Kia Forte Reliability: How Long Will It Last? - VehicleHistory (2023)

Josh Barrett

Feb 28, 2022

While some years have fared better than others, Kia’s subcompact Forte has built a reliable reputation. Provided you follow the suggested service schedule, a Forte from any model year should reach 150,000 to 200,000 miles.

Kia Forte Reliability: How Long Will It Last? - VehicleHistory (1)

Key Points

  • Slotted right above the Rio in the Kia lineup, Forte owners across the internet claim of reaching 150,000 to 200,000 miles on little more than regular maintenance.
  • Driving an average of 12,000 miles per year, expect roughly 13 to 17 years of service out of a Kia Forte before mechanical repairs put longevity in question.
  • Considering a 2012 Kia Forte has a starting Blue Book value of around $5,400, the unit might not be worth replacing should the motor fail, which runs around $4,000.
  • Forte engines from 2012 to 2015 are likely to fail before 100,000 miles, costing upward of $5,000 to replace. 2019 models use a new CVT known to fail with just 10,000 miles.
  • Kia Fortes from 2016-2018 are the most reliable and have the best chance to reach 150,000 miles or more. Models from 2020 and newer still require more time on the road.

Kia Forte Reliability: How Long Will It Last? - VehicleHistory (2)

How Long Will a Kia Forte Last? Owners Regularly Boast 150,000 to 200,000 Problem-free Miles, or Up to 17 Years of Service Before Repair Bills Start Mounting

The subcompact Forte debuted for 2010 to replace Kia’s longstanding Spectra sedan. Three generations later, the Forte remains, slotted right above the Rio in Kia’s lineup.

As for how long a Kia Forte will last, online forums like Forte Forums, and Vehicle History owner reviews, show the car should reach 150,000 to 200,000 miles or more before needing major repairs. Driving 12,000 miles per year, that’s about 13 to 17 years of service.

“I have 183,000 miles on my car, and it still runs like it is brand new,” says Vehicle History reviewer Anita D. about her 2010 Kia Forte. “I have kept up with routine maintenance.”

Sara B., a 2012 Kia Forte owner, shares, “This vehicle is super reliable! I have had it for two years and have driven it across America without a single problem. It is at almost 130,000 miles, and it is still going strong.”

What makes one Kia Forte last longer than another? Longevity typically comes down to how well the vehicle has been maintained, but driving habits also factor in.

Kia Forte Reliability: How Long Will It Last? - VehicleHistory (3)

Routine Maintenance is the Best Way to Bolster the Longevity of a Kia Forte, Including Changing the Oil Every 3,000-5,000 Miles

A good rule of thumb is to consider retiring a vehicle once you encounter a repair totaling around 75 percent of the car’s Blue Book value.

As an example, a 2012 Kia Forte LX, with average miles, has a starting value of about $5,400. With an engine replacement running at least $4,000 to $4,500, you might be better off investing in a newer vehicle.

Engine and transmission repairs tend to be the costliest, so servicing its components should be a top priority. Changing the oil and oil filter helps keep the engine’s internals free from buildup. Kia suggests changing the engine oil and filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

Other routine services include flushing the transmission fluid, changing the spark plugs, and maintaining the cooling system. Be sure to visit Kia’s service page for full maintenance details on any Kia year, make, or model.

Kia Forte Reliability: How Long Will It Last? - VehicleHistory (4)

First-generation Kia Fortes have Problems with Engine Knock, Often Requiring that the Motor be Replaced for Upwards of $5,000

Looking closer at complaints from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some Forte years are more reliable than others.

First-generation Fortes (2010 to 2013) offer either 2.0L or 2.4L engines. Both are known to make knocking/clicking sounds that ultimately lead to the engine needing replaced. The problem also affects second-gen. models (2014 to 2017) from 2014 and 2015.

Owners report replacing the engine before 100,000 miles, spending as much as $5,000.

While it doesn’t account for all failure reports, Kia recalled almost 300,000 units over the 2.0L and 2.4L motors, including the Forte. A manufacturer’s defect was found that could cause the engine to fail and catch fire.

For the third-generation Forte, Kia switched to a Continuously Variable Transmission. However, automotive site Car Complaints shows models from 2019 are prone to CVT failure at around 10,000 miles.

Kia Forte Reliability: How Long Will It Last? - VehicleHistory (5)

How Long Will a Kia Forte Really Last? Expect to Clock at Least 150,000 Miles Before Longevity Becomes Questionable

When properly maintained, a Kia Forte can last more than 200,000 miles. However, don’t be surprised if you, like many owners before, run into costly powertrain problems after 150,000 that outweigh the vehicle’s value.

Your best bet is to think twice about models from 2010 to 2015 over potential engine failure and reconsider Fortes from 2019 over problematic first-year CVTs.

Regardless, always have a trusted mechanic inspect a high-mileage Kia Forte for signs of regular maintenance. If you’re shopping for the latest Kia Forte, the automaker debuted the model’s fourth generation for 2022, but more time is needed to gauge its longevity.

Photos: Kia

Owner Reviews

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Liz P on February 4, 2022

Had Problems With My Kia Forte Since Day One

I have had a lot of issues with my car from day one. After a month of purchasing the brand new vehicle, I had to have the axle replaced because it was rotting. I have had numerous tires replaced because they are low profile, will never do that again. The car has an extremely hard ride, you feel every bump in the road. The car had to have it is engine replaced and I didn't have my car for 6 months.

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Laur A on September 3, 2021

Kia Forte Is Dependable

I have had absolutely no issues with it! I bought it used with about 40,000 miles on it and have since added about 50,000 more miles. I take excellent care of my car and it has never given me any trouble. The only thing I have had to replace, besides the usual oil and tires, there is a small flap that controlled the air vents.

Sam S on February 20, 2022

Kia Forte Is Easy With Home Repairs

The car runs well and has been very reliable. I don't usually do too much car work, but for me, it's really easy to change out the headlight bulbs, headlight, battery, and fuses. I feel like Kia has really made things user-friendly. They even include a little tool, which is hidden next to the battery, for unloading the fuses.

Ashley M on August 10, 2021

The Kia Forte Has Some Pros And Cons

The Kia forte is very fuel-efficient. The Kia forte I have is a manual vehicle, nothing is automatic so that saves me a lot of money to keep in my pocket rather than I am the gas tank. The Kia forte did have two recalls on it with the airbags and also with the brakes as well. But luckily with all recalls it was free to fix.

Melanie Dickie on September 27, 2021

Blown Engine In My Kia Forte

I heard a loud knock from the engine, the car's RPMs went to zero and the car died, I was able to get the car off the road, I had the car towed to the dealership where I bought it from and they confirmed the engine was blown. I still owe 10k on the car, KIA has recalled this same motor in other vehicles but not in mine.

Sophia P on June 29, 2021

Kia Forte Can Outlast Bad Weather

(Video) 2019 Kia Forte K21106A 3KPF24AD6KE007560

This car is very reliable it has gone through rain hail and snow through the city and uphill regularly and even now at 110k miles, it's still going strong if you keep up with maintenance this car will last for years to come. The inside of the car has also stood well intact through carpool and all.

April L on December 2, 2021

Kia Forte Has Way To Many Problems

Since I have owned my Kia Forte I have had to replace the thermostat, radio, battery, both front tires, and the reservoir for the coolant, now I am having problems with my ac not working and my car overheating. Also, have a rattling underneath my car. I would not recommend buying this car a all.

Hannah B on October 11, 2021

Kia Forte Is Reliable With Minor Problems

I have owned my car for 4 years and it is been the most reliable vehicle I have owned! I do wish the ac blow harder. Also, another flaw of the design is the power steering pump is located on the bottom of the car so when you go thru high waters it messes with the power steering.

Kristy Andersen on September 21, 2021

The Kia Forte Has Horrible Engine Failure

The engine needs to be replaced at 148 000kms. Bought the car with about 28 000kms on it. I’ve maintained the car and gotten the oil changed regularly and always on time. MANY recalls and won lawsuits about Kia engines on all kinds of models. No recall for us 2013 Forte owners

Maya H on August 21, 2021

Kia Forte Has To Many Issues

It is constantly needing mechanical repairs. It is only reliable for people who are wanting a car for short work commutes. I do not recommend buying this vehicle for any other purposes. The radio and style of the car are outdated and it is hard to get parts for this car.

Mary on October 4, 2021

Kia Forte Had Steering Column Problems

Doesn’t have a recall for steering column repair. The local mechanic can’t get parts so had to go to the dealership which charged $918 to fix it. My 2014 has only 29,000miles but the steering columns seem to be a common repair according to two different mechanics.

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Sharonne M on October 9, 2021

Kia Forte Is A Dream

I am not the best when it comes to the care and maintenance of vehicles. This car has been a dream. It has had limited problems and is not much money to keep up. I like that it is reliable even under the hardest of circumstances. I would definitely recommend it.

John J on February 27, 2022

Nothing But Reliable From My Kia Forte

The Kia forte is a very reliable car and the most important thing is that it gets you from point a to point b without any problems. It requires very little maintenance so long as you get the regular oil check and other regular maintenance.

John scotto on January 30, 2023

A dream

I bought my 2010 kia forte in 2020 with 131K mi. Had it for two years and it is, by far, the sweetest and most reliable car I have ever owned. It's a 5 speed manual and drives like a sports car. Bought it for 2800.00 and it's a keeper

Audrey Z on November 19, 2021

With Regular Maintenance The Kia Forte Is Reliable

I have not had hardly any issues with my forte. Keeping up with regular maintenance is important as with any car. The fuse in my windows blows pretty often that is really the worst thing. It is good on gas and it is reliable.

Nicole C on August 12, 2021

Kia Forte Is Reliable For Distance Travel

I have used it to travel all over the country without any problems. I have had some issues with brakes from time to time, so that has been a concern. The car does not take damage easily and is pretty sturdy and reliable.

Jay F on October 16, 2021

Kia Forte: Horrible Cheaply Made Cars

Makes horrible noises. Cheaply made. I would not recommend this car, nor would I buy a Kia again. It consists of cheap parts and materials. Under the hood, cheap parts break down easily.

(Video) 2018 Kia Forte K3231P 3KPFK4A75JE192810

Anna C on July 26, 2021

The Kia Forte Is Has Many Recalls

So far there have been 5 safety recalls. My odometer has a mind of its own. I have had the car 7 months check engine light came on with an evaporation leak (500+) to repair.

Angela T on October 3, 2021

Kia Forte's Engine Knocking At 100,000 Miles.

The engine in this car blows at 100,000 miles. As soon as the factory warranty is up. There is a class-action lawsuit. It was a great car up until it hit 100,000 miles.

Tracy H on July 24, 2021

My Dependable Kia Forte

It is the most reliable car I have ever owned. There has been little to no maintenance needed. Just brake replacement and oil changes. It is almost at 200k miles.

Della N on October 20, 2021

Things Often Do Not Work: Kia Forte

The manual transmission does not shift smoothly. The electronics on the car often do not work. The seats are uncomfortable. The trunk and doors leak.

Josh Barrett

After 13+ years of hustling in the exciting world of car sales, Josh Barrett took off to travel the world with his dog Teemo. He's since been an automotive journalist and editor for Vehicle History as an original member of the content team. His works can also be found on automotive sites AutoChimps and CashCarBuyers, including in-depth transmission troubleshooting guides and car-care advice.

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