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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
31,417 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Kia Rio engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Kia Rio Owner Comments

problem #13

Dec 012011


  • 53,668 miles


2002 Kia Rio. Consumer states timing belt failed the consumer stated the timing belt failed for a second time at 59,059 and destroyed the second engine. The consumer was informed the vehicle would not be covered under warranty, because the original timing belt was not replaced at the proper mileage. The consumer stated the original timing belt was replaced at 53,668 and the replacement belt failed at 59,059 before the recommended 60,000. A Kia representative informed the consumer the warranty only extended to the original engine, not the replacement engine.

- Manchester, CT, USA

problem #12

Nov 272010


  • 105,000 miles
We were just 10 minutes driving from home, when we saw the smoke coming from front of the car. We were approaching the light so the speed was about 10 miles. Within 5/6 meters we stopped in turn line and turned off the engine. The smoke got more and more. So we get out of the car and we were just shocked. Somebody told us call 911 and we did and we called fire fighters as well. During that period fire was coming out of the bonnet and other cars were around us. I was just afraid of explosion. In couple of minutes police came and block the road. Then fire fighters came and put the fire out. But our car was totally damaged and out of order. We towed it to the auto body and some days later they told can't do anything with it.

- Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, USA

problem #11

Aug 032010

Rio 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Rio. While the contact was driving approximately 2-5 mph in the residence driveway, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where they informed that the failure was related to the timing belt. The technician advised that the engine would need to be replaced. Also, previously the spark plugs, and crank shaft position sensor were replaced by the dealer. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the compliant. The failure mileage was 103,000. Updated 01/14/11 updated 03/01/11 updated 04/1511

- Olmsted Falls, OH, USA

problem #10

May 152003


  • 87,253 miles


Kia Rio 2002 the check engine light will not go out I took it to get check out.everything is fine.there is nothing wrong.they reset the check engine light and it came back on.I was told buy a Kia dealer ship it is a manufacturer defect. And nothing can be done.this is been going on for four years now. I have to get the check every time the inspection is do and have the light reset. So I can pass the inspection.

- Bayshore, NY, USA

problem #9

Nov 012002

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
: the contact stated that the vehicle stalled on a semifrequent basis, every six months. The vehicle was taken two dealerships who have been unable to repair the vehicle. The contact reference a recall on engine stalling however a recall number was not identified. The contact identified the vehicle as unreliable, and unsafe to drive.

- Sun City, CA, USA

problem #8

Apr 292006

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While traveling on a residential road the car back fired then the engine seized up, the timing belt was the likely cause according to the dealer, but because it had 60,274 miles they would not cover it under warranty. The service person said they have had at least six similar failures in the last year, a couple were less than 59,000 miles and were covered. In talking to Kia direct, they said because we bought the car used and had no service record from before, nothing could be done. It's clear from the number of failures this is a design defect. The timing belt failure and subsequent engine lockup could cause a fatality if it happened at freeway speeds!

- Blackfoot, ID, USA

problem #7

Jun 012003

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles


The consumer purchased two 2002 Kia Rios, the first vehicle was fine. The other vehicle within 30 days of purchase at approximately 100 miles, died. This did not happen at any certain speed. The vehicle has been taken into the dealership over 14 times and they have not replaced anything. They have reprogrammed the computer numerous times. The vehicle will work for awhile, no specific time, and then die again. Consumer's daughter actually drove vehicle which was located in South Carolina. The visor was replaced. The interior light would not go off, the dealer stated it was a pinched wire. The liftgate latch was replaced and the parking brake was adjusted.

- Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #6

Feb 212005


  • miles
I have a 2002 Kia Rio with approx. 51,000 miles. The car suddenly broke down and would not start. I had the car towed to the dealership who told me the engine had seized due to sludge in the oil system. I provided Kia with all the oil maintenance receipts every 3000 miles. Kia's response was that the oil was not maintained properly and the maintenance records were fake. Basically, they say that I and a certified mechanic (owner of a auto and towing shop) are liars. Kia will not pay for the engine repair and I cannot afford to fix a problem that was caused by an engine malfunction (oil and receipts were maintained properly). It has been 1 month ago, I have no car and seriously at risk of losing my job due to this problem and Kia will not reconsider any information I provide.

- Wilmer, AL, USA

problem #5

Jan 232004

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,404 miles
Vehicle stalled at highway speed. Dealer was contacted, and dealer replaced a module. Three months later, the same problem occurred. Vehicle stalls at any speed. Air conditioner exhibit bad smell.

- Riviera Beach, FL, USA

problem #4

Feb 182004


  • miles
While driving at a speed of 40-45mph vehicle lost power. Sometimes this happened in heavy traffic. Consumer took vehicle to dealer to have it checked out. Vehicle kept on over heating. It was found that cooling fan on enguaging caused vehicle to over heat. Transmission jerked at times. Check engine light came on and dealership failed to duplicate concern.

- Balch Springs, TX, USA

problem #3

Feb 022004

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles


While driving at any speed or accelerating from a complete stop the vehicle will stalled without warning. The dealership has service the vehicle several times but has been unable to fix the problem.

- La Mesa, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 122004

(reported on)

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Front seat belts do not retract properly. The dealer had to replace both seat belt systems. When the consumer went to the dealer they declined to repair the safety features, the consumer was told the buckle assembly was worn due to dirt being inside the assembly and was not a warranty issue.. * cb the dealer recommended that the brakes, transmission and engine mounts be replaced. Also the radiator was stopped up with mud.

- Chipley, FL, USA

problem #1

Aug 282002


  • 9,000 miles
While driving at low speeds, there's a clicking noise and vehicle will stall, but will start back up immediately. The dealership can not duplicate the problem.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

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