pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
6,000 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Kia Rio Owner Comments

problem #5

May 092006

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles


Since approximately one year after purchasing my 2002 Kia Rio, I have had on-going transmission problems. At various times while driving the transmission 'slams' into gear, or shutters. Although I have brought this issue to the attention of three different dealerships, and Kia corporate, they claim that there is no issue or that they can not identify the problem. They claimed at one point that the transmission fluid was dirty (although it was well below the recommended service mileage), so I had a third party service station perform a complete transmission fluid/filter change. However, the problem has continued, and now a year later the dealership is again telling me that it is the fluid - which I have never heard an issue like this being caused by fluid, but if this is true, there is another issue in that the transmission fluid should not have to be changed every 6-12 months. I recently brought my car to a certified mechanic, and he was able to identify the problem as a torque converter and a tcc prematurely engaging, as well as a transmission 'shutter'. he provided me with written documentation of the issue, and I returned to the dealership. Again, the dealership said there was no issue and the symptoms are 'normal'. this vehicle is a lemon, and I am unable to obtain proper service from Kia, and I am very concerned that the vehicle could become a safety hazard should the symptoms continue to get worse, or the transmission completely fail while driving.

- Clinton Township, MI, USA

problem #4

Mar 042005

Rio 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle shook uncontrollably and swayed from left to right while driving. Driver was able to maintain control of the vehicle, pulled over, and turned the vehicle off. Then, driver restarted the vehicle, and transmission failed to shift or move on its own. Vehicle was towed to the dealer, and mechanic determined that the frame was bend, and transmission had blown out, and needed to be replaced.

- Laguna Hills, CA, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Dec 302003

Rio 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
I purchased my Kia 02 in 8/02, I had it less than 5 months and the transmission went out at less than 20,000 miles. A new transmission was installed in 1/03. In 11/03 the first gear in the transmission was gone. My Kia needed to be towed to and was again repaired with a new transmission, so I was told. It took two and a half weeks for my car to be repaired. I was not given the paper work from the repair shop then and was told that it would be mailed to me. Few weeks passed and the transmission began to give problems again, this time the shifting of gears were completely off and my over drive did not work at all. I was told to take the car back to the same repair shop of which I did on 1/07/04. I left two messages asking for the status of my car and have not received a call back. As of today I do not have my car.

- Naalehu, HI, USA

problem #1

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

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