Kia Owners: Mike’s Kia Sorento

Heavily customized Kia Sorento SUV

Please, welcome our second Kia owner who is participating in our weekly interview. His name is Mike and he’s a proud owner of an eye-catching, black Kia Sorento SUV!

Mike’s introduction:

My name is Mike, I live in Florida (USA), 44 years old, I’m an electrical engineer. In my spare time I like messing with my Sorento (obviously), riding rollercoaster, volunteering and riding bikes.

1. How long have you owned your Kia Sorento SUV?
This is my second Sorento. Got the first one in March 2003, sold it after “personalizing” it and got the 2005 model, which I now own.

2. What cars did you own before Sorento?
Mazda’s, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Dodge

3. Honestly, what was your intention when you bought your Sorento?
I wanted an SUV that wasn’t huge, not overpriced and one that could pull my boat

4. In a few words, describe the style of your Sorento?
It’s sporty, fun to drive and fun to customize

customized2-kia-sorento.jpg     customized-kia-sorento-rear.jpg     customized-kia-sorento.jpg

5. What do you like the most about Sorento?
I like the body lines and shape, it’s price and warranty

6. Is there anything you don’t like about it?
The gas mileage!

7. What is it that makes your Sorento look unique?
I think the hood scoop and “notched body” dual exhaust

8. What Kia Sorento accessories have you installed so far?
-Kia alarm with remote start
-Kia sunroof wind deflector
-Intrax lowering springs
-AirLift 1000 air spring kit
-Directed Electronics automatic headlights
-Black headlights with neon Angel Eyes
-LED parking lights and turn signals
-EuroFX 6000k HID headlights
-Side marker lights
-Black chrome Altezza taillights
-Tomato A&P grille
-‘T’ Style OEM front bumper protector
-3D Carbon hood scoop
-Custom “notched body” S.S. dual exhaust
-Hidden Hitch receiver hitch
-Power Adder air filter
-Custom polished aluminum air intake tube
-Yakima roof rack system with bike trays
-KDM liftgate badge and wheel center caps
-Reverse warning sensor system
-Eibach 30mm wheel spacers
-Ventvisor vent shades
-Gentex autodimming mirror with compass and outdoor temperature
-Pioneer AVIC-D1 head unit with GEX-P910XM XM radio tuner
-Pioneer CDX-P1280 12 disk CD changer
-Sony XM-D1300P5 800w mono digital amplifier
-Kenwood KVA-S300 video selector
-Blaupunkt DVD player
-8″ flipdown monitor
-Rockford Fosgate P310D2 10″ subwoofer in custom built-in enclosure
-Rockford Fosgate P162S component speakers (2 sets)
-Monster 1-farad capacitor
-Dynamat in doors and cargo area
-Dino white faced gauges
-Chrome speedometer trim rings

kia-sorento-hood-scoop.jpg     kia-sorento-accesories.jpg     kia-sorento-accessories.jpg

9. What’s next?
Next is slotted and vented rotors

10. Who helped modify your Sorento?
Did all the work myself with tech help from

11. Products of which tuning company did you use so far?
Intrax, Eibach

12. How would you rate your car; on a scale from 1 to 10?

13. How would you pimp your ride if you had no limits?
Maybe new rims, leather seats and automatic climate control

14. What do people say about your Sorento?
I get asked constantly what kind of SUV it is, “is it a Lexus, Mercedes Benz?” to which I reply, “nope, it’s a KIA”

customized-kia-sorento-front.jpg    kia-sorento-navigation.jpg    kia-sorento-wheels.jpg

15. What would you advise to Kia owners who might be looking to customize their cars in future?
Don’t be afraid to try!

16. Do you see yourself as a Kia owner in the future?

Thank you Mike!


  1. K-Sport (Boris) says:

    –6. Is there anything you don’t like about it?
    The gas mileage!–
    haha. same thing I’d say for sportage. I mean less than 400km is not enough when you fill a tank thats bigger than a maz6’s. And maz6 gives around 490km in a tank fill and same engine size. BTW, the maz6 is used in city driving and the sportage in Highway driving and still we get these figures.
    This sorento looks really wicked! I like the red and black combo rims and the exhaust pies.

  2. himi says:

    Looks so cool. And look at all the accessories Mike has installed so far. He must have spent thousands of $ to do this!

  3. warren says:

    Where did you get the dual exhaust kit model number and site please.

    Your sorento looks great.

  4. kb says:

    I got this Sorento for about 3 years, got this problem. After driving for long distance e.g. more then 200km, the engine runs fine until when I get stuck in a jam. With the air-condition on and the car almost stall, the engine temperature starts to go above the 3/4 mark, then the air condition starts to stall. I will then need to stop the car, wait for about 1 hour for the engine to cool down and pour in water to the coolant container. Thereafter the car runs fine. Which part do you think needs replacing to overcome this problem. This happens quiet a few time already.

  5. Boris (K-sport) says:

    do you always use water for coolant? I dont advice using it as the water itself starts warming up with the engine. using a real coolant is more effective to cool engines.
    the stalling must be because of the amount of stuff added that takes more power to work and the engine cant keep up with the demand. if this is the problem, it explains another thing: it happens in jams because you’ll be using the brakes there.
    dont have any other explanations. do try using coolants to prevent the extra heating. water barely has any effect on cooling.

  6. Jason says:

    Boris is correct. Water is bad for cold and hot environments as a coolant. Water freezes at 32° F (0° C), thus in a cold environment it will cause the engine to take much longer to warm up, if the engine will event start! Warm/ hot environments, plus even in cold when the engine is warmed up, the water boils at 212° F (100° C). Real coolant, like Boris is suggesting, has a lower freezing point, and higher boiling point. And it is a mixture of chemicals that help the engine out (similar to the engine oil having more than just oil in it). Water by itself has stuff that’s not so good for the engine, which can cause rust (aka: oxidation). There is usually a proper mixture, sometimes 50/50, of water to coolant. And it is recommended to use distilled water when you mix with the coolant (distilled water has most/ all of the junk taken out of it that will encourage oxidation). Don’t add just water if your overflow tank is running out. Your thermostat might be the cause of the problem, and the engine isn’t really getting too hot because of the air cooling it when you’re driving. When you are idling, and also running the A/C, the engine is only being cooled by the coolant that is in the radiator. If it’s just water in there, it’s probably boiling off, reducing the amount of fluid in the radiator. This could explain you having to add more water. I’d suggest taking it into a service center (preferably a Kia or Hyundai dealer) to have them properly diagnose what exactly could be causing the problem.

  7. Beth says:

    I have a 2008 Sorento and within the last 8 months or so, we have had to replace the head light bulbs atleast 3 times on 1 side and twice on the other. We have also replaced the tail lights at least 2 times within the last 8 months as well. Is this common? I have a friend who owns a 2005 that has had the same problem as well. If we switched to HID lights do you think that would fix it? Thanks!

  8. Beth says:

    Correction, my truck is a 2006, not a 2008.

  9. Workatkiadealer says:

    Beth, are you useing the right bulbs? it may be the wrong size that your useing. Sometimes kias are funny with parts that arent from Kia go to your local dealership an tell them you want new bulbs an the year an make of your Sorento and the problem continues take it in and have the problem checked out. I hope i helped you out

  10. Workatkiadealer says:

    and if*

  11. shane says:

    i would like to know where i could find ventshades for a 05 kia optima. ive looked everywhere!

  12. Daz Ryan says:

    First that car is something else!! spot on !! however i have the same problem as yourself “fuel consumption “especially uk prices!! i have 20” chrome low profile tyres, lexus lights chrome handles, bars front and rear blacked windows looks very nice, however it could do with a bonnet scoop like yours? have you any cheap sites where i can find one along with the grill that makes it look like a BMW? OR even better a customised grill that is identical to one off a mercedes ml320?? i can find them at reasonable prices until i add postage etc? hope you can help thanks again

  13. Miroslav says:

    I have a problem with backlihgt on a control panel of my Sorento. Sometimes turns on and sometimes turns off, even during driving. Control panel is made by Dino`s. Electrician says that some kind of relay needs to be replaced, but don`t know where to find it. Would be most gratefull if someone can help me.

  14. Greg says:

    Electrical is really something you shouldn’t mess with yourself. Let a Kia professional take care of it. You don’t want to do something wrong, and end up as a charred remains on the side of the road.

  15. Keith says:

    Could you please tell me where I could find these Altezza tail lights for the Sorento, I have looked everywhere
    your Sorento is awesome….thank you.

  16. sjbtax says:

    Try Keith

  17. Jerry says:

    I have a 2008 Sorento and was wondering if it is possible to install a line in plug on the radio so I can plug in my Ipod Touch.

  18. Kid Icarus says:

    Yes….there are plenty of items that will do that. Just go to your local car stereo store and ask them.

  19. Kid Icarus says:

    SHANE – Kia has officialy discontinued the vent shades (sport visors) for the 2001-2006 Optima but I know some dealers still have some stock of them. Part number should be a UT010-AY070A I believe. I know has some.

  20. RwsRichard says:

    You have done a lot of cool owrk on your Sorento.

    I also have 2007 Sorento and would like to know how you installed the fog lights, please. My
    Sorento is setup as an optional equipment.

  21. lildarlin says:

    Hi! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the tail lights, but am having trouble finding some to order online–anyone have any suggestions? I bought a 2006 Kia Sorento December 26, 2008 and would love to start customizing it!

  22. Michael says:

    Where did you get the dual exhaust kit

  23. Glenn says:


  24. I need ideas for my Spec5, it’s very hard to find body kits even online. My Spec is black and I do want to keep it that way, does anyone have any suggestions? Oh, by the way, I sell new and used Kias, please call me at 901-215-8888.

  25. Alex says:

    KIA knows that Sorento has a problem with coolant tank cracking and leaking (just Google it – thousands of hits!) Why does KIA not do the decent thing and issue a recall on those? Why make us spend time and money and, most importantly, potentially ruine engines due to overheating??? My car is 200 miles over 60,000 and the repair is not under warranty…

    Another thing–IMPOSSIBLE to change spark plugs ($300+ at dealership)

    IMPOSSIBLE to change belts–$800!!! job at dealership.

    TPS went out–$300.

    Seats cracked, buttons peeled, brake rotors warped… And I take care and mainain cars very well.

    Verdict – NEVER buy a KIA! Nothing but problems.

  26. Greg says:

    We don’t have to hold the button for three seconds to shut the car off. We don’t have to deal with a monthly Ford recall, either.

  27. Greg says:

    And when Toyota makes a recall it isn’t just a few thousand, it’s millions.

  28. Vinny says:

    Why have billions when you can have millions?

  29. Rabbit.ak-47 says:

    Nevie mi niekto povedat prečo je to také škaredé?

  30. I agree with Greg, definitely don’t touch the electrical stuff. I’d go to my parts guy

  31. Sally Hewitt says:

    Mike~ Where did you find the Black chrome Altezza taillights for your Sorento? I have a 2005 and want to dress her up.
    Would greatly appreicaite you sharing your info

  32. My wife has a 2003 Kia Sorento LX and I want to do a couple of things to it. Where did you get your automatic Kia alarm w/remote start and your in dash dvd/navigational system.

  33. Abuelo Ferbon says:

    Can you please you can tell me where you buy the black tail lights of you sorento?

  34. Ian George says:

    hey! nice car..i have one too but it’s Kia Sorento Novus 2.5…and just want to ask u where do u buy ur exterior accessories from?

  35. Cris says:

    Awesome! Where can i find this bumper guard?

  36. Sherry Arrington says:

    I have to say, I was given a kia sportage for my birthday of 2012, and today I just got in a accident, if it wasn’t for the kia sportage i will not be here today, with god next to me. I skid on black ice today and the car went out of control and hit a light pole, and went right smack down on the top of the roof, not to say my car had double sun roof, the pole was inches from my head on top of the roof of the car, glass broke all over the place, air bag went off and the front end smashed into the engine, the light pole smash the top of the car. All I have to say if you can see the car, I should not be here today. Kia is a well made car, and I will get another today and will never ever by another car but a Kia. So Kia good job, and do not let anyone say it is not a well made car.

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