My Non-Working Kia Sportage

My 2002 Kia just went to the mechanics for a possible timing belt as it has 104k with the original belt. He was honest enough to tell me that it was fine and gave me pictures of that fact. He let me know that it did not need replacing. Now it has broken and he is not sure how. Maybe a pulley or the water pump. So now my engine is seized up and I have no more payments on this car,yahoo! How can this have happened, and would there be some way to have discovered this problem before it got to this point? I have no money at all for another car and just would like to understand this.

Sorry, but you can’t tell if a timing belt is about to snap by looking at it. Timing belts should be changed on a schedule provided by the manufacturer.

I really appreciate your response. Do you mean that it should have been replaced even though it did not “look” bad? I asked this mechanic to replace it but he said it had no tears, was fitting into the wheel well and that there was no reason to replace it in that case. I trusted that advice as I have no car experience and the Kia dealer was charging more than I could afford to replace it. So it should have just been replaced?

The mechanic is obviously clueless since no one can look at a timing belt and judge its condition. The vehicle was probably built in mid 2001 and this means the belt is at or over 6 years old. Age will do them in just like mileage will.
Look at your owners manual that is collecting dust in the glove box and belt intervals should be specified.

Your engine may not be running but it is not junk. What happens is that when the belt breaks some or all of the intake valves will hit the pistons and the engine will stop.
While this is fairly major it is not catastrophic. It is repairable by removing the cylinder head(s) and replacing any bent valves along with performing a complete valve job.
Any sharp nicks in the piston tops should be filed smooth.
While it is possible to suffer very major engine damage to the lower end of the motor the odds are that the lower end is fine.

Any time a timing belt is changed the tensioners and water pump should also be changed.
If you decide to repair this vehicle I strongly suggest you find another shop to do it as the guys who gave you the erroneous information about the belt being fine have no clue. Honest maybe, but clueless nonetheless.

Yes, the timing belt should have been replaced regardless of its appearance. Just as you replace the engine oil, or filter, at a certain mileage, regardless of what they LOOK like, the timing belt MUST be changed at the mileage (or, time) the car maker schedules.

I’m sorry for your plight.

As already stated, the visual appearance of a timing belt is not a reliable indicator of its condition, except when it is obviously worn or damaged.

According to the Gates website (the automotive product manufacturer, not the Microsoft gazillionaire), the recommended replacement mileage interval is every 60,000 miles. except in California, where it’s 105,000. (I wonder what happens if you register a California car in another state, and vice versa.) And, yes, the engine in your trucklet is an interference design, meaning that when the timing belt breaks, the pistons and valves will almost always collide as described by ok4450.

Sorry you had to learn such an expensive lesson about timing belts and dopey mechanics.

Thanks to everyone who posted, even now, it feels better to know what is going on. I had consulted my owner’s manual and went to him knowing that since I had been in Calif most of the car’s life, I would be okay with a 100k replacement. Unfortunately, he made sound like I was some fortunate person who could save some money. I trusted his advice as I did not know appearance made no difference. Money is very tight and now it is tight without a car. Thanks to all who took the time to share their thoughts.

If this belt broke right after he inspected it and gave it a thumbs up then anyone with a conscience would at least offer to throw in free labor on the entire repair along with the costs of the damage caused by it. The OP could pay for the timing belt/water pump/tensioners as they normally would.

Probably not going to happen and to be honest, if this guy does not understand timing belt life then I would not allow him to do the work anyway. Or even change my oil.

A salvage yard or eBay might be a source for a ready to go cylinder head and could be cheaper than repairing the existing one. Figure a couple or 3 hundred dollars there plus another 300 on fluids, top end gasket set, etc. and you’re at 600.
Figure in labor (which can vary a lot) and it should be in the 1000 or 1200 range, depending.

Just some figures if you decide to go this route.

Yes, I thought the same thing. That the “right” thing to do would be to repair this at his cost.

Thanks for the figures as he hasn’t given me any. I can’t afford a bit of it. I have three kids and told them we wouldn’t be getting presents for Christmas before this happened. Do you think I can sell it for parts? It’s in good shape and has leather seats. Thanks again for any thoughts. I am trying to find a way to afford another car.

To all who replied - this story has a happy ending. The mechanic called me and was able to fix it all. He got some feedback from mechanics who work alot on Kias who were able to tell him that it was working fine with a new belt and the water pump and pulleys did not need to be repaired or replaced. He did this all at his cost and did not even charge for the belt. I felt this guy was honest and he was. It is a very happy ending to this stressful tail so I wanted to share it with all who wrote.

The engine must be a non-interference engine (or freewheeler) and this means valve damage will not occur when the belt breaks.
A huge tip of the hat to your mechanic for doing the right thing and thank you for keeping us informed. Normally we never hear any results at all.
A great ending for you and Merry Christmas big time! :slight_smile:

Get that mechanic a case of beer for Christmas !!

Luck! Pure luck! The Gates lists the Kia Sportage 2.0L engine as an interference engine. If the engine valves weren’t bent (the mechanic didn’t, actually, say), it was a Christmas present. So, if anyone else wants to take a chance with their Kia’s timing belts, the odds aren’t worth the gamble. Merry Christmas (aka Season’s Greetings), Rosaleen!!

Hi! Glad that it worked out, but I wanted to add some information just for future referece. Check this out:

Apparently, the older Sportages with the single cam design were interference engines, but the “newer” dual cam engines are non-interference designs.

I’d believe the Gates and Dayco sites. However, perhaps the confusion is from the fact that there are three Sportage engines: two (SOHC and DOHC) in the original generation vehicle, and the engine in the current, Hyundai Tuscon clone, vehicle.

Regardless, I’m glad you made out okay, Rosaleen!