Tapping or Creaking Noise when coasting at low speed

Discussion in 'Kia Niro' started by wizziwig, Jun 8, 2019.

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Do you hear the same noise?

  1. Yes, I hear the same noise

    44 vote(s)
  2. No, I don't hear the noise

    24 vote(s)
  1. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    So apparently my dealer thinks this noise is normal for an electric motor and they won't do anything to fix it. The tech said their demo Niro EV makes the exact same sound when driving below 10 mph and letting pure regen slow the car. I wasn't present to verify that claim but it wouldn't surprise me after reading owners complain about it on almost every international e-Niro forum. The above video came from this French forum where about a dozen owners have been dealing with this defect since March with no sign of a permanent solution.

    Just warning any customers considering buying this car from KIA USA. Even if your test drive model doesn't make the noise, there is no guarantee it won't eventually develop this defect like many others. Seems to take different amount of time on each car - maybe depending on where and how you drive it or varying manufacturing tolerances.

    It's interesting that the extremely annoying VESS pedestrian warning moaning starts at about the same time as this knocking noise and drowns it out to some extent - I wonder if KIA did that on purpose? My car has VESS permanently disabled since it's not required by law until next September. If you want to temporarily disable VESS and don't have the off button like European Niros, then just pull fuse labeled "Module 4" inside the cabin fuse box. Location shown in owner manual.

    Attached is what it sounds like now at 4000 miles. Even worse than when I started this thread. It now does it on any regen level (0 though 3). All I have to do is drive around a flat parking lot without using the friction brakes - just tap accelerator to 10mph and let regen slow you down. At higher speeds, the slow knocking speeds up and becomes a constant rumbling/droning noise instead.

    Attached Files:

    • clip.mp4
      File size:
      657.7 KB
    BrionS likes this.
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  3. Howard Ablat

    Howard Ablat New Member

    I have this sound on my brand new kia niro ev with only 300+ miles. It sometimes sound like I'm driving next to a motorcycle at certain speeds. It gets really annoying. Does the sound eventually go away?
    Andrew Le likes this.
  4. Case

    Case New Member

    No. if anything it only gets worse.
    BrionS and Andrew Le like this.
  5. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    I'm at about 4500 miles.

    Unfortunately the sound will continue to get worse, eventually spreading to higher speeds where it speeds up to produce a sort of droning, buzzing, or rumbling sound that is always there is the background. For me, it's worst in the 30-40 mph range after the drivetrain has been warmed up through a long drive. The slow tapping noise below 10 mph has also gone from only being present during deceleration to also there when slowly accelerating.

    Agreed that it often sounds like a moped under my hood. :(

    If KIA's goal was to build a "Stealth EV", this sure does the job. Not only does it look like a regular gasoline car, it almost sounds like one. :p

    If you're interested in following this topic, there are more active discussions in the UK forum here. That post also links to other international forums with similar threads. You can use desktop Chrome browser to translate.
    BrionS likes this.
  6. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    Hilarious video. The relevant bits start at time offset 5:30. Looks like this owner was lucky enough to reject the car under some kind of lemon law and get his money back to buy a Tesla. At least it looks like KIA in Europe is fully aware of the "ticking motor" problem with many of these cars.

    Andre Laurence likes this.
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  8. mf989

    mf989 Member

    800 miles on mine, built 08/2019. Starting to think I hear the clicking. Ugh.
    Andrew Le likes this.
  9. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    That's disappointing to hear but not unexpected. I've seen no evidence on any of the international forums that KIA ever found a permanent solution to the problem so new cars are still likely being produced that will eventually develop the motor/gearbox rattle. If you want to be sure, try temporarily removing module 4 fuse, as I explained earlier in the thread. Diagnosis or recording is much easier without the VESS audio whine in the background.
  10. ITown

    ITown Member

    My 2 cents - unless the noise is really disruptive (not a quiet rattle), it's probably not worth taking it in for a fix until there's evidence that Kia can reliably solve the issue. The power train warranty is good for 10 years so you aren't going to be screwed if you wait a year to get it dealt with.
    Andrew Le likes this.
  11. mf989

    mf989 Member

    About 1300 miles on the ODO, less than 2 months old, and Kia is planning to replace my motor for this noise. However, there are no motors available in North America with no lead time for stock.

    I’m a week into being without my vehicle, 3 more until I start pursuing the lemon law buy-back!!!
    Andrew Le likes this.
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  13. MartyDow

    MartyDow Active Member

    6500 miles; I hear nothing except typical windup under heavy acceleration...
  14. Wow. Seems many people have had this problem, but not all. I am only at 400 miles, so far so good (fingers crossed).

    mf989, how can you tell the build date? According to this decoder, all I can tell is what order it rolled off the production line from which plant. Is there a place I can look up which numbers were produced when at each plant?
  15. mf989

    mf989 Member

    The vehicle date is above the VIN in drivers side door sil.
  16. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    Since all the discussions moved over to the UK forum, I forgot to update this thread with my Niro status.

    I had my motor replaced in late November with the new 711 part revision. My new motor was built first week of November, took about two weeks to get here from Korea, and then another few days to install. Total time without car was 6 weeks. New motor is silent. No more tapping or purring noises at all. Hopefully it stays that way much longer than my original motor.

    With the motor noise fixed, I do now notice some of the other noises this car produces. You have that "Shhhh" type brake noise whenever you reverse with your foot on the brake pedal or whenever you gently slow the car to a stop and it switches from regen to friction brakes. Between 30-50 mph, there's also sometimes a cricket-like chirping and high frequency ringing in your ears that appears to come from the inverter. I think these electrical sounds were always there (just drowned out by defective motor) so it's probably normal for this design. Overall I found our Chevy Bolt EV to be much quieter. Tesla M3 drivetrain was also quieter but tire and wind noise were much worse.
    BrionS likes this.
  17. Axle

    Axle New Member

    I've just recently started to research this issue as my wife's car is now making the clicking noise. It started at around 3000 miles, now over 4000 and the noise is getting worse. Also because I only drive it occasionally, I think the feeling of the brake pedal is changing slightly with onset of the noise. I registered a complaint with Kia so they have record of it and will take the car in probably next week for the dealer to duplicate and then get advice from Kia. By reading the previous post where the problem was fixed by replacing the motor, I'm a bit concerned about what the noise actually is and what damage is being done.
  18. Uh oh. Well, 750 miles now, and so far so good. Turns out mine was assembled in August (at the Žilina, Slovakia plant if I read the VIN properly). The Kona has the same powertrain. Does anyone know if this has been a problem for Hyundais and how frequently?
  19. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    Yes. Same exact problem on the Konas. Plenty of international threads about this common defect. You can start reading on our own forum here. Not sure if it ever shipped (heard it was canceled in USA) but most likely the 2020 KIA Soul also has it. It looks like the revised motor didn't appear until October or November so it might take a while for most new inventory cars to include it. Won't know if the new motor revision even fixes the problem (or just delays it) until a few more months from now.
  20. dang. I did a little reading up before I purchased, but apparently not enough. Consumer reports gave it a good repair record, but .....guess not good enough.

    Glad your sound problem is gone....but for how long? Sounds like it could be hundreds to thousands of miles before you know. Any notion of how frequently this problem comes up?

    The poll here is a start, but a lot of people without the problem might not even come into the thread.
  21. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    No way to know for sure how many cars are affected because most owners will never visit an online forum like this one. You have to make an educated guess based on the low number of total sales vs. the number of people complaining about this issue in every international KIA/Hyundai forum. Since they bothered to revise the motor in an attempt to prevent the problem, it can't be an insignificant percentage of cars.

    Don't feel bad about not doing enough research. I spent months researching these cars and also didn't know about this issue. That was because I didn't check the international forums where these cars went on sale much earlier and owners accumulated enough miles to notice it. Most professional reviewers like CR or others don't keep the cars long enough to find all the problems - especially on a new model.

    In the future, I will NEVER buy a first-model-year car again!
    BrionS likes this.
  22. I knew the electric Kias had been around for a couple of years globally with little modification to the power systems except increasing the battery pack size from what they had for the Soul initially. I had hoped the gotchas would have been found. Well, I have the 710 motor. At almost 1000 miles...we will see.

    Is it known what is going wrong? Broken gear tooth? Something else?

  23. wizziwig

    wizziwig Active Member

    KIA is unlikely to publicly admit anything is wrong or offer any explanation in fear of class action litigation.

    From that angle, your 710 motor revision looks identical to my 711. Other owners who have done the repair also have not found any externally visible differences. Supposedly the mechanics have said that some of the bolts and their supports have been lengthened and reinforced connecting the transmission. Maybe the whole thing is just coming apart at the seams from the high torques? Baffling how the design made it to production without someone noticing a problem.

    I'm fairly confident in the parts shared with the regular Hybrid Niro (now on third year) but I do wonder how well they tested the new EV-specific components of the car. In addition to the motor issues, we also have an official water pump recall that affected early cars like mine.

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