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Resources for the Repair and Maintenance of your 2003 Kia Rio

2003 Kia Rio

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2003 Kia Rio Problems

Heating & Air Conditioning -- Verified

A defective AC compressor clutch assembly can cause excessive noise or vibration when the air conditioning is on. Improved parts are available. Replacing the faulty clutch assembly does not necessitate replacement of the complete AC compressor or evacuation and recharging of the air conditioning system.

Drive Train -- Verified

Due to a problem with the automatic transmission control computer, you may experience erroneous Check Engine Light illumination; an updated control module is available.

Miscellaneous -- Verified

Kia issued a service bulletin regarding an improved rear seat belt mechanism. The mechanism has a range of movement that works better with child car seats.

2003 Kia Rio Recalls (Recent)

Body, Interior & Misc., January 30, 2006

RepairPal Expert Overview:

Due to interference with a metal wire inside the rear seat frame, the lower child restraint anchors should not be used. Owners are advised to follow the instructions provided with the child seat on how to properly install the child seat using the vehicle's rear seat belts rather than the LATCH system. If the child seat is not properly secured, personal injury or death could occur in a crash. Dealers will replace the lower anchors free of charge. This recall began January, 2006. The Kia recall number is SC057.

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Body, Interior & Misc., September 15, 2006

RepairPal Expert Overview:

The Automatic Locking Retractor (ALR) function of the rear outboard seat belt assemblies may disengage. If a child seat is not properly secured, there is an increased risk of injury to the seat occupant in a crash. Dealers will replace both rear outboard seat belt assemblies free of charge. This recall began September 15, 2006. The Kia recall number is SC064.

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Engine, June 18, 2004


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2003 Kia Rio Questions and Answers

rdenham, 2003 Kia Rio, Beaver Dams, NY

i had good luck with this car until now i went to work and it ran fine got off and stopped at a stop sing and it died and could not start up again the starter is going but it will not start

racheldrummond78, 2003 Kia Rio, Long Beach, MS

I need my Crank Sensor replaced. Where is the Crank Sensor located at? How long can I drive it like that? And is it safe for me to drive it? I have a 2yr old little girl.

dcara, 2003 Kia Rio, Garland, TX

I had my engine rebuilt after the timing belt broke with 140,000 miles on it.. The check engine light came on about 60 miles before the timing belt broke.

Since the rebuild it downshifts at about...

warner2003, 2003 Kia Rio, Ogden, UT

Where is the the camshaft regulator and is it easy to fix? If it is fairly easy, how?

rekrab, 2003 Kia Rio, Santa Barbara, CA

Taking in quite a lotof water when stationery and appearing in thestorage pockets near to light cluster on both sides I have sealed round the light cluster ad rear side window as well as a lot of g...

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2003 Kia Rio Reviews

I bought my Kia Rio used from a dealership with a little over 42,000 miles on it about 6 years ago. It now has over 150,000 miles and still runs pretty good. No major problems. Routine maintenance like oil changes every 3000-5000, new tires, one new battery. This has been a great car. Will make sure my next car is a KIA!!!

I own a 2003 Kia Rio Cinco Wagon. I will never buy another Kia. I think they are too hit and miss. Some cars are great, no problems, great gas mileage, etc. My car is a 4 cylinder gas hog. The mileage I get for that small car with the cramped interior space is the same as a roomy 6 cylinder SUV. Literally, 17 - 20 miles in city, 25 on the Highway. I once rented a Kia (not sure of the model) but it was their smallest size. I drove from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Paramus, New Jersey, and only filled up once. The trip took me over 8 hours. My Kia, going approximately the same distance, required 2 refills more. I purchased the car from a dealer, and now know why someone had traded in a car that wasn't even three years old and had less than 20,000 miles on it. Since I have had it, the clutch seized up (wouldn't get out of park). That was right after I purchased it. I was told by the mechanic that they had gotten a lot of problems with that. I consulted Kia about the gas mileage, since it was still under the 5 year warranty. They gave me a bogus problem (something about the spark plugs), charged me $275 dollars, which of course was NOT covered under the warranty because they said there was a nest and some critters had chewed through the electrical). Of course, in less than a year the top light in the car stopped working, the cheapo battery needed to be replaced at the 3 year mark, etc, etc. Today, the axle broke. The car has always been well maintained. I lived in Pennsylvania which not only requires emmision testing, but safety testing (they put the car on a lift, remove the wheels and check brakes, etc), plus the necessary things. My mechanic was with me through 2 other cars and I had oil changes every 3 months or 3000 miles (whichever came first), I had proper tires put on and checked air pressure myself, I called my mechanic and had routine checks for noises, etc that seemed weird or if the car wasn't performing right. And when I say I had everything done to resolve the gas issue, I did. That included my regular mechanic, a friend who is a master mechanic, speaking with other mechanics at different shops, looking on line to see if other Kia Rio owners had the same problem, etc, etc. I drove 10 miles to work either way, my daycare was en route home, etc, and I had to fill up that car after about 5 days of driving. Meanwhile, my friend purchased a Chevy Cobalt and was getting over 350 miles for each fill up (she put gas in her car twice a month). I found out I was not alone with the gas problem. One person said they got about 175 miles to a tank, which is about what I get (11.75 gallon tank capacity). Also, as someone else stated, the car has NO PICKUP! It chugs slowly uphill, and living in Western PA meant chugging quite often. Even driving up to speed on the highway, with momentum on your side, at the least incline in the road, I would have to turn off the air conditioning/ heat so that every available ounce of energy could get it up to speed. I have never had to do that with any car I have owned. Now, I can't complain about the axle, even though the car has under 65,000 miles, it is 9 years old and saw it's fair amount of salt in Pennsylvania (I'll know what all the damages are when the mechanic calls). There has to be better cars out there. I figure what I have had to pay in gasoline, I could have been 1/2 way to a brand new car. SO KIA, NEVER AGAIN!

Bought my 2003 Kia Rio new, and she has driven great so far.

2003 Kia Rio: The car I have has no power steering, the fuses go out all the time, my drivers side and passenger side doors dont open from the outside so now i have to crawl in through a window or the back doors, the alignment is okay but theres something burning the inside of a front tire, no AC, easy to break into...but incredibly cheap. I wouldnt risk your life for this shit.

I bought my 2003 brand new. Noticed the lack of power immediately. As the years go by, it seems to be "broken in" and while it isn't powerful, it is better than when it was new. Very reliable car. Great gas mileage. Very roomy in front with lots of leg and head room. The car has paid for itself already.

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