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2002 kia RIO Motor

I love my 60,000k kia rio, 2002. I bought it a couple years ago for $1000. Put in a new clutch this past fall, two new small tires this spring. About a week ago the car died unexpectedly on the side of the highway. Mechanic told me today it was the motor. Said it would be about $1600 to fix it. The car showed no signs that it was about to die. It always started well, shifted well, we were on top of getting the oil changed, it wasn’t leaking fluids that I was aware of. Now, when I try and start the car, it makes a sound not like a click, but like a mean sounding louder longer clickish sound. Tough to describe. Regardless it doesn’t start and doesn’t rev or gave any inclination that it might start.
The car does have an overheating problem, I think from a front end accident it was in before I bought it. The front end was never fixed and I think the fan that cools the motor doesn’t work. Because if caught in traffic it will overheat, or in a lot of stop and go traffic, esp. on a hot day it will overheat. However, once moving the car cools right down.
That is the cars only problem that I am aware of. I am debating about having this car fixed. Its a steep repair bill for a car I am not sure is worth it. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Chrissy

Sounds like the timing belt may have let go, and the sound it makes when you try to start it might be the pistons hitting the now-bent valves.

Get an estimate for repairs. But if this costs more than $600 junk it. A damaged front end and a car that is overheated ruins the engine. Don’t waste your minor on rolling junk.

For future reference never overheat a motor. It means immediate trip to mechanic and possibly tow. It destroys and cooks your engine into a junk pile.

The likely case is your timing belt let go which is due around 60k miles in these cars.

“The car does have an overheating problem…if caught in traffic it will overheat, or in a lot of stop and go traffic, esp. on a hot day it will overheat”

Hmmm…This reminds me of that old sick joke:
“Other than that gun incident, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

Even if I did not suspect a broken timing belt (which I do), repeated overheating incidents have undoubtedly trashed this engine. In addition to probably warping the cylinder head, these overheating incidents have likely led to scoring of the cylinder walls and other internal damage to the engine. In other words, that engine is more than likely no more useful than a very large paperweight at this point.

Personally, I would not spend any money on trying to repair this engine, as it is likely to result in a never-ending process of replacing one part after another–at an expense that is likely to be several times the book value of the car. Whatever money you were contemplating spending on repair of this car would be put to much better use if applied to the purchase price of another car.

Just for future reference with your cars, as soon as you see an indication of overheating, that means you should pull to the side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so, turn off the engine, and have the car towed to a repair facility for repair of the cause of the overheating. One severe overheating incident can spell the end of an engine for all practical purposes.

Also–there is much more to car maintenance than merely changing the oil.
Oil changes are very important, but they are just the tip of the iceberg–so to speak–when it comes to car maintenance. An excellent example of this is timely replacement of the timing belt, which could have prevented one of the two likely causes of this engine being trashed.

Be sure to have your next car inspected by a mechanic of your choice prior to purchase. It could save you from some expensive situations with the next car.

Good luck!

Maybe I didn’t define overheating well enough. Or perhaps I did, and I am in the wrong. By overheating I mean that the temp. gauge would go up higher than normal, sometimes as high as 3/4 of the way up. Usually when I would start to see it rise to about half way I would turn on the heat, and do my best to get the car moving. It would never actually get to the point of steaming or smoking.
Anyway, so since the repair is def. over $600, I think we are going to let it go. Thanks for the information, its always sad to see an old friend go.


I have no idea what the repair price is. Do what your comfortable with.

Remember book value in decent running condition and no front end damage is around $1300 on this vehicle.

Repair price is $1600 accd. to my mechanic.