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This revised version of the Kia Forte is a good notch below the best in this class. On the plus side, the Forte handles responsively and comes with standard electronic stability control. Further, the interior feels airy, controls are simple and rear-seat space is quite good. Fuel economy is competitive as well. Downsides include a stiff ride, noisy engine, and mediocre driving position.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2012 Kia Forte has been recalled 2 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years *Redesign year
Worse Better
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Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
Potential Trouble Spots
Engine Major
NA
Engine Minor
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
Transmission Major
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
Drive System
NA
Fuel System
NA
Electric System
NA
Climate System
NA
Suspension
NA
Brakes
NA
Exhaust
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
Body Integrity
NA
Body Hardware
NA
Power Equipment
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 500,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2018 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Kia Forte owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

“They applied an additional layer of undercoat on the bottom of the car”

Anonymous, OH (2012 Kia Forte SX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

“It sounds clunky right rear area when we hit small bumps, worse when car is loaded with people front and back”

Glenn K., IL (2012 Kia Forte EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Cylinder head

“180000 km valve noise increasing in loudness. initially told it was chain tensioner, but inspection revealed exes dive valve wear along with timing chain tensioner”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Kia Forte EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Engine rebuild or replacement

“crankshaft rod started knocking, about to break”

Stephen S., TX (2012 Kia Forte SX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Evaporator

“Held water and made the inside cabin smell like mould”

Anthony D., QC (2012 Kia Forte EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Heater system

“Heat kept on coming out of the vents even tho the system was on AC”

Anthony D., QC (2012 Kia Forte EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

“sometimes the a/c controls don't respond properly”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Kia Forte EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Accessory belts or pulleys

“air conditioning compressor pulley excessively noisy, looked for just the bearing and pull assembly and could not find one. had to replace the compressor”

Anonymous, ON (2012 Kia Forte EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Transmission sensor or solenoid

“Sensor was replaced at no cost”

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Kia Forte SX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“six-speed manual transmission had to be replaced with a used transmission -- difficult to find transmission shop that worked on manual transmissions as well as find a used replacement”

Stephen S., TX (2012 Kia Forte SX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Compare 2012 Models

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This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all 17 trouble spots.
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
AIR BAGS: AIR BAG CONTROL MODULE
Jun 01 2018
If the frontal air bags and seat belt pretensioners are disabled, there is an increased risk of injury to the vehicle occupants in the event of a vehicle crash that necessitates deployment of these safety systems.
Summary:
Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain 2010-2013 Kia Forte, Forte Koup, 2011-2013 Kia Optima and 2011-2012 Kia Optima Hybrid and Sedona vehicles. In the event of a crash, the air bag control unit (ACU) may short circuit, preventing the frontal air bags and seat belt pretensioners from deploying.
What should you do:
Kia will notify owners. For model year 2011 Sedona vehicles, Kia will instruct dealers to verify the ACU part number and, if necessary, install an extension wire harness kit between the ACU Connector and the Vehicle Harness Connector. For all other affected vehicles, Kia will instruct dealers to install the extension wire harness kit. The recall began September 28, 2018. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's number for this recall is SC165.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 18V363000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 507587
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:PEDALS AND LINKAGES
Dec 01 2017
If the brake light switch plunger does not retract as it should when the brake pedal is not being pressed, the brake lights may stay illuminated preventing accurate communication to following vehicles that the vehicle is slowing or stopping. Additionally, if the brake switch plunger is not retracted, then the transmission can be shifted out of PARK without depressing the brake pedal. Either condition increases the risk of a crash.
Summary:
Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain 2012-2014 Forte and Forte Koup vehicles. The brake pedal stopper pad can deteriorate allowing the brake light switch plunger to remain extended when the brake pedal is released. This will allow the brake lights to remain illuminated continuously. It can also allow the shift lever to be moved without depressing the brake pedal, or activate the engine management brake pedal override feature.
What should you do:
Kia will notify owners, and dealers will replace the brake pedal stopper pad, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 30, 2018. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's number for this recall is SC158.
For more information:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 17V773000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 134366
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