really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,225 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.

2005 Kia Rio engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Kia Rio Owner Comments

problem #5

Jan 082016


  • 109,000 miles


When the car is exposed to moisture, either from underneath by driving through a small puddle or from above in a rainstorm, the engine compartment gets wet and causes the serpentine belt to slip. This results in sudden loss of power steering and alternator failure, which can lead to the car's power cutting out in the middle of the road. This is an obvious driving hazard, but I am told that this is a common issue due to the construction of the engine compartment in Kia vehicles rather than a precipitating mechanical failure causing it.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #4

Sep 232015


  • 65,125 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Kia Rio. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact had to maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road to a complete stop. The vehicle would not start. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the timing belt fractured and needed replacement. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact also stated that the vehicle was inspected and tagged with license plates one hour before the incident. The approximate failure mileage was 65,125.

- Parkville, MO, USA

problem #3

Jun 162011


  • 52,000 miles
I have a 2005 Kia Rio (VIN provided later) purchased 2006, low miles. Summer 2011 car stalled, stopped & check engine light came on & had it towed to the nearest shop, ntb. Replaced timing belt & no damage to my motor. I found out the timing belt needed changing at 60K miles (mine was lower). The mechanic wasn't able to determine a reason for the check engine light. Another suggested a bad sensor & wiped something off under the hood. The light went off after driving less than 5 miles. Replaced the alternator April 2013 (new alternator, belt & parts still under warranty). June 2013 the check engine light started coming on when parked upward on an steep hill, esp when outside temp was very hot (tx). The light would remain on until after parking it in a covered garage & driving hrs later. July 2013 mandatory car inspection. Week or 2 later, problems w/ RPM started; during take after idle. About 2wks later, ac speed suddenly slowed & became warmer. 2days later check engine light on & a strange noise near the driver's side. Again, towed to the nearest shop, the same ntb. All electrical components was still working. At the shop the car started but not long. They were puzzled. After 2days I was told my motor was bad & needed replaced. No one had an explanation.I had to have my car, only transportation for me & my kids towed home. I talked to different mechanics that agree I have a bad sensor & catalyst which caused my motor to lock (pre-ignition). There are several blogs/articles w/this same problem. However, Kia has never said anything about the 2005 Rio fuel problems, only the 2004 & supposedly correcting it. But it wasn't & mechanics can't diagnose it. Something is wrong & needs investigating. A fatal accident could have occurred if I had been driving on the hwy. Kia should take responsibility for lost $ and time bc they only bandaged the problem & not actually fixing it.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #2

Sep 252013

Rio 4-cyl

  • miles
The engine stopped in traffic on hwy, wife was in danger of being hit by other vehicles, no power to get to edge of roadway on bridge, heavy construction, had to climb out passenger door, down embankment to safety. Towed vehicle home to find engine locked up. Maintenance done regular belts, tires, oil changes and battery replaced. Only fuel gauge issue is all problems, ask dealer was told to bring in for estimate $300 to check.after issue on highway find out timing belt and engine problems have occur on this model since 2001. Sad for veteran unable to make repairs due to disability. Never buy or recommend Kia to anyone.

- Saginaw, TX, USA

problem #1

May 172012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Kia Rio. The contact stated that the driver was driving 20 mph when she attempted to slow down but the brakes failed. The vehicle coasted into an alley. While the vehicle was coasting, the contact smelled burning wires. Smoke began to rise from the hood once the vehicle was stopped. The contact attempted to exit the vehicle, but was restrained by the seat belt and suffered neck and shoulder injuries. Both the contact and the driver successfully exited the vehicle and noticed that sparks and flames were seen under the hood. The fire department was notified and extinguished the fire. The cause of the fire was unknown. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The dealer advised the contact to tow the vehicle to an auction. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage is unknown.

- San Diego, CA, USA

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