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My Kia rio


Was driving fine. Came to a stop at light, went to go and it surged when I try to go. Won’t go more than 20 mph, surges up and down, idles fine. It’s high mileage 194000 but never had problems. This gave no warning or indication that anything was about to happen. After about a mile more getting it to work, the check engine light came on. Anyone have a clue?

Check the stored fault codes, post them here, and we’ll start from there. There are just too many possibilities with this limited information.

You need to have someone plug a code reader into the diagnostic port and pull any codes that are stored.

Some parts stores do this for free.

Until it’s known what code(s) are stored, it’s anybody’s guess.


Ok, will attempt to get it there. Live about 15 miles from town. Think it would be ok to drive it?

First find out if there’s a parts store in town that’ll read codes for free.

If not, then you’ll have to probably pay a shop a diagnostic fee to get the codes.


Yep, need to read codes. I’ve had a similar issue with a bad MAF sensor but could be something else.

Usually it is okay to drive with a steady check engine light, but NOT a flashing one.

However, the problem could suddenly worsen and if it won’t accelerate to speed, you’ll be a hazard and put yourself at risk.

Do you do any car repairs/maintenance yourself?

If you could get a ride to and from an auto parts store (or if you have a second car) then you can consider buying a code reader and read the fault codes yourself. You should have one anyhow driving higher mileage vehicles. You should be able to own one for about $50 or less. Actron Pocket Scan is one that comes to mind.

The surging suggests there may be an uncontrolled air path into the engine. Throttle body problem or perhaps a big vacuum leak, like the power brake booster has sprung a leak. My Corolla developed a surging problem when the idle air control gadget misbehaved. As posted above, no need to guess at this point. Get the diagnostic codes and go from there. Ignition system, fuel, and exhaust system problems possible too. Also, contaminated gasoline. If you want to do something yourself, pop the hood and look for a hose or wire that has come disconnected. If you have a hand held vacuum pump, test the power brake booster to 20 in hg to verify it holds vacuum. Did you purchase gasoline recently at a different station than you usually do?

Have it towed. Consider the cost cheap insurance.

Do you mean to tow it to the parts store 15 miles away? Then tow it home 15 miles away?

It would be less expensive to let the car sit and go buy a code reader and then it can be used in the future.

I like your advice. I will buy one and see what it says. Is this something that will tell me the problem or just a code that needs to be interpreted?

A code that needs to be interpreted.

If you have an Android smart phone you can get a bluetooth OBD reader for around 20-25 bucks off of Amazon, then download Torque for $5 from the play store, and you’ll have a good scanner for a lot less than you’ll pay at the parts store.

I would like to thank all of you for your help. I bought a scanner, it told me #2 misfire. I pulled the plugs and for that it was cracked. Replace the plugs and wires now runs great again. Thank you again!


Good! Thanks for reporting back! :slight_smile:

So, I guess you do some of your own work on cars. :smile:

A misfire, particularly one that is severe enough to keep a vehicle from accelerating is definitely a reason to park a vehicle and not drive it until the problem is resolved. Driving could/will lead to additional expensive damage/repairs, such as ruining a pricey catalytic converter.

Did your scanner come with a little interpretation booklet? Here’s a free to use website I like for looking up DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes) within OBD 2 (Onboard Diagnostic) systems, standard in vehicles since about 1996. It offers suggestions on what items are suspects for a given code.

CSA, How can you possibly put a question like this together with an answer like mine (have it towed)and think I’m suggesting having it towed both ways?

It’s possible for me…
He was going to the auto parts store 15 miles distant, to have the codes read. He asked if it would be okay to drive.

I sort of knew that getting the codes read wouldn’t fix it, that he would have to get it back home to fix it.

You suggested not to drive it, but to get a tow. However, he’d have to get it back home and the tow driver may not wait around for him at the auto parts store, so 2 tows would be required.

Which part isn’t making sense? What am I missing, here? Sorry, I did the best I could. :wink:

Apologies, I see your point.
I was thinking he was going to a shop rather than a parts store. In rereading the posts, that clearly wasn’t what was being recommended.

That’s quite all right, friend! :slight_smile:
I’m glad I took time to explain and you took time to reread.

I misunderstand intentions from time to time, myself, and if I’ve given misleading advice I need to hear about it.

No sweat, friend. I’ll see you in the next discussion, hopefully! We’re all in this together. :sunny:

Thanks. It’s good to know I’m in good company… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Thanks for letting us know what the problem was. Sounds like the new coder reader paid off in spades. Best of luck.