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Hi guys, I'm new to the forum and asking for some advice. Thanks in advance to anyone just reading this whole post!

I'm looking at buying a 2002 Sportage 2WD, automatic. It's only got just under 51,000 miles on it. I've spent two nights reading over these forums to get some idea of what I'd be getting into, but it's like any other vehicle: you read about the same amount of good reviews and bad ones. This one seems to be in really good shape, and there's nothing negative showing on the Carfax. I've driven it around a few times, and I like it more than I thought I would.

The timing belt is my first concern. I've read that it should be replaced around 60,000-65,000, but the dealer insists it will be good until close to 100,000. I don't go out of town much, so it would take me a long time to put another 50,000 on it. But I wonder if I should just go ahead and get it replaced first thing...and if I should ask the dealer to do it before I buy.

Another thing that bothers me is the CEL came on while I was testing it. The dealer told me the previous owner said it's been on for over a year, but he can't figure out why. They supposedly took it to a Kia dealer and a local mechanic (I know him personally), but nobody knows why it goes off and on. I don't know a lot about mechanical stuff, but that doesn't even make sense. It's got to be throwing specific codes, right?

The first time I drove it, I opened up the back hatch and couldn't get it closed again. Some adjustment is obviously needed there, and the dealer said they'd definitely fix that. He also said they had to fix something with the differential that had to do with towing it, which I won't ever be doing.

Things I really like: It's VERY clean inside for a 2002, and exterior paint is still really good. Back side and rear windows are tinted. Last owner put in a Kenwood stereo/CD player. AC fan blows twice as hard as my last vehicle. I've never had power anything, so just power windows and side mirrors are awesome. Tires look pretty good, but I forgot to find out how old they are.

Things I don't like much: Sun visor needs to be just a little longer when I put it over on the driver window -- can those be changed out? It doesn't have a whole lot of 'get up and go', but maybe just a change of spark plugs would make a big difference.

Things that make me wonder what Kia was thinking: Flimsy-looking cup holders right in front of the AC vents??? Not much of a console organizer type thing in between the seats. Front windows not tinted, but I've never had tinted windows anyway.

I wondered it it still had warranty because of low miles, but dealer said it's too old. I definitely will have to get some type of warranty from them.

I'll decide tomorrow if I'll get it or not, so please share any advice, suggestions, or experience -- good or bad! Thanks!
 

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Caribou, Otter, Buffalo
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If the CEL has been flashing there should be a "PENDING" code in the ECM/PCM...

They need to rescan and use a live data SCANNER .....Philip
 

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Greetings,

re: timing belt, I'd be surprised if it lasted 100,000 miles - replaced the '01 Sportage belt at 42,000 after inspection (dry & starting to degrade), replaced the 00' Sporty belt at 87,000 after it failed while driving,

The '01 Sportage was a "church goer / grocery getter", averaging 4 miles round-trip daily,

The '00 Sportage averages 60-70 miles round-trip daily,

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* The mileage on the belt is not the only factor: age and environment / driving conditions affect the longevity of the belt, the belt looses elasticity / hardens / cracks with age.

Providing the Water Pump is in good operating condition, you should replace the Timing Belt, Tension Pulley and spring, and Idler Pulley on the timing belt service.. Then a (full) service, including Water Pump, at next change interval.

* You may tempted to get away with -just- a belt replacement, providing both pulleys and spring are in good/new condition: but these are wear items, recommend replacing w/ the timing belt at time of service.


re: Check Engine Light, agree w/ Philip: need to get those DTC codes read with a live data scanner to see what's going on w/ the Sporty..


Hope this helps,
GottaCruise
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. The mechanic I know said he remembers the vehicle because he replaced the fuel canister. After reading all the stories about gas pumping problems, that's a plus. I'm still deciding what to do.
 

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i've got my 1st gen sportage with 200,000 mileage. first thing i did; change timing belt and change all fluids (transmission oil, transfer case oil since mine is 4x4, differential fluid, changed brakepad obviously renewed brake fluid) and grease all zerk fittings. i travel average 2 hours daily til now it's working fine. . i change power steering fluid on my own, also drain/ refill radiator every 6months with coolant/distilled water mix. the problem i had was the vehicle's not starting, found out that it was just a dying battery. so far, my only vehicle is running good.
 
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