1999 Kia sportage-themostat problem, hi revs, car won't start,

My car won’t start. I tried jump starting the car with another car and special battery/jumper for cold weather… my car still won’t turn over. Found out later battery seems fine since headlights turned on. When I turn the key in the ignition all dashboard lights are on but no response from engine, not even a rrr, rrr, rrr. It won’t turn over, just lifeless. My car usually turns over immediately upon ignition. The starter has never been changed, the same for the alternator (sp?)


-previous use of the car showed the engine to have a slow turn over before starting only once prior. this was the day that I parked the car and left it sitting for 2 days.

-car running sporadically on high 1500-2000 rev/min even when warmed up. If accelerator is fully depressed then it idles back to 400-500 rev/min but revs up again a 10-15 minutes later.

-when on the highway dashboard thermostat cools down from 1/2 way mark to zero. If I am off the highway it slowly warms back up to the 1/4 way mark. (car has 1 year old radiator). Could it be the thermostat failing? cooling fan? The colder the temp outside and the increased speed on the highway seems to send the temperature down to zero.

-car has no air conditioning belt since I haven’t got around to replacing it after I bought one. This may be completely unrelated, but I thought I would throw it in.

-timing belt needs to be changed last done at 60,000miles. Odometer is now at 139,000. The sportage model has a non-interference motor. Could my problem be a slipping or broken belt?

-recently had an oil change/gas gauge on 1/5 of a tank. Could it be the fuel injector system? I tend to drive my car close to the empty mark, before I fill it up. Stupid I know, but I do.

-The cold weather outside is 20 degrees, tried to start it at 35 degrees, still won’t start.


Can you help me? Is it one problem or multiple problems combined with my car? Can you pinpoint some potential solutions about the car’s condition so that I may have an intelligent conversation with my mechanic when I tow my car in.

Thanking you kindly.

If it doesn’t CRANK with a jump start, that’s likely a faulty start circuit which goes from the fuse to the ignition switch, through the neutral safety switch, maybe a couple of more switches, and through the starter solenoid. Test voltage, with a voltmeter (multimeter), from one end of this circuit to the other to find the fault.
Many people run a timing belt for 90,000+ miles. Check your Kia MAKERS recommendation; but, not the dealer’s. Almost every dealer will say 60,000 miles (they have a vested interest for doing so).
The thermostat is staying open. This lets the engine cool too much as the car is moving.
The high engine idle rpm could have two causes. The throttle could be sticking, and the idle air control valve could be sticking.

The starting problem sounds like a dead battery. Working lights don’t mean much. It doesn’t take much to make the lights work, but it takes a lot to turn the engine. The fact that the engine turned over a bit slower than normal just prior to this confirms my suspicion. The slow turnover was your warning.

If the temperature gauge falls at highway speed your thermostat is probably stuck open. This will lead to slow warm-up, reduced cabin heat, and increased gasoline consumption.

My information (Gates) says the engine in your Sportage IS an interference design, and will be damaged if the timing belt breaks. You’re taking a big gamble if you don’t replace that belt.

I doubt, however, that the belt is causing the starting difficulties. If the engine were cranking but not starting, maybe, but that’s not what you described.

The lack of an AC belt should not matter, since the belt doesn’t drive anything else on this vehicle.

Thanks to both of you for your advice. My car is at the mechanic. Cross fingers all goes well.