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Kia Sephia brakes



  • I have a 1998 Sephia with 31,000 miles and have had minimal problems with car. I did have issues with the brakes, however and my dealer at 23,000 miles replaced my rotors and pads at no charge and mentioned that Kia had modified the brake pads to eliminate the warped-rotor problems.

    So far, so good and I drive in serious stop and go traffic in the Bay Area.

    My Kia does not have the build quality of a Honda, but I only paid $8000 for a fully loaded car. It was a demo car and had around 6,000 miles on it when I got it.

    It's been a very reliable car with the exception of the brake problem, which hopefully is truly fixed. My only cost has been oil changes $25.00 average every 3,000 miles and the recent 30,000 mile service(Radiator Flush, Transmission Service, Oil Change, Air Filter, ETC.) which cost $300.00.

    We will see once the warranty ends how things go.....
  • CidCid Posts: 8
    Hi Gang!

    I concur with the majority on KIA's poor brakes & rotors, having to replace the pads and rotors every 3 - 4 months. Warranty or no warranty, on the 97' LS, it was a pain in the rear to be going back & forth to the dealer for something they clearly could not correct. Having a warranty is supposed to be an advantage for the customer, however there is NO advantage to the customer when the cotton pickin service/repairmen don't have a clue how to correct a problem.

    Alas, after falling out of my warranty, KIA wanted to sock it to me, with charges to put on new rotors - don't think so. I want to inform everybody that I've put on new rotors allright, but not KIA rotors or pads.. I switched to WAGNER parts and have not had the reoccurrence of vibration, squeaking, grinding etc. that comes with worn/warped rotors.

    There are some of you who are in position to get rid of your car (inspite of being upside-down in the loan), however I knew I could not afford to do that and found, so it seems, a way to hang on to the pitiful car until I can afford to get rid of it. I'm hoping to trade it in May 01' after having it for 4yrs.

    Hoping this bit of information will give relief to some of the KIA owners out there!
  • I'm shopping the Sephia/Spectra currently and was told that Kia switched brake suppliers and now use the same company that supplies Honda and Nissan. I suppose it could be bull but I can't believe that Kia would spoil its opportunity to make headway into the U.S. market due to its brakes (not to mention swamp their service isles with free bad brake replacements). I have stopped a couple Sephia owners for their impressions. One positive, one brake related misery. I hope they have it fixed as I will probably be taking the plunge soon....
  • So far decent car for the money. Brakes are a touch softer than they should be, but I'm not sure that's not the tires. Put first 1500 miles on in 2 1/2 weeks. Will come back a little later, probably around 3000
  • jestyrjestyr Posts: 1
    I should have known when the air conditioning went out on the day after I bought my new 98 Sephia. Replaced the rotors and pads at 10k, and yes once again at 20k. The radio went dead at 24k and the knob for the air vents was out at 25k. I'm on battery number 3 (two previous were KIA batteries). Any day the transmission should come out my tailpipe. If you have to be frugal buying a car, buy a good used one, not this junker.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    It's kinda hard for anyone to help you with the problems you are having when you don't tell us what they are. If you want to find other Rio owners, there is a topic in Sedans discussing this vehicle, here is a link:

    Kia Rio (Topic #3664) in the Sedans Conference.

    Do you want to tell us any specific issues you are having? Or, if you are looking for commiseration with other owners, that link is a good bet for that.

    Good luck.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • I recently purchased a 2000 Kia Sephia LS and have been very happy with it. In the last 3 months I've put about 2500 miles on it and it is still going great. However, my brakes are making squealing noises when I brake, but not all of the time. It has been rainy down here, could it just be wet brakes? Are squealing brakes normal? Can anyone help? I'm pretty car-illiterate. Thanks!
  • I bought a 1997 Sephia that was a yr. old as new from the dealer. It had sat on the lot for a year but looked to be in good shape. After driving it away I tried to stop fast and the brakes were so bad I almost hit the car in frt. of me. I figured that the rust had to get off the rotars from sitting for a year,and took it easy the rest of the way home. The following Monday I took it back to the dealer and they said the brakes were ok. After 7 more close calls the car went back in again. The service manger drove the car with me and said the brakes were ok, I said no way. After 3 more days the battery died so back in I went. They charged the battery and I told them about the brakes again and also said the battery was no good but they would not listen. The next morning a dead battery so back I went again. They replaced the battery and finally replaced the frt. pads and rotars. The frt brakes lasted 5,000 miles and they were pulsating so bad it shook the whole car. Back to the dealer again were they replaced the pads and rotars again. To make a long story short I have 32,000 on the car and I am on the fifth set of brakes. The service manager told me this set is guaranteed for 1 yr. or 12,000 miles. The car goes out of warranty in a few thousand miles and I don`t want to put brakes on every 5 to 7,000 miles, does anyone know if they have a fix for the frt. brakes yet?
  • joef6joef6 Posts: 2
    I hear they havea newset of New Honda breaks that they use but ehh, who knows!!! I have had my 98 Kia sephia for 2 years. It is a first car for me and is doin pretty well. I have had minor problems w/ the car but none of which I had to pay for from my pocket except theones that were really my fault. I have had my brakes and rotors replaced 6 or 7 times. I now have 48,000 miles on my car and it really does run beautifully. You really have to treat the car well and it will treat you well. Most of the problems I have heard including the wipers, flywheel, breaks, bearings,rotors, tires and battery should be covered under warranty w/ out a hassle. My dealer did all my recalls and minor problems i had for free and under warranty. If you would like performance Kia parts and acceccories contact me at
  • Every time you have the brakes of your Kia serviced, ask the mechanic to adjust the rear brakes and the parking cable. This is the reason why your brake pads don't last long.
  • cats8cats8 Posts: 22
    how fast do the kia kia sephia go and what is the gas mi is it 25 to 30 if so email me at
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    I see you have posted in several topics here in the Maintenance and Repair Conference asking about characteristics of various vehicles. It sounds like you are trying to collect some helpful information on purchasing a new vehicle?

    Well, you have definitely come to the right website! However, this conference really isn't the best place to get the answers to your questions. Our focus here is on maintenance and repair issues for our members' existing vehicles.

    Help with buying decisions can best be obtained in our other conferences, such as Sedans, Coupes (depending on the types of vehicles you are interested in) and Smart Shopper.

    The best thing to do would be to enter the model names of the vehicles in which you are interested into the Topic Search feature on the left side of the page (one at a time). Then you can join existing discussions in our other conferences on all of the models that might interest you.

    After you've made your purchase, if you have any maintenance issues or questions you can come on back to see us over here. :-)

    Good luck.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • It's possible that the design might not be properly matched for the car. Sometimes, items like the proportioning valve might not be working well and not sending the 20% of stopping power pressure to the rear, so the front's so a little more work. Also, there are items to take into consideration, such as rotor thickness, rotor composition, brake pad composition, booster pressure, and brake flex line actually flexing under pressure. If the flex lines are actually flexing under pressure (imagine the slight expansion and contraction of the hose under extreme pressure, and brake fluid operates under quite a bit of pressure. These are inherent problems that many vehicles possess. They are design characteristic flaws, but they can be fixed. Unfortunately, the costs incurred in a full brake replacement, and I mean FULL replacement, is not usually worth it. You might try to change pads, and if you adjust the rear brakes A LITTLE closer to the drums, like 3 or so clicks on the parking brake, that will help them contact a little quicker. BUT, by doing that, you want to make sure what when the parking brake is off, that the shoes or pads (discs) do clear the drums or rotors. Sometimes, poor braking quality is just "the nature of the beast". sometimes, there is an actual problem.
  • g1nnyg1nny Posts: 1
    I have had a lot of trouble with my neon, this is the third time I have to replace the head gasket Chrysler,says too bad. Has anyone else had this problem and how did thay resolve it.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    I think maybe you meant to be in this topic?:

    Dodge Neon Headgasket (Topic #763)

    If you read through the posts there, you will find that lots of folks have had your same problem.

    Good luck, and welcome to Town Hall.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 7,234
    I've had my Sephia 1 1/2 years and about a year ago I thought I was going to have to take it in for help. Whenever I would brake at speeds above 45mph the car would pulse and shake. I just kept driving it and it would continue. Eventually no pulsing or shaking at all-just good braking. Do 'ya suppose that sometimes(just sometimes) we Americans get just a BIT NEUROTIC ABOUT OUR CARS AND NOISES, ETC.? Parts have to rub and give and mesh and get warm and fuzzy all over, eh? I bet you dollars to Winchell's donuts that a whole lot of these brake complaints would've worked themselves out if the driver would've just drove their car without reaching for Prozac or Valium quite so quickly. What'da'ya think, smart Americans?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • I think that any brake rotor which exceeds .003" runout or .0005" thickness variation, or any brake drum which exceeds .010" out of round, will cause a noticeable brake vibration and pedal pulsation.
  • OK. I have a 99 Sephia and I'm finally starting to have brake problems. At least I assume thats the problem. While driving (and usually after braking) I hear a metallic grinding noise coming from my front right wheel. I assume this is a brake pad problem? If so, I have no interest in going through Kia to get it fixed. Does anyone know of a place that carries brakes for the Sephia. I've looked all over for Wagners but I can't find them. If this sounds like a non-brake related problem, please give me some other ideas.
  • You should pop off that wheel and check out those pads. Make sure there is still some meat on them. Remember, when the pads are as half as thick as the backing plate to which they are attached to, they are needed to be change. Some people bend back the squeal markers (probably what you're hearing) to get extra milege out of them without squealing noises. Also, you could have a stuck caliper and prematurely worn out the pads. It'd be a good idea to see what's going on. Have you checked Napa? Do you have any import auto supply stores in your town? They usually carry better stuff than the chains. Wheel bearings could also cause noise, but the noise you're describing doesn't sound like that.
  • the problem with these brakes are caused by the OEM brake pads that tend to overheat (and in overtime ruin...) the rotors. Rotors itself don not seem to be the problem after all. Wagner DOES manufacture brake pads for this vehicle. Best thing you can do, is to order them out if not in stock in your nearby car parts store. Some owners say that the new redesigned OEM Kia pads are good and do solve the problem. If still can't find new pads. Use the Web! You'll find anything here. Never say never when it comes to the WWW.
    Good Luck!
  • I'm a new car buyer and am looking into buying a Sephia, mostly because of the affordable price and warranty. I have a friend who has a 2000 and has been very pleased with it. I have read most of the posts concerning the brake problems; however, most of those seem to be about 97 and 98 Sephias, with a few 99's. Can anyone tell me anything about the 2000 and 2001 Sephias? Are they any better than the previous models? Thank you!
  • I have a 2000 Sephia. Got it last march. No serious problems. It has gone in for a couple of small things. Main ones have been the horn quit, and the starter went. This is in 12,000 miles. It has been a verysatisfying car over all. The only comment I have on the brakes is that they work fine, but could be better. Meaning they are not broken, they work fine, but they could be better. i am tring to see if i can find a brake kit that will fit the car. I will convert it to 4wheel disk. I have the base 5 speed. Only option I got is AC, and the split seat. I also upgraded the stereo, out in a sub as well. I have run Mobil One synthetic, and bosch microfilters in it from day one. No complaints good car. i think if you treat it well, it will treat you well.
  • reporting again that my sister has to take her car in for break repair for the third time. last time one of the rotors was cracked and had to be replaced.

    in the past, it started with a mild "chirpping" when you first depressed the brake. then, after a matter of time, the grinding would start. this time, however, the grinding started right away and sounds much worse than last time.

    i've read through some previous posts and i see people saying that you have to treat these cars with a bit more "tenderness". i find this hard to believe. my sister is 36 years old and has never gotten a speeding ticket. she certainly isn't being too hard on this car. her last car was an 89 toyota tercel auto. she drove it for almost 12 years and it had 210,000 miles. she certainly didn't have to replace the brakes 3 times in the first 9 months of driving it!

    i've taken notes from you guys as to what to ask the dealer to do to correct the problems and hopefully it will work this time.
  • Most dealer's mechanics are awful. I know many dealerships, and the good mechanics I could count them with my bare fingers, of just one hand.
    Maybe they'll put their hands on your sister's car once more, twice, or whatever... I wouldn't be surprised if the brake problem continues on and on.
    Get a peace of mind. Get a good mechanic on your own, a new good set of brake pads, rotors, and get the rear brakes adjusted. That, unless you guys get lucky and find a responsible and smart mechanic on your local dealership.
    Good Luck.
  • xheroxhero Posts: 1
    We have has our Sephia since Oct 2000, even though the dealer put down we bought it on 30 Aug 2000, but that is a different story....

    After driving it for a few weeks when we stopped, it felt like the trans slipped. Well on 1-20-2001 we finally got an appointment to get the trans and the driver back power window looked at. on Sat. 1-20, we were told that they have not looked at it! So I called on Monday, they finally looked at it, and stated it was the rotors, and said that usually they would not service it for free but since we had low mileage 4100 miles, it would be free. (It better be free rotors going out within the first 5000 miles!!!) Then he tried to blame us for going up and down hills, and stop and go freeway traffic. BULL! This is a city car and little freeway use.. in a matter of fact we have been in bumper to bumper traffic once in this car and it was only for 2 miles.

    Well today is 1-23, and we still don't have our car. I was told by the service center that they should have the part by tommrow and it should be fix also. In the meantime, I am still paying for partial of the rental, since Kia will not pay for the extra insurance (road hazard), nor did they want to pay for the rental in the first place. So we will see how long these brakes last. Any comments please e-mail me at

    Joe M.
  • I just bought a new left over 2000 Kia. It now has 500 miles on it, and has not fell apart YET. BUT, I noticed after driving the interstate for about 70 miles, upon exiting and slowing to about 25 MPH, I could hear a slight "squeak" noise coming from the front. I noted that as the brakes were used more it gets slightly louder, but does NOT change pitch when the brakes are applied (no effect). I noted when the car sits and cools awhile, the noise disappears, until the brakes warm up again, are my brake nightmares starting already???? or is it something else?
This discussion has been closed.