2004 Kia Spectra LX 1.8


Cheap, dependable, owned it far longer than anticipated


I was negligent about changing the timing belt as scheduled, and at 140,000 miles it broke causing damage to the head resulting in a $370 repair.

Other than brake pads, rotors, and batteries, there have been no problems with the car. It is just now beginning to use a quart of oil between changes. The air conditioning, starter, alternator, and electrical system have been trouble free. I can't say that about my Mercedes-Benz.

General Comments:

I like the car and am amazed at the reliability. Maybe mine has been exceptional, but I have owned a Toyota Corolla long term and would think this a comparable auto.

Spare parts are readily available and very cheap. A recent collision required minor repairs to the left from end, which I was able to do myself by bolting on the new parts in just a couple of hours. However, considering the thickness of the metal which the body is fabricated from, I would hate to have a major collision with it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th April, 2016

7th Apr 2016, 22:27

375,000 miles is impressive. Are you still on the same engine and transmission?

2004 Kia Spectra Base 1.8L


Great economy car


The only problem I have had is with the drink holder. There are little "wings" that are suppose to swing over and hold smaller diameter cups from moving around. That thing broke off right after I bought the car.

General Comments:

I bought this car brand new for $9000 in 02/2004. It is a base model manual,1.8L, 4-door sedan. One of the few 2004 models sold before they changed the body style, and engine that year.

I drive this car over 100 miles/day back and forth to work, and will be hitting 100,000 miles soon. I have not had a single problem with it. I don't even change the oil as often as I should (I do use synthetic though). The only maintenance I have had done to it was a tune up and timing belt replacement at 60,000 miles.

After having at least 20 rocks hit the windshield over its lifetime, I finally had one chip it. I was beginning to think that KIA built their windshields out of Kryptonite. It still has the stock brakes and tires. Every time I take it to get inspected at the tire store, they tell me the brakes and tires are still good. It gets 35mi/gal, is comfortable, fun to drive, good looking, and reliable. I could not ask for more in a $9000 economy car.

The people who have had the problem with the check engine light obviously did not read their owner's manual. The dealer told me when I bought it, there was a tag hanging off the gas cap that said it, and the manual says: Click the cap at least three times when shutting it to avoid the check engine light coming on. I had the light come on once in the first month. Clicked the cap, and have never had the problem again. So long as the cap is secure so that no oxygen can get in and set off the sensor, you will not have this problem.

The only problem I have had with this car is the dealer. The buying process was alright. However, when I took it in for maintenance that one time, I was not impressed with the staff's knowledge or service. I do most of the maintenance myself since this is a simple car, and I will be taking it to mechanics other than the dealer for any future repairs I can't do.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th May, 2009

2004 Kia Spectra EX 2.0


Best car I have ever owned!


At 200-250 miles the master cylinder needed replaced. Kia's warranty took care of it, didn't cost me a dime. I drove it 4,000 miles a week, and just did routine maintenance.

General Comments:

Awesome power from a 2.0 engine. The shifting toward the end got pretty hard, but other than that it was great. Seats were very comfortable and didn't rip. Gas mileage average 42. Average speed was probably 75. Overall, so far it is the best car I've ever owned, and would never buy anything but a Kia again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th August, 2008

9th Jun 2016, 11:58

I thought there was a mistake with 600.000 miles on the car, but then the poster mentions 4000 miles/week. If driven 5 days /week, that will do 800 miles/day. I don't think truck drivers are able do drive more than 600 miles/day.

How is this possible? The car has not had a fault in 600.000 miles?

9th Jun 2016, 22:09

It's not.