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2002 Kia Rio has a hard time shifting from first (automatic)

I have a 2002 Kia Rio and when I first start the car, and start driving, it seems like it gets stuck in first gear.

It's an atomatic, so I have to just keep speeding up and then after the engine is revving quite high, it will finally shift. After it happens once, then it usally doesn't do it again. I changed the tranny fluid before, and it still does it. Also, I used to think it was just when it's cold, but then one day I was driving a lot, and then I turned off my car for a small while. When I turned it on and drove away, again it had to rev really high to change to second. It's almost like there is a pressure issues.

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6 Suggested Answers

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

  • 142 Answers

SOURCE: transmission/shifting 2001 Sante Fe - Hyundai

Sounds like you might have serious internal transmission problems.

As soon as you can, get someone with a code reader to plug in the vehicle and find out what the code is for the Check Engine light to come on. Might give you a better picture of what`s going on.

It could also (cross your fingers) be something more usual like a clogged transmission filter (located inside the pan), or shift solenoid.

By the way, have you checked the level, look & smell of your transmission fluid?

Level should be checked with the vehicle running, after passing it in all gear ranges on the shifter, and putting it back in park (Check it on "cold" or "hot" level depending on if it`s been driving for a while or not).

As for look and smell, it should be reddish and not smell burnt. Hard to describe the smell of burnt transmission fluid, but normal fluid does not smell too strongly, kind of sweet. Burnt oil is usually black and has a strong odor. If the oil is burnt you have internal damage to the transmission.

One piece of advice I give you is get it fixed as soon as possible because if you don`t already have serious internal transmission problems, the longer you wait, the more chances you have of getting some, to the point of the vehicle just refusing to move. And believe me, speaking from experience, the transition point from the symptoms you describe to total refusal to move and the need for a tow/transmission rebuild is not that long usually.

Posted on Aug 19, 2008

  • 46 Answers

SOURCE: revving

could be a bad throttle position sensor.. try this... follow the air inlet to your intake... on the side you should see a cable going around a curved bracket... on the side of that (your throttle body) should be either a black or a grey sensor... kinda looks like a P shape... with your car off... unplug it... start your car and see if it idles better.... i wouldn't advise driving it unplugged if it works... it just stops bad information from going to your computer and while unplugged your CPU runs off base programs... if your idle smooths out then simply replace your TPS :D

Posted on Sep 17, 2008

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: 1992 tracker automatic transmission shifting

I have the same problem also. Hope someone has the answer.

Posted on Oct 16, 2008

66 chrgr
  • 1011 Answers

SOURCE: engine surging high rpms at stop signs/lights...

the idle air control solenoid or a vacuum leak on backside of intake the hose that goes to pcv valve.they are both common problems on this car.check for vacuum leak firstthanks for your question....

Posted on Feb 04, 2009

468 Chevelle
  • 81 Answers

SOURCE: washed engine while running and drove home and now wont start

probably got water in the spark plug tubes. remove wires and blow out water. reinstall

Posted on Mar 27, 2009

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My 2005 kia Rio has a automatic transmission. the problem is that the car won't shift into drive while driving, just 1sr and 2nd. works. also when I push the over drive button no lite and it does not

Hi. Thanks for your question.Before you change trans fluid one more time i would recommend you to visit and download the entire workshop manual. It has all the information along with the diagrams for better understanding. Good day!

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2002 kia rio will not shift out of second gear in drive always starts in second from drive position. Sometimes it will go into first gear roughly others not at all. Dropping down ton first on the...

First off have a load test done on the battery as there is a dead cell evident. Run fault codes and look for a problem TCM (transmission control module) which may be affected by the battery fault. Have a pressure test done on the transmission to check for internal problems. Check oil level when hot.

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2003kia rio automatic not shifting to 3rd when cold

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Sep 05, 2017 | 2003 Kia Rio

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If it's an automatic gearbox vehicle, then check the operation of the gear selector switch within the selector mechanism. Most autobox vehicles will not start unless this switch sends a signal that the car is in either park or neutral.

Nov 15, 2012 | 2002 Kia Rio

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03 Kia Rio will not engage into drive when cold (Automatic)

This is a situation of low pressure,as you warm up the vehicle the transmission fluid is warmer which allow the torque convertor to produce pressure to collapse the clutch pack and transfer power for a shift gear,your solution is a torque convertor and a front pump

Mar 27, 2012 | 2003 Kia Rio

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I have a kia rio 2001 the car shakes when i drive it. seems that it does not go into gears, it has no power.


Jul 31, 2010 | 2002 Kia Rio

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well spend some change and have a simple tune-up.  Plugs and filters and readjust the idle.

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