuminates, but you cannot engage the feature because faulty components hinder the power supply to the rear wheels.
|Faulty differential actuator pump||Check air pressure with a pressure gauge|
|Low fluid levels||Use mineral oil or synthetic lubricant|
|Faulty switch||Replace switches and lever|
|Electrical faults||Clean the contacts with electric cleaners|
|Issue with a transfer case||Use correct and compatible fluid for lubrication|
|Damaged chassis||Reduce frequent off-road trips|
|Worn out tires||Select new tires of the same size|
|Faulty 4WD actuator||Check electric connections and control module|
Faulty differential actuator pump
Differentials are the primary component of the 4WD Kia Sorento because they supply the power from the engine to the wheels, so they spin and allow forward movement.
4WD also contains the differential actuator pump that is located near the driver’s side engine compartment. Moreover, these pumps also force air towards these differentials, and these contain the diaphragm.
Diaphragm engages the gear to supply power to all wheels for spinning at the same speed. Faulty pumps do not provide enough pressure to the diaphragm, and you cannot engage the system after pressing their control switch or knob.
The hydraulic pumps become bad because of the damaged seal, fluid leakage, incorrect use, overheating, contaminated fluid, low fluid levels, and lack of maintenance.
You can check the functioning of the differentials actuator pump by removing their airlines. Connect the pressure gauge to the exposed area to check the air pressure.
You do not have to replace them if the pressure gauge shows a reading between 5 and 7 psi. It is necessary to replace them when the pressure gauge is not showing the recommended pressure.
Low air pressure indicates the pump’s failure that cannot provide sufficient pressure for the engagement of gears.
Low fluid levels
Differentials and transfer cases are the main components of the 4WD that help supply engine-generated power to the wheels.
Moreover, differentials contain gears that allow the wheels to spin at different speeds while moving on turning points.
The transfer case is responsible for transmitting the power to the front and rear axles from the transmission system in Kia Sorento. It transfers the power to the front and rear axle through the drive shaft.
These components need fluid for their lubrication purpose. These do not allow the engagement of the 4WD feature when their internal parts are not lubricated well to supply power to the wheels.
Transfer cases and front or rear differentials need proper lubrication for smooth and optimal functions. In addition, the issue also comes because of the use of the wrong type of lubricant and their contamination.
Lubricants get contaminated when water mixes with them because of broken seals and valves. It is necessary to lubricate them when you hear any uneven noise while driving.
You can use mineral oil lubrication fluid which is crude and natural oil-based fluid. However, I prefer to use synthetic lubricant fluid, which contains several chemicals to enhance its performance.
You can engage the 4-wheel-drive in your SUV when you are moving on muddy, snowy, wet, and uneven roads to increase the traction of tires and reduce the risk of skidding.
Kia Sorento usually contains a switch and lever for the engagement of this feature, depending upon their specific model and year. You can use the switch to shift between different drivetrain systems.
Moreover, most of their models are equipped with levers for shifting various drivetrains. These are the control modules that allow engagement of the system when you operate these buttons or levers.
These switches or lever becomes bad because of incorrect usage, mishandling, and water exposure. In addition, some drivers are not aware of the engagement procedure of the 4WD.
You have to replace the switches or lever with new ones when these are not working fine because of their broken internal components.
4WD relies on the electric system for its smooth functioning. They do not function because of the blown-out fuse, poorly connected wires, and broken cables of their electric parts.
The system cannot supply enough power for their engagement because of the blown-out fuse and broken wires. You can also face the problem while engaging them because of the failure of various sensors.
The fuse of their electric parts becomes bad because of power surges and overheating. In addition, short circuits and excessive-high temperature cause the melting of wires.
It is necessary to check the fuse box under the Kia Sorento dashboard to inspect the blown-out fuse. Fuse number 13, which is marked with TCCS, controls the functioning of the transfer case.
Moreover, it is also better to lubricate the contact with grease and clean them with contact cleaners to reduce the risk of corrosion.
Issues with the transfer case
The transfer case is the component of the 4WD feature that allows the power transmission from the transmission system to the front and rear axles through the drive shaft.
This feature stops functioning when one of the transfer case components is faulty because it does not give the power to spinning tires.
Low fluid levels and incorrect lubrication fluids increase the friction and risk of wear and tear in their parts. In addition, these also become bad because of the damaged seals.
Chains and gears of the transfer case can also get stuck and do not allow the engagement of the feature. Frequent off-roading, road debris, and driving in high temperatures can also hinder their functioning.
You should lubricate their components properly for their smooth functioning. It is necessary to use compatible and correct fluid types so it cannot damage its internal components.
The vehicle’s chassis is also known as the frame, and it provides support to connect different components. 4WD cannot function well because of a misaligned and damaged chassis.
Chassis issues come when frequently driving the Kia Sorento on rough and poorly paved terrains. The damaged frame can also disturb the alignment of various components, including axle, suspension parts, and drivetrain.
4WD cannot handle rough and even roads because of the misaligned components. In addition, it is also not capable of maintaining the traction of tires on the road.
It can also increase the risk of wear and tear of CV joints and front or rear differentials. Avoid frequent off-road trips because it can increase the chances of chassis damage.
Moreover, it is also necessary to use several preventive techniques to reduce the rust on their frame because these can also produce holes and cracks.
Worn out tires
Many people complain that the 4-wheel drive in their SUV stops functioning because of worn-out and damaged tires. One of my friends told me he could not engage the feature after tire replacement.
I told him to check the size of the new tires because sometimes the issue comes from incorrect tire sizes that are incompatible with the previous one.
He replaced the tire and bought the ones with the correct size. It is necessary to select tires of the same sizes when replacing them so 4WD maintains their traction on the road.
Faulty 4WD actuator
4WD actuators are electric components that use an electric solenoid to function. The main function of these components is to engage the front and rear differentials.
These actuators become badly damaged wirings and failure of a control module that cannot send the signal to differentials for engagement of the feature.
Moreover, corrosion, damaged solenoids, and broken springs or gears become faulty. It is better to check the electric connections, loose wirings, and control module of the actuator to identify the problem in your Kia Sorento.
Lubricate the internal components properly to reduce wear and tear chances.