Kia Carnival 5 years of pain

I bought a Kia Carnival Platinum in April 2017, for the last five years I have had an issue with a faulty airbag. During this time my airbag has been in fault for 75% of that time. I have taken it in for repair at least 12 times ( I can’t confirm because the dealership and Kia Australia will not supply me the services reports for repairs on this issue). Kia Australia claims this issue is nothing to do with them and they told me to go back to where I bought it from.

I took it back to them explaining the issue and history of failed repairs by another Kia dealership, so I booked it in with them to repair the airbag. I took it in to the service centre and the service manager was not interested my story and all the failed attempts at fixing my car. They had it for three days and told me they have cleared the fault and it has not returned. I picked up my car and ten minutes later the airbag fault light came on. I rang them up and they told me they can’t look at it for a month.

Once again we contacted Kia Australia and they said my car is unsafe and not do drive the car, I asked for the service reports for this issue and was told they are not allowed to to share them with me, I asked is that a legal issue or Kia Australia’s own rule. I then asked not for a copy but a summary of the reports they once again said they will not do that.

I went back to the dealer and said I am willing to give you one more chance to repair the car as long as the gave meet the following assurance
Detailed outline of works to be undertaken

  • What you are planning on doing which differs to what has historically been performed
  • How long you need the vehicle for
  • Should this issue appear to be fixed, length of guarantee on this scope of works (this guarantee would need to be an extension on my current 7-year guarantee)
  • Should this issue occur again in the future you will supply me with a brand-new replacement vehicle
  • All outstanding works to be fixed at the same time (audio unit replaced with new, front USB, front control for rear aircon control of the vehicle) –
  • Provide me with all service & repair reports in relation to my vehicle since April 2017
  • Should this issue not be fixed, you will supply me with a brand-new replacement vehicle

Five times I contacted them in writing and in return all I got back was bring it in we will carry a out a diagnostic of the issue and bring in a specialist tech from Kia Australia ( Kia Australia had previously had a specialist tech oversee the repair ). I was contacted on the phone by the Principal of the dealership and he said if it was up to him he would replace my car with a new one, but then he would be stuck with it because Kia Australia would not replace it. I explained to him that is none of my concern as under Australia Consumer Law my issue is with you selling me a faulty product. After this call that was the last I heard from him.

I had my car in for repair previously in which I said you can have it as long as you want I just want it fixed, they had it for a month and the problem returned 5 months later, I have had the problem return as soon as I left the service centre, 10 minutes, the next day,1 week, 2 weeks a few months or it just goes off and on.

I waited one year for a replacement part, I was told my car was safe to drive. During that year my car was involved in quite a significant accident where my car was T-Boned on the passenger side ( the side the airbag is faulty on) and the airbag did not go off. I got my car repaired rang up the service centre and asked has the part on order to fix my airbag come in, I was told they will look into it, later that day I got a text saying my part has come ( 12 months after they said they had ordered it ) in and to book in its replacement. When my wife took the car into get repaired she explained about the accident and how she was told my car is safe to drive even though the airbag light was on. The current service manager said that’s incorrect and that if the airbag warning light is on it is on for reason.

In summary I have had the car for 6 year and for five of those years my car has had major faults. I am currently exploring my legal options. As I have had enough of all the mistruths, lack of care and their inability to fix the problem.


Hi @Euey,

This is a really unfortunate tale, sorry to hear you’ve been going through so much trouble with this vehicle. There’s not much I can add here, it sounds like you are already exploring some avenues for an escalated situation like this one. There is a brief summary of your consumer rights under the law on our site, link for reference:

We would be interested to hear developments if you’re happy to share them so feel free to post again with updates.


Some years ago, my Uncle, who is a qualified mechanic, had a similar problem with his Audi. The air-bag warning would not go off. After many tries by the dealership to fix it, they gave up and told him it can’t be fixed. He had to drive around with a bit of black tape over the warning light.
Next time I see him I’ll ask what he did with it. You can’t sell a car in that condition.


Thanks Bob

Any advice would be much appreciated

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There are also insurance implications regarding roadworthiness. The inspectors look at the light. The light indicates a faulty airbag. A faulty airbag is a roadworthy fail. An unroadworthy car may not be covered.


That is correct Bob I am hamstrung, We want to get rid of the car it has caused us so much stress. The principal of the dealership said to me that he would like to buy the car off me but then they would be stuck with it, he practically admitted that the product they supplied is not fit for purpose.


That’s true, you couldn’t sell it in the city… but out in the bush, things are a bit different.

Do not confuse selling and buying or driving with legal registration and insurance issues that are consistent regardless of where in a state one is, noting states are each different and ‘perfect enough’ so none have been amenable to change for harmonisation.

In many ways. From life experience of ‘out in the bush’. Whether there is any likelihood it might be different for the little red warning light? A working airbag would be high on my list. There are just too many excuses and not enough road to avoid the inevitable.

Hi. I could have written this word for word myself on the same experience I am having. How have you progressed? We have had the wiring harnesses now replaced to see if that will fix it.

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We have had two Airbag Modules replaced, faulty connection replaced/ repaired, countless resets and sent on our way only for it to return 5 minutes down the road, or as soon as we leave the service centre. They recommended the replacing the entire passenger seat airbag but i have no documentation to say they done that. Now they are saying a wire in the harness is damaged.

I have had it confirmed by VicRoads that if the Airbag warning light is on the car is unroadworthy. We have stopped driving our car since that was confirmed. One suggestion is make sure you get a report on works carried out each time and don’t leave until they give it to you, the wont email it to you and Kia Australia refuse to give to me the history of repairs carried out on my car, claiming it is confidential. Keep a record of every call, conversation and repair.