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I messed up. How screwed am I?

My wife drives a 2014 Kia Forte with the 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine with 79k miles on it and today, it seized. She had mentioned the car was sounding a little odd a few days prior and I made a very tired mental note to check it sometime. Well 3 days later, today, as we were late for a Dr’s appointment the oil light came on so i stopped and loaded it up with oil, and for about 10 miles to the appt. it was fine. After the appointment we started driving in a stop and go area and as we accelerated it kinda had a squeak/grind and quiet knock so i stopped again on the way home for some fuel system cleaner and GDI valve intake cleaner (i think thats what it is.) Its something I used about 7000 miles ago (the last oil change… big oops) to clean that out and got a big cloud of smoke and the car was healed when it had a slightly similar symptom. The store was out of that, so i simply got fuel system cleaner and put that in until i could get home. As we got back on the road there was a huge screech and jerk to the car, then another as we stopped and accelerated to get to a safe spot. Another bigger screech and jerk and the engine seized and we coasted to a stop. I tried to start it, but it would only do a half turn and quit.

What do you think it is? I imagine the engines possibly toast, but what are my options for the car now?

Thanks for the help!

edit: I should note, she said she hasn’t seen the light come on until today.

Yes, it sounds (no pun intended) like the engine’s now toast. Once an engine seizes from lack of oil, it doesn’t miraculously heal itself.

The “light” is almost surely an indication of low oil pressure, and once that light starts glowing, engine seizure is sure to follow unless the driver chooses to immediately pull to the side of the road, shut the engine down, and have it towed to a repair facility.

Your options for this car depend to a great extent on your budget, but if you have been in the habit of going 7k miles between oil changes (with–presumably–few checks of the oil dipstick between changes), it probably wouldn’t make sense to rebuild this engine.


Bummer, thats something I should have known. What do i do with the car? Do people pay anything for cars like this? Any idea on how much a new engine might cost?

Main question. Was the oil low the first time and is it low again so that you ran it out of oil or not? Aren’t these the engines that are defective and they have been swapping them?

I can’t give you an exact figure, but it would be–literally–in the thousands.

An indy mechanic might be willing to buy the car from you so that he can rebuild the ruined engine–at his cost. My strongest recommendation is to change oil much more frequently with the next car, check the oil VERY often, replenish it as needed with the correct-specification oil, and to shut the engine down immediately when “the light” shows up on your instrument panel.

The oil was super low the first time, It guzzled down a full 2.5 qt bottle. I just checked and it comes back black and full.

I appreciate the knowledge. Its an expensive lesson.

It still has another 2 years of payment. I’ve never sold a car while still making payments. How does selling it to a third party work in that situation?

Unfortunately, that constitutes driver/owner negligence, and warranties don’t compensate you for that type of situation. In view of this engine’s flawed record, it is possible that Kia might come to your rescue, but they won’t do that if you reveal that the engine was run with the oil level at least 2.5 quarts below the “full” mark.

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Perhaps another forum member can comment on your situation.
I always pay cash for my cars, and as a result I have no clue regarding the details of financed cars.
I sincerely wish you good luck with this problem.

I think I’d contact the dealer and no point mentioning the first instance. Something was clearly wrong before that happened. Cars just don’t use 2-3 quarts of oil unless something already was wrong. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.


You just can’t sell it to an individual without a clear title . That means you have to payoff the difference between what you sell it for and the loan balance. If a dealer will take it your next loan will have the purchase price of what you bought plus what you owe on this vehicle.

You’re totally screwed because you’re going to pay those remaining 2 years of payments no matter what.

If you trade it in, the dealer will deduct the remaining loan balance from any trade in he’s willing to give you. Since the car has little value with a seized engine,and you still owe quite a bit, theres a chance you’ll have to pay the dealer to take the car. I would have car towed to the dealer, and see how hungry they are to sell a new, leftover 2018 that’s on the lot. I’d forget a private sale in this case.

Good advice above. However don’t presume the engine is hopelessly internally seized until you have a shop confirmation. There are other possibilities, all less likely than an oil-starved engine siezure, but give yourself one last chance to be lucky. 7000 miles between oil changes isn’t that much out of the usual as reported here. I change at about 5000 miles, never had a problem. Engines are not so tolerant of low oil pressure though. Usually though if you were down 2 - 2.5 quarts and the oil light started blinking on at stop lights you could get away with it w/out much damage to the engine if you added oil immediately.

Worse case: Another of life’s little lessons, no worries, there’s more to come I expect … :slight_smile:

BTW, show your wife how to check the dipstick.

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So you’re suggesting that op go to the dealer and lie like a rug . . . ?!

It’s the owner’s responsibility to periodically check the engine oil level . . . it’s clearly spelled out in the manual

op clearly didn’t hold up their end of the bargain

Nope. In my opinion the engine developed the problem causing the loss of the two quarts of oil. The loss of the oil did not cause the problem. The engine was shot before the oil loss. I’m sure it didn’t help it anyway but that’s not what destroyed the engine. No point in being stupid and making it sound like the oil loss caused the problem. These are junk engines apparently. Besides the oil light comes on warning to shut the engine down which they did. The red light coming on is not saying the engine is trash but only to investigate the cause. Otherwise what’s the point in the oil pressure light?


Exactly. This engine has a known defect, and Kia/Hyundai are replacing them under warranty for exactly this problem. As long as you keep your mouth shut about running the engine low on oil, and about stretching the oil change interval longer than the manufacturer’s recommendation, you should be golden. Just say that the engine started making noise, you checked the oil, it was ok, and a few days later it stalled out and would not restart. It is still full of oil, correct?

Unfortunately, being the second owner that warranty doesnt follow me so its a mute point unless its recalled right?

Your manual will tell how much of the warranty goes to the second owner .

No one can make this decision for you but we can all say what we might do. Myself, I would have it towed to a dealer and see what they say and then decide if to have the work done. If there is any help from Kia an independent shop could not provide that.