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Jared D
Jared D, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Kia
Satisfied Customers: 1334
Experience:  Shop Supervisor at County Fleet
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I have a 2011 Kia Sorento LX (V6) with push button ignition.

Customer Question

I have a 2011 Kia Sorento LX (V6) with push button ignition. Over the past few years I've had an issue where the push button ignition doesn't work. It's as if the car doesn't detect that the brake pedal is being pushed. The dash lights up and accessories will turn on but the car will not even attempt to crank the engine. A possible hint at the root cause is that I should be able to take the car out of park with the button in the "start" position (green light) even with the engine off and I cannot. When the issue isn't presenting itself, this works just fine. To start the car, I can override this issue by holding the start button in for 15 seconds without pressing the brake pedal and the car starts no problem. This issue is now getting worse and seems to be happening almost every day and even multiple times per day. The first thought I had was that this is a brake switch issue but the Kia dealership ran a diagnostic and couldn't find any error codes or history of error codes with the brake switch. I have found similar posts on the internet for Kia Sorento owners but no one seems to have a resolution. The dealer is struggling to fix the car because it is intermittent and never fails to start when the car is at the dealership, of course. Any ideas where the root cause of this issue may lie?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Kia
Expert:  Jared D replied 1 year ago.

The best way to eliminate the brake switch as the cause of the problem is to check for brake light function when the problem is occurring. If the brake lights don't work, then you know the brake pedal position sensor,is bad. Let me see if I can find any service bulletins on this car where other people have experienced the same problem.

Expert:  Jared D replied 1 year ago.

There is a recall on this exact issue. Has the dealer checked into this to see if the recall has been performed on your car yet?

Expert:  Jared D replied 1 year ago.

Here is the detail sheet they sent to the dealerships.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your reply, Jared. I did test the brake switch, previously, as you mentioned and the brake lights did function when the car wouldn't start. I also checked my paperwork and see that the brake switch recall was performed on my vehicle back in August 2013. This is a tough one. Any other thoughts?
Expert:  Jared D replied 1 year ago.

The only other thing I can think of that would affect the push button start would be a low battery in the key fob, but I don't think you would be able to bypass it by holding the start button as you have been doing. I still suspect the brake pedal switch. I wonder if maybe the brake pedal sensor is out of range and needs to be reprogrammed. Does it change depending on how hard or lightly you press the brake pedal?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have ruled out the key fob also as I have 2 and have changed the batteries.As for the brake switch, when the problem occurs it doesn't matter how hard I press the brake, the car won't start. I wonder if something electrical could be going where the car isn't registering the brake switch even though it's functioning. I've read that faulty fuses can be a culprit for starting issues like this which might explain why it's intermittent but I wouldn't know which fuses to check and there are a lot of them.The weird thing I forgot to mention is that if I just leave the car alone for 15 mins or so when I've having the starting issue, the car will just eventually start normally without needing to do the bypass. So bizzare.
Expert:  Jared D replied 1 year ago.

Now that sounds like a security/ key fob issue. The dealer hasn't been able to pull any codes out of the security system?

Here is a diagram of all of the relays and power sources to the key-less start system.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would have to ask them about that. I have a service appointment on Thursday where they will be changing out the inhibitor switch. I think we're all just guessing at this point.
Expert:  Jared D replied 1 year ago.

Yeah, unfortunately it is really hard to repair problems when the computer won't give us hints and the problem comes and goes. I hope the inhibitor fixes the concern. Please let me know if I can do anything else to help.