Strange issues with my new used Kia forte

I just bought a Kia Forte 2017 with a manual transmission from Carmax. Came with 32k miles and I feel like I’ve had a lot of issues already. I’ve driven 3 mercedes before this that were handed to me by a narcissistic controlling mother who would constantly hold it over my head and finally decided to break free and purchase my own first car. Learned stick shift in a few days and am pretty proud about that and it’s way more fun driving stick than automatic. Don’t know if eventually I’ll wish i had automatic but i love it right now. So my issues are , upon starting the car it REAKS like vinegar. Like nasty smell for about 10 seconds then goes away. Another issue is the acceleration. My brother told me it’s because I’m not letting the rpms build up enough in the gears but i was shifting around 2250 , that’s where the car would tell me to shift and once i hit 60 mph in 6th gear i can floor it and it slowly slowly slowly climbs to 80. Like so slowly i couldn’t pass someone if need be. I started letting the rpm build up to 3000-3500 and it makes barely a slight difference except the fact that i don’t get into 6th gear until like 70/75 mph which doesn’t seem right. How accurate is it when it tells me on the dash i should shift? Am i supposed to follow that religiously? Another problem. Is this weird freaking freaking noise when I’m parked. It used to be just when you wiggle in the car the whole vehicle creaks. But I’m currently parked at a slight uphill and it just starts freaking randomly and lasts about 10 seconds like a steady creak noise. Is this okay???

Flooring it in 6th gear is going to bog the engine down. Trying downshifting to 5th and accelerating. That’s the thing with manual trans. You are shifting, it’s not an auto trans. Try going to 4th gear and doing it. You have to find the sweet spot. Your Kia is not very powerful.


So the dash layout shift light is going to tell you to shift at a point that’s best for fuel economy. If you better acceleration you’ll need to shift later like your brother recommended. You don’t need to follow it religiously. If you’re passing on the highway, drop to 5 to accelerate then shift back to 6 after you’re finished passing. 6 is an overdrive gear…it’s not designed to have a lot of acceleration power.


The light on the dash that tells you when to shift, is trying to get you the best possible gas mileage.

If you need quicker acceleration, take the rpm up to 5000 rpm before shifting, it looks like your redline is 6500.


In 1st gear for better acceleration, shift into 2nd at 5000 rpm, then shift into 3rd at 3000 rpm, then into 4th 5th and 6th at 2200.

Faster acceleration, more gas pedal, higher rpms. Better fuel economy, less gas pedal, lower rpms. That is how it works. Play with it a little bit, you will learn what works best.


3 Mercedes ? How did this person do a test drive and get the vehicle home if they did not know how to drive a manual shift ? I think CarMax vehicles have some kind of warranty so why not use that ?

Is this one of those ’ Stranger then fiction ’ things ?

The creaking could be a loose heat shield under the car.

As was already stated, the vehicle mfr wants you to shift as “early” as possible in order to ensure the best fuel economy. If you want good acceleration, you need to ignore that early shift indication, and instead learn to use your tachometer. As long as you don’t take the RPMs into the “redline” zone, the engine will be okay, but I suggest that you try to not exceed ~5k RPMs or so. I think that Mustangman’s advice was very good.

I’m going to assume that you are using the parking brake–as a prudent driver will do. However, if you are not applying that parking brake as firmly as you should, the brake shoes will make a bit of noise as they strain against the weight of the car, especially if it is parked on an incline.

If you are applying the parking brake as hard as you can, then it is likely that you need to have a mechanic adjust the brake’s linkage.


I was thinking the same thing as VDCdriver about the parking brake. I suggest that you park on the steepest hill you can find, put the car in neutral, apply the parking brake, and see if the car moves. If so, the parking brake needs some attention.

As for the acceleration issues, I agree with the others that you’re probably not staying in or downshifting to a sufficiently low gear when the situation requires it.

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I would recommend that you drive another one of these to see if yours is significantly poorer. Or, let an experienced manual driver try it and give an opinion. Do this soon if still in warranty.

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The OP may have a hard time locating a 3-4 year old Kia Forte with a manual trans, and that the dealer or owner is willing to let her drive.

As the others have said, you just need to get used to driving a stick. Your Kia has either a 2.0 liter conventional engine or a 1.6 liter turbo. Either should be adequate and the turbo might even feel peppy once you get used to a manual transmission.

That said, I want to focus on the vinegar smell. Most likely you have something in the ac vents that doesn’t belong. Have them cleaned out and the cabin air filter replaced. Run the ac and see if the smell seems to be coming from the vents. It’s also barely possible you have a leaking heater core, although antifreeze doesn’t really smell like vinegar. Check the front carpet and mats for damp spots.

Better yet, if you haven’t already, have the car inspected by a mechanic you trust to find any other possible issues.

Du not expect a KIa Forte to be as quiet or powerful as a Mercedes. They are at opposite ends of the market. I would be much more likely to buy a Kia than a Mercedes because I do not like to spend a lot on what is after all, only transportation and impressing other people is not on my list of requirements.