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RPM funky-ness

Hello Car Talk Community!

First and foremost, thanks for providing your collective expert advice.

I drive a 2005 Kia Rio with 48,000 miles. Every once in awhile (particularly after a bit of driving when everything is warmed up) the RPM won’t go past 2,500. I’ll put it in 1st gear, accelerate till 2,500, but as soon as it gets there, the engine gets groggy, the car slows down, and I have to quickly switch to 2nd and repeat the cycle on every gear. Flooring it makes it worse. Obviously the fastest I can possibly go with this happening is about 50mph on 5th (just below 2,500). This has happened three times and it has fixed itself every time so far.

A possible clue may be that the check engine light frequently comes on, and its always the same culprit: this “flow meter” sensor. I’ve had it replaced three times now, but it still always trips the engine light. I now just ignore the check engine light.

Do not ignore the check engine light. This “flow meter” (probably mass airflow sensor) system probably is your problem.

But no one here can get started on helping you. The check engine light means that an error code has been stored. It apparently does make reference to the flow meter - but obviously the “part” itself isn’t the actual problem. If you want some help get the actual code and post it. The code will look like this: “P1234”