6th Mar 2009, 05:44

Our '02 has just over 73k on it. I have noticed the wheel feels a bit "shuddery", and the tachometer is jerky. Other than that, we did the timing belt around 65k, and replaced the battery at 70k (it starts almost instantly once again!).

The door latch problem cropped up a few months ago, but I was able to replace it myself. The replacement latch was $45 from the dealer parts counter. The '01-'03 rios are notorious for this issue, especially on the drivers side. The symptom comes out of the blue. You put your key in, and get bupkiss out of it. It will not unlock from inside or outside of the car. The issue is that there's a little spring on the actual latch mechanism that breaks. The solution is to buy a new latch, pull the door off, and replace it. It's not difficult at all for someone with patience and a screwdriver. The real problem can be getting the door open in the first place so that you CAN get it out LOL.

Otherwise, the engine itself is great. My wife uses it mostly to get back and forth to work (10 miles each way, about 5 of which is freeway driving), and occasionally we take it out for a longer spin just to open it up and let it "breathe" a bit. I have noticed it's feeling worn in from a handling point of view. It's a cheap car, and is wearing out like I expected.

Keep on top of maintenance and it does OK.

6th Mar 2009, 21:53

I too own a 2002 Kia Rio, 87K on it. Talk about crap car. When I first got it, went through 2 recalls and brake job. Ran fine after that, with some stalling every now and then. 3 years in, had to get a brand new transmission, wire harness, O2 sensor on their dime. Last year, on their dime, had to get a brand new throttle body.

Now it's at the shop getting a timing belt replacement, hopefully not a new engine. I took it to the dealership last week because it idled rough then would rev up to 3K RPM even when barely depressing the gas. All they did was sand down the spark plugs and call it good. I was warned to "be prepared to replace the timing belt... start saving up money". I tried to get the car towed to a Kia service department 2 days ago, they said to even LOOK at the car, I would have to replace the timing belt, as it was supposed to be done at 60K. Awful big difference between "getting prepared to replace the timing belt" and "it should have already been done".

Kia needs to get their act together... or go out of business.

9th Apr 2009, 02:14

I too have a 2003 Kia Rio, The timing belt broke on it at about 114000 and seized the engine. Even though we have had all of the suggested maintenance to the car done on time since we bought the car with about 65000 miles on it. If you ask me, DO NOT BUY A KIA RIO.

17th Apr 2009, 22:22

Hey, I have a 2001 KIA RIO. Nothing gone in it yet, everything is fine. I don't know what happened in 2002, but it sounds nothing like the 2001. It's done 97000 km, whatever that is in miles, but it's due for timing change belt soon.

3rd Jun 2009, 07:36

I wife bought a 2002 Rio 5 with 100,000K on it (dealer changed the timing belt just to be sure!) and now, a year and a half and 30,000K later it's still running just fine. The AT is well tuned to the tiny 100hp engine - the car drives just fine with 5 adults. Fuel economy is great too, we get between 6-7 l/100km.

We have had problems with stalling lately - usually when trying to take off from a full stop, like slipping the clutch on an manual... except that it's an automatic :-)

Considering my wife paid 6k Canadian for it, we're pretty happy.

24th Aug 2009, 01:13

I'm tearing down a 02 Kia Rio. Timing belt broke and all 16 valves are damaged. While taking the engine apart, I realized first hand how crappy these cars are. If you're thinking about buying a Kia, start saving money for your mechanic. Belts and head gasket over $1000.

24th Aug 2009, 14:31

I'm an import fan (particularly Honda-Toyota) however, I agree with the above comment. KIA isn't quite there yet, give them some time to work out problems. I'm sure they will eventually be on par with Honda-Toyota, but it will take some time.

30th Aug 2009, 16:52

I have a 01 Kia Rio, and I found these sites that helped my stalling issues.

I will re-post after I take it in to get the ECU re-programmed and TCM revised. There is a fault in the module on the computer on the transmission and ECU; here are the sites below that helped me on my stalling issue. If the stalling doesn't stop, I'll do like that dude said, and replace the 2001 KIA RIO 1.5L 1493cc L4 FI : Emission : Throttle Position Sensor

Here are the sites on the bad idle issue.

My email is pro_vocalist@yahoo.com if you need advice




18th Sep 2009, 18:04

On a 2002 Kia Rio. I have replaced wheel bearings, new motor, new alternator, O2 sensor, power steering assembly, brake lines, all in one year.

28th Sep 2009, 14:45

With all due respect, we all buy a car that matches the money in our pockets, or is suitable for our everyday use.

I'm not taking KIAs side, but when you look at the records, and by knowing that this is a Korean car, this is not a bad choice!

And if you pay more attention to its weaknesses, you can enjoy riding it as long as it really can run for you.

I have a 2003 1.5L Rio with a manual gear box, and believe me, with most of the engines with more than 9 to 1 compression ratio, you will have this problem if your timing belt breaks, and this is the matter of this kind of engine's design. The only way to solve this problem is to check the belt sooner than its time..

30th Oct 2009, 07:33

I have a Kia Rio 2002, does anyone have problems with their radio? Mine comes on when it feels like and than goes off again. Also I have a pulling noise that is coming front the back of the car. I took my car in to be worked on and they told me that the sound was coming from my brakes. They did my brakes, and now 1,500.00 later and the sound is still there, when I step on the gas and go around corners. Any ideas?

5th Jan 2010, 02:29

2001 Kia Rio

While these cars are cheap, with proper care and repair, they can be reliable.

Brakes on this vehicle can be a bit iffy, but by going to aftermarket parts and buying the best parts, they can be greatly improved.

Alternators also a problem, do not rebuild, do not purchase from dealer, buy remanufactured from the aftermarket.

My timing belt failed right at replacement mileage, and bent valves were the result. I did the repair myself at a cost of $700.00 for all parts and machine work. Remember, always aftermarket parts, cheaper than dealer and often better quality than OEM.