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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
11,564 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Kia Rio Owner Comments

problem #5

Jan 242007

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,318 miles


This 2003 Kia Rio was purchased used at a dealership a.V. Kia, palmdale, ca, , but soon developed problems with the transmission. Our insurance company replaced the transmission, citing problems which occurred due to our son, which were allegations made by a. V. Kia. Shortly after the car became inoperable and stopped on the freeway quite suddenly. No one was hurt, but our son and his passengers were rather shook up. Fixed one more time, while our son was driving the car when the left front axle fell off. This happened after a. V. Kia repaired the transmission. After being fixed once again with another new transmission, while my husband was driving the car immediately after picking it up from the dealership it once again developed transmission problems. The car stopped at a busy intersection in rosamond, ca. The car was fixed, (sensor problem, and soon taken to a car dealership in lancaster, ca. To be sold on consignment. While the sales representative was taking it out to show and attempt to sell the car again it stopped, this time on very busy Sierra highway. The dealer called us to imform us of the problem with the car. A. V. Kia took the car in for repair once again, replacing the transmission!. with all of the transmission problems this car has had we found it extremely dangerous, not only to our family, but potentially to someone else. A. V. Kia continued to just pass the buck without really getting to the root of the problem. We didn't really know where to turn, but we felt that filing a complaint with the dot was a good start. A. V. Kia and Kia of America should be held totally responsible for the dangerous junk that they were selling and manufacturing.

- Tehachapi, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 032006

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,500 miles
June 2006 through September 2006 my Kia Rio has locked up in the parking gear not allowing to remove to reverse or drive. Dealer has had in the shop four times and has changed breaking light twice along with gear console. Now stating even with the vehicle being at shop since the end of September 2006 can not enact problem.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #3

Apr 012003

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles
While accelerating my 2003 Kia Rio onto the interstate while going uphill, the car's transmission slipped and had no power on the incline even when it was floored. It always does this when passing cars also. I took it to the dealer who said they could find nothing wrong with it. My brakes lock up when they are damp. I did not think this was a problem, but it is.

- Greeley, CO, USA

problem #2

Apr 062004

(reported on)


  • miles
While driving at any speed the vehicle stalls. There was a lost to the power steering and power brake systems. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #1

Sep 302003

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving vehicle would run hot. Dealer has replaced the engine once, and replaced automatic transmission twice. However, problem continued. Dealer had not found a solution for the problem.

- Apple Valley, CA, USA

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