Catastrophic Engine Damage Due To Timing Belt Defect
KELSO, WASHINGTON -- We purchased our 2005 KIA Rio Sedan new after a friend told us about KIA.
We have had our Kia serviced according to Kia's requirements and have also kept all the receipts.
October 30th 2008 our Kia lost power and the engine stalled on the freeway and would not restart. It was towed to the mechanic, who within minutes had found the problem.
The teeth on the timing belt had separated from the belt 6 inches in length and therefore the engine had become out of time. The Kia Rio has an "Interference designed Engine" meaning when the crank shaft and camshaft become out of time with each other, because of the belt jumping a tooth or the belt breaking it allows the pistons to strike the valves. Not good news! My Kia's engine has bent or broken valves in all cylinders, the crankshaft and camshaft will not turn to allow for realignment. The mechanic told me there had been catastrophic damage done to the engine because of the faulty KIA belt and started searching the data base for a new engine to replace the three year old engine we have always taken great care of. The mechanic was not as surprised as I was to learn the engine is expensive compared to others in the same class. Due to the failure rate of this engine, because of its design (interference engine)it has become the hottest engine and hardest to find because it is in such high demand.
The person who gave us the word of mouth to purchase our vehicle experienced this same thing with her 2003 Rio and was forced to replace most of the components of the engine.
I immediately called a good friend who also owned a Kia, because of our word of mouth and told her to get hers inspected. She had purchased the vehicle used and the first owner never replaced the belt and the current mileage is over 80,000. She called me after the appointment to tell me thanks because the belt on her car had started to crack. The Kia Service center had three Kia's waiting for engines at the time my fiend had her belt replaced.
The timing belt is due to be replaced before 60,000 to maintain the warranty, which we did. Our vehicle has just passed the 100,000-mile coverage point and is currently at 116,963 miles, almost all freeway miles too. We were still following Kia's recommendations for maintaining the vehicle and getting ready to replace the timing belt for the second time, that would have been due before 120,000 miles.
Our car is three years old, we are the only owners, and we have all the receipts for work and maintenance that were performed on our Kia.
I contacted Kia to let them know what had happened to bring to their attention this flaw in the engines design; after all these huge companies rely on us consumers to let them know if their products are great or if things need attention. A Kia representative said "Well you did purchase the least expensive vehicle Kia makes!" like this is an expected thing to happen because the vehicle is less expensive than others.
The Kia representative I spoke with yesterday told me Kia suggests having the belt inspected every 15,000 miles, which ironically is not suggested in the "Kia Motors Warranty And Consumer Information Manual" nor is this suggestion located in the Kia Rio Owner's Manual! While checking for this information "KIA suggests"a lot of what I did find was "Your selection of a Kia was a great investment, it will give you years of driving pleasure." "Kia is dedicated to your complete satisfaction." From the moment you get behind the wheel of your new Kia vehicle, you'll notice how satisfying it feels; a feeling you'll appreciate for as long as you own your Kia vehicle. “Your complete satisfaction is our primary concern."
After all of this I can honestly say I love my Kia, it is a great economic vehicle, and very cost effective. I have not had many complaints until now. Unfortunately the KIA Motor Corporation is not willing to listen to their consumers when valid concerns arise. After the 100,000 mile warranty there seems to be no cooperation or support from KIA Motor Corporation.
The very sad thing is KIA is aware of this issue as are all of the KIA dealers I have spoken with. "KIA is aware but is not planning to change the engine design!"
Just like the power that word of mouth had, helped me to make the decision to purchase this Kia, as well as helped my friend to purchase hers; word of mouth will also help the future consumers avoid these issues that will always be present with Kia until Kia is willing to make changes to make a better product. Because the Kia Motors Corporation is unwilling to listen to consumers concerns, consumers have an obligation to let other's know this information so they can make an informed decision. I would not have purchased this vehicle three years ago if the word of mouth at the time was...My engine had to be replaced when the car was three years old, and the company knew I would be in this situation when I was purchasing the vehicle three years ago and never said a thing about it. How is it all the Kia representative I spoke with are aware but they will not say a word when unsuspecting consumers hand over the cash?
Please continue to let Kia know if you are a happy consumer or not. Your voice is still being heard, and helping others make a more informed decision to buy or not. Like I said before, this KIA has been a great vehicle as I expected it to be when I purchased it three years ago and as KIA says It will be for years to come. Unfortunately years to come amounted to only three.