Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Kia Spectra Engine Issues



  • Had intermittent problems starting my '05 Spectra5. All power came up fine, no start, no click, no dimming of lights when you turn the key. One day, out of frustration when it did it, I pounded the wheel about 11:00 with my fist whine the key was in the start position and bingo, it fired right up. Works every time! Can you imagine the look on the service advisor's face when I told him that? It was priceless. Of course it never fails to start when it's at the dealership.
  • Hello all,

    I've owned lots of Hondas and was considering a Honda Fit. But I came across a 2005 Spectra5 w/ 20K miles at a good price. Still has factory warranty.

    After test driving both, I prefer the Kia.

    Kia kind of "scares" me because of a poor reputation in their early production. And it seems maybe their warranties aren't worth the paper they are written on? I've read complaints about Kia not standing behind their cars and honoring their warranty.

    What do y'all think? Would it be a mistake for me to buy the used Spectra5 instead of a Honda Fit? I was certainly impressed by the Kia. But if the previous owner used the "wrong oil" or missed a service by a few miles, I fear they will void the warranty.

    Then again, if these are good, dependable cars, I won't need it!

    So, come on, Kia Spectra5 pilots... talk me into one!! Or I'll end up in yet another Honda ;)

    Have you had problems with yours? Major repairs?

  • acm563acm563 Posts: 11
    First off let me tell you that if you are buying a used KIA and are depending upon the warranty that you need to have all service records for that vehicle or the warranty is useless. Also remember that the 100K warranty is not transferrable only the 60K. My son has the 2002 Spectra LE, which he bought used at 36K and at 38K the transmission went out on it and the dealership wouldnot pay for the replacement. ALSO I do not know if any other Kia owners have had this issue but both with my 2004 Kia and my sons 2002 there will be times for no apparent reason that the car just will not start, it acts like it is getting no fuel...then if you wait a few hours go out and give it gas before starting it will finally start and you have to let it idle for a while before you drive it. Also, repeated times of really rough driving like it is struggling to get either the gas or maybe vaccum locked in some way....We have just had various odd symptoms out of both of the Kias that the shop says they cannot duplicate. I personally will never buy another one. Also, in both Kias there is something with the actual design of these cars that if you want the windows down instead of having the air on you may as well forget it as the noise is deafining and actually hurts your eardrums with the vibration...weird but true.....I have never owned a HOnda so I cant comment on that but IMO KIA should be called POS and not KIA
  • I have a 2002 Kia Spectra and reently heard a rattling noise coming form the engine when accelerating. I had it looked at right away and i was told that the rod bearing was bad and that the whole engine had to be replaced! The cost for this is approx $3000 which is more than or close to what the car is worth. The car only has 88,000 miles. I know its not low mileage, but for a 2002 model in this day and age, a new engine at this mileage seems ridiculous to me. Any one else out there experience similar problems? Is there anything i can do apart form send it to the junk yard? Piece of crap! :sick:


  • acm563acm563 Posts: 11
    Good Luck....I hope the 2002 my son has doesnt do the same thing. It only has 37K on it and we had to replace the transmission. I have a 2004 and as I said in my opinion they are POS....but others claim to have good luck with theirs so who knows
  • Thanks to those who replied to my post asking if I should buy a Spectra5. I bought a 2005 Toyota Matrix instead. They were the same year, same price. Hard to pass on the 'yota, even though in many ways I prefered the Kia.

    Last year, I bought a 2002 MINI Cooper and the tranny failed at 34K miles. 4 months out of warranty. "Tough sh**" was the response I got from MINI. Even though I found multiple posts on the internet of the same failure. Even though they dumped the Midland transmission after 2yrs and replaced it with Getrag transmissions. So, why did MINI tell me, "we've not had any problems?" Why did the dealer tell me, "we haven't had any transmission failures here?" If that were true, why go to a new transmission?

    By the way, Toyota has done the exact same thing on their 03-04 Matrix transmission that were failing right and left. Acting like they know nothing about it. But, hmmm... for some mysterious reason they put a new tranny design in the 05 Matrix. Wow, imagine that. They just "randomly" decide to fix something that isn't broken.

    It's time we stand up to these car companies. There is simply no excuse for a drive train or engine to fail at these low miles. I don't see how they can defend it even at 100K miles. Cars should last at least that long.

    I can accept that poor engineering happens. I don't condemn them for that. I don't expect perfection. What I DO expect is for them to face up to their mistakes and make it right. I expect them to stand behind what they sell.

    If I did business the way they do, I'd be out of business.

    I was a loyal BMW / MINI fan. I will now do my best to spread the word that they wouldn't fix my car for me. I will not own one again. Even though they now have great reliability records.

    Maybe we figure out a way to not let them get away with this any more.

    P.S. BMW if you're reading this, I own a Porsche now. It's 20 years old and it is a better machine than you can ever hope to build. So take that!!!!
  • I just bought a 2006 Spectra 5 and was told by Car Max, where i bought it, that the manufacturer warranty was still on the car, to 60,000 miles. They also sold me their own, 75,000 mile warranty but i have to pay a small deductible each time i let them fix the car.

    I noticed today after looking through everything that i have absolutely NO previous maintenance records on the car. It has 20,000 miles on it. I dont even know when the oil was changed. So Car Max was telling me i had a warranty from KIA, but really they should have told me i dont because the previous owner provided no records?
  • acm563acm563 Posts: 11
    From everything I was told by Kia, no records =no warranty. If the engine fails at 33K and all you have are your maintenance records I would say you will get nothing, zip, nada...unless you happen to have an awesome service rep at your local dealership. Mine seemed like a nice guy when I bought the car and yes that is what sold me on the 2002, having the warranty to 60K but then when I tried to use the warranty we were just SOL. For the warranty to be effective you have to have all the records from the moment the car left the dealership brand new. My son is having more weird issues with the 02 Spectra where it acts like maybe the brakes are sticking or something but it is so intermittent we cant duplicate problem for mechanic. Its not the triny again as the rpms arent going up...who knows ..but as I said I will never buy a KIA again......
  • nodulenodule Posts: 118
    Dear Backy....who whoever else would like to comment....

    Is there any evidence that the 2008 Spectra EX is NOT at the same build quality
    as the 200 Elantra SE? Im considering purchasing the Spectra EX for a long term
    car of around 150,000 miles.

    I would love your thoughts!

    Thank you!
  • I am so sorry you had this problem, and thank you for your post. Anyone who reads what you have to say before buying will be informed. I really appreciate it.

    Here is what I found out:

    I talked to Kia this morning, I was really upset. They told me that they should be able honor the warranty as I am starting at 18, 600 miles, even though there are no records. They also gave me the number of the dealership in Texas where the car was purchased so that i can attempt to get any service records kept there. They also told me that if I start the severe maintenance now and save the records of everything i should be fine, that my car is under 19,000 miles so there was not much to do in that period of time anyway. They also said that if the fluids are clean and whatnot, it will be obvious enough that the car was being maintained to their satisfaction.

    She did say that they can still refuse however if something goes wrong and there is some evidence that maintenance was neglected. So I guess they can do whatever they want.

    Car Max will be giving me their records, which i demanded today, and hopefully dealership in Texas has something for me too.
    But in any event, at the worst I will have to fall back on Car Max's warranty to 94,000 miles. I have to pay a deductible each time i get a repair, $50 at their place or $75 at any state certified mechanic.
  • acm563acm563 Posts: 11
    Hope it all works out for you. My son called me again today to say the 2002 was acting up again. It appears it is the new transmission we just put in about 2000 miles ago...We bought the new transmission from the Kia dealership, lets see what excuse they give us for not honoring THAT warranty now.....
  • Gosh that is awful....and thanks, you too. It sounds like the mechanics that build and work on Kias don't know what they are doing.

    I bet my Kia warranty will turn out to be useless, but we will see. I will follow up to everyone know.
  • yes best thrash car on the market no body roll no rev limit goes till it blows 3 yrs and still no blow up
  • I see a lot of Kia bashing on this board and thought I would let you know that I had a very positive experience recently. I bought a 2004.5 Kia Spectra (when the new version first came out) for my teenage son. We just had to have the short block replaced due to a suspected oil pump failure- MAJOR repair. We did have most of the maintenance records, missing one of the oil change receipts. Some maintenance work had been done at the dealer, some oil changes at Jiffy Lube. They repaired the engine under their warranty program, even towed it to the dealership at no cost to us. We did have to pay for filters and fluids, about $200.00. That would have been a very costly repair had they not covered it under warranty - about 35,000 miles on the car. I give kudos to Kia for this one. :D
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,238
    Kia dealership. I mean, with my two Kia's, a 1999 Sephia and a 2001 Sportage 4X4, I did have to use that generous Warranty a few times. But the dealer I went to always took care of the problem and I don't remember having to wait very long for the fix or repair or recall, whatever it might have been. I often wonder how good people have kept up with their maintenance and the paperwork that goes along with that maintenance work, ya know? I never had a problem with either of my Kia dealership's service departments. Really, they want to take good care of you so you'll come back and buy again, it doesn't make sense that Kia dealerships would want to alienate you for any reason.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • jaxbmcjaxbmc Posts: 1
    bought a used 2001 Spectra (70,000ish miles on it) 18 months ago. No problems at first, about six months in it started stalling (w/check engine light) when idling with the brakes on (at stoplights), usually about the time the engine cooling fan kicked on. Looked through the owners manual and consequently tightened the gas cap? huh who knew.. Seemed to do the trick so I added an extra rubber o-ring so my spouse wouldn't have any issues tightening it. Well here we are nine months later and the same thing is happening again, the gas cap trick ain't getting it no more. It's stalling again when idling and/or A/C is turned on. Can anyone tell me a fix? Seems like it's vapor lock or possibly something electrical (as everything just goes off, dead, kaput). Re-starts just fine? and runs until it just shuts off again (sometimes a day sometimes a week)..
  • dawnelldawnell Posts: 1
    My Kia had no problems or signs of any problems. All of a sudden it wont start. The battery seems to be fine, and the engine turns over, but it wont get the engine started. It has plenty of gas. The ECU fuse was blown, and I replaced it. Anyone know what could be wrong with it?
  • sam96sam96 Posts: 3
    My Kia Spectra does not have the insulation material under the hood. Why does Kia not want this. Can this lack of insulation create too much heat for the hood and thereby harm the paint on the hood? Does it even matter? Ideas, comments, your experience, please. thanks! :confuse:
  • pembergerpemberger Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem reported here for 2007 models. The check engine light comes on. First 2 times I called service they said just tighten gas cap and then wait 3 days to see if the light goes of. I did and the light did go off, after 3 days. Since then the same proble has occurred 3 more times. The care was new in April 2008 and has 3200 miles on it. Is there any better gas cap available? I tighten it down to 5 or 6 clicks but the problem continues. Any other solutions?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,966

    Edmunds Moderator

    Need some roadside assistance? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Just purchased or leased a vehicle? Share your vehicle reviews

    PF_Flyer's 2014 Versa Note Long Term Blog
    How To Start Your Own Long Term Blog

  • pizardpizard Posts: 45
    Just had my Spectra in for oil change and rotation and Firestone noticed that there was a crack in the crankshaft.

    Does anyone know if this is covered by the powertrain warranty? The car is 6 years old and only has about 50,000 miles on it.

  • Powertrain warranty on a new one is 10 yrs / 100k miles for the ORIGINAL owner only, subsequently it's 6 yrs / 50k miles. I can't imagine an '02 would be any better.. My bet is it's out of warranty (unless you're the original owner)... only because it's so close... it always happens that way :mad:
  • pizardpizard Posts: 45
    Well the dealership said it was an axel problem but then paperwork said crankshaft but regardless it wasn't covered by warranty even though we still have the powertrain warranty. We are original owners with only 50k miles on it and it's just over 6 years old.

    Costs $600 for repair and 2 new tires damaged from crack.

    Dealership ripoff.
  • Sounds more like a problem with a front axle.
    I don't know how a tech could eyeball a crankshaft--an internal engine part--while rotating tires. Unless Superman had to get a day job.

    Get the Firestoners to speak specifically, since this diagnosis does not make any sense. :confuse:

    Check with your KIA dealer, there is the possibility of a recall or they could do a warranty stretch.

    Or the Firestoners could be lying, or incompetent.
    It's been known to happen!

    Second opinion, I suggest.
  • pizardpizard Posts: 45
    OK, that makes sense since that's what the Kia dealership said, but regardless they wouldn't cover it since the axle wasn't part of the powertrain warranty (according to them).
  • Pizard, you might want to check a second source. Dealers have been known to make up stuff on occasion. It is probably not covered by warranty, since they get paid for warranty work. But I'd check with another KIA dealer or KMA (Kia Motors). There is also a fed. govt. site having to do with faulty parts and recalls, etc. but it's late and I can't bring it out of my memory banks.
    Read your warranty book, it will explain exactly what is covered by the B-B and powertrain warranties. IIRC powertrain means engine and trannie only.
    Good luck, an axle with a crack is not to be trifled with. You're fortunate it did not let go at speed. Not my kind of excitement.
  • kia06kia06 Posts: 1
    i am about to buy the same headers for my 2006 spectra. I was wondering if its worth the money, i mean bang 4 the buck, did you notice a big difference? :)
  • My daughter is in SF with car problems. We just got the car out of the shop and her check engine light went on and she noticed sluggish acceleration. Went back to the shop and they said they charge an addtn'l $105 to diagnose.

    When the converter goes bad is the sluggish acceleration a symptom? Does anyone know of an honest shop to go to in SF. Been ripped off by 2 so FAR.
    College MOM thanks you.
  • My 2003 Kia Spectra would have trouble turning over. At first we thought it was the starter so we replaced it-didn't change anything. We had to put in a marine battery as it would keep turning over, but took awhile to catch-the marine battery gave us the time needed to get it started. Now it won't start at all, and we tried to pop the clutch to get it going and discovered the engine seems to be frozen...any comments?
  • Hey all,

    I have a 2003 Kia Spectra 114500 miles on it... and it died on me last night. The key turns and it sounds like it wants to start, but the engine is just not catching. I now nothing about cars, but it has been running through oil like crazy for the last year, and I can't remember ever getting a tune up. It died while I was driving it, at a stop light... shook a little and then just died like I was out of gas.

    My question is since it will probably cost me a ton just to get someone to look at it, is it worth repairing at this point? I think the value of the car is less then $1000 right? I fear that it may be something major, but then again if it is something minor and I don't get it fixed I will feel stupid... ADVICE?? :cry:
Sign In or Register to comment.