Question about 2002 Kia Rio

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My car is falling apart

I've been having problems with the car overheating when I'm in stop and go traffic--as soon as I hit the highway the temp gauge goes back down and the car runs at normal temp. (Think traffic jams). Also, I've had problems with the car turning over. It growls like it's trying and then it fails, if I try a couple of times or I tap the gas it will turn over. UNTIL TODAY. Today I was turning a corner and the car just died. (I have gas---not a lot, but it's above E). It was getting hot and wanting to over heat and then just died. Now I can't even get it to start. Please give me an idea of what I"m looking at here. Unfurtunately I still have three payments on this car and it is my family's only car--selling or trading in is NOT an option at this time in our life.

Posted by nginoe on

  • 2 more comments 
  • nginoe Aug 08, 2008

    That all makes sense. Shouldn't the engine light come on if there is an electrical problem? I only ask because I know that my gas light does not come on if I am about to run out of gas but the other lights have always worked so I'm hoping that they aren't all not working for some reason.

  • nginoe Aug 09, 2008

    Yeah, I definitely need a pro. Do you happen to know if any of this would be considered power train? I have no idea what is and is not covered under the power train warranty. I'm trying to decide to take it to the dealer or take it to someone else.

  • nginoe Aug 09, 2008

    Yeah, I had a feeling that the power train warranty was going to be worthless. Especially since I've done some DIY oil changes and don't have receipts to prove them (I know one of the specifics is to have an oil change every 4000 miles) another was to have the belts changed out at 30,000... which I didn't do on time. Speaking of belts--is it possible that the timing belt is causing all of this? My friend said that the radiator fan runs off the timing belt--but I can't find evidence of this on the web. I am just looking for best case/worse case ideas so I can brace myself for the repair costs...

  • nginoe Aug 09, 2008




1 Answer

Richard Finch

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Overheating in traffic and then running fine on the highway is a reasonable sign that the radiator fan is not working, it gets hot in traffic and the fan doesn't come on, then on the highway the forced air through the front grille will be sufficient to cool the radiator down.
The fan not running can be one of four things.
1. the fan it self dead.
2. The radiator thermal switch.
3. The relay for the radiator thermal switch.
4. The fuse blown.
The fact that it stalled when it was getting hot could be one of a number of things including the gasoline evaporating simply because it was getting hot.
The fact that you cannot start the car up now leads me to suggest you have an electrical problem that is common to both situations.
If I had to hazzard a guess I would suggest that whatever is stopping the radiator fan running has probably just knocked out your fuel pump.
You need some specialist diagnosis on this car, time to call the garage I am affraid.

Posted on Aug 08, 2008

  • 1 more comment 
  • Richard Finch Aug 09, 2008

    You would think that a fault associated with the engine would cause the check engine light to come, but it depends what signals the engine management computer is designed to detect.

    At a guess yours is only interested in when the engine reaches operating temperature so that it can switch off the enrichment device (choke, fith injector, the device that aids cold starting)

    As regards your other dash warning lights I doubt if any of them are faulty or the fact that they are not illuminated has anything to do with this fault.

    It is time for a visit to the garage, you could spend hours surmising what the problem is and come no where near the real fault, this is going to take a little hands on investigation.

  • Richard Finch Aug 09, 2008

    Despite the fact my profile says I live in Puerto Rico I am actually from the United Kingdom and I am a ex-mechanic with over thirty years experience.

    What they call power train in the States I am not sure, ( I have an idea) but in the UK, the power train would relate to the mechanical side of the engine, gearbox(transmission), front or rear differential and the drive shafts.

    The biggest set back (and I know this from having been knocked by two so called warranty companies) is that they don't want to pay out, unless you have kept exactly to the letter of the warranty (and you can guarantee they haven't mentioned the specifics to you) you will have problems making a claim.

    If I were you I would ask around friends to find out what local mechanic they use. The best work you can get is by word of mouth, so if an independent mechanic is good someone will know and want to tell their friends about him.

    No one ever wants to recommend someone they are not happy with.

    The fault on your car doesn't require a rocket scientist so there is no real need to go back to the dealer, where the labour charges will probably be double that of an independent.

  • Richard Finch Aug 09, 2008

    I think your friend should stick to bicycles.

    The timing belt has one funtion, it makes sure the cam shaft (valves and sometimes distributor drive) is kept in time with the crank shaft. the only things driven by the timing belt (some people call it a cam belt) is the cam sprocket, sometimes the distributor drive shaft (if it's not driven by the cam) and sometimes the water pump, personally I think this is a dull idea because water pumps are prone to siezing and if they do they can strip the teeth of the cam belt and possibly lead to major engine damage.

    Many years ago when engines were mounted front to back inline, the alternator belt could be used to drive a mechanical fan but usually they would drive a water pump that the fan was mounted on.

    To be honest your problem is ignition elrctrical, somewhere in the ignition cicuits the supply to the fan and the fuel pump meet and I believe that this is where your problem lies.



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