Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

4.3

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,942 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.

2003 Kia Rio electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Kia Rio Owner Comments

problem #10

Sep 042014

Rio

  • 100,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

All of the brake lights quit working at the same time. Done a search to see if there was any other problems like mine and found 3 other owners with the same problem. It has been in a mechanic shop for 2 weeks now and I have just got done talking with him this morning about it and he said that he has not been able to pin point the problem. I feel that this is a safety issue that needs to be dealt with by Kia.

- Henagar, AL, USA

problem #9

Jun 192013

Rio 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
Going out to dinner, about 1 mile away from home smell coming from car. Turned down a side street, smoke coming from heat/air adjustment area on dash. Stopped car, fire started coming out of the area where you adjust the heat/air. Before fire department could get there the entire car was on fire. This was a total loss. Thankfully we were able to get out of the car. I fear it would have been far worse if we had been on the express way at the time.

- Kentwood, MI, USA

problem #8

Apr 172011

Rio

  • 80,020 miles
I bought my 03 Kia Rio in 04 and within a mo. Have had problems ever since. I took it to the dealership every month for the first 2yrs when it was still in warranty. There was always something constantly wrong or breaking. The tail pipe rattled extremely loud to the point of slightly shaking the car, randomly when I would came to a stop. It was so loud that people in other cars could hear it and stare. Of course the repair shops could never find the problem. I finally gave up ever having it fixed. I've paid 7 times to have the auto windows fixed but finally gave up because they would only work about two days before braking again. The car always had issues accelerating and would stain making noises shake a bit then after 10 seconds make a pop pop noise and finally start moving faster. Which again could never be fixed. The car also had horrible suspension. Every little pump made the car bounce and squeak loudly. Also could never be fixed. I think I've spent more time in the shop having the car repaired then I actually did driving it. Every time I blinked something else was broken I replaced almost ever piece of the car; battery twice, all four tires twice, head lights, etc those are just the small things I've also had the car completely brake down about 6 times with major repairs. Now my car is completely dead 4/17/11 the timing belt snapped and destroyed the engine so I have to buy a new engine and timing belt all which cost more then the car itself the car only has 80,000 miles on it so that tells you how much I actually got to drive it in the last 8yrs. I made sure to constantly keep up on maintenance as well. I will never buy a Kia again its a weight of my shoulders to get rid of such a piece of [xxx]. Kia are made with such cheap materials and made so poorly that everything on them brakes and falls off. Please anyone reading this don't buy a Kia you will regret it. I just want to save someone else from a nightmare. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #7

Jan 102007

Rio

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The switch assembly blower (part # 97251 FD000) constantly goes out on my 2003 Kia Rio. The first time it happened my car caught on fire. I replaced it. 6 months later it went out again. I replaced it along with the resistor assembly (part# 1K552 61C08). 8 months later, it went out again. There is nothing wrong with the fuse. There is not a short in the system that can be found. I have yet to replace the switch assembly anticipating the company rectifying this.

- Wytheville, VA, USA

problem #6

Jul 222003

Rio

  • miles
While traveling on the highway without prior warning. The vehicle shut down and will not restart. Please fill in additional information dealer is aware of the problem.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #5

May 152003

Rio 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
I bought my Kia Rio 2003 February 8, 2003. The problems started on May 15, 2003 my car cut off while driving to work, as I tried to start the car back up it took 3 to 4 times to get it to finally start. I took it in 3 times to be serviced and they either tell me that they didn't find anything wrong with it, or they tell me to use a different type of gas in my car and a different grade. The maintenance department said that Kia Inc. Says it had something to do with the midwest fuel, yet when I went to the service desk two other people were being serviced for the same exact problem. The maintenance crew admitted after the second time that they don't know why it is cutting off, and that it is becoming a common problem for the 2003 Kia Rio. All the times I've been serviced at Kia nothing has been done, they tell me they drove my car "X" amount of miles yet they find no problem with it, although when I drive it either it cuts off while driving, has a hard start, or the brakes squeaks loudly when I come to a stop. I told them about the brakes and they told me its normal for a new car, yet it seems to get louder and louder. My car was hard at trying to start today, and it cut off again at the tollway booth, I will be taking it back to matteson Kia auto mart tomorrow June 16, 2003 and this will be the fourth time for the same problems that has not been resolved.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #4

May 152003

Rio 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I bought my Kia Rio 2003 February 8, 2003. The problems started on May 15, 2003 my car cut off while driving to work, as I tried to start the car back up it took 3 to 4 times to get it to finally start. I took it in 3 times to be serviced and they either tell me that they didn't find anything wrong with it, or they tell me to use a different type of gas in my car and a different grade. The maintenance department said that Kia Inc. Says it had something to do with the midwest fuel, yet when I went to the service desk two other people were being serviced for the same exact problem. The maintenance crew admitted after the second time that they don't know why it is cutting off, and that it is becoming a common problem for the 2003 Kia Rio. All the times I've been serviced at Kia nothing has been done, they tell me they drove my car "X" amount of miles yet they find no problem with it, although when I drive it either it cuts off while driving, has a hard start, or the brakes squeaks loudly when I come to a stop. I told them about the brakes and they told me its normal for a new car, yet it seems to get louder and louder. My car was hard at trying to start today, and it cut off again at the tollway booth, I will be taking it back to matteson Kia auto mart tomorrow June 16, 2003 and this will be the fourth time for the same problems that has not been resolved.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #3

May 092003

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
Electrical system.

- Feeding Hills, MA, USA

problem #2

Mar 012003

Rio

  • Manual transmission
  • 4,000 miles
2003 Kia Rio. Possible malfunction with the electrical system.

- Greenfield, WI, USA

problem #1

May 062003

Rio

  • Automatic transmission
  • 400 miles
I hope that I am writing the correct people about this huge problem. About three weeks ago I purchased a 2003 Kia Rio in milwaukee Wisconsin. About two weeks after I owned the car I ran into problems with it. It seemed like every morning or any time the car was not running for more then four hours it would not start up. It was like it was out of gas when I had a full tank. It would take me about two to four tries before it would start. Also it was going through more gas then what was disclosed as far as mpg. At that point I took it in to the dealer service department to have it checked out. At first they told me that they had many problems with that brand and model of car and it would be repaired the next day. The next day I got a phone call from the service department telling me that the car's computer was not working correctly and they needed to order a replacement that would take about seven business days. They told me that I could pick up the car but it will start hard and give me poor fuel economy until it was repaired. I was unhappy about the long wait so I called Kia, they told me that they would call the dealership and find out why this computer would take so long. Two days later I got a call from the service manger who told me that they can not repair the car's computer at this time because Kia does not have a fix for it yet. He told me that because I live in milwaukee I use reformulated gas and the computer can not understand that kind of fuel and until Kia has a fix for that there is nothing he can do. I then asked him is the car safe, he told me that it would be fine to drive I just have to start the car and wait 5 to 10 sec and try again till it starts.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

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