Mechanic talking (three split)


‘Would have kept your head gasket from blowing up’: Mechanic reveals why Kia and Hyundai engines are failing so early

‘It never overheated.’


Chad Swiatecki


Everybody loves to feel like an expert, and let everyone else know how smart they are. For proof of this go no further than the recent TikTok post from the Olde Carr Guy account (@oldecarrguy) which breaks down the possible reasons for the blown head gasket that the veteran mechanic has taken out of a Kia Sorento.

Known by the real-world name of Jason Carr, he’s run a car dealership and repair shop in New Brunswick, Canada, for close to 20 years and comes from a family of auto repair know-how (on top of having a beard worthy of standing in as a member of ZZ Top). So we’ll put some respect behind his diagnosis that insufficient threading on the block holding the head bolt in place and make a proper seal.

Commenters (which we’ll sample further down) had lots of other ideas and suggestions for why Carr might be going down the wrong trail in trying to find a solution for the problem, which could also happen to Hyundai Santa Fe models that have similar if not 100% identical engine components.

So why do Kia engines fail?

As we’ve previously reported, mechanics and experts are saying online that engines from Kia and Hyundai are failing before 60,000 miles because their design makes them susceptible to oil flow issues. You’ll notice it when you hear rod knock, when the rod connecting the pistons to the crankshaft begins making a clanking sound while a car is idling. That’s usually a sign of a major engine problem.

Since there was some debate, the Daily Dot called and spoke to Carr to get more details on the repairs and how he solved the problem.

“One thing that a viral video does for you to begin with is it brings out all the experts out of the woodwork, people who think they know more than they may, as well as people who have experienced it before and verify what I’ve said, as well as people who work for that brand of dealer and say they’ve never seen it before,” he said. “What it really boils down to, in my opinion, is the casting of the block, meaning the aluminum that they make the block from isn’t strong enough to hold the threads required to produce the clamping force needed to hold that head on and seal that head gasket. So, ultimately, the threads pulled out all on their very own.”

Plenty of commenters said overheating was a more likely cause of the blowout. Carr, however, said there was no incidence of overheating on the Kia, according to the owner. 

“From what the customer told us, it never overheated. Therefore, when we pulled that front head off, I believe there’s eight bolts that hold it in place. Out of those eight, five of them, you probably could have spun the bolts out by hand, which meant that five of those bolts, the threads, pulled the threads of the aluminum block out with them. You can see in that video, when I unthreaded the threads off the bolt, that was the aluminum. That’s what came out of the block. That was the aluminum block that I was threading off. There is more room in those heads or in that engine block for either bigger bolts or more threads. A lot of the experts will say it only requires a certain amount of thread based on the size of the bolt to do the appropriate clamping force. Well, if that’s the case, the bolt needs to be bigger.”

Carr said the repair kit used to get the Kia running again involved drilling out all 16 holes for both heads, and putting in larger stainless steel thread inserts to hold the same once they were seated into place.

“it was just a matter of drilling out the original hole bigger so that the thread insert, the kit that we bought would thread into it,” he said.

The know-it-alls in the comments were happy to share their opposing opinions.

“my 2011 Sorento with 207k is winking at you. She’s still going strong,” one of them offered.

“I have 3 santa fe with the 3.3 engine. One has 350000km. One has 320000km. One has 200000km. Never had any issues,” said one commenter who apparently has never thought about buying any other vehicle.

“been with Kia for 10 years and never seen this issue once,” wrote another Kia loyalist.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Kia and Hyundai via email.

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