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I think my Kia Spectra is Dying

After driving 1 to 2 miles, the speedometer on my 2004 Kia Spectra momentarily jumps up 5 or 10 mph and the radio cuts out for about 3 seconds. The following morning, the starter turns over fine, but the car won’t start. Have had the fuel pump replaced, new spark plugs and wires, injectors flushed, and new crank and cam sensors installed. Runs for about a day, speedomter and radio symptoms reoccur and the next morning the car won’t start. In the shop for the fourth time. It’s driving me nuts. Any ideas about what going on?

It sounds like an electrical supply problem to me. Maybe it’s a bad ignition switch?

Would a bad ignition switch cause the problems with the speedometer needle and the radio? Once this starts, it happens every 30 seconds until the engine is shut off. I could live with that annoyance, but usually within a day or two at most, the engine won’t start.

Any other ideas?

First, have you had fault codes?? Do you know what they are?

Second, has anyone load checked your battery and charging system? It this the original battery?

When the car won’t start, has anyone checked for spark?

It sounds to me like the battery is getting drained, and like the alternator is not putting out consistant and/or sufficient power to charge the battery properly. Like perhaps a fried diode in the voltage regulator portion of the alternator assembly. Since the Vehicle Speed Sensor, the speedo, and the radio all rely on a steady diet of 12VDC+, a bad regulator can cause alll your symptoms.

Thank you for your response. Two different shops have been involved and both charged me for time on their diagnostic equipment, but neither shop gave me fault codes or any other reports or feedback. I don’t know what they checked out on the electrical system.

If my battery were getting drained, could it crank my starter with gusto? The car doesn’t start but it’s not because the starter doesn’t turn or is turning slowly. The starter sounds perfectly normal and turns over as rapidly as ever - only the engine doesn’t start.
It seems peculiar too that the problem with the speedometer and radio doesn’t start for a day or two, and only after the engine is warm.

I’ll certainly follow your advice and ask the shop to check out the voltage regulator portion of the alternator and the alternator output. Again, I appreciate your help.

Yes a bad ignition switch could cause the speedo and radio prob. the speedo gets its signal from an electrical speed sensor not a cable like the older cars. Try jiggling you keys in the switch and see if that causes the symptoms. Also if you have a lot of keys or stuff on your key ring take them off as the extra weight can accelerate wear on the ignition lock and switch.

Thank you, I’ll give it a shot.

I may have found another possible source of the problem. Kia Technical Bulletin KT2005022513 - Engine Electrical System(11). It says “some 2000 - 2004MY 1.8L Spectra vehicles built between 2/00 - 3/04 may experience battery discharge when operated in high ambient temperatures for extended periods of time at low speeds or at idle with A/C, headlamps and other accessories on. Typically this results in customers reporting an inability to restart the vehicle. To reduce incidence of battery discharge customer complaints, the following new parts are available: New higher capacity alternator; Battery insulator pad (cover).”

This fits my driving circumstances to a tee - some freeway and some slow creeping for an hour or more in 90 to 100 degree heat with a/c, radio, and lights going.

What do you think?

It’s plausible, and you can test to see if this is your problem. Get one of those cheap voltmeters that plug into the power port or cigarette lighter. I think you can get them from Walmart or an auto store. If your voltage reading goes below 13 volts while driving or idling, then this is indeed your problem.

Hello, I too am Having problems with my Kia Spectra 04, 2.0L.

Autozone told me it was a faulty Voltage Regulator, Battery was new so that wasn’t the problem. Took it to the Mechanics and they said the Regulator was built into the Alternator, so I had to replace that.

That Very same day maybe 3 hrs after the New Alternator was installed my car died AGAIN.

I got a jump but the car would not stay on, it would run fine for a few minuets then stall and shut off.

Same problem with the Speedometer, and Radio going all wacky one other problem for me was if I turned my head lights on they would dim, and if I put my turn signal my car would shut off.

It’s night time now, but tomorrow I’m taking it Back to Autozone for a diagnostics check, then back to the mechanics so they too can run a diagnostics.

Also I removed my Radio, AC, Windows Fuse but the draining still occurs.

Hope this can help narrow down the problem.