Kia-Hyundai P1326: Meaning, Causes, & Diagnosis

P1326 is a prevalent Kia and Hyundai code. It indicates that the Knock Sensor Detection System has detected excess engine vibration. An actual engine knock most commonly causes it, but there are a few other causes as well.

Repairing P1326 should be considered a high priority since it indicates catastrophic engine damage. Certain models are covered by an unlimited mile warranty on the engine due to a lawsuit that Kia lost regarding this issue (they’re listed below with a link to the official documentation).


P1326 Definition: Knock Sensor Detection System

Vehicles made by Kia/Hyundai come equipped with a knock sensor detection system. This system will alert the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) that there is an excessive vibration within the engine. When this happens, P1326 will be stored in the PCM.

It’ll also put the vehicle in a limp mode that limits RPM and acceleration speed.


Symptoms

Here are the most common symptoms of P1326:

  • Limited RPM: The PCM will limit engine speed to prevent a catastrophic failure. The limit is usually 2000 RPM.
  • Rod Knock: If you hear rod knock with P1326, the knock sensor is probably fine, and the rod bearings are wearing out.
  • Check Engine Light: It may blink on and off, indicating that the vehicle is in limp mode.

P1326 Causes + Diagnosis

Kia p1326 Diagnosis

Your Kia or Hyundai has a knock sensor to alert you to a serious problem before the engine throws a rod.

While a bad sensor or wiring problem can throw P1326, you should work under the assumption that the code is accurate until you test or replace the sensor.

Bad Knock Sensor

If there is a mechanical issue, replacing the rod bearings is usually what clears P1326. Obviously, that won’t be cheap or easy. On most Hyundai manufactured vehicles, the knock sensor is on the side of the block and pretty easy to get to. Here’s how to replace one (YouTube).

If you recently replaced the knock sensor, be aware that it uses ceramic to detect engine vibration. Torquing it over spec can cause the ceramic to break. This will make the sensor way too sensitive and P1326 will register. The torque specs are usually really light, not much more than a snug.

Wiring Issue

The wiring harness going to the knock sensor can go bad over time. The wiring travels a long distance by itself. Inspect the harness for any cracked, frayed, or burnt wiring.

Take a look at where the harness plugs into the knock sensor. Make sure that the tabs are in good shape. If they look green or oxidized in any way, you’ll need to replace them (it’d be easier to just splice in a new connector) or clean them.

Mechanical Problem

With P1326 it is very possible that the connecting rod bearings have gone bad. At this point, you should take it to the dealership and have them take a look at it. This is a known issue with some of the most popular models made in the last decade.

Kia is offering a lifetime warranty to people who own:

  • 2011-2018 Kia Optima
  • 2012-2018 Sorento
  • 2011-2019 Sportage

Here’s the info on the warranty straight from Kia.


Conclusion

A bad knock sensor, wiring issue, or a serious engine problem can cause P1326 in your Kia/Hyundai vehicle.

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