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2002 KIA Rio 1.5L FWD AT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! Sorry for the long thread, I wanted to be thorough and clear.

I own a 2002 KIA Rio with 54,417 miles. As I was driving around, I noticed my car was acting strange. It started with the radio volume fluctuating between really loud and really quiet. After idling at a drive thru bank for maybe 1/2 an hour, I drove to another errand when the car decelerated then suddenly died/stalled.

Here are my findings:
  1. The car did NOT throw a CEL before this happened.
  2. The fuel pump will not prime nor will the starter engage.
  3. The car was at normal operating temperature.
  4. The battery was tested and found to be fine and the car refused to jump start.
  5. My horn, radio and door open light are dead.
  6. The dashboard lights that come on are the odometer, battery, airbag, oil lamp, seat belt and e-brake. The other lights won't come on.
  7. The open door sounds off six times then stops.
  8. I did NOT smell anything burning like oil or see any dark smoke. I also saw NO leaks, I checked the oil and fluids, everything was normal.
  9. I had a full tank of gas and had JUST picked it up from having the throttle body/MAF sensor and IAC cleaned the day before.
  10. The battery, alternator, PCV Valve and main fuse were all new. The engine also seems to move. The car was driving fine before this happened.
I was running my AC because it was an unusually hot day in my city that day (4-8-20). This is my first car, I'm the 3rd owner that's had it for nearly 7 years and I JUST put a lotta money into this car after having it sit for 3 years. I don't wanna give it up just yet but WILL if it's a lost cause. PLEASE HELP ME!
 

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When last was the timing belt changed? - check the owners manual for the timing belt replacement interval - the TB is the most common cause of engine destruction on these cars.

Have you tested all fuses?
 

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2002 KIA Rio 1.5L FWD AT
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It was changed within the last three years, right before I put the car down due to a CEL. I didn't see any broken belt pieces anywhere.

The fuses I pulled were intact and sans corrosion. I read somewhere that it might be a starter or ignition relay since neither the fuel pump NOR the starter seems to wanna come back on. I haven't tried to swap out the relays yet.

To be fair, this car has ALWAYS given me electrical problems. I replaced the alternator 4 times in 7 years, the first was original, 2nd and 3rd were reman and used respectively. This last time it was brand new. Nearly every morning, I would have to check to see if the car door light was on before starting it. If it WASN'T I would pop the hood and wiggle the battery terminals then start it up.

I couldn't turn on my headlights, radio or AC before it would stall either immediately after doing so or after a few minutes of driving. Recently the car shut off of me 4 times before getting to work. After replacing the PCV valve & alternator and cleaning the throttle body/MAF/IAC the car ran fine until 4/8/20.
 

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09 kia spectra ex,'11 Dodge Journey AWD,04 Chry. T&C, 08 Pontiac G6 gt
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Wiggling the battery terminals should NOT EVER have to be done. They should be CLEAN and tight to the battery! Don't know what the weather is like in your geographic area is for rust/ corrosion. But I would start out checking the clean connections of the main power and ground cables from the battery to the body and engine/trans connections of the ground(neg.) cable. Then do the same with the Pos. cable to where it goes from battery to other points. HOW OLD is this battery? Loose connections can harm the battery itself and also be a part of the reason the alternators have gone bad.
 

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2002 KIA Rio 1.5L FWD AT
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@ron1004- There is no audible sound when I move the key from on to start. I don't hear a click from the engine bay nor do I hear the fuel pump prime from the back.

@Mia Kia- Sometimes I WOULD have to do that. It wasn't everyday, though. Once I wiggled it, the door open light would come on, I'd start the car and drive away once I was sure it wouldn't die on me. The terminals are clean and tight to the poles with no corrosion on the battery. Nothing looks frayed. I live in South Texas and as far as I know this car has NEVER left the South to be exposed to rust or corrosion. The battery itself is only a few months old; I bought it in Jan 2020 and the sticker read 11/19.
 

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09 kia spectra ex,'11 Dodge Journey AWD,04 Chry. T&C, 08 Pontiac G6 gt
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IF you have NO electrical power for anything , then besides at the battery check the other ends connecting point that the bolts and "eyelets" and mounting points are clean. It will not show the powdery gunk like battery terminals of old, but more like a varnished coating. These vintage of Kias(many models) were known for poor grounds with age, no matter where they reside. In the Northeast it is all the more important due to our corrosion /rust problems that affect ALL cars here. Then take the connector to the ECM off and check the pin connections (with battery disconnected).
 

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09 kia spectra ex,'11 Dodge Journey AWD,04 Chry. T&C, 08 Pontiac G6 gt
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Also thought of this possible scenario, I'm not familiar with the era Rio, but recall sephia/spectra's that had ignition switch problems, as the electrical portion is mounted to the end of the key tumbler assy. A wobbly working key would be a clue to this possible problem.
And yes, even 2004 models of any make car are getting scarce due to "rust gremlins" around me, so my knowledge of cars even older are more from memory and general knowledge of how systems need to work. I can't see or look at yours to "pinpoint" where your fault may be, so there are basic steps that you must do to track things down.
 

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I would remove, clean, prep, and re-tighten all main connections, Batt Neg - to chassis, Battery Pos + to starter and main fuse box, engine grounding to chassis.
 

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2011 Forte SX 2.4L (thankfully MPI) A/T 144K miles
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Have you tried to do a static voltage drop (or resistance) test on the battery wires? Not nearly as good as a running/cranking voltage drop test, but obviously you don't currently have that option available to you. You could also try connecting a standard jumper cable from the negative battery terminal to a solid, unpainted point on the body, to see if anything good comes from doing that.
 

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09 kia spectra ex,'11 Dodge Journey AWD,04 Chry. T&C, 08 Pontiac G6 gt
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Would love to try to help further, but from re rereading your initial posting, particularly #9 of your "findings". That you do not do your own maint./repair.
Getting a "fix" answer from just describing symptoms and what was done otherwise without following standard diagnosis steps is futile.
 

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2002 KIA Rio 1.5L FWD AT
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Would love to try to help further, but from re rereading your initial posting, particularly #9 of your "findings". That you do not do your own maint./repair.
Getting a "fix" answer from just describing symptoms and what was done otherwise without following standard diagnosis steps is futile.
@Mia Kia- I put #9 as a finding because A) I read that usually a fuel pump fails if there isn't enough gas in the tank and since there was a FULL tank, it would be there in the event I was asked and B) I put that I picked it up after having those parts cleaned in the event someone else might have thought the reason it might have stalled is because those parts were dirty. They are my findings according to a myself as a layperson.

And NO, I DON'T do my own repairs when it comes to major things like replacing starters and fuel pumps. I know my lane in that regard. I do however do my own maintenance in minor things. I'm sure you didn't for the comment to come off as it has to me. I respectfully say that you don't know WHAT I tried before turning to this forum.

I asked the last 2 mechanics that have worked on my car as to what it was and to walk me through and of course they had varying answers and suggestions. That's why I went to a dedicated KIA forum since maybe one of y'all will have more of a working knowledge than they would. Thank you anyway for your replies thus far.


Have you tried to do a static voltage drop (or resistance) test on the battery wires? Not nearly as good as a running/cranking voltage drop test, but obviously you don't currently have that option available to you. You could also try connecting a standard jumper cable from the negative battery terminal to a solid, unpainted point on the body, to see if anything good comes from doing that.
@kiaguy002 I haven't tried the former but I DID try the latter to no avail. The car refuses to be jumped & the battery is fine.

I would remove, clean, prep, and re-tighten all main connections, Batt Neg - to chassis, Battery Pos + to starter and main fuse box, engine grounding to chassis.
@ron1004 I believe that those things were done by my mechanic when I told him about it.
 

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09 kia spectra ex,'11 Dodge Journey AWD,04 Chry. T&C, 08 Pontiac G6 gt
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You are correct that maybe my posting did not "come across" as intended. You have demonstrated all a owner/driver could reasonably do. but my statements stand to diagnostic procedures stands. If you don't comprehend them top be able to to them, then any more posted here would indeed be futile. Those who have responded so far DO have good automotive knowledge and experience that we try and impart, but without proper testing and doing things suggested will turn these members away from further assistance.

I also try not to write books on posting to delve into peoples minds or abilities in my responses, get the needed info out and work from there a step at a time. You have come across to me(maybe also misunderstood) as wanting the fix without the diagnostics needed to FIND the problem.
 
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Here are my findings:
It would be best if it was made clear that this is relayed from "mechanics".

I asked the last 2 mechanics that have worked on my car
What service shop did these two mechanics work for?

I recommend that you find a qualified reputable service shop, or even a Kia dealership service shop.
@ron1004 I believe that those things were done by my mechanic when I told him about it.
Apologies, I didn't see that listed.
 

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2002 KIA Rio 1.5L FWD AT
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What service shop did these two mechanics work for?

I recommend that you find a qualified reputable service shop, or even a Kia dealership service shop.
Apologies, I didn't see that listed.
Thank you for your helpful suggestions. This has NOT been easy for me because I want nothing more than to have my baby fixed and running, not denigrated and made to seem as if I am too obtuse to comprehend having diagnostic work done. I hope that I am not wasting anyone's time because I have been made to feel that I AM.

The first mechanic works for a Eurasian repair shop for 20 years but their focus is more on high-end European cars. The second mechanic was a master mechanic that has worked on cars for 40 years. I found them to be trustworthy and they did what I thought was quality work. I don't have that kind of money to seek out the dealerships here in my city, thus me going to these guys.
 

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Thank you for your helpful suggestions. This has NOT been easy for me because I want nothing more than to have my baby fixed and running, not denigrated and made to seem as if I am too obtuse to comprehend having diagnostic work done. I hope that I am not wasting anyone's time because I have been made to feel that I AM.

The first mechanic works for a Eurasian repair shop for 20 years but their focus is more on high-end European cars. The second mechanic was a master mechanic that has worked on cars for 40 years. I found them to be trustworthy and they did what I thought was quality work. I don't have that kind of money to seek out the dealerships here in my city, thus me going to these guys.
You might be better off taking it to a reliable Auto-Elec shop, or a Kia dealership.
 

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2014 Hyundai Veloster Turbo / 2001 Kia Rio
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one thing that got me in the beginning was painted battery terminals that i bought at the parts store. are yours painted? remove the paint from the wire-end pieces immediately. i had some of the same troubles you had and been great since.
 

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2005 Optima/Magentis 2.0L 4 cyl 4 speed auto 2WD
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Since you have had to wiggle the battery connections before, I would check not only the cable ends, but the cable itself. KiaGuy002 mentioned it. It could be the negative or the positive cable. Ask me how I know the internals of a cable can fail without any obvious damage to the outer plastic.
 
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